I've always been sensitive about my weight. Imagine my panic when, as
a frightened frosh, I arrived in August of 1949 only to realize that I
couldn't get into the dorm without being weighed and measured! In public!
By upperclassmen! I wish I could say that I felt angry about being demeaned,
but I did not. I only felt ashamed of myself for not having the correct
measurements. I'm glad this "tradition" has been disposed of.
--Josephine Feagley '53, New York, New York
Having just come home from the Pomona College Choir Christmas concert,
I was reminded of the wonderful tradition of the Christmas Supper at Pomona
in former years. One entered a transformed and darkened Frary Hall, lit
only by Christmas candles and hundreds of tiny white lights on an immense
Christmas tree at the end of the hall. A roaring fire brought warmth and
color while Christmas greens hung from chandeliers brightened by red ribbons.
The delicious smells of the dinner mingled with the aroma of pine, and
the joy and enthusiasm of all who attended was literally catching. Mrs.
McCarthy, in charge of the dining hall, served the same menu each year--chicken
a la king, peas, Jell-O salad, rolls, and an ice-cream ball topped with
coconut and a candle. We ate standing up, while we listened to carols
sung by Glee Club members. I also recall thinking, "later tonight I get
to sing in the Choir Concert" while the anticipation of going home after
studying hard all semester added to my expectancy.
Since I attended Pomona during World War II, there was
also a poignancy to all this enthusiasm and gaiety, as we faced a very
dark world in 1943 and 1944. But somehow the Christmas Supper, in all
its simplicity and splendor, momentarily put that fact out of one's mind.
I can't remember why this tradition ended, or when. But seeing the young
and beautiful members of the Pomona College choir sing their Christmas
concert tonight reminded me that at least one part of that traditional
evening still goes on.
--Claire Kingman McDonald '47, Claremont, California
High on my list of Pomona traditions is MUFTI. They were active as early
as the '30s. Since MUFTI was a secret society, only its members knew who
they were. Several times a year, they put little stickers up around the
College with topical comments, showing a certain genius for language and
insight into College affairs. I recall the campus was pasted with these
little notes saying "MUFTI's $100 Intuition" the day before the trustees
announced an increase in tuition of $100. Other postings were equally
timely and witty. One saying "MUFTI keeps time but is one beat off" was
quickly denounced as the work of imposters. I hope someone has a collection
of these, and I hope MUFTI is alive and well.
--Stephen Ringle '69, Dover-Foxcroft, Maine
In the fall
of 1935, an important part of our indoctrination as freshmen included
a gathering of all freshmen on the other side of Foothill to a location
in the sagebrush. A bonfire had been built and we had supper while older
students spoke to us about Pomona's traditions as well as songs and yells
for sporting events. By now the sun had set and the fire had burned down
to glowing coals. Everyone was asked to be silent. After a minute or two,
from out of the darkness the Men's Glee Club started singing Torchbearers.
At first very softly and then increasing in volume. It was awe-inspiring.
We never saw the singers, only heard their voices. This is a night that
has been forever etched into my memory.
To this day, I cannot talk or write about this experience
without becoming very emotional. It is one of the wonderful highlights
of my life that is living with me forever.
--Harry Sheppard '39, San Mateo, California
The Great Beanie Revolt
The most most despised Pomona tradition to those of us who were incoming
freshmen in the fall of '67 was the mandatory wearing of the beanie, a
small blue and white skullcap that we Frosh were expected to assume whenever
daring to show our faces. This hideous helmet of hazing did not sit well
either (figuratively) with our sensibilities or (literally) on many a
shaggy post-summer-of-love Chia pate. You say you want a revolution? We
were more than happy to oblige.
I am proud to recount (and I'm sure that the passage
of more than 30 years has not burnished my recollections one whit) that
it was our class, spearheaded by the spunky "Seamen" of Norton Hall, who
first refused en masse to don that horrid headgear. Because of our modest
act of collegial disobedience no subsequent class, to my knowledge, was
ever again asked to sport a beanie. Our cohort surely made many errors,
but our boycott of the beanie was not one of them.
--Nelson Treece '71, Caribou, Maine
for Next Issue:
been said that we live in a shrinking world wherein any two people are
separated by only six degrees of acquaintances. So tell us about the most
unlikely Pomona-related coincidence or chance meeting you've experienced.
your submission by April 30, 2001, to: Sarah Dolinar; ATTN: Parlor Talk;
Pomona College; 550 N. College Ave.; Claremont, CA 91711, or by e-mail
Please include your name, class, address, and phone number. Responses
will be selected based on content and will be edited as necessary for