Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Small College Advantages - Part B 1953-1954

This is a series of five postings. If you haven’t read the previous two postings, please do so now before reading this current posting.

B. Sophomore Year 1953-1954

I spent the summer before my second year in college working in Sears Mail Order in Kansas City, Missouri. This was the last summer I spent in Kansas City. I didn’t have a car as my brother returned from overseas in the Navy and picked up his car at the college. So my transportation was by street car and bus to get around.

I returned to Pasadena, California by Greyhound bus which is a two day continuous trip sitting up. Not the best way but the cheapest way. I remember sitting next to a girl my age who lived in Las Vegas, New Mexico and when we reached there, we had an hour layover. She wanted to show me her town and we walked for a number of blocks to see it. Don’t remember the town or the girl - just the fact that we got off the bus and walked around.

When I returned to Pasadena Nazarene College, my roommate Dave Benson and I decided to move off campus one block to a room in the back of a house. The people there rented out two bedrooms that were separated by a bathroom which we shared with two other college students. For that year this was our home base. Walked up to the college everyday in time for our breakfast with the gang.

Pasadena Nazarene College Main Building

Dick at entrance of our off campus room.

Dick on a Sunday outing. Was I really that young then?

During this year, Dave got a 1937 Plymouth coupe which he let me use to take my laundry over to Aunt Doris’. Something I didn’t mention in Part A is that my aunt did my laundry for three years -- I just brought it to her and waited until it was done. Never learned to use the facilities on campus. She spoiled me! The Wright’s lived about 15 miles from the campus so the trip wasn’t far to drive.

I returned to the Headliner Coffee Shop resuming my usual hours. One of the perks was I got free food. Since I started at 5 p.m., dinner was provided. During the shift I was allowed to drink as much coffee as I wanted but no soft drinks. At the time I started there, I didn’t drink coffee. But it was free and why not. So I learned to accept the taste of coffee. I don’t drink much of it now but did acquire a taste for the beverage. This entire school year, I worked at the coffee shop. Again, I was able to put myself through a private college and supporting myself on these meager wages. Something you couldn’t do today.

Ann Edwards came to the school this year and since we were friends we would find ourselves out on many weekends seeing the sights or just enjoying miniature golf. She was involved with an Endowment Trio that traveled many weekends to raise money for the school. If she would do this for the entire school year, the second semester would be paid - room, board, and tuition. If she did it during the summer, the first semester of the coming school year would be paid. This is how she helped pay her college expenses. She also worked in the Dean’s Office several hours a week.

Ann Edwards at Mount Wilson on a Sunday in 1954.

One of the things Ann enjoyed doing was bringing a male student friend to the coffee shop while I was working to get my reaction to her being out with someone else. Do girls really do that? Boy - did I have a lot to learn! I only dated one girl once my freshman year so I didn’t have much experience in dealing with the female human being.

There was a place we could get a Pepsi and a taco for 50 cents which comes to $1.00 for a date! We did that a lot of times just to sit and talk. We would also find ourselves sitting under a tree on campus by the hour just talking. Other students would remark about that since they saw us earlier at the same place.

The current university in San Diego puts out a quarterly publication which include notes from alumni. A recent issue had me listed as writing a BLOG which includes stories about my time at Pasadena Nazarene College. One of the former students looked my BLOG up and left a note in the comment section of the latest posting. She signed it “Pat Miller Forney”. My first thought was “Gooch”. That was her nickname that everyone knew her by. We haven’t had any contact since college days when she and Bud Johnston used to double date with Ann and myself. We got in touch with Pat and found out she married Ken Forney who was in my freshman class. I didn’t remember him but looking through my first year book, he signed and left a note for me. So I did know him then. Gooch wrote a note in my second year book as she was one year behind me.

During the second semester a fellow who lived across the hall from me in the dorm the first year offered his car for sale. It was a 1947 Plymouth two door Special Deluxe Navy Blue with 50,000 miles on the car but with a rebuilt engine. John Stinnette wanted $500 for it. SOLD! I gave him $500 cash and he gave me back $5 because it needed an oil change. That car was in my care for the next 10 years. Now Ann and I had wheels!
Dick's 1947 Plymouth with sister Faye in front.

One of the things we enjoyed doing was to attend radio and TV shows in Hollywood. We attended the Bob Hope radio show, Peter Potter’s Platter Parade TV show, The Life of Riley TV show, Our Miss Brook’s radio show, and a few others. We were just part of the audience but saw some stars that made Hollywood what it was then.

Ann and I were pretty much going steady by the summer of 1954.
At the end of the school year I was hired by Ed Speakes at the Nazarene Book Store one block from the college campus. Ed was Ann’s uncle. Of course he became my uncle in 1955. Ann’s mother and Ed were brother and sister. My job was to run the shipping and receiving section of the store and stock the shelves with new books and school supplies. I would take the mail to the post office at the end of the work day. Then when the store closed, I was the janitor mopping and buffing the floors. I worked 40 hours a week during the summer and that continued through the next two school years adjusting my work schedule around my school schedule. Still carried 16 units of school work.
Nazarene Book Store where I worked my last two years of college.

Ann joined five others and traveled all summer covering the school district for the college raising endowments. This included California, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. A hard job but paid the first semester of the coming year. They were involved in church camps as counselors as well. More about her summer in the next posting.

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