Saturday, August 29, 2015

September 19,1970 The Reading Teachers, The Old Drapes, The Special Program, The Good Letters and The Long Project

Dear Mother & Daddy,

"We've had two beautiful fall days after our rainstorms. With the students back the traffic is thick and there are people everywhere. There are 17,400 students at the last count. There may be a few more late ones. For the next week the kids have a chance to change their programs and that's always a mess because lots of them don't really have reasons for changing and it means lots of paper work. There is a conference of 900 reading teachers on campus so B has gone to that. He had to greet them so that means he'll have to stay for the speeches, too.

Bob and Pat came last night for the weekend. It was so good to see them and I think they were happy to be home. They love their apartment and have it all fixed now. Their phone is 312 728-3491. The telephone man gave them the wrong number when he installed the phone so if I sent it last week, you change it.

They used their old drapes from their other apartment and have decided not to buy a rug for awhile anyway. The apartment had nicely tiled dark brown floors but they were dull and the kids thought they were terribly ugly. They waxed them though and said they looked nice now.

Pat is so happy with her job. The people are nice to work with and the children are so nice and well behaved. I guess the kids think she's pretty strict but she says they really have fun and try so hard. Her room still isn't finished but she can use it and it is going to be awfully nice. The windows are still covered in plastic & plywood and she said it was pretty cold for a few days.

Bob is anxious for his classes to begin but is a bit nervous about it too. Classes begin next Thurs. but things really begin for him on Monday with the interviews for a James Scholarship. There are three days of this and the kids are taken to the homes of doctors for dinner. Then they choose a few--I don't know how many--for this special program. The letter said it was an honor to be selected for the personal interviews and not to be upset if he wasn't chosen. If chosen, it would probably mean that he'd get to work on some big project underway or perhaps start one of his own. It means more privileges and that is all but that could be a lot, too.

Yes, Ann writes good letters. She is back with her choirs and her piano lessons. She really loves those little kids and I guess they were glad to see her. Did I tell you she and Bob K. had gone to an old graveyard to hunt up material for Bob's family history? He said she'd written him about it and it helped him add another name.

My jewelry class started this week but I don't know how it is going to be. We have a different teacher and he doesn't seem to know as much about it as the other one--especially the rock part of it.

Colleges across the country seem to be laying down the law. Our president gave a speech this week and made it quite clear that we weren't going to put up with things like last year. Our other state schools have said pretty much the same. I think it's about time.

Did I tell you I'd ordered wall paper for the dining room? It came yesterday so now I'll be anxious to get started on it. I'm still washing walls and such and am going to start patching paint. I've been trying to do something like that every morning but my calendar is beginning to fill up and I won't be getting very far on all my projects.

I made Pat a dress this week and have a couple cut out for myself. I would like to make myself a suit but that is such a long project I haven't even looked for material.

I owe Beulah a letter but she must think I've forgotten it. Tell her I'll write one of these days when I can slow down a bit.

Hope you both are fine."




  1. It must have been interesting for the Normal, IL residents when the students would leave in the spring and return in the fall. Your mom's comment about the new president's announcement that "we weren't going to put up with things like last year" must have been reassuring to the town's people.
    There's an article in The Atlantic, "The Coddling of the American Mind," ( ) that your father might have found interesting. Premise is that colleges that accommodate student demands for "trigger warnings" or that fail to deal harshly with "microaggressions" aren't doing anyone any favors.
    As always, thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  2. The annual departure and return of the students made a big impact in a small town, and with mixed blessings. My entire life has been based on the flow of the academic year, and I like that. The year is really begins in September, so Happy New Year! I want to read the article and I know it will be interesting. That year of dissent taught administrators a lot about interacting with students, and I'm grateful that my dad was beloved and not seen as the enemy. I appreciate your comments and wish something exciting would happen in Normal, but alas, don't hold your breath:-)


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