I’ll Never…Part II

By Elizabeth Russell | Bio

As soon as I got over thinking of myself as an oddity in the environment and began looking around, I discovered some very interesting people.

One of the early people I met had been a detective (a Private I!) for over 35 years and had some hair-raising stories to tell, including her gathering evidence against an East Bay union boss who was using sexual coercion against women seeking work. Another resident had been an FBI man and there is a woman who worked with the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Washington. (She couldn’t tell me what she had done—“it was classified.”) There are a number of educators and I realized, with my own commitment to education, that this was a fertile field for research. Then there are two architects—one who had been an apprentice to Frank Lloyd Wright and continues to go to the office, on a part-time basis, to practice architecture, and the other who recently published a book about her work in solar energy design in Hawaii. Then there is the woman who takes the Woodside Terrace shuttle every morning to open her antique shop in the next town, continuing, on a part-time basis, the business she built.

There is an anthropologist, with whom I’ve had dinner once or twice, and a very interesting couple from a mid-west college where he had been an Academic Dean and Professor of Psychology and she an accomplished organ and harp player. And then there are the parents of a nationally-known comedian who has promised us a visit. There is a woman, my age, who astounds me by playing golf twice a week and never missing her grandson’s Little League baseball games. And then there is the retired surgeon, whom I probably would not have known but with whom I now regularly exchange books (we’re both “legal thriller” fans).

There is a branch of the Optimist Club on site and, as I understand it, the money they raise through sales of things they make is used to support local youth programs. Some of its members act as tutors in local schools. Members of the Knit Wits group knit lap robes and caps for children in the cancer wing of Stanford Hospital. Two of my early friends are a couple who escaped from Germany in 1935 and now work as volunteers—he at Travelers’ Aide at the airport and she as a nurse’s aide at a local hospital.

More next Tuesday…

© 2008 Elizabeth Goodell Russell. All rights reserved. 

Reprinted with kind permission from The California Woman Magazine. This article first appeared in their July/August 2008 issue.