Throwback Thursday: In 1943, a woman came home to find a homeless man in her bedroom

Reeana Keenen

On Sept. 24, 1943, Peggy “Toe” Neuhaus came home from her date at 12:45 a.m. to a man crouched on the floor of her room in the Tri Delta house. An article published in The Daily Texan on Sept. 28 detailed the bizarre encounter that followed. 

Although most students don’t anticipate finding homeless men in their rooms, the sort of crime detailed in the September 1943 article is not all that uncommon for current students living in the area. 

A Daily Texan article published Feb. 12 of this year stated that 1,114 crimes were reported by residents of five apartment complexes in West Campus over the last seven years. Similarly, a still-unconfirmed kidnapping was reported earlier in February of this year, and both Student Government presidential candidates made West Campus safety a part of their campaign platforms. But none of these reports, though serious, were as strange as Neuhaus’ post-date drama in 1943.

In the quiet vicinity of the sorority house, Neuhaus never expected to find someone sitting in her empty room, let alone a strange man. Startled, Neuhaus confronted the man, asking about his intentions.

“What are you doing here?” Neuhaus said. “Don’t you know that this is a girls’ sorority house?”

The “very masculine burglar,” after shushing the girl, responded that his name was “Junior Robertson and … [he didn’t] have any place to stay.” 

The article said the encounter roused several of the other girls from their sleep, at which point they “helped the man, who was attired in the uniform of a soldier from the Third Army, don the shoes that he had inconspicuously hidden at the foot of the back stairs and, with the help of the astonished housemother, he was escorted from the house.” 

Feeling excited from the whole ordeal, the Tri Delta sisters sang “My Tri Delta Man” as they walked him from the sorority house, all of them still wearing their pajamas. One of the girls had apparently called the police to sort the situation out, too. 

“No sooner had [Junior] gone than the police arrived and picked up two khaki-clads on the opposite side of the street,” the article said. “The Tri Deltas couldn’t bear to see this mistake, so they dashed out of the house.” 

After the girls had informed the police officers of the mistake, the officers conducted a quick search of the area but never found the man that had made himself temporarily at home in Neuhaus’ room that night. 

Though the bizarre occurrence ended peacefully and no one was harmed, some girls in the Tri Delta sorority were riled up after witnessing the night’s events. 

“The other girls … quite carried away by all the excitement, dashed up and down the street shouting that they had been robbed,” the article said.