Girl Coming of Age in the 1960s


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Though only my third year, it seems that this will actually be my senior year. New York City, here I come (soon). My parents are incredibly tolerant of my lackluster grades.

Letters from Penn State - September 1964

Sat. aft.

The start of Fall term

This term is starting out to look like a good one. I think I'll like McElwain much better than McKee. Janie got here Thursday morning but left to go home for the weekend yesterday afternoon. I told her I thought I would graduate in March and now she is going to try to, too. So she registered for fifteen credits, with the sanction of her advisor, because she has a very good average.

I went over to Boucke to see if I could sit in on Commerce 204. Prof. Bradley wasn't there and his secretary said they wouldn't be sure if there was room in the class until registration is finished. So I won't be sure about that until Monday.

The taxi got me here just in time to miss dinner Wednesday night. I went over to see Carol. She has a nice roommate, Iris, a Jewish girl, junior transfer from Centenary. Iris is rushing. Their room is in the same hall as Kathy Kumke's sorority suite, Alpha Sigma Alpha, so Carol will hear all the sorority songs and rush noise again. She is kind of around the corner from the Education Block. That group sounds very nice. Their hall gets to know each other by having weekly speakers in, and meetings and parties.

Thursday morning at 8:30 I went over to Henninger's office to get my registration cards signed and he wasn't there. There was a paper on his door on which you were to sign up for an appointment. The earliest anyone had signed for that morning was 10:00. I waited around for a while and finally went over to Carnegie and the music dept. secretary called both Gamble and Henninger for me. No one answered at Henninger's. Mr. Gamble said he had to take his car to a service station first and then walk to campus and didn't know if he'd make it in time. So I went down to the Arts and Arch. dean to see if he'd sign it. More calling between dept.s and at 9:45, my registration time, Henninger showed up. After ten minutes of studying my schedule he signed it, and I made it to registration headquarters (the skating rink) by 10:15. Anyway, they let me in without the late fee. Enclosed is my schedule.

Janie and I went to get our books yesterday. I got my Bi Sci book at the Used Book Agency in the HUB for $4.50 (new, $8.50). For the other three courses I had to get new books, which cost a total of $28.85.

The book for Com 204, if I can take the course, will cost $8.95 unless I can get it used. If I can't get that course, I'll have to pick out another one.

Carol and I went to see "The Night of the Iguana" Thursday night. It was very good. There was also a documentary, vintage 1930 something, called "Keeping Mothers Alive" about the discovery of washing your hands before delivering a baby, which was so melodramatic it was hilarious.

Last night I went to a party at one of the fraternity houses. We went to Armenara Plaza first to bowl. The three boys got the highest scores and I did the best of the girls, fantastically.

There are quite a few kids from West Halls over here this year. Rita is living in Simmons. Sue Gibbs, another Mu Phi, who was in Pollock 3 with me the first summer, lives on the second floor.

Our room is very nice. It looks out over Pollock Road and the athletic field. Janie bought a picture yesterday, a landscape by Wood, which will look nice. I am pining away for my little bulletin board. And please bring my record player!

Dinner and my stomach call.

Sun. night


"I'm just a girl who cain't say no", and didn't, when Steve McMillan called this evening to ask me to play for Oklahoma, which the Thespians are putting on this term. There goes the average, and everything else, but I'm so excited! Of course, under the circumstances, I think Steve might renege if he finds somebody better, since the tryouts were last week and I didn't try out and I'm probably the last resort. He's got two other rehearsal pianists, who I guess don't want to play for the show (Nov. 19, 20, 21). He says he's going to break them in first and I won't have to play for the first few rehearsals. They're probably newcomers, and he probably wants to see if they'd be better. Nevertheless, here I am in love again, and am presently the official piano player. Not too exciting! Because of this, please bring my Hanon exercise book when you come. I want to "get in shape".

The football game yesterday with Oregon was our third defeat, but it was a beautiful sunburn-y day. It was band day and very colorful as usual. Ronnie Lewis is now a regular in the Marching Blue Band.

I dropped Theatre 21 Friday and added Theatre 62 (a survey course of plays and methods of play production). Writing was going to take too much time. And that afternoon I asked Prof. Bradley about exempting Com 204 at the end of the term. He said he wouldn't recommend it, that the Bus. Ad. dept. makes credit by exam very rough. So I will either have to talk Henninger into letting me carry 16 credits and take it as a regular course or find something else. I don't feel up to something "rough", with everything else.

Mrs. Schlumpf called yesterday, wants me to play, can't get anybody else. She's going to call back. After getting Oklahoma, I will definitely say "no".

It's wonderful that Chris has made the student council. That's really an honor. I hope the band is going well too.

You were right, I was broke. Thanks. I'll see you Saturday or Sunday and am looking forward to it. I've been trying to think what we can do, if anything special. Nothing special is going on here. If Saturday, maybe we could see that woolen factory. See you soon, and Judy and Bill, I hope.


My "senior" yearbook photo

This is really a "very nice" term. Nothing seems so intense or important as it has other terms. I keep thinking about how near I am to being out, and Penn State seems like such an isolated part of the big real world I'll be in soon.

Especially when you come to visit, like Sunday, Penn State seems too specialized. It's nice to see older people and younger people. I look forward to your visits— don't mind this language. I'm very proud of you, and the more I know about other people, the more I'm appreciative of such wonderful parents. Janie barely speaks to her mother. I don't see how people can live without the support of their families.

I've been over to Placement a couple of times and looked through the notebook of Arts & Arch opportunities. Nobody wants me. I do get the feeling that I'll probably have to go job-hunting in NYC to get any kind of thing I really want (and what is that?). I would like to get a job right away and start the money rolling in because I'm kind of tired of school, and yet I would like to get the security of a secretarial education. I'm going to find out if there's anybody around here you can talk to about job opportunities.

In AAH we have a quiz every day and I average 6's on them (D's). I got my first Bi Sci test back Friday, a B. I get a French quiz back tomorrow and have a Theatre 62 test Wednesday. In Com 204 there's been no mention of a test yet, but I wouldn't take it anyway.

I played for Oklahoma four nights last week and rehearse with the orchestra tonight. Especially, playing with the orchestra is fun. The piano is just kind of reinforcement and you sit back and enjoy it.

That compact you put in is really nice. It's so handy, I hope they never stop putting out square refills. I like, and had not seen before, the printed tissues, too. Those dream bars are good, I can't figure out what's in them, but they taste so rich they might as well be chocolate!

I have to get my picture taken for La Vie [the yearbook] this week and have made an appointment for a haircut Tuesday at 9:00. I'm beginning to think I won't like my hair grown out, it's too thin, but I'm just going to have the bottom cut anyway. You have to wear a dark slip-on sweater and I guess I'll ask Janie if I can borrow one of hers.

The funds do seem to disappear fast and I've definitely been spending too freely on things like pizza and vending machines. One thing I would love to get, though, is a new phonograph needle. I'm sure this one is really worn out, because when I hear my records on Janie's (which is a 10-year-old Columbia HiFi Mono) they sound terrific, but on mine the range sounds all of a piece and kind of scratchy and shrill. Still, I wouldn't know how to put a new needle in.

I didn't go to the game yesterday (we lost to Syracuse 21-14). It was windy and raining and I decided to just catch up on some of the stacks of reading that piles up so fast. Today is beautiful and warm and Janie and I are going for a walk after I finish this.

What's going on in Las Vegas, anyway? I don't remember Daddy going there before. His type of job appeals to me, these every-so-often trips. And to Las Vegas!

It will be fun to walk in and see the kitchen all covered with new wallpaper (more fun than covering it, probably). It is a very pretty pattern, I think. I can picture you all sitting around in Bill and Judy's kitchen last Sunday night. Their apartment seems very homey, and they seem to be a natural unit already.

I have what I guess must be a cavity, a chipped-in place down by the gum on one of my next-to-front teeth. It doesn't hurt or anything. But if a cavity is big enough to see and feel with your finger, should it be filled right away? I don't know whether I should go to a dentist or just wait till I get home.

Carol and I are going to see "Come Back, Little Sheba" Wednesday night. I just read the play and it will be interesting to see theater-in-the-round.

The Great Outdoors and the Creamery call.

Fri. night

Easier to exempt "Marital Adjustment"

The brownies came this morning and were a delicious surprise; I thought the package must be for Janie (we share a mailbox this term). Inroads have been made on them.

This is just a short note because I have a mountain of stuff to do by Monday; I'll try to write again Tuesday. I have a paper due for Theatre 62 Monday and my midterm in French (I got a 62 in the quiz—very low D). Today, instead of to Com 204, I went to Janie's Psych 17, Marital Adjustment. It's given on TV to six classes by Dr. Clifford Adams (he used to write for the Ladies Home Journal). Afterward I went to see him, told him I was auditing the course, and would like to take it by exam at the end. He said his procedure was to have such "cases" take the regular tests during the term for their grade. Since the first bluebook was given Wednesday and will be given back Monday 6th period, and I must take it before the class gets it back, I'm being tested on the first third of the course Monday 3rd period.

And, as a Mu Phi, I must usher for a chamber music Artist Series presentation tomorrow night and practice with Oklahoma Sunday night.

Seeing "Come Back, Little Sheba" in the round was interesting, but I don't go for it too much. Because the audience must see from all sides, doors and walls must be imaginary. And it must take a wonderful actor to be inconspicuous about opening and closing those imaginary doors.

I guess it will be $10.00 a week, nearly, because I'm about broke again. [For my final two quarters I decided not to work in the dining hall. I'm back to relying on my parents for spending money.]

Goodnight, it's 12:30 and Janie has just given up.

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