I was a returning veteran of World War II and a senior in the printing and rural journalism sequence at South Dakota State College (now University) in Brookings.
I also was an officer in the college's chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, the professional journalism society. In those days, we were big men on campus (BMOC).
We had chartered a plane and flew all our members to Washington, DC, where we won national honors against bigger schools like Southern Cal. Boy, were we hot shots!
I say this, not bragging, but because I was reminded of it by a letter and a yellowed newspaper clipping I got the other day.
It came from Jo Ann (Walliser) Freidel of Scotland, SD. The clipping read (in part):
"Twenty-eight journalists from 12 South Dakota high schools will be awarded certificates of excellence for winning entries in the Honor Award journalism contest sponsored by the South Dakota State College chapter of Sigma Delta Chi professional journalism fraternity."
A winner in the news division was none other than Jo Ann Walliser!
Her letter to me said:
"Speaking of nostalgia ��1947, to be exact – I was tossing things from a scrapbook knowing my children would not the least be interested.
"Yes, I was Jo Ann Walliser from Scotland. I did not become a writer as you did. I became an English teacher. My husband was a school administrator.
"I read your column weekly. Phyllis sounds like a delightful person."
According to the newspaper clipping Jo Ann sent, I was one of the judges, along with Douglas T. Kane, SDX president, and Duane McDowell, editor of the Collegian, the State College paper.
I also signed her Certificate of Award.
Charging it up to a faulty memory ��it was, after all, a long, long time ago ��I don't recall Jo Ann or any of the other award winners in editorial, columns, interviews, sports writing or feature stories also judged.
Incidentally, I wrote a column called "Pilferings" for Collegian for which I "stole" jokes from anything or anybody. They were reprinted in a small publication labeled "The Joke Rabbit" sold to raise funds for Sigma Delta Chi.
I really appreciated Jo Ann's mailing because it gave me a chance to recall my college days and my journalistic involvement. It was like a diary of SDX happenings.
I'm glad she "tossed out" the newspaper clipping and her Certificate of Award because they jogged my memory of things past.
And I need all the jogging I can get!
© 2006 Robert F. Karolevitz