Sunday, August 9, 2015

May 17, 1970 The Disturbances, The Rally, The Campus, The Show and The Carload of Women

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"I'm late this week because there has been so much going on. I was Chairman of the As You Like It luncheon and that took almost all day Thursday besides the phoning before that. And it poured rain much of the week. The rain has been good, though, because it held down some of the disturbances so we aren't complaining.

Things have calmed down, we think, if outsiders will stay off campus. There was a huge rally at Friday noon for students, business people & anyone interested. If was a simple re-statement of loyalty to the U.S., our campus and our youth. Stores closed for it so maybe things will be better.

We have not had any buildings burned. We have not had any shootings. One teacher was accidentally hit on the head one night but that's all. Wesleyan University had a big fire in their music building and we're all sick about it and of course Southern Illinois University at Carbondale is a mess and closed. We intend to stay open. Teachers and students have organized to help patrol the campus at night. B worked Friday night from 11:30 - 3:00 a.m. Things have been quiet at night for several days now so I don't know how much longer they will do this. Anyway, we think things have gone real well.

Ann got home about 8:30 Friday evening. She looks fine and seems rested after their big show. It was really a wonderful show and you could tell how hard the kids had worked. We stayed in Jeff. City so she came and had breakfast with us. Then we went to church and her little choir sang. None of us were hungry at noon so we loaded her things in our car, went and got some ice-cream and started home. She had a paper to write and other things to do so we just came on. It is going to take her a while to get all her stuff put away but she's working at it.

Bob & Pat are fine. We talked with them a few minutes Thursday evening. We'll be going to Williamsburg in less than two weeks & it doesn't seem possible.

Is Shirley moving to Columbia permanently? I never did quite understand what she & Charlotte were going to do.

When are Jerry & Jeannette getting married? You talk about showers & their house but no one has said when.

I have to take a carload of women to a meeting in Peoria today so I'd better get busy. I'll be so glad when the meetings are all over.

Hope you both are fine."

                      Lots of love,


NOTE:  When I first read this particular letter, I recognized that Mom was definitely trying to ease my grandmother's mind about the campus turmoil, which had grown worse over a period of a couple of weeks that May. Dad spent a lot of nights in his office with students during those volatile weeks but he always just said he'd been very busy and was doing what needed to be done at the moment. Coming home for the summer I felt for the first time that Dad was aging. Though always cheerful, upbeat, good-humored and optimistic, he looked exhausted.

From A Place of Education by Roger J. Champagne, 1978:

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