As a 16-year-old North Texas freshman from a small near-coastal town, arriving on campus in the Denton “metropolis” in 1952 began four wonderful years of learning, growth and memory-building. My mother deposited $900 in a local bank for my freshman expenses, and I learned to manage money beginning that very day.
What a freshman year! I had dorm mates who are still my friends. During the winter of 1952, several inches of snow fell. We found round Coca Cola signs, took them to the golf course and had a royal blast on the slopes.
That was the second time I’d ever seen snow.
I lived three years and two summers in Marquis Hall. I remember an embarrassing moment when I complimented Mrs. Timblin, our kind dorm mother, on her beautiful diamond ring “that must be at least a carat in size.” She smiled sweetly and told me that it was three carats.
The summer of 1954 was incredibly hot. We often would wet our bath towels in the water fountains, wrap them around ourselves and sleep with fans blowing on us just to be comfortable.
Occasionally, when we cleaned our room, we’d remove the window screen at the end of the hall and shake out our rugs on the first floor roof (where we sometimes sunbathed, also). That was a great spot to watch the guys in the Chemistry Building, who often could be seen watching us, too.
I worked all through college. I supervised typing labs. I loved working in the Student Bookstore/Trading Post under Swede Swenson’s management. That was a hopping place in the lower floor of the Union Building, where most students eventually came to purchase books and supplies. Many students came often to the UB early in the morning for coffee and that delicious and traditional coffee cake — usually still warm from the oven. One of my classmates still prepares that recipe for her family and friends.
I worked for marketing Professor Martin Rooney my senior year, who shared his office with John Brooks, director of the School of Business Placement Office. It was through that job that I was hired by IBM in Dallas for employment after graduation.
The Alpha Delta Pi ramp in Chilton Hall, which was built around a horseshoe-shaped courtyard, was home my senior year. On a beautiful early-spring day in 1956, one student threw a wastebasket of water on another student, and that called for a return of the favor. Before long, every available girl had filled every available container with water, and a gigantic water fight was under way in the courtyard. The word got out, and boys showed up to help.
No one noticed our dorm mother and Dean Bentley arrive, but they did. All the soggy fun stopped. I don’t remember what our punishment was, but the grass in the courtyard grew lush and green all that spring and we added another unforgettable college memory to our collection.
The early to mid-1950s were a wonderful time to be a collegiate. Our music and movies were wonderful. The Saturday Night Stage Shows were super and inexpensive entertainment, costing 25 cents per person. Pat Boone entertained us often while he was a student among us.
Good manners were still in good taste, and although we generated some youthful mischief, generally we were pretty wholesome kids living some of our happiest years.