Posted by: lynnhollynhowell | October 31, 2014

The Haunting of Renfroe Hall

Renfroe Hall

There was spirit lurking in Renfroe Hall–a dark figured man in uniform–haunting the girls of Howard College on Halloween night.  Legend had it that a former student, angry about the introduction of co-education at Howard College in 1913, vowed to haunt every woman that lived on campus. Late one Halloween night in the 1950s, Margaret Sizemore, Dean of Women at Howard College, got a call to save her girls from a ghostly intruder, and, as she explains, she got more than she bargained for…

We had a student named Quinn Kelly from Miami and somebody down there had a special interest in her . . . . The church had sent her up to Howard.  She was just . . . always into something.  Cute as she could be.  Smart as she could be and I just loved her to death.  One Halloween night, I got a call at my home and someone said, “Dean Sizemore, there is a man in Renfroe Hall. We have seen him!” . . . They described his uniform.  Well, that went back to a story that Dean Burns told me.  He was [at Howard] when it became coed, I think in 1913, but he said before it went coed, that the cadets, as they were called, said, “We will not have women on our campus” and one cadet said, “If [a woman] ever lives in Renfroe Hall . . . I’ll come back from my grave and I’ll haunt them.”  Well, I had told that story to my French class and Quinn was in it and I gave her an idea.

Well, [after I got the call] I had gotten my husband up and of course had my children with me in the back seat and we went through that [dorm] and the girls were just panicking . . . even the house mother . . . .  So many had seen him.  We looked in closets, under the beds, we spent almost the rest of the night trying to find him.  Finally we left and said, “There’s no man in here.  Y’all are just having imaginative fits.” 

The next year at Halloween, the same thing happened. Oh, I forgot to tell you, before this happened the first time, a friend down at the Birmingham News called me and said, “We need a story about Halloween . . . Howard College is so old I just know you have a ghost out there.”  I said, “Well . . . every Halloween, we have this ghost of a former cadet who is so upset . . . he haunts the women now.”  I always told them that and they put it in the paper.  Well then . . . the second year the same thing happened . . . .  So my husband and I drove up to the back of Renfroe Hall.  There was a way you could come in from 78th Street, you could come right into the back and we saw this figure coming down the fire escape.  [The dorm] had a metal fire escape . . . and my husband jumped out of the car and ran [up] just as [the figure] got to bottom . . . .  He put his hands out and she ran right into him and said, “Oh Mr. Sizemore, I’m sorry! Don’t hurt me! Don’t hurt me! This is Quinn Kelly!”

Oh dear, I forgot what we did to punish Quinn Kelly, but she really had the campus upset over that and she just thought that was a wonderful, wonderful joke.  She’d found this old costume, this . . . Confederate uniform of some sort . . . with a sword . . . .  I turned her over to Major [Davis].

Quinn Kelley

Quinn Kelley, Howard College Class of 1957, probably contemplating her next prank.

 

Adapted from:

Oral History Interview of Margaret Sizemore by Susan Ray

http://digital.archives.alabama.gov/cdm/ref/collection/photo/id/19665

Posted by: lynnhollynhowell | October 29, 2014

Faces of Marion

cs091401482 (1)

Perceptions of Perry County and the Black Belt have transformed from pinnacles of the Old South to abandoned towns with empty buildings. Today the essence of these communities is lost on travelers who do not go beyond the surface of what they see while passing through. Yet, there is a beauty to these towns that can be discovered through the voices of the people who lived there. Their experiences and stories serve as a window to the past for present generations who wish to see Black Belt towns as they once were. This is accomplished by looking into the storyteller’s eyes and hearing their voice. The Faces of Marion exhibit, funded by the Alabama Humanities Foundation, uses the senses of sight and sound to move beyond generalizations. Divided into categories of place, process and people, this exhibit contains individual stories and photographs collected by Samford University’s Oral History Program, Jonathan Bass, and Caroline Summers.  The photos and audio will be on display in Samford University’s Davis Library beginning Saturday, November 1st.  Lowell Melton and Martha LeCroy are just two examples of the faces, voices, and stories that can be seen and heard during the exhibit.

Lowell Melton 15

Lowell Melton, the son of a Marion farmer, explains…

First we had mules to plow the land with, break up the land . . . chopped cotton, hoed corn and then we sprayed cotton, and then after a while we got somebody [to spray cotton], but first we did it by hand with all those sacks and stuff.  After a while my father decided to get a tractor to spray it first with a tractor. So we did that until the cotton started growing out or blooming out, or whatever you want to call it. And by the time September comes we had to go out and pick the cotton.  After we did that for about a month then we went to school. There wasn’t no school for us until we finished picking cotton . . .  In the fall after we got our crop together and [we] would go to school from that time until May, and then school would turn out for spring break or whatever you want to call it . . .  Most of the time it’d be October before we got to go to school . . .

And then my dad got sick, so he bought a tractor one day and I used to drive the tractor every day plowing the fields until I joined the army and then from the army I didn’t stay [in] Alabama and went to Detroit in 1963 . . . Well I heard they were hiring people up there in Detroit and so I went up to see for myself.  I got a job working with my cousin in a barbershop for a while.  Then I got a job working at a steel plant for about one year.  Then I got a job working for Chrysler for about three years.  Then I went to California and stayed out there until 1983 when my papa passed away. Then I came home to look after my mother; then she passed away too. 

Martha LeCroy Marion

Martha LeCroy, born in 1923, has lived in Marion, Alabama her whole life. She looks back on her memories of the town:

When you’ve lived in a place for so long . . . it’s home . . . I still cherish the country that I lived in and back then there were so many people who lived in the country it was almost like a town. Saturday – that was the main shopping day for everybody in the vicinity. We would come to town and buy groceries, or if the children needed shoes. We came every Saturday. It was 7 miles to Marion. We had a model T Ford . . .  My daddy was a mechanic and he liked cars.  He loved automobiles.  I guess we were some of the first people that really had a way to travel to Marion because so many had to travel by . . . horses and buggy but not many, just a few people–but they’d have mules and wagons that’d come to town…and buy what they needed for the whole week.

We had a garden. You know the family worked the garden–mostly my mother and father–and when we got old enough we kind of just picked whatever grew like tomatoes and English peas. Oh they were so good . You could eat English peas green then. They were green then and oh they were so green and sweet! We always had meat on weekends, but we had vegetables. My mother cooked a good meal. We always had potatoes on hand, she loved to cook peas and okra, and oh, that’s good stuff, squash. We ate all that kind of food, but in the summer was the only time we had a garden because it was so cold in the winter, you know it would freeze. We used dried peas in the winter, dried beans, and things like that, canned food. My mother canned and corked jars. Everybody did back then.

The stories of Lowell and Martha are proof that every individual, even though he or she may have grown in the same small town, can provide a unique perspective on the town’s history and what it meant to him or her. To see the rest of these individuals and hear their stories, visit the Faces of Marion exhibit in Samford’s Davis Library between November 1st and 14th.

Adapted from:

Oral History Interviews of Lowell Melton and Martha LeCroy

Photography by Jonathan Bass and Caroline Summers

Posted by: lynnhollynhowell | October 10, 2014

Howard College’s ‘Almost Scarlett’

 GWTW Collage

Fiddle-dee-dee! Last weekend, movie theaters around the country held special showings of the Academy Award-winning Gone with the Wind to commemorate the film’s 75th anniversary. In January of 1940, the film debuted in Alabama at Birmingham’s historic Ritz Theatre.  The picture was so popular in Birmingham that it was shown in multiple theaters for over three months, unusual for the time. This movie remains a classic of the American cinema, widely beloved (and reviled) by some.

Howard College had a small part in the phenomenon that became Gone With the Wind. Scarlett O’Hara was the central character in the film (as in Margaret Mitchell’s novel). The iconic role was portrayed by Vivien Leigh, but the British actress was not the first choice for the role. Some sources report the film’s original director, George Cukor, (know for his work with Judy Garland on A Star is Born (1957) and Audrey Hepburn on My Fair Lady among other films) wanted Howard’s own Mary Anderson to play Scarlett.

Co-ed Mary Anderson ’39, known to her friends as “Bebe,” got her big break appearing in the play Excursion at the Birmingham Little Theatre. While touring the South for the right actors to recreate Mitchell’s characters in the film version of Gone With The Wind, Cukor attended the performance at the Little Theatre. Cukor immediately sent Anderson to New York for a screen test. She later reported to Hollywood to play the supporting role of Scarlett’s cousin, Maybelle Merriweather. Following the release of Gone with the Wind, Anderson went on to star in many movies and television shows, including Alfred Hitchcock’s classic Lifeboat.  In 1960, she earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It is not surprising that the class of 1939 named her Howard’s most glamorous girl!

anderson GWTW pic

(Mary “Bebe” Anderson, Howard Entre Nous 1937)

Adapted from:

The Howard Crimson, February 1, 1940.

Howard College Entre Nous, 1937.

Lewiston Evening Journal, August 22, 1964

Hollywood Reporter, April 7, 2014

International Movie Database

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.

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