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(what’s left of it!)
Dearest Fambly: -
Well, talk about excitement! We’ve sure had it during the last twelve hours. The back of Main has burned!
Tuesday & Thursday nights we are allowed to go to other halls for dinner, and I happened to be Helen Coddington’s guest in Strong (that’s the nearest dormitory to Main). After dinner all the girls were standing around the hall waiting for someone to play for them to dance. All
Helen & I tore up to fourth floor and looked out the end hall window -
(Oh dear! there are 5 girls in here & we’re all talking at once! I’ll have to wait.)
Mercy! everything’s so different. But I must continue my story and get this in the mail in a few minutes. When we got to the hall window in Strong we could see the flames from the back part of Main - about the Assembly Hall as nearly as we could figure. Engines came shrieking up and sirens blew till it was almost deafening. In less than no time all Arlington and the greater part of the population of Pokeepsie were forming a semi-circle around the north & back sides of Main. Helen and I went out too.It was very mild, and only a gentle breeze blowing - thank goodness! Everything was terribly slushy all around but no one seemed to notice how he was wading around. We watched from the north side for awhile then stood on the steps to the Infirmary. For awhhile we thought the men might just as well have been turning streams of kerosene on the flames for all the effect it had. We watched the roof of the Assembly Hall cave in and everyone stood there stricken when several of the firemen called: “Chief! Chief! man buried under there!” I don’t know what happened then, but we have heard since that about five men were carried away in ambulances. While watching from the infirmary Eleanor Emerson ([Marge’s?] sister) and one or two of her roommates who live on the fourth floor
far from the middle came over and this is what she had to say about it. She said that at a little while after five she was riding up in the elevator and called out: “4th” for the elevator boy to stop, but two men in the “L” said, “go on straight up to 5th, don’t stop!” Then she heard them say some more about where they had smelled smoke. A maid had told me before that when they were eating their dinner at 5 o’clock they smelled smoke & sent some men to find out the cause, but they didn’t see anything, so they concluded it must be from the funny smell they sometimes smelled from the burning of the coal. Then Eleanor went on to say that just as they
All the Main girls had to report to Strong to “sign up” and from there they were appointed to different rooms around campus for the night. Eleanor Emerson slept with Marge & we had another girl on our extra cot. We eat meals in relays & the poor maids are worked overtime. I never saw such efficiency tho! for when we returned from watching fire (we were sent home!) about 9 o’clock - here our extra cot had been made up with clean sheets all ready waiting. The maids did it, I suppose. And at the doors down stairs girls stood hearing everyone sign up whether or not every bit of bed
The post office is now in the gym! Main girls get their mail from Students` Building & the other girls have their mai come to their rooms. We’ll probably have guests for all night for a couple of nights longer, then they’ll ^let those living in the wings (which were untouched) go in. We were quite disappointed this morning to find no headlines in the N.Y. Times but it had gone to press too early. We heard that there was an extra in N.Y. saying: “Main Building of Vassar College swept by flames - 50 killed!” You can imagine the jam in Strong sending telegrams (That’s where the Messenger Room is now). Parents are pouring in, but they find all their children safe and sound.
2:; ."‘ 1
It was a beautiful sight and I wouldn’t have missed it for worlds. Since I have started this lengthy epistle, I have rec’d a big letter from you, Mother, and a nice big one from Daddy. I’ve taken so long and written so much. I don’t see how I can comment on everything now. There are so many funny things we’ve heard which keep coming to my mind to tell you, but I mustn’t take the time. I’m wondering if Chicago will take any notice of it in the papers.
Soldiers with muskets patrolled the quadrangle a good part of the
It’s funny, but for several days I’ve been pining for something exciting & different to
Which reminds me, the enclosed clipping is for Daddy; I meant to send it some time ago. I think he’ll see the significance. Also I’ve been noting the scarcity of fire hydrants around campus & I bet this would be a swell time for Daddy to do some business here. Also I’ve planned to spend spring vacation with Daddy in N.Y (he working [in?] a business trip). I need so many clothes I can’t get here - shoes especially. Please I need the toe-slip badly. Thank you both heaps again for the nice letters - yours was beautifully fat Mother - let them come as often as possible. I’ll answer them individually soon. Good-bye, dears & Happy Valentine’s Day [crossed out] [Th?]day - Love - Gert.