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Class of 1951 Reunion, Group Interview 2

Created 16 June 2001; Published 17 February 2006

By Zoe Donnell

Alumni from the class of 1951 share their experience and memories of Carleton at their 50th reunion in 2001.

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Transcript

Class of 1951 Group Interview - Session 2

June 16, 2001

Lou Ayin was mentioned as a procrastinator- he registered for the reunion that morning. He was one of the 98 people registered for the reunion. Zoe Donnell introduces Sue Garwitt-DeLong, the manager of the archive and the director of the historical society in Northfield.

Participants:
Anne Damie Goodwin
Sid Edinger
Richard Wartman
John Mackenzie
Carol Fraise-Coser
Leslie Quick

Thomas was this speaker’s professor for her zoology major. They maintained a close relationship until his death.
Ada Harrison was a demanding professor in economics. Reginald Lang was a unique professor (he kept his handkerchief in his sleeve), who was ahead of his time and who encouraged this speaker to think more deeply. He was a great lecturer from his own knowledge and he wouldn’t let people take notes.
This speaker was head of the Carletonian and she wrote an editorial bemoaning women’s hours. The Dean of Women, Hazel Louis said that these proper rules were necessary. But President Larry Gould shook the student’s hand for a well-reasoned argument.
Carleton was a great place for second chances. The editor wasn’t fired because of her editorial, which showed open-mindedness. And one speaker was allowed to come back to school after a year hiatus. There was no absolute thinking; everyone was given the benefit of the doubt.
Joseph Menga is mentioned; he was a burly German teacher and a former commander of the Prussian Army. He would tell the students, “No mistakes on my clock!” However one student, Curt Carlson, was gone on weekends for sports and neglected his studies. When he stumbled through a lesson Menga would scare a rush of remembrance into him. Another student constantly stuttered and so Menga told him, “Tonight when you go to bed you take a sheet, you put that sheet in ice water and wrap yourself in that sheet and you sleep in it. And the next morning your stutters will be gone.” Those that took his class were often scared into being good students, but there were many others that were too sacred to even try. Another speaker took Russian instead of German because she was afraid of him.
Lucille Dean-Pinkham, a history professor, taught the behind-the-scenes details the textbook facts didn’t include. She would also get so excited about what she was talking about that she would speak forever with out taking a breath.
Larry Gould would also start sentences that would go on forever- even when they weren’t about anything. This speaker asked Gould to fire Mrs. Gray, the really bad cook. And in a short time the cook was gone.
This speaker, while trying to get back into the school, had to meet with Gould. The student waited an hour and finally stood in front of Larry Gould’s desk until the president said, “We’re trusting you, you know.”
This speaker took one of Dr. Gingrech’s last classes. Gingrech said during one class, “Like an old soldier I fade away” and he died a few days after. But that was after he gave one speaker a B for a 95, and ended that student’s arguing by stating firmly that on his grading scale, an A was 96. The end.
Women were not allowed to wear pants during this time but this speaker was wearing them for a lab. Dr. Thomas said it would be fine to leave for coffee at Severance. But then the head of the women’s committee, Eleanor, asked the student how they were supposed to set an example for the younger girls if she was wearing pants. But Dr. Thomas retorted that she would cause a lot more commotion if she took the off than if she left them on.
Comps were introduced in 1951. There was a requirement of 3 hours worth of written work and an oral presentation. This was the first year they were mandatory for graduation. One speaker had two majors until his junior year when he decided he did not want to do two comps.
Gridley Hall was a women’s house that was near and dear to this speaker’s heart. She roomed with Betty Dolton, or Georgia, as she was affectionately called. Her junior year Marge Marshall from Mount Holyoke transferred in. The speaker reminisces on how this transfer was made easier in a friendly house of 19 women. Some alumni had a pre-reunion in Richardson house when Gwen Reese tells this story: one Christmas they were upset about the pathetic Christmas tree the house got, while all the dorms had beautiful trees. But somehow, the gorgeous tree from Margaret Evans appeared in their house for Christmas.
Another speaker lived in those all girls’ dorms. She complained about the rules imposed upon the freshmen girls to Dean Louis. So the college decided to mix up the classes within the dorms to help the freshman girls, and slacken the rules for the upperclasswomen.
Side 2
The tunnels held the steam pipes went from Nourse to Evans. Sometimes they would serve as a cover for a drunken party night, as one speaker remembers. They were also lifesavers in the cold for the girls who were forced to wear skirts.
Bill wanted to ski, and so he audited the girls’ class to get his first ski lessons. He enjoyed it and so he started a men’s team. They began inter-collegiate competition so they could travel. As sophomores they learned how to ski-jump and their junior year they bought a car. The school finally began to recognize them and by his senior year they were in the budget and got varsity letters. His experience here was so rewarding that he’s kept it up- 50 years of skiing and still going strong.
This class used to mail their laundry home. That was unless people used the washing machines in Evans or later, the ones in Burton.
They could also rent easy chairs from the local furniture stores. One speaker remembers leaving stuff at Carleton and the college keeping it for the next year.
P.E. was always a requirement. One speaker remembers filling it in the Gridley basement with Modern Dance. Another speaker was surprised that she failed tennis although she never went. But the college offered something for everyone; and so she took riding instead- which she ended up loving.
One speaker admits that he and Dave Willard climbed up on the roof of Willis and hung an alcohol bottle from the flagpole.
Dean Mill tells a story rooming with Hutchins. They called him Dad because he slept a lot until he was prescribed thyroid pills that gave him more energy. After a couple of months he went back because he liked to sleep.
The tradition about shaving Olies’ heads is mentioned by one speaker.
Once a washbasin was blown off the wall from someone throwing firecrackers into it.
This speaker ended up in geology and took a class with Eyler Henrichson. He maintained a close relationship with him and attended Henrichson’s second retirement with other former geology students, Joe and Jim Mancuso.
Carleton women loved Carleton Koaly and Duncan Stewart.
Joko, was an All-American swimmer. He talks about his experiences with the unsafe pool and diving board. The board could sink into the water if you were heavy enough. And you could hit your head if you were too tall. Wally Panki ruptured his spleen on the board. But it gave Carleton’s a great advantage over the visiting team.
Rich was part of Summa Cum Trao, a group that hated the same set in the tea room. They were a rebellious group against the rules in the dining hall; their forte was being obnoxious in the tearoom. There is a great picture of them that says “There are more horses asses in the world than there are horses”.


Associated AV files:

CO 51 S1 M, CO 51 S2 M (aiff)

CO 51 Parts 10-17 (mp3)

Some rights reserved. Carleton College licenses this work under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.

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