“Our Hearts Were Young and Gay”

A few weeks ago, I discovered a particularly intriguing blog post by Bryn Mawr’s Special Collections about a book co-written by¬†Emily Kimbrough ’21 and¬†Cornelia Otis Skinner ’22. Titled “Our Hearts Were Young and Gay,” it follows the authors through their post-grad European adventures. Though certainly a charming narrative with an interesting legacy, this text possess a more personal connection for me.

“Our Hearts Were Young and Gay” was one of my mother’s favorite books as a 13-year-old. Growing up in Wisconsin, my mother had no connection to Bryn Mawr, but somehow got a copy of this book and fell in love with it. Even as an adult my mother continues to collect books by Kimbrough and Skinner. I remember her frequently telling me about it during my adolescence (“It has kind of a funny name now, but don’t let that deter you!”) to try and pique my interest. Despite coming to Bryn Mawr by chance (I applied on a whim!), Kimbrough and Skinner’s stories seem to follow me. My mother is constantly reminded of subtle anecdotes in the book (like the swim test!) that she would’ve never picked up on otherwise. It’s strange to think of my mother discovering this book so many years ago to me living in the dorm featured on the book’s press photo (see below).

I’m embarrassed to say I still haven’t read the book. One of the setbacks of thesising is having very little time for much else (save for a the occasional Netflix binge), but it’s my first order of business post-Commencement. I mean, besides securing a job…

Courtesy of Bryn Mawr Special Collections

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