The College Hall Girls
It was July 15, 1966 when I received the bad news in a mimeographed letter from Chowan College titled “Room Assignment.” I would be rooming with my TWIN SISTER – Jerry and I had been rooming together for the past 18 years. We were ready for someone new!
Nonetheless, Jerry and I settled into our dorm room, met some girls and soon realized that College Hall was going to be a lot more fun than we had previously thought. Jerry and I soon became fast friends with several other residents of College Hall. Beverly Wolfe (who forever after we called “Beaver,”) Elizabeth Livingstone (“Liz,”) Carol Hewitt, Renee Hawthorne, Mary Ferguson, and Nancy Turnage, (known variously as “Shirley Temple” or “Little Girl,” depending on which persona she was using at the time.) Later in the year, my future roommate Anne Johnson joined us, making our circle complete. We began calling ourselves the “College Hall Girls,” and we went everywhere together.
One of the early non-academic activities we had was “Rat Week.” The Sophomore girls came over to the Freshman dorms, taking us around at night to scare us with tales of the Brown Lady, the Chowan College ghost.
Our sophomore year, we were transferred to North Hall dorm which had been renamed Belk Hall by that time. Our rooms were spread out and we had to make more of an effort to stay together, but we did – We still thought of ourselves as the College Hall girls.
Soon it was May, 1968 and we were leaving Chowan – some of us with Associate degrees in hand to bring to another college and some of us to start our careers.
All the College Hall girls found each other about five years ago. In the years since 1968, the College Hall girls have been through a lot – We’ve suffered divorce, the death of a spouse, and a host of other problems that come with aging. But through it all we’ve never lost the good humor and love that drew us together so many years ago. In 2009 we began finding each other on Facebook and since then we’ve had several reunions. At each one, you would think we were still living in the next room from each other at College Hall.
What is it about us that made the friendship of the College Hall girls last? Maybe it was the fact that the school was in such a small town that we were our own best entertainment. Maybe it was the nurturing environment of the college that kept us safe. Maybe it was the professors and the classes we had who helped our minds to grow. Or maybe it was just a special magic in the walls of that old house where we first became college girls. Whatever it was, we’re all glad the College Hall girls became friends so many years ago. Our hair has thinned and our middles have thickened, but none of that matters. What matters is the enduring friendship we built so many years ago on that small college campus. Thanks, Chowan, for the friends and memories we made for life.
-Janet Morris Belvin ‘68