Watching the world's finest athletes compete in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro reminds me that, when I was a student at Park in the first half of the 1960s, all students were required to take a total of 8 hours of physical education classes. Each class was worth two credit hours. Upperclass students advised freshmen to get them worked into our schedules during our freshman and sophomore years if possible. In that I succeeded. In my competence in the classes I ended up fitting into my schedule, not so much - except for modern dance. In that, I was a leader. Here are segments from some of my diary entries:
Thursday, January 10, 1963: In swimming I found out I can neither breathe nor kick right - I knew I didn't - so I've much to learn - she vows we'll all learn each stroke!
[I didn't, but I gratefully received a C for the course. The "she" I mention was Mrs. Barbara Dorsey, who, during her time at Park, taught each of the phys ed classes I took. She was a talented woman who also coached tennis and golf.]
My introduction to college level phys ed began with the trampoline.
Monday, October 16, 1961: Did I ever mess up on my trampoline practical test. Not only did I about kill myself doing the back drop, I couldn't even go down for the front. She (Mrs. Dorsey) said not to worry about it though.
Tuesday, October 17, 1961: I went over to work out on the trampoline and got my confidence back on the front drop but still need to relearn the back drop.
Monday, October 30, 1961: We started turning flips on the trampoline. [I wrote a collective "We." I don't imagine I did any flips.]
After the trampoline classes were over we began fencing.
Monday, November 15, 1961: We got our foils for fencing in phys ed. It sounds like it will be fun.
Monday, November 27, 1961: I got "yelled at" in gym - "Young lady, don't lift your back foot when you lunge!"
Friday, January 19, 1962: Since I spent two hours on my written fencing final this morning (it called for a lot of details) I didn't get to lunch till 1:00 and therefore didn't get to my world lit reading like I had planned.
In the fall of my sophomore year I wrote on Thursday, September 6, 1962: Modern dance is with Mrs. Dorsey who has studied it under one of New York's leading teachers.
Thursday, October 4, 1962: Leslie, Sarah and I got an A on our modern dance interpretation of "Trees in a Storm." Just one other group got an A. She said as she had looked around beforehand, ours had looked the best. She said that about my group once before, too.
Monday, October 8, 1962: Tonight Edna, Theresa and I practiced for modern dance -we finally decided to use "Good Night, Ladies." It has to be a song.
Thursday, October 18, 1962: We got an A- on our modern dance interpretation of "The Puzzled Centipede"- Sandy, Mary Kit, Kelmie and I. I was the frog.
About the diary writer
- Barbara McDowell Whitt
- 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."