By Fred W. Weber II
It started back around 1945, when I entered 5-year kindergarten at Rufus Putnam Elementary School. There are so many fond memories of those days I hardly know where to begin…..
Shortly after WOUB came on the air, I remember going over to what is now the East Green -- then Hog Island -- to a studio in a temporary World War II hut and reading something that was broadcast. It was a really "big deal" to be on the radio. That must have been around 1948 or 1949.
Interacting with student teachers and other university activities left its mark too. One time my class was studying modem dance, and we were invited to perform in a production at Memorial Auditorium. We were painted like Indian warriors and did a couple of numbers in the production. What I remember most is that I wanted to leave the paint on overnight, but as the paint dried I had to get up in the middle of the night and wash it off. Oh, how it itched.
When we studied China, we learned about the culture, and a Chinese student came to our class to share her experiences growing up in her country. We prepared a Chinese meal and ate with chopsticks. Another student came from Spain and demonstrated the use of castanets. I never did get that down. Recess was always fun at Putnam. Often our student teachers who were majoring in physical education were OU athletes…..
In sixth grade I remember listening to MacArthur's speech, "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away."
My affection for Ohio University didn't end when I left Putnam to enter seventh grade at Athens Junior High School.
My sister Sally, three years my senior, entered Ohio University and that has good memories too. She belonged to a sorority, and I was a guinea pig for some of her sorority sisters, taking tests and being evaluated. Then there was J-Prom. I hauled the sorority girls around to the different sites to do their skits. Needless to say, a l7-year-old boy with a carload of sorority girls isn't bad work. I met my wife, soon to be of 40 years, at Ohio University. Thanks to Les Cornwell, who introduced us.
And, not really finally, my children attended Rufus Putnam until it closed -- I think in 1971 or 1972.
Every place I go, I'm proud to say that I'm from Athens, the home of Ohio University.
Fred W. Weber II is publisher of The Athens Messenger.
This article was reprinted from “Ohio University Recollections for the Bicentennial Anniversary 1804-2004.” The book was compiled by the Ohio University Emeriti Association.