Sara Lee Willis Powell ’72, Charles Powell ’70
My husband, Chuck Powell '70, and I, Sara Willis '72, started dating in 1969.
Unbeknownst to him, Dr. Richard Leonard was a dear friend of my family. . I grew up
calling him "Uncle Dick".
Unbeknownst to me, Chuck had a class with Dr. Leonard.
One day, Chuck was sitting in Dr. Leonard's office, "in the hot seat", trying to explain
his less than spectacular performance on the first test of the semester. Following
Chuck's 5 minute explanation of Elizabethan literature, Dr. Leonard replied "I understand
you're dating my niece". For the first time in his life, Chuck was speechless he was
caught so totally off-guard he had to stop and think who he was even dating.
When Chuck tells the story he says; "I needed the class to graduate, so I had to keep
Ha, ha Chuck . I happen to know that after that meeting w/Dr. Leonard he went to every
class (no skipping class), clean shaved and clean clothes and totally prepared for
class. He got an A in the class and we've been married 29 years.
Follow-up e-mail response to questions: Chuck and I tried to remember back to the
good-old dating days in the 70's at IWU.
To the best of our memories, us kids used to go to movies at the Bloomington Theater
on weekends. We'd even walk there from campus, as there were not as many cars on campus
then. After the movie, kids would go to Tobins or Pizza Hut for pizza. Or back to
campus, and have Tobins delivery (they delivered pizza and beef sandwiches) and Phone-a-Feast
Other popular dates were basketball and football games. Plays at McPherson Theater
were always in demand, it was THE thing to do! And whatever else was "happening" on
campus, ie: concerts and such. As students we were supportive of each other. If you
had a friend in Terrapins then you went to see the Terrapins Show (being supportive
is very noble, but it was also something for us to DO).
Weekday evening dates were "study dates". You'd meet your date at the library and
then hit the Dug Out for cokes and burgers after studying together.
Sounds pretty tame, compared to today's social scene. Remember women had hours back
then. Speaking of hours ... as we all had to be "in" at the same time, we girls would
gather together in someone's room, have popcorn and talk about our dates. It was a
great continuation of the evening.
And some nights the house mother would ring all the bells ... the girls would scream
and run down to the living room for "a candle-light". We'd stand in a circle. The
housemother would light a candle and we'd pass it around the circle from girl to girl,
until one girl blew the candle out. Once around the circle, the girl got "lavaliered",
twice around the circle the girl got "pinned", three times around the circle the girl
got "engaged". Then we'd all sing "sweetheart" songs, clap, cheer, scream, and hug
... all those girly things!
Chuck did not "pop the question" at IWU. But I did have "a candle-light" at my house.—
Submitted by Sara Lee Willis Powell,’72 (husband is Charles Powell ’70)