Sunday, April 10, 2011


 Saturday mornings I'd often leave campus for downtown Milwaukee all by myself. Got so I thoroughly knew my way around downtown and into all the shops and department stores,  Boston Store, Gimbles. Saturday mornings at the college we usually had a simple kind of breakfast, not served formally, foods available for several hours in the residence cafeteria. I would pick up a couple extra sweet rolls, or pieces of fruit to take up to my room. I’d wrap them up and take them with me on my public transportation itinerary stopping first at A-House to visit my sister, Elayne, and share the food or leave it with her. We were so very close as sisters. She hadn’t the great kitchen and dining room I had so I loved to share treats. I didn’t want anyone to accompany me from MMC dorm because they would want to reserve space in a taxi, which would  cost me more. I was familiar with public transportation from last year. I wanted freedom to buzz through the stores and a companion would want to dilly dally. I didn’t mind the walk to the bus stop.  
Working in the dining room for 3 meals a day helps to offset my huge boarding bill. There are a few other possible positions about campus. We cannot  have off campus work. In my Senior year additionally, I took care of the apartment in the Home Ec Department, weekly, cleaning, vacuuming, dusting. I am treasurer of the Home Ec club 46-7.

Sr. Wananda, a little nun with a heavy German accent, supervises the kitchen and dining room helpers. She is always so good to us, her servers, dishwashers, sweepers, table setters and table clearers. She shares treats with us. On December 5's she has us leave empty shoes in the kitchen. On December 6s, St. Nicholas Days we sneak down the back stairway to the kitchen and pick up our shoe filled with goodies. Sometimes she gives me a lemon to rinse my hair. We didn't have 'conditioners'. Lemon was preferred for brown hair. My sister used vinegar.

The east wing of Caroline Hall [residence] 1st floor has our bright dining room with these many long Tudor windows to let in light. There must have been 20 or more dining tables covered with linen tablecloths always set for the next meal of the day. We didn't use paper napkins either. From around 10 each morning or 4 each evening we would have these scrumptious smells throughout the building. We had homemade breads, rolls, cookies, cakes, pies. All were made right here in the kitchen which connected to the dining area. Or we could smell the beef, pork, chicken roasting. We often had a hot casserole for lunch. Across the hall was a cafeteria room used when students groups were small. The laundry facilities were beneath all. At lunch time or dinner we would gather outside the dining room doors.  12 or 6 o'clock we'd enter the room, find a table and stand behind our chair. When all assembled we'd say grace together- 'Bless us oh Lord in these Thy gifts which we are about to receive---' and be seated. There were always late arrivers wandering in. We had our picky eaters. One of them at a table always meant more for the others. 

I will use italics and color when quoting from my letters:
"I walked over to Holtans and we had a great visit. Kids are growing up and cuter every day. Mavis gave me a medium pie plate with apple strudel just out of the oven and a bouquet of yellow mums.Danny was 3 weeks old when we first met.
We had all the track sports which I loved, discus, javelin, field hockey. 

Fall of ’46 Sophomore team includes me and we're pretty good. "We won the tournament 2-0 in a good game." Tournaments are held throughout the year among the 4 class levels. Our gymnasium is just an elevator ride to the basement. So is the swimming pool. We shoot baskets, play a game, set up a volleyball game spontaneously any time at all. Freshman had these very ugly knit, form-fitting yellow gym suits which you would hardly want to be seen in by a teammate  much less any outsider, particularly a male person, even if I weighed 115. Who could have chosen those must have wanted to keep our egos deflated. Tank suits were no better.
I have a tiny, cream colored radio I won. Don’t recall how. Popular songs- The 'Old Lamplighter' and another 'Oh Buttermilk Sky'. I'm not attending the prom this year. Friends and I watch the dancing in our pajamas from the balcony over the gym by squatting or lying on our tummies incognito. Some male dates spot us and wave in friendly discovery. 

There is a special investiture day when we receive our caps and gowns. The archbishop is downstairs that morning. Through the school year  weekly we have an assembly on Wednesday morning. These are  lectures from visiting professors. We are expected to attend wearing our caps and gowns. On November 9th- "We have a college lecture on how a Catholic can choose to believe in evolution as to how the world began using 4 criteria for our decision making." I never, ever had a problem accepting evolution with God as the source of all. And science as the unfolding of human discovery. There is a series at present being shared by theologians in all faiths, called Evolutionary Christianity on my iMac, great on-going conversations from the emerging church..
Mainly study time when not in class

Every Wednesday evening for 6 PM dinner hour we were required to wear a nice dress, dress shoes and nylons. We would eat by candlelight and be served a formal dinner. Around 5:45 PM I would hear the many heels clicking down the hallways and stairways on the way to our evening dinner, mine included. 
One Senior Prefect this semester crawls along halls  after 11 PM looking through cracks under doors for lights on. Any studying we might need must wait until midnight. [You know there are even those types at this Senior Happy Trails Resort who play God]
And this in a letter- "Having the annual retreat. “It’s wonderful, really. It really works. The idea is to spend 3 days completely with God- something it’s hard to do just any old day- even an hour unless we really want something. It’s a fresh up to let me know just who’s running things and where I stand. We can sleep until 8- Mass- Communion- breakfast, conferences- Lunch- Way of the Cross- Conferences- Benediction- Rosary- Dinner- Holy Hour- bed. Maybe I’ll be a nun after 3 days of it. Our Retreat Master tells us how women should lead men and help them to high places and all kinds of stuff.”
Something more I found- Through the years occasionally I have had this dream  of getting stuck in an elevator between floors  at Mount Mary. It’s more than a dream.  I was actually stuck, all alone, in one of the elevators between 2nd and 3rd floors for forty five minutes until a crew of engineers hoisted it up to the 3rd floor and I could step out. I wrote about it in a letter. Still as a dream theme it has meaning.

My transportation to Milwaukee is via the Greyhound bus, plus many transfers through town.  I always need a ride to or from the station in Lake Geneva. Since I don’t always let my folks know ahead that I’ll be coming home on Friday I'd call on the phone when I arrived at the depot. I have needed to wait many Friday evenings for an hour and often more before they have a car and a driver available. Times like that I am so bored and feel abandoned [home is 7 miles away].On returns to College there would be a bunch of guys, perhaps one or two females, that we would pick up from Burlington, WI returning to Marquette. Bus came alive with conversation.  One day while awaiting my pickup a young man doing taxi work in Lake Geneva stood around and helped fill my time. He asked me if I knew Bruce Stewart. He said he had introduced him to a friend [girl]. Wondered how they were doing. [I hoped not very well]. One weekend my Irish Great Aunt visits my mother. She is Grandmother Morris’ sister, a Kirby. Her husband is mayor in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. Our family has a  terrific visit because she is cheerful, charming and filled with Irish wit. Jim shares:
"I'll never forget how charming she was in her dainty manner, and her brogue of excited exclamation: "Sure'n be Jabbers!' I'd estimate she must have been in her seventies at the time." On my return Sunday evening she travels on the bus to Milwaukee with me on my return to visit with the other members of our family before returning to Minnesota. One trip back I smuggled a young kitten, Creeper, onto the bus and into my dorm room. We were able to keep her hidden for a long, long while. 4th floor residents enjoyed my kitty. Eventually even the dorm Dean, Sr. Louis, kept her in her office. After a while I transported her back home with me. She died when mother backed our car over her. 
Probably at least monthly I'd come home for the weekend. The difficult part for me were the Sunday nights returning to college. Several hours before time to leave I would begin my moping around, Gerty Gloom stance. I would feel so awful, so hollow, I'd go through a mini homesickness. Always. I never, ever learned.

On November 11 Elayne went to South Bend with five girls from her dorm to see the Notre Dame vs Northwestern game. 

Our very elderly neighbor to the west, Mr. Swanson, bought a cart for Jimmy at an auction. Our east neighbor,  Etta Seaman  sold her farm to her son and would now spend winters down south in a mobile home. Jim had a mule we called Muley. We also had an old fashioned ‘cutter’ for snow travel. We used it for home decor Christmastimes setting it up in the front of the house.. "One time w/o a car Dad, me, Jim in the sleigh drove Muley to the train siding. Took an hour and a half. Jim tipped us over once. Dad decided next time he’d walk".

We had our new Ford in December 1946. I write this- “Gee, but I’m a lucky girl- inside plumbing, furnace heat, sidewalks, new car, sweetest family, two years college education in a wonderful school and a friend like you. [Bruce]”

Since Spring of '47 a group of Mount Mary girls [still not women] frequently would go downtown on Friday evenings to attend a Marquette Mixer. No one knew we were not Marquette coeds. On one of these evenings I met Bob Durocher who was a student in Business Administration. He was a great dancer. From here on I really had fun in college for he was a terrific leader and would sweep me right along. On one Friday in April, '47 we entered the waltz contest. And though we didn’t win it was a great experience.

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