By Helen Williams Hill ’36
When I entered college in 1932, the country was at the bottom of the Great Depression. I had dreamed of going to Mount Holyoke, where my favorite aunt had graduated in 1913, but fulfillment of that dream was now out of the question. I had my choice of Radcliffe, Pembroke or Wheaton, all within commuting distance.
Though I had grown up in Taunton (20 miles from Providence, 35 from Boston, only eight miles from Norton), I had never visited any of these campuses. My father didn’t have a car. Wheaton sounded the most appealing because it was a college for women only, not subordinate to a men’s university. I applied, was given a scholarship, and began my commute on the little orange bus that rattled its way from Taunton to Norton.
It’s hard to imagine compulsory attendance at chapel in a secular liberal arts college today, but we had to be on campus every weekday morning by 8 a.m. for morning chapel. Seniors wore their caps and gowns. As I dashed for chapel, I was joined by seniors running across campus, gowns flapping, to get to the chapel before the doors closed. There was room for the whole college, including faculty, for there were only about 400 students then (103 in my freshman class, the largest class ever). [Read more...]