Pauline Mapes ’51 and Wes Drew ’51 met during the fall of their freshman year in 1947. Pauline was on stage in a skit called Campus Life; Wes was in the audience, captivated. Their first “real” meeting occurred the following year while working on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Pauline was in heavy costume, while Wes worked backstage.
“Dating really started our junior year,” Wes said. “The year went fast, too fast.”
The summer of 1950 separated the two. Pauline, an elementary education major, worked as a school playground director in Joliet. Wes remained on campus for a few more classes toward his speech communication degree. His mind, however, was 95 miles north by way of Route 66—in Joliet.
“Most weekends I got up there to go dancing or swimming, with Rosa Mapes as chaperone,” Wes recalled.
The two reunited their senior year in a Homecoming play, The Hasty Heart, but student teaching interfered. Pauline taught at Metcalf Elementary School on campus, but Wes was in Geneseo.
With Wes in military service after graduation and Pauline teaching in Bloomington, the two relied on letters to stay connected. She was back on campus for the Homecoming football game in 1951. Wes had a three-day pass and returned as well, allowing for another reunion.
After more letters and phone calls, Wes was ready to present an engagement ring at Christmas. The two married while Wes was on leave in May of 1952. When his military service ended, the couple settled in Peoria, where they still reside. Their family grew to include five children, and has endured the loss of one son to leukemia.
Each fall brings a fond memory of campus for the two, who marked their 60th Illinois State Homecoming in 2011. They are not alone in their allegiance to the University. Pauline’s father and a nephew to Wes are also graduates, with a great niece currently enrolled as a freshman.
“ISU is definitely part of our family’s circle of life,” Wes said.