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Letter to her mother describing a chapel service, her thoughts on "The Distaff Side," advice from her professor Miss Perkins on which activity to drop, a valentine from Ralph, and a letter from Frannie; and reporting her grades


2/17/35 [stationary heading] WELLESLEY COLLEGE WELLESLEY, MASSACHUSETTS OFFICE OF PUBLICITY Mother very dearest, And in the midst of snow where once, only yesterday was Spring and running roads, hello. Have just returned from chapel through the snow-- watched it all through the service--thought of you perhaps watching it through the slant-opened windows before Ed Coffin closed them. Communion this morning, too. Dr. Tweedy of Yale Divinity School spoke: the value of being a combination of saint and man or woman of the world. He was a venerable gentleman with a white beard, and eyes very much alive. I liked him. There’s an extraordinary sense of companionship about Communion somehow--people around you, yes, but other people too, other places--you particularly. I wish you might have gone in with me yesterday to see Sybil Thorndike in “The Distaff Side.” I made up my mind I just had to see it, and Thursday Miss Perkins said she wanted to go in, and asked me if I wanted to go with her. So we went in for yesterday's matinee. And I did enjoy it so much. It’s quite different from anything else I’ve seen---the tempo is slow, quiet and English, but the character of the sister and mother, Sybil Thorndike, permeated the whole atmosphere. Understanding, sympathetic, tolerant, unsentimental but loving, she was, as Miss Hart said, the sort of woman every woman wanted to be. It was especially nice going in with Miss Perkins. We talked about the play, about my novel, in which incidentally I may have to become an orphan..more of that later..and about my outside activities. And she almost convinced me that I’d have to drop some of them if I wanted to concentrate at all on writing. She asked me what I could drop, and pounced on the [Page 2] shorthand and typing. I don’t know, I haven’t fully decided, but I really don’t have time to practice all I should, and I have enough foundation now to go on with it by myself when I get a chance. So I may not pay my $10 due tomorrow, and have that less to bother about. Then she suggested I work less on Verse Speaking Choir--but after I told her the recital was on March 12, she thought I might keep up with it until then. Choir and Crew are too important to lose. Barn doesn’t take much work. I don’t believe I’ll have time for the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta though. Did I tell you I made it? I think it ought to be very much worth while, but it will take so much more time than ordinary choir, especially after Spring vacation, that I hardly think it is worth it, do you? There are some 57 plays to be read for Drama, an intensive study of the Gospel according to St. Luke to be made, besides Education, Speech, Criticism and a novel to be dashed off. I told Perky I’d managed it so far, and she suggested that a novel was a bit different, and that I didn’t want to be too much a shadow of my former self at the end of the year, so I think I shall probably take her advice. Grades? Oh uyes [mis-spelling: yes]. No I didn’t go on Pro, thank goodness. As follows: English 204--B (in case you’re in doubt, B Education----B Speech-------B Ethics-------C Drama--------A Criticism----A I don’t know what happened to Ethics. Apparently she didn’t like my conception of Ethical responsibilities on a desert island. I’ll go find out what was the matter. Miss Perkins didn’t give an A in the class, so I don’t feel too badly about not getting one in 304. In Miss Hart’s division, she gave 8--which meant to half the class. But grades aren’t too important, not too important. I suppose I ought to get busy [Page 3] though now. Have to read Madame Bovary today and report on it tomorrow, learn my speech for Friday, and go to Vespers at T.Z.E. tonight, the alumnae being the ones who are getting the supper and putting on an entertainment for us. By the way, the Studio for T.Z.E. is on Saturday the 9th of March, and also on that night, I’ve persuaded Miss DeBanke to have a dress rehearsal instead of just a final regular one, so if you come out, you’ll have a chance to see us in costume that night. I hope we can manage to take in both, but they would come the same time. Oh, I had a valentine from Ralph---a heart shaped box of candy, and NOT red plush. It was purple. But the candy is awfully good. I took some down to Mug, Hort and Frannie last night, and also gave some to Pat the night watchman. They all appreciated it. But the best of valentine----well, you can guess. Oh gosh, mother, they’re the lasting kind, and so appreciated. You don’t know how much. You were grand to bother to get them and send them to me for the festive occasion. The shade is lovely, and the sentiment--well, I loves ‘em, I do, I do, as Anogene would say. Meaning that I love you. Uh huh, just on account of the stockings!!! Says someone who doesn’t know!!! But thank you for them endlessly. Dear Madame Bovary, I suppose I must get along. Had a letter from Frannie Dunlop the other day, addressed to “Wellesley School for Girls.” Amusing? She is still at S.C., and is also working as secretary to the University Engineer 4 hours a day. She asked how you were, and sent her “fondest wishes and love.” Beyond that, the letter said very little else. There [Page 4] was so much to say that she just couldn’t begin! Nothing about Harriett, about her activities at school, about any other people, even about the weather except that it was hot. Told me again she had been initiated into Pi Phi, and thay [mis-spelling: they] had been busy. Said she hadn’t written before because my letter had been so long and so fine that she had wanted to wait until she could write a long one. Well, well, well. Guess I’ll have to send her a note next time, and maybe I’ll hear a few things I want to. Did I tell you I’d asked Lunk to Prom? Haven’t had time to hear from him yet, but we shall see. Thought a while ago, that since Spring had come, it was a bit of a shame that I hadn’t asked Ralph, but today, I guess it’s just as well. Snow about a foot deep. I MUST go. I wish I could get into the habit of writing notes to people, but I can’t and suppose I might as well resign myself to it. At least you can read my rapid typing, and you couldn’t if I wrote, so thank the Lord for a ‘writer. Ah for the time of May flowers! But it will soon be here, tra-la-la. Meantime, take care of yourself--- Love to you in quantities, Ginger


Wellesley, Massachusetts; Schenectady, New York


Academics; Arts, Theater and Music; Home and Family; Personal Relationships


Theater; Grading and marking (Students); Men; Wellesley College Choir; Tau Zeta Epsilon

Letter from Virginia Veeder Westervelt, Wellesley, Massachusetts, to Mrs. Millicent Veeder, Schenectady, New York, 1935 February 17