After I graduated from Smith in 1955, I wanted a job, a job not in Bethel, Connecticut. I was sick of school. Very few of my classmates went on to graduate school. I only knew one girl who was going to get a Ph.D. But many got married, getting their Mrs. That’s the way people talked then. We all thought it was stupid.
I hadn’t tried very hard getting a job before graduation. I knew I could stay with my parents until I found something.
On July 4th I had an appointment with a woman who was in charge of hiring at the Baltimore, Maryland Department of Welfare. It wasn’t a job that interested me much but I would be in a big city and not too far from home.
The interview took place in an apartment on the upper west side of New York City. But next to Harlem. After my interview I walked the streets looking for a way downtown to get back to Norwalk where I’d parked Dad’s car.
Was I uneasy? Yes, but my rule is, act as though you’ve got a place to go to. Nobody bothers you then.
I took the train back to Norwalk and when I opened the car door, Whoosh! went the hot air trapped in the car. I thought for a second that I had broken something. I should have left the windows open a bit. It was a very hot day. And I didn’t know much about cars.
Within a week or two, I was in Baltimore in a room at the YWCA Hotel. The room was okay, but , oh my God, was it hot. I read articles in the newspapers and magazines on how to stay cool: take a cool shower, don’t dry yourself, put your nightgown on your wet body, sprinkle the bed with water. This helped a lot.
I had a week of training before I took my 5″ by 4″ welfare department notebook and hit the streets. I had a mix of black and white clients spread over a large area. I memorized my map and the trolley/bus system. I began to lose weight.
I don’t remember much about my day to day job; I do remember my boyfriends.