They Too Were Once Young

Bob Devine- Professor of CIS and Communications

Where were you when you were 20?
It was 1964, and I was here at Antioch College.

What were you studying?
I was into literature, and some education. I wanted to teach English.

What changed your interest from literature to media arts?
Here at Antioch I was exposed to some incredible films, and there were also many filmmakers here. Seeing all of this, I realized film is a lot more interesting than literature.

What did you want for your future?
I had very little idea, aside from wanting to be an English teacher. I knew I wanted to be a teacher since I was ten, don’t ask me why. I just didn’t know what I wanted to teach, and college solved that for me. Part of that was [through] co-op and academic classes. You get exposed to something amazing here that really helps you decide what to do with your life.

What was going on politically in 1964?
Well, the Cuban missile crisis happened during my first year, and we really thought the world was going to end. Some of us went to Columbus to protest. Civil rights was going on; the reintegration of the barbershop downtown in Yellow Springs was a big deal. My roommate was arrested – actually a lot of people were arrested. There are pictures and the entire downtown is filled with people, all there for this barbershop. So it was a lot of cold war stuff with civil rights and British pop music.

What types of music did you listen to?
Lightning Hopkins, Sunny Boy Williamson, Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters. I was heavily into blues and stuff that was totally off the beaten path. It was not popular music that I listened to and people told me that frequently. Robert Johnson sings blues, but has a loud whinny howl. People used ask if I had an owl wrapped in barbwire in my room.

What type of student were you?
I was a terrible student. I could find a tree and read for two days and no one would know I was gone, but I was never good at actually writing the papers. College was a big exposure to books for me.