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June 26th Clemson Historic Picture Of The Day

Clemson Military College Mess Hall



(Photos Uploaded By Alan Cutts)

Today I'll combine a chapter of Frank Mellette's book on the Mess Hall along with some old photos in a two part series (continued tomorrow).

From Frank Mellette's book:

I will have to say this very insistently; being in the Clemson Mess Hall was a unique experience. The captain of the company would march his company in and we would sit down when he gave the command, "Seats."

We were assigned a place at a certain table and we kept it and ate there at every meal until another reassignment was made. This happened two or three times a year to take up the slack for the boys who had left college since the last seating time. There would always be a new seating arrangement as soon as the first semester was over, when quite a few boys decided that they had had enough of Clemson.

The tables held eight boys, three on each side and one at each end. Usually, there would be a senior at the head of each table. There would always be a freshman in the middle seat on each side, to be sure that there was some one there to help pass the food.

After grace had been said by the adjutant, everybody dug in like this was going to be his last meal. The food was plentiful even though it was not of the highest quality sometimes.

You could always expect grits for breakfast and rice for the midday meal. The rice was good and it appeared to be one of the specialties of the kitchen. It was never sticky and we could always separate every grain with our fork.

There were always two pitchers on the tables at breakfast and supper, one for water and one for coffee. The coffee pitcher already had the milk added. However, if the majority of the cadets at a table wanted black coffee, the student waiter would bring it black.

At lunch, there would be pitchers of milk and water, with just enough milk in the pitcher so that each of the eight cadets who sat at the table could get one glass each.

About once a week, we would get chocolate instead of regular milk at lunch.

The language at the tables was something to listen to. We never asked another cadet to "pass" anything. We always said to "shoot" whatever it was that he wanted. An example of this would be for us to say, "shoot the bread."

The food had some rather strange names but as soon as we had been there for a short while, we learned to recognize whatever was called for. Practically all meat went by the name of "bull." One of the few exceptions to this rule was mutton, which went by the name of "goat." That was on the menu occasionally. I had never eaten any previously, and did not know what it was. However, I quickly learned.

Some boy hollered "baaa," when he walked in the mess hall and it was immediately taken up by several others.

Continued tomorrow….

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Scott Rhymer can be reached at scottrhymer.tps@gmail.com

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