College life, Dark Ages-style
My feet and back still hurt as I write this, nearly 35 years later.
Young college students returning to school might be amazed to learn that, once upon a time, your predecessors had to stand in line to get their classes.
And then they stood in line to get their books.
Yes, it was the Dark Ages. Actually, it was probably pre-Dark Ages. Actually, it was the Stone Age. And the Disco Era (please don’t groan; it was cool at the time!)
Anyway, one day in mid-August at UW-La Crosse you went to stand in a long, unmoving line to get your classes, and you repeated the gig the next day to get your boatload of textbooks.
Worse, you’d be halfway through the classes line when the person in charge at the head of the line would hold up a red card, signifying that this particular class was closed.
Try the next line.
This was probably how I wound up taking a 1-credit class called Military Science, a 2-credit class on Canoeing, and a 2-credit summer class on Basic Tennis.
Military Science had us rappel down the football stadium wall. I resisted as long as I could, certain I’d plummet to my death. But the kind ROTC instructors stuck with me, long after class had ended and everyone else was gone, and finally convinced me to give it a try.
Turns out rappelling is pretty great, once you conquer your lifelong fear of heights and death.
In canoeing you put the paddle in the water at a certain angle to make the canoe go left or right. Try not to end up stuck in a lagoon. Ooops. Too late.
I’ll always remember the Canoeing class girl whose first name was Friday. Pretty girl, but two or three years older than I, and light years out of my league.
The one thing I remember about the tennis class: toss the ball high when serving, position the other arm as if you’re answering the telephone (Dark Ages!), and try and whomp the ball when it comes down.
Try not to curse when you miss the ball, it goes off the end of your raquet, or it flies into the net.
Rejoice at the 1 millionth serve – your first “ace.”
I also took some sort of Medieval Drama class at UW-L.
Which teacher did I have?
OK, the teacher told us she was a witch – a Wiccan, to be precise. Nice lady, kinda serious, kinda fascinating. Had big, frizzy hair.
You kids today can sit back in the comfort of your dorm or apartment and order up everything online. Probably including rappelling, canoeing and tennis.
You may even have a classmate named Friday.
But we knew which witch was which ...