Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Guest Post by My Dad

In my family we are rabid, unapologetic, orange bleedin' Okla. State Cowboys.  It all started with my dad.  Homecoming is coming up at OSU and on their website they asked former students to write about their experiences.  I sent the link to Dad and told him he HAD to write something for this.  Because I'm just bossy that way.  Anyway, I loved his story and with his permission, I am posting it here.

          My story began in September 1945 in a Model A Ford named Pluto. At 35 miles an hour the journey had taken all day but finally the Fire Station Tower was visible on the horizon and then gradually the rest of the campus of Oklahoma A. and M. I didn’t know what to expect. I had never been to Stillwater or Oklahoma. No member of my family had ever been to college. I was going to have to make my own way and it was more than a little scary.
          But A. & M. turned out to be a pleasant place. Enrollment was about 5,000, mostly young ladies, many waiting for their Johnny to come marching home from World War II. There were no fast food places, no Student Union, no Eskimo Joes. There was no school mascot. Pistol Pete was still alive. I guess no one thought to ask him about it. Parking was no problem. Tuition was 75 dollars a semester. Since I was from out of state I paid 120 dollars. It seemed like a lot.
          Out at Stillwater airport hundreds of fighters and bombers were being systematically beaten back into plowshares or refrigerators or something else useful. Someone said it was one of the largest air forces in the world . . . for a while.
          The football team went undefeated that year including a Sugar Bowl win and beat OU so bad they fired their coach and went out and acquired a whole new team It was a mistake to embarrass that rich bunch like that. Decades of defeat would pass before we beat them again.
          Semester finals weren’t held until after Christmas in those days so there was time for decorating trees and Christmas dances and parties and girls in long dresses.
          It all came to a screeching crash in January though, when hundreds of veterans hit campus. I heard enrollment doubled overnight. You couldn’t find a place to live or even get a cup of coffee without standing in line. The second semester enrollment process was a disaster. It took a while to sort the whole mess out but that was the beginning of OSU’s future . . . and mine, too.

Gene Allen
Class of 1950
BS Business Administration

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