Girl Coming of Age in the 1960s


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Living in these women's residences, there's always someone to do things with. Also it's wonderful to hear what everyone's jobs are like, to help decide what's the best thing to get into.

Letters from New York City - November 1965

Mon. aft.

Spent $110 on a coat

This is an incredibly dreary day; it's been raining since before I got up. Pat and I went to Chipp's Pub for lunch. They have a jukebox that plays only French songs and above it you watch a movie at the same time.

Saturday I went shopping for a coat and ended up mortgaging my next paycheck. Since I'd already covered Macys, Ohrbachs, etc., I meant to start out at Bloomingdale's. But Vani wanted to go with me to shop for a skirt and she wanted to look in Macys. So we went there first, and I ended up putting my $80 down on the $110 coat I fell in love with before. Actually it will be $115.50 with N.Y. tax, which I wasn't expecting. The Pennsylvania sales tax isn't charged on clothes, is it? So I won't have the coat till a week from this coming Friday. But it is absolutely heavenly.

On the money subject, I am not going to the Byers school for December, I'll just keep up on my own for a month, unless ABC coughs up the money. Dottie thinks they have a board meeting just once a month to decide these things and that is why we haven't heard yet.

We are all expecting a bonus of a week's salary, which is given before Christmas in place of parties that ABC never has.

I wish I could come home for Thanksgiving. It would be so cozy. And Barbara's going home. I don't know what I'm going to do; I can't afford to go out, I'll eat at the Y. And see you Sunday? I forgot to check yesterday if Chris' model car place is open on Sundays. Daddy's book is $12.95 at Brentano's and would take a couple of weeks to order.

I told Barbara you could probably bring her record player on Sunday to N.Y. She will call you while she's home for Thanksgiving. I was over at their apartment Saturday night for dinner and bridge. We had shrimp cocktail, burgundy wine, chow mein, hot rolls, stuffed clams, coffee and ice cream. It was very good, and I contributed part. I wish I had some place to cook sometimes.

When you come, don't forget to bring:

  • my record player
  • Barb's record player
  • my records
  • brown jacket
  • my little bulletin board from college
  • green suitcase (and you can take back the plaid picnic case)
  • black wool dress
  • anything else that looks interesting

See you soon.

Sun. night

Should I be an employment interviewer?

I just got back from getting Barbara's and my tickets for Thursday night. We'll be on the 5:20 bus via the shortway, and I told her you would come for us this time. It should be a little after 8:30; I'll call.

This month has been going so fast. I got most of my shopping done yesterday. Such crowds! My bonus was half a week's salary and I guess I'm lucky; another girl has just been there since July and she didn't get any. Pat was really counting on a week's, and didn't have enough to go up to her ski house at Snow mountain. This was to have been her first weekend, and she'd paid her share, but now she lacked money for transportation, meals, and lift fees. There probably wasn't any snow anyway.

I've still got my half-day for shopping left but I can't use it when I want to—everybody's supposed to be there Thursday afternoon. And I just got a card from Civil Service saying I'm scheduled for the employment interview test that afternoon. I'm going to call tomorrow and tell them I can't take it then.

Do I ever envy people who know what they want! I still don't know what I want. A girl just moved into the Y who started Thursday as a Civil Service employment interviewer, and she thinks it looks good. At least you're seeing new people all the time and maybe they keep you more awake than my file cards do. Then other times I think "Good grief, you're anything but a people lover" and I'd rather be working all by myself. But there's no harm in taking the test.

This new girl, Sandy, is really nice. A distinct apartment possibility. She graduated last spring from the University of Buffalo. We went over to Barb's last night to play bridge (Eleanor is working evenings this month). Their apartment really looks good; they've bought a 9x12 rug and potted plants and drapes and bookcases and have a large Danish wall unit on the way. And they had a decent-sized Christmas tree up and decorated, and a large wall mirror in the living room with their cards around it.

Barb and I saw the off-Broadway "View from the Bridge" Friday night in Greenwich Village. It was good, and afterward we went to a place called "Your Father's Mustache". You wouldn't believe it. You walk in and it's like a saloon. There's a band on the platform playing banjos and brass, loud. Waiters and band are dressed in twenties-type clothes, striped vests, etc. And the waiters must be hired for their enthusiasm. They clap in time to the music, and sing and actually get everyone else in the place to sing! Such unbelievable enthusiastic complete participation I never saw.

The numbers were all infectious renditions of songs like "Daisy", "McNamara's Band", "East Side, West Side", and "I'm Looking Over a 4-Leaf Clover". They played requests, and the waiters would shout in the requests. And were they ever on the ball! We were talking to these men next to us, and instantly they swoop down and refill your glass and charge the men. The Schlitz was really flowing. And during band breaks they showed Charlie Chaplin movies. That place is really moving, on the crest of the wave, if I ever saw an enthusiastic successful place!

Tonight Sandy and I made TV dinners in the Y kitchen; also soup and freezer-dept. cake. It was very good. We may go to hear the Messiah at Lincoln Center this week.

You mentioned you made sweet and sour pork—would you make it again while I'm home? I love it too.

See you Thursday night.

Wed. night

Taking the Civil Service test

I just finished, after a half hour of phoning, getting a bridge game together. We're going to play at nine after Ann has finished her steno homework. It's so hard to get four people together around here! Everyone takes classes at night, and has tickets for plays.

I had been planning to go skating with Barb and Judy tonight, but someone at dinner said it cost $1.50, which I can't afford this week, so I called and got out of it. Barb said the State Boards (for nurses) were really grueling. It will be about six weeks before she knows the results.

Christmas came and went awfully fast. I still haven't seen Rockefeller Center. I got a "You smell good" sompliment on the Jean Naté already this morning! There were no delays on the bus coming back.

Monday morning I went down and took the Civil Service test, and called Dottie to say I was sick from the Hotel New Yorker lobby. Felt so guilty! But next time it will be easier.

The test was really difficult, especially the math. I feel sorry for the older people who were taking the test, because it's probably been so long since they've had one. The kids fresh out of college have just finished jillions of multiple-choice beat-the-clock tests, and I'm sure practice helps. Sample problem, as well as I can remember it:

A swimming pool is 50' by 20' long and wide, and slopes on a straight line from 4' to 9.5' in depth. How much water would it take to fill it up to 6" from the top? Assume 7.5 gallons of water per cubic foot.

So many steps to it! You really have to stop and think about it.

However, I think I passed. Sandra said it was a month before she was notified, but that other recruits have heard within a week. I've about definitely decided I don't want it, but I would like to be eligible in case the secretarial doesn't pan out for some reason this spring.

Sandra and I went to the library last night and I went to the record area for the first time. They have wonderful records! And they're in pretty good condition. I signed out two musicals, "The Most Happy Fella" and "On the Town".

Tomorrow night I'm going with two other girls to hear Handel's Concerto Grosso #6 at Carnegie Hall. I don't like Handel but somehow got talked into it.

I'll probably go over to Barb's on New Years Eve. We're talking about going to see "Thunderball" that night. I haven't received a card from Carol yet, and probably won't know if she's coming till she gets here.

All my letters are just "I did" and "I'm going to". It seems like there ought to be more to say.

It was a lovely Christmas at home; like a different world from getting on the bus here every morning and going to work.

Barb just called from the lobby of the Plaza. She says I've been misinformed; the skating charge is only fifty cents on week nights and the rink opens in half an hour, at 8:30, and why don't I come? So I explained that I couldn't run out on the bridge game after so much trouble to get it together. I'll go next week; but now I'm sorry; I'd rather skate. Oh, well.

I guess I'll do some shorthand now.

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