reed magazine logospring2007
Remembrance of dorm life past

Group in Anna Mann, 1940

Anna Mann, 1940

“There were some songs
about Miss Brownlie …

Miss Brownlie was the commons boss,
A wily lass was she.
She put saltpeter in our food
To save our chastity.
But every night
We dosed ourself with aphrodisiac.
And hied ourself to Anna Mann,
For nightly bivouac.”

—Caroline Newberger Canafax ’42

Old dorm block, Kerr, 1955

Old Dorm Block (Kerr), 1955

Griffin 1969

Griffin, one of the cross-canyon dorms, 1969

[When I was five years old] mother and I went down to visit. My sister was living in the dorms. . . . They had a bedroom—a separate bedroom—and a living room, and in this living room they had something called a spread. All the girls came in after dinner and they had crackers and goodies. I’ll tell you, life at college was just for me! I was sold on it. We lived on the farm then with no indoor plumbing, so this was my first experience with a bathroom. I saw this great big tub—I went in, locked the door, filled the tub to the top and started sliding down this back part of the tub. I was never happier. I could hear my sister, Jean: “Helen, unlock this door at once!” But I wouldn’t do it, I was having so much fun. They finally had to come in through the window. I can remember Jean said, “Mother, you have to do something about this child.” So they took me away from the college.

—Helen Wheeler Hastay ’39

German house 1958

Deutsche Sommer Schule 1958

In Anna Mann, I think, the women’s dormitories were locked after a certain hour, and in order for the girl to get into the dormitory we had to find the night watchman, who was Skinny. He only had one arm, and he would let the women in the dorm (and try to keep us out, except during visitation hours). . . . Once, one of the veterans got mad and slugged Skinny, which was not approved, because Skinny only had one arm.

—Michael Lovell ’52

Winch House, as well as Doyle, had its peculiarities . . . if you ever wanted to flush a toilet, you had to yell because you were going to scald anybody who was in the showers. . . . I stayed in Doyle dormitory in my freshman year during one of the vacations, and one day the phone rang . . . who should be coming out to answer the phone but a woman in a dressing gown. She was a friend of one of the male veterans in the dorm, but that was something that was a little bit unexpected and a kind of growing-up experience. 

—Willis Sibley ’51

My junior year I was dorm adviser in one of the new cross-canyon dorms—Griffin. But it wasn’t a particularly successful experience for me. I was nineteen the year that I did that, and I don’t think I had any great insights on providing guidance to students. During Canyon Day, I was kidnapped by people in my dorm and blindfolded and driven to a distant town somewhere. I don’t even remember where it was. And I had to find my way back to Portland. I think that was probably an accurate assessment of the esteem in which I was held as a Dorm Daddy. So my senior year I moved off campus and lived in an apartment across the street.

—Richard Conviser ’65