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This is a book about how a group of folks, in a time long ago, living in a small Minnesota college town, celebrated life. It is a story of reflection. Reflection into the past when times and people were - shall we say - different. The people were veterans returning from the war, the time was the middle of the century-1947 through 1964. The place was Mankato State College in Southern Minnesota. This is the story of "The Barracks Babies." After you read these letters, look at the fading photographs, you'll know this is not the '90s. What makes these people different? "Well, for one thing," explained Margaret Philip, Assistant Professor of Psycholgy at MSU, "all of these people seemed to be focused on a goal - dedicated to becoming professionals. Most knew they were going to be teachers from the first day, so they worked hard to get there quickly. Today students don't know what profession they will choose or whether they'll even get a job after college." Yes, it's obvious the Barracks Babies were highly motivated to achieve. After being in the service and surviving the war, they were simply appreciative of being alive. There was a spirit of excitement about their new life -a wife - a family - a home - an education - the prospect of earning a good living in the future. It didn't matter if living conditions weren't the best for a few years - they saw an end to it. After all the rent was cheap! And, they never lost their sense of humor. Most (but not all) of the students were male. Especially in the early days of the Barracks, the wives did not work but stayed home to raise the family and give moral support to their husbands and each other. In fact, they were frequently awarded their Ph.T. (Putting Him Through)! here was quite a bit of "no-cost" socializing - and all were in the same financial boat. No one had to compete or climb the status ladder. "There was definitely a spirit of cooperativeness," said Philip. She also noted they tended to show originality in problem solving behaviors - in other words, learning how to "make-do" with nothing. After reading the stories, Mrs. Philip felt that "the most amazing thing about them is that 40 years later these folks had such clear recollections. I believe that shows they were feeling good about what they were doing and they processed it into long term memory!" Turn now to those days and enjoy some of the most wonderful true-life stories you'll ever read. It's Those Barracks Babies ...
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Mankato State University, history, housing, students, student life, Minnesota
Baer, Marcia, "Those Barracks Babies" (1990). MSU Authors Collection. 4.