College Mascots

Studly Doright and I have lived in five different states, and have adopted a “bloom where you’re planted” mentality.

When we moved from Texas to North Dakota we learned to enjoy knoefla soup and rivel. In Kansas we learned to pronounce Arkansas incorrectly, and in Florida we learned to value SPF 90. In Illinois we learned the value of a college mascot.

We’re Texans, Studly and I. Having grown up near Lubbock, I was convinced that Texas Tech was the best university in the nation and that Raider Red and the Masked Rider were the absolute best mascots anywhere. They’re still close to the top of my list.

   
 
Studly was more of a University of Texas guy, so I accepted Bevo, as well.

   
 When we moved to North Dakota I attended the University of Mary in Bismarck. So I had a new mascot in my life, the Marauder:

  
From North Dakota we moved to Kansas and fell hard for the University of Kansas Jayhawk mascot. Both of our kids attended KU and Big Jay is a dandy mascot. There’s even a Baby Jay:

  
After Kansas we ended up in Melbourne, Florida, but didn’t form an attachment to any of the Florida college teams during that four year period. But when we moved to Mahomet, IL, just outside of Champaign, we quickly adopted Chief Illiniwek, proud mascot of The University of Illinois.

  
Unfortunately, the Chief’s reign as the Illini mascot ended shortly after we moved to Illinois. I promise we had nothing to do with his demise. Eight years after the end of the Chief the U of I still has no mascot. That makes me sad. I understand that Native American groups found the portrayal of the chief disrespectful, but shouldn’t we have had an alternative in place? 

We currently live near Tallahassee, Florida, the home of two universities: Florida A&M and Florida State.

FAMU’s mascot is a rattlesnake.  

   
Not exactly a cuddly mascot, but I love it! 

Florida State has Chief Osceola and his faithful steed, Renegade.

  
I understand that the Seminole people have an agreement with Florida State University that allows FSU to use the likeness of one of the most famous Chiefs in history as their mascot. It’s sad that the University of Illinois couldn’t have worked out a similar agreement with the Illini.

At any rate, Studly and I are enjoying our new mascots. Soon I want to attend football games at both FAMU and FSU. I need to see what those mascots look like in action. 

Peace, people!

Tookes Hotel: National Historic Landmark

Most Saturday mornings I spend at least an hour wandering around the weekly farmers’ market in downtown Tallahassee. The Downtown Market boasts much more than just local produce. There are usually Tallahassee area artisans with their wares for sale as well as informational booths.

A couple of weeks ago a display at one of the booths caught my eye and I spent a bit of time visiting with the volunteers manning the exhibit. The display was an enlarged copy of a hotel’s registry. On it were the signatures of several famous African Americans: singer Ray Charles, author James Baldwin, and Academy Award winning actress Hattie McDaniel of Gone with the Wind fame, among others. They had all stayed, at various times, at the Tookes Hotel in Tallahassee. 

The Tookes Hotel began in the late 1940’s as Tookes Rooming House, when Dorothy Nash Tookes added three rooms and a bathroom to her home to provide a place for African Americans to stay when visiting the state’s capital. At that time segregation prevented people of color from staying in other Tallahassee hotels.

Ms. Tookes’s grandson, Ronald McCoy is currently planning to operate the former hotel as a museum, bed and breakfast, and luxury function facility, preserving as much of the original furniture as possible. Even the original Tookes Hotel sign, one of the first functional neon signs in Tallahassee, will be refurbished and put to good use.

I can imagine what a welcoming place the Tookes Hotel must have been to weary travelers during the days of segregation. We all just want to be welcomed, after all.

The restoration of the Tookes is an exciting project with great historical significance, and I am eager to see the finished project. 

Want to know more? Go to Tookeshotel.org.

 

The Tookes Hotel as it stands today at 412 West Virginia Street
  
This original neon sign will used once it has been restored.
 
Dorothy Tookes earned degrees in both education and nursing and was Leon County’s first certified teacher. She also founded and served as principal of Bond School. 

 

Dorothy attended nursing school at Florida A&M in the 1920’s.

 

  
Peace, people!