Beverly Wagoner

I came to Greencastle about 50 years ago as a young bride married to a psychology professor at DePauw.  We lived in a studio apartment in the Cole Apartments.  My life centered on the university.  I loved everything about it – the concerts, the programs (there was something called Chapel – wonderful speakers).  I explored the “downtown” and the campus and soon began to know people in our apartment although most of my friends were faculty wives.  I had been a Methodist all my life and I attended Gobin Church – our children went to Sunday School there.  I became involved with DePauw’s Campus Ministry, an ecumenical ministry, with active interested students. I was very impressed with the student’s interest in not only university affairs but community affairs as well.  I was a nurse and before our sons were born I worked at the Putnam County Hospital which was near enough that I could walk to work and there I began to meet people in the community and although there may have been somereserve about DePauw people I think I was not aware of it while at work.  My husband, Kenneth and I had two sons, Paul, an engineer who lives in Cambridge, MA and Todd , a potter and public school art teacher who lives in Rockville, IN.  I’m sure each of them would tell you that growing up in Greencastle gave them an almost carefree childhood.  They walked to school, came home at lunch, rode bicycles and explored the town and local areas at will and without much supervision.  They spent time with their father in the Psychology labs and machine shop and were certainly familiar with the university.  I think I even “forced” Paul to participate in the May Day ceremonies where the coeds danced around a maypole. I enjoyed the recitals and concerts of the Music School – “forced” Todd to take cello lessons from one of Cassel Grubb’s students.  I became aware of a “town-gown” division by the time our children were teen agers.  I believe there was some feeling that if any mischief occurred in the community we should suspect the college students.  Paul was surprised when he went to Boston to college and remarked, “People like college students here.” The ambulance service, Operation Life, was started by DePauw students and while on the whole it was accepted as a wonderful service there was some resistance to receiving emergency medical service from “college kids”  Some of them would spend their summers here and several years some of them lived in our house while we were away for the summer. My husband loved DePauw, he found it the perfect place to work, thought the students were outstanding and was proud of them and he found the administration supportive of the psychology programs and he enoyed greatly the interaction with faculty members. We moved away when he retired and I came back to live in the Asbury Towers Retirement Community after Ken died.  Greencastle has certainly changed but it really looks much the same after 25 years – the magnolias still bloom on Washington street- the campus has many new buildings, but the same beautiful green areas are here.  The school children no longer walk to school, or ride bicycles around the town but they are interesting and active and involved.  The neighborhoods have changed, maybe faculty members do not all live in town, and the downtown area no longer is the place to shop.  The University still provides music and programs and speakers, the Nature Park is a joy for all and seeing the students on campus reminds us that they are our future and the town just doesn’t seem as vital and interesting when they are not here.

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