Some adventures at Mississippi State College

     
By now my parents were living in Carthage.  There were several people from Carthage at MSU and we hitchhiked home most weekends, unless there was a ball game on campus.  Later Willie Clark Howell got a car and we could ride home on weekends (round trip) for 50 cents for gas money.  That was back when gas was less than 30 cents per gallon.  I stayed in room 301C, on the top floor of Hull Hall.  We had a steam radiator to take the winter chill off, but no AC, and with only one window, on warm days it was HOT inside.  I went to school one summer and wouldn't try to sleep until midnight and would still wake up in the morning with sweat soaked sheets.  Some of our pastimes at MSC, were going to the "Cross Roads", just across the county line to the east, where beer was legal.  My friend Milton Wier, from Carthage, was a teetotaler and served as our designated driver.  We'd also go to West Point or Columbus, where they had roller rinks, as we all enjoyed skating.  Also, at Columbus, was Mississippi State College for Women (MSCW), called "Messy W" by the boys at State.  I wasn't much on girls, at that time, so I just went for skating or to be with the boys.
      I had a friend, who lived in "Old Main" dorm.  I t was ancient when I was there, and huge.  It was in the form of a square with a large, open square area in the center, and (I think) six stories tall.  It was a legend and everyone "knew" it would never burn, though it was wood frame and brick veneer, with wood floors.  Guys would shoot firecrakers in the halls and set fire to wastepaper cans with no thought to the combustibility of the old building.  I attended many card games there.
      One day I met my friend and could tell 20' away that he'd had a run-in with a skunk.  He lived on the 4th floor, across the hall from a couple of "Yankees" from somewhere "up north".  They came in one night to find the skunk in their room.  How a skunk got in a locked dorm room on the 4th floor of Old Main is still a mystery, though everyone was sure the skunk had help, but how it could have been done without the skunk emitting any odor, no one could imagine.  These guys, not being familiar with skunks, grabbed a broom to chase it out of their room.  The skunk did what skunks naturally do, both in the room and in the hallway.  After the rest of the floor was alerted by the odor, some bright young man broke out the fire hose, washed the skunk down the hall and on down the stairs.  For weeks, any resident of that wing of Old Main, could be recognized by smell from 20' away. 
      The year after I finished, the legend failed and Old Main burned.  One student died in the fire.  A couple of months later an MSU student was arrested in Columbus for rape and assault.  It was the roommate of the kid who died in the fire.  Coincidence???