In a previous post I told you the beginning of the story about landing on the front page of the Richmond newspaper.
Here’s Page 2 (love me some Paul Harvey.) Let’s begin with the follow up letter home.
Well, everything was wonderful but am I glad it’s over. I am exhausted. We worked for 3 nights straight on our decorations and then put them up Thursday night in the freezing cold and finished putting up the rest Friday morning in even more cold – at 7 o’clock no less. But they looked so good. And I was so proud of all my girls. Everyone but 2 or 3 worked like Trojans on the things and really put forth an effort. Also every woman’s dorm (the men were too lazy) put up decorations – every last one!
Sharon & I went with the judges Friday afternoon & then had to sit there on pins and needles while they tore them all to pieces & not allowed to say a word. But finally after about 1/2 hour they picked us as best & Founders Hall as honorable mention!!
Pause in the narrative here to add that I left out of the letters home the fact that I figured a club sponsorship of the project would better impress dorm leaders as well as Dean Gladding and sold the idea to our Cotillion Club President Sharon Gates. And the club decided to award trophies to the winners. Sharon lived in Founders but honestly our two dorms did have the best decorations.
909 leaders. Sandy Nash, my roommate, is center. I’m top right. I found this when looking for a photo of 909. I could only see Nash’s head in one of the clips I found about the house. That doesn’t look like Elisabeth Bocock I thought, it looks like Nash. The things you find on the internet.
Meanwhile the Senior Cits had been raising cain about the disgrace on their building. One old man even tried to take it down! Well Nash & I just traipsed right out there and tied it back down because the man was coming from the New Leader to take a pix which he did & it will be in the paper this afternoon.
After that Sharon & I went to the Dean’s office to write our story for the paper. While we were there Deans Gladding & Johnson came in and asked me to go with them. It seems the Senior Cits had complained to Dr Oliver! So they came by the dorm to look, saw nothing wrong & left to see Dr Oliver. A little later Dean G came back & told me he said they had to come down. She said, “This is one time I don’t see eye to eye with Dr Oliver but I have no choice.” We were so mad! I was even madder because I knew we had won (no one else here knew). So then we decided we’d sorta leave it up til Saturday morning so we could at least get a pix of it.
Then Frances, Gordon & I went to the Press Club. When we got back Mrs Carter informed me that Dean G had called me & said we could not ignore the President’s request, so I marched upstair & cut the ropes. Then we took all the bedspreads (their togas) off of them and dropped them over the side of the porch.
I was rushing to get downtown to meet Buddy (8:30) when Thelma (maid) said that Mrs Bocock wanted to know what happened to the decorations. I was in a hurry so I told her to tell her that Dr Oliver had requested they be taken down & then I left.
My dorm was such a unique place. Built in the early 1900’s for Elisabeth & Frederic Scott it was patterned after Marble House (its style often compared to the White House) in Newport, Rhode Island which was modeled after the Petit Trianon in Versailles. Mrs. Bocock lived in the back upstairs and downstairs of the house but rented (not for money for community support) the front bedrooms to RPI for dorm rooms. I was one of the first thirteen girls to live there. The front downstairs parlour, sitting room and dining room were used during week days for a Senior Citizens outreach program. While they were there we were not allowed downstairs. We had to use the side entrance to come and go. But in the evening and on weekends all but the dining room were ours. This included the elegant stairs that split halfway up with a section continuing up on either side. I lived in the second floor balcony room, the one over the front door. It was a designed as a family sitting room. We had hand painted French wallpaper. Big red, white and blue plumes. The rooms on the third floor are hard to see in this photo. The one over the columns with the huge overlook was the family ballroom.
Well, when I got back (Buddy missed his bus & didn’t get in til 10:30 but I didn’t wait) Mrs Bocock asked me to please put the men back up!! If she only knew how hard they were to get up. It seems she had spent all morning talking to Dr O (and she was right in the process of cleaning house & had 1000 things to do) and he said to put them back up. (She loved them and wanted to get pix of them). So I woke everyone up & after a few groans they agreed to help. So once again we hoisted our men into place. Even after being dropped & mangled they were in good shape (in fact the pix I sent you was taken after they had been put back up again. Make sure Jett sees the pix).
We really caused a stir at dear ole RPI.
Also the picture was the only one on the front page of the Times-Dispatch Sunday! Front page! (The paper always had several editions. My copies probably did have just the one photo).
We were so glad because all those smarty senior cits will be bound to have seen it.
The dance was good. The boys looked so good in their tux. Frances had white gardenias & I had 8 yellow rose buds.
We went to the Press Club before. A very plush place. Gordon is a member. All wall to wall carpeting, sofas, swivel chairs, soft music, etc. And they mix wonderful drinks. I love to go there.
I also had to give a speech at the dance about this decoration dealy. Fun. Frances accepted the trophy for our dorm & we woke up everyone when we came in to show it to them.
I’ll be glad when all gets back to normal even tho it was fun.
My note from Mrs Bocock. I attached it to a book on her written by her granddaughter.
Love the title of Mrs Bocock’s autobiography, Never Ask Permission. Perfect!
A few days later Mrs Bocock gave each of us living at 909 a copy of Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. She included a card that had a personalized note about how much she appreciated and enjoyed what we had done. She never really interacted with us, probably because she was far too busy but also she was probably keeping boundaries. I mean we could actually open a door on our hall next to the stairs that lead to her apartment. It was rarely locked. But we respected her too much to compromise her trust. She was a classy lady, our Mrs Bocock. And a champion for Richmond history.
We both made our mark on the Richmond landscape.