Share Your Story – Classes 1950-1959

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2 thoughts on “Share Your Story – Classes 1950-1959

  1. Anonymous

    The organ department was a tight knit group of friends no matter who the major professor might have been. Competition between and within professorial studios was fierce. We all wanted to be to be THE best, but to my knowledge our friendships were very sound and never based on who was gay and who was not.

    I had had no gay experience whatsoever until one evening spent with a person who was an upper classman to me, one who became an incredible friend, a grad school classmate and ultimately a member of the faculty, now retired.

    After that encounter I was more curious than ever but also one who had to work like hell to come close to being THE best (well, I tried) Like so many others I waited on table (May Cottage), had a church job (the Methodist church now next to the CON) and practiced religiously every day until the CON closed at 10:00. There was precious little time to even try to be aware of this new Gay life for me.

    I ultimately knew of faculty members in the Con, College and Administration who were gay, as well as other classmates in the con and college. I never knew of any gay persons in the Theology School let alone or Lesbians or Transgender. The gals I can remember who were “athletic” all ended up getting married and having loads of kids, including one whom I seriously considered marrying.

    During my senior year, I had the pleasure of living with 7 other guys in a magnificent house (still there –and I would love to own it). All of us were either openly gay or were closet players. We didn’t sleep with each other or play with others up and down the halls. During my grad year I lived in the home of a Theology School prof. My roommate planned for the year got drafted, so I had the upstairs to myself. That year I had my own private throne room for very special persons.

  2. Anonymous

    Gay life in Oberlin was extremely private and one had to drive to Cleveland
    to find any sort of gay activities such as the bars. Of course there were
    gays both in the student body and among the faculty, but all was kept
    extremely hidden.

    Freddy Artz, who actually preferred to be called “Artz” by is intimate friends was always proud of his”apostolic” succession of gay roomers of the spare room in his house. Most students lived in the Oberlin dormitories and there was a strict separation of the sexes. Students fortunate enough to pass Artz’s inspection could rent a room in a private home with its own bathroom. Of course during the day, Artz would frequently use the room himself, but the evenings belonged to the student. Such a student was exposed to much European culture in Artz’s home — he had a huge book-lined living room with very beautiful antiques, and a wondeful old music box which used cylinders. One of his favorite sayings, pronounced with twinkling eyes was: “There are fairies at my bottom in the garden” which was, of course, a bit changed from the original song title — he couldn’t get the prepositions right!!

    In his correspondence with me — he was always brief and wrote but one small page — he would often pay a compliment to his current roomer by stating: “He gives me no trouble.” He was also aware of his reputation as a good lecturer of history and would often say after such a lecture: “There wasn’t a dry seat in the hall!”


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