Manuscripts/Mixed Material Interview with Ambassador Theresa A. Tull
Q: Oh the Penrod and Sam stories.
TULL: Yes. We had Boothe Tarkington books, Zane Grey, whatever my older brothers had. There was a series of books about West Point and Annapolis, stuff aimed at boys, but I devoured them. Everybody knew I loved to read. So any birthday or Christmas I would get a load of books. I enjoyed the Bobbsey Twins books. In school I don't really remember much about the books we were offered. Wait, Dick, Jane and Spot, the basic readers and things, but I will say for this little school in a small town they were alert to the different skills of the students. There were only about 35 of us in the class compared to 60 or 70 in the Catholic school. They picked up on the fact that I should move forward and they persuaded my mother and father to let me skip a grade, which was the fourth grade, and that caused a few social adjustment problems because my parents, particularly my mother after my dad died, didn't want to let me do some of the social things that my peer group would do because of youth. I learned many years later that the school also wanted me to skip the seventh grade. Both of my parents refused. That would have put me too far behind socially. There was no money for college. There were no Pell grants or student loans there. New Jersey didn't have land grant colleges. So, how was I going to get to college?
Q: Wasn't Rutgers?
TULL: Very expensive, given our circumstances.
Q: Rutgers was a land grant school?
TULL: Rutgers was not a land grant university. It is one of the oldest universities in the country. In the mid-20th century it was designated the State University. Particularly after my dad died, there was no prospect of college for us. None of us went to college out of high school.
Q: In high school, where did you go to high school?
TULL: Camden Catholic High School in Camden, New Jersey. Our parish paid half the tuition and my mother paid the other half, but it was very low. It was $50 a semester and now it's probably $2,500 or something like that. For the year it is very high. We would take a public bus from Runnemede to Camden, about a half-hour bus ride. There was no school bus. It was a good school, a very fine school. It had a good football team, which was fun.