Posted by: lynnhollynhowell | September 30, 2014

The Other Patton

Patton

(Howard College Entre Nous, 1947)

In 1942, Harold “Bill” Patton’s student days at Howard College were interrupted by a draft notice. After completing basic training (and his final examinations at Howard), he arrived in the California desert where he served as a water engineer for General George S. Patton’s Third Army. Bill remained stateside in California while General Patton’s regiment invaded North Africa, Sicily, France, and Belgium. Bill Patton was deployed to Europe in 1944 following D-Day, where he rejoined the Third Army. It was here that Patton was captured and seriously injured by German Troops. He survived capture, and received a Purple Heart for his service. He returned to Howard in 1946 to finish a degree in education. Today, Bill gathers each week with a group of veterans at the VA Hospital in Birmingham, to share stories. On a recent afternoon in August, Bill recalled his memories of Howard College and his experience in the war:

College:

Bill: I had to work my way through college [for] 30 cents an hour. I painted Main, [cleaned] the floors [in the] science building, dormitories. During the winter, I had to fire the boiler that kept the campus warm. A big black man did it in the daytime. He and I, in cold weather, would shovel 12 tons of coal to keep the whole campus warm. And I started at 129 pounds and I got this big by shoveling coal, which later on saved my life when three hand grenades went off when I got captured. Not one piece of 52 shrapnel, not one piece, went all the way through my body. They are all still in there except they took one out.

Pearl Harbor:

Bill: I was at Howard College on Sunday afternoon, [a] beautiful Sunday. [I] caught the trolley down to the Alabama Theater, saw the movie, came out. The streets were jammed. The 3rd extra edition newspaper was out…Pearl Harbor was attacked that morning.  That night, my brother quit college and joined the Marines. Everybody was in shock. Well, you quit college. You go fight. I was young enough,…just turned 17, that I spent most of my time studying so I didn’t let it boonboggle my brain much but everybody was in awe…I stayed [at Howard] for 2 years until I got drafted when I turned 18. I lacked 7 days taking my final exams. They gave me a 7 day furlough to go back to Howard and take…exams and then I got up with my outfit in Ft. McPherson, Georgia.

War:

Bill: I was in the army. I got drafted, I didn’t volunteer.  [I served in] the European theater with General George Patton. In fact, after I finished basic training in Mississippi…my first job was to secure all of General Patton’s waterworks in California [and] the desert area. 336,000 square miles. But then General Patton left maneuvers, he went through North Africa and Italy and France and Belgium and I got back with him before I got captured. He would come up to the front and he…[stood] up in his Jeep and his dog and be right there in the front lines. He was awesome…In fact, I named my first son George Patton.

Capture:

Bill: General Patton had his army on our side of the Rhine River. The other two armies were back in Belgium and France. He heard the Russians were gonna be in Berlin in 5 days…[He] woke us up at midnight [to have us] build him a pontoon bridge across the Rhine River…[It was] a quarter-mile across. We had our 40 boats lined up on our side of the Rhine River. Suddenly, 5 machine guns with tracer bullets set grass afire around all the boats and everybody ran behind a big castle but me and my buddy, we stayed with our boat. Suddenly, my sergeant said, “You’re job now is to go over and wipe out 5 machine guns.” He said, “Take a squad of infantrymen.” I was the first boat across…Halfway across the Rhine River, those 5 machine guns zeroed in on my boat. Killed most of [the people in my boat]. The rest of them were crying.  I stood up in the back of the boat with my oar, hit ‘em in the head as far as I could reach. They stopped crying and started paddling. But by the time we got across, all of ‘em were killed but 3 of us. My buddy landed the boat and said, “Patton help me!” and [then] they killed him. I found myself in the water and lost all my equipment. Finally, I crawled out on the little sandy beachhead and immediately a hand grenade came down the embankment. They looked like a soup bowl with a little handle. [It] landed a foot from my left shoulder. I had time to pull my helmet over my head, it went off, two more came in. I was laying there with 52 pieces of shrapnel in me…The next morning…4 Germans with their guns kicked me, rolled me over, and I came to. [I had been] captured…

Survival:

Bill: …When they captured me, we walked 20 kilometers through little German towns. Nothing but old men and women and their kids. They’d hit you with sticks and spit on you…That night, a big German officer interrogated everybody but me. I asked him,…”What are you doing with my buddies?” He said, “You just listen.” He put 9 in a pigpen and shot ‘em and left two of us hurt real bad…One of the other guys was hurt real bad. But that’s when I made a mistake. I had a letter in my pocket and that’s when he found out my name was Patton. So…they put me in a field hospital with five German doctors [who were] cutting arms and legs off [of prisoners] with no anesthesia. [They] stripped me down naked, put me up on the operating table. Next thing I knew, it was the next day, I was bouncing along naked in a one-horse wagon. An old German man [was] taking me to a big hospital where they operated all morning. [He] fixed my broke back where I could play college ball back at Howard. [They] put me on the 5th floor with 2 other POWs. They were skin and bones. They had been there a long time. Their first meal came: potato peelings and water. I didn’t eat for 6 days. But finally, the medics came. In the meantime, the next day after I got captured, General Patton had my engineers build him a bridge in broad daylight. 76 were killed. They got every name in a book. He came across the Rhine River, stopped, urinated in the Rhine River (got a picture of him). He came across, got in his halftracks, came through a little town…

…[He] put a pistol under my pillow. I figured I was liberated. I say I was prisoner of war 2 days but it took 3 more for the medics to get there. Every day the doctors and nurses came and moved the pistol, [then I would] put it back under my pillow. Finally, medics came, flew us into Paris…[they] put me on the operating table. They said, “Patton you’re blowed up worse than anybody we’ve ever had that lived.” [I] layed there for 2 weeks and recuperated. While I was in the hospital, General Patton and General Eisenhower both came to my bed and gave me my purple heart. In fact, I kept the Purple Heart until I came down to the VA one day and lost it. It’s somewhere here in the VA.

Coming Home:

Bill: The streets were jammed, flags were waving from every window. They said, “The war’s over!” May the 8th. They turned our cattle cart around. Put 250 POWs on liberty ships. [It took us] 22 days to get back home. Ran into some icebergs…In those interim 22 days, some of the POWs gained 40 pounds. They had garbage cans full of milkshakes all over the ship. Got to New York City, they stopped traffic, took us right to Grand Central Station, put us on a train to Atlanta, Georgia. Got to Atlanta, hitchhiked back to Chattanooga and had my first party in Chattanooga after I got home. They gave me a 60 day furlough to recuperate and the next morning I got up, hitch-hiked down to Ider and a friend of the family fixed me a lunch, also got me a ride…a log truck to our farm. Got there. Nobody was there. Papa [was] way over in the field so I started towards him and he started towards me…Papa fell down on his knees. But we got together. I hitch hiked and got back and started Howard College in January session of 1946…finished March the 17th, 1948.

 The REAL General Patton and Willie

Adapted from:

Oral History Interview with Howard Patton. Birmingham Veterans Administration, August 2014

Howard College Entre Nous, 1947.

http://wargodpatton.blogspot.com/2011/02/general-patton-and-his-dog-willie.html

Posted by: lynnhollynhowell | September 19, 2014

Rushing Rules: Smokers, Dancers, and Theatre Parties

greek life

Samford goes Greek the next two weeks as fraternity and sorority recruitment begins with record numbers of students participating in rush. The number of Greek students on campus grew steadily over the past few years, including last year’s freshman class that had a little over 50 percent of students join a sorority or fraternity.  This year’s numbers are expected to be even higher.

Typical recruitment events include visiting chapter houses and speaking with members.  There are nights dedicated to philanthropy and learning about social opportunities. Both IFC and Panhellenic Recruitment end with a Pref Night, when the hopeful students visit their final houses one last time.  At the end of the week, the new members receive their bids.  For sorority recruitment, Bid Day, nicknamed “Squeal Day” because sorority girl screams can be heard from all over campus, has become a spectacle that faculty, students, parents, and friends often attend.

Upperclassmen in sororities and fraternities on campus can tell potential new members that recruitment week is about finding a “home away from home” and new “brothers” or “sisters.”  They can proclaim that “Squeal Day” will be the most thrilling day of freshman year.  For those who have never experienced the process, though, rushing can be nerve-wracking and overwhelming.

During the 1920’s, Greek students at Howard College knew that freshmen must maintain a measure of decorum during the recruitment process.  To avoid unnecessary embarrassment, The Howard Crimson staff presented “Rushing Rules” for 1928:

For the benefit of both upperclassmen and freshmen, who may or may not understand the sorority rushing rules that are in vogue at Howard College, we present here the official rules as formulated by the Girls’ PanHellenic Council.

Sorority Rushing Rules

  1. Rush season shall be from the opening of school Sept. 11th to Sept. 30th.
  2. Rush week shall begin Sept. 24th and close at 5:00 PM, Sept. 30th 
  3. $150 shall be allowed for one rush party which may be given by the chapter alone or combined with alumnae. All bills must be submitted at the next Panhellenic meeting.  Penalty:  Rush money for the next season shall be one half that allowed to any other sorority.
  4. Silence Period lasts from 5 o’clock Sunday afternoon until 5 o’clock Monday afternoon. Penalty: Rushing deferred two months.
  5. There shall be no “summer rushing” to be interpreted as talking sororities to the girls in question. Penalty: Rushing deferred two months.
  6. Pan-Hellenic Council forbids girls asking men to rush for them. Penalty:  the sending sorority shall be prohibited from bidding that term.
  7. A pledge is considered a sorority girl. No freshman may spend the night in the home of a sorority girl.
  8. There shall be open rushing but no promises are allowed to be asked for or considered binding if made voluntarily.
  9. Not more than three Dutch parties will be allowed.  By Dutch party, more than six girls may be together, but all expenses must be shared equally. Penalty: Pledging deferred one semester.
  10. No freshman may be invited home to dinner.

 

Fraternity Rushing Rules

  1.  The first week of school known as “Freshman Week” shall be closed to rushing.
  2. The following three weeks shall be open to rush, but no freshman can be pledged before 6 PM Monday night, October 1.
  3. Each fraternity is limited to two socials and a smoker shall be considered as one.
  4. The following events shall be considered socials: Smokers, dances, theatre parties if more than five freshmen are present; formal open house at which refreshments are served; any other kind of party at which more than five freshmen are present.
  5. For any violation of these rules of fraternity shall be required to pledge three days later than other fraternities with full silence and shall not publish the names of pledges until one week late.

 

ADPI 1927

Sigma Nu 1927

 

Adapted from:

The Howard Crimson, September 1928.

The Howard Entre Nous, 1927

The Samford Crimson, September 2011.

http://www.samford.edu

Posted by: lynnhollynhowell | September 11, 2014

Parking Lots of Yesteryear

Parking 1967 EN

Arriving back on campus ready to start the new fall semester, you may commiserate with this cartoonist from the 1967 Samford Crimson. This year, the combination of construction on the new Brock School of Business and record-breaking enrollment have left students, faculty, and guests feeling as if they are driving around in circles.  Samford students past and present can relate to mornings spent searching, planning ahead with sensible footwear, and dangerously testing the parameters of small parking places with large cars.

constructionphoto 2

samford parking tickets

 

 

Adapted from:

The Samford Crimson, 1967.

The Samford Crimson, September 2012.

Photography by Michelle Little

Posted by: lynnhollynhowell | September 5, 2014

Thou Shalt Not Excessively Paint Thy Cheeks

Remember Fresh, it’s up to you….get that Howard spirit thoroughly grounded in your system, and everything will be “Hotsy-Totsy” now. – Howard Crimson, September 23, 1925 

Two weeks ago, around 700 incoming freshmen from all over the country were welcomed to campus and the Birmingham area through their 2014 Connections groups. Connections places freshman students with upperclassmen to usher them into their college experience. The Samford Class of 2018 tried Birmingham restaurants, took a class picture, learned how to get involved on campus, and danced all night at a neon party. Connections weekend ended with the Your School, Your City concert featuring American Idol winner Phillip Phillips.  The weekend is a fun way to make students feel comfortable in their new home and ready to take on their classes.

 

Samford Class of 2018

 

In 1925, freshman girls on the East Lake campus of Howard College listened intently to a new set of commandments while sipping punch on Friday afternoon in the Pi Kappa Phi house.  That year, incoming freshman get-togethers did not involve wearing neon, but rather, the freshman green.  Instead of telling the class of 1929 all that they could do, upperclassmen focused on explaining to the students what not to do as seen below in this September 23, 1925 Crimson article:

Freshmen quaked in their boots and mentally resolved to obey the letter of the law, “The Freshman’s Ten Commandments” as they heard them for the first time Friday afternoon at the Pi Kappa Phi house when the Y.M.C.A. and the Women’s Council of Howard College entertained in honor of the new girls with an afternoon party. Miss Margaret Cox, president of the Women’s Council, read them to the assembled girls, stressing those of the most importance.

THE FRESHMAN’S TEN COMMANDMENTS

  1. Thou shalt wear the Freshman Green.
  2. Thou shalt have no dates taking precedence of attendance on chapel, nor any engagement conflicting with student government meetings, nor any flirtations, nor any primping, nor any sleeping, nor any talking, nor any laughing that prevents attention – for Howard College is jealous of attention and will have attention.
  3. Thou shalt know the Alma Mater.
  4. Thou shalt show respect unto the faculty. Thou shalt also show respect unto the sophomore, juniors and seniors.
  5. Thou shalt not cut classes.
  6. Thou shalt not roll thy hose, nor excessively paint thy cheeks, nor thy lips, nor unduly powder thy face for she that spends much time on these frivolities has little time left for studies.
  7. Thou shalt not chew gum.
  8. Thou shalt not lounge on the campus nor make the campus a thing unbeautiful by improper attitudes or undignified behavior. Thou shalt never enter a fraternity house unless chaperoned by a member of the faculty.
  9. Thou shouldest attend every game of football, and every game of baseball, and every game of basketball, and every performance of the Glee Club, and every performance of the band, and every debate, and every college activity through loyalty to Howard.
  10. Thou shalt not assume that these rules are in vain; for the upper classmen will not hold her guiltless that assumeth that these rules are in vain.

 

Freshman Entre Nous 1925

 

Adapted from:

The Howard Crimson, September 1925.

http://www.Samford.edu, Samford University Class of 2018.

The Howard University Entre Nous, 1925.

Posted by: samfordhistory2013 | April 22, 2014

A TRIBUTE TO MARTHA ANN COX

Martha Ann Cox Miss Homecoming 1960 EN (3)

Martha Ann Cox was a fixture on this campus for many years.  She made a lasting impact on the lives of students and may hold the record for Step Sing attendance and meals eaten in the caf.  One afternoon over coffee at Panera Bread in the fall of 2012, Martha Ann shared some lesser known stories of her time as a student and how those experiences informed her work as an administrator.  The following are Martha Ann’s tidbits of wisdom on education and light-hearted anecdotes:

My theory is that you learn as much out of the classroom as you do in the classroom.  And sometimes you have to manufacture your own learning experiences, which turned out to help me when I came back to Samford to work.” 

Bending the dress code rules on the old East Lake campus:

Martha Ann:  Dr. Alston Dobbins taught English for a long time, very good English teacher, superb Shakespeare teacher.  I had freshmen English and we had it in a house on a side of the campus that had a potbelly stove in the middle of the room.  Several of us, guys and girls, decided that we would wear Bermuda shorts to his classroom.  That was a no-no.  You didn’t wear shorts anywhere.  If you wore shorts you had your raincoat on.  But we decided, 7 or 8 of us, that we would wear Bermuda shorts.  So we go prancing in his classroom, sit in our usual seat.  He comes in, looks around, announces that he believes some of us need to go back to our rooms, and come back to class appropriately dressed.  We didn’t argue.  We got up and ran back to the dorm.  

Swimming in Reid Chapel …

Martha Ann:   And the chapel was an interesting story, when they started to build the chapel they dug three foundations and it rained.  Well, it was a swimming pool . . .Muddy, oh muddy.  We’d bend them [the rules] a little bit [when] we’d go swimming.  But always in our clothes.  Because at that point at camp and stuff in the Baptist Church, boys and girls didn’t go swimming together.  I don’t know that we ever really got in trouble for that.  We had a few talking to’s.  Don’t go swimming in a foundation!”

Relations with Homewood

Martha Ann:  I don’t know exactly.  Now this was while I was still a student.  Yeah, we’d go over there.  When I say we, it was probably twenty or thirty of us would hang out together.  And see we didn’t have cars.  We would walk to Homewood but we would walk through the houses behind the campus until people started putting up fences and then they had dogs.  There’s always been a little rift between Homewood and Samford.  We may not have done our part in helping Samford by walking through their yards.  Although, we never tore up anything.  

Pulling pranks on campus safety…

Martha Ann:  The campus police at that time were from the Pinkerton Detective Agency.  That was a detective agency in downtown Birmingham.  It was a contract service.  So you know what we called them?  The “pinkies.”  They were the brunt of many stories.  They had a little Volkswagen.  Tell me why campus safety had a Volkswagen?  I can’t figure that one out.  But it got painted pink one night.  Another night some of the guys decided that on that main sidewalk, now remember there weren’t any trees . . . coming in, and the pinkies would drive down that sidewalk at a certain time. . . I reckon they were looking for us.  Some of the guys went over to one of the construction sites and got some concrete blocks and built a little church [with] a little window and a little flower sitting in the window.  And we were all [hiding] over in the bushes, somewhere around the library.  So here come the pinkies and they always cut their lights off, and remember there were no trees and no lights on that campus.  Well, they cut their lights off.  They ran into the brick.  Now we did get in trouble.  We had to pay to get that car fixed.  It didn’t cost much to get a little Volkswagen fixed.

Her most embarrassing moment … as homecoming queen

Martha Ann:  There are many things that happened when I was a student.  Probably my most embarrassing moment while I was a student was [with] my roommate, . . . Gail Hiles.  Gail and I were both nominated for Homecoming queen.  Well, that was about the furthest thing from my mind.  I’m the saddle oxford and socks type person.  Now Gail was absolutely beautiful.  So I was chairing the homecoming that year for Student Government and, so I decided that Gail was going to be the homecoming queen.  I just knew she was.  

So we went downtown and rented furs (stoles), and so I got one [for] Gail – [she] was very dark haired and I was red headed.  [I got the] one that would go with the dark hair.  We had a parade and I looked funny because we had a pageant on Friday night and I was in charge of homecoming [so]  I was running around, changing clothes at the last minute.  

I had borrowed a dress, a strapless, waltz length dress from somebody, [but] failed to take my saddle oxfords off and my socks.   No one told me.  So I go walking on the stage.  And of course, everybody is laughing at this point, and I don’t know [why] because I’m very comfortable. Then I realized what it was, so I started trying to get that waltz length dress to cover up my shoes and my socks.  To make matters worse, I won!

So they put this cape on me, and by this time I was beside myself.  I have always had trouble with my eyes and light, and they had spotlights on the end of the runway and I walked off [the runway].  I fell into some students that were sitting on the front row.  It didn’t hurt me because I had on that big robe.  So, they just picked me up and turned me around, set me back up there.  Unbeknownst to me, my parents were there.  I was a bit embarrassed.

I won Homecoming Queen.  And so the next day at the parade, here I am with this red hair and this very light fur, which should have been dark with red hair.  That’s probably the most embarrassing thing.

Bending the rules for girls under curfew

Martha Ann: . . . girls had to be in by 9:00 o’clock and the guys didn’t have to be in.  Well, the girls would call them to go get them a pizza.  So one night I hear this knock on my window.  And I said, “What you want?”  They said, “Here’s your pizza.”  So I just raised the window up, took the pizza and said, “Thank you,” and put the window down.

The girls in the next room were the ones that had called.  So they came out in the hall and the guys were out there [saying], “Where’s my money, where’s my money?”  Well, I just walked out in the hall, and I said, “Did ya’ll order a pizza?”  

“Yes ma’am.”  

“Well, here it is.”  

Turned around and walked off.  I didn’t say a word to them.  Scared them to death.  

 

Adapted from Oral History Interview with Martha Ann Cox, October 29, 2012.

Posted by: samfordhistory2013 | April 11, 2014

House of Killian

For those of you who still weighing out your options for on campus house next year, the Bull Pup Blog would like to suggest some historical housing options which may be to your liking:

Killian

House of Killian 1943 EN

The House of Killian, ca 1943:

“The most unique and least organized organization on the campus is the noble House of Killian.  A conveniently heated house, a dictatorial Mother Killian, a medley of more or less students make an ordinary rooming house into an extraordinary fraternity.  The medley, perhaps more nearly jam session, is overbalanced by preachers, varying in degrees of piosity.  At the end of school, the only one unpastorizing was Wendell Givens, who was not, however, the least of these.  The organization is relatively simple, having only one officer.  Treasurer Ma Killian collects rigorously and in return bestows all the comforts of home, including maternal advice.”

Inflation Duration Sensation Ration

For the ladies, perhaps one of these 1945 houses will suit you:

Inflation: “The house with the interesting rooms is the home of interesting people.  Friendly and fun-loving, yet coming to school with a purpose, many Inflationites are leaders on the campus and excel in a variety of fields including music, pharmacy, religious education, and journalism.”

Ration: “Lucky are the Ration girls who are nearest the hub of dormitory life – the dining hall, who can sit on their shady lawn and watch softball games and drills, and who have at their command the genial and sympathetic guidance of their “housemother,” Louise McGinty.  Variety of achievements make them indispensable.”

Sensation: “The newest residence hall on the campus, Sensation has created quite a stir with its willingness to participate in many campus activities, its adeptness at all girls’ sports, and its abundance of really good-looking freshmen.  Most of all, Sensation has presented a true challenge to sleepy upperclassman life at Howard.”

Duration: “The home of Woo Hill sunbath devotees, of sun parlor date experts, of music fans who mother their majestic grand piano, and of Hostess, Mrs. J.D. Hamrick, Duration is declared by all its occupants, “The only place to live.”

 

Excerpts from 1943 and 1945 Entre Nous

 

Posted by: samfordhistory2013 | April 3, 2014

East Lake to Paris via Quebec

Harold Hunt's Senior Year paris

With Spring Break behind us, we are all looking forward to summer plans.  What will your summer hold?  Many students find themselves in the same situation as Harold Hunt, 1954 Alumni and Retired Samford Theatre Department Chair.  Just shy of the language credits needed to graduate Howard College in 1954, he and a handful of students set sail for Paris to immerse themselves in the French language, travel Europe by train, and for Hunt himself — to enjoy the last semester of college before being drafted to Korea.  Read below an excerpt from an oral history interview with Hunt as he recounts what was most likely the first semester abroad for Howard College students.

I transferred [to Howard College] . . . so I didn’t start French until my senior year and I had a year to go . . . the option was to stay in East Lake for the summer (you could take a full year in the summer), but several of us, . . . there were seven, maybe eight of us, that decided that it would be a lot nicer to go to Paris rather than East Lake. So we convinced Dean Percy Burns that we would learn more French if we were in Paris and convinced our parents. [Dean Margaret] Sizemore taught French and spent every summer in Paris. So seven of us got on a ship, completely unchaperoned, in Quebec, Canada and sailed to Paris, France. And the girls stayed in a facility [for] American university women, I think it is a national organization and they had a, like a Samford center type of thing in Paris. So the girls stayed there and the guys stayed in a small hotel nearby. We went to class and of course it was all in French. I wasn’t the best French student in the world to begin with, [but] somehow we got where we could kind of get around and we went to class and ran all over Paris.

We planned to travel [around Europe]. I knew that the moment I set foot back on American soil I was going to get drafted so I waited as long as I could. So we mapped out this plan [for the] seven of us.   At that point you could buy first class, second class, or third class tickets (you can imagine what 3rd class was like). But seven of us, with all this luggage, [got] on a train, and I can remember pushing suitcases through windows to get them all [on]. So we traveled and just did this circuit. And gradually, one by one, they would come home and I was left in England by myself for maybe a week or 10 days.  I traveled up into Scotland and did a lot of things. All that sounds like it was a very wealthy kind of thing but it was very cheap to travel.

Actually, there was a civic club, Kiwanis Club or something in Woodlawn that [gave] us a loan. [It was] a student loan and I think mine was just several hundred dollars that we would agree to pay back; and then my family [contributed].  My father said he had never been to Europe but he had wired money to every major city in Europe.  He said, “I know that as soon as you get drafted you’ll be sent back to Europe” and sure enough I was. That was, as far as I know, the first student travel study.

Adapted from Oral History Interview with Harold Hunt, January 4, 2013.

Posted by: lziemer | March 18, 2014

Samford Food Project Sneak Peek: The Legend of Saganaki

Dr. Todd cooking greek food2

Students in the Oral History class are collecting recipes from the Samford Family, and they need your help!  Students are interviewing Samford faculty, alumni, students, and friends about their favorite food stories and family recipes.  The finished product will feature recipes, interviews, and photographs—like the following from Dr. Randy Todd, Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics at Samford University:

GREEK FETA SAGANAKI

1-lb Feta Cheese

½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Basil and Oregano to taste

Pita

Cover the bottom of an oven-proof dish with half-inch slices of feta cheese; add basil and oregano.  Bake at 350̊ for approximately twenty minutes or until bubbling. Serve warm with fresh pita bread.

_______________________________________________

Randy Todd:    A saganaki… is basically fried cheese, or cheese which is cooked in olive oil.  They used to cook it in a skillet, which was called a sagaks or saganaox, so saganki means “with a frying pan.”  I usually use feta, but if you go to Do Di Yos [Homewood Restaurant]  or Greece, they will use a sweet cheese, a kefalograviera . . .  We discovered it [Saganaki] in, of all places, Italy.  I had taken my family in 2004 for a few days after . . . a semester in London.  From Greece, we took the ferry to Italy. . . .  We were in Rome and Florence, and we were staying in this wonderful old one-story hotel that was just down the street from the Duomo [Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore] in one of the buildings that Michelangelo probably lived in. . . . We got there late one night, and the closest place that was open was a Greek restaurant.  We had just come from Greece.  It was so funny. [My wife] came back with all this Greek food, which was pretty good, but one of the things she brought back was saganaki, and my kids loved it!  So we had to go back and get some every night.  I’ve made thousands and thousands of pounds of it. . . .  I’ve had a lot of Greek classes where that was the turning point too.  But you need feta, and the best olive oil you can buy. . . . Good olive oil is key.

_______________________________________________

As historian John Edgerton once wrote, “Within the South itself, no other form of cultural expression, not even music, is as distinctly characteristic of the region as the spreading of a feast . . . before a gathering of kin and friends.”  No one in the world lives apart from culturally-specific means of preparing, serving, and consuming food.  When we talk about food, we’re talking about culture.  Students are seeking more interviews in which the contemplation of food illuminates a person, a place, and a process—the greatest cultural expression in the South.  Here are a few more food stories:

BUTTER POUND CAKE

Sonya Stanley:  “This is my mom’s butter pound cake recipe.  We made it so many times in the kitchen in the house I grew up in…  In 2000, [my parents] moved… but that kitchen, I can just see us there… It had dark wood on the walls. It was kind of small and the floor was old. It was no kitchen you would see on HGTV…but I always remember being together when we made it.  We talked and cut up and talked about funny things that had happened.  She was just a really fun person to be around.”

Dr. Sonya Stanley is an Associate Professor of Mathematics.

GUMBO

Carolyn Rester:   “I got this recipe from my own mom.  She always made great big pots of this because we lived on an Air Force base and people all over loved Momma’s Gumbo.  It was not for the faint of heart dear. It’s hot! … You know, you can tell people, “This is spicy hot,” or “This is stove hot,” and they just don’t pay attention to us, so you might as well let them get it over with!”

Carolyn Rester is a wife, mother, and grandmother to Samford alumni and students.

SAUSAGE CASSEROLE

Karen Howell:  “I will never forget it . . . the oven got too hot and the glass baking pan that the casserole was in . . . exploded.  We were scraping sausage off the sides of the oven for weeks.  Even though it basically caught fire, the family was begging me to see if I could salvage any of it.  I had to tell them that there was glass in the casserole and that we would just have to eat something else.  Every year, my family reminds me of my casserole explosion.  They always say, “Check it for glass first!” before we eat it.”

Karen Howell graduated from Samford University in  1988.

_______________________________________________

The students are looking for more Samford Faculty, Alumni, Students, Friends, and Family Members to share their recipes and stories.  If you are interested in contributing to the project, please contact Jonathan Bass at sjbass@samford.edu.   The recipes, stories, and photographs will be available in the forthcoming Samford Food Book. . . .

Interviews conducted by Haley Rester and Holly Howell.

Posted by: samfordhistory2013 | March 12, 2014

Liquor, Scantily Clothed Females, and the Word “Damn”

Girls in a car 1924 EN

Howard College girls in car, 1924 Entre Nous

Additional Thoughts on College Morals from L.O. Dawson

A professor of bible and church history at Howard College during the 1920s and 1930s, Dr. L. O. Dawson was known as a purveyor of deep wisdom and home-spun advice.  “Common horse sense,” he often quipped, “will get a boy through college safely, if applied in the right way.”  Lemuel Orah Dawson was born in 1865 in Chambers County, Alabama and attended Howard College (Marion), Southern Seminary (Kentucky), and the University of Berlin (Germany).

As a student at Howard, Dawson attended Siloam Baptist Church under the watchful eye of Rev. A. C. Davidson.  The pastor played a key role in Dawson’s spiritual formation.  “To me he was a man sent from God to touch my life at its most important period,” Dawson later wrote. “In everything he was my ideal. As a pastor and as a man, I have never seen any greater than he. He loved the boys with a genuine shepherd heart, and in return they lavished on him their extravagant affection and youthful enthusiasms. In all those years his influence has been felt in my life, and whatever good I have done, his hand was in it all.”  Davidson’s influence inspired Dawson’s passion for mentoring young men at Howard College in the 1920s and 1930s.  (Please see our September 20, 2013 post on Dawson’s Horse Sense for College Men.)

In a November 1925 column printed in the Birmingham News as well as the Howard Crimson, Dawson tries to dispel the popular misconception that sending your children to college will inevitably lead to corruption of their morals:

We have nowadays much literature on the subject of the college morals.  And the pictures drawn of campus life are dark enough to make any parent hesitate long before sending a son or daughter into such environments.  To begin with, college students are the most interesting people in the world, and anything written about them is sure of readers.  There is sauce enough in the subject to flavor a whole lot of books.   And to add a little pep to spice, and ginger to pep, it is easy to fall into the unusual, the rougher side of the campus story.  The outcome is fearful.  There is little hope for any decent moral  boy or girl once they are in college classes.  So runs the best sellers.

The trouble is the college folks make their own reputations.  The stories you hear old graduates tell are always of their escapades and “scrapes.”  When the freshman goes home after his first year of campus experience he always wants to tell of the tough things that happened to him and to which he happened.  The book writers could not sell a book telling about how good Tommy is at school, but there is an enormous sale for one telling about how bad he is.  College humor, which is often about the freshest and best we have, too frequently centers on the immoral, lackadaisical side of the boys and the girls.  The collections of college humor are mostly made up on points about liquor, scantily clothed females and the word “damn.”  Pick up a college magazine from one of the common newsstands, so often common dirt stands.  What impressions does it make on you as to the solidarity, purpose and general worthwhileness of the college student?

The picture is that of irreverent, dissipated, reveling, sap-headed spendthrifts, idlers and gamblers and jazzers.  The college folks are responsible for this.  They want to be funny, and this is the idea of most of their humorists have of humor.  It would indeed be humorous to deem such humor humorous, but the tragedy is that these college writers present a picture of college life and the people that has well-nigh brought them into the contempt of good people everywhere.  They make their own reputation, and it is untrue to fact.

I have lived in close contact with college boys and girls all my life.  I think I know them better than they know themselves.  Quite sure we may be that there are no perfect folks among them.  I have never seen one with wings so much as sprouting.  I did tell one of them once upon a time that she was an angel, but that was a figure of speech and answered its purpose at the time.  They have faults.  Some of them go to the dogs.  Some were dogs before they came to college and merely went their way, appointed beforehand.

But the great majority of them are wholesome, purposeful, intelligent, sober, industrious and thoroughly worthwhile.  These do not lend themselves to colorful tales.  They are not rare enough to be news.  Books describing their ordinary lives would not sell.  It is hard to make jokes of them or about them.  They do not carry hip pocket flasks.  The description of their lives would not help repeal the prohibition amendment.  The word “damn” somehow does not fit into their scenery, so what is the writer to do but let them alone and use his paint pot on the more spectacular sort?

In the time of Julius Caesar his wife became famous just because she was virtuous.  Now virtuous women are so numerous as to be commonplace.  The good boy and girl are the rule as they are the rule so as they are ruled out of publicity and we form our opinions of college life upon what we hear of the other sort.  It is distressing to parents and hurtful to everybody concerned.

Nevertheless we must educate.  Education is so valuable that we must take the risks of ruin to secure its blessings for our children.  Now there are dangers in college.  I would not minimize one of them.  We must know of their presence to avoid their hurt, but I want to say this for the comfort of all who love our young people and especially to those whose children are in college.  I believe that out of a given number of young people fewer of them go wrong at college than would have gone wrong had the same group remained at home.  Out of a community with say 1,000 young people on its streets or in its homes, more of them will go wrong than would have done so had they had the inspiration of college friends and environments.  You may send your boy to college and from that he may go to hell, but it is not unlikely he would have gone to the same place had he remained at home.

–L. O. Dawson, in the Birmingham News

Adapted from Howard Crimson, November 11, 1925

Posted by: samfordhistory2013 | February 28, 2014

Jimmie Lee Jackson

Jimmie_Lee_Jackson

“Jimmie Lee was just a nice person that’s all.”

This month marks the 49th anniversary of the Civil Rights march in Marion, AL.  On February 18, 1965, protestors planned to march from Zion Methodist Church to the Perry County jail, where SCLC member James Orange was imprisoned for running voter registration campaigns in the rural town.  Rumors of a jailbreak led Marion officials to call in Alabama State Troopers.   When marchers left the church, they were viciously beaten by Marion police and state troopers.   This march proved more violent than the one that followed in Selma the next week, but the Marion protest was forgotten by many — no photographs or film evidence of the violence existed to show the drama.   Marion native Jimmie Lee Jackson was beaten by police while he tried to protect his mother and grandfather.  Shot in the stomach by Alabama State Trooper James Fowler, Jackson died from his wounds a week later.

Samford University history students working with the Office of University Historian as part of an ongoing oral history project in Marion, Alabama interviewed Jackson’s second cousin, Emma Peterson, and her husband, Lloyd, who lived in Marion in 1965.  These are their recollections of that violent night so long ago.

On Jimmie:

Lloyd: Jimmie and I was real close.  Well, my wife was Jimmie’s cousin so I guess that’s the way we really connected together. That’s where we would communicate … because of the fact that her parents didn’t like me… Jimmie and I was just always together and that’s the way I would get over to see her was through Jimmie.

Emma: Jimmie Lee was just a nice person that’s all.  He was a nice, quiet person.  It was just him and his sister and his mom and dad.  And his dad had got killed about 2 years before then, so Jimmie was the man of the house.

On the night of the march:

Emma: I don’t think he was really involved in [the Civil Rights Movement]. He was just like me—we would just all go to the meetings. . . I wasn’t there at the meeting… at Zion Methodist Church… I was at work… And he wasn’t even at the meeting; he was at the café down there waiting on his mom and… granddaddy. And he was sitting out there waiting on them to come because he really had the flu… He didn’t feel like being in the crowd.

Lloyd:   During that time I had an uncle that was principal of Marion Baptist Academy; he had had a stroke so I had been out that night to give him a bath and … then after that I went to the meeting.  I pulled up right across from the church and parked.  The so-called State Troopers—which they was people from Marion or somewhere just in State Trooper’s suits….they told me, “If you’ve got a home to go to, you’d better go.”  At that time I was going to ease around the back, go around to the back of the church to tell them about all these people outside.  I started around the back of the church and there’s two men back there.  So I had to go.

When they came out of the church, that’s when the head knocking started…They let out and they were going to march down to the jail and have prayer and that’s when they started.  Reverend Durbine, he was down on his knees praying and they were steady beating his head up with those clubs.  It was rough. Rough.  So then I figured it was time to go.  Wasn’t no use in staying around.  If they hit me, I was going to shoot ‘til I died.  That’s right.

Emma: One thing about it was…you didn’t see a light nowhere.  When I had gotten off work that night this one girl had told me, “Y’all ain’t got no lights over there. They had done arrived.”  I said, “What are you talking about?” So I got in the car and you didn’t see a light nowhere. In the stores, out the stores, in the street, you didn’t see a light nowhere. Completely dark.

Lloyd: That was the general idea.  They wanted to turn the lights out where you didn’t know who they were.  If they had the lights on, you can see who it is, you know.

Emma: So, they tell me, when they came out of church they came out beating heads.  And they [Jimmie Lee’s mother and grandfather] went on down to the café where he was… they beat her, and they beat the granddaddy too.  The granddaddy didn’t live too long after then because they beat him all on the head and everywhere with Billy clubs and stuff.  [Jimmie Lee] was fighting back, but he couldn’t fight them all, so then he got shot.  Then they rushed him to Selma, to Good Samaritan Hospital.

Lloyd: We carried Jimmy Lee’s grandfather and mother to the hospital over in Selma and after that, after they got treated we were going to come back home.  They told us we weren’t going to leave out of Selma and nobody was coming in. . . So shortly after that we learned that Jimmy was over at Good Samaritan Hospital; we were going to go over there and see about him, but they wouldn’t let us leave. . . So here I was, I had a wife and kids at home and I couldn’t get back to them.  It’s not like today, we didn’t have cell phones and what have you.  You’re scared to death.  You don’t know what going to happen.

Emma: [Jimmie Lee] stayed down there almost a week. My pastor went down to see him and he said, “Oh, Jimmy’s doing good; he’ll be home in a couple of days,” but that same night he passed.  We don’t know what happened to him.

They had his funeral in Selma. . . I think the Civil Rights took over, didn’t they? I think they took his body over. So his mom just went along with it. [Dr. Martin Luther King] did a great job at his speech.  He really did.  I’ve forgotten what it was all about since it’s been so long, but everything was nice.

Lloyd: I worked because you were going to get fired anyways if you went.

Jackson’s death rocked the Civil Rights community and served as a catalyst for the march from Selma to Montgomery, which began a week later.  Marion activist Lucy Foster suggested walking in Jimmie Lee’s honor instead of driving through Selma as planned.

Adapted from Oral History Interviews with Emma and Lloyd Peterson, conducted by Lauren Ziemer and Ben Woodall and Weary Feet, Rested Souls by Townsend Davis

oral history interview

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