A little time to myself had convinced me that I was not in love with anyone yet and I was troubled that prospects for my return to Evanston in the fall seemed decidedly slim.
The Music Department of Hardin College in Mexico, Missouri each year awarded a grand piano to the student who could show the most improvement at the end of the school year, and the offer caught the attention of Mrs. Boker. Scherwanka, Polish pianist and composer, was a director of the school and Mrs.Boker was sure that once Scherwanka heard me play he would take me back to Europe with him and my future would be secure. The more she thought the more convinced she became. In her opinion, the piano was practically mine; all I had to do was enroll and collect it.
I was not enthusiastic over transferring to another school. I had made a fine start at Northwestern and was eager to return. However, I wrote to Mr. Lutkin and told him of my plan. By return mail I had a reply assuring me that I should make a great mistake in going to Mexico. He offered me a position in the office and a half scholarship, and promised to throw more moneymaking opportunities my way. I wrote a letter of appreciation and the matter was allowed to ride until some of the lesser mysteries could be solved.
The summer was hot and exacting and Lilly looked worn to death with two babies and a home to care for in addition to a position on the newspaper. Howie and David were charming children but both were high-strung, and visiting the relatives only partly contributed to their welfare.
The problem of my school had been held in abeyance for weeks when an emissary from Mexico came to urge my enrollment. That brought matters to a head. Mary had secured a position in the public schools of Springfield; Oklahoma still held father captive, so it was decided that Mother and I should return to Evanston. (No one regarded me as being capable of going under my own steam.)
Our departure was very like the one a year before except that we knew definitely what to expect. The train was unbearably hot, and St. Louis worse, but Bill was waiting at the gate in the station to take us to dinner. Although I looked forward to seeing him, when he kissed me I wished that he hadn’t, and when he pressed into my hand a lovely fleur-de-lis stickpin enameled in the colors of Kappa, one he had made for me at Mermod and Jacquard’s, I was miserable that I could not deliver the return he so much wanted and deserved. I was glad that Mother was along, and when he put us aboard our car and the train sped screeching through the night, I thought long and seriously about him, only to come to the same old conclusion. Until I had gone further with my education, I was not ready to consider marriage. At least I had found and recognized my limitations.