Monday, November 1, 2010

JANET MAKES HER OWN WAY; part 1; by Mabel Hester Green, 1929

Memorial Hall, Collegetown, Indiana, September 18, 1928

Dearest Sister Martha:

At last I've left the farm behind me and I'm off to college! I'm just thrilled to a peanut.

When the conductor shouted "Collegetown" my heart went flutter, flutter, and I grabbed my traveling bag, and my hat box and the flowers dear old Bob gave me, and my purse and the box of candy Roy thrust on me at the last minute, and squeezed down the aisle.

The conductor smiled at my bundles. Some of the students crowding behind me smiled, too I don't see why. I'm sure I looked quite sophisticated and collegiate in my new gray suit and new hat. (The sweetest little red hat, Mart, that mother got for me the day we drove in to Frankfort after you went back to work.)

Well, the minute I stepped off the train I was swamped by taxi drivers--but I needn't go into detail--you were through it all many times yourself the four years you were here.

When we reached the new Memorial Hall I was shown my room on the second floor. And, oh, Sis, the Hall is the most beautiful place. It was completed just last fall so the furniture and floors are new and shining. It has fireplaces and cozy little corners downstairs and the dearest little rooms. I have a dozen ideas for making ours look both elegant and comfy.

You notice I said ours, for I have a roommate. Miss Ellsworth, may I present Miss Sarah Jones? Now, you are properly introduced.

Miss Jones is not so good-looking, Mart, and wears very mannish clothes. She tells me that she intends to study Latin and work her way through school.

And mention of work makes me think of something else. Father had quite a serious talk with me about finances before I left home. He has had some bad luck. Mother wrote you about his losing so many hogs from the cholera, didn't she? And his wheat didn't thrash out as well as he expected--and he hadn't expected much either. So what with low prices and everything he had to renew that note Mother has for so long been hoping that they could get paid off this fall. He said he hated it, but that if I wanted to come to school I would have to pay my own bills. He thinks it will be good training for me, too, because I spent so much in high school.

Why, Mart, I never had many clothes while I was in high school. For graduation even, I had only four dresses and Alma Marie had five.

Father said he thought making my own expenses would teach me the value of money. Of course I had my heart set on going to college so I agreed to pay my bills if it was necessary.

All the clothes I needed to start with Father bought and he gave me $100 to last until I found some work to do. He is such an old dear. When he gets in a cheerful humor again and sells some more corn he'll relent and send me all the money I need. A hundred will last a long time so I'm not going to worry about a job. If worst comes to worst you would help me out.