WellesleyWeston Magazine


Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/256387

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Page 69 of 211

they contained thousands of penned words that were never meant for a stranger's eyes. But through a complex chain of events, 187 letters written home in the 1930s by a Wellesley College student found their way onto eBay. Happily, the collection is now safe with the writer's daughter, who is allowing a sampling of its contents. It requires reading only a page or two before Mary Jane Hayes' gentle prose grants entry into the intimate circle of her daily life, transporting one back to an earlier America between the First and Second World Wars. 1930s Wellesley… Dear Mother, Miss Melcher thinks up peculiar questions. Our assignment for Wed. is to write a letter in the style of Madame de Sévigné, whose letters to her daughter we've been studying. < 12 / 15 / 30 > How fitting that Mary Jane Hayes '34 was studying mother/daugh- ter correspondence in her first-year French class for, during her tenure as a Depression-era student at Wellesley College, she was a prodigious correspondent, writing as many as five letters weekly to her own mother in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The surviving letters reveal that in many ways Mary Jane was much like today's undergraduates: She agonized over Shakespeare assign- ments, engaged in late-night talk fests with her roommates, com- plained about dormitory food, and hoped that a special someone was on the other end of the ringing telephone. But she was also a product of her times. She arrived at college on the New York-to-Boston steamship, tuned in her radio to the latest serials, avoided Boston during disease outbreaks, fended off the cold with hot water bottles, and practiced lip rounding ("we pool, we use, we pout") for her speech class. The pulse of an earlier era beats strongly through 68 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | s p r i n g 2 0 1 4 Letters from Wellesley The 1930s come to life through the correspondence of a Wellesley College student D I A N E S P E A R E T R I A N T writer 068-076_WWMa14_Letters from Wellesley_v4_WellesleyWeston Magazine 2/1/14 4:01 PM Page 68

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