Nash, Edith / Practice the here and now: selected writings of Edith Nash
My life on the left, pp. 44-49
My Life on the Left44 My father had a pessimistic temperament and thought the League of Nations would never fly. He was not going to vote for Mr. Wilson, and this annoyed my mother very much. She belonged to a club called the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom and my father thought they were dreamers. She objected to the U. S. getting into World War I and years later her signature surfaced on a document of conscientious objection sent to the President. Her name was in first place. When I left Vassar at the end of my first year to go to the University of Chicago, I had an exit interview with Mildred Thompson, the Dean with the little dog. She wondered why Jewish girls from Chicago were always leaving Vassar after one year or sometimes two. I was speechless-to explain what I wanted: to be with men, to spend time on the streets, to know working people and understand unions. And so I just said, "Maybe they all want to go to the University of Chicago." Hallie Flanagan taught drama at Vassar and had I stayed, I could have taken her wonderful class and worn jeans. During the year I was there, she produced a play based on a short story, Can You Make Out Their Voices? by an unknown writer who turned out to be Whittaker Chambers. The story had been published in the New Masses and so the magazine sent Frances Straus, one of the editors, up to Vassar to see the play. She was housed off campus and when we met she seemed lonely, so I brought her over to our dormitory and found her a bed. She invited us to the New Masses Ball in fabulous New York. I believe four of us went and I can remember Mike Gold sitting on the floor of the railroad station, singing with us and waiting for the train back to school. We sang Joe Hill. We sang The Cloak Maker's Union. We sang There Once Was A Union Maid. We were a hit and I felt that night as though the Left was my home.
Copyright © 2001 Edith Nash. For information on re-use see: http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Copyright