Flashback to the '50s
I grew up in Detroit, attended Cass Tech H.S., and came to live in East Quad as a freshman in 1954. East Quad was experimenting with co-ed housing at that time. I lived in Hinsdale House with a courtside view of the two women's houses. It was rumored that the women's bathrooms still retained urinals but that they were then used to water geraniums that were placed in pots in them.
Several of my classes were in the Natural Science building. Comparative Anatomy was held in the large lecture room and I remember needing to get there early for an 8 a.m. lecture class with Dr. Stockard who, by 8 a.m. had already filled two boards with drawings and lecture notes. It was common practice to have a friend draw while you took notes that could be shared and then switch off the next week. I also remember taking Physics and having Dr. Donald Glaser (recently deceased Nobel Prize recipient) as my lab instructor. He made us think that his inspiration for tracking atomic particles came from watching bubbles rise in his pitcher of beer at the "P-Bell."
When a job opening occurred at the Botanic Gardens on Iroquois, I felt lucky to get that job because it led to my getting to know several professors who were either teaching or conducting research there. One was Dr. Elzada Clover, the first women to navigate the Colorado River in double -prowed plywood rafts. A highlight of her Botany 2 course was her showing the 8mm film of that trip from the late 1930s. We also learned that the Havasupai Indians introduced her contingent to peyote. Such a revelation to our not so worldly-wise sophomore ears! I later came to be one of her teaching assistants in Botany 2, a class that mostly enrolled female elementary school teachers-to-be. My wife of now 50 years was one of them.
Going to summer classes for two years at the U of M Biological Station on Douglas Lake near Pellston led to several great adventures. One of the more memorable was spending a Friday or Saturday evening at Hoppy's, a roadside tavern 3.2 backroad miles from UMBS in the company of several professors and many classmates. Another involved taking cages of Purple Martins to the Northwest Airlines terminal in Pellston to have them released by airline personnel wherever planes were traveling and then charting how long and well it took these homing birds to get back their house on Douglas Lake.
Making new friends, being exposed to good and great teaching, being in the midst of wonderful musical and dramatic theater and observing Big 10 athletics as well as living at a time and in a place where history was being made gave me the unique experience of becoming the first college-educated member of my family.
Peter Wilson '54, '58
- Peter G Wilson
- BS (Biology) 1958
Our Good Life
My experiences at the U. of M. were exceptional. I met my husband, George Carbon Wolfe (who had just been discharged from the service), my sophomore year. We were both sophomores as he had attended the U. of M. before he went into the service. We met bussing dishes at the Men's Union. (I had just joined a sorority and thought I had better make some extra money). We fell in love and were married on June 12,1947 and graduated together on our first wedding anniversary, June 12,1948. He continued at Michigan for another year when he received his MBA. We moved to Ohio and had two daughters, (both are grandmothers now). We have traveled all over the world and leave for Perth, Australia tomorrow for an 18-day cruise on RCCL's "Radiance of the Seas." Truly, Marjorie L. Wolfe
- Marjorie Wolfe
- B.A. 1948
The video sent today about receiving one's letter of acceptance to UM reminded me of mine for the Law School in the spring of 1965. The letter was addressed to me in my full name: Michael Patrick Sullivan. That alone would not have made it memorable, but then I noticed the date on the letter: March 17, 1965 (St. Patrick's Day). I knew right then that somebody in the Admissions Office had a sense of humor and that I was going to love Michigan...and I do! Somewhere, I still have that letter.
- Michael P. Sullivan
- J.D. 1968
My experiences from'63-67'
I started in Jan 1963. I did not enter a degree program. I had a very rich uncle who gave me a blank checkbook and said "Go to school, but remember that whatever you spend, you have to pay back!" Well, I took whatever courses I felt like. I received a great education. I lived in east Quad for a year or 2 and then an apartment on Lawrence Street. My best memories were all the great motorcycles parked in a row across from the Union. Basically no two alike. What I liked best was the openness of all the labs. Even the Phoenix Reactor wasn't off limits. I have since then started numerous businesses, most of them scientific. I make (grow) laser crystals.....ruby, NdYAG, TiSapphire, sapphire, cubic zirconia, etc... I make speciality paints and lacquers also. I went to MSU later, but absolutely hated the environment.....everything was far less open and I felt highly regulated. My time at U of M is what I attribute my success to. Thank you U of M!!!!!
- Larry Paul Kelley
I am the 3rd engineering graduate from our family. Father (Casimer,1930(?)BSME; brother Jan, 1956,BSEE) and distinctly remember my first few weeks as freshman in the South Quad. I had the privledge of living next door to two distingnuised enginering students who somehow built a car engine piece by piece and started it up in their room. When it fell off the block, that went over really big on campus. We had this nasty habit of turning on all the hot water faucets in the men's room at the end of the hall and letting it run, creating a great steam room. That didn't go over very well either.
- Paul Gogulski
I'm wondering what ever happened to SCHWABEN INN, which was a popular bar and hangout for Michigan students, located on Liberty and Ashley streets in downtown Ann Arbor in the 1950's. I remember the place well, and wonder if anyone else does and could offer some info. about its history and demise.
- Robert Bell
- AB 1954
Does anyone remember House Mothers at residences on campus? I certainly do...I lived in East Quad. and also the SAE fraternity in the 1950's. Both had live-in House Mothers, who were great additions to the quality of living. I guess this is a thing of the past but I believe was a great help in keeping life good in those days. The "Good Old Days" were actually GOOD.
- Robert Alexander Bell
- A.B. Economics 1954
I remember taking classes in a Quanset temporary building across from the old University Hospital on campus in 1951. I also remember many hours spent in the old Economics building, which I understand burned down. My favorite professor was Prof Huber, who never failed to entertain us particularly at 8:00 a.m.early class. Great Memories. I hope students today have great memories as I have.
- Robert Alexander Bell
- A.B. Economics 1954
I was a married student living at Pittsfield Village, 1943 Navy Housing. Rent was $87.50 per month. Now units at the Village sell for $80,000 and $300 monthly maintenance fees! Paul McCracken was my favorite professor. How great it was to read about him last month. Go Brady Hoke!
- Richard Gallette
- MBA 1963
C.M., O. Ont.
I was fortunate to be at the University of Michigan for my M.A. in journalism. My favourite professors were Prof. Wesley Maurer and Prof. Leland Stowe. My other favourite professors were Prof. Russell Fifield of the Department of Political Science and Prof. William Davis, the director of the International Centre.
My time at UM was a wonderful experience. It helped me become what I am today. I met great professors and fabulous people, including Arthur Bechhoefer, whose room was next to mine in the East Quad and who became a close friend. Celand Wyllie and Bob Beyers of the University's News Service also became good friends.
As part of my M.A. program I spent three months with Flint Journal, Grand Rapids Press and Holland Evening Sentinel, though Ralph Curry, then city editor and later editor of Flint Journal, brought me back to Flint Journal for another six months.
Michigan is a fantastic place to grow intellectually and socially, one of the world's best universities. I was fortunate to get my M.A. from there.
Contrary to what my friend Samin Khan wrote, I was never the editor of Michigan Daily. I did contribute articles to the Michigan Daily and to Ann Arbor News.
After doing my M.A. I returned to Pakistan and worked with Morning News, Karachi-Dacca, and also wrote for Christian Science Monitor, Baltimore Sun, Indianapolis Star and Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In 1965 I moved to Canada and worked for 25 years with the Ottawa Citizen, mostly as the editorial board member specializing in foreign affairs. Then I became a civil servant and later served for ten years as a refugee judge.
I have received the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario and the Queen's Golden Jubilee Award for my work as a journalist, leadership of Muslims and efforts to promote better understanding between Canadians of diverse faiths.
I keep in touch with UM through the internet and Michigan Daily and also follow the Wolverines in football, basketball, ice hockey, etc. I watch as many games as possible on TV and once in a while even go to Ann Arbor for a football game, or used to during Bo Schembechler's days.
- Mohammed Azhar Ali Khan
- M.A., University of Michigan 1959
- 1970-1: lived in South Quad, member of Michigan Marching Band, Engineering student. I met a few friends who remained friends through my UofM experience. Go Blue.
- 1971-2: lived with parents in A2, still in MMB / went to Rose Bowl. Still in Engineering.
- 1972-3: lived in Greek Frat, no MMB because I needed to work full time to pay the bills. Faded out of Engineering. Got married in the fall and transferred to (dare I say it) MSU.
- 1973-6: Obtained a bachelor's degree in Business at MSU. Came back to A2 and worked for UofM in Administrative Data Processing (Hoover & Green) for 13.5 years.
- 1989-present: I am a United Methodist pastor in Michigan.
I cherish my Michigan years, both as a student and a staff member, however I am torn when they compete in Inter-Collegiate athletics. I need one of those t-shirts that is half Michigan and half State. Highlights: that 1972 Rose Bowl, playing under the baton of William D Revelli, working for my Alma Mater.
- John Schneider
A few years ago, I met John Tesh, star of the tv show "Entertainment Tonight," at a film industry event in Hollywood. While we were chatting, he mentioned that he had played in the North Carolina State University marching band. I told him that I had played in the University of Michigan marching band. He said, "Oh, then you played for William D. Revelli."
I was amazed. They always told us that William D. Revelli was world famous. They weren't kidding.
- Dave Bortman
- B.A. and J.D. 1962
Re: Car craze (February 2011): What a wonderful article - adds a bit of explanation to the picture in which my father rollerskated across the Diag (far left, Gordon W. Packer, 1928, drum major of the Michigan Band 1924-28). My father died in 1969 - celebrating his 50th anniversary at the University by marching as the drum major of the Alumni Band - an organization he started in the 1950s. I can remember typing the letters to all the former band members, inviting them to the first reunion of band members. Go blue!!!
- Melinda Packer Ziegler
- BS in Design 1965
It was in my spring semester in Ann Arbor, 1953, that I signed up for two, one hour classes to top off my schedule. I was an A&D Design major wanting some music. The classes were Music Literature and University Chorus. The morning of the first lecture on "The Symphony" I strolled into the hall at the front lower entrance. I turned to look up to the upper seating to see if there was anybody I knew in the class. And there she was! A tall mysterious slender blond, looking down at me for an instant and then scanning her eyes about as if some spy was trailing her. She disappeared quickly after the lecture. This behavior went on for several weeks. I had no luck having her in my class sectional. There were four class sections, but the mystery blond was not in mine.
The University Chorus rehearsals were great because we had Professor "Uncle" Maynard Klein. Everyone was inspired to do their very best. My mystery blond was buried somewhere in the alto section. At the end of rehearsal Miss Mystery would leave right away with a soprano and never look my way.
It was time for a final rehearsal in Hill Auditorium. My best buddy Don Smith came with me. He wanted to see this gal I was so taken with. When we stepped through the back door of the auditorium, I noticed right away that Miss Mystery was down the steps and studying the seating chart on the wall. I pointed her out to Don.
He said "make your move and get down there now!"
I obliged him went to the chart.
As I approached she said "I can't find my spot on the chart."
I fumbled my way into asking "What's your name?"
"Johanna Willertz" she said.
We found her spot and I said "this is me over here."
"Well thanks " she said.
I went back up the steps and relayed my new information to my buddy Don. When I looked back, Johanna was talking fast to that soprano I saw her with after rehearsals. As Don and I left the building, I could see that the two girls were heading in the direction of women's dorms.
Later that day back in my dorm room, I searched through the Student Directory and then called all the women's dorms to see if they had her listed as a resident. No luck. The next day I went to the registration office in the Administration building on State Street.
The women I met there kindly listened to my plight and said." Let me check through the filed registration cards."
A moment later she came back with Johanna's file card and let me read it. (No computers then and no privacy as today.) There was what I needed: her address in Mosher / Jordan Hall with her phone number. The card had a January 1953 date on it. No wonder she wasn't in the Student Directory or printed phone lists in the dormitories. She's a first semester freshman! Good Grief! I'm robbing the cradle!
That night, I called her and made a date for Friday night.
"Are you game to go with me to choir practice at the Presbyterian Church before the movie?"
"Sure , that would be great."she said.
Five months later, I proposed to her an her 18th birthday, August 19th. The following November 22nd, we were wed in the First Presbyterian Church on Washtenaw, the day after the Michigan / Ohio football game.
After a fifty-four year romance, she passed away in her sleep.
- Garth E. Dewey
- BS in Design 1954
When I was there in 1956-57 at law school on a Ford Foundation fellowship, Gerald Ford, who later became the president, was the congressman, and at the International Centre he was being hooted down-by the Indians- I was called by the chair and I asked the audience to let Ford speak-the president was anwar aziz choudhry-and the editor of michigan daily was azhar ali khan-so three pakistanis me, anwar aziz choudhry and mohammad azhar ali khan controlled 125 indians there, and also because of azhar ali khan my photo appeared in michigan daily.ps.the present turkish government is influenced by my thesis' chapter on turkey in which i wrote that 'kemal ata turk first exploited islam then turned against it'-this chapter of my thesis has been praised by Sorbonne and the UN library in Geneva.
- Samin Khan
Big Ten Championship
As a freshman in 1975 there was a group of us that started a FENCING CLUB. We trained and were invited that year to the BIG TEN FENCING CHAMPIONSHIP which was held in Wisconsin Spring of 1976. The weather was miserable. There was an ice storm but we traveled to Wisconsin and stayed the weekend. GLORY GLORY GLORY.... undefeated in the FINALS!! TOOK FIRST PLACE!!!! what FUN!!!!!
- Christina Massiala-Vaka
- BGS 1986
The Last Panty Raid?
The Last Panty Raid? From High School to the U in the '60s: An excerpt from the movie, "Illegal Smile," written by Tom Bayer
The three slightly inebriated Catholic boys from Dogbone headed to the Diag from West Quad to rendezvous with their two friends from Markley. The five Divine children were just beginning to grok the University of Michigan as "in loco parentis."
The brisk October night reinforced changes these freshmen were experiencing. The boys had just attended their first homecoming game against Indiana that Saturday. Although the stadium was only half full (pre-Bo Schembechler), they were excited about going to a Big Ten game in what later came to be known as The Big House (the largest stadium in the USA). That evening Tom peeked into the homecoming dance at the Michigan Union Ballroom. "The Doors were supposed to play that night but got so high on drugs they could barely stand!" he said. "The drummer came out and just dove onto the drum set. Jim Morrison had to be propped up by two roadies. The entire band was carried off the stage without ever playing a single note. The girls in their formal gowns and the guys in their tuxes were sooo mad!"
Tom rambled on: "There are some real weirdos where we live at Williams House in West Quad! I saw one guy with hair actually down over his ears! He's from Manhattan so I guess that explains it. Always has his door shut. Must be smoking something funny. Yesterday we got the results of our first inorganic chemistry exam. Some guy went to the professor during his office hours and asked if he (the student) shouldn't have gotten partial credit for question six. He got the right value after all. Only the units were missing. The professor responded, 'What, you damn fool?' My classmate Bob looked over at me and whispered, 'That would be a NO on the partial credit.'" Yes: we were definitely at the U!
Lloyd declared (in the disjointed manner that alcohol-influenced conversations often flow), "I heard that in the '30s, only guys were allowed in the Union and females were allowed in the League. Can you imagine?"
"I know!" suggested Ray. "Let's go over to Mosher Jordan for a panty raid -- just like they used to do in those moldy oldie days."
As it seemed like a really good idea at the time, the young students (together with other like-minded freshmen) staggered past Waterman Gym; between the Museum Annex and the Natural Science Museum; and down the slope. They crossed Forest Ave, and sprinted up the hill to Stockwell.
"We want panties! We want panties!" the boys chanted.
Within moments a girly red pair floated down from a window on the third floor. The knuckleheads continued on to Jordan with the same request: "We want panties! We want panties!" This time a lacy blue pair drifted down from one of the top windows. The particularly drunk Jim pulled the panties over his head and yelled through the leg hole, "On to Markley!"
The women's side of the dorm faced East Medical Center Drive. Again the freshmen made the same request for panties. Can you even begin to imagine their amazement when a young co-ed climbed up on the window sill and pulled the curtain closed behind her. Wearing only a single strand necklace and 4-inch pumps, she proceeded to strut naked across the sill. It was not the sleazy pole dance with which the boys from Dogbone were somewhat familiar, but rather as if she were performing on stage at the Power Center. Needless to say, the freshmen were completely shut down. The sexual revolution was alive and well in Ann Arbor.
Why oh why oh why am I telling you this?
That's a good question, and as Father Obi often said, "It requires a good answer." As I'm talking to an audience that wasn't even born until the early '90s, I need to explain how it was in the '60s. The Vietnam war was in full swing. It was the first time people could see the horrors of war on the 6 o'clock news every evening. A college deferment was only temporary as the draft was still in place. Those who didn't go to college, went to 'Nam. After college, guys still went to 'Nam (the draft lottery went into effect in 1970). The cultural revolution was certainly reflected in the music of the times. The group that embodied this unlike any other was the Beatles. From their three appearances on the "Ed Sullivan Show" in 1963, the mop-top Fab Four had become psychedelicized by the release of their "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" album in the late '60s. When then-Senator and presidential candidate, John F Kennedy, first mentioned the Peace Corps on the steps of the Michigan Union (October 14, 1960), he made an impassioned call to service to American youth. This was reflected in his January inaugural speech "...And so, my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country."
Only seven years later, the rebellious spirit of the ever widening generation gap was reflected in the tagline of the movie "Cool Hand Luke" (released earlier in 1967): "What we have here is a failure to communicate." In December of that year, "The Graduate" was also released. It had arguably the most famous one-word tag line in cinematic history: "Plastics!" It was so assimilated into the culture that by the mid '70s when the United States government shot a commercial for the Peace Corps they quoted the famous line from the "Graduate," paraphrasing, "You have plenty of time for your career in plastics. Take a year off and do something for your country."
After collaborating with sci-fi author Arthur C Clark, Stanley Kubrick directed the movie "2001: A Space Odyssey." The movie (released in the spring of 1968) was a box office hit with the hippies of the time. When the American astronauts first landed on the moon in 1969, Houston asked them what it looked like. They replied that it looked like "2001."
Expressing the frustration of the ever-growing generation gap, "Catch 22" (released in 1970) was soon to become the idiomatic expression for a no-win situation. The lyrical philosopher Bob Dylan was right on when he sang, "the times they are a-changing."
Fifteen months after the last panty raid at U-M, Tom was a full-fledged hippie. He later became a database administrator for the Sisters of St. Joseph Health System. Bob went on to become a biology professor at MSU. Lloyd married a veterinarian and now manages their clinic in New England. Ray works for new product development at Ford Motor Co. Jim graduated from U-M Dearborn, and since his retirement from the Glass House, he entertains at Greenfield Village.
Waterman Gymnasium (site of the manual registration process) was torn down and replaced by the newest wing of the Chemistry Building in 1977. North University Building housed the IBM mainframe computers of the day, and was torn down about the time Palmer Commons was built. The pedestrian bridge that went past the Central Campus Recreation Building (CCRB) wasn't finished until the fall of 1970. Additionally, if one traveled east on South University to Forest Ave. and turned north past the University Towers entrance, they would see a private drive, which, if extended, was once the original Forest Ave. and is now Washtenaw Ave. Originally designed to provide housing and dining for approximately 1,000 women, Markley Hall went co-ed in '64.
- Tom Bayer
- BS 1971
The Tortoise Club
I wrote an essay about the friendship since 1975 between Professor George J. Siedel, The Business School and myself as the Tortoise Club. I would like to send it if you have interest in it. I am former senior managing director, Nippon Life Insurance Company, Japan
- Toda Makoto
- LL.M 1975
He was my advisor. I very much appreciate the time he spent advising me on the way to my Degree in Mechancal Engineering.
It would be nice if he could have seen what my future would be. I have received 12 patents and worked extensively in hydraulics and mechanical design of off-highway equipment from lawn mower transmissions to "large" catepillar equipment. Even transporters for space shuttle booster rockets.
- William H Ward
THE KENNEDY SPEECH
In the fall of 1960 I was a sophomore in LSA and was serving as the President of Huber House in South Quadrangle. When it was announced that JFK would swing through Ann Arbor on his last major campaign effort, my friends and I were most eager to hear him.
We finished a meeting in South Quad around 9:00 PM and one of my friends and I went out to State Street to await JFK's "imminent" arrival. With repetitive announcements of his delay, the hours wore on. I have a vivid recollection of period announcements that "Dean Debbie" (Deborah Bacon, Dean of Women) had relaxed women's curfew (can you believe it?) for another hour. This went on all through the entire event.
As time wore on, it was finally announced that the entourage had landed on the motorcade was on its way to the Union.
For some reason, my friend and I concluded that, since they were so late, the motorcade would try to avoid the probable delays on Washtenaw and East University. We walked down the hill on State Street toward Packard. Sure enough, we were practically alone when we met the open convertible! We began walking along with it, leaning on the back trunk lid and talking to JFK. If memory serves me correctly, John Swainson, then Lt. Governor and gubernatorial candidate, was also in the car.
As we approached the Union, the crowds began to swell around the car and I found myself being crushed onto the rear bumper. I had nowhere to go except up on the trunk and over into the back seat, which I did. I spent one of the most memorable minutes of my life until my unceremonious exit from the car.
There was a magnetism that emanated from Kennedy. That night I truly came to understand the meaning of "charisma."
- EDWARD H. POWERS
- BA, JD 1964
JFK story falls short
Re JFK at the Union: I really don't believe that Tobin caught the flavor of the evening or the speech at all. I was a little bit offended by what I would consider to be a bowlerized version and I think that the introductory quote is off the mark. Yes the evening became tense having to wait so long. And the young Republican's huge banner, "You Can't Lick our Dick!" strung between the trees across from the Union may have been torn down before Jack arrived, and there was an atmosphere of increasing excitement as the evening wore on. So when the big guys came out of the bus and created a wedge and forced their way up onto the landing there was an atmosphere of extreme anticipation and Jack was exceedingly handsome we could see. He had a kind of WWII Officer classiness and was very poised. And he complimented us by saying that it was an honor to be here at the great and famous University. We were of course pleased and proud to hear that. And then with a smile he quick turned and said that he too went to a fine university and that back home we call it the Michigan of the East. Upon that quick quip, the crowd broke into cheers and the game was on. The way Tobin expresses it is so vapid and lifeless. No. It was a quick snap that brought us to attention not a lifeless statement. The tension immediately dropped and it became a happy atmosphere of expectation. The official version is dreadfully dead.
- Bill Dickens
Re JFK at the Union: I was a Freshman, sitting on the sill of a 2nd story window of the Union with my legs hanging down, waiting and waiting while the women's permission to stay out late was extended several times so we could see Kennedy. I lived in Mary Markley dorm.
It's not there in the text, but what I remember is Kennedy's saying his famous "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country!" and some student yelling, "Well what can we do except join the f***ing army?!" Whereupon Kennedy said he would establish a "peace corps.
Judging from the transcript, I must have dreamt this, but this is what I remember. </p> <p>The mood was very pro-Kennedy. I remember my Freshman philosophy teacher, as an example in a syllogism, saying, "If Nixon wins this election, Manning (i.e. himself) will walk up Burton tower on his knees." I was 17 and came from a strongly Republican family, and this was all very astonishing. I was much moved and impressed by Kennedy and have been a Democrat ever since!
- Janet Katherine Lethen Clark
- BA, MA 64
Re JFK at the Union: The Governor in 1960 was G. Mennen ("Soapy") Williams. That may have been George Romney who Ms. Burson was standing behind, but he wasn't elected Governor until 1962.
- Michael Berla
- M. A. (Econ) & Ph. D.(Urban & Regional Planning)
JFK at the Union
Re JFK at the Union: I was a sophomore living at Henderson House co-op in 1960. Along with many others I watched the debate between Nixon and Kennedy the evening of Oct. 13. Shortly after the debate we headed for the Union. Several fellow housemates were members of the young Democrats. With Kennedy buttons in hand we started passing the buttons out and working our way to the front of the assembled crowd of students.
It was an exciting and a challenging speech, one that suggested a role for our generation to contribute to making a better world. Kennedy was elected, the Peace Corps became a reality.
In the spring of 1963 the Peace Corps came to the Union. Along with another Henderson House senior, I filled out an application and took a test. In June 1963 I was in training for Thailand 6.
I was serving as an English teacher in Thailand when Kennedy was assassinated. It filled with me a deep sadness and a personal sense of loss. I was amazed by how much Kennedy and his family were admired and loved by the people of Thailand. For the year following his death every issue of a major Thai magazine carried a 4 page centerfold with various photos of our late president and his family.
At least 3 of our Henderson House group who listened to Kennedy's speech at the Union that night served in the Peace Corps.
- MARY LEE JACOBSON WINKLER
- Bachelor 1963
Re JFK at the Union: I was across the State St. a fair distance from the steps where Kennedy spoke. My fraternity brothers and I waited for at least 3 hours before he appeared. He was an inspiring president. Although I didn't join the Peach Corps I did end up as a Federal employee for 39 years working on environmental issues, particularly the Great Lakes. Now retired, I'm volunteering for President Obama's Organizing for America hoping that this generation will be inspired by him as mine was by Kennedy.
- William L. Richardson
- BS Civil Englineering 1963
Great expectations -- fulfilled!
Re JFK at the Union: I was there on the steps of the Union that night. Kennedy was expected earlier, so we waited and waited and waited, and yes, we, too, were able to stay out after our required time to be in the dorm, for this special occasion. We didn't care about the wait; we were young, enthusiastic, and dying to see this vibrant and handsome new Presidential candidate in the flesh. He, and his speech, fulfilled all our expectations, and it was then all the more devastating to hear three years later, of his assassination. He was a hunk, no doubt. If we had known about various bedroom activities back then, when everyone's mindset was still in the virginal fifties, we would have been shocked out of our minds.
- Julie Stockwell Hatfield
- BA 1962
Worth the wait
Re JFK at the Union: I recall standing with hundreds of others on State street by South U that fall evening. Kennedy was due to arrive at 10 pm but was more than 2 hours late but it just made the buildup more. His motorcade came from the south on State Street just a few feet from where I was standing. The crowd was electric with enthusiasm. He climbed to the top of the steps and was pleased that so many of us waited to see him. He made a joke about attending "the Michigan of the East" which drew applause and laughter. He spoke for about 15 minutes in which he encouraged us to get involved in aiding our country. I was impressed with his vigor and ability for leadership.
- Raymond Mercier
- B.A. 1962
I attended the University of Michigan from 1955 to 1959. One of the most memorable events for me involved getting a physical on the elevated track above the floor of the Barbour Gymnasium. The track was inclined with an iron railing on the inside, and was covered with brown paper so the students enrolling down below could not see us as we had little or no clothes on. As I recall, the physicals were given by Med Students, which turned out to be an embarrassment for the women, as they went around clockwise, and the men went around the track counterclockwise. (A date later with a Med Student who had given the physical, could be embarrassing.) One student in front of me slipped and slid down the incline, stopping with his legs dangling under the bottom of the brown paper. I always wonder what the students down below thought as the legs appeared.
- John Larson
- B.S.M.E. 1959
So much for curfew
I was a freshman at U of M when then Senator Kennedy made his historic speech instigating the Peace Corps on the steps of the Michigan Union. (JFK at the Union)
I sat on the Union steps for well over 3 hours waiting for the Senator's arrival. We had to keep sending runners back to our dorm, the now defunct Victor Vaughn Hall, to ask permission to stay out late. At that time all women had to be in their dorms by 10 p.m. Finally Senator Kennedy and his entourage arrived--to our loud and grateful cheers! They came to the top of the steps, where I was standing. The Senator stood in the center with his minion around him. In front of me was a tall, fairly large man who was blocking my view. I politely tapped him on the back and asked him to please move as I couldn't see Senator Kennedy. He said "I'm sorry" and graciously moved. A friend then said to me, "Do you know you just asked Gov. Romney to move"?! Well, I couldn't see! He was very gracious! And, of course, Senator Kennedy's speech and presence that night was a most auspicious and meaningful start to my career at the University of Michigan.
My memories of Pres. Kennedy's death while I was still at U of M are just as strong but, obviously, more painful. And to complete this saga I was the one who initiated the request to then Pres. Johnson to speak at our graduation in the Stadium. He did!
- Linda Burson
- B.A. (Theatre) 1964
Right place, right time
Re JFK at the Union: I was on the steps of the Michigan Union that morning. In fact, I am the person just behind Senator Kennedy's left shoulder in the photograph. (To his right in the photo.) The one with the black frames. At the time I worked at the U-M TV Center, as a program producer-director
The man to the Senator's left (to his right in the photo) grinning at him was Tom Paine, who was running for Congress from Ann Arbor. I was his campaign aide, which is why I was on the steps. Earlier in the evening I had driven Paine's campaign VW bus to Willow Run Airport to provide the PA system for Senator Kennedy when he addressed the crowd after landing there.
The article mentions Mildred Jeffrey, the UAW official and Democratic committeewoman. (Actually, Millie was the National Committeewoman from Michigan, not a "state committeewoman".)She is the woman with the large ID badge, near the right edge of the photograph, looking down and to her left and grinning broadly. She was a good friend of the Senator's and a close longtime ally of Walter Reuther, the visionary founder of the UAW.
- Michael Berla
- MA( Econ; 54) PhD( U & RP; 74) 54