Alumnae Bulletin May 2009


Memories of 'Miss Van Vechten'

I discovered the obituary for Marie-Louise Van Vechten Sigerist '35 in the February 2009 Class Notes.

In September 1937 I arrived from Germany, a confused, timid 8-year-old, with perhaps 10 English phrases, and entered the third grade at The Baldwin School. Coming from two years in German-Nazi style schools I couldn't believe that I had found myself in a class of happy little girls with a beautiful, loving, young teacher, Miss Van Vechten. I thought I was in heaven! I still have the little brown Langenscheidt dictionary that sat on my desk, right next to hers.

Within three months the dictionary was forgotten, but I never forgot this lovely young woman who made my entry into American life such a pleasure. Many, many years later, after my husband and I retired to Maine, I wrote to "Miss Van Vechten." By now I had retired from teaching 22 years at The Baldwin School—for a while even teaching third graders in the same classroom where we met. She and her lovely husband even visited us in Maine, and we corresponded for the years she lived in DC.

- Doris Caspar Balant '51