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Sweet memories linger throughout the decades

Alumna Murle Ranney-Rack attended Minot State Teacher's College from 1936 to 1940. There were more than 200 students in her class at Minot High School, so MSTC felt small by comparison. The Civilian Pilot Training Program came to campus in late 1939; heavily influencing campus culture. She remembered many of the male students wanted to become pilots, so they frequently ate raw carrots in hopes of improving their eyesight.

Ranney-Rack lived near the former St. Joseph's Hospital. Despite the distance, she often walked to the campus because it was faster than waiting for the bus.

"We didn't wear pants in those days," she recalled, "and I wonder how we kept our legs warm in the winter. We must have moved fast. We were young."

Ranney-Rack also has fond memories of the Beta Theta Sorority, to which she belonged.

"Naturally, we thought Beta Theta was the best, and we were so sophisticated," she said. "We participated in school activities and had ‘proper rushing' and traditional teas, where we entertained and tried to impress new recruits. We did a beautiful job and thoroughly enjoyed it."

Dances were another favorite activity.

"We tried to dress like the movies — it was during the swing music era when we had gobs of dances and live music," she said. "The girls wore floor-length dresses, and our lips and nails were bright red. It was not casual dress like you see today."

Ranney-Rack majored in English and music and taught high school for two years in Ray, N.D. After a year in California, she moved to Park River, Minn., to work as a school band director. School there began in the late fall and ended earlier, because many of the male students were needed in the fields. She remembers teaching on Saturdays during the winter.

She was later recruited by the American Red Cross to work as a U.S. Army hospital program director. She met her future husband in Topeka, Kan. They married in 1945 and moved to San Francisco, where she lived until moving to Southern California in the early 2000s. Despite her travels, Ranney-Rack has not forgotten her North Dakota roots.

"It (MSTC) was a busy place to be," she said. "I look back and remember we had a lot of fun."