I didn’t choose to attend Mount Vernon Nazarene College. Rather, my parents chose for me. The conversation went something like this. “You want to go to Point Loma Nazarene in San Diego? Fine, but we’re not going to give you a dime. If you go to Mount Vernon, we’ll help you as much as we are able.” To be fair, both of my parents are deceased and can’t speak for themselves but I’m reasonably confident that some iteration of this narrative is spot on.
Forfeiting warm, California breezes, the Pacific coast and an established campus, I waded full on to the field of dreams, buildings yet to be, to a college with no upperclassmen, a garage for a library and some faculty barely older than the students they taught. In lieu of an ocean, I had to settle for the Kokosing River and a nearby sewage treatment plant. Enough.
Odd, isn’t it, that at this age, I habitually forget where I parked my car, can’t for the life of me, remember passwords for every gadget I own and have to think twice to remember my children’s birthdays but I can remember some of the snippets of history over 60 years in the making.
I remember Randy Holmes using his electric shaver during Glen Chesnut’s history class.
I remember sitting through Esther Schlosser Martin’s 8 a.m. poetry class studying the text, “How Does a Poem Mean?” by John Ciardi. I still don’t know.
I remember thinking that Pam Conrad and Larry Morgan looked like brothers and sisters. (They married early into our college years). And, I still think they could pass for brother and sister.
I remember coming back from Thanksgiving break to learn that Doris Ferguson, beloved English prof, was hospitalized, not to return to the class.
I remember Professor Charles McCall, being five minutes into a lecture and in his southern drawl he paused to say, “oops, I forgot prayer.”
I remember Dr. Earl Vastbinder, a guest chapel speaker, talking about some people being sand in the machine of our personality. I’ll not mention the classmate we dawned “Sandy” as a result of that sermon.
I remember, sadly, the February day David Nease drowned.
I remember Marty Butler, known in the Akron district as “the boy who prayed like a man.” (That same boy can be seen in an old yearbook, jumping out of a cake wearing a two-piece bathing suit, celebrating Eric Darr’s birthday). He still prays like a man.
I remember a late night visit to the President’s office when Dr. S. W. Nease said to me, “if you can do anything other than preach and still be in the will of God, do it.”
Mount Vernon was a place, a people, an unequaled experience for which I’ll forever be grateful. There, I met my wife, Bonnie. Need I say more?