Archived Story

Write Again … It’s all right to be ‘bi-alumni’

Published 9:26pm Monday, October 22, 2012

In another life some 55 years ago, I went off to college.
Yes, I went off to receive an education, but in truth I went off to experience the newness of differentness, and (probably mainly) to play ball, and to run track.
Oh, yes. I certainly experienced the latter, but, in truth, didn’t really focus on the former. More simply put, I did only a mediocre job of the education part.
Now let me tell you about venerable Wake Forest College in those days. Not really the original Wake Forest eastern Carolinians of a now diminishing — alarmingly, but naturally — group of very much senior citizens recall.
No. I was at Winston-Salem, with Wake Forest in only its second year of existence there.
It was a small, but lovely school, built in what my unlearned architectural eye would call the Georgian style.
There was almost no real landscaping, i.e., trees, shrubs, flowers, really evident on the campus then. (Today, the campus is truly verdant and beautiful.)
And boy, was it lonely there on weekends. At the time there was virtually nothing of a commercial or residential nature anywhere near the school. Winston-Salem seemed in another world from we car-less souls.
Nor was there anything seemingly ever planned of a school-wide social activity on those long, lonely weekends. At that time, the Baptists-in-charge must have felt that such dreary weekends (many students simply went home if proximity allowed) were, perhaps, good for we heathens.
Following that year came the U.S. Army. Three years’ worth, with two-and-a-half of them in Germany. Where did I really get an education? In olive drab. You veterans know what I mean.
And then followed my productive higher education at then not-so-big East Carolina College.
It seems they took such as I and nurtured, molded, and steered us into becoming productive people. Truly, there is something to be said for such a place that, sans the hubris of some of our wonderful, but very pleased with themselves bastions of education excellence, dares to educate we common folk.
Many of the most ardent “supporters” of these splendid institutions know very little of the schools beyond basketball and football. So it is. I doubt many of these good people could find the library on campus.
Enough. Such are the musings of a mild-mannered-man who is no longer that which he once thought he was.
So it goes.
Bartow Houston continues to be an ardent supporter of the Deacons and the Pirates. He also can sing every word of “Dear Old Wake Forest” and “Praise to Your Name, So Fair, Dear Old East Carolina.” On key.

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