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Monday, April 25, 2016

Stuff Way Back When

Stuff Way Back When

My son is spending the week with us on his spring break.  Spence is going to college this fall, and I tried to give him a heads up on what to expect.  Mrs. C took great pains to let me know that stuff in college has probably changed a bit since I was in school over fifty years ago.

She is right of course.  Things have changed, which led me to thinking do people remember how it was back in the day?  If not, I am here to document some stuff from way back when.

I went to college in 1964.  The school that accepted me did not know what they were doing, but I guess someone had to have the lowest high school cumulative grade average and lowest College Board scores.  That person was me.  The school was a fine school, a notch below Ivy League class. OK, maybe two notches below, but still a fine school.  It was an all male school.  If it was co-ed, there is no way I could have attended.  I was the beneficiary of not having to compete with a very intelligent group of the population at that time.

Anyway, the first thing I was told when I signed in for my freshman year was I was required to attend ROTC classes.  ROTC, Reserve Officer Training Corp…you would think I would have heard of this before I accepted, but no, it was all news to me.  I was required to spend two years learning how to march and kill people, shine my shoes to a mirror finish, wear a uniform, salute and kiss upperclassmen’s asses or receive demerits and fail a one credit course. 

I expect today kids would look the administrator in the eye and say, “Fuck you, talk to my parents.” There would be a law suit waiting for the administration that demanded participation in ROTC. 

In 1964 we did what we were told and just said, “Oh shit…OK…damn."  Don’t believe me, watch “Animal House” those dudes were all required to attend ROTC.

Fortunately for me, my doctor had discovered a heart murmur in my pre admission exam.  This murmur has not been mentioned or detected in any exam before or since.  Anyway, I was offered the option to skip ROTC and take gym instead.  I decided on gym.  I was able to try out for the football team which I shortly quit, but had the choice to opt out of marching.

A lot of students went full time Army and took ROTC their junior and senior year.  Many were persuaded by the $50 per month stipend and the chance to go to Viet Nam as officers and not infantry men. 

Those were the days.

One other thing from those days that I doubt very much could happen today was in my gym class we had a course in swimming.  It was an all male school, and the gym students were expected to swim in the pool sans swim suit.  Why we had to swim in our birthday suits I have no idea.  Like many other things in those days we just did as we were told.

Today I will not even use the gym shower after a workout.  Back in the day we swam and cavorted totally ah natural.  

I’m not sure one age is better than the other.  Are we homophobic today, or were we homo back in the day.  Don’t know, don’t care, just find it interesting how things have changed through the years.

Where am I going with this?  Nowhere, I’m just reminiscing on stupid stuff.  Kids today whine, complain and threaten to sue over really stupid stuff; kids in my day did whatever we were told without question.

Today’s kids are spoiled and whiney.  We were just naive and stupid.

Take your pick.


  1. We were compliant indeed. Maybe it was better, who knows?


  2. We didn't know rebellion was permitted!!

  3. I would have thought a heart murmur would preclude gym and football as well.
    One of my girls developed a heart murmur at age two after a bad bout of bronchitis. It was completely gone a couple of years later.

  4. In my day the cane won every time so no-one would dare to rebel. Yes, times have changed.

  5. I'll bet you had to enter real live library buildings, too! I've heard of those...

    I read a news story about how, back in the day, students applying to Ivy league schools had to submit a nude picture, taken from the side, because some scientist had a theory about how posture (or something) indicated breeding and/or potential.

    I don't know if the story was true, but it was reputable source, generally.

    Either way, you would have been just about the right age to see the explosion of graduate programs as every guy tried to find a way out of Vietnam. I was looking at class pictures from a law school a couple years back: The graduating class of 1966 was about 20 people. By 1971 it was 120.

    And if you did get sent overseas with the military, you couldn't Facetime Mom from the battlefield.

  6. So true Cranky. I look at all the disrespect shown to our cops, especially by kids, and think, "What the...?" In my/our day we wouldn't dare smart off to a cop, at least not to his face. And this is just one example. In some way we're no doubt better off, but in others, not so much.

  7. Still trying to find the reasoning behind swimming in the nude. No wet bathing suits to deal with or the prof was a perv are my only guesses.
    We really were malleable weren't we.

  8. Things continue to change. For the better? I've no idea. I think things are a bit wacky now too. I wasn't that far behind you and the swimming in the buff isn't something that happened in our neck of the woods.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

  9. I went to college two years later--granted, not at an all boys college, but ROTC was optional and not cool. I don't remember swim suits being outlawed in gym, but I do remember them being optional at local swimming holes. There was a rule still on the books that required females to wear skirts to class unless the temperature was below zero, but it was not enforced. It was well known, though, that a mini skirt and a front row seat in the classroom would guarantee a passing grade with some professors.

    Where things better then? I think it is called nostalgia.

  10. I totally agree - kids these days are spoiled and whiney. And rude and disrespectful!

    Hi! Stopping by from Betty's blog.
    Have a nice day!

  11. Swimming in the nude? Was Dennis Hastert on your school staff?

  12. Some things are better now, some were better then. It's up to each of us to figure out which is which.

  13. Some kids are spoiled and whiny now. Some are amazingly wonderful, with talent and motivation way beyond anything I saw back in the old days.

  14. No matter when you grow up, you'll probably look back and wonder how you and your peers survived. My hubby chose to take a chance on dodging the draft by getting a high lottery number. He got number 48. We spent a little over a year at Ft. Lewis and then he got an early out because Vietnam was winding down. So he still lucked out.

  15. Well, Spencer can go to school with lots of stories his dad told him.

  16. I had the same thought Stephen had (Hastert).

    Yes, times have changed and sometimes I'm not sure it's all for the better.

    1. It is my understanding that the nude swimming thing was fairly standard especially in all men colleges and prep schools. We didn't really give it much thought, showers were all in the open and we showered after every gym or sports practice...still there probably was some creepiness involved, I don't think Hastert invented creepiness.

    2. Frankly speaking I am scared for kids today. They may have certain previlages today but life is not simple any more.

  17. Today's special snowflakes are such hothouse flowers that they can't just relax and bloom without the narrow range of conditions they prefer.

  18. Yep, I can name that tune in one note.

  19. Wow things have reeallly changed and I'm not at all certain it's for the better. I wish we could pluck the best from the past and the best from here and now and somehow melt it together for a perfect world. :) And then I think, it wouldn't matter, somebody would find something to bitch about.


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