Christmas at Park College was always special, but my first Christmas there is the most poignant in my memory. First, because it was my first Christmas there, and then because it was my Class of 1965's one and only year to have two 18-week semesters - meaning we could enjoy Christmas on the campus and in nearby Parkville and Kansas City because students weren't preoccupied studying for finals. That was the case in December 1962, 1963 and 1964. In those years the Park administration had made the decision to put professors, instructors and students on three 15-week trimesters per year, meaning the fall semesters needed to be finished before Christmas. Fortunately the summer trimester was optional. Here, then, is what I wrote about Christmas at Park in December 1961:
Going Down Mackay Hill on Cafeteria Trays - Friday, December 8, 1961
This was pre-registration day for next semester so there were no classes. I will be taking French, world literature, anthropology, anatomy and physiology, introduction to music, and apparatus and field hockey for 16 hours. And today it snowed. It's so perfect. Tonight a bunch of us went sliding on Mackay hill on Commons cafeteria trays. We had a panic. ...
We Go to See the Plaza Lights - Tuesday, December 12, 1961
Tonight a school bus load of us went to see the Country Club Plaza lights. They are really pretty. Some of them follow the shapes of the tower-like building tops. Judy Cox guided Nancy Huebner, Kathy Gillespie and me around the stores. ...
A Candlelight Vespers Service - Wednesday, December 13, 1961
I'm packed and ready to go - if I'm not forgetting anything. Carolyn Frobig is going to get my train ticket for me so that will save me some time and trouble. My one suitcase is pretty bulging - I can just see it coming apart in Union Station! Tonight the family style Christmas dinner was very nice and the candlelight vespers service was so nice. This has really been a nice Christmas at Park. Everyone is packing and wishing each other a Merry Christmas.
Leaving Park for Christmas - Thursday, December 14, 1961
It's good to be home. My train was an hour late. We didn't leave Kansas City till about 10:30. Mrs. Cox took Flo, Nancy Kelley, Ken Peerson and me to the station. We met Carolyn Frobig about 9:00. Her uncle helped us catch our trains. The different train men were nice. It was fun being in a big city train station and seeing another city at Christmas. This afternoon I got ready to leave, cleaned our room, typed Vivien's philosophy paper and got her off, read my biology, locked our room behind me, and left Park College for two and a half weeks.
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."