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Poughkeepsie, N. Y.
September 20, 1919
Dear Father and Pete:
There is something the matter with my machine:the "m" won't work.
I just fussed with it a half hour, and it seems to be all right now.
Well, i think I am going to like the old joint. The first day was much too queer, but yesterday was loads better. I'll start at the beginning.
First I registered at the Dean's office. She called Mother by her "Vassar name." Then Mother payed at the Treasurer's office, and then we had lunch. There are lots of girls on the Reception Committee, and they certainly are nice. They try to make a person feel that she belongs there, instead of making him, or rather her, feel as green as possible.
There has been a day between this paragraph and the last. I will try to finish this today. I thought that you would rather wait for this letter then have me miss anything the first few days.
Wednesday [Thursday] afternoon we measured every old thing in the room and then went to town for a money spending expedition. We got mission furniture-- a dresser, a chiffonier, a desk and chair, a Morris chair, a reed arm chair and tea-table, and ordered curtains and hangings, bed cover, and pillows. We also got a box to slide under my bed to keep stuff in. I have a dandy room and Mother is right, I think, to want to furnish it attractively. The furniture that the college supplies is awfully cheap looking stuff. My room had a straight chair, bed, and dresser. The bed is very comfortable, so I kept it. The rest of the stuff I put out. I forgot that we bought a very pretty rug, also. Unfortunately nothing but the furniture has come yet. I am awfully glad that we came a day early, because there was some rush on that store, and by Friday they had very little left. Wednesday night I had dinner with Mother at the Inn. There were very few people in my hall that night, but I concluded that the sooner I got used to the place the better, so I staid there. It surely was spooky. The room was so bare that it could not have looked worse. Each hall has a president, (ours is a junior.) She is very nice. I may like our warden--I don't know. She teaches Math, and knows Mother from college. She is a wild-eyed looking soul, but I imagine when you get to know her, that she will be all right. The first time I saw her after I located here she called
I spent considerable time running back and forth to the janitor's department in Main to find my trunks. My wardrobe trunk landed here Thursday evening and my tray trunk yesterday noon, so now I am completely unpacked and my room is fixed up as much as possible. I took the lamp over to the electrician's office to have it fixed up to match the college plug. The desk set goes very well with the desk. Oh, I am very busy making things look as nice as possible, and Mother certainly knows the ropes.
Before I forget, my post-office box is 882. I share it with the girl across the hall, fifty cents apiece. I have received therein two highly intelligent letters dictated to one whom I should imagine would kick to take down such nonsensical stuff. However, there was a great satisfaction in reading the Marcus Aaron English, and imagining the great strain on the stenographer to spell the words. I also received a special delivery letter in Davison after dinner last night. Specials are sent to Main, and from there to the various halls.
I forgot to tell you that Friday afternoon there was a Freshman tea in the Freshman Parlors in Main. The notice read for Main Freshman, but I was told that all were to come, so I went and met a lot of my classmates. It was a very good idea.
Last nigh there was College singing on the steps of Rockefeller Hall, the recitation Hall. It-would have been much better if the majority of the girls had known the words and not bluffed quite so hard. Incidentally they did not sing the tunes, "Bring inthe laundry", and "Watch the kitchen stove", the songs about which you enlightened us, Father. After that we went to chapel. I also went the night before. We are to be seated the end of next week. The Freshmen sit in back. There are Sunday morning services only three times a month.
When I was in the midst of my unpacking yesterday noon, with not even room to walk on the floor, in walked Mrs. Kaufmann, Lucy, Mrs. Peck, and Marjorie. They brought Lucy up by auto and were leaving to go back to New York, so I walked over to the Inn with them, where I saw Mr. Kaufmann. Mother was in town, and they told me only about twenty times how sorry they were to miss her. Marjorie has gotten to look just look a tough Dago--fat and coarse and black as pitch. Lucy and I then walked back to college and I went with her while she got her mail-box. On the way we passed lots of her classmate,
Last night Miss Smith, our warden, gave an informal reception to all the "inmates" of Davison, their parents, and friends. Mother went because Miss Smith asked her to particularly. She staid only a little while. It was a very good way for us to become acquainted a little faster. We talked and then danced. It was very enjoyable indeed, as the old man would say, except that it would not have been enjoyable to him.
There was chapel this morning but I did not go because it was not compulsory and I had a good many things to straighten out here. Besides which, I agreed with Mother to sleep late this morning and take breakfast with her. I have not eaten with her since I started to eat here. She seemed to think I needed the sleep--I did, too. I woke up at eight o'clock, fooled around, and landed over there at nine thirty. Mother was not ready yet, so I ate, and by the time she had finished and I got back here, it was eleven. There was a note on my door from my advisor, asking me to meet her at [a] quarter to eleven and go to chapel with her, but it was too late. I suppose she will come around this afternoon. She said in her note that her roommate had met me and that she said I had friends already, so she was not worried about me. I don't know, who her roommate is. Apparently I have drawn a prize. Several girls have asked me who my advisor is, and they all proceeded to tell me what a wonderful girl she is. Lucy told me that she is one of the biggest girls in college--XYZ her Junior year without being a grind, and also on lots of committees. I'll know more about her when I meet her. She is not what you and I thought she was, Lester.
I passed a girl yesterday that looked so much like Libby Kuhn that I turned around to see who she was. Lucy told me later that she was her sister. I also saw Lawrence Litchfield's sister. Marse's friend Elaine Wolf is down the hall a little. She is not bashful by a long shot. She was in here today. I was talking to her yesterday, and all of a sudden she said, "Oh, now I know who you are--you are Charlie Aaron's niece." I suppose she calls him that, too. There are an awful lot of hook-noses around, and plenty in Davison. I hope they are nicer than those I met yesterday.
I really don't know much else. I realize that this is a terribly sloppy and disconnected letter, but I have been interrupted a thousand times. At least its length makes up for its sloppiness. This is the ribbon we bought in Santa Barbara. I wouldn't give a penny for it either.
Something else I forgot. On-the train up I began to get the first realization that I might have made a mistake in asking not to be put in Main. I am beginning to change my mind. The post-office, the bulletin boards, the janitor's office, the electrician, the grocery store, the book-store, all are in Main, and the noise is enough to drive a person crazy. In addition to that, they have rubber carpets in the corridors to help deaden the noise, and the smell is sickening. The rooms are musty, and two by four, if that. So I guess that I ought to be glad I am where I am, and know a good thing when I see it.
Chicken roasted potatoes
Hope your foot gets better, old man. Why did you not send the list of books we have at home? Classes start tomorrow, and we will probably have to get books then. The official address of welcome to the Freshmen is tomorrow morning in chapel at the Convocation. Also, I forgot to get you to show me how to do more Trig. I hope I'll get along without it.
Phyllis is in a small off-campus house, about two blocks from my end of the campus. She has a dandy little corner room, all furnished by the house-owner. She has a room-mate, however. They don't have to make their own beds. They don't have to go to daily chapel, either.
There is Junior-Freshman singing in the Open-Air Theatre tonight. I forgot one other thing. Friday night the Juniors marched in a body, to most of the halls, called the Freshmen to the windows and serenaded us. They sang their songs of welcome to their sister-class. Some were very good.