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I wasn't quite twenty. I was a few days short of twenty
when I left Europe for good really to go to America.
Why did you leave?
I faced the business of earning a living, and I was
earning a living teaching in my school. It was really quite a good
living because I had bed and board. Therefore, whatever they paid me
was really just for fun and games. However, I didn't have working
papers and the French have a very interesting and very French system,
namely that to get your working papers you have to have a job; to get
a job, you have to have working papers. They applied this very
strictly to foreigners because, at that point in time, there was as
terrible unemployment there as there was here and they didn't want
any foreigners holding down any jobs. So I kept receiving notices
about my not being legal and I got around that by changing my address
that would send them about every three months, knowing that the
French bureaucracy would get further and further behind, would
probably never catch up with me.
But, after a while, I realized that they didn't really want me
in France, and things were not looking very good there and I applied
to go to college over here at Harvard. I said I considered I was
qualified to enter as a junior, which I think I was, having had two
years at the University of Paris however slight the work was.
Harvard answered, “No, sir, you come as a sophomore or you don't.”
So I answered that I wouldn't.
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