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One Hour and Five DecadesTour

“You know what I remember most about this quad?” Kathy asked.  Last week, four college girlfriends and I stood in the middle of the Tennessee Tech quad, the grass rectangle in front of Derryberry Hall and surrounded by buildings built in the early to mid-1900s. 

            “Lines!” Kathy said. “Remember standing in lines to register for classes?”  We all laughed. 

When we were freshmen in 1965, to register for fall quarter classes we were given packets that included a list of class offerings, including time, location, and teacher, and our advisors ‘signed off’ on the classes we needed.  

            Then began the quest to get IBM cards for classes and that required walking from building to building and standing in line.  First, I chose non-major classes, especially English and History and the teachers determined my choice.  

            “But, remember when you’d have all the cards you needed for classes, except one, and that one required class was offered at a time you already had a class?”  JoAnn asked.  That meant walking across this quad, returning a class card, and hoping you could get into another class. 

            Registering for classes was like putting together a jigsaw puzzle and it usually rained on registration day.  A day of frustration.  “But just think, if Blondie and T. D. hadn’t stood in a registration line they might never had met,” said Kathy. That chance meeting led to a wedding in 1968, and as trite as it is, they have lived happily ever after.

            Ted McWilliams, assistant director of admissions and our tour guide, laughed at our stories.  “You probably remember going to basketball games in Memorial Gym right in front of us?”

            Yes, and because every seat would be filled, some of us went early to save seats for friends.  But, we most remember the gym as where we attended concerts and Public Programs and danced. Concerts by The Lettermen, Neil Diamond, Sam and Dave, Ray Charles, The Boxtops – big names in the 1960s. 

            Public Programs was a required underclassmen hour-long class in the gym on Wednesdays beginning at 10:00.  Students were assigned seats, by alphabetical order, and to earn an A for 0.5 credit hours, we sat while a student worker took roll, noting empty seats.  During Public Programs, school announcements were made and someone, a visiting dignitary or a faculty member, gave a short talk. 

            In the spring of 1967, Husband, then Boyfriend, invited me to the ROTC Ball, the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps formal dance.  He wore a rented tux and I wore a floor length blue satin dress and elbow-length white gloves as we slow danced under basketball goals.  

            “Let’s walk toward the new science building,” Ted said. My friends and I recalled chemistry lab classes in Foster Hall, which is no longer used, and English classes in Henderson Hall, where students still write papers and study Shakespeare. 

Ted led us on a one-mile tour, one-hour tour.  We five friends traveled more than five decades and didn’t stand in a single line.


One Response

  1. What wonderful memories! I’m thankful for fate that brought me my wonderful friends.


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