In order to satisfy the history credit requirement that Columbia U. imposed on me before they would accept me as a candidate for a graduate degree, I found it necessary to take classes at Western State Teachers College in Kalamazoo. The Saturday classes there were set up mostly for teachers in the surrounding area who needed credits to complete a bachelor’s degree or for obtaining a teaching certificate. The commercial teacher at the Heights, Roy Peterman, had graduated from business school and was therefore short of the credits in education, psychology and son that he needed for a bachelor’s degree. When i discovered that he would be driving to Kalamazoo every Saturday during the winter I made arrangements with him to take me along. I don’t remember what I paid him but it was enough to take care of the car expenses.
The distance between Muskegon and Kalamazoo is about 90 miles and the roads were still gravel in the country so we had to get an early start. I had a class in American History at nine in the morning and one in Economic History of the U.S. at one in the afternoon, both three hours long with a short break in the middle. Peterman’s car was several years old and one Saturday near the middle of the term we were on our way south with Roy suddenly jammed on the breaks and yelled, “The car’s on fire.” We both jumped out into the road and Roy raised the hood on his side revealing a brisk blaze right under the floor boards where his feet had been. Both of us instinctively scooped up gravel from the road with both hands and chucked it at the fire. It put the fire out. We had no more trouble but shortly after I was driving my own care and Roy was going along in his.