Granny's Notes - the writing of Sue Gerard

College girls, country folk gather at weekend retreat

Hiking was a favorite activity at Christian College in the 1940s. They earned a "point per mile" toward a letter award for each hike of five miles or more. The college’s coveted big gold "C" with its blue felt background was awarded to the few who earned 500 points in two years. Almost all of the students lived on campus in dorms, and they enjoyed weekend hiking retreats. As sponsor of the Women’s Athletic Association, I had as much fun as the girls did, and Chub enjoyed helping but did not stay over.

One weekend we reserved three cabins at Reed’s Lake, between Millersburg and Fulton. In the dairy truck, Chub took 16 bed rolls, other equipment and two girls who had late classes. I helped the food committee buy supplies for four meals and took girls and food in my car.

It was a really long hike out Fulton Gravel Road, past the Harg store, through Millersburg and on to Reed’s Lake, which once was owned by Jake Reed, a retired pugilist of national fame. I never met him, but his farm was known for its double tall fence because he had a number of antelope. There was a fishing lake, a swimming pool and a small public store and restaurant for guests and neighbors.

We ate a quick hot dog and potato chip meal Friday evening and made "some mores" with roasted marshmallows on graham crackers. Chub unloaded my bed roll, fishing tackle and flashlights and put larger light bulbs in the single drop lights in all three cabins. Then he left for home. These crude cabins were made out of old railroad box cars! Windows and doors were added, but there was a "path to the bath."

All beds were ready and some of the hikers were asleep before the rest of us took flashlights and wandered down to the store, where a few people were visiting and playing cards. The room was suddenly quiet as we entered. The storekeepers asked questions, and all were eager to hear the girls’ answers. It was easy to make new friends in this gathering. Three men opened cases and tuned up their fiddle, guitar and banjo and played some tunes while people clapped in rhythm; some of the card players danced, and some of the girls danced with each other. Then girls were dancing with the new friends, farmers as old as their fathers.

The girls remembered that I played the fiddle at faculty stunt night early in the school year, so they insisted that I play that night; the fiddler handed me his instrument so he could dance with his wife. What a change from Friday night at Christian College’s campus or an MU dance!

As we left the store, the woman said, "Be sure to come tomorrow night for the dance." We didn’t know what that meant, but some agreed that we would. It wasn’t hard to go to sleep that night, particularly for those who had hiked all that way! There were lots of stories and questions when I made the rounds at bedtime.

Saturday was a leisurely day. Some located the antelope in the woods, we caught fish the "usual size" - small - some swam, some played volleyball, and we had two good meals. Then someone asked, "Mrs. G, are we going to the dance?"

To be continued next Monday.

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