Girl Coming of Age in the 1960s


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It's my tenth and last quarter at Penn State; I'll graduate in March. I've started sending résumés to New York City, hoping to find a job with some glamorous company like CBS or Saks Fifth Avenue.

Letters from Penn State - January 1965


Start of my last term

Back in the old routine. I've been to one of every class except Chem Lab, which is tomorrow morning, and they all look pretty interesting, meaning the teachers are good, except possibly Theater. The teacher for that is Mrs. Wilson, a young woman, and she doesn't speak clearly and says "uh" too much to really capture your attention.

I'm so glad I took chemistry in high school. The course is geared for people who didn't, and a lot of it looks familiar. The lecture room is in Osmond laboratory and I've never been in another room like it here. It reminds me of the Met, though of course it isn't that deep. But the rows of seats are on a semi-circle of steep steps, and it's really an amphitheater. Although it's a huge class, we're going to have assigned seats. The teacher is a woman and she seems very good.

For AAH, Northern Art, I have Prof. Hyslop again, and he's really great. It's in the new Arts building (for Music) which was just completed last term. It has loads of good sound-proof practice rooms, but unforunately is not so centrally-located as Carnegie.

Janie and I both have Zoology 41, in another huge riser room with 200 other kids. I love big classes. The teacher, Mr. Houlihan, is dynamic. He has a very good voice, termendous eye contact, and has loads of soft brown hair.

I have volleyball for Phys Ed and it's like all the other things I've had in Phys Ed—strenuous. They keep us moving every minute.

The bus got in here Monday at 4:00. I had to switch buses at Wilkes Barre (the one we started in, the heater didn't work), Sunbury, and Williamsport. I went straight from the terminal to Henninger's office, where he frigidly asked why I wasn't here 24 hours before registration, harangued for five minutes, and then took the 15 seconds to get out my file and hand me the pre-registration envelope. I think he just likes to fight.

At registration I stopped at the booth that says "Students who plan to graduate this term stop here" and filled out cards for my diploma, the alumnae association, etc.

That night another girl and I went to the movies to see "Girl with Green Eyes" with Rita Tushingham. It's an English movie and was very good. The theaters were all jammed with kids with nothing to do yet.

The length from just under the waistband to the hem of the new gray skirt, which is perfect, is 25 1/4 inches. I'm glad you're working on that one, because I'm really noticing the limitations in my present wardrobe. If you could find some textury brown or beige tweedy or herringbone wool, I'd love another one. The State College stores were all having sales this week and I tried on all the possible slacks in the seven women's stores, and none fit. My hips are 36 1/4, just measured. Waist 25 1/2. If you had the inspiration and the time, I'd also love for you to try another pair of slacks, gray-blue or medium gray wool. I really do need wool slacks around here during winter term. I tried on the ones you sent out last term. They must be yours, and they don't fit me. Janie measured and I think my outseam would be 39 inches, inseam 29 3/4 inches.

Bill's new job sounds wonderful. Did he say how he happened to switch, or to hear about the new one? I haven't been in to Placement yet. Janie wrote a letter today to the Cambria County Child Welfare Agency, where she hopes to work.

Wed. eve.

Sending out résumés

The skirt came Friday afternoon and I've worn it three times already. It fits perfectly (I don't need to add a snap on the closure) and the length is just exactly right. So is the width of the flare. I can't get over how perfect it is! Every so often, something turns out tremendously. Make me another if you can, and thanks for this one.

Also, I'm glad you enclosed a check with your letter Monday. I was down to three cents that morning. Please send more next week because I won't have enough left to pay for the tickets to Miracle Worker, which are $1.75 apiece. I'll reserve seats on Monday, the first day the box office opens, but won't need to pay for them right then.

I haven't called up the Nittany Lion Inn yet, have been wondering what to say. I guess I ask for one room with a double and single? I'll call tomorrow, having no idea how advancedly they are booked up. It will really be a nice weekend. The theater-in-the-round is very interesting, and I'm curious to see more of the Inn. I looked to see what else is going on that weekend. Saturday afternoon at 2:00 there's a varsity rifle meet and a varsity gymnastics meet, if you're interested. The gym meets are pretty good. The Chapel speaker on Sunday is a Professor of the New Testament from Union Theological Seminary in New York.

I've checked out most of what the Placement Bureau has to offer in written and verbal advice. The only on-campus interview of a New York company that "wants" me is Bloomingdale's, who will be here on March 10. I will probably go for an interview with them.

This leaves me with applications by letter. The proper way to apply is to send your résumé. I'm enclosing a copy of the one I'm working up with a view toward radio and television stations. For the UN, department stores, and publishing companies, I'll have to do a different one. Some of the points might be quibbled with (such as the 60 words per minute and the ten (once fifteen!) percent of college expenses!). Any suggestions you might make are welcome. I had a placement counselor read it over. We are told to include father's occupation "as an indication of the cultural experiences we have probably been exposed to".

So I will send out a batch of such sheets along with little letters ending with "should appreciate an opportunity to call at your office for an interview at your convenience." I'm sending Barbara a copy of the Placement Annual for names and addresses and plan of résumé, and one of mine to show her how I'm doing it.

Last night Mu Phi Epsilon ribboned ten new pledges. It was a candlelight service; they knelt and took their vows with right hands on the Bible. We sisters all wore black; they all wore white. Refreshments afterward were soda and doughnuts. It was in a classroom in the new Arts I building.

Did you just pick up those tax returns for me or did they come in the mail? I haven't gotten a statement, or whatever they sent the previous two years, of my earnings. But I do know they didn't take any tax out, just FICA, I have no refund coming, so am not sending in a return, unless you still think I should.

I got a B in my first Chem quiz, have another one tomorrow. One stupid mistake (aren't they all).

Back to the Chemistry.


A job-hunting letter

Personnel Director
Bonwit Teller
721 Fifth Avenue
New York 22, New York

Dear Sir:

I am a senior at the Pennsylvania State University, majoring in music theory, and expect to receive a bachelor of arts degree in March. After graduation I would like very much to work for Bonwit Teller, in a secretarial, copy-writing, or merchandising capacity.

My degree will be from the College of Arts and Architecture. I enclose a résumé; references and other information will be supplied upon request.

I will be in New York after March 23 and would appreciate an opportunity to call at your office for an interview at your convenience.

Very truly yours,

Mon. eve.

My parents and brother will visit

Rita and I just got back from swimming at White pool. We only stayed a little while; the synchronized swim club was there and their leader used the diving board to supervise them from. And the diving board is the main attraction.

I've written six letters so far, to ABC, NBC, CBS, the UN, Bonwit Teller, and Lord and Taylor, and gone through a ream of typing paper (this kind) to turn out perfect copies. This kind (non-erasable) is nicer because it's heavier and smoother and the type is most readable on it. I mailed them on Friday and am already expectant every time I check the mailbox.

I hate to mention it, but I'm down to $1.15 again and will need money later this week. My whole problem stems from the fact that I had to pay out $6.50 last week for a set of University Prints (a box of pictures shown in AAH 5) which I knew from the beginning I would have to pay for when the order came in, but before they did I was lured into buying a skirt because my wardrobe felt so bereft of knee-covering skirts. It's very nice, navy, cranberry and white plaid A-line, and I wear it and the gray and the black-and-white check now exclusively. But anyway, for that reason the ten dollars didn't go too far. Also my watch band mysteriously stretched out (two links don't contract and now it's too big to stay on my wrist) and I'd like to get another one.

Also, I got the last $10 Saturday and got the theater tickets an hour after the box office opened this morning. We have pretty good seats, they are in what I consider the best section, except not in the middle. Our seats are in the blacked-in space, section C. ( [a drawing here.] )

I also called the Inn and made your reservations. He gave me a choice of different bed combinations and I took the cheapest—I hope you approve. You have reserved one double bed (at 9-10 dollars) and one roll-away bed (2 dollars extra). He asked when you expected to check in and I said early afternoon. He said "Say, two o'clock?" So I said that would be fine.

I had a test in Theater 431 today and must have gotten at least a C in it. The teacher, Mrs. Wilson, who at first I thought was boring and spoke incomprehensibly, I now love. Her voice, even though she says "uh" is the kind you could listen to for hours (and not be bored). Of course, she's probably had voice training, having acted. She sounds like her voice is coming "from the diaphraghm", not just the mouth, effortless. She sounds like she can probably sing.

Her major ability is costume designing. I must have mentioned the out-of-this-world costumes in The Imaginary Invalid—well, she designed them. It makes you think there is something really creative in designing stage costumes. She's also designing for The Miracle Worker but it doesn't call for such frankly wild costumes; maybe theyll still be impressive. Sallie Diamond, who was in Fair Weather and Come Back Little Sheba which I saw last term, and who now lives just down the hall from me, is playing Annie Sullivan, Helen's nurse.

I have two A's and two B's in Chemistry so far. I'm thinking about getting my master's in chemistry. It's so nice and math-y. Learn the formulas and that's it— no need for your own interpretation. It's my favorite course so far this term.

My volleyball team almost won the first tournament today—but we lost a match, and so tied for first place.

I'm out of typing paper and long stamped envelopes at the moment, but am just as content to wait until I get replies to the ones I sent before I send out more, to see how they go over. I don't think I sent you a copy of the general idea of my accompanying envelope, and enclose one. Please criticize. I'm not sure if it sounds high-handed, or what. It seems to me that they might think "after March 23" is too far ahead to schedule interviews and might say "contact us when you do get to New York" or I guess even that's wishful thinking!

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