I am pleased to welcome you to my personal blog, which I started in March 2009. I first became interested in blogging about five years ago, using old "blogger.com", which was cumbersome to use and I never mastered. About a year ago I discovered that Google had bought "blogger.com" and had revised it considerably, making it fun to use, so much so that I have devised at least 15 blogs on various subjects and frequently add posts and Gadgets to them.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

William T. Johnson's First Year at PC

My time with Presbyterian College began while we were practicing our senior graduation exercises in high school. Haynie Prince, the PC representative, came by to see my cousin Harris and took us out of the auditorium where we were practicing for our graduation. I became very interested in what he said about the college. It was May and I had not made a commitment for college and I didn't do anything right then. Harris' mother wanted him to go to PC because she was Presbyterian. We happened to be sitting together in the auditorium. He took us both outside and talked to us about PC. It took weeks for me to make a decision about college. When Al Butler, a student representative, came by my house to talk to me and my parents he reminded me of the other boys from Washington who had been in my Boy Scout troop and were already at PC. So, I made a commitment and I was ready to go.

My Experience with Hazing

The cost was about 600 dollars a year to go to PC in 1941. That was still a lot of money in those days. It cost about 350 dollars to go to the University of Georgia. The student representative didn't really tell us a lot, but I made a decision to go to PC. I was shocked within a few days when I got on campus because the upper class men mistreated us terribly on campus! Well, not really, but it was a hazing. Sophomores would come by at supper and tell me and other Freshmen to come by their room in Smythe after supper. I lived in Spencer. Billy Dent was a rascal, He would make me name off the towns I would go through to get from Clinton to his home town and give me a lick with a paddle for each one I missed! I learned quickly. Another general hazing activity was to get all the Freshmen to hold on to a big rope and walk to town in our pajamas holding on to that rope; afterward we went to a movie; we all went together on the rope. We attended a singing on the square at some point in the evening. A key to identifying who the targets were as freshmen was the infamous Rat Cap, a small-billed baseball-like hat that set us apart from the other students and easily identified us to the upper class men to harass. Another indignity was guarding the campus before the Newberry game... all Night! We were going to keep the Indians from raiding the campus and defacing or stealing any of our statues or doing damage. One more indignity was that each of us was to bow or salute the mailbox as we went by. I"m not really sure what that meant; they thought of the weirdest things for us to do.

My Experience with College Education

Chapel was an interesting affair as older students made speeches. Tucker Irvin from Washington was good The first day of selecting courses was at the Springs out in front of the gym. I signed up for General Physics and Beginning German. I knew more about physics in high school than my teacher. I also signed up for Military Science, Typing, Freshman English, and of course, Bible. I soon found that I was going to have a problem with physics with Dr. Whitlelaw, a man of great knowledge with a physical challenge. The other courses were fun and not too bad. My Bible teacher, Bernard Boyd taught us Genesis through Esther the first year. Bernie was a very good teacher. However, I was somewhat shaken up by his liberal ideas about creation. I liked German very much and remember professor Dr.J. William Frey, who made a great impression on me. Dr. Frey told us in class that he had written the Presbyterian College Alma Mater. Typing turned out to be a bigger problem than physics - I failed it and had to take it again the next year. Military science didn't present much of a problem except that another student with a similar name was credited with some of my class scores until I figured out what was happening. I found English 101 to be a rehash of Miss Emily's sixth grade English and no problem at all except that there seemed to be a hundred students in the class.

My Dorm Life

The college assigned me and my cousin Harris to the same room on the second floor of Spencer, directly under the porch. The room was not bad except that our shower was across the hall. We had only one uniform - wool, shade 32 - so that I had to iron it on Thursday night before inspection on Friday. This seems to have been before the day of washing machines so that I had to send my laundry out to a woman who came by to get it and brought it back.

My Experience with Extracurricular Activities

There were a few dances or balls that year, for example, the Military Ball in October or November, which was held at the National Guard armory just west of the campus since there could be no dancing on campus. I invited my latest girl friend, and her parents brought her to Clinton. I enjoyed ROTC and the morning drill because I was in the band. I also was in the men's chorus and we traveled all over SC. This kept me busy and interfered with my trips home some times. We had an articulated bus/trailer, that was really fancy for the time. The band went to Abbeville and Laurens once and heard Strom Thurmond speak. He was in SC politics at the time. We also went to to Rock Hill for a football game and went to a movie and saw "Sergeant York". That was very interesting. The chorus went many places, like Sumter and Chester. We always sang at Presbyterian Churches.

My Travel Experiences

I learned about hitchhiking at PC. Travel wasn't easy. We would go up there in front of the Young's house west of the Plaza and hitchhike from there wearing our distinguished Rat Caps. It wasn't hard to get a ride home, it was just long. My cousin had a an old car, an old Mercury, for a few months. One time we were going through Bradley and the distributor failed and we had to find a replacement. Occasionally we traveled by train. Trips back to PC were bad. Sunday afternoons were slow and uncertain about transportation. Occasionally my parents would take me to Elberton to catch the Seaboard. It cost $2.60 to get to Clinton and we would get in about midnight tired and worn out. I never did have my own car at PC. One upper class man had a Model-A Ford but that was about it for cars on campus. One time it took five weeks before I could return home because the weather was just too bad hitchhiking. The most significant occurrence was on December 7th 1941. I had gone to my home in Washington with Statham Quinn, also from Washington and Alex Cruickshanks from West Virginia. My parents were taking us to Elberton to hitchhike from there back to PC on old Highway 72. Two girls from Elberton in a 1937 Chevrolet picked us up and told us about the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.

World War II Arrives

I had never even heard of Pearl Harbor. This had a very serious effect on all the students. Some of them immediately enlisted and did not come back to school. In a short time the school was used for training Army Air Corps cadets. It was the summer of 1942 when it got going full steam.chapel

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