Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Hail to Old O.A.C.

I was recently entrusted with several pieces of Oregon State University (OSU) memorabilia that belonged to Portland residents who attended the college between the years of 1921 - 1925 and 1946 - 1949. OSU experienced three name changes before it became Oregon State University, and finding memorabilia that bears the earlier incarnations of the institution's name is rare. Imagine my surprise when I gazed upon the handmade pennant that a Home Ec student hand-stitched with the letters "OAC" back in the 1920s. Or the novelty wiener dog that was probably sewn by the same hands and stuffed with wood chips.

With the current popularity of crafted and handmade items, I can't help but think of the women who attended OSU from the 1920s - 50s to learn the art of "household management," including making garments, toys and linens for their families. Most of what I sell on Etsy is vintage, but in this case the items are both vintage AND handmade.

My paternal grandparents, dad, aunts, uncles and cousins attended OSU, and my grandfather played football for Oregon State in the 1930s. Many of my relatives hold season tickets to the football games, and their cars are covered in decals and flags during football season.

My grandpa - or "Coach," as we endearingly called him - went on to coach football in my hometown of The Dalles, Oregon, where his team won the state football championship in 1947. (A local eatery called the Hiway House still proudly displays a framed photo of the winning team.) He then moved the family to Bandon, Oregon, where he served as football coach until the 1980s. My husband and I were recently married in Bandon, and my Uncle Bob, the family archivist, showed a retrospective of Coach's life, including his many years of coaching football. It felt like we had come full circle.

Coach on the sidelines at
The Dalles High School in the 1940s

When I was approached about finding good homes for these OSU items from the 1920s and 1940s, I jumped at the chance to glimpse a little bit of my family's history. While I didn't attend OSU myself, I am proud to say that I come from a very long line of "Beaver Believers."

Coach is the handsome devil two columns from
the right and three rows from the bottom.

My parents couldn't believe their eyes when Coach's photo appeared in the 2011
OSU alumni calendar. (He's second from the right in the letterman's sweater.)


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