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Letter to her mother describing her friend Lee's suspension and her efforts to get it overturned, letters from Ralph, invitations from others to move dorms, the novel she's writing for class, and her preparation plan for exams.
[18 January, 1935] Jan 1/18/35 Friday Mother dearest - First of all, the box did come yesterday afternoon, in fine style - nay I might verily say splendid & unexpectedly so. A thousand thanks - I wished for such a scarf more than once, & I haven't as yet finished my wool one - and this is lovely. The colors in it will go with so many things, and it shall be flaunted proudly. Also thanks for the enclosures. By the way, did you throw out the envelope Anogene’s card came in? It had her address on the back - & I haven't written to her yet. Hope to catch up on correspondence Sunday. Thanks for the suggestions about Lee. I hated to sit back & not do anything too, and [Page 2] had made an appointment to see Dean Lindsay, just to get the inside information. The reason we hadn't done anything with the petition was because not all of the Senior class - in fact only about a dozen people, know the whole story, and it is a darned serious offense. The President of the class rowed stroke on the 2nd crew - Lee rowed stroke on the 1st, which might or might not make a difference in attitude. That’s the only place they ever knew each other. However, I went to Miss Lindsay, & came out feeling that she knew the situation thoroughly, both from a human and from the academic standpoint, and that she was tremendously sympathetic. Also that she knew Lee pretty shrewdly. [Page 3] In effect, she said that the greatest tragedy she felt, was that even now she didn't realize that she had done any great wrong, & that she had been unfairly and unjustly treated by the college. You see, a great deal hangs on the fact that it is her second offense. They felt that after the warning of last June, Lee’s present “willful carelessness and disregard for the rights of others” is inexcusable. Miss Lindsay said just what you did - that Lee had come to regard herself as a law unto herself - that rules we're O.K. for the majority, but not necessarily for her, & they felt that a person who would so deliberately disregard the possibility that others might want those books, who is so innately oblivious to other people's time, shouldn't be allowed to return to Wellesley. And their [Page 4] first verdict was that she should be expelled completely. Then when she & her mother came up here, they light in the penalty to suspension. As for the hearing, Miss Lindsay said she felt that Lee had had a chance to see the different members of the committee separately and tell her story - and she admitted that Lee had a wonderful gift of persuasion - but that she felt that Lee could add nothing to her plea which would throw new light on the matter. You see she told them she took the books by mistake the last day before vacation - picked them up along with others of hers - and meant to bring them back right after vacation - which is a pretty tall story for anyone to believe. They're not doing it for publicity - not to make an example, but simply to bring it [Page 5] home to Lee that she cannot disregard others. Said she didn't think Lee had faced the facts. She wanted to know what qualities in Lee I admired, & I said I thought it was partly that very ability which Lee prided herself on - facing facts without any tissue paper around them, seeing things as they are & then doing something about them - analyzing situations etc. I also brought in that she was careful of little things - turning open my bed when I had been out, fixing my room when I came back from vacation to have it look homelike & not barren when I returned, getting ice cream etc. for me when I was sick. I think it gave another side of Lee, & rather impressed Miss Lindsay. I also told her I thought she had already learned her lesson, & that the college should give her chance to prove it by allowing her [Page 6] to return now instead of waiting a year - which might mean that she would never finish. She suggested that Lee write as much to Miss Pendleton - which would have more effect than any petition we might draw up. She thought a petition, even from a few girls, [deletion: might] would certainly do no harm, but she could almost say with conviction that she didn't think it would do much good. I may get a few though, such as Mug, Hort, Frannie Helen etc. to sign one, I haven't decided. I had a very sweet answer to my letter to Ralph about it except that he got sentimental about “no one in the room next to mine” etc. He tried to be philosophical about it - “one of the disappointments” etc. & then apologized for it, saying he knew it [Page 7] wasn't comforting, but “I alone knew how much it meant to me better than another.” Evidently I must have been a bit bitter to him, because he tucked in some wise sayings about not letting it embitter my outlook etc. And it hasn't. I feel that I understand a great deal more about it now. And I don't feel half as lonely as I expected to. I wouldn't say this to Lee, of course - but I'm enjoying Helen’s companionship, I'm seeing Mug, Hort & Frannie more, people are perfectly swell to me - did I tell you Milly (capt. of crew) came over when she heard Lee wasn't back, said there was a vacant room over in Tower & they would love to have me over there with them if I wanted to apply for it? I thought that was mighty sweet of them. Also saw Rags Hildebrand, [Page 8] the Pres. of the House, who said they'd be more than glad to welcome me if I cared to come. I decided though, that the physical bother of moving was too much - besides I don't like the bigness of Tower, & furthermore, I like the people in Severance. So I decided to stay. The campus is beautiful today - snowed all yesterday - now it's hanging to all the trees - with the sun shining on it. I've got to get my camera out. You have the dimensions of my sweater, don't you Mums? I haven't been able to get hold of a sweater book yet - so I would appreciate suggestions from Margie's. I'll try to look very soon though. Congratulate Betty for me, will you - I think it's grand - may not get a chance to write immediately. Uh huh, Ralph’s letters are different, quite adequate, bless him. Ted's are - still Ted's - and adequate and their way also - but it's a different way. He's interested in the novel - suggested I look [Page 9] up historical background of vicinity to give body and conviction to life there. I'm going to divide it into 3 parts, I think - 1 on the form - childhood memories & the like (with Keith’s dislike of it) 2 in the city - focus on Keith, and 3 California, with its emphasis on the fact that Keith now wants to go back. That ought to give me a lot of leeway - & tie up the whole idea neatly. I have to have it all written up by tomorrow! (the synopsis, that is.) Better get busy I suppose - you may not have another real letter for a while - nothing particular is happening - everyone is on ears for exams - I have time in between for study, so I'm just doing required things now - with systemic cramming next week. I'm not letting it get - I feel very free, curiously so - and hope they ain't too bad. I'm going to do some real hibernating [Page 10] though. You know I’ve learned one important thing which I knew but didn't realize so poignantly - that it's everyday living which counts - that people, in a crisis, remember attitude throughout - and not just the present - and that it pays, & pays well, to be mighty careful of little things all the time - In fact I think I've learned almost as big a lesson as Lee has, without a loss of anything - & with much gain, I think. Well - enjoy [illegible: Wither?] and Gore’s company tonight - but don't beat them too badly. Will let you know when I find out about the excursion - either way. Do get your promised rest now - Loving love mightily Ginger
Wellesley, Massachusetts; Schenectady, New York
Faculty, Staff and Administrators; Personal Relationships; Student Life; Home and Family
Discipline; Men; Knitting; Examinations
Westervelt, Virginia Veeder and Wellesley College Archives, "Letter from Virginia Veeder Westervelt, Wellesley, Massachusetts, to Mrs. Millicent Veeder, Schenectady, New York, 1935 January 18" (1935). Virginia Veeder Westervelt letters (6C/1935). 64.