My name is Katy and I'm in the middle of my second semester here at Shimer College. I came to Shimer as an early entrant student from New Jersey (Brigid, who sometimes writes here, is an early entrant as well), which means I left high school a year early without a diploma to come to Shimer, where I live and study like a normal college student. I appreciate that because the academics here are much more to my taste than high school ever was. I'll probably talk more about all that some other time--right now, though, I thought I would let you know what life is like at Shimer right now.
We are in the middle of our Dean's Break here at Shimer and I thought I would let you know what people are doing with all their free time. I stayed in Chicago for break and I'm having some fun spending some time with a few hobbies I don't get to spend that much time on during a normal school week. One of the things I'm really interested in is the history of fashion and clothing construction. I've sewn since I was a very small person and though I've never been particularly great at it I do have a talent for duplicating dresses out of paintings. Most recently I copied this dress:
It's from the 1740s and the woman who wore it is really interesting herself, if just for the fact that when she was about eleven she slapped King Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia. I've read her memoirs, Sixty Nine Years in the Court of Prussia, and they give you an interesting picture of life at the Prussian court from the 1740s through the Napoleonic wars. If you're curious you can find them on Google Books, here.
I have been able to continue sewing at Shimer mainly by doing the costumes for the plays we put on here. Last semester I did the costumes for two Pinter plays we put on, Landscape and Silence. This semester we're doing something a little more challenging as far as costumes go, A Midsummer Night's Dream. Dream is an interesting play to do the costuming for, mainly I'm trying to figure out how to make a donkey's head. I feel as though no matter what I do it will end up looking like Eeyore.
Since the costume budget is tight and so is time I spend a lot of my free time getting a good feel for the thrift stores around Chicago. The other day I headed to The Ark which is a really amazing place off the Blue Line where you can always find interesting stuff to furnish your apartment. You can also find really nice shoes (see pictures below). The shoes are just a little too small for my feet but I couldn't leave them there--they look like something out of the 1780s. Since I don't go to a lot of costume conventions or anything I had trouble justifying the purchase. I then realized that they would make perfect book ends for my copy of In Search of Lost Time which has been having some problems staying on the bookshelf. Also since Proust is one of my favorite authors I don't mind pampering his books. When I got home the shoes worked perfectly which is nice because Swann's Way has been slouching for a few months and it was starting to bother me.
Here is a picture of the shoes,
and here is one of all of us,
I hope things are just as nice in the rest of the world.