Brooklyn Rosie, the girl from the brownstone near the Verrazano Bridge, met this country hick girl from upstate Mt. Hope back in the 1960s. As high school seniors, both had prayed about hoped-for teaching degrees, and the Lord led us both to Houghton College.
The rules at this small Christian college included wearing stockings whenever we ventured out of our dorm rooms, wearing formal dresses with sleeves, wearing skirts a few inches below our knees, not holding hands with guys until after 3 pm, a 10 pm weeknight curfew for girls only, and a handbook full of other ideas about keeping students, females especially, safe.
Sadly, these rules made some students rebel, but that was never Rosie’s style, not with her sense of humor. In the fall, she and I met in Rosie’s fourth floor quad room. In her spare time, while living with three other girls, she had taken the handbook and carved out time to hone her creative writing skills by crafting the funniest skit for our dorm Christmas party. She would find fodder for many future skits from that handbook. She carried that fun and joy into her marriage, the raising of her and Terry’s children and their grandchildren.
Tuesday Weld, popular but sassy Hollywood star, provided Rosie’s character in the skits that began, and would continue, throughout our years at college. However, I don’t think Tuesday ever spoke with a Brooklyn accent! Each script referred to Rosie simply as Tues, the girl who ‘gently’ challenged the rules. For contrast, I, smeared with white pancake makeup and having my hair pulled back into a severe bun, played Tues’s “by-the-books” roommate, Mergatroid Blundergut from Apachagook, Alaska. She questioned Houghton life while I responded with the rules, quoted by page and paragraph. The laughter from the girls’ dorm parties was good-natured and not satirical. Rosie could turn something negative into a positive and make people laugh in the process. That ability stayed with her for 66 years.
One of the best ways for me to honor Rosie since her death last week is for me to thank the Lord for allowing our paths to cross and to remember the great stories of her life. Psalm 116:15 records: “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” Follow me as I thank the Lord for the life of Rosie Martin Hoy.