Saturday, July 10, 2010

Man on the Floor!

Today's blessing has been eavesdropping on the alumni of the Houghton College.  Because I acquired my degree by taking part in the college's adult degree completion program, I did not have the typical Houghton experience.  I didn't live on campus and did not attend traditional classes.  I do believe I have an equivalent degree - our courses were taught by Houghton professors, and while they were kind to us as non-traditional students, they demanded a high level of participation and learning, nonetheless.

So back to eavesdropping.  I have heard, more times than I can count, comments about men being in the dorms.  It started last night when an older man walked by the room, glanced in our open door and struck up a conversation.  After he left, Heather looked at me and said, "I half expected him to announce, 'Man on the floor!' " 

The college has always maintained separate housing for men and women, and although I don't know what the policy was when the class of 1960 was here (they are celebrating their 50th reunion!), when Heather was a student ten years ago, there were strict rules against men being in the women's dorms, except on moving in day and during scheduled "open house" hours.  (When the doors remained open, and I think I heard you had to have at least one foot on the floor at all times or some such restriction as to position with one's male guest.)  As the parent of a freshman woman, I was decidedly pleased that my daughter was not going to a place where men and women were suite mates - some separation is healthy, I believe.

I remember always being amused when our young teenage son Jason would fling open the door and announce in his pre adolescent voice, "Man on the floor!" when going to pick up his sister for breaks.  He was just a little brother!  No co-ed dashing to the shower would want to be seen, even by a little brother, I suppose.

But today, I've heard numerous comments about the propriety of men being in the women's dorm buildings from the other alumni gathered here, even if they are sharing a room with their wives! Old habits die hard, they say, and Houghton grads are enjoying their reunions, recalling life as a student and remarking on differences as returning alumni.

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