As of August 18 . . . So far so good . . . After an uneventful flight from Cleveland to Boston (except for a minor kerfluffle over luggage), Judi picked me up (after a minor kerfluffle pertaining to my exact location), and off we went, driving through New Hampshire and Vermont to Quebec City! The drive was, of course, longer than anticipated, but the hours of almost nonstop conversation gave us ample opportunity to remember our Northfield (girls’ boarding school) days, and establish that they were not, for either of us, a time of unadulterated happiness and achievement, not by a long shot.
Judi had come as a freshman from a small town and public school in northern New England, and I, sophomore year, from a small town in Ohio and a previous boarding school life. She, I think, had a better time of it than I did until nearly the end. She was involved in music, and Northfield had an outstanding music program, whereas my efforts to engage outside the classroom mostly flopped. As far as our junior and senior years are concerned, our stories differ, but I can say from my vantage point, as I probably already have, that while academically, musically, and athletically outstanding, Northfield was poorly equipped to deal with the emotional challenges of adolescents living far from home. Carol Gilligan’s work and emphases on girls’ learning styles were far in the future, and I think that most of our counselors were simply graduates of Seven Sisters colleges — brilliant women, no doubt, but with no training in education or psychology or group dynamics. And to be fair, it was the late 1960s. I have read that the administration and faculty were in something of a state of shock as they sought to respond to the upheavals of that decade, which reached New England prep school campuses nearly as quickly as they did colleges and universities. All of those factors no doubt influenced our high school experiences.
Back to our trip: as dusk fell, so did torrents of rain. Clenched-fist driving for Judi at that point. We were both glad that our first night’s lodging was the elegant, art-deco style Hotel Clarendon in the center of Quebec City and not a wilderness campsite!
Tired, cold, and quickly quite wet, we threw our stuff into the room and ventured out for an excellent dinner at Le Grill Ste-Anne, only a block or two away. And then we fell asleep quickly, hoping for a glimpse of the city in the morning.