Friday Afternoon Follies: Freshman Edition

One more picture from Freshman Week 1970. This is a really nice image. I only wish I knew who they were calling.

Bonus: I got caught in the rain today, and I am still wet right now!

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29 Responses to Friday Afternoon Follies: Freshman Edition

  1. Gaylon Kent says:

    are those phones pay phones or house phones???…it’s hard to tell…

  2. Melissa Kean says:

    They’re house phones. Click on the picture to enlarge it and you can see for yourself.

    Do you think they’re homesick, or chasing girls?

    • marmer01 says:


      Stripey-pants is gonna have to try really hard to catch one if he persists in wearing pants like that.

    • Kyle says:

      Judging from his closed stance, I would say the one on our left is in a more intimate conversation.

  3. wunderwood says:

    That has to be the lobby of Will Rice Old Dorm.

    See those marble stairs on the right side? When I was there (75-81), they had already been turned over. If you went around to the basement access on the other side and looked at the underside of the stairs, they were deeply worn.

  4. Gaylon Kent says:

    none of those guys got laid…

    • Melissa Kean says:

      I’d bet all of them did. Eventually.

      • Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

        In my years at the Institute, 52-56, the Kinsey Report for Males became a subject for discussion.
        That report stated that the “average” college male got laid about 7 times a month, or some such figure.
        That occasioned much perturbation and animosity: All the Rice Males that I knew began looking suspiciously at his classmates, wondering who was “getting my share”!

        I NEVER did find out who was getting mine, either.
        Life really ain’t fair, ya know?

  5. Grungy says:

    And all dial phones.
    Was it that hard to get a phone in a room back then?
    It’s clearly not a privacy issue…

    • Richard Miller (Hanszen '75 & '76) says:

      All of the rooms had SWBT lines but you had to order the phone and wait for it to be installed. As I recall this was one of the things you did during freshman week, order your phone. (You generally needed to wait until you got there to work out arrangements with your roomate(s)). Remember this was during the days when the phones were only leased by end users so you had to wait for the phone technician to arrive, connect the phone and connect the pair in your room to the central office. This usually took a week or so so those public phones were very important during the first few weeks

  6. mjthannisch says:

    I don’t know about then, but in 74 phones were easily available, and I want to say $25.00 per month, but you had to go pick up your phone down town, if I remember correctly.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      It was possible to put phones in the dorm rooms at least back to the 1930s. I think the reason these guys were standing out in the lobby was because people hadn’t gotten them installed yet.

  7. James says:

    If you look closely, the phone on the right is also a pay phone. Look to the left of the guy talking on it and you can see the bottom of the phone. I guess they didn’t have “cell” phones then, just the old dial and probably no push button types either. Things sure have change since the 70’s.

  8. Barney L. McCoy says:

    Those phones were for guys like me, who never had a private phone until I moved off-campus. I had a choice: I could either have a phone or I could drink beer, go out on dates and go to the all school party each weekend. You’ll never guess which I chose.
    Barney L. McCoy, Hanszen 67
    P.S. You could supposedly make only local or collect calls on those phones, but some guys in the Hanszen old tower discovered they could make long-distance calls on a particular phone after the Rice switchboard closed. That didn’t last long.

  9. Karl Benson says:

    My roomates and I had a phone installed in our room in the “new” section of Will Rice during my freshman year (58-59.) We had to pay the monthly bill, of course, but I don’t recall having any problems getting permission to get it done. There was no installation charge, that was included in the bill. You didn’t own your phone back then; it was rented from the phone company. We also found some used carpet, so we had wall-to-wall carpet; and my late mother made us some curtains for the windows. We thought we had the coolest room on campus! The simple reason that most people did not have phones in their rooms is the same as the reason that only a few students had cars – no money. Students (and the country as a whole) were a lot less wealthy then. The dorms weren’t air conditioned either. With the windows open (which they usually were), we could hear the lions roaring in the Hermann Park zoo.

    The public phones in the old section of Will Rice were in booths immediately to the right as you entered the south door across from the new section.

  10. Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

    I was in “West Hall”, which I think is now called “Old Hanszen” or something like that.
    I don’t recall any public phones in that dormitory.
    Now do I recall anyone having a private phone in his room.
    I believe there was a(?) public phone(s?) in “North Hall” (Weiss Hall) lobby, but am NOT certain.
    I was on the side of West Hall that allowed me to hear “The lion not sleeping tonight” also.

    • Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

      Excuse an old man and old grad for reminiscing — I am thankful that word wasn’t on the old Rice Spelling List — about the lions and tigers.
      Born and bred in Memphis, TN, I lived about 1/2 mile from Rhodes (nee Southwestern) College and a 1/2 mile farther on to the Memphis zoo. Thus, I grew up listening to the lions and tigers singing for their meals. The 2 sounds were distinctly different, with the tigers’ being the louder.
      So at Baker Hall I felt right at home listening to the big cats, like Daniel in his den, especially on the nights preparing for a Blue Book quiz!

      • Barney L. McCoy says:

        Some time when I don’t have to be in Court by 10;00, I’ll tell you of the Great Hanszen College Midnight Alligator Hunt in the Hermann Park Zoo. It’s a storey deserving of more than a short blurb.
        Barney L. McCoy, Hanszen 67

      • Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

        Inasmuch as your story will concern allimagators, I will await it with baited breath.

  11. Bob Roosth, WRC, class of 70/71, BSEE./MSEE says:

    I was in that building for two years and seem to recall having our own phones.

  12. Barney L. McCoy says:

    In 63-67, there were house phones on the first floor of the Hanszen old tower near Mrs. Turner’s office and phone booths in the Commons. When I shared a suite in the new tower with 3 other guys my junior year, we got a phone and John King (who was a math major) calculated splitting the bill each month. Barney L. McCoy, Hanszen 67

    • Francis Eugene "Gene" PRATT, Institute Class of '56 says:

      Who was Mrs. Turner?

      • Deborah Gronke Bennett says:

        Mrs Turner, much more often called Mrs. T, was the long-time Hanszen College secretary. She was still there during my years at Hanszen College (1976-1982). I seem to recall she retired in the late 1990’s.

  13. Bill Cox says:

    “Mrs. T” was the long time, nearly legendary college secretary for Hanszen in the 1970’s (and probably earlier). That position is now called something like “college coordinator.” She was the surrogate mother for many of us during that timeframe.

    • Pat Campbell says:

      Up until about 1967, Mrs. Turner was the only college secretary – all of the other colleges had an attendant who answered the phone and made sure that we didn’t pawn the college equipment. I believe it was in the summer of 1967 that each college got a full-time secretary to coordinate our resources. Mrs. Turner stayed at Hanszen and helped coordinate the other college secretaries.

  14. marmer01 says:

    Actually, the house phones around campus (like the RMC, for example) often provided a measure of privacy that your room phone did not if you had a roommate or several. I used them frequently when trying to get dates. Mrs. Turner was at Hanszen at least until the early 80’s. A lot of people thought she was really nice, but she never seemed that way to me. 😉

    • Barney L. McCoy says:

      Mrs. Turner was certainly a mother hen to all of us, especially the freshmen. She knew all the ends and outs of how to accomplish the bureaucratically impossible. Plus, she allowed us to run the Hanszen College Junk Remailing Service out of the mail room (right outside her office). Jim Wilkerson, his suitemates and I placed a box in the mailroom, where students could pitch the unwanted Junk mail. Someone would go through it periodically and pick out the more interesting stuff and we would remail it if postage was prepaid. That way many politicians got contributions of lead slugs and a large number of prominent Houstonians got subscriptions to Playboy courtesy of HISD Superindent McFarland, who had been selected by the school board to fight the integration of Houston Public Schools. We never told Mrs T what we did with the Junk mail.
      Barney L. McCoy, Hanszen 67

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