Traditions Best Forgotten

You probably know by now, I love old photographs. So when I pulled these two out of my extensive archive, I just had to share. Sorry, Ree!

Some traditions are so silly, I can’t believe we ever participated in them.

The two photos below are of me and my freshman roommate, Rita Graber Davis. Ree was a nursing student and one the reasons I attended Bethel College in Newton, Kansas, in the fall of 1964.

We were best friends in high school, but really good friends when we were dating brothers–twins. She ended up marrying her twin, I parted ways with mine after our senior year.

As you can tell we were proudly donning our freshman beanies. We were required to wear them so upperclassmen wouldn’t do something to us. Maybe some of my fellow Bethel grads can remember what that something was.

Rita and Me at Bethel0001

You can tell I’m a farm girl…look at the size of those feet!  I’d like to think  it’s just the camera’s perspective.

We were eager to fit into our new life, as college students. Rita would leave after our first quarter. The nursing students had to move to the more sequestered housing run by the Bethel Sisters. The Bethel sisters were a group of women who dedicated themselves to their faith and education of young women in their nursing program.

The Bethel College nursing program had its origins in 1908 under the direction of Sister Frieda Kaufman, the Deaconess Mother of the deaconess sisterhood and sister-in-charge of Bethel Deaconess Hospital, located in Newton. A deaconess was a woman serving Christ and his church, who is free from all other duties and desires to devote her time and effort to the service of the Lord in ministering to suffering humanity.


Rita, studiously scans her anatomy book. She proudly wears her boyfriend’s class ring. I can even see the wad of tape under it.

You’ll notice we have matching blankets. Nothing fancy. I think I took my stereo, bedding, pictures, and little else. Nothing like the UHaul you see parents back up to dorms these days. Personal touches go beyond a tooth-brush and family photos. Furniture, refrigerators, TVs, computers, and cell phones top the list.

 In this age of internet universities and online  courses, students my miss out on the brick and mortar experience. The exchange of face-to-face dialog and the human connection (in my opinion) is an important piece higher learning.

 I made many good friends at Bethel.  Living in the dorms was certainly part of that great  experience. It taught me many things, mainly how to live on my own and to get along with others. We became our own little community, negotiating the nuances of dorm life. We shared problems, breakups, homework and the payphone at the end of the hall!

In our dorms, everyone had their own beep/signal.  When you heard it, you were either needed at the front desk by your date or some other person, or you had a phone call. It was like Pavlov’s dogs. The reaction to the signal was immediate. All that was miss was the salivating!

Very few of us girls had vehicles, so we depended on each other and of course the guys on campus to haul us around. Many of the students whose parents lived close opened their homes to us during the holidays when going home was not possible.

There was no co-ed living when I was there, and our curfews were quite strict. Of course the guys didn’t have curfew which led to a lot of questionable activity.

My husband  remembers some pretty outlandish traditions, on making the football team and other dorm pranks. Those, I ‘ll not divulge!

For all the archaic traditions, on reflection, it was fun!

And, a right of passage I wouldn’t trade for anything.


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