I distinctly remember my first sight of Sylvia. She occupied the third or fourth chair from the door along the east wall of the basement of the old Theta Chi house, at 714 N. Main (now a Bro Menn parking lot). The occasion was a ritual called a “pledge exchange sweater dance” which I recall because I was a “townie” on scholarship and I had to run down to Al Baskin’s men’s store as I did not own a sweater before that afternoon event which was mandatory for pledges.
Some time passed before our first date -- an arranged “pizza date” with Bill and Clemmie Ackermann following a performance of “The Pearl Fishers” in which Sylvia had a lead role. (We still see the Ackermanns, who reside in Champaign.) We went to Casella’s, which was an early Bloomington pizza joint – now a sports bar of mildly dubious character owned by a golfing buddy.
Dating spots then included Ted’s Caboose, the Lucca Grill, Hubbard’s Cupboard, Bob Johnson’s Brandtville, Cotton’s Village Inn downtown and of course, the Polar Lounge and Mabel’s Hi De Ho although Sylvia wasn’t much for the latter two as even in those days the smoke was a bit much for a voice major! Fine dining was not in vogue among Theta Chi’s at the time, but I seem to recall a couple of meals at the Illinois House dining room and the new Terrace Restaurant on Main. The tradition of fraternities serenading couples who had taken the ostensibly “pre-engagement” step of becoming “pinned” was still observed in those simpler, almost idyllic years. The Theta Chi “Dream Girl” and a parody of “Don’t Fence Me In” titled “Don’t Take My Pin” were staples of the house repertoire.
Marriage came after we left campus, so I don’t have an IWU proposal story. It seems to me, however, that Lake Bloomington or the borrowed apartment of a townie fraternity brother (including mine next to the Fred Young Field House) were popular spots to pose the question.
Sylvia and I treasure equally the social aspects and the liberal arts educations from the IWU years. We also agree that romance probably has a better chance to bloom among the beauty of today’s campus than in the rather bleak grounds crossed by fairly busy city streets of the mid sixties! — Submitted Joe Anderson ’67 (wife is Sylvia Monti Anderson ’66)