A Holiday Memory From the Class of 1954

December 8, 2010

The first snow has already fallen in Staunton and as exam week comes to a close and temperatures plummet, Mary Baldwin University students’ thoughts turn to traveling home for the long holiday break. Things weren’t so different 60 years ago when a snow day meant the chance to be a kid again. Dora Lee Wiley Brown ’54 recalls two snowfalls in the winter of 1950 that still make her smile.

Snow Bathers

“I am the first one on the left in the black bathing suit. The three on the right were from Dallas. Jan Mitchell [second from left] was from New England. The Texas students were so excited to see their first snow that they wanted to do something daring. I joined them in posing in our bathing suits and boots for this quick photo.”

Brown also remembers from that same year …

“A heavy snow fell on Staunton the day before our Christmas vacation was to begin. Many of us had transportation reservations leaving Charlottesville the following afternoon to various states.

Dora Lee Wiley from the 1951 Bluestocking

Some upperclassmen approached Dean [Elizabeth] Parker with the unheard-of request to cancel morning classes the following day because of the deep snow. They convinced her; surely these students became high-powered attorneys. As soon as Dean Parker consented, the word spread like wildfire.

The following morning taxies rushed students with their luggage to the train station. When the only train that morning pulled in, students with tickets in hand boarded every car, with standing room only. Afterwards some students claimed they had even visited the engineer.

When our train arrived in Charlottesville, the sun was shinning and the snow was almost melted. What joy! An extra day of vacation!”