Jalene’s anticipation increased daily as she prepared to depart for her new college life. She would now be a full- time on campus resident which she had coveted during her freshman year as a commuter student. Residing several hundred miles away from home was a bonus for Jalene, as she realized she would seldom interact with her family.
Her 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. She searched earnestly for a job while competing with students from three other local colleges. She was ultimately hired to work as a nanny and housekeeper. Because she remained car- less, it was necessary to commute to her after- class jobs via the local city bus.
Nonetheless her enthusiasm was high as she met her roommate and settled into her dorm room. Within days of her arrival at the college, she was astounded to realize she had left one prison for another. The lengthy list of-strict rules at this ultra conservative religious college was surreal. Jalene pondered how such rules could be contrary to the bible as the faculty and staff, cited as their rationale.
The 1960’s was a decade of hair accessories which included rigid, brush hair 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, Jalene found this policy bizarre as this was a non-co-ed dorm. When querying about such a rule, she was informed one must not be a poor testimony of having a fellow female student see them walking around in their pj’s.
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? Jalene had no previous knowledge that such unusual and archaic policies were required.
Jalene understood her religious denomination was strict and conservative. Nonetheless, she had worn curlers outside her home and worn pj’s without a robe while joining other girls during church sleep-overs. She also sat with boys while on dates and even while attending church services. Now she was informed she is going against the bible by being involved in such behavior.
Jalene quickly realized she was as imprisoned at this college as she had been while residing with her parents. However, the bonus for her was freedom from the constant verbal and physical abuse. She was also meeting classmates from all over the United States which was a joy for Jalene.
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, Jalene became one of the betrothed statistics.
Her new love was Jim Ford. As the Thanksgiving holiday approached Jim invited Jalene to join him and his family in his hometown approximately 150 miles from the college. She was jubilant to share in his family celebration as her own family didn’t provide such an opportunity.
Upon arrival to Jim’s home, Mrs. Ford warmly welcomed Jalene 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.
Jalene was young and somewhat naïve, but she realized their 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, Jalene realized what an influence Mr. Ford had on his sons’ lives. Jim broke off the engagement. By Christmas, Jalene was returning back to OK; alone and single.
She 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 the large, state university in OK, she was unable to see a physician. She had telephoned her parents for financial assistance to see a doctor since her fever and weakness increased. They informed her no physician was necessary.
By the time she returned back to OK, it was apparent to her parents, a physician appointment was required. Her health would resume to normalcy, but not without medical intervention. Much of her Christmas holiday was consumed with recovery. Approximately a week before she returned back to college she contacted a boy she had dated the previous summer. She had no idea this contact would drastically change the course of her life.
Please follow me as Jalene continues her life’s journey.