I got to Vassar which 43 years ago was a single-sex institution, like all the colleges in whatthey call the Seven Sisters, the female Ivy League and I made some very quick but lifelong andchallenging friends. And with their help outside of any competition for boys, my brain wokeup. I got up and I got outside myself and I found myself again. I didn't have to pretend, Icould be goofy, vehement, aggressive, and slovenly and open and funny and tough and myfriends let me. I didn't wash my hair for three weeks once. They accepted me like the VelveteenRabbit. I became real instead of an imagined stuffed bunny, but I stockpiled that character fromhigh school and I breathed life into her again some years later as Linda in the Deer Hunter.There is probably not one of you graduates it who has ever seen this film, but the Deer Hunterwon best picture in 1978. Robert De Niro, Chris Walken, not funny at all. And I played Linda, asmall town girl from a working class background, a lovely, quiet, hapless girl, who waited forthe boy she loved to come back from the war in Vietnam.