Sunday, April 6, 2014

The Trunk Series ~ September 19, 1963

In 1963 the freshman dorms at UCSB were former officer's barracks for the Marine Corp Air Station that was once located near Goleta Point. It was kind of the wild west for those of us away from home for the first time.  There were about 20 students per building and a Resident Assistant (Responsible Adult) who multi-tasked as house manager, referee, wrangler, field marshal, and peace keeper. 

This loose knit community of dorms was centered in a wooded meadow a short walk from campus: The Center for Endless Shenanigans. Shortly after the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan singing "I Want to Hold Your Hand" we had a late night visit at Pine Hall. Awakened by knocking on the window we opened the curtains to see Mike Sterling and one of his buddies, in full bug regalia with pipe cleaner feeler headgear. As soon as the window slid open they broke into the song.

My Mom kept all my letters from UCSB. The letter of this date brought a smile and some memories. It was sent Air Mail for the grand sum of eight cents. My handwriting was still legible. It spoke of boys and dates, bad food and long lines at the dining halls, and looking forward to Thanksgiving and Mom food. Life was so simple and from the perspective of a 18 year old, getting acquainted with independence and new friends, quite the bee's knees. 

I'm sure the following had my folks rolling their eyes. Fearless and free we took everything in with open minds and sometimes a little commentary.

"We are naming the field mice in the hall by alphabet and we're already up to the letter S."

"My roommate Pam and I watched a professor cut up a lady for Human Anatomy classes. He was so casual about the whole thing, smoking and listening to the Dodger game at the same time."

It was definitely a different place and time. Campus was isolated from the real world. There were no computers or cell phones. Social media didn't exist. Hell, we hardly ever saw television. Looking back it was a blessing that served us all well. We learned how to communicate, to write, to make friends and entertain ourselves outdoors.