RPI Revelry & Rebellion

I promised you the story about the first time my picture was on the front page of the Richmond newspapers but posting that turned out to have a few more twists and turns than expected. After searching in vain for the saved clipping, I gave up and tried another tack. A few years back my sister sent me all the letters I had written home during my college years that Mom had lovingly saved along with a trunk load of other correspondence.

Revelers Bigger JPEGThere within those stacks and stacks of letters (I wrote a lot) were details about this very story. Details that I had forgotten. Now even more than before I had to write the post, not that I was going to skip it but it might have ended up on the back burner. Still I needed the photo. The letters gave me the exact date the picture was published. (What Grandma was doing on your to be birthday fifty years ago Martin.) I decided that it was worth the fee for a day of delving into the newspaper digital archives, even with no guarantee, to try and find it. And by all gods Greek I found it on my first try.

A bit grainy but better than a few decades old clipping would have been. Where am I, you ask. See those funny looking paper mȃché guys top left? They belong to me and my dorm mates. We owned them, in so many ways. Rather than paraphrasing I’m going to really take us back in time and quote my letters home word for word.

Dear parents,

Well, we’ve really been busy this week. Sunday night Chris (girl in dorm) and I were playing cards when I noticed something odd outside. A group of kids with a ladder in the middle of Franklin Street putting up a huge sign. It said, ‘Welcome to RPI.’ Then a whole bunch of kids started collecting and dancing on the sidewalk (a girl in the dorm next door turned her stereo up quite loud). About 45 minutes later the police came (that’s what everyone had been waiting for all this time) and the crowd left but the sign stayed although against a city ordinance.

Interject here that our college was/is (now VCU and sprawlingly huge) located on the fringe of business Richmond. The area is called the fan because the streets fan out from downtown. Classes and dorm spaces then were in a group of random vintage buildings with no identification as such. We knew where everything was but any passer by would have no clue. btw That’s my dorm in the photo. Back to the letter.

So Chris and I started thinking about how much fun it would be for all the dorms to put up outside decorations for the dance like home coming. So Monday we asked the dean and she said okay. So I got on the phone (by the way we have free phones now. The number is 353-2711 ext 351) and called all the dorm presidents and told them to have house meetings and join the competition and everyone is! Ours is so great. We have 2 huge gods made of chicken wire and paper mȃché. The dance theme is ‘Winter Dionysia’ so our theme is a great big drunken brawl. One god is hanging over the top balcony (3rd) floor reaching for grapes-the columns are grape vines. And another is sitting on our balcony eating and drinking. They are 20 feet tall and huge. We have been working like trojans for the past 2 nights. My poor hands are so sore from cutting chicken wire with scissors. We also have a few hands and feet showing up on the 3rd floor balcony. The grapes are made of balloons and the vines are crepe paper. We decided to get up at 5 o’clock Friday morn to put it up and so to make sure everyone gets up I’m going to have a fire drill. Isn’t that mean.

I was the dorm president, I got to call fire drills.

stampsBuddy came down this weekend & stayed with Gordon. We watched TV Friday nite. Went to a Sigma Chi party Saturday. Sunday we bowled. 

I dyed a pair of shoes that Ann gave me yellow to match my dress & they look very good. 

I finished reading Fountainhead & it was very good.

Must sleep.



Next post, how we came to be on the front page of the Sunday newspaper.

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  1. Pingback: Rebel & Revel | SandyBeachGirl

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