Don Warner's Story
Mrs. Wheeler's Boys
"Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"
"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.
- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
And so we entered college, with questions, apprehension and a desire to go somewhere. A need to grow in new areas, gain knowledge for a lifetime career and find out where we wanted to get to.
Many of us were Mrs. Wheeler's boys, no dorms in those days; you either found an apartment or stayed in one of Mrs. Wheeler's boarding houses. A lot of us started there and then progressed to apartments in later semesters. She had several houses on Vine Avenue and a main house on Third Street where we all ate three square meals a day.
Here and in our freshmen classes is where many new friendships began. Students of Journalism, Electronics, Airplane Maintenance, Heavy Equipment Operation, Technical Engineering, Computer Science, Liberal Arts and many other fields offered at W.A.C.C. All living together and studying together with a common goal, complete two years of training and obtain a Certificate of Competency or an Associates Degree for a chosen vocation.
After graduation some had dreams of going back home and getting a job, others had plans to go out into the world and find a place of their liking to start their careers and still others had plans for immediate higher education. Some of us had higher education in our futures but just didn't know it at the time. We started our careers and then saw someplace else we wanted to get to and to get there we went back to school. For me it was a Bachelors degree from Elmira College and a second Associates Degree from Penn State.
Many of us were Mrs. Wheeler's boys, no dorms in those days;
But the names, the faces and the friendships formed are not forgotten. I often wonder did Jim Z. ever become a sports writer. What did Randy P. and Ron P. do with the same education I got? I read in the Alumni Magazine that Charlie J. is in Colorado. I was on a business trip back in the 80's near Bradford, PA so I stopped into the small town where a couple of my Wheeler roommates were from. I asked around and someone said Larry G. owned the hardware store there, I checked but he wasn't in. They also said Rick R. worked at local business, I went to his house but no one was home. With on line search capabilities today I found that some (including myself) live within 50 miles of the areas they left to come to Williamsport. I had an opportunity to go to NJ when the company I worked for consolidated regional design groups there. I interviewed for the same company at its NC facility. I guess I love Pennsylvania and family too much to move out of my comfort zone.
Yet my Williamsport Degree, other degrees and my career have given me the opportunities to travel and see many of the great sites of our country. From Williamsburg, VA to San Francisco, CA, Atlanta, GA to Minneapolis, MI.
Las Vegas, NV, Hoover Dam, Sequoia National Park, Kings Canyon, Grand Canyon, AZ, Native American Ruins of the southwest desert, Saguaro Cactus National Monument, the St. Louis Arch, the Mighty Mississippi, the Muddy Missouri, Niagara Falls, Fort Niagara, Fort Ticonderoga, Canada, and Mexico just to name a few. So to our future Alumni I will say, "Penn College is where it starts".
But I will tell you in the words of Dr. Seuss' Oh the Places You'll See: "You're off to Great Places! You're off and away!