At this time of year, high school seniors face many changes in making the transition to college freshmen. It was no different for Benjamin Gideon “B.G.” Davidson and his friends in Bowling Green High’s Class of 1933. Some enrolled at WKU or at the Bowling Green Business University down the street, but B.G. headed off to Centre College in Danville, where he hoped to make the football team.
Nevertheless, the old crowd kept in touch. In particular, tall, dark and handsome B.G. was a sought-after correspondent among the young ladies he had known at Bowling Green High. “We are having a time up on the Hill,” wrote one. She was happy with her schedule, which gave her Tuesdays and Thursdays off to “sleep as long as I want.” But another was nostalgic for the days of their senior hijinks. “Sam, Allen and I were talking about some of your all’s escapades in chemistry laboratory the other day,” she wrote. “We had a good time down there at B.G.H.S.”
Of special concern among the group was whether the flirtations and romantic attachments of high school could survive distance and the new social whirl of their college lives. As they reported on their leisure (and occasionally academic) activities, the young ladies B.G. had left behind couldn’t resist pulling his strings. “Darling, the Cotillion Club is giving a Thanksgiving dance,” wrote a longtime sweetheart. “But someone asked me to go with them; however, I thought it was going to be the night you’d be home for the holidays and we’d rather go together, hadn’t we? . . . At least that’s the way I feel about that night and every other night and day you’d be here.” Her main rival for B.G.’s affections had joined him for a dance at Centre, but afterward nervously wrote: “I don’t see how you could remember me even a tiny little bit after all those good-looking women. . . . I noticed you weren’t sporting your frat pin — so I guess one of them has ’bout beat my time.” Nevertheless, she had returned home to dream of seeing her favorite beau “coming down the street — and all the good times we’re gonna have this summer.”
Letters to B.G. Davidson, which give a vivid picture of the joys, pastimes and obsessions of Bowling Green’s college-age youth in the 1930s, are part of the Manuscripts & Folklife Archives collections of WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections. Click here to access a finding aid. For more collections about schools and students, search TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.