Now a days it seems that eharmony or some other such computer program unites people. In my day we gals supposedly went to college to find a man, get married, settle down and have a family. This was not the plan when my parents sent me off to college. I can recall my mother saying a hundred times, “If you want to do something badly enough, you will find a way.” I wanted to travel the world and see all I could see, but went off to college with the idea I might find a suitable career and support myself and eventually travel.
My mother’s sister, for whom I was named, went to Radcliffe college and became a missionary in Mexico and Columbia SA. My father’s sisters went to Smith, Radcliffe — I am not sure about the youngest. Lucy became an occupational therapist. That was a career I thought was interesting, After the war she went to Czechoslovakia just before the revolution. That was travel I liked the sound of. Marjorie, always called Peanut, joined the Red Cross during the war and went to England. I would not have wanted to be in England during a war, but I longed to go to England. The youngest sister, called Bobbie, married and went to China. I have an album of her travels. During the war she was a SPAR with the Coast Guard. We used to watch the military practicing and running about in their boats on an island near where we lived. There was a spit of land on the horizon where we lived that appeared and disappeared as the tide came and went. We used to tell the younger guests at our house that it was a submarine. That worked until they rowed out there and proved it was just a spit of land.
I went off to Radcliffe, as had my mother, Peanut and Iaye, (the Frances I was named for,) and, in fact, my grandmother. I took classes at Harvard like my dad and my grand dad. My mother and grand mother had classes from Harvard Profs but not at Harvard. Now Radcliffe is just a memory and it is all Harvard. I started off with the possibility of being a math major. I loved math and did well in high school but unfortunately did not have enough high school math that would let me take Math One A in college with ease. I struggled and scraped by and looked for another major. In the mean time I tried Physics, Art History, German, Architecture, and the required social sciences and humanities. By the middle of my Junior year I was invited into the Dean’s office to discuss my major as my credits were all over the map.Thus I was an art history major… or as I tell my kids – I majored in the line of least resistance. It was many years later that I returned to college to receive a teaching degree.
I didn’t travel. I did think about being a teacher but by the time I reached the end of my junior year I did what many of my class mates planned from the beginning, I met the man I would marry and have been married to him for 55+ years. Oh my.
And, contrary to the plan to find a man at college, I found this one in Maine. He was at MIT. We both attended a conference in Maine the June of our junior year and there he was. We were assigned to a discussion group by the first letter of our last names which happened to be ‘M.’ Ask me what the conference was about. I have no idea, neither does he!
An addendum to this story.
As a junior ar Radcliffe, I was the Radcliffe representative to the community service organization of Harvard – Philips Brooks House. In that position I attended a conference in Boston including students from the many local colleges. The MIT Rep chose to attend classes but his supervisor at MIT was at the conference and returned back to campus stating; “I have met just the girl for you!”
A year later my husband to be took me to MIT where I ran into that advisor (again). “That’s the girl!” he said. Small world.
(note from Otterlanding’s editor – there was more to this Slice of Life entry but it will be posted tomorrow and the next day. Sorry mom!)