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When Charles Kuralt attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 1951 to1955, women were not allowed to matriculate until their junior year, unless they lived in Chapel Hill. And while other exceptions were made for women in specialized studies, by and large the campus was devoid of freshmen and sophomore females. However, busloads of girls often visited the Chapel Hill campus from Woman's College in nearby Greensboro, thus the basis for the following saga, which appeared as a series in UNC's student-run newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel. The series also represents Kuralt's first byline in the paper of which he would eventually become editor. The series created "quite a stir," recalls Ken Sanford, who worked with Kuralt at the paper.

October 10, 1953
Tar Heel Sir Galahad In Quest For WC Maiden;
Sophomore 'Knight' Searches For Love
By Charles Kuralt


This is the story of a twentieth century knight-errant, a tale of mystery and high adventure, set on the Carolina campus.

Our knight (he lives in 312 Joyner dormitory), is named Charlie Childs—Sir Charles for the purposes of our story—and like all knights worthy of the title, he's on a quest. Such everyday goals as the Holy Grail, however, hold no interest for him. His is a quest for a damsel, a Woman's College maiden clothed in yellow.

He told the story in a letter to the editor of "The Carolinian," W.C. weekly, and implored that newspaper's assistance in finding the lady.

The story began two weeks ago on a rainy Saturday. Consolidated University Day in Chapel Hill. Hither and yon, fair maidens flitted, here for the North Carolina State football game. But Sir Charles looked neither left nor right, until, from out of the mists, appeared the damsel of our story.

She was wearing a yellow raincoat, Sir Charles remembers, and said to him in a smiling voice, "Can you direct me to Graham Memorial?"

"Yes, ma 'am," he answered. And he did. And she of the gentle tongue and fair face disappeared in the direction of Graham Memorial's post-game party.

Minutes later, our knight, armored in tweed coat and subdued tie, followed her to Graham Memorial, eager to glance once more upon her graceful features, to bask once more in the light of her personality. But it was not to be. Though he searched diligently and long, the damsel in yellow was nowhere to be found.

Long, lonely days followed. Sir Charles, in desperation, wrote his letter to "The Carolinian," asking the lady to correspond with him. He got a reply from a WC girl who said she wore a chartreuse raincoat that day, and asked if chartreuse would do, but Sir Charles, true to the tradition of Lancelot, indignantly replied, certainly not.

And as of last night, Sir Charles Childs remained in his room studying sophomore physics, quietly confident that he would find her yet, the nymph in the yellow raincoat who stole his heart away on a misty Saturday.

The Daily Tar Heel, feeling that such Galahad-like persistence should not go unrewarded herewith joins "The Carolinian" in the quest. If you know anything about the charming lady in yellow, come to our knight's assistance. Call third floor Joyner; the number is 9-9041. Just ask for Sir Charles.

October 14, 1953
Sister School Aids Search
"Sir Charles" Waits For WC Maiden
By Charles Kuralt


Remember the saga of Sir Charles?

He's Charlie Childs, the sophomore physics student in Joyner Dormitory who's pining these days for a fair maiden, a W.C. girl he met for a moment on Consolidated University Day, then lost track of, without learning her name.

Last Saturday, The Daily Tar Heel first reported the story of this twentieth-century knight and his quest for the lass of his dreams.
Sir Charles today remains true to his purpose. Persistently and systematically, our hero is spending his time in an unending search to find the maiden of the yellow raincoat.

Telephone calls and letters have come to him from the Woman's College, offering assistance. Some W.C. correspondents have hopefully suggested their own names, or those of friends, as subjects of the search.

He has checked these names against pictures in a file of W.C. yearbooks he found in the Yackety Yack office here. But Sir Charles' search has so far been fruitless. The identity of the beautiful maiden in yellow is as much a mystery as before.

Sir Charles describes her as a brown-haired girl of medium height and brown eyes and a radiant beauty. "A cute kid," he explains.
Who is she? Where is she to be found? Those are the questions that govern the existence of Sir Charles Childs these days.

The Daily Tar Heel will spare no space in keeping you informed on his progress toward their answers.

October 21, 1953
He'll Date New "Maiden"
Saga of Sir Charles Near Climax
By Charles Kuralt


A ray of hope for Sir Charles flickered for an instant yesterday, but then went out.

For a few brief, heart-stopping moments yesterday, it appeared that Charles Childs had found the maiden of the yellow raincoat, the Women's College girl who stole his heart away on a rainy Saturday.

An Alderman Dormitory girl, Woody Troster, admitted to hearing a boy who sat near her at the Maryland football game Saturday remark that the lost beauty was a girl named, "Gross."

"He told a friend she was named Arleen Gross," Miss Troster told The Daily Tar Heel, trying, as scores of people have since the news first appeared in print, to be helpful.

But a check of W.C. records failed to find anyone of that name enrolled.

And Sir Charles, the 20th century knight-errant, was back where he began in his quest for the damsel in yellow.

In recent days, the drama of the situation has become tense. The details of his search have been posted on WC dormitory bulletin boards. The Greensboro campus is buzzing with excitement, evoking letters and telephone calls to Carolina's modern Lancelot.

At the football game Saturday, a prankster claiming to have news of the maiden, addressed the crowd. But investigation showed him to be joking, nothing more.

The news dropped Sir Charles to a new low.

Yesterday, he shook his head doubtfully. "This thing has grown so big!" he exclaimed. And still no results. Sir Charles seemed to feel that the damsel is gone, forever.

In the meantime, he has decided to take a step he has put off until now. He's planning to date, this weekend, one of the dozen of WC girls who hopefully wrote to him from Greensboro. She's a junior from Atlanta, Ga.

He leaned back in a chair in his room yesterday, slowly and methodically applying a shine to a pair of cordovan shoes. He seemed to reflect a hope that the upcoming date would help him forget the girl in the yellow raincoat.

It is to be hoped that she does, indeed, help him forget.

For the drama of the search seems to be near a climax. And Sir Charles seems near the end of his rope.

October 27, 1953
Saga's Last Chapter
After Vain Monthlong Quest,
"Sir Charles" Hangs Up Armor
By Charles Kuralt


Sir Charles has thrown in the towel.

Charles Childs, the Tar Heel knight of Joyner Dormitory, yesterday called off his search for the "girl in the yellow raincoat." It was one month ago to the day since his quest began.

"I'm only human," he declared. "It's hopeless. I can't go on looking."

With those words, Charles Childs called a halt to the monthlong drama which turned him overnight into "Sir Charles," and filled his days with letters and telephone calls from well-wishers eager to aid in his search.

It's all been too much for him. He made the decision to renounce his knighthood and return to the role of student after a month of badgering from dorm mates and chasing down false leads.

The story commenced in the rain following the North Carolina State football game. Charles Childs encountered a lovely girl with shining eyes and a lilting voice, who asked directions to Graham Memorial, then faded away in the mists.

All he remembered of her was that she was wearing a yellow raincoat. But that was enough to send him on a monthlong quest. He became "Sir Charles" to readers of the Daily Tar Heel and "The Carolinian," WC weekly. The fancy of dozens of readers was caught by the drama. Everybody tried to help.

The last chapter was added yesterday. A WC sophomore from Albemarle named Emily Milton remembered she had worn a yellow raincoat and stopped to ask someone directions after the State game. Charles Childs looked at her picture, listened to her voice on the telephone, and shook his head. Sadly, he pronounced her, "the wrong girl."

And then he called it quits. The weeks of searching haven't totaled a complete flop, however. Sir Charles dated a WC junior from Atlanta Saturday night, an associate editor of "The Carolinian," who has been helping him in his search.

That's to the keynote of Charles Childs, who for a frantic month has pursued, in vain, a misty dream—the lovely, illusory, stilled unnamed maiden dressed in yellow.

 

USA Today Editorial
Forgiving Charles Kuralt

The Book
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About The Book
| Reviews | Author Biography
Preface
| Foreword | Eastern North Carolina

Addendum to Book
Nobel Peace Prize
| Remembering | Sir Charles
Timeline
| A Tribute | CBS Transcripts |
Letters To Ken McClure|
David Brinkley on Charles Kuralt
Kuralt's Remarks At Hugh & Julia Morton's 50th Wedding Anniversary

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Charles Kuralt's People

An intellectually stimulating collection of insightful and occasionally poignant commentaries, Charles Kuralt's People is very highly recommended reading for students of the human condition in general, and legions of Charles Kuralt fans in particular. — Midwest Book Review Click for more info.

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