From my earliest memories our family lived near Salem College. Doctor Clark was the college president when we moved to Salem in 1914. He and his family became good friends of our family. Doctor S. Orestes Bond succeeded Doctor Clark and served a long and successful tenure in the college presidency. My associations with President Bond were rewarding, especially in my college years.
Salem children who lived near the college were richly advantaged. The opportunity to follow the cultural and athletic programs of the institution was of immeasurable value. What a thrill it was to witness almost all of the football, basketball and baseball home games and to know the Salem athletes by name. I have bright memories of coach Casey, Bud Tesch, Earl Culp, Jennings Randolph and many more. They are Salem’s athletic heroes of yesteryear.
Jennings Randolph was a superb athlete, performing brilliantly in basketball and tennis. I chased tennis balls for him on the college courts. He also excelled in the academic, social and political activities at Salem College. He had the lead roll in their senior class presentation of Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. The stage crew brought two lambs from a farm on Buckeye to enhance the setting for the play and they recruited me to take care of the lambs, giving me a free ticket to the performance, of course. I was nine or ten years old at the time. Jennings and his fellow actors had me come back stage after the play and asked for my help in finding a place to keep the lambs overnight. I was to go first to President Bond’s home and ask it he had a place for the lambs overnight. Failing there, the home of Mr. and Mrs. Ed Trainer was to be my next stop and inquiry.
I was honored to be given such an important assignment by my college heroes. But the response was negative at both homes and I was crestfallen as I reported back to Jennings and his cohorts. Everyone involved in that episode, including President Bond and Trainers, must have had hearty laughs, I believe they took the lambs back to the farm that night.
Salem College sponsored a series of six or so cultural programs called LYCEUM during the school year. Visiting guest entertainers brought programs of music, lectures, and varied performances appealing to the whole Salem community. I was given the job of advertising the LYCEUM on the day of the event by walking from one end of Salem to the other carrying a sandwich board on my back announcing LYCEUM and ringing a hand bell as I walked. For this effort I receive free tickets for Mama and me. I was probably eleven years old then. LYCEUM contributed greatly to my cultural education.
I trust it is evident to you that my childhood, through year twelve, was happy and filled with the excitement of growing. I was blessed innumerable ways and at very many points in childhood through the interest and love shown me by many wonderful people.
Let we say with the ancient poet who wrote Psalm sixteen, verse 6: “The lines fall for me in pleasant places, Indeed I am well content with my inheritance.”
-The New English Bible