Watson Discusses Riding an Elephant on Park Ave. with President McKean (Play Audio)
Watson: And my office was right down the hall from his, and ever so often about three o’clock in the afternoon, my door would open whether I had a student in there or not, and he would say, “Helen, come on, we’ve got to go.” And so I would dismiss the child and off we’d go, and I never knew where we were going. That’s when I rode the elephant. (laughs) He came and got me and said, “Come on we’re going to ride an elephant.” And I said, “Ride an elephant? I can’t ride an elephant.” I had on a very full skirt and no hat. And he said, “Yeah the fiestas having a parade” – in those days we had a fiesta – and he said, “Well, we’re going to ride an elephant.”
Watson Discusses the First Fox Day (Play Audio)
Watson: He called me up one night and he said, “Helen, you know the kids are tired of going to school.” (laughs) I said, “They’re always tired of going to school.” And he said, “Well, let’s do something special.” And I said, “What?” So he came over and he said, “Let’s have a Fox Day,” and I said, “What would a Fox Day be?” And he said, “I found an old fox in my attic and we could put it out on the chapel steps and some of the kids won’t know that I’m the president. I’ll kind of sneak around there early tomorrow morning and the first student that comes back, I’ll tell him it’s Fox Day and he’ll say, what’s Fox Day? And I’ll say, you can have the whole day off, you can do anything you want, and you don’t have to be responsible to anybody. And he’ll say, you mean I don’t have to go to go to classes? I mean you don’t have to go to classes. You mean I can I go to Pelican – that was our beach house. Yes, you can go to Pelican. You mean I can sleep? You can sleep; you can do anything you want.”
Watson Discusses Closing Time (Play Audio)
Watson: One of the things that I liked best was to be on campus at closing time. See, the girls had to be in at ten o’clock on weekdays and eleven o’clock on weekends. And the boys would bring the girls back to the dormitory and then when the girls had gone in, the boys would start walking back to this end of the campus and they would start singing. And I could stand over in my office window and you could hear the boys deliver the girls and then start singing as they came out from this end of campus. I loved it (laughter) especially on a moonlight night, because we didn’t have lights on campus then.
Alli: Well, how was Webber different from Rollins? (Play Audio)
Oh, Webber was a
girl school. I was completely dismayed when I came to Rollins and went
in to the dining room for the first time. I almost handed in my
resignation that day. You know, boys and girls and no table cloths and
long tables and you went through a line to get your food and
everything. And at Webber we dressed for dinner and we sat down and
were served (laughs) so there was quite a contrast between Webber and
Rollins, but I got used to it.
Watson Discusses a Successful Student (Play Audio)
Watson: My most successful student at Webber was from New York. She did her training at Macy’s and when she graduated she got a job at Macy’s, she worked herself right up the ladder until she was a merchandise manager at Macy’s. Then she went to work for Vogue and they sent her to Paris and she did the Paris-Vogue for a while and then she came back and worked for – I forget which other large department store – and then she went to FIT, which is Fashion Institute in New York and she became president of FIT. And she’s still teaching there and Elaine is eighty.