WOSTER: In my day, we walked - even to collegeIn a forum elsewhere, I mentioned the possibility of South Dakota university campuses allowing alcohol in the dormitories. My take on it: Booze? They wouldn’t even let us stay up late when I was in school.
By: Terry Woster, The Daily Republic
In a forum elsewhere, I mentioned the possibility of South Dakota university campuses allowing alcohol in the dormitories. My take on it: Booze? They wouldn’t even let us stay up late when I was in school.
Students drank alcohol back in my day. I suppose it has always been so, for a number of the young men and women who attend college. Those of us who chose to drink generally went downtown, to one of the taverns that served low-point beer.
In my day, if you were 18, you were old enough for 3.2 beer, but not for high-point beer, wine or hard liquor. Establishments in the downtown area served 3.2 beer by the glass, the pitcher or the bottle, and some Friday evenings, it seemed like every kid enrolled in the university was buying.
I guess if there was an upside to that scene, it was that very few of us had cars on campus. I took the ’57 Chevy at the start of fall semester to haul my stuff to school. It was expected to be returned the first time I went back to Chamberlain for a weekend or a break.
It was expected to remain in Chamberlain until the last visit I made home before the end of spring semester. Then I got to take it back and use it to haul my stuff home for the summer.
It was also expected that the Chevy would be returned after that first fall trip and that last spring trip with not many more miles on the odometer than it would take to drive from Chamberlain to Brookings and back. That meant the beast was parked nearly all of the time.
It also meant that when I went downtown — as I did now and again to broaden my social outlook, I suppose you would say — I hoofed it with a couple of buddies.
When we finished our social-outlook broadening for the evening, we hoofed it back to campus. So, the upside I mentioned earlier was that we weren’t drinking and then driving — not many of us, anyway.
Now, the restrictions on the vehicle while it was in Brookings were relaxed somewhat as I moved through my upper-class years, but the car still wasn’t something I was supposed to use to go gallivanting around the state any old time I pleased.
I was supposed to use good judgment. Surprisingly, for the most part, I did. Even my senior year, when I had the Chevy with me most of the year and lived off-campus just off Medary before it crosses the railroad tracks near the south edge of town (or what was the south edge of town in my day), I walked up to the college most of the time. That wasn’t as onerous as it might sound to today’s more mobile generation.
I’d take everything I needed for the day, and between classes I’d meet some folks at the Jungle to drink coffee and listen to the oldies but goodies on the record machine. (Well, they weren’t oldies then, but they would have been to Marty McFly in “Back to the Future.”) When classes were finished for the day, I walked home.
Sometimes, I used the free periods to study in the library. Those were the times I mentioned in my infrequent phone calls home. Sometimes, yes, I’ll confess it, I finished my school day before the formal academic course schedule showed I should have finished. Of that, I’ll just say to anyone of college age now: “Kids, don’t try this yourself. It can destroy a grade-point average.”
When my own kids were in high school, they went together and bought a used Camaro. I shared stories of walking to high school in Chamberlain and using a car sparingly even in college.
One of them asked if he could take the car to Riggs the next morning because he had to carry some stuff.
Riggs High School is two blocks from the house. You can see the parking lot from our porch. I realized that day that I needed to work on my “back when I was your age” messaging.