The Slime Struggle, 1925

I got a lot of response to the post last week about Lee’s Owls and I had a few free moments this afternoon so I stopped to think what else we might have about them in the Woodson. A quick peek into a scrapbook turned up immediate results, an invitation to one young Mr. Craig C. Watkins to the Lee’s Owl dances:

I’m not sure whether Craig Watkins actually graduated from Rice but boy, he sure went to a lot of dances. His orderly scrapbook is completely full of dance cards and programs. Completely.

Here’s a beauty–the dance card for the Slime Struggle held at Autry House in February, 1925:

The names of the dances are clearly meant to evoke the pain of the freshman state, particularly “Grab Ankles,” which I believe explains itself:

Almost the only thing in the scrapbook that isn’t a dance card is this photograph. I don’t know which one–if either–is Watkins:


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4 Responses to The Slime Struggle, 1925

  1. Wright Moody says:

    The slime struggle reminds me of stories that I remember hearing of freshmen having to climb a greased pole to capture a freshman beanie on top of the pole. This tradition was gone by the time that I arrived at Rice in the late sixties. Am I remembering this right?

    • Michael Ross says:

      Lots of information about the end of the freshman-beanie-atop-the-greased-pole activity is contained in the comments to this Oct. 24, 2012 post — — and in this July 3, 2013 post:

      • Thanks for that, Mike and ‘Dub’…..the story I got about the end of the Slime Pole comes directly from the horse’s mouth….John Hays (John R. Hays,. Jr., Weiss ’71). So it was John’s frosh year, obviously, which would’ve been the fall of ’66 (’67?). John was halfway up the pole, giving it his all, when he slipped and fell into the muck. The ‘grease’ was basically drilling mud, which apparently is full of all kinds of toxic bacteria. John smashed into a rusty object of some kind, got a cut in the arch of this foot. Got infected, got worse and worse. John had to go to hospital, could not begin frosh classes. Almost lost his foot/leg, and in the event did miss the entire first semester of classes his freshman year. That was the end of it.
        John y’all may recall was “Mr. Conservative” in our days on campus; President of Weiss his senior year and was known for being the one who bring Milton Friedman to speak at Rice. I remember covering the event for KTRU, walking across the lawn from the RMC to the Wiess Commons, John, the diminutive Professor Friedman and his even more diminutive wife leading a small coterie.
        Now, a more avaricious, less loyal Owl might’ve brought suit for damages owing to the Slime incident, but not John. His loyalty went as deep as it can go. His father, John R. Hays, Jr., was Class of ’42 and taught engineering courses at the Institute for a time; later, the four Hays brothers, John, Jim, Jerry and Jeff, all went to Rice.

        • Wright Moody says:

          Thanks Paul! I never knew the story. Looks like I just missed it as I arrived on campus in 68. Nice hearing from you as well! Take care! Dub

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