10.02.2015
Preface Adaline Pates Potter, known to all as Pates (pate eze) came to Mount Holyoke College from western Pennsylvania with the firm, if romantic, intention of majoring in French and joining the US Consular Service on graduation. She blamed her inability to discipline her love of telling tales on her Kentucky father and on her mother and four siblings, all of whom were passionate readers and indulgent listeners. So I shall start with a brief outline of the Mount Holyoke College community of which we were only a part. A returning alumna trying to find the Mount Holyoke she knew in the late ‘twenties, would see much to reassure her if she drove along College Street. Yet, back of the facade, the college has changed not only structurally but essentially, and one of those most essential changes is the student body.
Most of us were Protestant: Congregationalist, Presbyterian, or Methodist, although there was a sprinkling of Episcopalians and Quakers. If all that lack of variety -- social, religious, and class -- made us parochial in outlook, it was also the basis for what I find the most distinguishing and influential characteristic of the college I knew: we were classless. It all happened between September 1928 and June 1929; that was a very far-off time -- sixty-seven or sixty-eight years ago, to be specific.
If Sycamores has ghosts today, I think they are not of the students I knew there, but Margaret, Nellie, and Dunk, assuming still their roles as guardians of the house. Later came the daffodils, narcissus, and hyacinths in clumps at the bases of the big trees, filling the borders, escaping somehow into the wilderness beyond the grape arbor.
Naturally, being girls still, we did not confine our reaction to the garden to aesthetic raptures. Having chosen Sycamores for its eighteenth-century charm, we tried to furnish our rooms in the spirit of the house, at least in so far as our not very knowledgeable taste, our pocketbooks, and our comfort allowed. We had the southwest room at the top of the stairs on the second floor, the one with its own dogleg staircase leading to a locked door on the third floor. We tried to make the double desk, again college-issue, as inconspicuous as possibly by setting it to the left of the door; at least, it didn’t strike the eye as one entered.
In the fall of 1971 or ‘72, the Dean of Students office, faced with a shortage of rooms for an unexpectedly large freshman classand having on its hands an empty Sycamores -- if a really old house so full of memories can ever be called “empty” -- decided to move foreign students from Dickinson, where most of those on the graduate level had been housed for at least twenty years, to Sycamores; that is, from the extreme south end of campus to the even more extreme north. As foreign student adviserI was worried about the change, but since I had been presented with a fait accompli, I had no opportunity to raise the questions that troubled me.
I must confess that it worked out fairly well, though the difficulties I’d predicted did arise. Despite their initial disappointment, they began to accept the situation, and gave in gracefully, or at least, not too plaintively, as they fell into the rhythms of their adopted life.
Second semester had begun, everyone had returned, somewhat gratefully, to the safety of campus after the confusing scramble of Christmas vacation, and everyone had settled in nicely, I thought. So she went off with the key and it was so effective that Miss Lyon returned to wherever she had walked in my day, and never turned up at Sycamores again.
Our relationship with our Head of Hall was fairly close, but our meetings usually took place at meals, in the halls, or in our own rooms, though Evelyn Ladd, as House President, probably saw more of her than I was aware of.
We knew, of the room itself, that one whole wall was white-painted paneling with a fireplace, and that it was fitted up like a sitting room, with chairs and a cot, of the sort we students had, with a serviceable dark green couch-cover.
This juxtaposition of bathroom and Miss Dunklee was at the heart of one of our more dramatic experiences that winter.
My memory may be wrong: it couldn’t have been more than a healthy trickle, though a reprehensible one, after all.
Still there were, there had to be, lapses; further disappointments for Miss Dunklee, though none so serious as the bath episode. Whatever the reason for our unease, an evening came when we feared that the sheer numbers of our small infractions had accomplished what one serious carelessness had failed to do: discouraged Dunk irrevocably. She smiled benignly, went into her room, and shut the door, leaving us to trail upstairs feeling, if truth must be told, a little flat. Since ordinary dates were usually confined to weekends, a week day was chosen for this occasion, in order to highlight the glory. Meanwhile, the two young lady dates, having got themselves dressed for an evening out, were lurking on the second floor at the top of the stairs.
About the other, I can be more sure and detailed, though the 1931 Llamarada, placing that winter’s Llamie Dance in late October, shakes my certainty about the background. There was much good-natured chaffing as each date boasted of his prowess as a trencherman and vowed to add his name to the list. Feminine modesty required observance of two conflicting dicta: one did not interfere with the innocent pleasures of one’s date, and one did not allow notoriety, especially if there was any danger that it might be accompanied by public ridicule.


Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sundays differed somewhat from class days, and greatly and crucially from the present weekends.
Within that routine, there were, naturally, variations, sometimes worthy to my nostalgic mind of treatment in some detail, sometimes very minor but insisting on a brief notice. Some of our elders, and some of the more conventional of us, must have thought there were other, more dangerous flames that year, for 1929 was an election year and, though the Republican Herbert Hoover became president that fall, despite my own staunch adherence to the Democratic party, radical criticism, even some talk of listening to the demands of “those unions”, was in the air. For the most part, though, our interests and activities were confined to college and, more specifically, the dorm.
Such long walks were common for us in spite of the skirts we still wore everywhere, but they tended to be informal. Some of our walking was less healthy that sophomore year than Outing Club hiking; the fall of 1928 saw the Administration’s capitulation to the Campus cigarette lobby.
In those days, one of the entertainment glories of the Connecticut Valley was the Court Square Theater in Springfield. One incident that really had nothing to do with Sycamores but certainly lent flavor to our lives there, took place during the winter.
A function of Jeanette Marks’s Play Shop was to lend its expertise to the foreign language departments when they put on their annual plays.
More connected to Sycamores was one more of these passing events, small in itself but important to the participants; in this case, to me. Sophomore year, as I’ve said, was the year a class began to define itself as a part of the college community.
Each class inherited its color -- red or blue, green or yellow -- and its heraldic emblem -- lion or Pegasus, griffin or Sphinx -- but the song had to be original.
The only explanation I can advance for such an uncharacteristic omission is that this was a “middle” college year, merely the end of a dormitory, not the end of college.
Nevertheless -- here the story-teller gives a shout of triumph -- I do remember most fondly and with a little hindsight embarrassment one event that might be described as a climax of sorts: Dunk’s final attempt to give pleasure to “her house”. I can’t say whether I had an exam that morning, but I do recall the late May flowers and fragrance and our great pleasure when Dunk told us as we assembled for lunch that we were to have a picnic in the garden.
The cup was not quite full, however: no food had appeared and Evelyn Ladd, the designated hostess, was missing.
Miss Dunklee, mindful of the passing time and Miss Green’s inexorable schedule, reluctantly took care of the first problem, giving away the second part of her secret: the food was to be hunted for. The food was laid out on the tables, our plates were piled very high; Miss Dunklee and Mr.
Someone else was sent, like Sister Anne in the Bluebeard story, to see whether a laggard Evelyn was even so belatedly wandering down the road from the college. At about five o’clock that afternoon Evelyn turned up, exhausted but jubilant that the questions on the exam she had just taken had called forth her best.
I find it hard to accept that the sophomores I have been writing about and whom I can see so clearly are now in their mid-eighties, elderly women by anyone’s standards. Preface  Adaline Pates Potter, known to all as Pates (pate eze) came to Mount Holyoke College from western Pennsylvania with the firm, if romantic, intention of majoring in French and joining the US Consular Service on graduation. We were an astonishingly homogenous group.  Almost all of us were middle-class and Protestant and came from east of the Rockies, and most of those, from the Atlantic coastal states north of the Mason-Dixon line.
Yet, back of the facade, the college has changed not only structurally but essentially, and one of those most essential changes is the student body.  As I’ve said, the student body was almost ridiculously homogeneous.
Physically, from the author's viewpoint, about five-and-a-half feet off the ground, he's standard size.
For the average listener, in one lifetime, there is not enough time to practice to get to this level. The only thing I had was the standard Alfred's Book #1, but I didn't bother reading any of the notes. I had a friend who lived across the street who was in the band as well and his older brother had turned him on to BB King. These people, unlike people like Skip James… I had missed that part of it… these people were still alive!
The blues is a major part of Toby's repertoire, but there have been other sources of inspiration that result in a variety of styles within what he does.
Our readers owe it to themselves to get out to a Toby Walker performance to soak it all in. She hastily switched to an English major when she learned that Consuls are expected to have at least a rudimentary knowledge of economics, however, she did take as many courses in government and political science as the college then offered.


Dedicated smokers now snatched a fugitive drag in dormitory rooms, with all the consequent flurry of suddenly flung-open windows and frantic waving of towels if someone in authority approached. Lovell freely, to take us to the Court Square, and to Springfield at the beginning of vacations. Woolley Hall, the Rockies, Skinner, the Mary Lyon gates, Mary Lyon itself, the libe, and Dwight have altered their front elevations so little, or so subtly, that she might even overlook the new link between the libe and what she knew as the “art building”. Many times, listeners will hear a guitar player and dreamily picture themselves playing just like that. On top of a rock-solid bass pattern, the treble melody lines dance with speed, grace and precision.
It was there that Toby learned about Chicago players like early Buddy Guy, Magic Sam, Otis Rush, Magic Slim, Herbert Sumlin, Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters. The people who stayed there knew about other missions and people that travelled a lot would tell you about missions in other cities. You'd get $8 the first time, then go back a few hours later in the afternoon and get $7 for the second time.
Over the years, using books and records, he's studied jazz on his own and has taken a couple of lessons to learn a few things. After graduation at the height of the “Great Depression”, she spent four years in Northampton, Massachusetts, as a governess, finishing that period with an M.A. This wartime work led her to return to the Mount Holyoke English department, as a teacher of English as a foreign language and of composition.
I liked the way this chord fit with that chord, plus I had a sense of rhythm and I enjoyed listening to the chords I was learning, so I just wrote my own songs. Toby borrowed heavily from Robbie's collection to study from and occasionally scraped together enough cash to buy something by Buddy Guy or the like. Then you'd get to sleep there that night You'd get to sleep that night, and the next morning, you'd get to shower and you'd get another sermon while you were eating breakfast.
The second trip, three of my guitar students wanted to come along and would pay for all the gas and the hotel. In 1960 the position of foreign student advisor was added.  She retired as Associate Professor of English and died in 2006. I had a sleeping bag and slept a lot of times off the side of the highway, in small wooded areas. And when I heard that there were still people alive who were playing it, people that I had read about in books!… Eugene Powell, Wade Walton, and James 'Son' Thomas… they were all in these books! Toby put in a lot of years at the post office, but knew he'd have to get out to save his sanity. At Northfield she was given permission to marry Gordon Potter; her employment was terminated two years later, on the grounds that, as a married woman, she would be unlikely to stay in the school into an old age. Yet here it was, our home for some nine months, and a home we had chosen for ourselves when low room-choosing numbers allowed the choice. At Northfield she was given permission to marry  Gordon Potter; her employment was terminated two years later, on the grounds that, as a married woman, she would be unlikely to stay in the school into an old age.
At that time and we played Rolling Stones covers -- a lot of the Get Your Ya-Ya's Out album (Live at Madison Square Garden). When I was in Albuquerque, I almost got arrested for vagrancy, but the police gave me a ride out of town.
I thought, 'OK, That sounds good to me' Also, during that period, I was with two bands, and I travelled on the road with those two bands. You could go to any college, and they had ride-aways -- cars that needed to be driven across the country.
You can always go to any college or university and find ride-aways and you can transport a car, and they would pay you for the gas.
In the beginning of my junior year, my counselor wanted me to go on to college, and asked me what my plans were.
In the  beginning of my junior year, my counselor wanted me to go on to college, and asked me what my plans were.




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