Sunday, November 25, 2007

October 8, 1931

Besides being extremely nervous about Professor Loockersmans's proposition, the past two days have been uneventful. I have walked in on Dottie and Abby having hushed conversations. When I come through the door, they politely excuse themselves and leave. I have not had the courage to ask Dottie why there is so much secrecy to their friendship. I know the curiosity is eating at the other ladies in the Hall and now it's doing the same to me.

Although I have not mentioned her yet, I have befriended a very agreeable girl by the name of Sarah Shimberg. She is from New York City and was raised on, what she frequently calls, the Lower East Side. She is here on partial scholarship because Mr. Schimberg, her father, is the owner of a kosher Jewish deli that has thrived despite the Depression. Sarah does not have the benefit of living on campus, she goes home every night on the IRT. She says that this saves her father the expense of board and she can still help in the deli, all of which I find very admirable of her.

We came to know each other over a study session in our Modern American Literature class. There was a small, but detailed paper due on Thomas Stearns Eliot's poem "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." We were to discuss the significance of Eliot's use of the epigraph from Dante's Inferno and how it related to the content of the poem. It was a dense topic largely because we had to translate the Italian first. We safely saw each other through it. On more than a couple of occasions since, we have shared a lunch or two finding we have many common interests. She is also an avid reader and a lover of language. She is fluent is English, Yiddish, and German. She says you have to be to live on the Lower East Side.

I've noticed that some of the other girls from other areas of the country do not know how to handle someone of the Jewish faith. Of course, I have never had a Jewish friend being from Saratoga, but she is no different from anyone else. It's the same way they look at Dottie, but with almost more reservation. I guess I'm immune to their judgements because I am Protestant like them. Honestly, I am not religious. Although I strongly doubt most of these girls are either. I have a stronger feeling that it has to do with wealth. Growing up in Saratoga I saw this type of behavior at the spas and at the racetrack. It is a sad state of affairs when people are judged not on their character but on the size of their wallets. I'm happy to have no part of that. Some day education will be the great equalizer.

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