Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Kent State

If you're nearly as old as I am, this photo means something to you.  It was taken on the day that the National Guard killed four students at Kent State University, May 4, 1970.

Joe and I were living in Norfolk, Virginia, at the time, and the coverage of the massacre shook us to our bones.

Joe had spent the 1966-67 academic year in Kent, pursuing a bachelor's degree in architecture.  He'd graduated from Temple University in Philly with an associate's degree, and had the confidence to go out to Kent to continue his studies.  The University, of course, did not accept all of his credits in transfer.  This is why the draft board wanted him -- in their eyes, he'd had four years of college, and that was all anyone was entitled to.  Our Navy years were filled with counting the days until we could return to Kent and finish his degree.  Now, suddenly, on May 4 of 1970, a year and a half before we were scheduled to return to Kent, the news was filled with the possibility that the University may be shut down.

It wasn't, of course, and in August of 1971 I moved there and rather quickly found a position with one of the rubber companies that Akron is famous for.  We moved into an attractive townhouse and began for the first time to earnestly seek relationships with potential long-term friends!  Farm tire sales wasn't exactly my cup of tea, and the northeast Ohio winter weather wasn't pleasant for a long car commute, so I began looking for a job right in Kent.  Meanwhile, I registered with the graduate school as a typist of dissertations and theses, and began to build a little business.  I had a lot of time to fill as Joe was very, very busy with his studies.

In the spring of 1972 I was fortunate enough to be hired by a small law firm in Kent.  The two partners had a very colorful clientele, among them some Hell's Angels, and most of the Kent 25 (the students and faculty indicted by a grand jury on criminal charges associated with the events of May 4, 1970).  I could ride the campus bus or my bike to work.  The attorneys (we'll call them Hank and Brad) were casual, informal men, who sometimes were paid their fees in marijuana or guns.  They kept a suit, shirt and tie in the office in case they were suddenly called into court, and tried to keep their weight the same so that the suit would fit either one of them.

The typing business had really taken off and I formed a very nice association with a professor in the school of educational administration.  He often said, "I do not traffic in typists," but he sent many members of his introduction to research class my way, and when they got good grades, they generally stayed with me throughout their years in the program and I typed many papers for them and ultimately their dissertations.

I worked for Hank and Brad for two years until something wonderful happened.


altar ego said...

I love that phrase, "I don't traffic in typists," Ha! And how funny about being able to fit into the same suit. I hope it got cleaned after use!

I can just imagine what the wonderful thing is that is to happen soon!

brite said...

Yes, that photo means something to me, but it was a real joy to read about what Kent State meant to you! Thanks.

Patty Nordahl said...

Yes I remember the picture and the horror it brought well.
I've been reading your trip down memory lane and we were in the Navy at the same time.Yes I consider that the wives were in the Navy too. Any way we were in Norfolk from 1968 - 1970Actually we lived in housing in Portsmouth. When we first went down there Fred was in school in Portsmouth. However our next door neighbor Norman Bikoff was stationed on the Orion. He and his wife became very good friends.
Thanks for such and interesting blog. I don't have a blog but you can reply to plnebooks@yahoo.com.

KimQuiltz said...

I am so enjoying this journey ...

(Ooo, good word verification: fablent)

Pat said...

Hank and Brad? Marijuana or guns? egads. Dissertations on Kafke?

Write on, sister!

Judi said...

Why do I feel like I should be knitting booties?


Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that you are blogging down memory lane. I would have never imagined some of the places you have been or the people you met/worked for.