The Class of 1960, still charming after 55 years

April 25 was not only She Sails but also Reunion Weekend, including a meeting of the Class of 1960. That afternoon, a group of current Dana Hall students got the opportunity to meet with alumnae for an hour during their class reunion. Although there were only two women from the Class of 1960, a lack of representation did not mean that they had a lack of character or spirit. Carol Hosdale, a former day student, and Ann Alexander, a former boarding student, were enthusiastic and overflowing with a treasure trove of hilarious, lively, and even occasionally raunchy stories about their lives at Dana 55 years ago. Their anecdotes had such acute clarity and sharpness that it appeared as if the events had happened recently, despite the fact that they were calling on memories forged decades in the past.

other alum croppedThe first of their memorable stories involved some girls from their class who used the fire escape to sneak out their dorm window to meet up with local Wellesley boys in the romantic twilight. Carol gave a brief summary of a typical night out: “the boys would pick the girls up and get the cigarettes out and then drive them around to God knows what!” The boys knew exactly where the window was, and they would wait for the girls in a car down the street. Ann, who later was put in this very room, remembers keeping the Girl Code alive as she turned a blind eye to her roommate’s incessant usage of the fire escape.

Big events that brought the day students and boarders together were plays and musicals. Ann and Carol remarked that they had become very close friends while collaborating together in the performing arts. Ann did remark that “the only problem was that Carol, obviously, was cast as the lovely dancer. I, on the other hand, was always a mister…” which to Carol added helpfully, “Because there were no boys!”

Ann alum croppedSpeaking of boys, they admitted that their Prom could have been a lot more enjoyable than it was. First of all, it was held in the regular Classroom Building, which did not set a very special or exciting atmosphere. It just reminded them of school. Secondly, there was a custom that forced the boys and girls to enter from opposite ends of the school. The students figured that it must have been the teachers’ way of preventing any funny business from occurring, but they laughed at the counterintuitive fact that the boys and girls were allowed to leave together; the teachers were just delaying the inevitable. Ann and Carol seemed very relieved to hear that the current Prom location was Gillette Stadium.

Ann and Carol thoroughly charmed the current students with their quick wit. Older generations have a reputation of not understanding the present day problems of kids, but their stories and experiences were surprisingly similar to our own (although I’ve never had the experience of climbing out a window to meet boys). They too had to deal with classmates with eating disorders, and had to face moral issues that still have a hold on our generation today. There is a 55-year gap between us, true, but these lovely women are still silver sisters through and through.

Allie Donohue contributed to this article.

Photos: The Class of 1960 gather with four current students during Reunion Weekend. Photo by Karen Keely. Carol Hosdale, left, and Ann Alexander, right, told lively stories of their Dana Hall days. Photos by Effie Li.

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