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American History
Practice Cottage


       Beside what was called the Practice Cottage stood an apple tree. Although this was only steps from Home Five, it was just off the beaten path enough none of the girls every availed themselves of the great juicy apples. Their color, the darkest crimson, was only surpassed in excellence, by their crispy crunchiness, delectable odor and size. This was only one,  small experience with food the girls in home economics enjoyed.

      Maybe five or six girls were plucked from the dormitory to spend a short training period by actually staying in the small house or cottage together. The purpose was a kind of living training for being prepared to care for our own homes.  Meals were prepared and served at a table instead of at the sterile cafeteria where we normally took our food. The small number at the table created more of a family situation. Napkins, silverware, delicate water glasses made the table setting pleasant. The girls never tired of the ice in their glasses even though it was during the coldest time in the winter. This was a pleasure not normally enjoyed as each had walked through the chow line at Leupp Hall.

       The duties were divided up and the girls were allowed to make a choice of what they wanted to do which was unusual, also. Before at the dormitory an assignment was given and we were expected to carry it out daily. Once sweeping, mopping and keeping up of the hallway, another time cleaning the library, bathrooms, showers, lobby, smoking room, basement, broom closets and just in general maintenance. The chores were not difficult and could be done easily because there were so many to do them.

      While we were with the practice cottage work was even easier because it was such a small space in comparison to the size of the dormitory.

      At the end of our assignment the girls were allowed to have the finishing up of the class with the most customary party. This was the time period before Dr. Spock's philosophy touting that parents or adults must have time away from the youth. These activities at Chilocco always involved  the adults who were around us. They kept a respectful low key distance. However,  always in the background and seeming to enjoy watching the antics of their charges. There were antics.

       At the party the girls were allowed to invite an escort and at this point in their stay at Chilocco most girls had a steady boyfriend. Because they had been away from dating for the time at the cottage most of the girls were anxious to see their friend. I was no exception. As it turned out for me this was a life saving time in my life. The boy I had been dating continually, unbeknownst to me,  had found himself another girlfriend. From being so isolated at the cottage I had no idea at all about this.

       We danced on the patio to the songs  “Dancing in the Dark, String of Pearls, and probably the rock and roll, Bill Haley's, “Rock Around the Clock.” I noticed the bit of a reserve my boyfriend exhibited towards me but I thought it was just because we had not seen each other for a while. When I was back in the dormitory one of the girls I knew from across the building was only too glad to inform me about my boyfriend's new girlfriend. When I questioned my more kindly roommate,  she didn't want to be the messenger of bad news but finally did acknowledge, “Yes, he has been dating a sophomore.”  It was a girl who had newly arrived after I went into practice at the cottage. For me it was a kind of relief. Being tied down in a dating situation had caused me to miss more than one activity I otherwise would have enjoyed,  like trips to ball games, free game night, and invitations to other social activities. It did turn out to be such a blessing because I met so many more students from different areas, some of whom I've enjoyed with close affectionate ties for my whole lifetime.


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