I was born in 1922. I started in Alfred in 1940 because my father was in the glass business; in those days that is how it was done. I finally left Alfred in 1948 after about four years on the campus and a war intervening. Incidentally, in 1939 when I was accepted, I was told to learn to read German, because glass technology literature was not available in the English language.
At Alfred, Dr. Samuel Ray Scholes saw to it that I got a degree in glass technology, but the rest of my experience in the valley is really what shaped me, and it had little to do with most of my classmates or my curriculum studies.
Professor C.D. Smith introduced me to aspects of theatre that I never imagined. He made the stage come alive. Drama – not glass.
J. Nelson Norwood, as President, spoke at my obligatory first campus chapel service. I don’t know if Alfred does that anymore. He said many of us would meet our spouses in the valley, he did and so did I.
Stanley Saunders, an Alfred University graduate, kept Holsteins and sold milk in Town. Through him I learned to strip the last bit of milk from their teats after the milking machine had done its work. Yes, I was enrolled in Glass Technology.
Charles Sisson lived on Church Street and kept cattle in a fenced pasture that must have been more than 1500 acres, west of Town. I hand-salted his heifers to keep them tame in winter so they could be rounded up in springtime.
Sandy Luce, a Townie from Irish Hill, taught me to tack horse shoes on the animals that Bob Young AU’47 and I kept at Mrs. Mamie Vincent Rogers Thomas Armstrong’s barn on South Main near where Dr. Watson make his honey chocolate Candies.
Barn rent was five dollars a month and hay, Bright Timothy, was less than a dollar a bale. We bought our mounts from the Remount Service at Cornell ROTC for about $150 each.
A.J.C. Bond, Dean of the School of Theology, taught me how to back a buggy and horse out of a parking place in front of the pharmacy on Main Street, and he also taught a course in the Literature of the Old Testament. I took that course and another from Dr. Hall in the Liberal Arts College where he reminded students that there was no such thing as a disembodied mind, and still another from Dr. Roland Warren that helped me to understand the various moralities of ethical systems like those of duty, religion, and happiness. Yes, I earned a degree in Glass.
Dean Ellis Drake got me to understand that I had to pay for repairing his office lawn after my horse walked over it in a foot of snow. When the snow finally melted in spring, the lawn had a horse track across it, and he remembered – and I paid.
I hunted deer from horseback and shared the venison with people in Town.
I lived on Sayles Street with H.O. Burdick’s family across from Pi Alpha Pi Sorority and eventually married one of them, Edith Foster, AU’47. We had six children, one of whom, Edith Ann, was Theta Chi in the next generation. She married a chap from Delta Sig, or was it Klan?
Dr. H.O. Burdick was active in the first Alfred Seventh Day Baptist Church and I joined it. He pioneered in the human pregnancy test using a diesterous mouse.
Reverend Everett Harris was a part-time teacher at the School of Theology and he was my Pastor when I was in Alfred. He too hunted dear but was a poor shot.
At a recent reunion, the only person left who I knew from my college days was Billy Crandall. The students I encountered didn’t have the slightest knowledge of the SDB Church or that Alfred once had a School of Theology or the fact that in 1940 the U.S. Post Office and the bank were open on Sunday and closed on Saturday. Few students I met at reunions interfaced with the Alfred Fire Department or the local Boy Scouts.
Many old buildings and monuments remain, but the demographic has changed, and I no longer make the connection. This is not, in any way a complaint. Things change; for example in 1941 the Town barber “didn’t know how to cut a colored man’s hair” and a pregnant undergraduate killed herself. For me, to be designated a member of the President’s Council today would strike a discordant note, if ever I was asked and if then I spoke up. I represent an eight year tiny wedge of Alfred’s long past culture, but here and now the President and the University must address problems of the present and the future. Golden Oldies – yes. President’s Council – no.
I’ll grant it was fun for a few years to be wined and dined and taxied over the campus; but to be included in a President’s Council is not in the cards.
Amy Jacobson, you have a difficult job. I don’t know how a President’s Councilor fits in. Alfred in 1940 was good for me then, but I have not the slightest idea what colleges today do for young people today. Thanks for the memories.