Bower Werner (1948), Barbara (Swartz) Dickerman (1951), Pat (Lewis) Stevenson
(1952), Janet Olwine Gilp (1958) (July 2004)
Kianus: to read the unedited versions of these interviews, please log into the sisters only section of the website (http://members.kianu.org), then click on the "extra info" link on the left hand side. Email questions to email@example.com .
Interview with Carol Bower Werner (class of 1948)
You asked about memories I have about my years at Muskingum, especially about Kianu. To begin with, I worked as a draftsman at Willow Run Bomber Plant for two years after graduating from High School. Having developed ulcers, and realizing that I would never get anywhere as a draftsman, I quit and went on a pre-engineering course at Muskingum. My first class in drafting was a laugh. We had to draw a faucet. Here I had been drawing blueprints for the Bomber, B24. There were all boys in the class, and every one of them told me that I couldn't take drafting because I was a girl. I laughed, said I had been making my living as a draftsman for the last two years. Then I asked them what they had been doing the past two years. That shut them up.
The freshman class and the football team had to report to Muskingum one week prior to the rest of the college students. Since I came from a big city, Detroit, and had earned my own living for two years, that made me two years older than the other girls. That also gave me an air of sophistication not apparent in those who were from a small town and just out of High School.
I was not rushed that year. However, I did become the V.P. of the honor society, CWENS, that epitomized the ideal Muskingum girl. The next year, after getting to know some Kianu girls, I was rushed and accepted
We had no big or little Kianu sisters assigned to us. The first few weeks of our freshman year, we had an upper classman from the Y.W.C.A. assigned to each of us to help us get acquainted with 'all things Muskingum,' and generally orient us to the ways of the College.
By 'family tree' do you mean the Kianu Family Tree or our biological family tree? My Biological family tree contains two outstanding members on it. Richard Warren came over on the Mayflower. My Maternal grandmother's grandfather started the top 100 or the Upper Crust of New York. He had the largest house on the highest hill overlooking Schenectady, N.Y. The top floor was the ball room and the floor was covered with 'crash' (a material) so as to keep the bottom of the ladies' gowns clean.
We had a housemother. She pretty much kept to her own quarters except when it came to seeing who was trying to sneak in late. Also, if anyone stayed in bed sick, they were sure to have delivered to them, made by her own hands, a half grapefruit with brown sugar on top which had been placed under the broiler. We had to be in the house by 9:00 except on Fridays and Saturdays, when it was 11:00 p.m.
My favorite hobby was to break as many Muskingum rules as I could get away with. Frequently I had a female or a male cohort. One of my Kianu sisters discovered that one of the members of the boy's club across the street had left his keys in his car. She contacted me, and we stole the car and parked it in the very far lane in the graveyard. Somehow we got squealed on. Admitting nothing, we suggested to the police that a logical place might be the graveyard. After a half an hour, the police came back. No car. We were told that we would be taken into police custody unless we told them where the car was. I asked one of the officers if they were sure they had checked all the roads, even the very far lane away from the road. Whadayaknow - There it was. They couldn't say anything because it would put them in a bad light for not having checked the graveyard thoroughly.
Another time, with vengeance in mind, several Kianus pelted the Alban house with very ripe tomatoes. We scattered and ran. Only a few of us were caught. I was one of them because, in rounding one of the homes behind which I was aiming for, I knocked my glasses off. On hands and knees, trying to find them, one of the Alban members tripped over me.
I had a brother and 2 sisters. Our parents believed that there was no division of labor between male and female. (At Muskingum) If there was something in one of the girls' houses that needed fixing, a call was made to one of the boys' houses to come and fix it. They would then be paid for it. If something was wrong in the Kianu house, it was, "Call Carol." Then I would fix it - anything but the coal furnace. Of course I wasn't paid for it - after all it was my house, too. One night after I had gone to bed and fallen asleep, I heard screams coming from the bathroom - two doors from my bedroom. Someone yelled, "Call Carol!" The next thing I knew was someone dragging me out of bed, placing a pledge paddle in my hand, and guiding me towards the bathroom. Half asleep, not really knowing what was going on, I remember someone saying, "There's a mouse in the bath tub". Bleary eyed, I saw something dark going around and around half-way up the inside of the bathtub. Not really knowing what I was doing, I raised the pledge paddle, waited a few seconds, and then let it fall -hard- on the inside of the bathtub. I remember seeing red splattered all over the inside of the tub. Dropping the paddle, I padded my way back to bed and back to sleep. I would have thought it all a dream if someone hadn't told me about it the next day.
Every Sunday we had our big meal after church, about 1:00 p.m. It was a tradition to invite one of the professors to dine with us. This Sunday the guest was the head of the Chemistry Department. I was sitting next to him. It was at this time that the atomic bomb was being tested. I asked the professor if there wasn't danger of the winds blowing some of the atomic particles across the ocean. "No", he said rather disgustedly, "The atmosphere is too big for that". I felt rather foolish for even thinking it let alone voicing the question. Today I don't feel so foolish. I'm just glad I never had a class with him.
My Junior year was when there was an influx of men on campus. The war was over and they were taking advantage of the G.I.Bill of Rights to get further schooling. That was the year that the enrollment at Muskingum reached 1,000 students. That was also the year that the Football Team gained many new players. It had traditionally been the football team who picked the homecoming Queen and 2 Princesses. For the first two years, all the 'Queens' or 'Princesses' for whatever occasion someone could think up, were selected between 2 Delta girls and one FAD girl. This year, the nominating committee thought they ought to have at least a fourth girl and preferably from another club, so they picked me. The time came for us to parade before the football team so they could make their choices -one queen, two princesses. Imagine the surprise on all four girls' faces when the votes were counted and there were 2 ties for queen and 2 ties for princess. There had to be a run off the next day. The idea was that the queens were voted on, and the one with the most votes would be queen and the other would be a princess. Then the two princesses were voted on, and the one who got the most votes would be the second princess and the one with the least was out. That meant that either Betsy - Freshman year Queen, Sophomore Queen, and a couple of other honors because of her beauty, and she truly was beautiful or I, who had a dubious reputation (some was completely false and none could be proved) would be out.
After that first parade across the stage, the new football manager, one of the fellows home from the war, asked me out. I had nothing to lose, so I said I would. That night, as you might suspect, he tried to 'make out' with me. The answer was, "NO". That wasn't the end of the evening, that was just the beginning. He respected my refusal and we spent the rest of the evening walking around the campus, talking, doing a lot of laughing and joking, and generally having a good time. He was a Mace. The boy friends of the two queens were Mace and Stag. The boy friend of the other princess was Stag. I had no steady boy friend. I had made it clear from the beginning of my Freshman year that I had no intention of getting married (the main reason most girls went to college - to catch an educated husband). I wanted a Career. That meant that I never had to worry about a date. All those boys who had a girl friend back home, and were afraid to date at Muskingum for fear some girl might get their claws into him, felt that I was a safe date because I had no desire to get married.
The Mace and Stag boys clubs were rivals. Since the other girl running for princess had the Stag club behind her, and since the Mace club was their rival, and since my date of the night before was a Mace, and he probably swayed his club brothers my way (who knows what he told them,) if they voted for me as princess, that meant 2 victories for the Mace club and 2 for the Stag. If they voted for the other princess, then the Stag club would be represented 3 times and the Mace only once. Now I don't know, but it sounds logical to me. I won the vote for Princess - even got one vote for Queen.
To keep things on the up and up, I asked a Stag to escort me the night before the game at the assembly, and I asked the Mace, (whom I suspected swayed his club brothers on the football team to vote for me), to escort me to the dance. Also, the Stag whom I had asked to escort me at the assembly was taking a petition to all the club houses asking people to sign that from now on the vote for Homecoming Queen and Princesses be from the whole student body, not just the football team. (It was his club brother who went with the princess whom I beat out.)
The Mace who I went out with the night before the second voting for Homecoming Queen and Princesses, became my cohort in many of the antics we played. The Dean of Women and I had a silent running battle. She knew I was behind a lot of the things going on around campus, but neither she nor her spies cold catch me at it. However, my roommate and I did get caught the afternoon we went to Zanesville and missed the bus home in time for dinner. We could take the next bus, but then we would miss dinner, so we decided to hitch-hike. Who should pick us up but the Dean of Women and three women teachers. We somehow talked our way out of that, but it did slow me down a bit.
Always, near mid-term and final exams, there would be a group of us in the dining room late at night, studying like mad. The trouble was that we kept falling asleep. Someone discovered that if she got up, walked around a bit got something to eat, and then returned to her studying, she was much more alert. It worked for me, too. However, I found that if the snack I ate was an onion sandwich, it was more effective than anything else I might eat. Not only did the fumes keep me awake, it also helped to keep those near me more alert, too. When I finally did go to sleep, I slept on my right side, facing my roommate's bed since the other side of my bed was next to the wall. One night she woke up, said, "Whew, if you're going to eat onion sandwiches, Carol, have the decency to face the wall, not me".
It was my Senior year that I got the highest grade ever given and the only 'E' ever given - and I earned both of them. My major was Biology. I was allowed to work with the aborted or stillborn babies. The hospital had just dumped each one in a jar of formaldehyde and shipped them over to the College. No one had ever done anything with them. I was given permission. I did my research first. Then I examined each one, measured, weighed, and took a picture of each one of them, and tried to determine cause of death. One day, after bending over jars of formaldehyde, I staggered into the next room where Dr. McCleery was holding a class. I staggered over to him, he reached into his pocket, took out a vial of ammonia, broke it in two and waved it under my nose. Wow! That brought me to. I thanked him, and went back to my jars and embryos. I took a chance when I wrote my paper and wrote it from the point of view of the fertilized egg. It started, "Dear Diary: WOW! What happened?" Then I continued and wrote about the development of the fertilized egg from the point of view of the developing embryo, from conception to birth. I included with it the pictures and write-up of each baby. I thought he would either hate it or love it. I was given the grade of A+++.
In the meantime, I hated my Political Science class. I had flunked it in Elementary School, Flunked it in High School, and Flunked it in Summer School. I could see no reason to suddenly like it now, especially since I had no respect for the Professor and found him terribly dull. The textbook wasn't any better, for he had written the textbook. So I cut his class whenever I was engrossed in my Seminar - my babies. Besides, his wife, who taught the class on Family, tried to tell us that the woman's place was to make a home for her husband and raise their children. Here was I, an avowed career woman with a major in Biology. I asked her, "What if the woman had a wonderful gift, like music. Doesn't she have an obligation to develop this God given Gift?" Her answer was, "NO. SHE SHOULD PASS THIS GIFT ON TO HER CHILDREN!" Woman, I thought, have you ever heard of genetics? Besides, she and the Political Science husband lived next door to where I was living, and we could hear them arguing all the time.
When I had cut enough Political Science classes to have to make one more point to graduate, The Dean of the College called me in and told me what would happen if I didn't go to class. I shrugged my shoulders and said, "I don't care, I have lots of extra points. I went to summer school when I changed my major." I couldn't drop the class because it was required. I did go some of the time, so I had to be given a grade. I think I got the only 'E' the College ever gave anyone.
I also got 2 'D's, one for a Math class in which the Professor said would be open book, but when we got there, he said it would be a closed book. I felt betrayed, so I turned in a blank piece of paper and walked out. Later, when I confronted him, he said that he wanted to see what we could do with a closed book, then he would let up open our books to finish. But that isn't what he had told us prior to the test. It would have made a difference in the way I studied. The other one was for a History class. I didn't deserve the 'D', it should have been a 'C'. The professor agreed and said he would change it, but he never did. All the rest of my grades were 'B's and 'A's.
When I tried to enter the University of Washington 19 years later to get a teaching certificate, I kept being turned down. Their argument was, Why should I let you in, an older woman with dubious grades like you have, when we can get a smart young person from high school with more years to give us. My stock answer was, "OK, then, who do I see next, who's your boss?" I must have been turned down 12 or 13 times until the last man, refused me. I placed my hands on his desk, raised up on my toes and said, "OK, who do I see next, who's your boss?" "Relax lady", he shouted, "I said you're in!" "Oh...OK, Thank you", I replied. I found out later that he was the big boss. It took me one year to get my teaching certificate and one year- while teaching, keeping house, and raising a family - to get my Master's Degree. In each class I got an 'A'. Remembering this, when I became a teacher, I never gave up on anyone.
I'm afraid I was the wrong person to ask about my remembrances of Muskingum and Kianu days. I am much more tolerant these days of College students who 'know it all'. I remember visiting where the 'Man of the House' was a millionaire several times over. (When I went to College, a million dollars was more like a billion today.) I was arguing with him, maintaining that a person couldn't get anywhere today without a College Diploma. How disgusted he must have been of me, he who made his millions with only an 8th grade education!
Best wishes and love in Kianu,
Carol Bower Werner
Interview with Barbara (Swartz) Dickerman (class of 1951)
I was a transfer student; so I was "rushed" during my sophomore year. I did not live in the freshman dorm; so I think I missed out on a lot of the discussions of club life. Most of the residents, where I lived, were members of the Kona Club. However, Shirley Shellito (XAN 1951) also lived there. She was a lovely, quiet girl who worked hard, and said little about the club. I attended parties at all six clubs--Kona, Athalia, Delta, Wawyin, FAD and Kianu. At the time, I guess FAD was sort of the "in" club. However, Kianu was rising, fast! I know the men of my acquaintance had great respect for the Kianus, and thought it was the "up-and-coming" club. I attended the parties totally open-minded, and was most impressed by the Kianus because they were both fun-loving and serious. Bernie Ackerman, Peg Pfeiffer and Mary Lou Brettell--all music majors--were also good friends.
I ate at the Kianu "fort"
my last two years, and lived in the house, my senior year. I had the single
room, on third floor. Barbara Kelly had the single on two; so we always called
ourselves room-mates, when the question arose. We were both dishwashers, as
well; so became good friends. (Sally McBride, a year younger, was the third
of our "kitchen help.")
I'm not sure how long the pledge season lasted, but six weeks sounds about right. Ann Colvin was "pledge mistress." She was a tall, beautiful phys. ed. major with a reputation for enjoying the job.
Louise Hartshorn was my "big sister," and I became the "big sister" of Jean Lowery. I was on a tight budget; so never owned a pin. I had a (loaned) pledge pin, and also a "loaner" when I was inducted.
We did have a house-mother and strict hours and rules. We also had a house president, as well as the club president. We also had a "fire marshal" in case of emergencies!
Our two big events, besides "rush" were the serenade and the dance. The serenade was carried on outside the men's clubhouses. It included a number of Kianu Songs. I still remember some of those-- Ann was also a talented pianist and arranger, and planned some of the serenades. She also led the Kianu sextet, which was a group that sang for all our events, and many for the college. My senior year, I had some input into the theme, and chose "Once In a Blue Moon." It was very romantic! I don't remember all the sextet members, but Pat Kaiser and Marie Brown were among them--
Barbara (Swartz) Dickerman
Interview with Pat (Lewis) Stevenson (class of 1952)
We did have pledging
for about the same length of time - 6 weeks. We did have big sisters and I
think mine was Shirley Leeper Biegler ’49. I think we may have visited
all the clubs with follow-ups to ones of interest.
Clubs: Kianu, Delta, Wawyin, FAD, Kona, Athela
Men's Clubs: Stag, Mace, Alban, Sphinx, Ulster, Stoic
I remember great times in the house where we ate our meals, played cards, sang around the piano and hung out in each other’s rooms. We had a housemother, Mrs. Beresford (I really needed help remembering her name) and oh, yes, we certainly had hours - 10:00 week nights, 11:30 Friday and Saturday - 12:00 for very special occasions.
Kianus were very friendly and I felt comfortable there. Pledge classes were about 20. Of course, there weren't as many students then but Kianu always had among the largest number of pledges.
We “wore letters” but didn't call it anything.
I don’t recall much about wearing pins. I guess I was more interested in wearing my Stag pin! At least, that’s the one I recall. That pin has since been passed down to my grandson, Adam Milazzotto (4th generation Muskie) who is currently a student at Muskingum and a Stag.
We had hayrides, went to Seneca Lake, use the Old Washington Inn in Cambridge for pledge initiation and Kianu formals.
My very happiest memory is when I became engaged. The Stags had a tradition of serenading the fiancée of a Stag. The recited a poem, sang “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” and my husband-to-be sang “I Love You Truly” and gave me a dozen red roses. That was one of those 12:00 nights!
I’m a Kianu born, I’m a Kianu bred and when I die, I’m a Kianu dead! Rah, rah, Chi Alpha Nu.
When Columbus sailed
the ocean blue in 1492
He wasn’t headed for America, he was going Kianu!
Kianu - Kianu - he wasn’t headed for America
He was going Kianu!
I think that pretty much covers it! I couldn’t come up with a Kianu who had an impact on me but being a Kianu did!
Love in Kianu,
Q. Who were your big and little (Kianu) sisters?
Big sister: Norma Dickson
Little sisters: Betsy Twigg 1959 and Barb Palmatier 1961
Q. What was the rush process like for girls interested in joining a sorority? These days, there are 4 parties over a period of two weeks, and all potential members must visit all the sororities before they make their choice. What was the process like when you were at MC?
Very similar. I do remember visiting the Kianu house for rush. I do not like coffee. Coffee was served, so I drank it. I didn’t want to be different from all the other prospective pledges.
Q. What sororities and fraternities were at MC? Rivalries?
Sororities: Athala, Delta,
FAD, Kianu, Kona, Wawyin
Rivalries between Delta and Kianu
Mace, Sphinx, Stag, Stoic, Ulster
Rivalries between Mace and Stag
"These were probably performers at a rush party." L-R: Janet Mecham '58 (farmer), Jean Reed '58 (Nel), Norma Dickson '57 (villain), Sue Kirk '58 (sheriff)
Q. What is your favorite memory as a Kianu?
My favorite memory was being selected to be a pledge. I had attended other rush parties but knew all along I wanted to be a Kianu. My final choice was only Kianu. I was so happy and, of course, relieved when I received the bid from my sisters to be.
There were so many memories of being a Kianu. Another I will add is being selected as a counselor (equivalent to current RA position) and then to learn I would be rooming with a sister. It can’t get much better than that. Sue Kirk and I had a great junior year together.
Q. What kind of rules and regulations were imposed on girls who lived in the XAN house? Did you have a housemother?
Yes, we had a housemother. Mrs. Love was the only picture I found in the Muscoljuan. I thought there was a second one during my four years, but I can’t recall a name.
I know we had rules and
regulations to follow. I will attempt to recall some of them.
1. Weekly house chores. These were rotated so you didn’t do the same ones all the time.
2.Certain hours males could be in the house and never in our bedrooms.
3. Use of the telephone!?!
4. Sign out/in for some activities, usually nighttime
5. Sign up for use of the washer and dryer
6. No lights out but quiet time curfew
7. And of course, be nice to the housemother at all times
Q. Which Kianu sister had the biggest impact on you? Why?
How can I narrow it down to just one? There were bits and pieces of many that were admired. I will pick two, if that is permitted. My roommates and still, after all these years, my friends and support in many ways. Pat Buckwalter Giles and Sue Kirk Hoffner are the best.
Sue Kirk '58 and Janet Olwine '58: "4th floor counselors returning from a late night Kianu meeting for selection of pledges. Not a good night to paper our room!"
Q. Why did you want to pledge Kianu?
Three of the four counselors on the 3rd floor of Patton Hall were Kianus. Several other members were HPER (Health, Physical Education, and Recreation?) majors, so I had interaction with them. That was enough to help me make my decision.
Q. What kind of activities and parties did the club have while you were there?
I remember the fall serenade, Christmas party, house or lounge parties, and spring formal. Listed in the Muscoljuan were hayride, pool party and square dance. These I don’t remember, so maybe I did not go.
Q. How many girls were in your pledge class? On average, how big was the whole club?
There were 20 in my pledge
class (1955) to join 62 actives. The following years had:
30 pledges to join 57 actives (1956)
33 pledges to join 56 actives (1957)
26 pledges to join 65 actives (1958)
1956: The bathtub was cut off in making copies of some pictures, but it can still be seen here that the ladies got soaked by the pledges who got even with some actives. Standing: Norma Dickson '57, Priscilla Ambrose '58; Seated: Marcia MacArthur '57, Pat Buckwalter '58.
Q. Did you wear letters when you were an active?
Yes, we had letters. I still have my KIANU sweatshirt, but it must have shrunk. It doesn’t fit anymore. Duh! I also had a Kianu patch I sewed onto my white blazer chest pocket. I know I have the patch somewhere, but I can’t find it.
Q. During pledging, the pledge sisters wear pledge shirts and pledge pins. Upon activation, girls give back their pledge shirts and pledge pins and are given their activation pin, a gold pin with the letters XAN. How is this different (or the same) from your time at MC? Did you have pledge pins, and did everyone get a pin upon activation?
We may have but I don’t remember. I did find my XAN pin and my fancy Kianu pin which is probably still the same.
Fancy Kianu pin
Q. There are a lot of Kianu songs. What songs did you sing?
I know we had lots of songs but can’t remember any of them. I am sure some are still sung today, but who knows which ones.
Q. Did the civil rights movement have an impact on MC or Kianu in any way?
With Muskingum being a Christian college the Civil Rights movement created no problems. There were students of color on campus and all Greeks. The Kianu pledge Ruth Champlin ’60 was well liked by all as were all of the other individuals (males).
Kianu Serenade: 1957-1958
I decided to include several Muskingum or Kianu happenings that I recall quite often when thinking back to the years ‘54-’58.
My name is Janet but for four years I was called Gert. Why? In my freshman year there were three Janets and a Janice on the third floor of the dorm. I don’t remember who decided that since I had met Gordan, another freshman “friend”, I should be called Gert. Thanks a lot. Problem solved! Not really.
Gordon and I were not friends for long. He left me but my name remained the same. During the four years I would receive formal invitations for Gert. I was mentioned in articles as Gert. The name just never went away. At least my degree has Janet on it.
I had a car on campus
my senior year. When we lived in the Kianu house we ate at Memorial (men’s)
dorm. One evening walking back to the house after dinner, my roommate Pat
started running along with several other sisters. Why? They had planned to
‘steal’ my car and go for ice cream in Zanesville. I forget the
name of the place we visited quite often.
I wanted to call the Highway Patrol to report my car being stolen. I knew they wouldn’t take it as a joke and I didn’t want to get Pat or the others in trouble so… they told me what a great time they had. That was nice of them. Yuck!
Our senior year there were more sisters than beds in the house. The officers were automatic residents. The others drew straws to see who would live in the dorm for one semester and in the house one semester. Well, I picked a wrong straw. Pat and I lived in the house first semester them moved to the dorm for second semester. There were at least three others who split the year living in the Kianu house and Kelley Hall. It was a disappointment to leave our senior sisters, but we made the most of it living in the dorm. The two of us were always doing something we probably shouldn’t have, but it was fun. After all, we were seniors!
I am sure you have memories you will always recall with a chuckle. Muskingum and Kianu life were great!
Love in XAN,
Janet “Gert” Olwine Gilp
"I don’t know how many years ago sisters of ’58 started meeting at various locations in Ohio. It was impossible to have all of our pledge class available and in attendance, but it was always fun". This is a picture from the July 2003 gathering. Unless noted, all are Kianus from the class of 1958. Back row: Sue Haidle, Pat Buckwalter, Robbie Gibson, Sheila McConnell, Ann Messersmith (1959), Eva Backstrom (1957), Margie Simko (member of Kona: an old MC sorority, 1958) Front row: Susie Tipton, Janet Olwine, Sue Kirk, Jean Reed.
Thanks to everyone who participated in this Girl with the Arrow piece! Next year we will profile alums from 1960-1969.
To see other honorees, click on month: