Monday, March 2, 2015

BACK TO 1936



Back once again to those wonderful days in Charlottesville.

My first year’s social life was limited to the Saturday night dances at the Frye Springs Studio. I had not become involved in the Fraternity rush.

The University was about 90+% male, the only women were mostly in the school of Education and of course the Nursing School.

I had remarked that First Year Students-we were not freshmen- were not permitted a car so that any excursion to one of the relatively nearby women’s colleges such as Mary Baldwin in Staunton, or SweetBriar towards Lynchburg or Southern Seminary near Lexington meant a long bus trip. Yes intercity busses were the common mode of transportation in the 30s.

However there were two students in Gildersleeve Hall that had cars. One a truly crippled polio victim owned a Studebaker touring car. The Touring Car in those days was four doors, and the sides above the seat level was canvas.  IT could be considered a fixed convertible since the top did not retract.

Once we made an unsuccessful foray to Staunton in that car.

Another time in the other students Ford   Roaster there was a February trip down to Southern Seminary. I and another sat in the rumble seat which those who may remember was completely exposed.

Obviously, girls were not a priority that year, I had to prove that (a) I belonged in college, and (b) get good enough grades-dean list. And after two year of consecutive Dean’s list that I would be able to skip some classes and just take the tests.

Unfortunately, I had to take a foreign language which was French 101 taught by a would be poet who had a heavy southern accent-in French. We had to read the most awful French   book “King of the Mountain” and 
I may have failed that course except for the fact that one day while crossing the “lawn” I noticed a bunch of students congregated around a woman.

Suffice to say curiosity made me join that group; and the next day in the Charlottesville paper there was a pictures of Lady Aster with a certain young man standing by her right shoulder. My French Instructor was so impressed that I did get a passing grade. The next year I took German 101.

Things were different the second year when I lived in Randall Hall, no longer a residence. Although it was directly across from the Nurses Residence and there were frequent visitors in the hall’s rooms, contact was still difficult. There was a large recreation room on our second floor and for the first trimester there was a nightly poker game. By the second trimester there was enough for a Bridge game.

It was this year that I made two lifelong friends, Marty Ball an Army brat, and Bob Sternkopf who was older and had been a Marine in China during the Panay Incident.

For the Third (spring) trimester Marty and I had a project; to go downtown and pick up two different girls every night. We often brought them back to our rooms. We were mostly successful although my preference for a pipe debonair as it was might have been a deterrent. Of course towards the end of that semester the pickings were not always first class.

I will note that by my third year both Marty and I had steady town girlfriends. The payoff came years later when I landed back at Camp Patrick Henry near Yorktown’ and went to the telephone exchange to call my wife who I had not spoken to for about 18 months. As I placed the call the operator exclaimed Why Harold Yood how are you” It was Marty’s friend who spent the next ten minutes telling me about all the girls we had known and then placed the call and never charged me for it.

Still the best anecdotes are the ones that you can tell about yourself. I had had only about two or three fights in my life. One happened during that second year

One of the students on our floor, was a tackle on the football team. In those days that would be about 200lbs and fat, while I may have weight 150. One day he made a racist remark which I took offense to and started after him hitting him in his belly without much success. He did not hit back hard but after a few minutes I remembered that I had my watch on so by agreement we stopped for me to remove it and place on his dresser before restarting until all of a sudden we stopped and began laughing at that ridiculous break. We were never good friends after that but very cordial .

By the way, I did receive at the end of my second year “Intermediate Honors” which meant that I had to only be present for scheduled tests and labs in the courses I was taking. There was an 8am Chemistry class taught by a world renowned professor who was so boring that it was difficult to stay awake. That was one that I enjoyed the extra time in my bed.  

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