In 1974, against my better judgment and on the misleading advice of a VA VSR I was offered and accepted a three-month advance in monthly education benefits under the G. I. Bill of Rights to cover the cost of college tuition. I enrolled in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with an eye toward a major in Journalism and a minor in Business Administration. I had explained in detail my financial circumstances to the VSR, that being, like so many other veterans, I was unemployed and had no other financial resources available to me other than the G. I. Bill, and, having done the math, that the G. I. Bill proved inadequate since, as I was told, it hadn’t been adjusted for inflation since World War II. He told me that Congress had just passed a joint resolution that increased the Education Benefits and that the increase would be retroactive to the previous January and the only thing left to do was for the President to sign the bill and the President was expected to do so. I was still reluctant to register for the fall classes under such uncertain conditions but the VSR urged me on saying: “Go ahead. Sign up.” This, of course, ended badly as, a few months later, President Ford vetoed the bill. He said it was inflationary.
At UW-M I carried a full credit load. I took the county bus to school. I brown-bagged it; carrying my own lunch. I was introduced to bagels & cream cheese; treating myself to them only occasionally. As much as I’d wanted to, I engaged in no extracurricular activities as I couldn’t afford the additional fees. My courses were split between early morning and late evening and, as it was a long bus ride home, I spent the entire day drinking coffee and studying in the Students’ Union Hall cafeteria. I was paying my father $100.00 a month for rent out of the meager Education Benefits. When President Ford vetoed the G. I. Bill I felt betrayed. I was furious at both. Truth be told: I was very busy that year and lost interest in Watergate and didn’t realize it was Ford that had vetoed the bill. For many years after I blamed Nixon, the time-line of events being scrambled in my own mind. I completed all required coursework but didn’t bother to take the final exams. I dropped out as I had no money to pay the tuition for the next semester. The University insisted tuition be paid in full and up front before I could register for classes and at the same time the VA wanted their money back. To this very day I have yet to repay this advance; this so-called overpayment; this “G. I. Bill”.
With the insanity of war still swirling about my in brain and my ignorance of the world fully realized by that same war experience I became a highly motivated student and, along with some of the usual compulsory freshman classes, I signed up for a course in Logic as an elective. I really felt I needed it.
According to the textbook, logic is “the a priori study of descriptive language”. But I’ll make it easier on you: Logic is the calculus of grammar. Logic is about words, word definitions, and words and their relationship to and linkage with other words. Logic has its own symbolic language just as calculus does. By their definitions, words are delineated and made concrete; and like pieces of a great jigsaw puzzle, they fit together properly only in certain ways.
At the time, I was a transfer student from MATC (Milwaukee Area Technical College). While there, I took a 4-credit college prep course called Reading and Study Skills in anticipation of my attending a full 4-year college. This prep course included a section on note taking. When I signed up for the Logic course at UW-M we were told the information presented would come thick and fast and we were given the option, for a small fee, to sign up for a Note Taking Service. Even though I had just learned some tips and tricks on note taking, I signed up for the service so I could sit back and focus more on the lecture.
Class size at UW-M was apparently dictated by the simple logistics of lecture hall seating capacity; that being 400 students. On the first day of classes I noticed there were considerably more women than men. As it broke down, there were 300 women and 100 men.
Lectures were given to the entire class and alternated with laboratories (labs) in smaller classrooms and with fewer students so more personal attention could be paid to the individual student and livelier intercourse could take place. In college the instructors’ academic standing is often unclear. While you might attend a class conducted by a full professor it may often be a person of lower standing – a senior, a post-grad, a TA (Teaching Assistant), intern or a guest lecturer and so on.
For this particular course in Logic the lectures were all conducted by a woman whose name I simply and honestly cannot recall. She was white, brown-haired and of average build and I would estimate that she was perhaps only four to six years older than me. Her attire was always casual – scuffed sneakers, blue jeans and a plain dark t-shirt was all she ever wore. The campus buzz concerning logic was a lively and sometimes heated debate about sexual equality and whether or not women were as logical as men. I was convinced from the outset that the woman conducting the lecture was a flaming feminist out to prove (once and for all) that women were just as logical as men and her doubters and detractors were absolutely wrong. She herself never directly addressed the issue but I assume this to be true by a very simple observation: she never, ever wore a bra. As she wrote quickly and vigorously on the chalkboard beneath her t-shirt her tits would wiggle and jounce; – hence the appellation: “Ms. Titswiggle.”
But that’s neither a punchline nor is it the end of the story: after perhaps two weeks and surely less than a month – all of the women had simply dropped out. I entered the lecture hall and suddenly realized there were no longer any women. Not a one. I counted a hundred young men scattered high up among the many empty seats.
This story is true. One might well challenge the veracity of it but I leave it up to you, the reader, to do the requisite research; all this had occurred at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Autumn, 1974.