Ernie Lauer '44

A Woman in the Men's Dorm?

It was winter time. A light coating of snow covered the ground. It was cold, a crisp, clear night for a walk. It was a weekend to be enjoyed by the skeleton student body. A few (I think 3 men and three women), after a walk through Profville, got the idea of going to a room in the men's dormitory to relax and visit. The presence of a woman in a man's room was strictly forbidden. We went anyway. The act was more serious because one of the women, Elaine "Ma" Rohrer, was house mother for the female students. She was about the same age as the female students and she came from my home church in Kansas. She feared for her job if detected. She stayed with the group as they settled in a room on the top floor of the men's dormitory. There, in joyful comfort, they visited well past visiting time. Nothing more came of it except a question in the next issue of the school paper. Carroll Olm '46 was editor and I was the "anonymous" author of the newspaper column item.

The school dining area was in the lower south area of the building. This meant that girls had to walk down and around the north end of the boys' dorm, then south to the main entrance. Traffic from the boys' dorm joined the girls at this point. All went down a short flight of stairs and a short hallway into the dining area. The girls' coat rack was in this short, final hall. It was a cold, busy place, especially in winter. It was also possible to enter the boys' dorm at the north end, go down the hall and join those entering from the outside. Some of the boys and girls who were dating discovered that it was easier and warmer to enter by the north door of the dorm, place their coats in the room of a participating student, and join those entering through the main door. After the meal, the students followed the same route. A directive from President Grosshuesch caused this practice to cease--for a time!


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