Last summer, Marian Templeton Brown ’45 marked the 70th anniversary of her graduation by returning to Indiana—and to a campus far different from the one she knew at the height of World War II.
Marian Brown near her former room in Sutton Hall. Photo: Keith Boyer
Brown came to Indiana State Teachers College from Brentwood to study music in 1941, 30 years after her mother, Pauline Weaver Templeton, completed her teaching course at Indiana Normal School. Brown roomed with a high school friend, Anne Weaver Booske ’45, on the first floor of John Sutton Hall. Their L-shaped room, with matching floral bedspreads and drapes their mothers had sewn, was a popular stop for friends on their way to Thomas Sutton Hall at mealtime. Just above the dining hall was the Music Department, “and we smelled all we were going to have for lunch and dinner,” Brown said.
In December of her freshman year, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, and the United States declared war. By her sophomore year, the men had left for military training, and the campus was virtually all women.
“We girls took over a lot of the main jobs,” she said. “It was interesting because we got to do a lot of things that maybe we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do if the men had all been here.”
The president of her class, Brown remembers the all-woman dance band, with her friend Dorothy Beck Douglas ’45 on drums. “I’m sure it wasn’t very good, but it was fun,” Brown said.
Her memories of college depict the era, regardless of a time of war or peace. Students had to be in by 7:00 p.m., but during a 15-minute “wild hour” at a quarter to 10, they could hurry to the Dairy Dell, where Pizza House is now, for a Coke or ice cream. Meals in the dining hall were served family style at tables of 10 to 12. Riding in cars required written permission from home.
Brown described her circle of friends as “straight-laced.” “We stayed in, and we studied,” she said—though there were occasional diversions. Brown laughed as she recalled the night she and Booske persuaded their friend Leola Rowe Balik ’45, “a town girl,” to stay the night in their room.
“I guess we were making more noise than usual, and Miss [Florence] Kimball, dean of women, came walking down the hall, and she found Leola hiding in the closet,” Brown said. “We couldn’t go to any of our sorority pledging parties for two weeks.”
After graduating, Brown went on to teach music in New Brighton and for many years in Brentwood before retiring in 1986. She and her late husband, William, had three daughters, and all of them work in education. Decades after their Sutton Hall sleepover, Brown remains close with Balik, a retired music teacher living in New Castle, and they remember their college days fondly.
“I enjoyed my years at Indiana very much,” Brown said. “They were different because of the war, but I didn’t know any different.”
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