OU Party Time

Athens OH party 08-31-2014I’ve been working late at the Athens County Historical Society and Museum office. Athens, Ohio, is the home of Ohio University, once known as a top-ranked party school. (If it’s been down-graded, I’d hate to see what the top 10 looks like.)

There are several bars to the left of me; there’s a bar across the street from me, and there’s a bar and a rental house with a kazillion people in it on the right side.

The female voices that echo off the surrounding buildings are hitting frequencies that I thought only dogs could hear (and just short of that which would break glass). I haven’t heard the equivalent of the male voices since a camping trip on Fisheating Creek during alligator mating season. It’s not even the music that is earsplitting. It’s the cacophony of voices. (Click on the photos to make them larger.)

Words don’t do it justice

I shot the Saturday night video when I was getting ready to pull out of the parking lot about one in the morning. It’ll give you an idea what Court Street sounded like. I sent the video to CHS Buddy Jim Stone, who had been in town dropping Son Oliver off for class earlier.

His reaction: “Gee. Oliver said they were having movie night in their new apartment with perhaps a few games of chess.”

Party in progress

Athens OH party 08-31-2014When I drove down Court Street, Athens’ main North-South drag late Sunday afternoon, I spotted the party in the first photo two doors down from the office. I couldn’t resist.

When I walked up, there was a guy with a cellphone camera taking a picture of a couple of his friends. “Would you like to get in the photo?” is always a good icebreaker. The next thing I knew, half the party crowded into the photo.

Got an internship?

Athens OH party 08-31-2014A kid came up to me and said, “I saw you flipping cameras back and forth. Are you a pro?” I handed him a business card and told him what I do now.

He wanted to know if I took on interns. I said that I was a Florida guy writing about MO in the middle ’60s and Ohio in the late ’60s, so I didn’t know how well he’d fit in.

“Are you a nark?”

Athens OH party 08-31-2014The next guy asked, “Are you a nark?”

The last time that question was raised, I told him, was in about 1974. I was at a big group of partying young folks about to be chased out by the sheriff when I saw a guy pointing at me and asking his buddy, “Think he’s a nark?”

“You gotta be kidding,” his buddy observed. “He’s too straight-looking to be a nark.”

“I love Athens”

Athens OH party 08-31-2014Another kid said he was from Detroit and “loved Athens.”

“If you are somewhere and mention that you went to school in Athens, it’s like you have a bond.”

Curator Jessica and I had talked about that. Athens’ uptown shopping area, bars and restaurants are adjacent to campus and everything is within walking distance, so a lot of students don’t have cars. It’s also a relatively isolated area not close to any major population centers. A lot of students come from places like Cleveland and Akron that are too far away for a casual weekend commute, so they hang out in town and grow close to it.

That’s a lot different from Cape, where the SEMO campus is nowhere near the shopping areas and St. Louis is an easy two-hour drive. The university and town treat each other with benign neglect.

What’s with the pointing thing?

Athens OH party 08-31-2014So, what’s with the pointing gesture thing that shows up in so many pictures. It’s something I’ve not run into before.

Monday morning, I showed up at a local diner for breakfast. There was a blonde at the table across from me who must have been one of those who attended a Sunday night party because I could see her eyeballs throbbing all the way across the room. I think if a server had dropped a tray of plates behind her, her head would have exploded.

Interestingly enough, the streets were quiet and almost deserted Monday night. I guess even OU students can stand only such much partying.

 

 

Arthur Mattingly Brought History to Life

Arthur Mattingly, history prof, SEMO c 1966When Jim Stone headed off to Ohio University, he and I would trade audio tapes instead of letters. It’s almost painful to listen to the two of us half a century later, but I was playing part of one the other day and heard myself describing my history prof: “He’s talking when he walks into the room, and he’s still talking when the bell rings and people are walking out.”

That was Arthur Mattingly, one of the best profs I had at SEMO or Ohio University.

Founded historic preservation program with Dr. Nickell

The Missourian had a story in 2006 saying that Dr. Mattingly and Dr. Frank Nickell were being recognized for founding SEMO’s historic preservation program 25 years earlier. A 1973 article he wrote does the best job I’ve ever read in explaining the value of historic preservation and how “old” doesn’t always translate into valuable.

Taught history in present tense

Arthur Mattingly, history prof, SEMO c 1966 One of the things I liked about him was that he delighted in debunking all those myths about history that we had been taught from grade school on. His accounts of battles were told in the present tense. He didn’t dwell on dates and troop movements, he made you feel like the enemy was going to come up over that rise any minute.

He, John C. Bierk, and Fred Goodwin are three SEMO profs I remember well.

Things are going to slow down here

I got a call from a perky and squealing Curator Jessica this morning. A grant we had applied for to put on a week-long workshop in Athens, Ohio, in August was approved. Since I really hadn’t expected it to get funded, I drug my feet on preparing for it.

I have to pull together an update for my Smelterville project by July, figure out what I’m going to do convince a bunch of amateur photographers that shooting pictures today with history in mind is fun, and knock off my Last Generation project for an Immigration Conference in Altenburg in October.

To get everything done, I’m going to have to throw some babies out of the lifeboat. I can’t give up food, sleep and afternoon naps, so it’ll be blog posts that go splash. I may plug in re-runs so you don’t forget about me.

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Ernie’s Earth Science Book

Ernie Chiles with Earth Science book 05-02-2014I’ve written many times about Earth Science Teacher Ernie Chiles and the friendship we developed outside of class. He interacted with students in a way that would be unthinkable today, but that’s what made him one of the most memorable teachers I had.

To keep from rehashing old stories, I’ll just post links:

When we met for lunch this trip, Ernie presented me the actual Earth Science book he used to teach the class. I told him to play Vanna White or pretend he was selling soap so I could take his picture with it. He may have a shot at making it in the late-night infomercial game.

He even inscribed it

Ernie Chiles' Earth Science book 05-04-2014Jim Stone, George Cauble and I set a goal of acing all of Ernie’s tests. We’d get together in my basement to review and practically memorize the book the night before a quiz. Ernie, for his part, took the challenge and decided to make tests so hard they couldn’t be aced. You can imagine what THAT did to the curve.

Jim Stone and I are still arguing with him over a couple of questions he marked wrong.

Who did all the underlining?

Ernie Chiles' Earth Science book 05-04-2014When I leafed through the book, I noted that almost every sentence was underlined.

“Geez, didn’t they give you a new book when you started teaching? Who did all the underlines?”

“I did,” he admitted. “You guys thought I was kidding when I said I was only about a chapter ahead of you when I was teaching the class.”

We couldn’t go flying

We couldn’t go flying the last time I was in town because Ernie’s plane had a broken perambulator or something.

It’s perambulating fine now, but there had been a lot of rain around Painton Airport where he hangars the plane. That made the grass runway a bit iffy. I had hoped to get in the air before the leaves came out, but since I had missed that, we decided to err on the side of caution and wait until summer to go up.

Stone is going to be SOOOOO jealous when he hears I have The Book.

 

Getting Ready for the Dance

Decorating CHS gym mid-1960sHere are a few photos I found later that go along with a post I did on Decorating the Gym back in 2012. I held back on them because they were pretty scratched up and nor particularly sharp. I needed some quick content today, though, because I’m planning to do a computer upgrade this evening and I needed to get everything shut down so I could do a backup.

(Thanks, by the way, for all you folks who click on the Click Here button to do your Amazon shopping. That helped made the upgrade possible. I was running low on disk space for all these photos.)

Sackman and Towse

Decorating CHS gym mid-1960sMiss Kathryn Sackman, left, American History teacher, and Miss Lucy Ellen Towse, physical education instructor, discuss what acts of tomfoolery the students are contemplating.

When I look at those ceramic tile walls, I can’t help but remember the way sounds reverberated off them. It was a curious mix of bouncing balls, yells, the squeak of rubber tennis shoe soles on slick floors, punctuated by bleats from the coaches’ whistles. I file it away with the unique sound of silverware hitting thick china plates and the buzz of milk shake mixers at the Woolworths’ lunch counter.

Other decorating photos

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