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Kansas City, Missouri, Alexandria, Virginia, United States
~ About: A 1961-65 Park College Diary ~ As a high school girl and then a college coed in the first half of the 1960s, I wrote nightly entries on the pages of one-year diaries. In January 2010 I began transcribing the entries into a blog and gave each one a title. I grew up on three farms within 30 miles of Iowa City and the University of Iowa with its Iowa Writers' Workshop. As the oldest of four daughters, in my diaries 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 is 300 miles southwest of 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 41 campus centers across the nation. Park was one of the first educational institutions in the United States to offer online learning. My last post was on May 22, 2018. I may be followed on Twitter @BarbaraMcDWhitt.

May 22, 2018: From A 1961-65 Park College Diary to Pinned Tweets on Twitter

Today I edited my April 25, 2018 post about Elizabeth Flock saying - during the April 21, 2018 Library of Congress and District of Columbia Public Library #DCAuthorFest - "A listing of your memories is not a memoir." I knew she was right.

The fact is this: Getting a memoir - or any book - published is hard work. I can no longer pretend that A 1961-65 Park College Diary is going to be a book.

So with this May 22, 2018 post I'm announcing that I will no longer be posting updates to my blog. It's time to put it to bed. [Posts beginning with January 1, 2010 can still be found at http://parkcollege1961-1965.blogspot.com]

I'll be using Twitter as my sounding board. I've posted a combined 18,800 tweets (my own commentary on Twitter) and RTs (retweets of other users' tweets). I've added commentary to some of the RTs.

I can be found on Twitter: @BarbaraMcDWhitt

I invite you to follow me there. If you are not a Twitter user, know that if I taught myself to use it, you can.

In January 2012 I taught myself to use Twitter. I've changed my Twitter profile photo, header photo, and bio several times. Presently my bio states: My writing has appeared in Psychology Today, The Christian Century, The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, Bookstore Journal, The Writer and School & Community.

I like Twitter and its "Pinned Tweet" feature. A pinned tweet is one that stays in place at the top of a user's page. My present pinned tweet is based on a contribution I made to a book called "Letters to Hillary" that was compiled by Dr. Lynda Y. de la Vina, Editor, after Hillary Clinton's 2016 election loss. I was very happy to have my contribution included. In it I wrote about our granddaughter, then four, wanting to be president. I also wrote that I told Hillary, while shaking hands with her, "I'm very eager for you to be our first woman president." Hillary responded, "Well thank you very much for that."

Twitter gives me the chance to join conversations pertaining to politics, writing and more.

Rather than dream about having a book published, I want to work toward having articles published.

I also want to read more of other people's books that I have bought and haven't read or have started but haven't finished reading. I want to close my computer when I'm in the presence of my husband's and my two granddaughters, now five and two, and enjoy them in their present moment.

So - without further ado - I hereby sign off from A 1961-65 Park College Diary. If you were along for the journey - thank you.

April 25, 2018: Graduated From Park College in Parkville, MO 53 Years Ago

Yes, it was that much time ago. Here's the one-page diary entry I wrote on Sunday, April 25, 1965:

"I received my B.A. degree from Park College today. It was really a nice commencement. Dr. Edler G. Hawkins, the Moderator of the United Presbyterian Church General Assembly, was the speaker. He was also given an honorary degree. After baccalaureate (also nice) we went to the president's luncheon in Commons. It was a quite cold and cloudy day (but it didn't rain - just during the night a little). Mom should have gotten some good pictures anyway. I bought my "canary and wine" hood that each of us got along with our diploma. I finished packing after Mom and Dad, Virginia and Ann left, and I drove to Tarkio (where my other younger sister, Phyllis, was finishing her sophomore year at Tarkio College in northwest Missouri). I was able to meet the bus and surprise Phyl when their choir tour bus got back."

And here's how I titled that now slightly edited diary entry when I transcribed it fifty years to the day later on Sunday, April 25, 2015:

Received B.A. in Elementary Education from Park College - Sunday, April 25, 1965

On April 18, 2018, I was scrolling in my Home site on Twitter when I saw a notice about #DCAuthorFest to be held in the Madison building of the Library of Congress on Saturday, April 21.

It was co-sponsored by the District of Columbia Public Library. My husband went, too. He divided his time between two sessions each hour. I took notes during one-hour presentations. I listened to established authors tell about the following topics: The Author-Publisher Relationship; Query Letter Workshop; The Twitter Pitch for Authors; and Writing About Place.

In Writing About Place Elizabeth Flock told about writing her just released non-fiction book, The Heart is a Shifting Sea - Love and Marriage in Mumbai. It's a page-turner about the nearly ten years she spent in three homes observing the marriages within them in a changing Mumbai and India. At 22 Elizabeth had moved from Chicago to Mumbai in search of adventure and a job which she found at Forbes India magazine. Living with the couples was not a part of her job. Since then she has returned to the United States and reports on-air and online for the PBS Newshour while living in Washington, DC.

"A listing of your memories is not a memoir."

Elizabeth said that, and she is right.

March 26, 2018: A Fall Semester of Speech Took the Place of Freshman Composition

My four years of high school English were taught by Mrs. Gladys Kephart at West Chester High School and Mid-Prairie Community High School in Iowa. She now lives at a retirement community in Champaign, Illinois. In 2016 she came to Washington, Iowa, my birthplace, to attend the 55th year reunion of the West Chester part of the Mid-Prairie Class of 1961 reunion. We have been friends on Facebook since the time of the reunion. Mrs. Kephart taught me a lot about written composition and helped me with literature. During my two semesters of taking world literature at Park I made the decision to change my major from high school English teaching to elementary education. I had taken world literature as an elective in place of the freshman English course that I tested out of during freshman orientation in the fall of 1961.

Taking a required speech class during my freshman year at Park was a welcome change from reading for my other classes. In high school I had taken declam as a sophomore, junior and senior. I chose to participate in the original oratory section as a junior and senior and was therefore able to write and memorize a speech of my own. I wrote and presented "The Decade of Man in Space" in my junior year and "Greetings, Extra-Terrestrials!" in my senior year. Mrs. Kephart was my advisor and coach. In the Southeast Iowa district contest I received a II rating as a junior and a I rating as a senior.

Here are excerpts from the 1961 and 1962 diaries I kept at Park pertaining to my participation in Dr. Hill's introduction to speech course:

Wednesday, September 13, 1961: I don't have to take freshman English (among 35 who don't!) but will have to take a semester of speech.

Friday, September 15, 1961: Speech, which will be mainly oral, will be informal in the Meetin' House. [The Meetin' House was dedicated in 1933 as a home for YWCA and YMCA members on campus and is still in service for classes, meetings, seminars, lectures, forums, dinners and receptions.]

Saturday, September 30, 1961: I got an A- on my audience characterization paper for speech.

Saturday, October 14, 1961: This morning I had speech class and was able to hear my criticisms. They were pretty favorable. I need to work more on articulation and projection. I'll concentrate on that when I give my next one, a narrative, which should take less thought on subject matter.

Monday, October 23, 1961: This afternoon I looked up some books in the library to find a picture resembling our family's meteorite. I found some interesting books on the subject, and I saw several titles on life on other planets. I hope my speech will suffice but if we're not supposed to memorize them I can hardly see how we can "practice"!

Tuesday, October 24, 1961: I'm floored! The others thought my speech on the meteorite was very good, perhaps "too well prepared"- and I didn't even begin it until last night.

Tuesday, November 28, 1961: I got a B on my speech about a major in English. I got favorable constructive criticisms - I mean they were able to say what I did wrong constructively and not just generally.

January 1, 1962: If you'd call taking notes on Benjamin Fairless's book "completing" my "planned vacation" homework, it was really down to the wire because it was the last thing I did tonight! [The pro-union steel company executive lived from May 3, 1890 to January 1, 1962.]

January 2, 1962: This morning on the car radio we heard that Benjamin Fairless died yesterday. That beats all - but I guess I'll have to give my speech in memory of him.

Tuesday, January 23, 1962: I got a B for the speech course - I'm proud of my first college grade.   

February 24, 2018: Another Term Paper - The Place of Religion in the Public Schools

Introduction to Religion at Park was a two trimester course taught by Dr. Woodbridge O. Johnson. On Friday, February 22, 1963 I wrote in one of my diaries: "I talked with Dr. Johnson about my religion term paper. We chose 'The Place of Religion in the Public Schools.'"

On Saturday, March 16, 1963 I wrote: "I went to the library and got 15 books for my religion paper. I'm glad there was such a good selection."

In the end only I used only three books, published in 1944, 1951 and 1953. The rest of the paper was based on two articles in The Kansas City Star, one in The National Observer, and one in Protestants and Other Americans United, plus a pamphlet published by the Unitarian Universalist Association. Three of these had been published in 1962 and dealt with rulings by the United States Supreme Court on the place of prayer and other religious practices in public schools. The National Observer article, on Bible reading, had appeared in the February 25, 1963 issue.

Because a January 2018 blog update featured the opening pages of "The Intelligence, Education and Culture of Jesus" this one for February 2018 is the conclusion of "The Place of Religion in the Public Schools."


     "The Place of Religion in the Public Schools" has come to be one of the most controversial questions ever to face the American public. The fact that an issue regarding this very topic is presently being debated by the United States Supreme Court indicates the importance of the issue, and its pertinence is also evidenced by the recurring amount of literature on the subject in the past half century especially.

     Also of worthwhile mention is the fact that it appears that this controversial question will remain one. Though hundreds of opinions have been rendered both pro and con as to the place, if any, that religion should take in the public schools, many statements have also been made to the fact that no immediate solution to the problem seems to be in store. But it is likewise an alleged fact that "the Court's decision, expected in late spring, could be one of the most celebrated in the history of American jurisprudence. It could also set off as explosive a reaction as anything seen in the nation in recent years" type of opinion make the issue one of high and pressing concern.

     The Supreme Court has often tackled the problem. Literature concerning the issue continues to be published in increasing amounts. A highly debatable issue, the place of religion in the public schools" often is the topic of panel discussions and debates. It was the topic dealt with in the March 28, 1963 panel discussion at Park composed of a Catholic college professor, a Jewish rabbi, and a Protestant college professor.

     Professor Patrick D. McAmany, S.J., representing a Catholic viewpoint
on the subject, was of the opinion that much of the controversy as to the place of religion in the public schools had to do with whether the First Amendment was to be interpreted broadly or narrowly. He also posed the question, "How does one solve the problem that any man's ultimate set of values...is a religion?"

     Dr. William B. Silverman, presenting the Jewish point of view, stated his belief that religion should be kept in the home, church, and synagogue, and not in the public schools. An opinion of Dr. Robert Alley, the Protestant panel member, was that federal aid should not be given to parochial schools since it would mean that the tax payer must aid a religion of which he may not approve.

     The issue in question has been felt by practically every American in one degree or another. As an example, this writer is familiar with the case in a school where several children whose parents were Jehovah's Witnesses were not allowed by their parents to take part in school parties observing Christmas and other holidays,

     If religion should be included in the public schools, who or what is to determine which religion is to prevail? The "one man's theology is another's poison" principle is one of the basic arguments for excluding religion altogether. In the writer's own fourth grade experience, the class used the "forgive us our trespasses" version of the Lord's Prayer when she had learned to say "forgive us our debts."

     Finally, the grounds that "religion" in the teaching of moral and spiritual values, by the teacher's example, if nothing else, in such areas as honesty and right conduct, is justifiable, can even here be argued as to whether or not crime and delinquency, for example, are actually diminished by such training. So the issue of the place of religion in the public schools remains highly controversial in all aspects.

     Since some sort of conclusion on the part of this writer would seem to be appropriate, let the following suffice: Since our federal government through its Constitution provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" and advocates for this nation the principle of the separation of church and state, and since there is a wide variety of religious sects in America and consequently a wide scope of theological differences, religion of any sectarian nature must be kept from the public schools. The home and church must supply the doctrinal religion that our children are to receive.

     The question of the place of the reading of the Bible and the saying of the Lord's Prayer in the public schools is a more difficult one (more pressing in view of the fact that the Supreme Court is soon to reach a decision). Some wonder if this will ultimately result in a possible elimination of the Pledge of Allegiance (with its "under God" clause), Christmas carol singing, and baccalaureate ceremonies in churches. This writer would hesitate to pass judgment on "no Bible reading in any of the nation's public schools." Elimination of this practice would seem extreme, but again, the "all or none" facet looms.

Update: An April 1, 1963 diary update reads: "I just finished my religion term paper - 31 pages this time. I can't figure out why the majority of kids think 15 pages is long! Guess I'll have to go in for book writing." When Dr. Johnson gave the paper back to me, I could tell that he had read it thoroughly - meticulously noting typing mistakes or missing connecting words. His concluding comment was: "The only facet of the problem you have not treated is the logic of removing religious exercises from the public schools - yet keeping them in the opening exercises of the Congress, the Supreme Court, every court of law where witnesses are sworn "so help me God," on our coins, our salute to the flag, our presidential oath of office, etc."

Whereas my 50 page December 10, 1962 "The Intelligence, Education and Culture of Jesus" paper earned his comment, "This is an encyclopedic labor - far more detailed than necessary," this last one garnered the comment, "too condensed," along with the numeric grade of 96.     



January 30, 2018: A Term Paper - The Intelligence, Education & Culture of Jesus

At Park College in November of my sophomore year in 1962 I brought nine books from the library to a dorm room in Hawley Hall and began writing a required Introduction to Religion course term paper on a topic of my choice with input from the professor, Dr. Woodbridge O. Johnson. Knowing I intended to major in elementary education, we decided on a topic: The Intelligence, Education and Culture of Jesus.

Curiously, two of the books, The Jesus of History by T.R. Glover and The Life of Christ by William Bancroft Hill were both published in 1917, and the other seven in the 1940s.

Here's the way I began my paper:



     If there were such a man as Jesus of Nazareth, we must, in looking upon the nature of this man, at some time bring ourselves to the consideration of the question: If Jesus really lived, taught, believed and fulfilled (to the satisfaction, at least, of many followers) his purpose, how was he able to do this? In other words, what was his faculty of understanding? What was his capacity to know? To what extent was the formal instruction that he was able to take advantage? To what extent was he endowed with knowledge, skill and competence? What was his pattern of human behavior as revealed in his speech, thought, and action, and what was his capacity for learning as provided by his cultural and educational background? And, in turn, how well was he able to transmit the knowledge with which he was possessed to succeeding generations?

     B: SCOPE

     The content of this paper, then, will deal first of all with a consideration of the extent of education in Palestine and a look also into the Jewish cultural background. For after all, a man is a product of his culture, and Jesus was no exception. We will compare Jesus' youthful education with what was available to him, and from there proceed to show how he put his knowledge into use as he went forth, through his teaching and ministry, to preach his gospel of repentance. We will examine the words, thoughts, and actions of Jesus at this time, and from here will hopefully come to a conclusion of the real nature an significance of his thoughts, including those dealing with the coming kingdom.



     Jewish education at the time of the Christian Era began was closely connected with religion. In fact, the two were almost interchangeable, and both were based upon the Torah, which itself means teaching, that is, instruction, the thing taught.(1)

     Sherrill, in his The Rise of Christian Education, tells how the Torah originated as the guide for Jewish education: "When Jerusalem fell to Babylon, some of the people remained in their own land, surrounded by enemies, and in lamentable plight. Among the exiles, one center was in Egypt where a Jewish community was established at Elephantine, and a temple built for the God Yahu, or Jehovah. The other great center for the exiles was in Babylonia. The Jews of Palestine and Babylonia guided the development of the religion into the orthodox form known as Judaism.(2)

     "The bitter disappointments which came to a climax in the exile and dispersion, together with the sufferings which followed, served to kindle Jewish hopes and solidify their faith as nothing yet had done. They studied their own past anew, and sought to rediscover their own future. Out of this furnace came Jewish legacies to all later generations, such as prophecy, poetry, and a canon of sacred writings whose core was the written Torah, expressing the revealed will of God.(3)

     "To a striking degree the education which developed within Judaism is a mirror of the history. In order to understand the education one may view the growth of Torah or the Law, the place held by the Law as a means of resistance to alien influences, and the more influential parties which arose in Jewish life.(4) 

     Sherrill goes on to explain something of the meaning of the Torah as God's teaching:

     "'Torah' is one of the great words of the Old Testament and of Judaism. Torah itself means teaching, that is, instruction, the thing taught. It might be such instruction as that of a mother or father, or a sage, or a poet. It may mean divine instruction as given through God's approved servants. At times it appears to mean the body of prophetic teachings. Torah often means special laws, as for example regarding a feast or the Sabbath; or it may mean codes of law. In these latter uses the term Torah embodies the belief that the law is God's answer, through an approved spokesman, to man's questions about rights and duties. Torah, then, is content of teaching."(5)

Sherrill, Lewis Joseph, The Rise of Christian Education, The MacMillan Company, New York, 1944

Update: At that point, with a combination of single- and double-spaced typing, I was at the bottom of page 3. Thus I plodded along using a self-devised method of having a general idea of where I was headed. Finding in the books what I wanted to use as quotes and placing index cards in them to mark their places, I later typed the quotes from the books to support my line of thought. I watched the paper grow and grow and grow - to a final length of 50 pages. Even with spending an overnight in the dorm's trunk and suitcase storage room I was two days late turning it in and was happy to still receive a grade of A-.           


December 28, 2017: Music Has Been a Strong and Rich Tradition at Park

Founder and Artistic Director of the International Center for Music at Park and the 2001 Van Cliburn gold medal award winner Stanislav Ioudenitch has directed the career of Park graduate student Kenneth (Kenny) Broberg, the 2017 Van Cliburn silver medal award winner. The website for the Park International Center for Music is entitled "Where Proteges Become Masters" and states: "Nestled in the riverbluffs overlooking Kansas City, MO, a musical enclave is quietly producing some of the best classical musicians in the world. Based on the Classical European Apprenticeship Model, the Park International Center for Music is transforming talented proteges in piano, violin, viola and cello into world-class performers."

In the 1960s there were many students majoring in music - a lot of them planning to become music teachers, mostly at the high school level. As an elementary education major, I enjoyed going to their  performances - both vocal and instrumental. The Park campus was located near Kansas City, MO and St. Joseph, MO, and both cities enhanced Park's offerings.

December lent itself to musical performances, but so did November, January and February and other months of the calendar years as well. Here are some selections from my years at Park in the 1960s:

Sunday, December 10, 1961 - I'm going to stay dressed to hear the Madrigal Singers carol at Hawley. The concert choir and chamber orchestra program were very good, especially the half hour long "Gloria."

Sunday, December 9, 1962 - "Christmas at  Park" was today. The choir concert was magnificent. We all stood up for the Hallelujah chorus from the Messiah. Then we had a lovely Christmas dinner with the brass quintet playing Christmas songs.

Saturday, February 2, 1963 - I heard the Park College choir perform Stravinsky's "Persephone" with the Kansas City Philharmonic, and heard the Philharmonic's American premier performance of Earle Brown's "Available Forms No. 1."

Saturday, November 16, 1963 - Nancy and I went with Evelyn, her mother and sister to the RLDS auditorium in Independence to hear the Messiah Choir. The admission was free, it was being recorded for radio, there was a capacity crowd. The performance was tremendous. The Hallelujah Chorus, and everything, were so wonderful.

Sunday, December 13, 1964 - I attended my fourth Park College Christmas choir concert with Judy and Margaret. It was very good. We also saw some of the choir members sing three songs in a special program of Christmas music from the Kansas City area in a taped TV show at 1:00.

Wednesday, January 27, 1965 - I went to the concert of music by Stravinsky in Alumni Hall tonight. Most of the performers were from the St. Joseph Symphony Orchestra. There were three numbers, one an instrumental octet, a vocal solo with piano accompaniment, and an instrumental number with narration.

November 29, 2017: An Interest in All Things to do with Life in Space

Fifty-five years ago tonight, on Thursday, November 29, 1962 my reporting on Dr. Carl Sagan's four-lecture series at Park appeared in The Park Stylus. My remarks included: "Dr. Sagan dealt with the physical environment of Mars, evidence for life on the planet, and planned space experiments to detect life on Mars."

On November 27 I wrote in a one-year-diary: "Today I interviewed a nationally famous astrobiologist, Dr. Carl Sagan, assistant professor of astronomy at Harvard, who's here today through Thursday to lecture on life in outer space! Since I'm so interested in the field, his first two lectures were fascinating and it was a thrill to talk to him." Note: Dr. Sagan was not yet internationally known because he had not yet been involved with producing the 1980 PBS series, Cosmos.

As a high school student I participated in a southeast Iowa declamatory program of memorized speeches called original oratory. I named my junior year speech in 1960 "The Decade of Man in Space" and my senior year speech in 1961 "Greetings, Extra-Terrestrials!"

On January 3, 1960 I wrote in a diary entry, "I finally finished 'Your Trip into Space' by Lynn Poole.

On December 31, 1960 I wrote "Thus ends 1960, the first year of The Decade of Man in Space!"

Here then are selected excerpts from diary entries pertaining to our planet's developing space exploration:

Note: I postponed by a day writing about the first U.S. astronaut to enter space because I had spent Friday, May 5, 1961 at Iowa State University with other high school students. On May 6 I wrote my May 5 entry by beginning: "This is being written on May 6 because by the time we got home from Ames at 2:30 this morning I was too tired to do anything but jump into bed," and then described the  day.

Saturday, May 6. 1961: Yesterday the United States made history by sending Alan Shepard into space for fifteen minutes. It was an "absolutely perfect" trip. My "Decade of Man in Space" original oratory speech has come true.

Friday, July 21, 1961: We watched Gus Grissom's flight into space this morning. For some reason a malfunction occurred that caused the hatch to blow off after the landing and the capsule filled with water and sank in three miles deep water. Grissom got himself off and started swimming. The lift-off was so easy and smooth and the flight perfect. The control crew was so calm. Alan Shepard was the one who got to communicate with him.

Tuesday, February 20, 1962: Col. John Glenn orbited the Earth three times today in the United States' first orbital space flight. The J.R. was full of people watching television when the rocket ship lifted smoothly off the pad at Cape Caneveral about 8:45 this morning.

Tuesday, May 14, 1963: Gordon Cooper's one and a half days space trip was postponed this morning. They had a T-60 minutes hold when they couldn't get the gantry moved away from the space capsule (because of water in the fluid line). The final postponement came with a radar failure in Bermuda. They'll try again tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 15, 1963: Gordon Cooper's liftoff at 7:00 this morning was perfect. He's supposed to "sleep" in space tonight.

Thursday, March 18, 1965: Seth and I just finished watching the Russian TV pictures of one of their cosmonauts. It was a two-man space flight in which one stepped outside the space capsule to become the first man in history to "walk" in the weightlessness of outer space. It's amazing that we can see pictures of it the day it happened.

Wednesday, March 24, 1965: Another space flight this morning! Seth and I watched the moon shot pictures being transmitted as the Ranger zeroed in on the moon's surface for several minutes before impact. It was one of the most fascinating things I've ever seen. Seth went to the American Physicists Society meeting in Kansas City to work (filing cards).


On December 1, 2017 at 7:00 I will walk to Unity on the Plaza in Kansas City to hear Astronaut Scott Kelly talk about his memoir - Endurance: A Year in Space, A Lifetime of Discovery. He ended his book with this paragraph: "I also know that if we want to go to Mars, it will be very, very difficult, it will cost a great deal of money, and it may cost human lives. But I know now that if we decide to do it, we can."

How far we've come since Dr. Sagan came to Park College (now Park University) in Parkville (suburban Kansas City, MO). Dr. Sagan left planet Earth far too soon at age 62 due to his myelodysplasia complicated by pneumonia. But who knows - perhaps he now can see billions and billions of stars. And I'm sure he is pleased with Scott Kelly's story.