My anticipation increased daily as I prepared to depart for my new college life. She would now be a campus resident, instead of a commuter student during my Freshman year at OU. Residing several hundred miles away from home was a bonus for me, as I realized I would seldom interact with my family.
My room, board and tuition were paid via the scholarship. However, it was necessary to locate a part-time job to defray the cost of books and college expenditures, as well as necessities of daily living. I searched earnestly for a job while competing with students from three other local colleges. I was ultimately hired to work as a nanny and housekeeper. Because I remained car- less, it was necessary to commute to my after- class jobs via the local city bus.
Nonetheless my enthusiasm was high as I met my roommate and settled into our dorm room. Within days of my arrival at the college, I was astounded to realize I had left one prison for another. The lengthy list of-strict rules at this ultra conservative religious college was surreal. I pondered how such rules could be biblical as the faculty and staff, cited as their rationale.
The 1960’s was a decade of hair accessories which included rigid, brush rollers, as well as small juice cans. Such implements were designed to bring only the most gorgeous bounce and curls to the coiffures of the decade. If any female student was seen outside the dorm with such an accessory, it was justification for reprimand or citation. With enough such offenses the student would be expelled from the college.
Every girl at the college was required to wear a dress or skirt. The girls were mandated to get on their knees to validate their hemlines touched the floor. If they did not, an immediate alteration was mandated. Also per the policies, equally as offensive as wearing curlers outside the dorm was walking to the dorm shower and restrooms without wearing a robe. Again, I found this policy bizarre as this was a non-co-ed dorm. When querying about such a rule, I was informed one must not be a poor testimony of having a fellow female student see them walking around in their pj’s. What??
The list of rules become more bizarre with each passing day. One of these was mandating that all female and male students be separated in the dining hall. Females were required to sit on one side of the dining room; the males on the other. What in the world? I had no previous knowledge that such unusual and archaic policies were required.
I understood my religious denomination was strict and conservative. Nonetheless,I had worn curlers outside my home and worn pj’s without a robe while joining other girls during church sleep-overs. I also sat with boys while on dates and even while attending church services. Now I was informed I was going against the bible by being involved in such behavior.
I quickly realized I was as imprisoned at this college as I had been while residing with my parents. However, the bonus for me was freedom from the constant verbal and physical abuse. I was also meeting classmates from all over the United States which was memorable.
There was some humor among the affliction of the campus policies. The students understood that when betrothed they were permitted to date off campus. Otherwise, only on campus or church dates were authorized. Within weeks of arriving on campus, I became one of the betrothed statistics.
My new love was Jim Ford. As the Thanksgiving holiday approached Jim invited me to join him and his family in his hometown, St. Louis, MO. I was jubilant to share in his family celebration as my own family didn’t provide such an opportunity.
Upon arrival to Jim’s home, Mrs. Ford warmly welcomed me with greetings and hugs. Jim’s Dad remained aloof. During the holiday family dinner with Jim’s brother, sister-in-law and his parents, Mr. Ford was not shy in inquiring why Jim had chosen not to date their family friend whom was also a student at the college.
I was young and somewhat naïve, but I realized our engagement had not been blessed by Mr. Ford. A future wedding and marriage would also be marred with Mr. Ford’s negativity. Upon returning to college following the Thanksgiving break, I realized what an influence Mr. Ford had on his sons’ lives. Jim broke off the engagement. By Christmas, I was returning back to OK; alone and single.
I had become extremely ill days prior to departing for OK. Because the small, religious college had no medical clinic as had been provided for the students at O.U. I she was unable to see a physician. I had telephoned my parents for financial assistance to see a doctor since my fever and weakness increased. They informed me a physician was unnecessary.
By the time I arrived in OK, it was apparent to my parents, a physician appointment was required. My health would resume to normalcy, but not without medical intervention. Much of my Christmas holiday was consumed with recovery. Approximately a week before I returned back to college I contacted Chuck Wood, whom I had dated the previous summer. I had no idea this contact would drastically change the course of my life.
Please follow me as me as I continues my life’s journey which began in the blog April 2016