As a Park student I stayed on campus for Thanksgiving in 1961, went to and from home in Iowa by train in 1962, remained in Parkville in 1963, and went home again in 1964. President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, putting a somber mood on Thanksgiving, less than a week later. I've chosen to reprint what I transcribed from my diaries on the two Thanksgiving days and evenings I celebrated with others at Park in 1961 and 1963.
An Enjoyable Thanksgiving at Park - Thursday, November 23, 1961:
My first Thanksgiving away from home was nice. I didn't get up till 10:30 - it was good to sleep for a change. Vivien's and my breakfast was sweet rolls and tea. The Thanksgiving dinner was served family style and it truly tasted just like a good old home Thanksgiving dinner. I guess the taste and style of Thanksgiving food is a national tradition for sure. Vivien and I walked up to Alfalfa Point this afternoon. It was really inspiring and relaxing to look out over the Missouri. When we got back Mom Hawkins had food left over from dinner in the lounge - again just like Thanksgiving at home. Now I must get busy and read The Odyssey. I intended to write four letters today but only got the round robin answered.
A Professor's Thanksgiving Meal - Thursday, November 28, 1963:
I still don't know why, but Dr. Gochman called me this evening and had me come over to his apartment in Woodward to help him eat some Thanksgiving turkey, "along with some other students." The group - none of whom I knew very well - wasn't exactly my type, but it was a privilege to be invited to a professor's home for Thanksgiving supper. Miss Thomas was there, too. Our Thanksgiving dinner in Commons was very nice, too. I always like to recall past Thanksgivings. I read physiological psychology this morning and did a reading report after dinner. Evelyn and Jim wet to Hans's sister's for Thanksgiving.
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 41 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."