Monday, June 22, 2015

A Washington College Girl on the Homefront

On June 17, Abby Gordon and I interviewed Peggy Smith, a graduate of the WAC class of 1946 and mother-in-law of the College's own Pat Smith in the Registrar's office. Smith was living in Baltimore when the war started but moved to Chestertown in 1942 to attend the College, spending the rest of the war's duration as a Washington College student.

One of the most interesting stories that Smith gave us was not only humorous, but provided us with a glimpse into how the shortage of male students affected the College and its population. Smith was a member of the sorority Alpha Chi Omega and so they attended the Panhellenic Ball. One year, she and her sorority sisters had a problem: there were no young men around to escort them to the dance. How would they solve this problem? Well, they decided to call over to Dover Air Force Base and wrangle up some men. To their surprise and delight, on the night of the dance, all of the men who came were officers, some of them lieutenants and even a captain. They went to Cain gymnasium with their dapper dates and everyone was stunned, (and very impressed).

We learned about events like these and were able to delve further into a couple of personalities that we have come to know and love over these past few weeks. We learned about Sarah's hero Ms. Doris Bell and we learned about the quirky Dr. Ford, or "Fordy," as Smith called him.

This interview may have provided a lot of interesting stories, but it also posed many questions about the thoughts and feelings of Chestertown residents. Additionally, it makes me even more curious about what Washington College did to support the war effort.


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