When I was a middle school and high school frosh I got to go to music camp in the big town of Oshkosh. I know. Anyway, it was a big town for me at the time and I got to stay for a week at the university in the dorms.
The only other two interactions I had there was going swimming at Albee Hall with Gail. I don’t even remember why we did that. I think it might have been a youth group thing, but maybe Gail will remember. We didn’t drive there on our own.
The other event was driving through the campus with my mother. It was the time of the campus riots during the Vietnam War era. The students were picketing and I think there had been some violence. Whenever we drove through the campus to get to downtown Mom would turn down the radio, roll up the windows (each window was manually cranked), have us lock the doors (it was a every door manual lock at that time), sit still and look straight ahead kind of ride. Those students were supposed to be dangerous and wild. This was perhaps another reason we didn’t go shopping in Oshkosh much. If we went it was just to go to the houses of my aunts.
Later and still today I see the students walking around and that whole thing makes me wonder how tippy the planet is.
One year I was a runner up to go to music camp on a scholarship and my parents paid for it, but then the next year I won a scholarship to go. I think it was a lot of money for them to do that and it was GREAT! I hadn’t thought about it for a long time and was reminded of it the other day when a co-worker that is a college student said that her sister is now coming to UWO and staying in the dorms for her first year. I asked her what dorm and she said South Scott Hall. WOW! That was a blast from the past. That is where my friend Karen and I were roommates…it just hit me, but could Laura C. have been there too? WHAT?
I remembered how it was such a big deal and I remembered some of the clothes I wore, the auditions, the songs, the performance, the professors, the classes, the accompanist, the boys, the ability to actually walk on the city streets to go downtown…by ourselves in a pack, hearing Bette Midler on the radio singing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” as it was a throwback year of lots of styles including boho and WW2 era things…snoods and such.
I had these wide legged pants with one of those snap crotch skin tight shirts. The shirt was ALLLLL polyester, light blue background with wild flowers on it, hey, it was the 70’s and also a peasant blouse or two that I just got done sewing. I don’t remember the other items except my baby-doll pajamas. Those were some sort of homespun looking material that was the rage I was putting in the hem on the way as my mother drove me to UWO.
I had to audition for a triple trio and didn’t even know what I was doing. I had to have a song to sing for the audition and I think mine was “Yesterday”, by Sir Paul. The trio ended up singing “Now is the Month of Maying”. I was unfamiliar with this classical standard.
I had sectional practices and Art Appreciation lessons. The prof took us around campus pointing out this and that. He introduced me to the Frank Lloyd House by having us walk there and talking about the whole FLW dealio. That name and all those ideas had set seed.
He took us to the Art department and showed us all around and what choices were ours in the future if we were interested. Those teachers were kind and good treating us new potatoes that had just fallen off the wagon some things that have stayed with this spud her whole life.
I was so taken with the ability of the accompanist that I communicated with him within the next year to play at our church as entertainment as he had a bit he did. He was a hit and a nice guy. I don’t remember his name, but he had so many musical skills.
I think of that song from our performance at the end of the week. I didn’t know going in that there would be a performance, I am sure it was on the brochure somewhere. I called my mom mid week to see if she would come to hear the concert. I knew that my dad wouldn’t be interested. At that time mainly mothers filled the seats at school events with a smattering of dads. It wasn’t mean it was just how it was. I called to see if she would come back to see the show and then come again the next day to get me. It was a huge thing for us to go to Oshkosh in the first place as they only went their on occasion and then only into our super local town twice a week, once for groceries, once for church. I remember her hesitating as that would make it 3 times that week to go the 15 miles one way. I still think of it now and wonder why the hesitation. Maybe there wasn’t money for gas. Maybe Dad wouldn’t have approved. Most likely it was something else that I don’t want to consider, but in the end she came. Then she came back the next day to take me home.
The friend I was roommates with lives off social media and email. I don’t have her phone number. I do have her address. She came to one of my parties 6 years ago. I think that was stressful for her, but she came. I wrote her a letter this morning and sent it pony express. Her and her hubs and Rick and I can hopefully catch up and remember all those years ago when “merry lads were playing” and Scott Hall was magic to us who fell off the potato wagon.