Let It All Hang Out
by Shelley (Sheldon) Bolman Woodberry, Class of 1990
My application to Vassar included a photo of myself, on stage, in my underwear. I was no shrinking violet in high school. But Vassar gave me the friends, the professors, and the milieu that allowed me to really let it all hang out.
Sometimes that was literally, such as the time that Jennifer, Jim, Diane and I ran from the TH’s to Walker Field House (and back) wearing only hats and shoes (and making careful use of bushes). Or the time I simply wore a dress and pirate hat and carried a banjo while roller-skating through the quad.
But the less literal times predominate. Such as Thaddeus Gesek [Professor Emeritus of Theatrical Design] asking when I was going to really let loose in my role as Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, telling me that if I waited until opening it would be too late. He gave me the permission I still needed to not worry about the people watching.
Or the visiting director from England who told me that if I wanted to nail the Restoration style, I had to be prepared, at any moment, to be petrified by a lightning strike and placed in a public space as a statue whose pulchritudinous pose would be the admiration of generations to come.
Or even the time that Masha Vorobiov [Professor of Russian Language and Literature] let me know that the reason Disney did not find success transliterating “Huey” (Donald Duck’s nephew) into Russian was because it was the same as the word for, “Well, you know…” followed with a clearly male, masturbatory gesture.
But ultimately, it is the dozen or more close friends, whom I still see daily or yearly depending on location, that created (and continue to create) the most lasting memories.
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