Vassar College Digital Library

Aaron, Fannie | to Mother and Father, 1919 October 4

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: Page 1, vcl_Letters_Aaron_Fannie_1919-10_004
October 4, 1919.

Dear Father and Mother,

I am sorry that I could not get time for a letter yesterday. I'll tell you my programme and I think you will see why.

I got up in time for breakfast, as usual. At nine o'clock, after some of that "Morgen Stunde Hat Gold im Munde" business, I went over to the gym for my physical examination. They give all sorts of strength tests, examine your arches, back, etc. She told me to walk more on the outside of feet, and my arches would never hurt me. I weigh one hundred and forty-one pounds without my clothes. I bet I made the record of the Freshman class. She also remembered what you had told her, but I did not need her assistance. I took the swimming test, dressed, and made a ninethirty class a good distance away. I don't think I'll do much swimming in that pool, you get dizzy turning the corners. The water was a good temperature, though. All you have to do in the test is to swim around the pool, and of course it is a cinch. So I passed off my test sooner than the Old Man did.

In Hygiene we got a lecture from Miss Ballentine on the importance of Physical Education. She read her lecture and did not realize how fast she was going. She said she would tell us whenever there was something she wanted us to take down. And then she would go so fast that whenever she said, "Take this down" the whole place would start to roar.

At the beginning of the fifth hour I reported to Miss White for the French exam. She left me in her room with the exam, and told me to take two hours to two and a half. It was the fourth year part of the 1919 Comprehensive exam, except that she changed the subject of the composition to be written. She first gave me, "Characteristics of Victor Hugo's Style", or, "Characteristics of the Classic Theater". Then she told me I could write on the characteristics of any author I had read recently, I took that. If it had been a board exam, I should say that I got away with between eighty and ninety, but she did not seem so keen about my doing it, so I don't know how she will mark it. I hope I will know the result before Pete comes, as I would like to talk over with him which course to take.

It was a hot, Eastern afternoon, so I was pretty well used up when I left the exam. I had been trying several different times to get in touch with the girl with whom I was to play tennis. When I didn't have classes, she did. Finally we arranged for Thursday afternoon, and then it rained. So when I got back from the exam, I found a note from her on my door. I went over for her, and by the time we had waited for a court, it was after five. We decided to play it out. The courts were still slippery from the rain. She was at camp this summer, and was in dandy practice. Consequently it made me play my best. I won the first set, 6-4. She won the second, 7-5, and the last, 6-4. There was


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hardly a game that was not a deuce game. We were both so boiling and hot and hungry that we did not know what we were doing toward the end. So If I had won it would have been pure luck, and her winning on one point was pure luck. I have never played so hard, nor had as much fun out of it.

We did not have our watches, and it developed to our dismay that we played till 6:50. She went to chapel as hot as she was but I could not because I had to get ready for Temple, and besides which that is a dandy way of catching Pneumonia. So I came back and had a mad chase to get ready to meet the rest of the Vassar Contingent to the most disorderly place I have seen for a good while. Helen, Ruth Franklin, their roommate Eleanor Harris and a Christian friend of hers, Lucy, Henrietta Seitner, Mildred Gutwillig, Jim Rosenfeld's cousin, and I went. We got seats in back near the door, thank goodness. It was the most reform of the three congregations here, thatis, the men and women sit together. If you enter a place like that with any thoughtful feeling at all, it is soon knocked out of you. There were two young men in back of us who were, making fun of the rabbi the whole time. Finally one said, "say, if that fellow makes us stand again, I am going to strike". Talking with the neighbors was just the same as in Europe. Every now and then there were a few English sentences, and then, after we had been there about an hour and a quarter, came the English sermon. The rabbi announced that he would like some of the men to go back and close the doors to keep the racket out, and also if people wanted to leave, to leave then or stay through the sermon. They should stay through or get out. Whereupon almost all the men jumped up to guard the doors, and we were practically locked in. It reminded me of that Alsatian at Squeeky Bob's who talked about the Hebrew fit. I honestly believe that whole sermon, which last twenty minutes, was two sentences. I thought only the Latin authors could do that. The man read the sermon and did not look up a single time. There was a man sitting next to Henrietta Seitner who rather pitied us because we did not show any ease at following the service. He informed her that he had gone four years to the University of Moscow, and then to college in England. His comments were really more interesting than the service. He said some of the tallises were more elaborate than others. In olden times the educated, got the fancy ones. Now you buy them--an expressman could get a fancy one. I think he was talking as loud as the rabbi. He did not pay one speck of attention to what was going on except to look at the book every now and then and then tell us that the rabbi was skipping. He had a Christian friend with him and he got into a religious argument with him, which was also very interesting. The sermon was on duty, but it was not what I should call deep or brainy. Ruth Franklin has a friend in town whom we met afterwards. I think they are the only Reform people in Poughkeepsie. She said, I had only one religious thought all evening, and that was pity for you poor girls." Well, I learned one thing anyhow. I expect to be here four years, and I don't expect to go to Temple in Poughkeepsie again.


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You see I missed my dinner, so when I got back I was glad enough to join in the party across the hall. A few cookies don't go very far.

I slept till nine this morning, and then proceeded to write this letter.