Personal Narratives

excerpted from the Hanover College Triangle,


Hanover students selected the following personal narratives (published in the college newspaper in the 1960s and 1970s) to illustrate life at Hanover at that time.

Fred Fish, "It's Hard Not to Quit," Hanover College Triangle, 13 Oct. 1962, 4.

"My face was in the mud.  From my position the outlook was not bright, it wasn't even dim, I wondered whether to get up -- for I knew I'd be kicked back down.  But I got up.  I got up in time to see my buddy pushed into the ground, and I felt compassion and then pride as he crawled up, spit, and snarled, 'We'll knock 'em apart on the next one.'" 

I was encouraged, yet I knew he was wrong.  We wouldn't rack them the next time or any other time.  We'd get licked -- I knew it; and what was even worse, my buddy knew it -- but he pretended.  He was kidding me -- or maybe himself.  But there's no shame in getting beat by someone better than us.  They were better than us -- weren't they?  At least I thought they were." 

"Remarkably, in spite of our realism, we played on.  It was the kind of game I had to think up a new stimulus after each play.  Woody Hayes says there nothing without victory. But he's wrong, he couldn't be right.  I prayed to God he wasn't right.  Anybody can find desire if he's winning.  It takes raw courage to respond to defeat -- doesn't it?

Fight! Fight! Fight!

"I was on my back again.  I could hear 'Kennedy's soft Americans' screaming, 'Fight! Fight! Fight!'  What the hell did they know about fighting?  The only line they ever fought was the one to the popcorn stand." 

"Everybody plays to win.  Yet there must be something greater than victory.  One is no less great if he gives his all, but loses.  I play for love of sport.  That's the important thing -- isn't it?"

"The end was near, and I could read the print in the sports column where that idiot says, "Never have so many blocked so little or tackled so few.  I'd like to see him behind a tackle, instead of that pencil." 

"When one is consistently beaten into the dirt, it's not easy to repress the urge to quit.  But there is an inner pride that prods one on."

"The ball was centered and the lines charged. From my position, flat on my back, beneath the pile, I was in ideal position to hear somebody's ankle snap.  When the pile unsnarled, I looked around and discovered I was the only one on the ground. 

"I'd been hoping all game I'd find a reason for playing.  But now I had an excuse.  At least I hadn't quit on the field -- had I?"

Sue Kuc, "Etc.," Hanover College Triangle, 4 Oct. 1963, 4.

College is rough, regardless of how you add it up, the answer generally comes out the same.  Keeping up in three classes, each of which requires a thirty-page reading assignment every day, is in itself bad enough, and when exams come around, the going really gets rough.

With the exception of students who have taken three years of a langauge in high school, fudge a litte on the placement test, and end up in a first year class that requires little effort, college students are finding that making the grade often results in headaches, writers' cramp, tired eyes and lack of sleep.  Thus, college becomes something to be merely endured until it is completed and the student can go on to other (easier) things.

Well, friends, those of you who are presently "enduring" and are planning to go on to grad school have another surprise coming.  It seems that life after college isn't any easier.

Fred Kuemmerle, a 1963 Hanover graduate, is presently a freshman in the University of Cincinnati's College of Medicine.  While he studied at Hanover, this guy was hardly an "endurer."  Besides graduating with approximately a 3.3 average, Fred managed to keep himself busy by working as a biology lab assistant, being Senior Class treasurer, and serving his fraternity in several offices.  He knew the feeling of being rushed, tired, endlessly busy, etc, etc.

Having been in classes at U. C. for two weeks, Fred writes, ". . . let me tell you I never thought school could be so hard.  They cover so much material each day it's almost impossible to keep up.  It's like having a final exam every day.  I haven't been to bed before 1 or 2 a. m. any day this week."  He continues, writing about his cadaver.  "We've covered the whole back, its muscles, veins, arteries, nerves etc., already and have an oral exam over our dissection on Wednesday.  I'm scared to death!  Hope I pass."

All this after only two weeks of classes!

Anyone care to go to the library with me tonight???

Sue Kuc, "Etc.,"  Triangle, 1 November 1963, 3.

At the risk of sounding preachy and pedantic, I'm going to say something that I've learned - - or discovered - - within the past week.  Take it for what it's worth.  Its value, I think, is relative and will depend upon the individual.

Students, ideally speaking, come to college to study and to learn.  Many collegians deviate from the straight and narrow and use their college years for pastimes other than study, of course.  Those who have provided the basis for my discovery, however, are the students who are diligent about hitting the books.  There's more to college than studying, friends.

There are things like noticing that the Ohio never looks the same, that the leaves are more brown than anything else this year because of the lack of rain, that the girl next to Ron Hammerle has learned to manage his cast quite nicely.

There are things like realizing that morning brings beautiful occasions like sunrises in addition to ugly occasions like getting out of bed.  There are things like remembering how excited you used to be able to get about things you now take for granted.

There are things like the realization that your life is meant to be more than an existence.  Simultaneously, there is the realization that whether you live or exist is - - or at least should be your decision.

My discovery?  The fact that time has to be allowed for some of these extra-curricular things.  Without the allowance, life ceases to be anything more than periods of time to get through so you can go to sleep.

You say a day only has twenty-four hours?  I'm well aware of that - - especially when I can only spend three or four of the twenty-four with my eyes closed.  Somehow, though, you have to make time for things besides books.

Life has to be more than studying for tests and going to meetings; it has to be more than existing.  Did you enjoy the serenade? 

Mark Bell, letter to the editor, Hanover College Triangle, 30 Oct. 1964, 2.

Dear Editor:

Student apathy concerning political affairs is becoming quite evident in campus life.  There is a total lack of informed concern.  People spend time in bull sessions hashing and rehashing second-hand knowledge but do not spend time trying to find out about issues and candidates for themselves.

We of PAF feel that an extensive program designed to inform people about actual campaign issues will best benefit the campus and will replace second-hand bull-session knowledge with factual information.

In no other election year have the issues been so contrasting and the people so uninformed.  In no other election year of the people had such an opportunity to vote their convictions - - the conservative can vote for a conservative; the liberal for a liberal.

It is hoped that the campus will realize the necessity of being well-informed and will use the available means to familiarize themselves with the campaign issues.

Mark Bell

Al Stone, "Reader Asks: Where Are Our Clean Sheets?" Hanover College Triangle, 21 Jan. 1966, 2.
Dear Editor,

It has come to my attention that, as in my fraternity house, many of the other houses do not receive their clean linen service at a reasonable, consistent, hour.  It seems to be merely a hit or miss deal as to when the little man in the blue truck will arrive.

Some of the fellows miss the truck and have the same sheets for many weeks.  This I might add, lends to a very uncomfortable night's sleep.  Why does this situation exist and what can be done?

Al Stone


D. R. Draper, "Changes Need to be Made," Triangle, 13 October 1972, 5

Tuesday night Senator George McGovern announced his six-point program for ending the war in Vietnam. The plan does not strike one as being particularly exciting. It calls for complete withdrawal from Indochina and adds a few particular aspects of negotiation that haven't been tried before (such as letting the Vice President go to Hanoi to help negotiate the release of POWs.)

What appears to be the big difference though, is that McGovern is not particularly committed to the regime of President Thieu and this itself is one of the problems that Nixon is encountering in his moves to end the war. The North Vietnamese, up until this point, have been quite clear in their desire that Thieu be removed from office.

In the meantime, the White House officials are fostering the impressions that some sort of breakthrough is at hand with negotiators. Kissinger has spent a record number of days this week in Paris. Indications are that Nixon is stepping up his activities in this field as the election day draws nearer.

As the war goes on and on the voters of America seem to be getting more and more impatient about the outcome. Many expect some sort of miracle out of Nixon before the election and I think that they will get one. If McGovern isn't careful he is going to end up with a hatful of dead issues by election day. . .and a country full of voters who are impressed by a belated Administrative tactic. So why is Mr. McGovern pressing the point of the war so heavily?

Though I think that stressing the war may be a bad tactic on McGovern' part, I think that his announcement was something expected and even demanded by the public. The Vietnam War issue remains at the top of the public concern polls. Meanwhile, voters seem relatively unconcerned about corruption in the government. What little political concern there is seems concerned only with issues. . . and some vague undefinable distrust in one or the other candidate.

I said last week that I felt that the choice this year is a quite difficult one to make. I don't think that we can accept either candidate at face value. Too many other factors need to be taken into account. But that is not to say that I don't think that change in Administration at this point would be a more than healthy thing.

One can only guess what an Administration under George McGovern would be like but one knows what Nixon is like. . . .  Not a few of us who fear that Orwell's 1984 might be a prophetic glimpse, look to a present Administration and note with horror the kind of public support that underlies it. . .  big business and the taste of bigotry. I view another term of Nixon as positive reinforcement for too many social evils in our country. Regardless of the quiet refined tone of Mr. Nixon himself, arch-Republicans across the nation make McGovern sound like a flaming radical, bent on destroying the good things in American life.

The big news as far as I am concerned is that these 'good things' in American life will not exist if we continue to ignore the human elements much longer. Many things need to be done in the next few years, a lot of changes need to be made . . .  and I think that the governmental machine put together by Richard Nixon is unlikely to make the kind of choices that we will want to work with when we are the ones in the decision making process.

The present policy makers are making the decision that will ultimately affect the context of our future world. Our decision this year is crucial then. And my decision is for McGovern. . .  and change.


Ken Gladish, "Think about it: Modest Proposals," Triangle, 14 September 1973, 4.

Some months ago when the Student Senate sponsored the third Perspectives on Hanover we focused our attention on the academic and curricular program at our college. During the three days of the Perspectives we heard speeches, took part in discussions, and asked questions.

During one of those discussions, Dr. Robert Rosenthal, (Philosophy) suggested that one of the things we could do to improve the intellectual climate here might be to provide a mechanism by which one person might tell another about something of interest or importance that he had read.

Actually, it's a very simple idea, and to my way of thinking,, one worth pursuing.

A college campus would seem to be the kinds of place at which people are doing a lot of reading in a wide ranging number of areas both inside and outside of the classroom. Likewise it is traditionally the kind of place where intellectual unrest is the order of the day.

Let us assume we are at such a place Hanover College. And let us next assume that we have some people here who are doing some serious reading and exploration our student body and faculty.

Now it is safe to assume the there exists some exchange of ideas already about books and authors, but why not provide another opportunity for such exchange?

As our lead editorial this week suggests a newspaper should be the kind of publication which stimulates dialogue, why shouldn't this newspaper use some to advertise new ideas? In the coming weeks we will run short pieces on new books and authors rediscovered with relevant information on publishers, price, and availability. We are willing to reserve space on these pages for such a feature, but of course, we need contributions if you have a book you'd like to tell some one about, tell us.


Bob Alonso, "The View from Here: Orientation, a Senior Opinion," Triangle, 14 September 1973, 5.

I have been asked to give my response and evaluation as an upperclassman to this year's orientation program. As an upperclassman, I have had the opportunity to participate in four orientation programs and also served on the committee which planned this year's orientation activities.

It is my opinion that it is essential to a successful freshman year (and subsequent college career) for to be exposed to the fundamental character, disposition, educational and philosophical objectives of the institution. Although answers to questions such as "Where is Classic Hall?" "Who is Dean Bonsett?" "How do I register?" and "What is a JGBCC?" are an important and necessary part of this exposure, I believe that the orientation program should have its primary purpose in helping the entering student meet and successfully cope with the many academic, intellectual and social challenges that will face him or her. Needless to say, this process of orientation and familiarization can hardly be accomplished in three hurried days of group meetings, advisor conferences and panel discussions.

Typically, freshmen arrive filled with enthusiasm. However, by the end of the year not just a few will have dropped out and a large proportion of the remainder are ready for the "sophomore slump". It is hoped that these few days will serve not only as the new student's physical introduction to the college but will also help the student prepare himself emotionally for the demanding intellectual experiences and intensive learning and relearning experiences he will encounter during his stay at Hanover.

Frequently, however, the emphasis appears to have been directed to making the freshman "feel at home" which precludes any work and assumes that social events and a busy schedule breeds security. Many freshmen have recognized and criticized the lack of an introduction to the idea of hard learning. The function of a college or university is to provide a place, resources and block of time in which a person has the opportunity to think about answers to those problems that lead to his development as a successful student and responsible adult. If the first impression suggests that the college is a place mainly for making and enjoying friends (albeit an important consideration), some student may never realize that they have enrolled in an institution founded primarily to promote and encourage academic and intellectual endeavors with the end purpose of developing the student into a mature, thinking adult. . . .

The amount of difficulty and the nature of the adjustments made by the freshman during the early college months remain to be seen. A certain degree of shock should be expected and desired by students entering college. Indeed, it was shown in our group discussion that freshmen expected and wanted to change and develop. Hopefully, this year's orientation has provided a firm basis for this change and development.



Steve Richmond, "Comps: A Retrospective," Triangle, 23 March 1979, 5.

Being a senior at Hanover College means being and doing a lot of different things. It means being nervous but happy about that ever-looming-in-the-horizon date in May. It means writing that infamous independent study. And in March, it means "COMPS." . . . 

"COMPS" is a Hanoverism for senior comprehensive examinations. You take the first four letters of "comprehensive," put the "s" from "examinations," and you get "COMPS." . . . In the English department we have oral "comps." . . . So, more anxiety. We also have something called "dry run comps" which took place in late February. This amounted to spending fifteen minutes with two of the department professors talking about what they might ask you during "the real event." The professors also gave some sample questions and they tried to allay some anxiety.

The "dry-runs" were fun as were the following two weeks (this is just after Long Weekend - - a time many of us had planned to study and some of us did a little bit). During these weeks, some of us English majors got together and reviewed. Now, if you've ever known an English major, you know that when it comes to literature, we'll talk your arm off. So you can imagine a group of English majors together. But I even enjoyed studying by myself. I found that a lot of things I'd "learned" (written down in notes, to be precise) as a freshman now made so much more sense and I could fit things into the total scheme of things in a more intelligent, generally better way. . . .

March 3, 1979. This is the day that . . . marks the beginning of "COMPS" time. . . . Many of my fellow English majors were quite literally terrified of their "hour." Personally, I wasn't nervous at all, that is, until the morning of my exam. It was on Wednesday. I had planned to take the entire day to study. And study I did. I don't think I'd studied that hard since the logic exam in philosophy my freshman year. Then the clock's hands waved away the hours. At 3:30 I left the library to go to my "appointed place" in Classic Hall. . . .

Finally, the exam began. The hour went fast. Once I got into the material I started really enjoying it. I found it was less like the Grand Inquisitor with the Spanish Inquisition scene I had devised in my anxious mind and more like a discussion of my favorite topics with two old and intimate friends. It was fun.

After the exam, I was asked to step outside and to close the door behind me. Although I was confident that I'd passed, the nagging anxiety swept back over me like a tidal wave. The two doctors seemed to deliberate forever. Finally, they came out.

I did indeed pass. They said I'd done quite well and that I was one step closer to that fateful day in May. I thanked them both (at least I hope I did) for their supportiveness and left. I was exhausted, exalted, and just a little jiddy.

Now, having gotten some distance and perspective on the whole comprehensive process. I highly endorse it. Certainly, the system has flaws but when considered on the whole, it works pretty well. Indubitably, the examinations themselves are not what is important. The true significance lies in the bringing together of information gleaned and absorbed during the four years. This is what liberal arts, and hopefully, Hanover College is essentially all about.



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