More Kenyonspeak From Our Readers

"Kenyonspeak" inspired several alumni to share more examples of uniquely Kenyon terms and nicknames. Some appear among the letters to the editor in the Fall 2010 Bulletin. Here are some others. Enjoy!

From Tom Lockard '67

James Roll Browne, a Spanish professor, got his B.S. at the Naval Academy. He was fondly referred to as The Admiral.

Bayes Norton of the chemistry faculty was called Navel Norton. No, not "naval," as in the Navy. Professor Norton's shirt was usually pulled out at the waist and sometimes unbuttoned when he lectured, so that his belly button was on full display.

Ken Taylor, the music professor, was called Tunes Taylor.

Thomas Bogardus, the College physician in my student days at Kenyon, was called Doc Bogus.

The Alumni House hostess, Carolyn Roller, was always Ma Roller.

Though I never took a course from him, French professor Ed Harvey was always known as Easy Ed.

From George Lytle '41

"Kenyonspeak" reported that Dorothy's Lunch was in business during the 1950s. It existed during my college years, too, 1937-41. We often called it The Empire Room, so named by my roommate (Charles "Chase" Small '41) after we returned from a national fraternity meeting at the posh Palmer House Empire Room in Chicago. Although the Empire Room and Dorothy's Lunch had nothing in common (certainly not in décor), the name seemed appropriate for both watering holes. Back then, a story had it that Jean/Gene ValDean took a pistol shot at Dorothy's, causing no bodily harm. He was sort of a "shadowy" figure.

Sam Cummings, the psychology professor, was nicknamed Singin' Sam the Psychology Man. Professor Cummings, incidentally, was a chain smoker and might be found in class with a piece of white chalk in one hand, a cigarette in the other hand, and a burning ciggie in his ash tray. None of the above interfered with his lecture. Smoking was acceptable in some classes then, among both faculty and students.

We knew Raymond Cahall of the history faculty as Kitty Cahall, although we didn't call him that to his face. Kitty really enjoyed passing on to us the juicy side of life of the declining Roman Empire. His classes were very well attended.

Gordon Chalmers, who took the reins as Kenyon's president in 1937, came from Rockford College in Illinois, so it was natural that we would call him Rocky. We sang a ditty which began: "Give my regards to Rocky, remember me to . . ."

Lillian Chard and Mildred Kimball, the majordomos and dieticians in Peirce Hall, were known as The Bobbsey Twins. I recall they came the same year as Gordon Chambers (1937). They set a fine table. With classmate, John "Jack" Lindberg Jr. '41, we re-set all the dinner tables for breakfast: large plates, butter plates, cups and saucers, water glasses, silverware, and cloth napkins. Jack and I both were promoted to table servers, and for two years I was Faculty Table Waiter! We dined family style. The Bobbsey Twins could be stern, but we softened them up and they became campus favorites, even taking parts in theatrical productions after our time. I believe the Twins were responsible for breaking ground for several flower gardens near the south side of Peirce Hall.

Charles Thornton, the biology professor, was called Froggy. Once Bob Henry, a class ahead of us, dissected a frog and sketched his findings. The story goes that "Froggy" Thornton wrote on his sketch, "Mr. Henry, a frog does not have a square anus." Bob passed the course anyway.

Of course, students came with or acquired nicknames at Kenyon. A few I remember were: Gorp, Bones, Alfie, Syph, Jeep, Peter Rabbit, "Artie" Shaw, Fergie, Sparkie, Shep, and Newt.

Finally, the abbreviation RF. We used this term to refer to campus mischief. It stood for "rat f---," a word that has come into more common usage today.