The Story

Fall 1985

My second year at Vassar, they moved up the start of classes to Labor Day.  Every year before classes had been scheduled to allow us all to enjoy the last long weekend of the summer properly ensconced by the shore or in the country.  We were outraged of course but despite shared boasts and threats of arriving late, we all obediently arrived on time.  The consequences, lost slots in full classes, missed syllabi, and most importantly the social set back of missing the pre-class parties were more than we were willing to risk.  And so we returned for our second year, new fabulous furnishings for our rooms, chic outfits and tall tales from the summer in tow.

Unlike our first year, there was no three day orientation (subsequently curtailed due to some new arrivals never making it from the parties to classes), and so we were invited to arrive no earlier than Friday and no later than Sunday.   By Saturday afternoon we were all back and unpacked, furniture re-installed, mini-fridge’s and liquor cabinets stocked.  Saturday evening the official party in the Aula and unofficial party in the  Mug were packed.  Seasoned sophomores, we made sure to get our Mug bracelets early (so we could skip the line later) and duck out to the Aula around ten to be sure we weren’t missing anything.

Ford was my best friend at Vassar.  I’m not exactly sure how or why we became best friends but somehow, somewhere amidst the chaos of our first year we found in each other exactly what we each needed in a friend; social standing, acid wit, and the ability to drink all night and still arrive on time to our morning classes.

Handsome, beautiful really but I didn’t see it then, well bred, or well brought up, I think dogs are well bred., faultlessly polite, when he was on his good behavior, exceptionally well dressed, smart, talented and with plenty of money.  Ford was admired , desired and resented all at once and I loved him for it.

Ford was connoisseur of consumables.  Ford knew quality, insisted on the best and almost never paid retail.  A consummate bargain hunter, Ford flew to London for a Burberry sale and bought two overcoats and half a dozen other plaid things just so he could say he saved more on his bounty than the airfare cost.  We love air fair wars.  With his mother he stalked the weekend auctions in the Smokey Mountains, bidding on the perfect items for the well furnished dorm room.  Just before returning for the semester he made a quick to trip to Montreal to pick up uber expensive cognac duty free and cartons of cigarettes.

Ford’s smart social observations precisely dissecting his peers to reveal their every flaw with great humor are what first attracted me to him.  Ford wasn’t richer than all of his classmates, in fact his trust fund was modest in comparison to some.  But while others had to wait, making due on a generous allowance, for a future magic birthday, 21 or god forbid 25!  Ford had gotten his money at 18 direct from his dear old Auntie.  And so it was his to spend as he chose.  It was how he paid for Vassar when Da refused to pay for “some damn Northern Sissy School.”  Ford spent freely if not carelessly, knowing that a 21 he would get a great deal more from Mummy so long as he graduated.

Selected Characters

Ford’s tall, fabulously thin with a wasp waist and perfectly proportioned features.  Thick brown curly hair in need of regular visits to Sassoon for a taming cut.  Rich enough with his own money from an aunt or uncle and even richer from his families successes in various genteel industries.  A poor Southern farm boy when it helped, Ford had been thrown out of several prep schools and been forced to actually graduate from a Boston area last chance school.  He came to Vassar because Mummy had and Da hated the idea.  Da had not actually attended college.  He had been too busy crashing race cars and playing at other fabulously expensive hobbies.  Da was the bane of his father who had insisted his son not waste his life in play and get an education.  When Da’s father died suddenly, Da reformed with a vengeance.  Too old to go to college (at least as Da say it),  he threw himself into enterprise.  Da took his father’s small delivery service and transformed it in only a couple of years into a nationwide fleet of trucks to which he added air and ocean transit services.  Da leveraged these to secure a leaseholds on various airports and other key urban sites giving him real estate leverage across the country.  By the time Ford came to Vassar, Da had untold riches and power.

Mary Ann Kravitz (a.k.a. Makra) was a good old fashioned Connecticut girl.  A blonde when she was a little girl, she was now a blonde with a little help from a bottle.  Makra and Drew had know each other for years.  She’d actually gone to prep with Drew.  At prep, Makra has seemed to Drew to be exotic and artistic.  But Drew had mistaken Makra’s daring wardrobe (no Talbot’s in sight) for a kind of exotica.  In fact Makra was just committing a basic form of rebellion aided by her hometown proximity to Manhattan.  Makra had actually shopped in the Village at prep.  At Vassar, Makra kept the same look which was not nearly as exotic amidst the various student style choices.  Makra was extremely committed to her art (some kind of college thing) and her vodka (Stoli, of course).

Jason is cute in that tall plain preppy sort of way.  Drew’s roommate freshman year,  Drew was initially intrigued and then bored by Jason.  Jason came from solid Connecticut stock or at least had been adopted by solid Connecticut stock.  He’s a committed preppy, insisting on plaids, plaids and more plaids.  Drew swears he even coordinates his boxers with his sheets so as not to sleep in blackwatch on Campbell or vice versa.  Jason was perpetually polite and kind to a fault.

Nancy Jane Pruit (a.k.a. Prissy) was an upstate New York girl.  Way up state.  Prissy insisted she loved upstate and missed it terribly.  Otherwise Prissy was a normal if excessively prudish girl

Comments are closed.