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Memories of Michigan

The Michigan Alumnus, April 1976, Page 15

In the last several issues of the Alumnus, we have run a small invitation to former students to drop us a letter about their favorite memory of their college days.

A number of alumni have done so and we are happy to present excerpts from their letters at this time.

Meanwhile, we would like to hear from you. What's your favorite memory of Michigan Send it along to Memories Editor, the Michigan Alumnus, the Michigan Union, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48109.

Here are some of the letters we've received to date:

Out of so many glad, sad, mad 40-some-year-old memories of years at Michigan, a sweet and poignant one is the sound and the emotions evoked by hearing the Michigan Glee Club, standing between Helen Newberry and Betsy Barbour dorms, on a crisp fall Saturday night, serenading us romantic girls (as we leaned out the windows) with the lovely harmonies of "Good Night Sweetheart."

Barbara Bates Smith, '35

Coldwater, Mich.

The following memory, while not my favorite, is by far the one 1 most clearly remember. It has the additional merit of having occurred nearly 50years ago when I returned to the U of M for a year of graduate study.

It was in the middle of winter when four of us lunching at a State Street eating place chanced to turn our thoughts to the frigid waters of the Huron River which was iced over at that time. How about going swimming in the river That was a dare tossed among us, a dare which would not have been taken up by more mature individuals, but this was 50 years ago.

Sufficient to say that the dare was taken up by two of the group and the other two were not to be outdone. So the four of us went down to the river bank where the trees and brush obscured us from view. Indeed the river was frozen. Large rocks were used to break up the ice. So the four of us stripped (I don't know whether we hung up our clothes on a hickory limb) and one after the other we plunged into the Huron among the pieces of ice. A few strokes only and we were back on shore seeking the warmth of our clothes.

Three of us were dared by one to plunge in again. We three were cowards, so the one plunged in again which proved something or other to him.

So we returned to the warmth of the Union for something warm to imbibe, feeling quite heroic about our frigid escapade.

I imagine the Huron River is again frozen over as it was in those days.

Irv Jesse Sandorf, '23eng

Reno, Nev.

How it all began, 50 years ago, these intricate marching band formations, in the then new Michigan Stadium . . .

Unlike today, the Michigan Band had very few drill practice sessions and often the lines became a little ragged. Thus the band on old Ferry Field was confined to marching up and down the gridiron and making a block "M" in front of the cheering section. Somewhat overwhelmed by the size of the new stadium and the band's marching limitations, I suggested to Gordon W. Packer, drum major, that we drop off rows of the band on the football field lines to spell "MICH." with himself stopping as the period in the abbreviation.

The memory: instant acceptance by the stands and Packer predicting "this begins a new era in marching bands on the gridiron".

Manford K. Giles, '28

Daphne, Ala.

What do I remember best about my days (1925-29) at Michigan

Foremost, the old wooden-structured Mimes Theatre, adjacent to the rear northwest corner of the Michigan Union, where I spent many hard-working, but fun-filled days and nights working at back-stage tasks and hustling scenery, costumes, props and lights. The old Mimes Theatre was where Ernie Shuter directed production of the all-male Michigan Union Opera which annually outclassed the Princeton Triangle Club, the Harvard Hasty Pudding productions, Pennsylvania's Mask and Wig, and all the other comparable groups! After weeks of the Opera, members of Mimes presented conventional plays with an all-male cast, the most memorable of which are Kaufman's "To The Ladies," "The Devil's Disciple," and O'Neill's "Anna Christie," the latter being the first to break tradition by having coeds in the production.

Rehearsals for the Opera musicals were held at the Mimes Theatre from early November until it opened for three evenings and a matinee performance at the old Whitney on Ann Arbor's Main Street, given the week before Christmas vacation. During this vacation, the Opera's 60-mantroupe travelled by and lived on a special three-Pullman-plus-baggage-car train for road performances at Detroit and three other Michigan cities, Chicago, Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Toledo, Buffalo, Washington, Philadelphia and New York playing, no less, the famous Met! What an experience for kids, most of whom had travelled little before! And, profits from the Opera, over five figures from "Cotton Stockings" in '25, helped pay off the Michigan Union building mortgage.

Someday I hope to write a nostalgic article for the Alumnus about memories of my trips with the Opera in '26,'27, and '28 when I ran a spotlight during our performance at the Met from Mrs. Astor's Diamond Horse-shoe box, no less!

Carl U. Fauster, '29

Toledo, O.

Although it has been 64 years since I stepped down from the Michigan Central train at Ann Arbor on a September afternoon, I still visualize hundreds of trunks piled high, hear the shouts of reunion of friends and thrill at the excitement of the sorority rushing right there at the depot. You will not believe this, but we actually had to ride up that hill in the old calico cab behind the old gray mare.

Not long after I arrived, a sophomore sold me a "Campus Ticket" which entitled me to enter the campus. How green 1 was! I still laugh when I come across it in my precious memory book.

Every year was so exciting it is difficult to highlight any one experience. Perhaps my senior year lives most vividly in my memory as I was one of those 16 lucky seniors who was giver, the privilege of living in Martha Cook dormitory when it was opened in the fall of 1915. My corner room over-looked the campus library where the chimes rang on the quarter hour. No reason to be late for eight o'clocks!

The beauty of the entire building was such an inspiration I do not think my feet touched ground all year. So many "firsts" that year! We were constantly aware that we were setting precedents, and must be very circumspect in all decisions and in our own actions. We were ably guided by our wonderful president, Emilie Sargent, who has been advisor to Martha Cook all these years.

My class of piano pupils which I needed to help keep me in school were a great joy as most of them were children of our wonderful faculty. Getting to know our distinguished faculty and their wives through their children is no small part of my love for Michigan.  Dr. Ruthven, later our President, Professor Straus, Riggs, Cowden, Cole, Earl Moore, Hall, to name just a few; also Lloyd Douglas, then the minister of the Congregational Church, were my good friends. There were many recitals at my sorority house.

This was the old Mimes Theatre building referred to in Carl Fauster's letter. It was not far from the Michigan Union.16Michigan Alumnus

This is the way the Michigan Stadium and surrounding arealooked shortly after the huge project was completed in 1927. C.]. Galloway,'25, recalls, in a memory letter on this page, that it was he who determined that the area had sufficient drainage to permit construction of Fielding H. Yost's dream.

But I still had time for many campus activities; music for the Junior Girls Play, Girls Glee Club and Church Choir. Then those canoe trips, especially on a spring Sunday morning when we would take that long walk to the boathouse, paddle up the river where we built a fire and cooked our breakfast. Do the students do this anymore

How glad I have been all my professional life as a high school music teacher that I graduated from the finest university in the land. Even though I majored in history, the musical opportunities were so outstanding, made possible by our magnificent Hill Auditorium, my musical background was enriched.

Ellen Sargeant Trapp, '16

Milwaukee, Wis.

I remember and cherish most of all the U of M's assistance in 1954 when I was seeking a change in teaching location.

The assistance accorded me - especially by Mr. Jack Field (journalism) - has always been a cherished memory which has meant that U of M continues to occupy a very special place in my heart.

Gertrude H. Overton,


Pontiac, Mich.

One of my most cherished memories is of the wonderful late Professor Durfee in the class on equity. When a student would give a wrong answer, rather than responding, he would develop a pained expression and slide down a little in his chair. If the progressive wrong answers continued, he would slump lower and lower until he was completely hidden behind his desk. In playful desperation, he would peek out from the side of the desk to call on one more student.

While it was truly humorous, and he intended it as such, that was one question we would never forget.

Richard M. Marsh,'42eng, '47law

Indio, Calif.

While at summer camp, Camp Davis on Douglas Lake in 1924, Prof. Harry Bouchard told me that there would be a vacancy in geodesy & surveying for a student assistant and he would like to recommend me for the job. Since I was working my way, I told him if accepted I would be most grateful. He did and I was appointed.

One day Prof. C. T. Johnson (head of the department) and Coach Yost came into the instrument room. Coach requested that someone go with him to help determine if drainage could be made possible of a rather large sunken area not far from Ferry Field. I was selected. Coach and I drove to an old glaciated depression. Upon arriving and, having brought with me a transit and a stadia board, we began taking elevation shots. Coach Yost was my rodman. Yost wanted to know if there was enough fall from the bottom of the depression to permit drainage to the storm sewer. Several shots were made and, after computing them, I found that there was sufficent gradient to drain the sunken area.

We discussed the feasibility of making this natural bowl into a stadium. Coach said, "Galloway, one day this will be the new Michigan Stadium."

We returned to the campus, parking his car in the parking area back of the old "Lit Bldg." and we talked for a while about this dream of his. He thanked me for going with him for which I told him, "That's fine, glad to have been the one chosen."

Two or more models to scale were made and one was made by my fellow men in the department.

Coach Yost's dream became a reality - the new Michigan Stadium was built and Ferry Field had served its time as Michigan's gridiron.

C. Joe Galloway, '25eng

Atlanta, Ga.

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