The Pinnacle was the student newspaper of Gorham State Teachers College (later to become the Gorham campus of USM) from 1953 through 1955. Here are some of the news items that appeared during its two-year run.

Stop fidgeting

Regarding the mind-numbingly boring lectures given during chapel periods at Gorham State, a Pinnacle editorial insisted that students should “sit up straight and pretend we are enjoying it.”

The article chastised students for slumping in their seats and working on homework during the deadly dull speeches, asking, “How would you like it if you saw someone writing and not paying attention to a talk that you had spent some time to prepare?”

“Nothing like a dame”

“Girls come in many varieties: blond, dark, red, fiery, passive, cerebral, bosom, lean, athletic, clinging, capable, highstrung, languorous. But every variety, I submit, is wondrous; and a civilized man will savor the proper virtues and delights of each. He should live by the maxim: a place for every girl and a girl for every place.

“Since the enshrinement of the electron, science has made great strides. We have machines today that see, feel, hear and think. Many scientists hold that in a number of ways these machines outperform men. But nothing as yet has been devised which can outperform a dame.

“There is no gain saying that girls flawlessly put together are expensive. It is a matter of history that they have seldom shown emotional concern for struggling students or threadbare geniuses.”

Artist and poet play it safe

Pragmatism trumped idealism among artistic students at Gorham State, judging by an article profiling three “nationally honored” students.

Ken Kuzmeskas had won several awards for his paintings, including one from the Women’s Club for a painting that explored “the problem of Negro education.”

He was offered a scholarship to study art at any college in the country. Asked by the Pinnacle why he chose Gorham State, Kuzmeskas replied, “My main ambition is to become an artist. Often the best artists starve. I have too good an appetite to allow this to happen to me. Attending Gorham, one might say, is my attempt at gaining for myself a sense of security. I want something to fall back on in case I cannot realize my ambition.”

Student Garrath Oakes, a writer, had similar sentiments. “Like Ken,” the article reported, “Garrath feels that until well established in his field you have got to eat. And so he has chosen teaching and the field of English as good stand-ins if needed.” The student poet favored the styles of Whitman and Eliot and hoped to publish a book of poems he was working on at the time.

Literally no parking on Gorham campus

A faculty member identified only as “Miss Wood” wrote an article reminiscing about the way things used to be.

“In 1931 there was no chapel, no gymnasium and no snack bar. We had chapel daily in the room that is now the library… we brought our snack to school with us in a box,” she wrote.

In that year, she added, students commuted from Portland and Westbrook by train and trolley, and there were no parking lots on campus. There was no librarian, and the College had only one office worker for the whole campus, she wrote.

Gettysburg Address, Gorham State style

“Three score and 19 years ago the Board of Education brought forth upon this hill a new college, conceived in desperation and dedicated to the proposition that all students are fair game. Now we are met in a mass of calculations, testing whether this freshman or any freshman so confused and so impoverished can long endure,” wrote freshman Peggyanne Pullen.

Girls serve boys coffee

“The girls of the fourth floor in Robie Hall presented a Coffee Hour” for “fraternity men” one afternoon, the Pinnacle reported. The article was apparently written by one of the girls, as it ended, “We hope the men of the College enjoyed the coffee as much as we liked doing it for them.”

Campus gossip

The Pinnacle had an anonymously written gossip column on page two of each issue. Following is the December 1953 column in its entirety:

“Who are the alarm clock fiends? It seems that seven were ringing in Robie Monday morning, and all seven came from the direction of room 79. What’s cooking, girls?

“We’re glad to see Barbara Flanagan and Carole Thomas recuperated and back in the swing of things.

“Why is Barden’s so popular with certain freshman girls? What is the big attraction?

“Who is the cute freshman girl whom F. Day is so interested in?

“Everyone has heard of flying saucers, but have you ever heard of a flying mattress? Just ask Becky Trufant. Instead of walking downstairs, she decided to take a shortcut, taking her mattress. The one unforeseen result of the incident was — you guessed it — a white slip.

“Barb Roberts’ theme song should be ‘Always’ for a certain Grove City College guy.

“The girls in the dorm have begun working on plans for a Christmas tea. Have fun, girls!

“That’s all for now, see you next issue!”

Brian O’Keefe can be contacted at [email protected]


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