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The former Daily Statesman is now The Dexter Statesman and currently does not have an operating website.

What a difference 10 years makes...

Posted Wednesday, April 30, 2008, at 7:49 AM

Leming Hall Girls' dorm, SEMO campus, circa 1960, fall semester. My "buds" and I are wearing what we wore to class in that era. I'm on the far right. Leming was torn down to build the University Center.
For some reason, my sister and I were reminiscing yesterday morning (via cell phone) about our college years. She's ten years younger than I am (though we both stopped having birthdays at 39, so we are now officially twins...), and she went to school in the Old South, so her experiences are a bit different than mine at SEMO.

I especially laugh at her generation's protest involvement. I think a group of students marched on one of the administration buildings and demanded later curfews - or some such foolishness. We would NEVER have done such an unruly thing! It wouldn't have occured to us, having grown up in the calm Eisenhower years of the 50's and having such role models as Marge Cleaver... I look at the old photos and marvel at how NEAT everyone was, while my sister's generation looked like something the cat dragged in...

There were many restrictions on students "back in the day." Girls were especially regulated by the social structure. The dress code did not allow us to wear pants to class - We could wear jeans, shorts or "pedal pushers" only after 4 p.m., and since there were no evening classes (that I remember), that meant no pants in class.

My sister's southern university, Troy State in Alabama, went even farther: Though girls on her campus were allowed to wear jeans and tee shirts to class, they had to live in campus housing, and they had a nine p.m. curfew on week nights. The boys, of course, could live anywhere they chose and could be out all night. The university didn't seem to care what they did, as long as it did NOT involve the girls! I think we know what THAT was intended to prevent...

At my dorm, the front door was the only way in, and it was locked by the dorm mother at precisely 10 p.m. If we were late, we had to ring the bell, which brought everyone to the stair landing to look down and see who it was, amid whispers and giggles.

I suspect that my sister and her classmates were quite familiar with that rather unwashed segment of society known as "hippies;" whereas my generation had only a stray, occasional "Beatnik," many of which seemed to have an interest in the theatre crowd. I was never allowed to consort with that creative group of unconventional people, since I had already formed an alliance with my future husband, a person firmly grounded in reality and ungiven to acts of spontaneity.

In looking back over those ancient years, I feel as if I'm writing about another person... That foolish young girl can't be me...

I fully expect my sister to log on to this blog, from her distant location 250 miles to the west, where she will hopefully fill in the gaps that I've left out. My mind will need jogging to remember more details.

The rest of you fellow bloggers can feel free to jump in with your own memories of "How it was in the 'Old Days'"! Give me some time, and I may just come up with an old photo!!

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I got my new Clearwater Creek catalog this week (all I can do is LOOK - Can't afford those prices!!) - They had an A-line sheath like we used to wear in the 60's! It was lime green! Oh, the memories! I had a loose-weave straw-colored sheath that I made myself - It was my favorite dress.

Buy 60-inch wide material, put the middle of the dress on the fold, cut out two pieces, and sew them together. Hem, and you're done! They were great!

Only problem with mine was that I could NOT get the crease out of the center! No amount of washings or ironings would dent it. Oh, well, poor girls have poor ways...

I still can't buy at Clearwater Creek...and I don't sew...In fact, I rarely wear dresses anymore...

Those were the days, my friend, we thought they'd never end...(How does that song go...?)

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Apr 30, 2008, at 5:33 PM

Can you believe that we had to be in at 11:00 on week nights and 12:00 on weekends? The guys would take us back to the sorority house and then they'd all take off and do what they wanted. How ridiculous! And we didn't even think a thing about it! I couldn't wait until I was a Senior so I could get a "Senior Key" and get to stay out until 1:00!!!

Before I started at SEMO I decided I wanted to live in Towers. Two of the dorms were for the guys and two were for the girls. The cafeteria was the common area. When I stated my preference to my mom and dad, my dad went balistic. He had to go up there and check out Towers to MAKE SURE there wasn't any intermingling of the sexes in the dorms! I would not have been able to live in Towers otherwise.

Nowadays you may have guys living next door to girls and everyone hangs out in each other's rooms. Amazing. We would never have DREAMED of such a thing!

-- Posted by lovebooks on Wed, Apr 30, 2008, at 9:18 PM

I thought of another thing, too! When I was teaching, I would sometimes tell my students that I graduated from high school in 1969. They'd go crazy! Oh my gosh, did you go to Woodstock???

Woodstock? Never even knew it happened 'til way later.

One afternoon my dad called me at SEMO. He asked me if I had gone to classes that day. Of course I had gone to every class. What was the problem? My dad said he had heard on the news that college students all over the country were staging moratoriums because of the Vietnam War.

Not at SEMO. We didn't even know about it!

-- Posted by lovebooks on Wed, Apr 30, 2008, at 9:27 PM

Hahahaha! You are so RIGHT! It was like we were living in a COCOON!!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Wed, Apr 30, 2008, at 9:42 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Oh, ladies, you are RIGHT ON! We had to yell, "Man on the floor!" when I was in school. Hahahaha! When my daughter lived in Dearmont in 2000, they had guys taking showers on their floor -- and it was NOT supposed to a co-ed floor!

As for Woodstock, I'll let my sister tell you that story - as soon as she wakes up and gets on the blog... As I understand it, she had a chance to go, but our dad had a COW!!! She did NOT go! To say that Daddy was from the old school was putting it mildly. Wouldn't let me date Malden Airbase guys and wouldn't let my sister go to Woodstock! Just think of all the wonderful experiences we missed!

I remember soaking up all Madeline's stories about college and dorm life. I couldn't wait to go to college. It was going to be so exciting to do all the things she did.

Oh my, what a difference those 10 years made. We were part of two different eras. The protest march my dear twin sister mentioned was all female. We marched on the Administration building demanding later curfews. We had to be in the dorm by 9:00 on weeknights and 10:00 on weekends. Heck, the library stayed open until 10:00 on weeknights. Our protest earned us a later curfew. They changed it to 10:00 on weeknights and Midnight on weekends. If we were late we had to ring a bell and the assistant director of the dorm had to let us in.

Yes, indeed. I did ask my Dad if I could go to Woodstock. He said "sure, over my dead body." I took that for a "no." I knew he wouldn't let me go, but it did him good to get all riled up every now and then.

We weren't allowed to wear slacks in high school there in Alabama. For a period of time we even had to kneel on the floor and the home ec teacher would measure our hem lines. The hems couldn't be more than 4 inches from the floor. It was miserable in that heat wearing skirts/dresses and panty hose. Ick.

I took some dresses with me to college, but I never wore them after the first semester when I learned the lay of the land, so to speak. From then on I wore jeans and T-shirts. They're still my favorite attire, although the jeans aren't so tight any more. I was soooo sad when I couldn't find hip-hugger bell bottom jeans any more.

Daddy insisted that I take an iron with me to college. One of his friend's wives offered that bit of advice. The only thing I ever used it for was making grilled cheese sandwiches. It worked great!

Oh what fun times. Ducky's right. Youth is wasted on the young.

-- Posted by mokath52 on Wed, Apr 30, 2008, at 11:14 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
When I taught at Cape Central in the late sixties, the principal at the Junior High made the kids line up in the halls, where he measured the length of the guys' sideburns and the girls' skirts.

I had high school classes in the junior high, because we were overcrowded in the high school. It was particularly gauling to have to put up with his foolishness. A grown man with a yardstick down on the floor measuring girls' skirt hems!

Hahaha! We also used staplers to put hems in our skirts. It sometimes played havoc with nylons...And, of course, unlike mokath52, we did not have panty hose! I don't remember when they first came out, but I think we were still wearing the old nylons, which had to be held up with those uncomfortable clips on garter belts or girdles.

How did we ever stand it - without air-conditioning, it had to be miserable, but I don't remember being any hotter in the summer than I am now!

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, May 1, 2008, at 7:13 AM

Ladies, these stories are hilarious to read. I didn't have college days. I started my family early. But I did have an old-fashioned daddy. Just the idea of his daughter going to D.A.R.E graduation at the skating rink was something he couldn't stand. I got to go, FOR AN HOUR! I wasn't allowed to go to Homecoming until I moved out on my own at 17. He didn't let friends call, and you can figure that DEFINETELY included boys...friends or otherwise. He didn't even go to Woodstock...but he was 25 in 1969. He was a backwoods country boy with Christian values...and he was an older parent. He was 36 when I was born. So I can relate to the strict enforcement of parents for sure.

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Thu, May 1, 2008, at 10:00 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Well, Kathy went with Daddy after Mom and Dad were divorced, so she bore the brunt of his strictness - but I really don't think she minded, did you, twin? He was such a sweety - and so much more dependable than Mom was during that era.

I've posted one of the pictures from my freshman year; in fact, I think Daddy took it. You can see the beautiful old dormitory in the background. I'm sure that the University Center has been much more practical and serviceable than the old dorm - but the dorm was a beautiful building! I wish I had taken more pictures! I just assumed it would be there forever.

4 cuties MD, your skirt seems awful short!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are guys allowed to make comments on this blog??

-- Posted by changedname on Thu, May 1, 2008, at 8:11 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Mmmm...It does, doesn't it? Must be the camera angle, because we wore our skirts just above the knee - not very short at all, by modern standards.

Guys are allowed, only if they mind their manners and can add interesting comments about the past.

thanks MD, I was a little apprehensive in making the statement I did and hoped it wouldn't be taken wrong. It's fun remembering the 'olden days' when things were different and values meant something. Church ice cream socials were the biggest thing that ever occurred when I was growing up in the 40's, thanks for your columns each week and keep up the great work.

-- Posted by changedname on Fri, May 2, 2008, at 8:53 AM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
It's all in good blogging fun, and I'm not easily offended, anyway. I joke around enough myself - I can't afford to get upset when someone else does!

The country folks in this region loved to gather at someone's house and dance back in the 30's and 40's, from what I hear. I'm not really sure what kind of dances they did - if it was square dancing or some of the more "modern" ones. They do mention the home made ice cream, too.

Daddy strict??? Oh yessssss. I wasn't allowed a "car" date until I was 16. Up until then I could meet a boy at the movie theater if Daddy dropped me off and picked me up. My dates were not allowed to honk the horn and expect me to run out. They had to come to the door and ask for me. I had to stay in my room until Daddy called me. They were expected to carry on a conversation with my father for a short period of time. Then he would say "let me see if she's ready" and he would summon me from my room. Daddy had been a major in the Air Force and a flight instructor. Everybody liked him and he was not a physically imposing man, so I never understood why that brief conversation with him proved so intimidating to my dates. He terrified them. I thought it was funny.

He also had veto rights on my outfits. I had to undergo an inspection before my date arrived. He would ALWAYS wait up until I was home, even if it meant falling asleep in a chair watching tv. In later years when my curfew was later he'd be "watching" the test pattern.

We started out with a 10:00 curfew. When I was older and had proven that I could meet curfew he extended it to 11:00 and finally midnight.

Madeline's kids thought my stories about the age I started dating and my curfews were soooo funny. I guess they thought I was a dinosaur. They never got to meet their grandfather, but if they had they would never have believed he could be strict.

-- Posted by mokath52 on Fri, May 2, 2008, at 12:07 PM

In many ways the time of Woodstock in 1969 is incomprehensible to any college student today. There were no cell phones, no electronic calculators, no cable television, no personal computers (and no World Wide Web for another 25 years), no inexpensive long-distance phone calls, no digital cameras, no DVDs or even VHS movies, etc, etc. Yet, everyone got along just fine. And it is equally incomprehensible to youngins today that was possible for a high-school educated man working a 40-hour work week to support a stay at home wife and children. Of course it can't be overlooked that virtually all young women always wore skirts to school, and generally very short ones. Hoorah!

-- Posted by FJGuy on Fri, May 2, 2008, at 3:21 PM

Oh wow...well...I wasn't allowed to go out on dates...AT ALL! I couldn't go spend the night with anyone. I couldn't go to the movies. These things are the main reasons I moved out the day I turned 17. Thank God I had understanding friends;-) I didn't even need a curfew!

So you can only imagine how wild I went when I did move out...well...when I wasn't working full-time and going to school full-time. I'm glad my boys are still young...I remember how much I snuck out...I can't imagine what they're going to do...

-- Posted by mrsdolphin on Fri, May 2, 2008, at 10:27 PM

Ah, Dexerite, tell us about the forties! Did you jitterbug? Foxtrot? Did you dance to Tommy Dorsey?

I LOVE the music of the forties! And the women's dresses! And their hair! And the movies!

Well, pretty much everything about the forties is fascinating.

-- Posted by goat lady on Sat, May 3, 2008, at 9:09 PM

goat lady, are you kidding, Baptists are not allowed to dance!!!!!!!!!!!!my dear late wife loved to Square dance at her school, but I have 2 left feet and am always falling, I could barely do the 2-step slowly.

Dresses were long, never saw a girls knees, had to be home by 8:00pm, missed a lot of movie endings, leave half-way through to get her home on time. Lone Ranger, Ken Maynard, Tex Ritter, Hop-a-long Cassidy were our heroes, guns never ran out of bullets, hay rides, ice cream socials, good clean fun was the order of the day and night. Kids now a days would go 'nuts', but we were happier, poorer, but we didnt know it, everyone was poor, except for the big farmers, just like today...........lol..........

-- Posted by changedname on Sun, May 4, 2008, at 10:48 AM

Oh, no! Not another Baptist! Just kidding, some of my favorite people are Baptists... I know for a fact that Baptists do allow themselves to square dance, at least...

Hopalong Cassidy was still going strong in the fifties, when my brothers and I watched the Saturday morning serials down at the Weeks Theater. Hopalong was timeless.

We used to count the number of gun shots. Notice that when the shooter used up all his bullets, he threw the gun away?

-- Posted by goat lady on Sun, May 4, 2008, at 7:37 PM

I've always wondered why they threw the gun away. Did they figure they weren't EVER going to have any more bullets? Sometimes movies and tv can be sooooo stupid. Old movies are still the best.

Kids today also couldn't fathom a tv show where a married couple slept in twin beds. That's another thing that confused me.

We loved "Sky King" when we were kids. It made my daddy so mad when they'd be on the radio and say "Over and Out." He'd say "it's either 'Over' or 'Out', not both." You could count on it as sure as the sun coming up in the morning. Sometimes we'd say it just to get his goat. (Sorry goat lady)

-- Posted by mokath52 on Mon, May 5, 2008, at 1:08 PM


You all talking about dating....my dad was a highway patrolman, 6'4", rarely smiled at dates.

When I moved back home, people would ask me who I dated in high school. Well, I never went steady, and most of my dates were good friends, but I maybe dated a few, not many.

Then one day a guy I went to school with said, "I always wanted to ask you out when we were in high school, but I was scared to death of your dad!"

And then it hit me. NO WONDER I hadn't dated very much in high school!!

-- Posted by lovebooks on Mon, May 5, 2008, at 1:25 PM
Madeline Dejournett's response:
Lovebooks, you've sparked a memory! Did your parents move to Cape when Randa was in college? I seem to remember a house on the corner up by Southeast Hospital.

One night I was about five minutes late getting back to the dorm, and the door, of course, was locked. I was too mortified to ring the bell, so I had my (future) husband take me to that house by the hospital, where I tried to get up the nerve to go ring THEIR doorbell to see if I could spend the night there.

Alas, I lacked the nerve for that, either - so we went back to Leming Hall, where I was then about 30 minutes late, and I took my medicine - rang the doorbell and suffered the humiliation of the whispers from the top of the stairs!!!

GL, William Boyd, who played Hopalong Cassidy, took his portrayal very seriously and tried to use it to help influence the behavior of young people. Hopalong was a mythic good guy -- he didn't chew tobacco, smoke, drink, swear, he treated people fairly, and he only acted in self-defense by letting the bad guy draw first.

-- Posted by FJGuy on Mon, May 5, 2008, at 5:30 PM

Another one who took his roll seriously was Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger. Years after he went off the air he visited shopping malls, schools, anywhere he was invited, as The Lone Ranger. When the movie was about to come out the studio sued him and wouldn't let him wear the mask any more. It made me sooooo mad that I've STILL never seen the movie. The leading man also was seen at bars acting like a drunken fool. Not the kind of Lone Ranger I'm interested in.

-- Posted by Ducky on Mon, May 5, 2008, at 8:45 PM

LOVED those men!!! Lone Ranger, Tonto, Hopalong Cassidy!!! Now, those were men of honor!!

My dad liked Tom Mix!! Ah, that white cowboy hat was a mile high!!

-- Posted by goat lady on Tue, May 6, 2008, at 5:11 PM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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