Memories of Ferry

Yes, my classroom education was great at Vassar, but perhaps some of the best learning experiences came from living in Ferry Cooperative House. QUITE an education – and some crazy fun!

Knock-down-drag-out meetings about how many eggs one could use in a week or spend on a special meal taught democracy at its most primal. Schlepping grocery carts to find the best deals and flirting with the butcher for a couple extra chops brought budgeting and negotiating skills. Planning weeks of menus and getting all the food served at once at dinner taught terrific time-management. And when the place went co-ed, how THAT added to the human relations training – everything from avoiding huge shoes, to timing trips to the shower, to dealing with failed romances. (Hmm, but a lot of that happened before men came, too. . .)

Not to say all was drudgery. We had great times! Halloween parties with homemade donuts (after calling home for the recipe), wild costumes, and apple cider from the local cider mill (and MAYBE some stronger things to imbibe). An intimate two-duck dinner (a l’orange and Peking) to celebrate the end of thesis writing time. A spaghetti party for invited faculty, with dancing and silliness – whoa, did we learn a lot about our profs that day! Sunning and tossing Frisbees off the top deck on a warm spring day with blossoms bursting on the trees, or shaking snow off the dogs in winter.

Warm memories, and even flinch-inducing ones, all add up to as fine an education as anyone could hope for. Liberal arts? How about domestic-human-relations-finance-and-planning arts? All served up with Hadassah’s lasagna and laughs.

Growing up in Poughkeepsie

Having grown up in Poughkeepsie, I have many different memories of Vassar. My earliest memory is playing on the swings at the Wimpfheimer Nursery School. Growing up I loved to bike through the campus when no one was around. One of my favorite summer jobs was working as a mother’s helper for Professor Glen Johnson [Political Science]. The Dean’s house was wonderful.

I transferred to Vassar in 1971 for my last two years of college, and living on campus made Vassar home. I loved living in Main and spent far too many evenings after demi-tasse in the parlor solving all of the problems of the world. I was a religion major and still have wonderful memories of courses with [professors] Patrick Sullivan, Bob Fortna, and Mel Scult. Coming to Vassar from a large urban university challenged me intellectually in ways that I never imagined. The small classes and seminars let us learn from each other as well as our professors. One of my classmates was someone I had actually gone to nursery school with at Vassar and all through school in Poughkeepsie. I wonder how many alumni can make that claim.

When I go back to Poughkeepsie to visit my mother, campus is a frequent stop since it is around the corner from her apartment. It is beautiful, peaceful and charming when the students are gone, and dynamic and energetic when they are there. I am grateful for my Vassar education and know it has served me well.

View more posts ↓