About the diary writer

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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 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."

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.          

Monday, March 14, 2016: To Do a Park Search, Enter Your Word Choice

The right hand sidebar of A 1961-65 Park College Diary has been designed to make the blog [and therefore my diary] more usable by Park graduates and friends who may be new to the world of blogging.

In the sidebar I include information about the blog and about myself as its creator.

In the upper left hand corner you will see a search bar. It has a small white B (for Blogger) on an orange background on one side and a small magnifying glass on the other.

You can enter something of interest to you. Some (but not all) of the pages where that word or name appeared in my diary will appear on your page.

This morning there was a beautiful photo of Falling Springs in a Facebook group blog called Parkville Missouri History that Kenneth R Klamm started in January 2015. I have signed up to receive Facebook notices when a new post appears.

The photo caused me to go to my blog and do a search for Falling Springs. I was amazed at how many times I wrote about it and Alfalfa Point while I was at Park.

September 29, 2015: Seeing Changes at Park 50 Years Later

On Sunday evening, September 20, 2015 the convener of a Sunday night potluck and book discussion group, said, on the patio at her and her husband's Kansas City, Missouri home, "Barbara, tell us about your college reunion." On Monday morning, September 21, the maintenance man who came with a plumber to our Kansas City condo, asked at the door, "How was your weekend?" Meanwhile, in Overland Park, Kansas, on the same morning, the nurse who had seen my husband Bill at Research Medical Center on Friday afternoon following the alumni awards luncheon, asked him, "Did you make it back to your wife's event on time?" Yes, all three thought to ask about what they could tell had been important to me.

It's been just over a week since our Park College Class of 1965 held our 50th year reunion and I'm still thinking about it. I had high expectations, and they were exceeded.

Bill and I had just finished registering for the weekend and had stepped out onto the porch of the Alumni House facing toward the White House. I heard someone to my right call, "Well, Barbara McDowell!" It was Hal Henderson from the class of 1964 who comes from Florida and makes regular appearances at alumni weekends. He was in the parking lot in front of the entrance to the Parkville Commercial Underground with his friend Jim Peeke from our class.

Soon we saw Regina Font Shedd and her husband Stan Shedd, who drove to Park from their home in High River, Alberta, and Glenn and Leslie Innes Petrie. Our Class of 1965 Golden Reunion dinner was held at the S.D. Strong Distilling Company in the Parkville Commercial Underground which is adjacent to the Park University Underground. It was a wonderful event. We were greeted at the front entrance by Erik Bergrud, Park University Associate Vice President for Alumni and Constituent Relations, and John Roushkolb, Park Social Media Manager. Within the distillery we were offered iced tea or vodka cocktails. Steve Strong, the owner, gave a brief overview of the facility.

We had a nice turnout of Parkites who first came to Park in 1961. Some of us hadn't seen each other for 50 years. If not at the dinner, then during the weekend I saw and greeted Katherine Gillespie Darch Amedy, who lives in Connecticut and lost both her husband Tom Darch and her second husband to heart attacks 25 years apart, Randolph (Randy) and Jane Gillespie Fehr, Dr. Ronald J. (Ron) and Linda Steele Tyrl, Susan Thorpe Hawk, Florence (Flo) Ito Naylor, Dr. Margaret McElwain Wilson, Rosemary Kellner Hardage, David and Barbara Zappulla House, Diane Davis Reed, Nancy Taylor McBride Custead whose first husband, Paul McBride, also a Park graduate, has passed away, Dr. M. Stan and Regina Font Shedd, Dr. Glenn and Leslie Innes Petrie, Gary and Mary Sue Somerville Sorrell, Sam and Nancy Rohlfing Potter, Paul H. and Sylvia Helms Gault, James B. Peeke, Harold L. (Hal) Henderson, John C. Blair, Hildreth H. Buterbaugh, Elliot G. Goldman, Dr. Arthur F. (Art) Kluge, David R. Oswald, and Park's new interim president, Dr. Jeff Ehrlich and his wife, Dr.Donna Ehrlich.

If you and I greeted each other during our Class of 1965 members and friends 50th year reunion on September 17, 18 or 19, 2015 and I have failed to name you, please tell me at: barbara.mcdowell.whitt@gmail.com.

During the weekend we attended a breakfast in the White House, Laurie McCormack talked about Park's plans for the future including Park's Academic Expansion Space, Paul Gault led a limestone tour of the Park University Underground and the adjacent Parkville Commercial Underground - 100 feet below ground in places, the staff of the Ellen Finley Earhart Department of Nursing held an open house and ribbon cutting in their new space in the Underground, Nancy Taylor McBride Custead led a Park sing along in the Graham Tyler Memorial Chapel, and I talked about A 1961-65 Park College Diary.

Carolyn McHenry Elwess and Tim Westcott gave a presentation about Park's new history book - Fides et Labor: 140 Years of Pioneering Education - The Story of Park University.

Copies of the history book are available for purchase and may be ordered from http://www.Park.edu/HistoryBook or by calling (800) 488-7275. The cost is $39.95 + $6.00 shipping and handling. It's a beautiful book with both black and white and color photos and is full of fascinating and detailed information about Park with a foreword, eight chapters, endnotes and an index. I encourage you to secure your copy by clicking the link, calling the 800 number, or buying one at the Park Alumni House (that small white house east of the White House (now gray) at the Park University entrance.

More commentary about our Class of 1965 50th Year Reunion, Park University and Parkville can be found on my Facebook page at https://www.Facebook.com/BarbaraMcDowellWhitt.

September 1, 2015: The Park College Class of 1965 50th Year Reunion

It's September - the month those of us who graduated from Park in 1965 as well as those who graduated in many other years have been waiting for. The 2015 Alumni Weekend September 17-19 promises to be enjoyable, starting with a Golden Reunion dinner for graduates and guests of the Class of 1965 on Thursday evening, September 17, at 6:00 in the Park University Underground.

In September 2014, soon after the Park Class of 1964 had their 50th reunion at Park, Julie McCollum created a Facebook cover photo and established a group page for the Park College Class of 1965 50th Reunion. Julie was then Director of Alumni Relations at Park (and is now Director of Membership Sales and Service for the NAIA at its headquarters in Kansas City).

Julie asked if I would like to help plan and promote our 1965 50th reunion. Having had a fondness for Park since my parents, three younger sisters, and I first saw the campus on September 9, 1961, I agreed to do so.

Nancy Rohlfing Potter from the Class of 1966 soon volunteered to help with promoting our reunion. I've been very grateful for Nancy's assistance. She has offered many insightful suggestions and has made numerous contributions on our Facebook page and on other Park and Parkville sites.

Erik Bergrud in the Alumni and Constituent Relations office in Mackay, along with Alisha Blackwelder and Bobbi Shaw in the Office of Alumni Relations at the Park House have been working tirelessly as they prepare for AWE15 while giving special attention to our Class of 1965 milestone 50th year reunion. All three of them are Park graduates.

The Meetin' House will be open on Thursday and Friday afternoons for members of our class to catch up on what has happened - in many instances - in 50 years.

To be included in a Reunion Memory Book, questionnaires that the Alumni Office sent us asking for our information and photos need to be returned by September 19. Class members submitting information will receive a copy of the book even if they are unable to attend.

On Friday afternoon at 2:00 Paul Gault, member of our Class of 1965 and a career long administrator with Park, will lead us on a tour of the place limestone has played in Park's history, from Mackay and other buildings above ground to the Park Underground - an extensive space carved out from beneath our campus as we knew it.

On Saturday morning, September 19, at 9:00 in the Copley Quad conference center, John Roushkolb, the Social Media manager at Park, will talk about using Social Media to Connect with Park Family Members. I'll talk about my blog, A 1961-65 Park College Diary.

The Park University annual Alumni Association business meeting will be held on the Copley Quad patio Saturday at 10:15. After the meeting members of the Class of 1965 will receive Golden Diplomas.

Nancy Taylor Custead began attending Park with our class in 1961. Marriage and children meant that her graduation year was 1968. While at Park Nancy frequently played the organ and piano and was an accompanist for the Park Singers. She has agreed to play for us when we sing "Hail, Hail, Park College...." and "Near to the Heart of God " with the organ and 60s songs with the piano in the chapel at 1:30 on Saturday.

There will be opportunities to see how Park and Parkville have and haven't changed, sports events and social gatherings throughout the weekend. We're looking forward to seeing those who are coming home to Park. And we'll miss those of you who can't make it.

August 21, 2015: Waiting for Mr. Right

According to https://www.blogger.com/ this is my 2060th post for my blog, A 1961-65 Park College Diary, which can be found at http://parkcollege1961-1965.blogspot.com/ or by finding me on Twitter - @BarbaraMcDWhitt - and clicking on the parkcollege1961-1965.blogspot.com link in my bio.

It has been said that good things happen to those who wait. I waited until I was 28 for the right man, and yes, Park College had had plenty of them - but not for me - to come into my life.

While my third graders played dodgeball on the Oakwood Manor school playground in Kansas City North, I watched planes approaching the airport adjacent to the Missouri River and downtown Kansas City in the years before KCI.

I reasoned that the likelihood of an eligible bachelor strolling across the playground was nearly nil. But perhaps, I thought, if I obtained a job where I could fly in those planes, the chances of meeting one would be a lot better.

Three years later while at UMKC, two other graduate assistants in the school of education and I went to lunch with two woman staff members. "I would think that working as a consultant for a textbook publishing company while still single would be a good job to have." The staff member seemed to be looking my way as she spoke.

When we returned to our work area, I went directly to my advisor's office. "Do you get letters from publishing companies wanting someone to work for them as a consultant?"

"Oh, sure. All the time. Here's one right here." I approached the front of his desk where a Xerox copy of a job description lay waiting for someone to ask.

Sitting down, I read and thought, "I want this job." I smiled and asked, "May I borrow this?"

"Oh, sure. You can have it." [It was only recently that it occurred to me that I may have been set up - in a good way.]

Beginning in 1968 I worked as a consultant in elementary education for the Allyn & Bacon publishing company in nine states - Colorado, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri - from my apartment in Kansas City.

And yes, I flew in those planes.

In June 1971 I went to Swope Park, one of the nation's largest city parks, to play softball with a singles group from Second Presbyterian Church.

Lying on the ground waiting for the game to start was a cute, slender guy who had come with the Broadway Baptist singles group.

"Hi, my name's Barb. What's yours?"

"It's Bill Whitt."

"Bill what?"

"That's what everyone says. It's Bill Whitt."

"Oh. You should say 'My name's Bill Whitt, not Bill What.'"

That's how I met my guy. We were married one year later, on June 17, 1972, the same day the Watergate Break-in had occurred. Nixon's presidency didn't last. Bill's and my marriage has.

August 14, 2015: A Little Background: How a Diary Writer Came to Park

My parents met at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky in 1941 and were married on August 21, 1941 in the front yard of the home in Lakewood, Ohio, where my mother lived during her growing up years.

My father was born and raised in Dalton, Ohio until he was ten. He then went with his family to the mountain community of Frenchburg, Kentucky where his father managed a Presbyterian Mission School.

At Berea my mom majored in sociology and my dad in agriculture. My mom wrote in diaries which later influenced me to do so, too. My dad had a professor, "Prof Stewart," whom he greatly admired.

After my parents' wedding they went to Frenchburg where my father taught math for a year. I somewhat recently "did the math" and determined that I was conceived in Frenchburg and born in Washington, Iowa, on November 5, 1942. By then my grandfather had followed his second wife (his first wife died from childbirth complications) to her parents' farm in Iowa. After one year of teaching my father had decided he would rather help farm than teach and went with my mother from Frenchburg to Iowa as well.

Prof Stewart and his wife had a daughter, Almita Stewart, who had graduated from Park. My parents reasoned that since Almita had liked it, it would also be a good college for me to attend. My mom and dad also liked the fact that, like Berea, Park had an obligatory work program.

On Saturday, September 9, 1961, I wrote in my diary "Park College really looks nice! On top of that the family next door to us in our motel has a girl who will be a freshman at Park! I invited her (Judy Percival from St. Louis) over to watch the Miss America pageant tonight...." I remember my parents' facial expressions when Judy told us Park was no longer going to have a required work program - but would have a voluntary one.

On September 10 I wrote "We got to Hawley about 9:30 to unload my stuff. We went out for dinner in Kansas City, Kansas, after looking over the campus. Vivienne is so nice. She got here about 4:00. We really have a beautiful dorm and room and everyone seems so nice. We had a supper with our advisors (Vivienne and I have the same one - Dr. Hampl - French). We also had vespers, introduction-to-faculty meeting, and a mixer tonight. Viv and I got acquainted with an African boy, Naman, from Kenya who's a freshman at Park...."

August 10, 2015: No More Writing in Diaries

And with that August 9, 1965 entry I stopped writing on a nightly basis in one-year diaries. Cold turkey. No word of warning. No explanation. I had told my then current "boy" friend Tex, or Ed or Edward that I felt as if knowing I was going to be writing a nightly account of my day and evening was causing me to conform my life to "things" that I could write about that night.

Tex said, "If you don't like doing it, then stop."

Another factor was the approaching time when I would be grading papers and making lesson plans for the third grade class I would begin teaching in September. I knew I would be tired from the daily routine of teaching responsibilities, and wanted to put my best efforts into my teaching preparations after my days at Oakwood Manor Elementary School in the North Kansas City School District.

[I've always been puzzled by the name the district adopted for itself. In the 1960s it was, and still is, a large district geographically, stretching far beyond the smaller municipality of North Kansas City in Clay County Missouri.]

I wanted the freedom to finish my grading and planning and go to bed - with the aim of getting a good night's sleep without taking the time to first write in a diary.