Susan (Whitcomb) Winbourne’s UMB Memory

To be at that school, at that time, in that city was a formative experience that can never be repeated. I had experiences that changed me forever and friendships that lasted a lifetime. Events of the times bonded us in a very unique way. I met my husband of 40 years at an SDS meeting. He was a Vietnam veteran, disillusioned and angry. There were Anti war demonstrations throughout the city, we attended together, sold New Left Notes on the Boston Commons, attended mass meetings in the Sawyer building in outrage at the invasion of Cambodia.

The city of Boston was our campus: researching at the BPL, rendezvous at the Gardner museum, breakfast at Hays Bickfords, lunch at My Brothers Place. Irish Lit classes at Mary Curran’s Beacon Hill home, reading and discussing the poetry of Yeats while enjoying a glass of Sauvignon Blanc. It didn’t get much better than that. Ballet classes on the fringe of the combat zone. Stage door passes to the Boston Ballet compliments of our dance instructor.

A fourth floor walk up, 3 bedroom apt over station 9. It was a charming little street of brownstones, the kind of place you handed down to friends when you moved. A short walk over Berkely street bridge to begin my day of classes. Life was good. We didn’t need much money. That 3 bedroom apt was $150 with heat. Clothes were bought at the nearby goodwill and Army Navy store. A pair of jeans and some trendy work boots were the uniform of the day.

Those exciting and intellectually stimulating days of the late 60’s early 70’s were not my first years at UMB . I was part of the fist class admitted to UMB . It was a rocky start. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go to college, or what I wanted out of life. At that time I met someone who became very important to me, Donald Costello, Director of admissions at UMB. It was a last minute application of a rather shaky student. He gave me a chance. Sadly I was a disappointment and shortly after dropped out. I wandered and floundered for a few years, taking courses at community colleges, until I found myself again at his doorstep asking to be readmitted. He became my mentor. Not only did he grant me admission, but gave me a job in the admissions office, which enabled me to live independently, while attending classes. I did not graduate with my class but did graduate in 1972 thanks to his help and support . So much gratitude to Donald Costello. He made a difference.

Susan (Whitcomb) Winbourne

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