My first big move was in 1965. Not yet 18 years old, I was to embark on my college experience. I had never been away from home for more than a week! So this was a daunting task for one naive to the challenge of packing.

Nancy Riggs Robart, fourth from left, arrives on campus for her first year of college in the fall of 1965: “Everyone was all dressed up and looked the part in plaids and cardigans.” On Robart’s right are her parents, and on her left are her roommate and her roommate’s parents. Photo courtesy of Nancy Riggs Robart

What to take? I remember making a list, which included my clock radio, my record player, my transistor radio and my favorite albums: the Beatles, the Supremes and Ravi Shankar.

I was to attend a women’s college and had received a “Get Acquainted” letter from my “big sister.” Every freshman was assigned one as a buddy for answering questions and providing support for us neophytes. I didn’t know what to ask since I was ignorant of the situation I would be facing. My mother, wanting me to fit in appearance-wise, suggested I ask if the girls wore Bermuda shorts. So I did. Little did I know this was to be a joke among the more astute senior girls. Off to a great start!

After packing the Plymouth Fury, we were off. It wasn’t more than a few hours but seemed like an eternity. As the wheels rolled over the Green Mountains, my mind was an emotional rollercoaster.

That culminated with our arrival at the impressive beautiful brick buildings on the campus. Meeting my roomie for the first time, someone with the same first name, we decided on nicknames to alleviate confusion. She was an art major and would influence me in many ways that year.

Everyone was all dressed up and looked the part in plaids and cardigans. The first thing my “big sister” told me was to not wear a headband!

Our room was large and had a divider we could move around for privacy. There was a “smoker” room at the end of the hallway and a telephone station at each end of the corridor. When it rang, someone passing by would answer it and yell out or knock on the door of the intended receiver. This was especially exciting if you got a call from a guy someone else had dated from your dorm because everyone knew. Clad in our freshman beanies, we walked together to the dining hall, comrades scared and brave at the same time, to begin our first college dinner with others. The day was young, our futures unknown, and the journey long,

And so the first semester began.

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