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The Kings of Oak Springs - Episode 41 - At the Kings on New Years Day 1882
The Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862 made a difference
Keith and the Campbells were guests for New Years Day dinner
Katherine King invited Ralph and Sally Campbell, and their son, Vic, to join the King family for dinner on New Year’s day so that Vic would have a good chance to talk to their son, Keith King. Keith was now in the middle of his second year at the University of Missouri, in Columbia, in the Civil Engineering program. Vic would be going to the Banking Administration program at Washington University, in St. Louis, in the summer. There were not many opportunities to talk to other young people about the college experience. Vic Campbell and Kate King were ‘best friends’ who were seniors at the Oak Springs High School, where they would be graduating in May.
Vic asked, “Do you live on campus, Keith?”
“I live just off campus a couple of blocks, Vic, in a boarding house of all college students. Most of them are also in the Civil Engineering program, which is very nice. We can support each other in studying, as needed, as well as discuss both concerns and special interests that we each have as well as sharing social times.”
“That sounds like a very good idea, Keith. Dad, do you suppose they have arrangements like that at my college?”
“I really don’t know, son,” Ralph replied, “But it is certainly something I should be able to find out for you. I just made a note of it, to be sure to ask the people I know about it.”
They were all interested to hear that the University had offered its first civil engineering course in 1849 and there had been a Civil Engineering Department at Missouri since 1868. Keith added that everyone mentions how the “Land-Grant Act” in 1862 really gave engineering a boost. He said the curriculum focuses on building roads, railroads and bridges along with improving rivers and harbors. “I just finished my Introduction to Civil Engineering course, so that is all fresh in my mind. Most of my courses, so far, have been math, science, English and some social studies along with mechanical drawing. Next semester I take my first actual engineering course. I can hardly wait.”
It was a quiet New Years Day
Vic would attend Washington University
Banking was discussed as well
Keith then asked, “What do you know about the Banking program you will be going to, Vic?”
“Really only that Dad’s friends in the business say it is really important, now that they have a program available, relatively nearby. Right, Dad?”
Ralph replied, “Yes, that is correct, Vic. I really wish it had been available to me. My father has taught me well, but it has been slow. I’ve learned a lot by him telling me the mistakes he believes he made when he learned by ‘trial and error.’ It would be nice to learn the techniques the right way, the first time. There is always more to learn, and experience is the best teacher. But, having a solid foundation to work from would have been very helpful.”
Vic smiled, and said, “I’m going to get that solid foundation first. Thank you, Dad, for making that possible.”
Karl King asked, “How long is the program, Ralph? I recall that you said it is not a full degree program, yet?”
“Correct. It is currently about 18 months. Vic starts on July 1, and the program runs through the end of the year of 1883. Then he’ll come back here to work at the Oak Springs Savings Bank and we’ll see how much he really learned.” That brought chuckles around the table.
Sally asked, “And what are you going to be doing when you graduate, Kate?”
“Actually, I hoped I could work at the bank, at least part-time, like Vic is now. That way I would begin to understand how it works, for when I become a banker’s wife.” Kate said that with her best smile firmly affixed.
Sally responded, “Well, what do you bankers think about that answer? She looked at Vic, then at Ralph, and back again.
Vic spoke up first. “I think it is a fine idea. We each took all the same course in school. We each have excelled. We’ve gotten nearly exactly the same grades. There is no reason she couldn’t do anything I’ve been doing. What do you say, Dad?”
“Honestly,” Ralph was choosing his words carefully, “Such a thing had never crossed my mind, son. But, now that the subject is on the table, I’ll have to give it some serious thought, if you really mean it, Kate? What do your parents thank of that?”
Katherine replied, “It is new to us, as well. But, if it is something Kate would really like to do, and you would be willing to make the opportunity available to her, we would certainly support it.” She looked at Karl, and he nodded his concurrence.
“I would work hard and be very diligent in every way, Mr. Campbell. I hope you will consider it, very seriously. Thank you, very much.” Kate smiled, and held her head up, to show her confidence.”
They spend the afternoon on the farm
They sat and talked in the afternoon
The rest of the day went by quickly
Later, when Vic and Kate were talking, he said, “That was very bold of you to suggest you would like to work at the bank.”
“Yes, it was,” she replied. “But, you know we’ve talked about, and we both believe it would work. When your mother asked such a pointed question, it was just too good an opportunity to bring up the subject. I am very glad I did it.”
“I’m actually quite proud of you, Kate. You did the right thing. My father and mother do like people who approach things directly. I actually think they were impressed with how you handled that situation.”
“Thank you, Vic” I want to be a good wife for you in the future.
“I want that too, of course, but I think that may be a discussion for another time.” Vic grinned, broadly, and gently patted her hand that was lying in her lap. Impulsively, he looked around to see if anyone was watching. Seeing no one, at the moment, his hand touched hers, again.
Note from the author
This is the forty-first episode of this short story series, and the first of what will be Volume Three. The stories are set in the Ozarks Mountains setting of “The Homeplace Saga” series of family saga historical fiction. This Episode is begins on January 1st of the calendar year 1882. The Series OSx, “Life in Oak Springs and more” fills in the gap of time between Episodes 40 and 41 in this series. These episodes move the story forward for the entire "Saga" series.
The earlier episodes of the King Family series have now been compiled into two eBooks, titled: "The Kings of Oak Springs,” Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (20 episodes each). See the link, below, to get yours.
“The Homeplace Saga” historical fiction family saga stories are the creation of the author, William Leverne Smith, also known as “Dr. Bill.”