I found a college writing assignment in my storage room yesterday, and I hope you get a giggle or two from it. I certainly did. (I wish I could remember what the directions were.)
October 11, 1967
Dear Mom and Dad,
As you can easily imagine, college is wonderful! Living here in the dorm has given me such a marvelous opportunity to meet people so different from us — and they’re really great. The opportunities “for social and cultural enrichment” that the catalog stressed so much are even greater than I had hoped for; there is an amazing lack of snobbishness, too. If you can’t afford an activity, no one looks down on you. On the contrary, they often invite you along, knowing that when the next check from home comes you’ll repay the favor.
Which leads me to the main reason for this note: These “cultural activities” are way too expensive for my budget! Would you believe — I’ve only been to one concert in the last two weeks because I don’t like to impose on my friends’ budget, and my own expense account is completely gone. And that includes lunch and incidentals money, too.
Yes, I know we spent a lot of time deciding on how much money I would need; but won’t you please send me an advance on next month’s allowance? I’ve got a few obligations to repay, and I don’t want to miss anything important.
Tell everybody “hi” for me — when I have time to think about it, I’m awfully lonely up here.
October 15, 1967
Your father and I were very pleased to hear from you so soon. I still am not convinced that you are old enough to take care of yourself, but I guess we can’t watch over you all the time.
We’re wondering, though, what really happened to your expense account. Are concerts that expensive, or have you been frittering it away on M & M’s?
Anyway, after much thought, we’ve decided that you shouldn’t miss out on any more “cultural” activities. So here’s a check for $30 which will have to last you for the rest of this and next month.
Have fun, honey, but remember — we haven’t an unlimited bank account, either!
November 1, 1967
Dearest Mother and Daddy,
I sort of hesitate to tell you this, but I had a long talk with my counselor today. She says that I’ve been spending too much time on extracurricular activities and not enough on homework.
But really, it hasn’t been entirely my fault. I had all those obligatory social activities to take care of, so that I could be entirely free of debts of that sort by the end of the month; and what with the football games and everything — well, there hasn’t been much time for studying anything. You do understand, don’t you?
I’m awfully sorry that I let my grades slip so badly, but I promise that as soon as football season is over I’ll “apply myself” better. O.K.?
Your loving daughter,
P.S. Don’t forget — I need a new formal for the Christmas dance. Not that I’ve been asked yet, but there’s still plenty of time.
November 3, 1967
We received your letter of the first this morning, and frankly, we are both very disappointed with you. This looks frighteningly much like your actions throughout high school. We realize, though, that it is still a very new experience for you, and that everyone is allowed one mistake. But this is yours, Katerina, and you can’t afford another one.
I hope you won’t be too very disappointed in your check for this month, dear, but since you are going to start applying yourself as soon as you finish this letter — not as soon as football season is over — you won’t have time to spend much more than the $10 enclosed.
As for your new formal, don’t plan on rushing out and buying one before you’re even asked. That seems a little bit ridiculous!
We trust that the next report we have from you will show that you are back on the track with your studies and paying less attention to football games, etc. Your father and I have high hopes for your success in college, and it won’t be gained by constant social activities.
Write soon, and tell us how you are getting on. Your sister and brother send their greetings; so do the rabbits.
November 15, 1967
Dear Mom and Dad,
So much has happened since I wrote last that I hardly know where to begin. I guess the beginning’s the best place, anyway. I’ve got you to thank, actually, because if you hadn’t talked me into studying more I wouldn’t have gone to the Library six times a week, and I wouldn’t have met The Bard. Really his name is James, but he’s a poet, you see, and a terrific student; James just doesn’t fit him properly. Besides, he’s trying to be a hippy, and frankly, could you imagine a hippy named James?
I really think you’d like him if he got a shave and a haircut. He’s a real brain, but without the horn-rimmed-glasses fixation or anything like that. And he genuinely seems to enjoy helping me do my homework. “Cept the math — he’s lousy at that because he keeps trying to change the basic rule that 1=1, and 1+1=2. Oh, well…
You’re probably wondering how I’m coming expense-wise. Would you believe — I still have $8.95 left? We’ve been studying so much that there hasn’t been time to spend much money anywhere.
Don’t worry about me, Mom, I’m having a ball! And getting good grades at the same time.
November 18, 1967
Your last letter sounded like a distress signal, whether you meant it that way or not! I expected you to find new friends, but really — a hippy named “The Bard”? That’s a little much, don’t you think?
I thought your father was going to go through the floor when he read the bit about the “shave and a haircut”. This is the confirmation of his worst fears. A hippy! I still can’t believe it!
But I guess he can’t be all bad if he’s helping you want to study. But how can you stand being seen in public with him, dear? When I think about it, it seems that you might be spending too much time studying and not enough in relaxation. Don’t you think you should take a break or something?
Don’t worry about your expense account — if you run out of money, we’ll send some more quickly. Write us if you need anything. We’re looking forward to seeing you at Thanksgiving.
November 21, 1967
Dear Mother and Daddy,
Boy, it’s really dull around here! I’ve been to the movies three times this weekend, just trying to dispel the boredom. Bard left for an extended stay at the Men’s Colony for disturbing the peace, so he’s no help; besides, we’ve done so much work that we’re a week ahead of schedule! I must admit that everyone around here — especially my room-mate — breathed a huge sigh of relief when he left. I guess I haven’t been much of an addition to the social life of the dorm, except to be talked about and worried over by the girls. To hear their mournful predictions, you’d think I had planned on joining him sometime on Haight Street.
Don’t worry about sending any more money now; I’ll collect it in person when I get home for the holiday. Just don’t forget to be here at noon on Wednesday to take me home! And I want to get the material for my formal this weekend — I was finally asked by a very normal fellow in the Ag building — with a crew-cut, no less! Now you can stop worrying about my studying, because it has regained its proper perspective: I study on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, with a half day on Sunday; otherwise, if I have any spare time I read a bit.
I’ll see you Wednesday with a pile of dirty laundry and an empty wallet.