The year was 1968 when Vicki Lee Douglas was chosen as the Pirate’s Pick of the week in the Pirate Press newspaper, which is now the East Tennessean. Douglas was an incoming freshman from Knoxville, planning a major in Early Education and staying in Powell Dorms. Now, this former Pirate’s Pick goes by Vicki Lee Jones and is a wife, mother and grandmother.
In 1968, the editors of the Pirate Press would pick female students each week to feature as the Pirate’s Pick. Jones says she is not sure how she was chosen but attributes it to the possibility of her being in the Miss Buccaneer pageant.
According to Jones, the story behind the photo of her in a bathing suit on the cover of the Pirate Press is quite daring looking back.
“What I did back then I would never do today,” she said. “The photographer from the newspaper had called me, and I was to meet him back in some woods. I can’t believe I did that. I remember thinking at the time that it was kind of dangerous, but like I said, things were different back when I was growing up. Kids played outside, and you hardly even locked your doors.”
The idea of life on campus being another world back in the ’60s was further added through her description of dorm life where no boys were ever allowed in, and everyone smoked.
“Back when I was in Powell dorm, everyone smoked in the dorm,” she said. “Everybody smoked in the rooms believe it or not. I had never smoked in high school, but when you got to college everybody smoked and stayed up at night to study.”
After her times in Powell Hall, she moved to Clement Hall and had a hilarious encounter with a blind date.
“When I was living in Clement Hall, I had a blind date with someone,” she said. “They had little speakers in your room, and the front desk would call up and let you know you had a guest in the lobby. I walked down and he was not very cute. I can’t believe I did this, but I kind of just kept walking. They said, ‘Vicki,’ and I said, ‘no,’ and just kept walking.”
Despite the differences in rules, Jones describes her time at ETSU in a way that echoes modern college life. She was a member of the chorus, crushed on a fraternity boy and shopped at fashion dress shops.
Jones did not finish university, instead doing sporadic jobs before getting into real estate. She eventually married and had two children, before divorcing when her children were ages one and two. Sh opted to raise them as a single mother, and did not remarry until her children were in high school. Her second marriage would be to a man she attended high school with, yet they had never crossed paths before.
“Between college and where I am now, there is a lot that has gone on in my life,” she said. “My advice to young people is that everything that seemed so important back then – like if you broke up with someone, it was the end of the world – that is not true. There is always so much good around the corner. The bad is just a bump in your road. The sun always shines again.”