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Memories of Michigan

(The Michigan Alumnus, December 1976, page 10)

"Memories of the last 'true' panty raids are part of my thoughts of my freshman year, 1967 (for how can there be a real panty raid on a coed dorm).

Nothing the upper classmen said could have prepared me for the first raid, living on the ground floor of the 'subterranean' Mosher, its last year exclusively women. It was the classic warm September night, perfect for such raids.

My roommate, K. C Lundgerhauser, and I were trying to sleep but having difficulties with the heat, despite the breeze carried through the windows across Palmer Field.

On the breeze I heard a fain trumble, which grew and grew into the meshed voices of hundreds of male underclassmen chanting, 'We want pants!' We soon learned the source of the commotion, and learned real fear as the men crossed Forest and poured in waves across Palmer Field, climbed the hill and finally flung themselves onto our open windows.

'K. C and I raced into the corridor, along with the other frightened freshmen, much to the amusement of our sophomore neighbors. I only regret that the following year there were no panty-raids so that I could have had the same fun with the new freshmen!"

Doris Rubenstein Forman, '71

Brooklyn, N.Y.


"How many alumni remember the last night before Prohibition began I remember that evening with a chuckle because I and three or four others of us were victims of our own pranks.

Joe's and the Orient and the Barrel House were loaded, and I mean loaded. The boys were getting loaded too, in anticipation of drier days ahead.

Some of us who liked to harmonize a little decided we should serenade a few sororities. Our harmony wasn't too good, but our clamor was great! At Delta Gamma, then on Hill St., we were lustily singing "Sweet Adeline." The second story window above us opened. Hands waved a little and faces peeked out, giggling all the while. But, alas, it was just a come-on. Suddenly the faces disappeared and someone pitched out a bucket-full of water. It was most accurately aimed and we had no time to duck.  We went home chuckling about the fact that the girls were smarter than the boys.

Frank O. Clifford, '18dent

Kokomo, Ind.

"As I look back through the tunnel of time, it appears to me that every moment of every day (at Michigan) was a favorite moment.  In fact, my wife ruefully says that her husband has a love affair with Michigan — and, if things ever got bad, she would name Michigan as the third party in the triangle.

I will never forget the pep rallies at Hill Auditorium. On one very cool Friday night, after departing from the rally, a group of sophomores surrounded a hapless freshman who had been tricked into admitting he was a freshman.

There on State St., opposite the Union, this blood-thirsty group of sophomores encircled the He lamb. Suddenly, one saw various articles of clothing flying into the air. As if by magic, the sophomores evaporated — leaving a bewildered, stark-naked freshman (a shorn lamb) in the middle of State St.

When I lived in a rooming house on S. State St., with several other students, there was a freshman who, I'm sure, came straight from the cornfields of Idaho. He was the butt of many a joke— and I can only attest to what a great guy he must have been to so good-naturedly have taken those jokes.

One night we disassembled his bed and hid it in the attic. We then removed the fuses from the floor we were on. We were all in our various rooms, feigning sleep, when our innocent rube came home. We could hear him cussing about the hall light being out. His dismay was heightened when he could not get his room light on.

Suddenly, there was a thud and a loudly exclaimed, 'Where the hell is my bed' as he landed on the floor. The poor chap spent the night sleeping on the floor. When he came back from class the next afternoon, he was belaboring the landlady. She denied his accusations. 'Let me show you!' he demanded angrily. Lo and behold, there in its accustomed place was his bed!

I could go on and on. . .but my pen grows weary and my eyes a little dim as my mind wanders some 40 years back in time to when the U-M was a bit smaller, life a little simpler, and Michigan was then, as now, the best school in the country."

Julian G. Kirchick, '36med

Plainview, N.Y.

"On a crisp, moonlit January night in 1928, three coeds decided they'd like to rent a cutter (horse-drawn sleigh) and go for a ride on the snow-covered streets of Ann Arbor. The one drawback was that none of us had ever driven a cutter before. I volunteered to drive, even though I knew next to nothing about horses.

We walked over to the stables and had no trouble renting the cutter, with two horses. All went well until we were going downhill on one of the streets leading to the old Michigan Central Depot (now the Gandy Dancer restaurant).

I didn't know how to rein a horse, and the horses knew it. They ran faster and faster to the bottom of the hilly street. When turning the corner, the cutter broke loose, three girls were thrown out into the snow, and the horses happily made their way back to the stables.

One girl had a cut lip, we others had bruises, but managed to limp back to Martha Cook dormitory, where we were severely reprimanded for being late — and for being so foolhardy."

Orpha Knapp Voss, '28

Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

(On the evening of March 8, 1913, the Women's League held a fancy dress party and it was up to Gertrude H. Reimer, '14, to hand out the prizes. To do so, she came garbed as Uncle Sam, which required that she wear pants, which required that she get permission from the dean of women, which required that . . . well, read her letter.)

While a junior at Ann Arbor, the women were to have a costume party, and I was asked to hand out the prizes for the best costumes, dressed as Uncle Sam. So of course I had to wear a pair of pants. But the girls were not allowed to wear anything like that. So what was I to do

One of my friends, whose father was the dean of one of the schools at the University, said she could borrow some white duck ones from her brother. So I went to get permission from the women's dean, Myra B. Jordan, who was the authority from whom we could get permission to do something that was against the rules.

Dean Jordan said she had no authority to let me do that. So she went to President Hutchins, and his answer was no, I could not wear any borrowed pants.

So I bought some red and white striped material and made a pair of pants from a pajama pattern. They were not a very chic fit. I still have the picture of me dressed like that.  How the world has changed! I now have many pantsuits hanging in my bedroom closet."

Dr. Gertrude H. Reimer, '14

Corpus Christi, Tex.

"Dr. William Haber was where the action was back in the '40's, at least for me attending his classes as an economics major in that relic of an Economics Building.

Frankly, I could have cared less about the building's architecture or the shape of the windows. Single-handedly, he had captured my interest and attention with his ability to make his material vibrant and meaningful.

I remember stopping after class one day to inquire about writing a paper on An analysis of the Townsend Plan, having heard  Townsend deliver an address.  While some professors might have cooled to the idea or suggested another subject, Prof. Haber encouraged me to pursue that interest.  You see, he was a master psychologist as well. His appreciation for men and ideas, for the spirit of the times in which we lived, and his understanding of people made him Number 1 on my faculty hit parade."

Lawrence W. Hester, '46

Cookeville, Tenn."

"I'm afraid my favorite reminiscence of the days at Michigan is a bit off the beaten track.

Who can forget the weekend nights at the Schwaben Inn, watching everybody's favorite waitress, Mable, gather armfuls of glasses of the foamy brew to her ample bosom and waiting for one or more to fall She was a floor show all by herself! I have often wondered what her record number of glasses carried successfully was."

Edward G. Rich, '50eng

Allen Park, Mi.

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