Friday, July 6, 2012

Box 479

Several weeks ago, I posted about cleaning out "the desk," and coming across all kinds of items which sent me on a sentimental trip down memory lane. The top drawer, packed to the brim with all kinds of paper, contained the letters I wrote to my parents when I went to LaGrange College in the fall of 1972, as well as letters I had kept from college from my parents, aunts, brothers, and sister.

The following is an excerpt from the first letter [I can't give it all away} I wrote home, unedited and typed on my roommate's typewriter; I guess I have always found myself  amusing. :-)

Gloria was my college roommate as well as a high school friend.

September 4, 1972

Gloria and I have put posters up so now the room really looks neat. People walking down the hall have told us that it really looks good. [see photos at bottom]

The girls across the hall are pretty nice -- but have changed roomates already.

The orientation meetings are really bad they are so boring and the gym is so hot that it is depressing. I sure do find my mind wandering during those things - but so far I have not missed anything. It really stinks.

Gloria’s mother came down today and brought Gloria’s things and the fan. Thanks so much for giving it to us - last nite it was so hot we couldn’t’ go to sleep.

Tonite we are going to a big party at the President’s house - and don’t’ faint mother I’m going to wear my long dress. Now don’t you feel better?
[photos at bottom of blog]

Tomorrow I am meeting with my adviser and he’s {Grady Bradley - Proff of Science] going to help me decide what to take. He’s really nice. Classes start Thursday afternoon and I’m not looking forward to that.

The food here is okay but it’s not much to talk about. The coffee is awful. I about got sick.

Oh there is a few good looking boys and believe me I have been checking out the merchandise. The upperclassman are coming in Wednesday and that means there is more merchandise coming in. I’m got to get me some field glasses so I can see in the boy’s dorm. {Just kidding}

Oh, there are showers downstairs and I feel relieve that I not confined to these ancient tubs. I hear that the boys dorm have got great showers - I’ll have to take a shower over there. {again just kidding}.

Everybody down here is rich as heck except one girl across the hall. All she wears is blue jeans so I don’t feel so bad.

Well I guess that I’m not going get homesick but last  night I thought I was going to because me and Gloria were looking through the photo albums.

I don’t have much else to say - but I will write as often as something happens.

Oh, thanks for the extension cord it helps a lot.

Mother, did the lady from Rich’s call about the jacket? Please find out.

Well, I’m gonna close now but remember me down here in the big metropolis of LaGrange okay.

Will write later.

Love Harriett

PS I just wanted ya to know what good parents I have for letting me go away to school. Thanks.

What cracks me up most about this letter is the minutiae that I shared with my parents as well as the observations I made about college so far -- I do wonder what my parents thought, even though they knew me well, about some of my comments. *snickers*

and -- as someone who was two semesters short of declaring herself an English major --  the lack of punctuation and the bad spelling....uh, well...never mind.

Just so you know -- long distance was expensive in 1972, and I rarely talked to my parents on the telephone while I was in college. We communicated by letter -- and apparently, that sufficed.  Gah. I don't know what to think now about how different my college experience would have been with the cell phone, much less the texting or the internet.

Dorm room photos

Above me to the left -- poster of Three Dog Night -- James Taylor above my head -- and the framed photo behind my head is Pete Maravich. Ha. Ha.

Gloria -- so much more zen---- with her nature posters....

My daddy wrote typed, weekly letters to the family -- first, just my mother's sisters, then to my brother when he went away to school, and the eventually to all of us who were gone from home. He used carbon paper to make the copies.

In a letter dated September 3, 1972, which is the day they took me to Lagrange, this is daddy's minimalist reaction to taking me away to school:

Well, it's beginning to look like the salutation will be longer than the letter. We have just finished supper having gotten back from Lagrange about 6. We went to Sunday school and church and then drove down after lunch. It only takes about an hour to get there. Harriett Sue forgot her fan so Mrs. F. {Gloria's mother} came by a few minutes ago to pick it up since Gloria had forgotten some things so she was going to take it all down tomorrow. They have a big room in an old building -- a corner room on the 2nd floor - north east. Only two windows on the north however.

In a typed letter dated 9/10/72 from my mother [who was not as good of a typist as my dad] about the questions in my letter, she added this to the end in her chicken scratch of a handwriting -- "I cleaned your room today and felt lonesome as I got the scotch tape from the mirror."  Love, Mother.

I love that little ditty from my mother  -- it was just enough not to be sappy but to let me know how she felt about her empty nest.


Love mother, indeed.

More in this series to come.
I know you can't wait.

Box 479 was my LaGrange College address. :-)

Gloria in her finery -- to the President's house for "bad coffee"

and I in my "long dress" [nice 70s couture] and beautiful, patent leather white sandals --


  1. The "merchandise" comments cracked me up. I like Gloria's dress enough that I'd probably wear it, today.

  2. You have such a way to bring back sooo mnay memories. And I was that across the hall roomate who didn't move!

  3. Hahaaaaa! Far Out! I love the letter. I still have letters I sent home for good ole LC.

  4. Well Harriett Sue I loved reading the " letters to home in 1972"!! Wow that seems like such a lifetime ago oh wait, it was!!!!! But boy can I relate!!!!! Such a neat time and we didn't even know it. I liked the comment about the " merchandise" as well and found it amusing that you brought it up to your parents. Ah the good ole days. Nice threads too!!

  5. Oh my goodness Harriet I enjoyed this....made me feel so nostalgic about that era. And the dorm looked divine! I think I had some of those same posters....Hope your injury heals sooner than expected and you are back to blogging in no time! Lori