We students would eagerly await the morning when the dean came through the dorms ringing the bell that belonged to the college’s long-ago principal Anna P. Sill and intoning, “October Day! October Day!” Oh, goody! It meant we could roll over in bed and sleep a little longer. It meant one more day to get through Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales or Thoreau’s Walden. It meant spending some time outside instead of in the Howard Coleman library. The fun part of October Day was never knowing when it would be called.
Speculation ran high each day in October. Students would tell one another, “I heard the dean called the TV stations and told them it would be October Day tomorrow.” Or, “I heard the dean told the cafeteria to get ready to grill out tomorrow, so it’s gonna be October Day.” I bet every student who attended Rockford College when I was there can probably attest to blowing off studying for a test or finishing a project because they were certain the next day would be October Day – only to find it wasn’t.