Friendship and Mixtapes
Last month, StoryCorps Door-to-Door braved traffic on the I-95 corridor to visit Mount Holyoke College for its annual alumni reunion. At this women’s college, graduates ranging from the class of 1943 to the class of 2009 gathered to consider what it means to be a Mount Holyoke woman, how they’ve carried Mount Holyoke into the world, and what the college’s future might hold.
Our recording days hosted reunions between professors and students who hadn’t seen each other since graduation, former classmates who’ve participated in round-robin letter exchanges for over 60 years, and friends who keep each other up to date on every detail of their lives. Two of those friends were Laura Althoff and Erin Ennis, “BFFs” since they met at Mount Holyoke.
Laura and Erin’s friendship has endured since graduation, and over the years they have supported each other at pivotal moments in their lives. After graduating from Mount Holyoke, Laura and Erin became roommates in Washington, D.C., where they discovered their talent for writing at colorful first jobs. During that time, Erin was presented with the opportunity to study in China, something sheÂ was initially apprehensive about. But Laura encouraged her to take the leap.
Erin is now the Vice President of the U.S.- China Business Council, a non-profit organization that represents over 240 companies that do business with China, and she doesn’t think her trajectory would have been possible without Laura’s support. At StoryCorps, Erin admitted that she has a folder in her email inbox where she keeps encouraging messages from her best friend. What’s more, Erin still has the mixtape that Laura made for her to listen to “while being awesome in China.”