Auburn Women

Eugenia Malone Zallen ’53

By November 27, 2017 No Comments
Eugenia Malone Zallen '53

Eugenia Malone, Senior Year 1953

My era as an undergraduate at Auburn, then A.P.I., was 1950-53. It was still a time of regulations and early curfews for women. The latest any woman could be out of her dormitory was 11 p.m. That was a privilege for juniors with high grade point averages and seniors. But there was an exception which was enjoyed by all.

It began late one Saturday afternoon in Aoril, 1953. I was in my room in Dorm 8 (now Lupton Hall). I was getting ready to go to a dinner party at the home of faculty member. She was entertaining the 1953 Food and Nutrition graduate. It should be noted that we had no air conditioning in the dorms, so everyone had left their windows open. As I dressed, I heard what sounded like several trains coming at full speed from the west toward campus. It was a tornado, and it struck the campus full on. Since the new quadrangle was at the bottom of the hill, we were not blown away, but the wind and rain entered the dorm rooms and everything was a grand mess. There were probably several tornadoes since Cary Woods and Opelika Road, as well as the campus, were also badly damaged.

When the tornado passed by, I finished dressing and went to a lovely candlelight dinner across town. We arrived back at the quadrangles after dark, and it was very dark. There were no lights anywhere in or out of the dorms. The administration was concerned about the safety of the women students and requested the National Guard be activated to protect us. The nice young men arrived about 10 p.m. and their arrival set off a great party which lasted all night.

Quadrangle 1953

The outside doors to the dorms were propped open and food and drink were provided by the women. The guardsmen did not enter the dorms, but we all gathered just outside the open door so we could move back inside if necessary. Food, singing, dancing and a great time was had by all. We said nothing afterward and no one in the administration mentioned that they knew about the party.

This was in the days where the only communication was by telephone and none were operating. On the following day — Sunday — parents flooded Auburn looking for their children. Mine came down accompanied by friends. They could not find me and after a long search went home. I was in the library, making sure I would graduate that quarter, and no one thought to look for me there.