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American History
Leupp Hall, The Dining Room


      This was Selina's first experience with going to the dining room at Chilocco. Her roommate, Beth accompanied her.  It was something everyone did;  you shared a room and you went to the dining room together.  When the girls walked through the large dining room double doors Selina was almost overcome with the size of it. The unusually tall ceilings, row upon row of tables and generally the overall size of the dining area was unbelievable. Why wouldn't it be?  There were a thousand students and on other years as many as 2000 people who would come through the cafeteria lines. If anything about the boarding school resembled a prison,  this was it.  The tables were old. They were sturdy and well built and for this reason their long use gave them a dated appearance. Heavy wooden-chairs were placed under equally imposing tables. Those table's weight and solid structure made them unwieldily and not easily moved.  No decoration of any sort was immediately apparent.

        The long groups of furniture covered the large spaces of the room and between these, two wide lines were formed. They had entered the west doors with other girls and about three quarters down the wide aisle there was a line. The second line for the boys was all the way to the door and outside as well.  At that time the boys and girls still did not eat together. Sometimes the boys would come to the girl's tables after the meal to visit with a girlfriend.

       When they came up to the actual serving line a tray was slid along the railing in front of the food and serving girls plopped generous servings of delicious looking food. Selina couldn't understand how some of the girls showed little interest in what was being spooned onto the trays. After she ate the same food over and over for a couple years she then understood. There was a place when she could hardly make her self go to the dining hall. Of course, it was a rule and if someone was caught not going they could be given restrictions from social events. The rule wasn't always that well inforced.

       Selina was seated so that she was facing the south wall. The lovely soft murals painted half way up the wall were a surprising touch and decor added to this otherwise stark room.  The figures were beautiful and bore a resemblance to the Egyptian forms painted on the walls of the pyramids. The soft earth tone colors were altogether pleasant, too.  The girl  always made an effort to sit so she could look up to the scenes during the meal.

      After the meals,  there was often a short time when the young people visited with each other. This was when boys and girls made arrangements for meeting on the lawn. Later on they would go to the Flaming Arrow for dancing, drinking Cokes and visiting for the evening.

      “Meet me at the fishpond,”  Beth's boyfriend called to her.

       Her reply was a smile and a wave of  her hand as they turned to walk back to the dormitory.

       “I suppose I will stay in and read,”  Salina commented.

       “Oh no, you come, too.  His roommate will be along with him. We can all go to F.A. later. He can dance like you won't believe. Can you dance?”  Beth happened to think about that.

       “I cannot dance, so I guess I'd better stay home.”

       “Well, you certainly will have to come along then. Everyone here has to learn to dance.”  Beth was like a big sister as she gently worked Salina into the routine of the school.


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