Lake Forest College was located in the town of Lake Forest about twenty five miles north of Chicago on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Lake Forest was as charming and beautiful as Greenwich, only the land was somewhat flatter and the community was not as large. There were a lot of preppies attending the college, and I soon made friends. There always seemed to be parties going on in the freshman dorms and a great deal of alcohol was consumed the first month before we settled down to more serious studies. We had been over prepared for college at Taft, so the courses were not particularly difficult. I decided to major in Economics. I had many friends from Greenwich, the Boston suburbs, Hyannisport, Grosse Point, and Princeton. We had all attended various prep schools and had failed to gain admission into Ivy league schools. Most of the preppies stuck together as a clique, however since Lake Forest was coeducational we added the preppy girls to our group.
Our first year at Lake Forest we were not allowed to have cars, but I soon remedied that by buying an old 1951 Mercedes 300 touring car for transportation. I was able to obtain a parking permit since I said I needed the car to work part time during school. However, most of my afternoons when not studying were spent restoring the old Mercedes which began to take more and more of my limited funds. The car looked like a German staff car and a number of the students began calling me a Nazi. It did not help matters by being one of seven students to make up the Young Republican party. Most of the students were apathetic about politics and campus life in general. I was determined to make the best of college and would spend a great deal of time trying to generate enthusiasm amongst the students. Most of the students at least the males were concerned about the military draft, however our student deferments would make us ineligible for the next four years as long as we did not flunk out. That was a lot of encouragement to work hard. I attended a number of political functions campaigning for Nixon that fall, and considered myself politically conservative. Although one of my friends was a neighbor of the Kennedys in Hyannisport, I was never attracted to the democratic party mystique. My father's family had political roots in down state Illinois republican politics, so I was hardily welcomed in Lake Forest republican politics.
My main weakness in following politics was that I never watched television, and I only skimmed the newspapers, so I was somewhat ill informed as to what was going on nationally.
The college only had classes four days a week, so there was plenty of time for socializing. Whenever I was not working on my car I would spend time at the Mercedes dealership studying parts manuals or the at the college library doing my homework. I would make several trips home since with student discounts on the airlines, travel was relatively cheap.
I also drove down to visit my grandparents in Champaign on Thanksgiving holidays. Although Lake Forest was across Lake Michigan from Holland I would never find time to visit my relatives there.
I would return to Wellesley at Christmas time for a five week Christmas vacation. The first Christmas period in Boston I spent most of my time visiting my friends from Taft and going to two or three hockey games a day. All of Boston seemed to pursue hockey with a passion between prep, college, and professional hockey matches. Most of my friends from Taft were hockey jocks playing freshman hockey for various Ivy League teams. Since I had a longer Christmas vacation I also visited friends at various schools around the Boston and New York area. I would put a lot of miles on my Mustang, while the Mercedes would remain back in Lake Forest.
I would return that winter to the bitter cold of Chicago and spend most of my time involved in my studies. The library was the main study area and social forum at the college, and endless days were spent pursuing knowledge.
Spring vacation would come very soon and I would return briefly to Boston for a week. I made arrangements for a summer job at the company, Polaroid, that my father worked for. I would be a photographer although it had been three years since I had regularly pursued photography. I would return for the spring term, and a number of my friends and I took jobs on a horse farm in town to earn extra money shoveling manure and raking leaves. The spring, whenever it finally came in Lake Forest was quite bucolic and between the horse farm, my Mercedes, and studies my time was full most of the time. We would make a number of field trips down to Chicago, mostly to the Art Institute, since the fine arts were a major pursuit of most of my friends.
Summer came all too fast and I soon packed up the old Mercedes to return to Boston. The car made it as far as Palmer, Massachusetts where it would spend the next month waiting for parts while I worked as a photographer at Polaroid.
My days as a summer photographer at Polaroid were quite fun and enjoyable. I was paid to test cameras and film around Cambridge and Boston, and in the studios of the research facility. I would chose some attractive spot around the city to photograph on sunny days, and on rainy days return to the studio. I greatly enjoyed touring around the Boston area in my convertible taking many photographs of whatever caught my eye. The pictures would be returned to the research technicians to be evaluated at the end of the day, thus I never was able to develop much of a portfolio, although I took tens of thousands of instant photographs.
I earned enough money as a photographer that summer to restore my old Mercedes which was becoming an obsession with me. My parents also started to have a new house built in Weston just north of Wellesley. I was so use to my parents building houses that I would be the unofficial supervisor in the evening going over the progress of the carpenters during the day. I was much happier being a photographer than the strenuous construction work.
That fall I would start off in my old Mercedes for the return trip to Lake Forest, only to have the car break down fifty miles down the road. The car would spend the winter in a barn outside of one of my father's factories.
I flew back to Lake Forest and moved into the preppy dormitory along with a number of my friends. I joined the preppy fraternity. I also took a part time job in the afternoon a television bank teller at one of the local banks in town. In order to get back and forth to work, I bought another old Mercedes 220 for $150. I now owned two Mercedes, plus had access to the Mustang at home which my sisters used to get back and forth to school. I would work at the bank in the afternoon for the whole year, but I had plenty of time to keep up on my studies and for socializing in the evening. I was becoming something of a celebrity in town from working as a television teller.
My grades would remain fine and I would return to Boston at Christmas time to work five weeks as a photographer. The winter would be long in Lake Forest that winter and severely cold, but life had settled into a routine of classes, bank, library, and evening beers. We would occasionally make trips down to Chicago. Most of my social life revolved around the two parties a week in the basement fraternity lounge.
That spring I sold the Mercedes 220 and bought an old Mercedes convertible which broke down on it's first trip down to Chicago. I had it repaired and was still able to sell it for a profit. Although I had cash I had no car. At a senior auction that spring I bought a baby Saint Bernard puppy and returned home that summer with a surprise for my mother. My mother would undertake the upbringing of the puppy while I returned to work as a photographer at Polaroid. My summer would be similar to the summer before working on the old Mercedes and playing a little golf in my free time. I also took to going into Cambridge in the late evening for drinks and conversation at a preppy bar off Harvard square. I really liked Cambridge and wish I had been smart enough to go to Harvard, although most of my Harvard acquaintances wished they could get decent jobs like I had at Polaroid.
My sisters and I also started visiting friends of theirs that had a house on the cape on weekends where we would spend time at the beach and sailing and many fun house parties. It seemed like we were regularly making the trip down to the cape with frequent regularity, and I began to wish that I could spend the entire summer down there.
Later in the summer in August I quit my job for some free time and spent some lazy days up at a commune in Vermont enjoying the cool evenings and rural life.
My network of friends from Greenwich and prep school and college still formed the main nucleus of my main friendships at this time, so I did not know any one at home and would have to spend a great deal of time traveling to visit friends. Most of my friends were like siblings and we always assumed we would be life long friends.
At the end of that summer I would return to college in my old Mercedes 300, much to the chagrin of my anti Nazi image acquaintances. I decided I did not want to live on campus that year, so I rented an old forty acre farm outside of town with a five bedroom farmhouse that I would share with four of my fraternity brothers. It always seemed that everyone was coming and going, and I ended up having to do a great deal of the upkeep and maintenance of the "Farm". One of my roommates worked part time as a social worker in Chicago and was very much up on the aspects of communal living and rural existence. The focal point of his life was a pet duck that was eventually carried off by a fox. Eventually the farm would become more and more of a retreat for students of the college and a focal point for many parties whenever there was not one in the fraternity lounge. Many juniors and seniors had off campus residences, so there was much time spent visiting back and forth. I would work at the bank through out the fall term and my routine would eventually remain the same.
One of my great joys that year was that my youngest sister was a freshman at the college, so my circle of friends was enlarged to include hers as well. I would be always at her beck and call to drive her into town or take her and her friends for drives. We would spend much time buying furnishings for the farm.
Still college required a great deal of studying as I advanced in my economics major, and my other hobbies and past times increased.
I would return to Boston that Christmas to once again work as a photographer, and my youngest sister started working as a model for the same group.
The following winter would not be as long since that February my father decided to take the family down to Tobago for a two week vacation close to the equator. A great deal of fun would be had with my sisters surf bathing every morning and in the afternoon I would usually play golf with my father. The evenings were spent watching sunsets with cocktails from the club terrace. Norman Parkinson the famous British photographer had a house on the island, and it was rumored that Greta Garbo also had a house there, but I would not have recognized them if I had run into them face to face. My sisters and I would usually go out to hotels and native night clubs with three other girls that were friends with our family.
A great deal of fun was had and many rum punches were consumed. There was always a great air of mystery to Tobago since it was so far removed from the North American mainland.
My sister and I returned to Lake Forest to finish the winter term well tanned and much to the envy of the other students. I would have to work harder to make up for lost time at school, and would not have time to work at the bank. However, I would always yearn for the sunny days of the tropics and find the winters more unbearable.
Spring would come soon enough, and life at college would once again assume a more bucolic existence. That winter term I finished all of the courses required of my economics major, and I decided to pursue a minor in fine arts and art history for the year and a term that remained of my college education. The courses in art and art history were a welcome change from the structured courses of economics. I also applied to the Italian program for my winter term senior year and the Greek program for the final spring term of my senior year. I also had been appointed as a student representative to the board of trustees for the college. Once a month I would put on a three piece suit and go sit in the board room of the University Club in Chicago and discuss my viewpoints of the college with the trustees. I was most enthusiastic about the foreign study programs and would lobby with the trustees to expand the number of programs.
Late that spring I would stay on in Lake Forest for a couple of additional week to attend a number of for parties. I would meet a great many local personalities and one particularly beautiful blond girl who would be an infatuation of mine the following fall term.
However, I had to return home to Boston to go to work for the summer. Instead of being a photographer, I had decided to undertake a program at Polaroid as a computer programmer trainee. Much of my summer was spent learning the intricacies of COBOL and writing computer programs. The job was very high stress and many of my colleagues had ulcers from years as programmers. Although I enjoyed the experience, I decided I did not want to pursue computers as a career, since I never imagined being able to afford my own computer. However, I would receive several terms college credit for the experience which would insure that I would graduate the following spring provided I completed all of my courses successfully the following year.
For the last two weeks of August that summer I decided to go down to Nantucket for a couple of weeks of sun and sand. I had been to Nantucket briefly the last couple of summers and had thoroughly enjoyed the young environment of many college students. I did not know where I was going to stay, but on the way down I stopped at a friend of my sister's house and she called ahead of me while I was taking the ferry boat over to the island. When the boat arrived on the island much to my surprise a large number of kids were waiting there to meet me and they ushered me to a house where they were all staying and a great deal of fun would be had by all for the next couple of weeks going to the beach, water skiing, and enjoying the abundant night life of the island. The island seemed to be full of mysteries and there was always a strong ebb and flow of young life in the ever changing days of my brief visits there. I would always miss the happy days there and would return in later years for longer stays.
Also that summer I sold my old restored Mercedes 300 so I would have funds for going to Europe the following winter. I had spent so much time restoring the old car that I had become strongly attached to it and I would miss the evenings cruising in it, however, it was a relief to recoup my investment.
I returned to the farm in Lake Forest that fall, with my Saint Bernard for my last term at the college campus before going to Europe. My sister was not attending since she had transferred to my other younger sister's school Trinity in Hartford. I would drive a cab part time to earn extra money while at school, and my classes, a great many of them in art would progress quite well. Since it was our senior year a great deal of fun would be had by all going to frequent parties and enjoying our last year in general. I would make a trip out to Colorado Springs to visit the pretty blond girl I had met the spring before and during the upcoming Christmas season I would escort her at her coming out party. I would miss Christmas at home that year since I was attending the parties, but I would make it home in time for a brief rest before leaving on New Year's Day for Italy.