Roommates Continue Friendship for 50 Years

Alumna Linda (Moffett) Tinker (’67, ’70) recounts how bonds formed at the University have led to lifelong friendships.

In the fall of 1963, as an entering freshman at what was then Northeast Missouri State Teachers College, I was assigned to Grim Hall, a less-than-stylish building that housed about 150 students and was located on the corner of Patterson and Marion streets. My roommate was a sophomore who decided not to return after the fall quarter. I made friends with upperclassmen who lived down the hall, and we prepared to start winter quarter together.

Kerry (Ratliff) Poland and I were the only ones from Missouri, hailing from Hunnewell and Memphis, respectively. Adeline (Fosdick) Carney was from Deerfield, Ill., while Pat (Shafer) Blacksmith lived in Argyle, Iowa, and Julie Smith was a native of Middlebury, Vt.

As we neared the end of fall quarter, letters from the administration arrived informing us that Grim Hall was going to become the residence of the football team and we would be assigned to other housing. This reassignment would not allow us to live together and continue as roommates. As you can imagine, this news produced consternation and irritation within our group. Would we be broken up and assigned to various residence halls all over campus, ending our warm, close-knit lifestyle? Would we be forced into moving apart?

We formed a committee, requested a meeting with the President’s Office and made our case before the administrators. We wanted to stay together, and we wanted to move to Ryle Hall, which was brand new in the fall of 1963. I don’t remember how we made our case, but we won!

That winter quarter we moved into a suite on the third floor of Ryle Hall, but our time together was short. My parents moved to Kirksville during the summer of 1964, and I lived at home for the remainder of my college years. The other girls lived together through graduation. Although we spent only a few years together, our time at school cemented a bond that has lasted the rest of our lives. We remained in touch and made a point of getting together every five years at Kerry’s home in Wentzville, Mo. We later shortened it to every two years. Despite being spread across the country, and without the benefit of cell phones, email and social media for much of that time, we have always been there for each other.

All of us stayed in the education field. Kerry (’65, ’68) taught kindergarten in Wentzville for more than 30 years. She and her husband have travelled extensively and enjoy volunteering at their church.

Pat (’66) and her husband raised two daughters on a farm outside of Argyle. They are now the proud grandparents of seven grandchildren. Pat taught for five years until her children were born, then returned after they were in school.

Adeline (’66) taught special education for eight years and then worked as an adolescent addiction counselor until retirement. She and her husband lived in Deerfield for several years before moving to Bristol, Wis.

After teaching in Chillicothe, Mo., for a short time, Julie (’67) moved back east to Manchester, N.H. She taught elementary school and drivers’ education for more than 40 years. She now teaches adult education.

My husband and I moved to the St. Louis area where I spent 30 years at Jennings High School. We are the parents of one son and two grandchildren, and we now call Sacramento, Calif., home.

Twelve years ago our group decided to spread our reunions out to each of our homes, and in 2016 mine was the last one visited. Our stay together lasted about five days, during which we did some sightseeing, ate at local restaurants and talked. We’ve always talked a lot, but the topics changed as we aged – from future husbands, to new babies, to childcare, to empty nesters, to grandbabies and widowhood. We have faced all of life’s issues together during our biennial visits.

During our most recent get together we discussed where we should meet next year. We are considering a cruise down the Rhine River in Europe, or visiting San Francisco to see the local sights. We have some time to decide, and we’ll reach a decision – together. After all, that’s what we’ve done for 50 years, and it all began because of Truman and Grim Hall.


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