Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Off the hill and into 'jail'

Student Body President Vincie
Ginevra, front and center, with other
Class of 1945 members (front) L-R, Helen
Fitzpatrick, Vincie, Phoebe Tours,
Arabella Barnes; (back) Blanche Van
Oort, Mary Albachten and
Margaret Thalken. 
VINCENTIA 'VINCIE' GINEVRA LESKO '45  paid a visit to the Chalon Campus and the College Archives today along with two of her six children, Matt and Stephanie, and Cindy Hizami of the Institutional Advancement office.

We love alumnae visits because we always learn something. Vincie did not disappoint.

A self-described "grumpy old lady" of 93, Mrs. Lesko was anything but. Asked if she could help identify people in photographs from the 1940s, she cheerfully flipped through a stack of pictures while Cindy hastily wrote down names on a sticky note.

Possessed of an impressive memory, Vincie also reminisced about her days at the wartime Mount, when blackout curtains and air raid drills were as much a part of student life as as chapel veils and kitchen raids.

Vincie was student body president her senior year, and like her predecessors during the war years presided over a close-knit class. Stephanie scanned a few of her mother's pictures, including this one of Vincie and a few of her classmates smiling behind bars below a sign reading "Santa Monica Jail." It was just an amusement park, or we're pretty sure they wouldn't look so pleased with themselves.

Slowly but surely, Vincie hiked all the way up the stone steps to Mary Chapel, recalling that it was built while her older sister Beatrice was a Mount student. (She graduated in 1941.) Then we took Vincie to the cafeteria and dined in the same room where she and her classmates ate their meals 70 years ago.

As we were going in, a trio of Mount students looked at us politely but curiously. When it was pointed out to them that Mrs. Lesko used to live in Brady Hall on the third floor near the elevator, they seemed a little shocked.

Yes, this will be you someday, we thought -- and we hope your memories will be as sharp as Vincie's when you look back. And we hope you enjoy your time here as much as she did. Finally, if you wind up in jail we hope it's one at an amusement park.

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