Ellen (ennienyc) wrote,

En and family visit Johnson Hall

Tuesday, September 16, 1969

Mommy woke me up at 11 so I could get into an early rising habit. My haircut appointment was at 1, and Nana and Papa appeared at a quarter to. Papa often makes me nervous, cracking the same jokes repeatedly, like the one that Linda, with her wounded foot, was from Vietnam. The beauty parlor was surprisingly crowded. Two ladies tried on wigs which looked hideous, but they both bought them. Our turn came (mine, really, but Nana sat careful guard in the next chair). Georganna asked if a certain length was all right but I thought it not enough. But I should have taken that, because it ended up much too short, really ugly and frizzy.

When we went to the shoe store this time, it was empty. They didn't have my loafers in black - that color is "out" now - only in navy, so we ordered them. The saleslady talked to Nana about getting thrilled when your grandchildren reach milestones like mine because what else do you have to live for now. Nana is quite aware of the horror of getting old - watching an elderly lady being led out of the beauty parlor, she told me she'd rather die than be dependent on people. And she figured she'd be that way in 10 years. [not quite; she died in 2000 at age 93]

Going to school to pick up Linda, we noticed how cute all the little kids leaving Baker [elem. school] were and how motley appeared the people streaming out of North. Linda was waiting right in front.

We didn't get lost on the way up to Barnard. In the distance, we could see Columbia buildings - the dome of Low Library that M and A's guide said resembled a breast - the last they'd see around there - a comment which was one reason for M's deciding on [another Ivy]. Soon we were on Amsterdam Ave. and could see green roofed buildings. It was really exciting, and I got possessive pointing out landmarks and knowing where to turn.

We parked on the Columbia side of Broadway and went in search of the housing office to get an off-campus permission slip which Johnson Hall, not part of Barnard, entails. On my own, at last, I guess, because Mommy let me talk, I asked for the form which was a small card. As Mommy signed, I noticed piled against the wall, instructions on what to do after arrival. I LOVE getting forms like that.

We proceeded down College Walk, where I had to point out imperiously that Low Library wasn't a library anymore, and we crossed and walked past the law school (Nana and Papa remarked what a great law school it was). Johnson Hall doesn't face the street but has a nice courtyard. The lobby was really nice, and we could glimpse a mezzanine. There is a piano in the living room, but I'd be too embarrassed to use it if people were around so I'll have to get a practice room.

The residence office gave me the keys, and we all trooped to the elevators, noticing little outdoor tables on a porch, through the window. The 8th floor hall was narrower and the doors more foreboding somehow than I had envisioned but not bad. My room is in a dark corner. The rooms were sunny and very nice. Only the very small closet in one room was a drawback, but the one in the other room is so tremendous there should be extra room if we overflow. I couldn't believe I'd really be living there within a week.

In the bathroom, the showers were surprisingly nice, with little dressing rooms. The scale was also nice, putting Linda, Nana and I at 107. We went back down, taking a quick look at the mezzanine. The mailbox there is for both rooms. I gave the key back to a lady, forgetting to tell her what room it unlocked. We peeked into the dining room which seemed nice, with tables for 4 and high green chairs. Everyone was very pleased. It looked like a very slightly faded hotel.

[http://www.columbia.edu/cu/reshalls/roomsel/ - click on Wien, then "Click here to see a sample floor plan." We were in 804-5.]

I was exhausted when we got home - that happens every time I go to the city. Linda never told her friend M, who likes J, that I'd be rooming with her. At home, I was shocked to weigh 113, and called J. She went out, so I talked to her mother for a while. I said either room would be OK. Mrs. W said I couldn't appreciate Johnson without seeing Fairholm - so dirty you can't discern chairs' colors, with open garbage cans and dirty dishes. It's worse than a rat-filled slum, she said.

I washed my hair and Mommy experimented with the hot curlers. Only 2 more days! I hope that all "the girls," the anonymous "they" is scared about things as I am but I bet they'll all be perfect and poised. I can't imagine J quaking at meeting kids but who knows.
Tags: 1969

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