----------In remembrance of Pearl Harbor, I thought I would use this World War Two story---
Until 1941 we women students at the University of Rochester were insulated from the world. Our lives were contained in the cocoon of the Prince Street campus. Studying, adjusting to girls from different backgrounds and countries, and being on our own proved to be challenges that shut out the events of the world.
However, by 1941 the men were joining ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corps) in college, being drafted or enlisting. After meeting Bryant Taylor at a Sorority dance in the spring of ’41, I became more conscious of the war as it now could affect my life.
At this time the U of R adopted an optional program whereby you could graduate in December, 1942 instead of May, 1943. Wanting to hurry up and get out of school, most of our class took the option of taking the junior and senior years in one and a half years.
This innovative plan meant you took only one course at a time for six weeks. All your concentration was on that one subject, making it less necessary to cram for exams, as the material was fresh in your mind. It did create a heavy homework load though, especially in foreign languages. An assignment could be one hundred pages or more, which meant it was impossible to translate. Thus, I became proficient in reading in French and Spanish and expressing myself in both languages. Any English literature course was intense, but I enjoyed this type of program more than one that was spread out over a term.
Life, along with the courses, speeded up during the war years. In my life the momentous occasions came and went rapidly: I met Bryant in April, 1941; received his fraternity pin that fall; was engaged Feb. 14,1942; married October, 1942; graduated in Dec. 1942. He went into active service June, 1943; left for overseas Jan. 1944; returned Jan. 1946. There was truly a lot of living and life experiences in such a short space of time.
Besides the course changes in college, a group of “married students” emerged. There was a new “MRS degree”! I was the second girl to be married while still a student. In those days, the relationship between the student and professor was very formal. A student was addressed by her last name. I went from Miss Laufer to Mrs. Taylor in the short space of one weekend. Both the professors and I had a hard time adjusting to this new status, but soon more and more “Mrs.” were on the scene.
This was the first of many changes that the War Years wrought. No longer could anyone isolate himself from the world. We were there!
Picture One: Bryant and Eve, 1942