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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 27, 2017: From Park College to Book Expo America

Park College (now Park University) in Parkville (suburban Kansas City, Missouri) was and is about books, books and more books. Book Expo America is the book publishing industry's largest yearly event, being held in New York City from May 31-June 2, 2017. Its schedule of author presentations and list of publishers showing their books can be found at http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/.

Book lovers and bloggers who will not be attending the event in New York can participate in a corresponding Twitter event May 31-June 4 known as ArmchairBEA that can be found at http://www.armchairbea.com/ or on Twitter @ArmchairBEA. My Twitter handle is @BarbaraMcDWhitt. I have registered as a 2017 participant. For my May 2017 update on A 1961-65 Park College Diary (http://parkcollege1961-1965.blogspot.com) I've chosen to find titles of some of the books I read at Park and what I said about them (in excerpts from longer diary entries for each day shown):

September 17, 1961: I just finished reading the first two books of Ovid's Metamorphoses. If only I hadn't had to read so fast, I would have had it down pat.

November 25, 1961: I'm reading The Cyclops chapter of The Odyssey. I remember that story - I wonder if we had it in grade school.

December 1, 1961: I got a B+ on the examples and C on the essay of The Iliad test in world literature.

January 20, 1962: I spent the afternoon reading Lucretius in the library and in the women's lounge in Mackay.

February 25, 1963: In French we have been reading the play, Orphee, that we are going to see at the University of Kansas next Monday night. I finally got the part in Cocteau: Scandal and Parade read that we were supposed to read, so now the play reading will be much easier.

March 4, 1963: Tonight the French class and Dr. Hampl went to see the French plays, Orphee  and L'Apollon de  Bellac, at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. They were very good and I understood most of what was going on in the second one and understood nearly everything they said in Orphee.

April 10, 1963: By getting up at 5:00 and reading in every spare minute until 3:00 (about three and a half hours) I managed to get enough more of Les Miserables read to  give a decent report on it. After all my times of renewing it before I started reading it, it felt good to take that book to the library and leave it.

February 24, 1964: I'm enjoying reading Facing Mt. Kenya that Karanja loaned to me.

April 6, 1964: I gave most of my oral report on Facing Mt. Kenya today in geography. I'll have to give my conclusion on Wednesday.
July 26, 1964: I started reading George Orwell's 1984. Maybe someday I'll get more of the books read I should have read long ago.

November 30, 1964: John Dewey's The Quest for Certainty is interesting but I'm getting bogged down in it. I need to condense 300 and some pages into a four-page book review for philosophy that is due tomorrow since I didn't turn it in today.

May 5, 1965: James Koerner's The Miseducation of American Teachers, which Mr. Carey mentioned a long time ago, upsets me, but it's nice to know some of the criticisms.

August 18, 1965: This afternoon I read more of The Elementary Teacher in Action that Mr. Fuller gave me to read this summer. It has a lot of good ideas covering most areas connected with teaching. I've decided it might be fun to arrange for pen pal correspondence with another third grade class.

April 30, 2017: Writing in Iowa and Missouri - Then, Again and Now

A 1961-65 Park College Diary begins on January 1, 2010 - 50 years after I was a junior at West Chester High School in West Chester, IA and includes my 1960-61 senior year at Mid-Prairie High School in Wellman, IA. Three farming communities - Kalona, Wellman and West Chester - each had a high school, but after some of us were ready for our senior year we all squeezed into what was previously known as Wellman High School in September 1960 and graduated as the first Mid-Prairie class in May 1961. I was privileged to have Mrs. Gladys Kephart as my English teacher all four of those years and was proud to receive all A's for my eight semester grades in English. I "tested out" of English composition as a freshman at Park in September 1961 and took world literature.

Here are diary snippets that chart some of my writing experiences in Iowa and Missouri:

Park College Autobiography - Saturday, November 19, 1960:

I spent the morning in Iowa City at the University General Library looking up books for extension of suffrage - that I decided to write on for my next government research paper - and got some information on Joan of Arc in English literature. Phyllis went to the math library for her geometry research paper. This afternoon Mom and the kids [as I sometimes called my three younger sisters] went to town and I worked on layout for the school paper. I began writing my autobiography for my Park College application.

Park College Autobiography - Wednesday, December 7, 1960:

I just got home from babysitting all evening for the Fudges while they went with the teachers to the Captain's Table to treat Howard and Mabel. The kids went to the youth fellowship silent auction at the church. I finished my autobiography since I didn't do chores tonight. Thankfully I managed to get as much chemistry studied in study hall as I would have at home. We had an FHA meeting in fifth period.

Enthusiasm for Writing Papers - Wednesday, October 30, 1963

I just finished my social studies paper - finally! I still have a short one to do in the morning for theory and technique - on the use of opaque and overhead projectors. I wish I could put as much enthusiasm, for the most part, into the end result of "studying" as I do for writing papers. Karen was over tonight to help me with the posters and Narva pictures. I got a pretty gold pin with gold sets from Mrs. Cowan. Everyone though the personality test was rearlly awful.

Impressed with Quality of Writing and Character - Saturday, December 12, 1964

I went with Winnie to the play, "A Street Car Named Desire," tonight. Jan Studer, a freshman, did an outstanding job with the lead. This afternoon I worked on chords and music fundamentals for Tuesday's test and recorded music playing. Evelyn and I practiced her song some. We're going to see if Mr. Chronister will let each team present just one song instead of two in our allotted fifteen minutes. I had such a nice talk with Dr. Myers in Mackay this afternoon. He said he is very impressed with the quality of my writing. And he said something about my character, "especially for a girl" - and a whole lot more.

Wrote on Eight Aspects of Education on Written Comps - Tuesday, April 6, 1965

Written comps are over, as we knew sooner or later they had to be. This is something that it's hard to believe is over. I didn't think they were too bad. We had to write on two concepts of the mind; attitudes and values; learning theory; and curriculum, organization and administration. I received a letter from the North Kansas City school system [a large geographical area of Kansas City North in Clay County north of the Missouri River and not just the smaller city named North Kansas City on the district's southern border] inviting me to make an appointment for an interview, so I got one for next Tuesday. Now I've been studying for the social psych test tomorrow as if it were another comp.  

March 27, 2017: Memories of Park - March Happenings 55 Years Ago

While re-reading my diary entries I've found that I've occasionally incorporated a writing occurrence of each of my parents into my commentary. In the diaries my mother wrote in at Berea College in Berea, KY from 1937-41 she sometimes wrote phrases instead of sentences. When I wrote "Now to anatomy test preparation." in my entry on March 29, 1962, I was intentionally copying her. She began writing in diaries when she was eleven. So did I.

Long after my college years I've read letters that my dad wrote to his parents during his 1937-41 time at Berea. He often wrote that an event was "real good" or "real nice". Likewise, on March 18, 1962 I wrote that the movie "Bridge to the Sun" was "real good". The number of times I used the "real" phrase while in college - before I had had the opportunity to read his letters - tells me that it was a "like father - like daughter" form of writing that passed from him to me.

The month of March has always held special memories and meanings for me. Perhaps the spaciousness - conducive to kite flying - of our last farm (before my dad left farming to become an administrative assistant and bookkeeper at Mid-Prairie Community High School) caused me to think of that pasture as I wrote my March 18 entry. I was likewise undoubtedly thinking of my forthcoming spring vacation in Iowa. Here, then, are five posts written in my first March in Missouri - 55 years ago this month.

Senate Candidate Crosby Kemper Spoke in Assembly - Tuesday, March 13, 1962

I asked Roger Rikkola to the Hawley House Party Saturday evening. Our assembly speaker this morning was Crosby Kemper, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Missouri. If he becomes president someday I'll have met him! That reminds me, I ought to see if I could see former President Truman in Independence. We went upstairs in the gym to have more mat space, barbells and equipment for apparatus class. It was like an attic on a rainy day. Phyllis, Virginia and Ann are having tumbling and apparatus, too.

At Home We Get a New 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air - Wednesday, March 14, 1962

I have just spent exactly two hours on French. The trouble is, I didn't get started till five after 10:00. I wrote home tonight and then went to the anatomy lab for a while to study the bones. I had to go around to the side of the building and yell at them through the window to come and let me in. We got a new car at home, gee! A green Bel Air 1962! Our last "new" car was the 1949 Dodge. Our others have been used cars.

The St. Patrick's Day House Party Tonight Was Fabulous - Saturday, March 17, 1962

The house party was simply fabulous. Roger was so nice. He brought me a corsage. It was a green colored orchid. He didn't need to do that. At present a few of us on the clean-up committee are in the midst of putting things back in order. Our rainbow out in front looked real nice as did the lounge decorations. I spent all day with house party preparations - as did almost everyone. Oh, it was all so sharp. I'm really glad I asked someone, especially a boy as nice as Roger.

Arts and Culture Movie "Bridge to the Sun" Was Good - Sunday, March 18, 1962

I just made my date bars and am waiting for them to cool so we can eat them. Tonight I hope my anatomy sinks in for the test tomorrow. The arts and culture movie, "Bridge to the Sun," was real good. There was such a nice spring evening feel out after the movie. The white fluffy clouds were against the gray sky and it had just rained. This would have been a good day or weekend to go out to the pasture at home. Gee, two weeks till my first college spring vacation.

Religion and Life: John Fry, Presbyterian Life Editor - Thursday, March 29, 1962

One thing for sure, we are certainly taking spring vacation more matter-of-factly than we did Christmas vacation. It doesn't seem possible that it's here. I remember how far away it looked on the year's calendar of events. John Fry, an associate editor of Presbyterian Life, is on campus for Religion and Life Week. He had a good discussion in the lounge tonight and a good assembly speech. I got $33.60 for March through the 26th. Another rainy day following a beautiful one. It's happened at least three times. Now anatomy test preparation.


February 24, 2017: Memories of Park - Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer

During my four years at Park students enjoyed four distinct seasons. Fall changed trees on campus and in the surrounding woods into brilliant shades of orange and yellow. The same trees were stark brown or black against the white of winter snows. Spring brought out red buds in their reddish pink splendor. The green leaves of summer could appear in late April and last until they again turned to their autumn hues.

Here, then, are four entries noting such times:

A Dozen Red Roses - Monday, October 7, 1963

The phys psych test wasn't too bad but I probably did about the worst of anybody. Nancy and I went to Bob Young's campaign party in the Brig tonight. We bowled with Tom, Ben and Paul while George set pins. However, we didn't have time to finish our game. We had a house meeting tonight. After supper there was an LLC float committee meeting followed by Nancy and me going up to visit Margie in the health center. She has strep throat. We have been having beautiful fall weather, an Indian summer so far. It has only rained about an hour since we've been back this fall. This was Vivien's birthday. Charlie got her a dozen red roses.

Dr. Pai Liked Philosophy of Education Paper - Tuesday, February 23, 1965

It snowed - the deep and drifting kind that causes schools - except for Park College - to close. I didn't have any classes since Mrs. Gibson couldn't get here for developmental psych class. This has been a neat day - first of all, the snow was relaxing. I talked to Dr. Frizzle and Dr. Radloff on the phone about their concept of the mind (for philosophy of education). Dr. Pai implied that I am a stronger - as opposed to a weaker - student. He liked my last philosophy paper. I went to the library with and then watched a TV program about Leonardo da Vinci with Seth. Maybe we, too, can be "da Vincis"!

Spring Has Popped and Red Bud Trees Are Worthy of a Colored Film - Monday, April 23, 1962

We think this was the day spring popped. The red bud is so pretty. I should have a colored film in my camera. There were almost as many magazines to check in today as there were the day after spring vacation. I got a nice letter from Phyllis. Junean won a four year college scholarship to the State College of Iowa for  
sixth place in the Eastern Iowa Science Fair. I'm sending a post card to Mrs. Woodford to let her know I can help with Bible School.

Lowells Win Soccer Game, Everything is Summer Green - Monday, April 30, 1962

I guess I'll sleep in Margie's room to give her some peace of mind since the prowler may be back. A few of us were down cheering the Lowells tonight in the soccer game. We beat the Lances 3-2! I'm afraid Hal Henderson thought I was losing my mind cheering so loud. This was a cool rainy day. I think we had a week of spring and now everything is summer green. Oh, it's too beautiful for words.

January 13, 2017: Memories of Parkville - Merchandise and Events

During my time at Park I walked many times to Parkville and back or made trips in my car which I had my senior year and some of the summer after it. Park and Parkville have always been near and dear to my heart. Parkville is fortunate to have been among the American small towns that have evolved with the times. It was quaint in an old-fashioned sense when I was there in the early to mid 1960s. Today its charm is due, as it was then, to the friendliness and expertise of its merchants. Here, in the order I found them when I did a blog search for Parkville, is a record of some, but not all, of my trips there and my reasons for going:

Jim got one of the Parkville men to bring a very old truck up here and we took some of Evelyn's and my stuff down to their apartment which they've rented in Parkville. They are letting me store some things in their basement for the summer. *** Fred Haenisch called me tonight and wanted to go down to an establishment that has opened up in Parkville. They were supposed to be serving turkey sandwiches, but after walking up Parkville's main street and back we still couldn't get any. *** I went with Margaret McElwain and Barb Page to the Parkville Presbyterian Church. *** Bonnie and I went to see Dr. Swaney, the folk singer, in the opening performance of the Parkville Fine Arts Festival.

This morning Evelyn and I went down to Parkville. I took my colored film and got some tissue paper and Christmas stamps. *** Nancy and I took a walk through Parkville in the rain this afternoon. The Parkville librarian let me have the copy of the paper with the student council picture in it. *** I was in the restroom at Union Station when I heard an announcement for a train leaving for Council Bluffs and Omaha, so I hurried ("Information" man said I could buy my ticket on the train) and rode to Parkville for 44 cents. *** This afternoon I went down to Parkville. I got Mrs. Cowan a gift package of perfume nips for Christmas at the gift shop. The lady was so nice. She not only gift wrapped it for me but got it ready for mailing.

I made a trip to Parkville this afternoon to get some distilled water for my steam iron, some sandpaper, and to inquire about Parkville-Kansas City Trailways bus trips. I hope nobody thought my jug had gin in it! *** Seth and I walked around campus and through Parkville. *** A number of other senior girls and I went to a tea sponsored by the American Society of University Women, Parkville branch, at the Presbyterian church tonight. It was very nice. *** This afternoon Evelyn and I went to Parkville to buy prizes for the SNEA booth at the Student Union Development Committee carnival tonight.

Evelyn and I went down to Parkville to order Harvest Festival flowers. *** I went down to Parkville this afternoon to get some supplies for the new education department kitchen. *** This afternoon I went down to Parkville to get some boxes so I could get started packing. After supper Evelyn went with me down to the laundromat to dry clean my winter clothes. On the way down the fire department whistle blew when we were across from the fire station and then Jim appeared out of no where. He had been getting advertising in one of the stores.

Yes, I was glad there was a true "town and gown" relationship between Parkville and Park College. And I was also glad Park and Parkville were as close to Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas as the are.    

December 15, 2016: Christmas at Park and in Washington County, Iowa

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.

November 22, 2016: Memories of Park- Thanksgiving in 1961 and 1963

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.