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ASU Love Rooted in Tradition
Submitted By: Louis H. Coor and Barbara Heflin Coor '49
[As told by Louis] I had just returned from serving my country, in the Navy, in World War II. My country said, “Thanks, you may now take advantage of our G.I. Bill of Rights. You pick the college, and we will pay the tuition, books, and an allowance of $65 per month.”
A native son, returning home to Peoria, Arizona, I had no money, no job and a faint future.
I said, “Tempe, here I come!”
The first year at ASC (Arizona State College, as it was known at the time) was an interesting experience, of many G.I.’s trying to “fit back in.” In the service we had become friends, drank a lot of beer, shot down planes, bombed cities and invaded islands. Now we were trying to reclaim our place in a peaceful world.
Monti’s La Casa Vieja was doing a booming business in downtown Tempe. One night, while visiting another hot spot, The Hut, with my ex G.I. buddies, I spied a good looking brunette, and told my mates, “That’s what I am looking for- right there!” The nickelodeon was playing, “Little White Lies,” and I was going to ask her to dance, but she and her girlfriends left before I could get across the room.
A few days later I spotted her in Dr. R.K. Wyllys’ Western Civilization history class. The class met MWF at 10 a.m. in the basement of Old Main. Following the class on Monday, I waited at the door and offered to carry her books. “No thanks,” she said. Wednesday I tried the same maneuver. “No thanks,” again! Friday I invited her for a cup of coffee at the V.I. Bingo! Success!
Her name was Barbara Heflin, also an Arizona native. Two weeks later she invited me to the Zeta Sigma (now Gama Phi Beta) winter formal. Later, I invited her to the Lambda Phi Sigma (now Alpha Tau Omega) formal dinner dance at a hotel in Mesa. We were on our way, and life was good! There were desert picnics, Wednesday night dances at The Lyceum, lots of football, basketball games, etc. With college and my new girlfriend, life could not be any better! “Our cup runneth over,” we were in love! Paying for a room and meals from my $65 a month “allowance,” there was not a lot left over for entertainment. Looking back, just being together was all the entertainment we needed!
As the spring semester came to a close, we had to hit the books and take our final exams. I would meet Barbara for dinner at the dining hall (Mrs. Krause was the manager), and later we would go to the Matthews Library and study. We had to be back at West Hall b 10 p.m., because Miss Walsh, the housemother, would be blinking the outside lights, telling the girls, “Kiss that guy goodnight and come in!”
Before Christmas 1948 I asked Barbara to visit a very special place at sundown one evening. It was called “The Boathouse” and was located in Papago Park. (That spot is now the bridge over a pond at the entrance to the Phoenix Zoo). I said, “Will you marry me?” She said, “Yes!” I cashed some World War II savings bonds and Barbara had a diamond ring for Christmas.
Our senior year, West Hall had the traditional “Daisy Ring” for couples who went through that ring together, their lives were committed to each other forever. I saw Barbara in her formal and she looked more beautiful than I had ever seen her. There was never a question that I would walk her through that ring!
Our 60 years of marriage will tell you, “I met my perfect mate!” We graduated with the class of 1949, married that summer and started our careers and family. We have been blessed with three children and four grandchildren over the years.
I have just received my Life Membership from ASU. I can thank my country, the G.I. Bill of Rights, ASU and Barbara for the most rewarding life!
Tom Brokaw, in a book he wrote, said, “Ours was the greatest generation!” He could very well be right!