I recently have had the privilege of meeting a woman who attended Stanford the same year as I did, 1961. Which is also, of course, the year in which my new murder mystery novel is set. She is two years my senior, was a junior at the time, and we never met until now. She has enjoyed reading SINISTER SUGGESTIONS and realizing that, like myself, she had a general knowledge but not all of the specifics of what was occuring at that time in terms of racial injustice and sexual violence against women. Like me, she didn’t read the Stanford Daily regularly–both of us too busy and too centered on our own lives, both academically and socially to appreciate the top level national, local, and investigative reporting and searing OpEd pieces that the Daily offered. Although, she does recall the notorious reputation that the Full Moon Event had garnered around campus and remembers having no intention of attending an event that demeaned women in the first place (the campus “myth” that you were not a real woman until you had been kissed by a senior man under the full moon on that occasion), much less one that degenerated into sexual and physical violence against the women who did attend.
I learned that she left Stanford at the end of the year, just as did I, each for our own personal reasons. I did have to congratulate her, however, for returning to Stanford 16 years later to obtain her degree and go on to a stellar career in Fine Arts sales. There was no such redeeming return in my life–countered only, perhaps, by the fact that I did graduate from college after traipsing through four undergraduate schools and then settled down and obtained a Masters and PhD in psychology at the University of Illinois, going on to a 44 year career as a clinical psychologist.
Our new friendship has been very affirming that my “take” on social justice, or the lack thereof, at Stanford back in 1961 was shared by other women of the era. And, that in spite of detours in our academic journeys, that being accepted to Stanford in the Fifties and Sixties and even earlier as a woman and giving it the old college try, formed an important part of our adult character and left us with many memories–some painful, others quite wonderful, of our shared time on The Farm. Having made her acquaintance, it strikes me that other women of the era would enjoy SINISTER SUGGESTIONS as a link to their own college experiences at Stanford or elsewhere.
BUY AMAZON KINDLE or PAPERBACK SINISTER SUGGESTIONS by Dr. Karen Stephen
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