By Perry Barrett
This is an interview from the Mississippi Oral History Program. The interview is being recorded with Mr. O.W. “Wig” Reily, Jr. on August 19th, 1999 at Mr. Reily’s home. The interviewer is Perry T. Barrett.
PB: There we go, alright, Mr. Reily, could you tell us just a little about your early educational experiences, maybe where you went to elementary school, middle school?
OR: Well, I went to elementary school in Calingston, Louisiana through the third grade, and then moved to Bastrop, Louisiana, where I remained throughout the rest of elementary school and…and high school. Now, in those days we didn’t have middle school and all that. We just had elementary school and high school.
PB: Now, are there any teachers you might could…that you can recall or remember that had a particular impression on you in the early years?
OR: Well, at Bastrop, for about a year, Mrs. Phillips, she was not only a terrific teacher, but she was about half bouncer, too, and I went by her former home just a couple of weeks ago. I was visiting in Bastrop, Louisiana. We ate at Monroe and came down the river road where Mrs. Phillips used to live, and she was quite a character, and one of her chief things especially if you got kind-of out of hand was, she might say; “Wig, go down and see if coach Benyon has got something for you to do.” And, I would spend the rest of that period down there with coach, but…anyway, that’s one of the things that I remember about Bastrop High.
PB: And…and what course did Mrs. Phillips…
OR: Mrs. Phillips taught English.
PB: Taught English? And, so when I asked you about recalling teachers, that’s the first one you mentioned. Any other reason that she would come to mind?
OR: Well, naw, other than she was pretty tough. And, there were a few ways to avoid her class, but it was better not to do that, and go on and face the music. Of course, the most outstanding, and naturally, I was rather interested in the athletic phase of it, and of course Coach Dutch Benyon was a real inspiration for all of us that participated under him, and he finally left Bastrop and came into Mississippi. He went to McComb first, and won what at that time was thought to be the national championship in a game played in Atlanta, and then he moved to Holmes Junior College, and taught there several years and coached, and went to Pascagoula as a coach, and ended up as an athletic director, and then retired. He is a real worker, in fact in high school; we probably had the best physical education program in the South at that time. When I was in high school, our physical education fee was 55 cents a year, and that enabled you to have in physical education class a clean tee-shirt, clean shorts, jock, socks, and a towel afterwards, and if you came back that afternoon to work out for track or baseball, or whatever, you got the same thing again. And, he started off washing all this stuff on one of those old ringer type machines…washing machines. No dryers back in those days, and so he had to hang it all out to dry, and when it was raining, he hung it under the bleachers under the gym, and so, that was quite an experience.
PB: And, you participated in one sport, or several sports?
OR: I participated in track, basketball, and boxing.
PB: All Right. Now other than…Now you were…although you were born in Shreveport, you grew up in…
OR: Calingston, when Daddy…Mother and Daddy moved back to Calingston soon after I was born.
PB: Right. Was that where you attended your elementary and high school?
OR: Just my elementary…I went through the third grade in Calingston, then moved to Bastrop. Calingston and Bastrop were very close, about six miles apart.
PB: And, then you graduated from high school in Bastrop?
OR: In Bastrop.
PB: O.k. Now, other than school, or maybe another aspect of school other than sports, what else comes to mind when you think about your…your years when you were growing up?
OR: Well…well, I think about the folks that came along with me, and Daryl Forman, who ended up retiring from here, too, and I were together all the way from the third grade through high school and college, so naturally I think of him, and he…the golf course here is named after him, and so his wife is a better golfer than he is though, but, anyway, of course, most of the time I think about Daryl when I’m thinking about coming up. In the summer many a time he’s helped me mow my yard so I could go play baseball. He still lets me know about that.
PB: O.k. Now, I see where you would have been in your early teens or somewhere in that range about the time of the depression?
OR: The depression was a little early and most of the time you want to think of the depression beginning around 29, 30 or somewhere around there. And of course at that time I was six. I can remember the days being pretty tough. At that time my daddy was working for Louisiana Coffee Company, delivering coffee; and that played out. And later going to work for International Paper Company. Well you always had to worry about them shutting down for a period of time and all that business. Pretty tough go. I remember times when he would get laid off and there was a peach orchard right outside Bastrop. So he would work out there for 10 cents an hour. Another story that goes along with that one, when I first got out of the service. I was going to school at NorthEast Louisiana. I would hustle home and go to the peach orchard and work out there myself. For a fabulous wage maybe a quarter an hour. I don’t know, but when I graduated from high school I graduated in 1941. So I went and joined the Marine Core in October of ’41. I was in San Diego when Pearl Harbor was bombed.
PB: So you were in San Diego time of Pearl Harbor?
OR: And was in the next crew to go over seas.
PB: So you were in the Navy?
OR: Heck no, I was in the Marine Core.
PB: Oh, in the Marine Core. Sorry
OR: We went over first of January.
PB: When you said went over, where did you go?
OR: My first stop was Pearl Harbor, and that was a real sight.
PB: So you were there within…?
OR: I was there in early January.
PB: Of ’42?
OR: Yeah, and from there I went to Midway.
PB: Midway, and how long were you in Midway?
OR: Long enough that was our first victory.
PB: That is the Battle of Midway? Oh my goodness, did you want to talk any about that?
OR: No, Darn glad we won. Well probably the Marine pilots were more responsible for that victory than any thing else the way I see it. Of course they were flying planes that looked like these crop dusters around here. They cleaned out that Japanese Navy pretty well. Of course with some help of our Navy too.
PB: You were 17 or 18 when you went to work?
OR: Yeah I was 17, and I was 17 about the time the battle came about to see. I was 18 on June 17th of ’42.
PB: So after Midway, what?
OR: Came back to Pearl Harbor, and stayed there for awhile. Then came back to the states. I was stationed at Camp Lajune for about nine months. I was in the fire department at Camp Lajune. The purpose of that was because I had some inkling I was on the campus boxing team. That put me in an operation where it was easy for me to go work out and that kind of thing. One morning, a fellow walked in and hollared has anybody been in combat want to go to Panama? My bunkie said have you been to Panama? I said no. Well, He said lets go. Well at that time the Marine Core had a stipulation that you could not stay in the states for more than six months. We had already been there for nine so it was time for us to get out of there anyway. So we went to Panama. I finished up the whole thing there.
PB: Yes, so that is in the canal zone.
PB: Were you around Fort Clayton or?
OR: No, I don’t believe we had Fort Clayton then. I was stationed right out of Panama City. My duties, talking about the life of riley, at that time was that I carried the official mail. I got on this little train every morning at ten o’clock, and went from Panama City to Kalan. I stayed till two then came back. Then I worked out. That was about it. I got out in November of ’45. I had enough points to get out at that time.
PB: Okay, so you get out of the service, and it’s on to college?
OR: Well I went home, and I piddled around till spring semester started at NorthEast. Started to school down there.
PB: When you say NorthEast that’s?
OR: NorthEast Louisiana, at Monroe. It was a junior college at that time. All of our group that came back about the same time: Darryl Forman, James Justice, James Gilbert, and Timothy Forman, Leon Gee, and James Buford Atkins. We just walked in and started school at North East. North East had a pretty good boxing team prior to the war, and of course that had to do to the fact that all the high schools around there had boxing teams see. I was on boxing scholarship, and all the rest crew I named was on football scholarship. On over in the summer I got married. My scholarship wasn’t doing me any good. I was trying to live in Bastrop and go back and forth. So I dropped out of school after that summer session. I went in spring and summer. I worked for Southern Natural Gas, then I worked for International Paper Company. One night I was in Greenville, and two or three of us were fighting. Forman is already here in school. So he comes down there and says why don’t you come back to school. All your going to do is fight and play ball the rest of your life, anyway. He said they were on the quarter system. They had a new quarter starting next week. So I told him to find us a place to live, and we will be there.
PB: Was this back at NorthEast?
OR: Well no, he had transferred from the junior college to Delta State to finish school.
PB: So they are wanting you to come to Delta State
OR: Yeah, Get me a place to live, and we will be there. So we moved in Ms. Wiggins house down on the floor. He got me an apartment down there. She had moved out of the house. She had the house divided into two apartments. Red Gun was living in one. Roy Joy and I were living in the other one. That is how we started off here. That was in the spring of ’49.
PB: Now were you here on a boxing scholarship?
OR: No we did not have one. Though we started some boxing. Delta State did not have a boxing team. My boxing scholarship was at NorthEast Louisiana.
PB: After you left NorthEast Louisiana you continued to do some boxing?
OR: Oh yeah, had to have the dollars coming in.
PB: This was professional boxing?
OR: Well no, back in those days the good amateur cards they would give you a little on the side. I was actually working at Southern Natural first and then went to work at International, but I was boxing on the side. We had regular community team in Bastrop at that time. It was kind of like an AAU team, but that was before AAU. So we were over here that night and Forman said why didn’t you come? So I did.
PB: Okay, so you come to Delta State and what is your major?
OR: I was majoring in Physical Education. I was helping Coach Gene Chadwick and Coach John Ray Ricks with anything they wanted me to do. I was kind of the flunky around. So went that direction all through school. We were still boxing too. We got some others folk from Bastrop; Bill Williams was one of the good ones. We had a pretty good boxing team here even though it wasn’t recognized by the school. We would just go off and fight.
PB: So you continued to do that while you were attending Delta State?
OR: Some of the good ones were Bill Williams, Sugar Durham, James Kelly, of course Darryl Forman too, John Brewer were fighting back in those days.
PB: Did you go to different cities?
OR: Yeah, one of the big promoters lived in Greenwood. So we fought a good bit in Greenwood, Greenville, and around Columbus, Memphis.
PB: So you graduated from Delta State with a degree in?
OR: Physical, well, education majoring in Physical Education in 1952.
PB: When you first got to Delta State you had some hours from North East Louisiana?
OR: Yeah, very few though that would transfer.
PB: Okay, so you came here.
OR: This will slaughter you, I was majoring in Agriculture when I went to NorthEast. I did not have much that would transfer at that time. I was really had four years to go.
PB: Can you tell me anything about if they have any kind of initiation or any kind or that what to do with the freshman?
OR: They were cutting freshman’s hair, but of course most of my crew were returning veterans. So they did not try to cut our hair. I can remember the year we quit cutting hair was about 1971 or 1972. Dr. Blansett was a freshman. He was living in Hardy Hall. We had a guy that was back in those days a R.A. called monitors that lived in Woolfolk. He eventually won the Mid-South Golden Glove Heavy Weight Championship. His name was Ned Rhone. He said put the word out ” I don’t care what they say if they come by here I am going to cut their hair.” So all that crew living in Hardy Hall would go all around the dining hall, well what is the Union now, and go around and come back to the cafeteria to avoid coming by Ned’s. So there was another boy that was also a monitor living in Woolfolk dormitory named David Nelson. He was from Houston, MS, and Blansetts was from Houston, MS. At the cafeteria Blansett eases over to David, if I sneak over there tonight will you show me this guy Ned Rhone? David said yeah, and told him what room he was in. Wayne goes over to see David, and they carry him down to see Ned. He was satisfied then. That is when we cut out the hair cutting. That use to be a big deal, they would cut your hair and sell you a beanie to wear and you had to keep up with that beanie.
PB: Okay, can you recall any particular rules that the University imposed upon students at the time you attended? Curfews? Rules or Regulations?
OR: Well of course, I was married so it made a little different situation. If you were going on a date you would just walk from here to the movie, which is where the printing company is up there, Rhodes Printing Company. That was a big deal on Sunday night anyway. Everybody would walk over there and go to the movie. Brock had a restaurant across from there. You could go for something to drink and come back home. Girls could not go out alone, and of course had a curfew every night. On Sunday nights the girls could stay out till 9:30 or 10:00. You need to go to Orientation every now and then. James Donald Cooper gets out the old handbooks and read rules to them about what they were supposed to do. Of course everyone got a big laugh out of that. Ms. Lawler was the Dean of women at the time I was in school. She ruled the roost. When I came back, this was a long ways in there; Mary Long was the Dean of women at that time. She was a tough customer, too. In other words, it is probably best that she passed away early. Visitation in the dormitory would have killed her anyway. When I graduated Dr. Kethley was president that is another little story. Dr. Boon was the first president of Delta State. He died within a year. Dr. Kethley was appointed president in 1926, I guess. He was still president when I came here. He hired me the first time when I graduated he hired me. I worked those two years there. So I worked Dr. Kethley.
PB: What did you do those two years?
OR: Okay, Dr. Kethley hired me to teach Health, coach track, and help both Coach Chadwick and Coach Ricks which I had been doing while I was in school and to teach Drivers Education. I had to go to Ohio State that summer to get certified to teach Drivers’ Ed to teach the people to teach Drivers’ Ed in the high schools. That was one of the primary purposes was that Drivers’ Ed because we had been bringing somebody over at State to Delta State in the summer to teach our students in order to certify those people.
We needed someone that was eligible to certify them. So I went up to Ohio State that summer to get certified myself in order to teach Drivers’ Ed. I stayed on two years. Then I went to Cleveland High coaching track and basketball. I stayed there for four years. I went back to Bastrop, coaching basketball. I stayed nine years.
PB: Bastrop High School?
OR: Yeah. At that time Dr. Ewing was president. He called and offered the job of Dean of men. I hesitated about coming. You would have to know Dr. Ewing to understand this. He would jump on you whether he knew you or not. Anyway he said how would you like to come over here and talk to me about being the Dean of men. I said what does he coach? He said you mean to tell me you don’t know what the Dean of men is responsible for? I said not really. I think Dr. Wyatt was the Dean of Men at my time. He had a lot of other duties too. My affiliation with came in other areas other than the Dean of men. So I came over and talked to him. He was the third person. Broom was first. Kethley was the second, and I worked for him. Ewing was the third, and I worked for him. Next came Lucas. I was already here so I worked for Lucas.
PB: When you came back as the Dean of men it was in the late 50’s?
OR: That was in 1967. Then I worked for Wyatt. Up till Dr. Potter I had worked for every president we had. Other than Dr. Broom. I was kind of proud of that. I told Dr. Potter he might have to hire me so I could keep my record going.
PB: So you came back to Delta State in 1967 as the Dean of men, and you continued in that capacity?
OR: I moved to dean of student affairs in’73. I stayed in that position till I retired.
PB: So as the dean of men and student affairs, do you recall any particular interesting experiences with the students?
OR: I just told you about one about Blansett. That is a good one.
PB: Yes it was.
OR: Well we came, panty raids were a big thing. You had to go over there and break that up. You had to try to catch as many of them as you can. My memory is leaving me now. We went through streaking. (tape cut off)
PB: You were talking about how you came back to Delta State in 1967 at the request of the president to serve as the Dean of Men. You went on to be the Dean of Student Affairs. And I ask you about any particular interesting experiences with the students. You mentioned that of streaking.
OR: And the panty raids.
PB: And the panty raids.
OR: You got to have that. Of course one of the first guys I remember grabbing on a panty raid. I had him, and I said, “You get out of here, and you be in the office in the morning at eight o’clock.” I left him just like that, and I was going to get somebody else. The next morning at eight o’clock he wasn’t there. Well of course the thing to do any time your were looking for a student, and you were having trouble. You just went to the cafeteria for lunch, and you know they got to come eat. So you would catch them there. Anyway I grabbed him, and I said, “Where were you at eight o’clock?” He said, “I didn’t figure you would remember me.” I said, “I certainly do remember you, and I want you there at one and if you are not there then I will call your daddy.” Of course his daddy had been in school with me. So I had him by his… Of course I was coaching track at that time. I got started off coaching cool. I had initiated track in 1966. That was the first team. Then when I came in ’67 well I took that over. That first year was pretty tough. We went into a few meets.
PB: So you coached track in 1967?
OR: Yeah, during I had a tough year that first year. We did win two or three meets. You know track is a little different. You can finish second or third, and you have beat five or six teams in a meet. Anyway starting with the next year we went four years in which we only lost two meets. We lost one in ’68, and one in’69. We went undefeated in’70. So that was pretty good. Then of course the other stories as far as the late sixties was integration. We were going through. To begin with everything was going pretty smooth. Then in ’69 we begin to have some problems that were mostly caused by off campus people. Although we had a couple three that really got wound up in the thing. Finally in the spring of ’69 after maneuvering around we pretty well aware of that students were going to try to do something. Or sit in that afternoon in front of the president’s office. Of course that naturally would be disruptive. So we had a couple of school buses parked over behind the coliseum. The highway patrol was over there with them. When they sat down. First Dr. Ewing came out of his office and ask them to leave. Of course a little harassment with him vocally. Then with them laughing and carrying on so about that time the Highway Patrol walked in, and we march fifty-four of them out to get on those school buses. As it so happened the county jail was full. It had a busy weekend. So we had to take those fifty-four to Parchman. The rule over at Parchman was that nobody was released after six o’clock. By the time they had got everybody checked in and finger printed and all that kind of business. Well it was six o’clock, and it didn’t make any difference if anybody came and paid the bond or not. They couldn’t go. That was a testy time. I guess. Of course the hearings we had to have after all that. We went all through all that business. That pretty well put an end to our problems as far as integration was concerned. The rest of that school year was kind of tight. From that point on everything went fine.
PB: That was the spring of 1969?
OR: Yeah. Soon after that you know we were into the seventies. The big thing going in the seventies in addition to school from student affairs standpoint. Everything was going smooth. We were trying to have good intramural program as we can. We were trying to keep the dormitories in the best conditions as we could. We had the problems with shortage of rooms. A lot of times having to start the year with three to a room. When they were built for two. That was a big problem. We were able to do that with pretty good supervision. Do to the fact of the supervision we were not having the damage that other institution were having. So we were able to charge lower rent than anybody else in the state. In fact that is something we got that we can feel proud of. That people that would put the work in the dormitories. That supervised and were head residence. A lot of that was work-study work. It wasn’t necessarily people that were not schooled in that kind of thing. It was something we were going to have to school them in when they got there, and pay them with work-study. Do to the fact we were able to do that we didn’t have to charge that extra rent that everybody else was charging. At one time this was back when money was a lot different that it is now. The fee were different a whole lot. On the number of people we had staying in the dormitories and housing if we had been charging the same thing that Ole Miss was charging we would have been taking in six hundred thousand more in housing than we were presently taking in. In other words that kind of shows you the difference in what they were charging there and at State and Southern. Southern was not as quite as bad. Anyway we were still the low man on the totem pole, and we were able to do it. We were able to make ends meet with that lower charge on housing. Probably right now we wouldn’t be having to charge as much as we are charging if the board didn’t require it. The difference between us and the big three were getting to big. In other words it was too much difference there. They didn’t want to handicap Ole Miss, State, and Southern.
PB: You mentioned the difficulty in the spring of 1969 with the Civil Rights Resistance and Demonstration of some sort. Were there any organized demonstrations or activities related to the Vietnam War or opposition of the Vietnam War on the campus?
OR: Maybe every now or then two or three might would come up with something. I can’t remember. I can remember some incidences, but nothing big enough that made a great impression on me. I can remember one get together of some of my track folks. Jamie Cox was a sprinter that had just come back from Vietnam. Some had been fussing about Vietnam and all that kind of business. So I just had that group in there, and I was asking them how do you feel about this and so forth. The main remark that I remember was that Jamie Cox spoke up and said, “Well those folks that are fussing we ought to send them to Vietnam and find out what life is all about.” He was a mighty fast sprinter too. Back in those days that was pretty good time. Anyway we have been fortunate to have less disturbances than. We were able to handle all that kind of stuff.
PB: Anything else that comes to mind interesting maybe with the students, faculty, or the school, and your tenure in the seventies?
OR: In the seventies of course the big thing was the Lady Statesman. Well Dr. Lucas was president by then. He decided he wanted to start girls’ basketball. Well Margaret Wade was over there teaching P. E. so that was the next step. Well she had been at Cleveland High the same time I was up there. Of course she had an outstanding record at Cleveland High. She played for the state championship three times. She got beat every time, but always one or two points. Anyway she had quite a reputation as a girls’ basketball coach. Probably the unsung hero was Melvin Hemphill who did all the recruiting. Of course the big deal was Lucy Harris. Do you remember that name?
PB: No, but it sounds familiar.
OR: Well she scored the first two points that the United States scored in the Olympics in basketball. Anyway she was six three about a hundred ninety then. She could clean folks out from under that board. One of the things we did. Well this was just one of the ways Margaret played. We didn’t substitute much, and we had a lot of other ball players on the team. Cornilla Ward and Romona VanBokem, Debbie Brock, I am missing on there. Anyway that five, I will think of the other one in a minute. Of course the first year they had a pretty good year. They won about sixteen ball games or something like that. We were eliminated. Then the next year they started, and they won three national championships in a row.
PB: What years were those?
OR: ’75, ’76, and ’77 I believe is correct. Of course the big thing. We even changed Spring Break one time in order it would interfere with the National Tournament. Of course everybody was coming. We were packing them in. You had to buy season ticket to be assured a seat in the coliseum. Back in those days women’s basketball was in the A. I. A. W. I forget what those letters stand for exactly. All of those championships were in the A. I. A. W. All schools participated, division 1, division 2. They were all together. It wasn’t any difference. So we won those three national championships against everybody. The last one we beat L. S. U. in the finals at the University of Minnesota in their coliseum. Of course we probably had three hundred folks up there just Delta State people. Those were the good days. Of course our girls’ basketball has always gone along. Now Lloyd Clark has one three national championships. When he first came we had a year where we had a losing season in between Margaret and Lloyd. We changed coaches. We hired Lloyd. He was Delta State graduate, and was coaching in Vicksburg. He was doing well. He came up here. The first two years he won over twenty games, but we didn’t get invited to the tournaments because we were not in the conference. In other words we were in a division 2 conference in the N. C. A. A., but we were playing division 1 women’s basketball. The only way we could have gotten to the tournament would have done well in our conference. So they certainly weren’t going to let us in the Southeastern conference. So After two years then we went into the division two, and of course he continued to win. He had great teams all along. I was just looking some of this. Of course another thing have you ever seen one of these?
PB: I have not.
OR: Okay, well I don’t have what I thought I had.
PB: That is a
OR: That is Margaret Wade. He won the national championship in ’89, ’90, and ’92. Now you are going to see Dr. Gunn you said he and Gladys Castle. Gladys is a legend too. I guess the only job she ever had. It probably says in here. She was always the secretary to the Dean of Academic Affairs. She kept up with everybody. When you think of her. Well then right off you think of Ms. Katie Maulding who was a register. Ms. Ethel Cane who was the head of the Women’s Physical Education. She was running the men too. Those people, Ms. Tatum in History, and you have to go back through all those folks. I got a letter from a boy, Jack Riedaman who ran the eight eighty for me back then. He is in Florida. He wanted to know about Dr. Butler and Ms. Brumby. Ms. Brumby taught everybody that came through here Geography I guess. Dr. Butler was in the English department. Now it is funny you see her in the grocery store, and she is having to hold on to that cart to get through. She still remembers a lot of those students. She would say, “Wig what about Riedaman. Have you heard from him lately.” I will try to bring her up to date on him and all that kind of business. Anyway those folks knew everybody, and people like Ms. Maulding. She might meet you in the cafeteria, and she would say, “Do you know you have mad conesology yet. You got to take that next semester.” Or next quarter you know which ever it would be. In other words she kept up with things so close like that. Teachers in this day in time, I am going to criticize them a little. They want to fuss and say we got so many students that we can’t advise all these people. Well you just think there is a number of students have gone up, so have the number of faculty members gone up. It is just that these people were involved and wanted to know about everybody and help them. They wanted to have an influence on them, and be dag gum sure they were able to finish school. Well we some of our problems in High School and Colleges and everything else has gotten to the point that folks thing they are supposed to go home at three o’clock in the afternoon. That is just some more of my feelings. I feel like we can do just as good as advisement today as we did thirty years ago if we worked as hard as those people did. With the number of faculty people we got, it comes out to advising about the same number of students. In particularly with us where we are trying to maintain a small number in classroom and not going to two hundred and three hundred like some of the larger universities are. As long as we maintain thirty and below. Well we have enough faculty members to advise those people. Anyway what were we talking about?
PB: I don’t know. I am glad you said that because that is true.
OR: And see with all these problems that we are having in the schools today. You go back to when I was coming through high school. Probably when you were coming through high school, and when I was teaching in high school it was just an unwritten rule that the coaches was going to have hall duty before school and at lunch. If folks would have come in with those long coats on that they had at Columbine. They would have turned them around, and they would said go home and get you another sweater or something. I can remember sending folk’s home because they were not wearing a belt, or they didn’t have socks on those kinds of things. I hope in my tenure at Delta State that we were able to have some influence on folks. If we would be more concerned now we can’t not get away from technology and the improvements along that line and all this kind of thing. Still we need to be concerned about every student that graduates from Delta State University either being a lady or a gentleman. Making sure they know the difference between right and wrong and be really concerned about making a contribution to society. That is my preaching for the day.
PB: Well I like it.
OR: Well see back in those days earlier in the seventies and the sixties. You know we were through those dormitories every night. Well everybody didn’t have cars so everybody was in the dormitory. You got to know them. You knew their mom’s and dad’s. If his little brother was sick, or her little brother was sick. You knew about it you know. Your mother was sick, well how is she doing. All this kind of business, back when you had room check you taught a person how to take care of himself. To know how to do the thing they needed to do. Back in those we were making room check twice a week. If we didn’t well they got a green slip, when those added up well then you had to come up with something else for them. We are getting away from being concerned about us really having an influence on them. One time this is something else. I have heard, Ms. Cane, Ms. Ethel Cane say in class I guess I would say in an education course that you ought to spend three to five minutes of every class period you have trying to influence people and teach them the difference between right and wrong. Now you just think if in your classes today. I don’t mean as soon as they walk in start doing that. Somewhere along the line during that fifty minutes you say something about what is right or you know. Dr. Kethley we had chapel back in those days one of his favorite sayings is “Don’t you do anything that will reflect on your upbringing.” I think that is the way it was. It was a good ole saying. Of course now we couldn’t do that. We couldn’t have chapel because we would leave out the Muslims or we would leave out somebody. It just can not be a non-denominational type thing. That is another thing we used to do. This is all type of student affairs. Everything outside that classroom is a student affair. The chapel, see we used to try to have chapel once a week at noon. Tim Sterns, the pastor of Covington Presbyterian Church I can remember doing the chapel program when he was in school. I also can remember him doing some other things. I kid him now, and I tell him I still have him on probation. Anyway I wish I prefer it to be back like it used to do.
PB: So when you say you had chapel every week. There would be services.
OR: Yeah back when Dr. Kethley was president we had chapel on Thursday at eleven o’clock, and everybody was supposed to be there.
PB: Eleven o’clock in the morning? That was a. m.?
OR: Yeah. When we built this chapel. Of course that was just another program in student affairs that we were having. We tried to have chapel I think it was on Wednesday at noon. We would start about twelve thirty. We would give them time to get to the cafeteria and eat and come back over. Then we had a Sunday night service. We had a committee composed of students that was responsible for the Wednesday night. Faculty was responsible for the Sunday night program. That went pretty well. We would have years where we didn’t have as many in there. We didn’t attract as many as you would prefer we did. We got enough to make it worth while. Of course you find out all about the chapel in here. Ms. Sillers in Rosedale donated the money to build the chapel. The chapel was the original heating plant. Of course we got all that stuff out of there when we switched over and got away from steam heat. It wasn’t much of anything. Janitors used it to store stuff for a long time. Finally she donated the money, and we used that building and converted it into a chapel. Alice West her folks who at one time was West Implement Company that was the John Deer Company donated the money for the Chimes.
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