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Kansas City, Missouri, Alexandria, Virginia, United States
In the first half of the 1960s I wrote nightly entries on the pages of one-year diaries. A 1961-65 Park College Diary is a transcription of those entries. The first entry was on January 1, 1960 when I was a junior in high school. I grew up on three farms within 30 miles of Iowa City with the University of Iowa and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. As the oldest of four daughters, I sometimes referred to my sisters as "the kids" or "the girls." We helped our parents, but we also had good, wholesome fun - a characteristic I took with me to Park. Park College was 300 miles from West Chester, Iowa in Parkville, Missouri, on the Missouri River 10 miles northwest of Kansas City, Missouri, and across the river from Kansas City, Kansas. In 2000 Park College became Park University. Today Park's flagship campus is in Parkville and there are an additional 40 campus centers across the nation. Park was one of the first educational institutions in the United States to offer online learning. Beginning August 10, 2015, 50 years after I wrote my last entry in a one-year diary, I've written Park related Blogger blog posts to keep A 1961-65 Park College Diary "current."

Thursday, April 28, 2016 - Memories of Park: Move-In Day 1961

I came of age on three farms near West Chester, Iowa, a town of 100 in southeastern Iowa, 30 miles from Iowa City with its University of Iowa. It must have been a shock for my mother who had grown up as the older daughter of an architect and art teacher in Lakewood, Ohio (suburban Cleveland) when she first saw West Chester with my father, who like her, had graduated from Berea College in Berea, Kentucky, where they met. On September 9, 1961 when I left home to attend Park College I had not visited the campus, but I had liked what I read about it in Lovejoy's College Guide and in the content of the most recent catalog. My parents also had influenced my decision to apply to Park. As the oldest of four daughters (with no brothers) I was persuaded to give Park a portion of my life.

The day before my family's departure to take me to Parkville, I packed up what I thought I would want to have with me while sharing a Hawley Hall room with Vivien Nix from Tahlequah, Oklahoma. My mom and sisters helped transfer my belongings from my small upstairs room of our tenant farmer farmhouse to the trunk of our Chevrolet Impala. When it became apparent that not everything would fit in the trunk we made the decision to put my trunk filled with winter clothes onto the back seat. On departure morning two of my sisters got in on one side of the trunk, and another sister and I took the other side. 

On move-in day at Hawley Hall on September 10, my father made the comment that our housemother had a daughter in the dormitory because he had heard someone say "Mom." He didn't realize that 98 other girls and I would also be calling her Mom or Mom Hawkins. After my family left to return home I put my fall clothes in a closet and half of a shared built-in chest of drawers. I set about meeting other girls and was waiting for Vivien Nix, the only child of a professor at Northeastern State University, when she arrived with her parents. Viv Nix was one of the 50 finalists in a national United Presbyterian College Scholarship contest, a contest which I had entered but heard nil. We became friends and I went to Tahlequah to be a bridal attendant for her marriage to Charles Armentrout, another member of our class, on December 28, 1963.          

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