My Long, Wonderful Life

by Margaret Strong

At age ninety-four as the future shrinks and I contemplate my long,
wonderful life I am struck by how completely Stanford has been woven
into the fabric of that existence.  My father was one of Jane
Stanford’s “poor boys” who graduated from Stanford in 1914.  He
attended Stanford because his high school English teacher, Miss Post,
who was among the first women to graduate from Stanford, recognized in
him a keen intelligence and love of learning.  She also knew that he,
like most young men then, assumed he would go to work and be
self-supporting when he graduated from high school.  She convinced him
that attending college was possible, particularly at Stanford.

Armed with his Stanford degree my father found work opportunities that
would not have been open to him without it.  Inspired by the efforts
of Miss Post on his behalf, she became the role model he held up to
his two daughters.  At a time when high school graduation marked the
end of most girls’ formal education, my sister and I grew up knowing
from the time we could remember that we were going to Stanford.
Living in first Gilroy, and then Palo Alto, made frequent visits to
the campus possible, including going to all the major football games;
we had a sense of belonging long before we actually enrolled.  This
feeling was reinforced by the Stanford Alumni Club’s frequent, family
oriented social functions.

My sister graduated before me and I saw her obtain a prized teaching
position at the height of the depression because of her Stanford
degrees.  Being selected to be a junior and then senior sponsor at
Roble, the freshman women’s dormitory, was one of the highlights of my
Stanford career; it kindled, without my being aware of it at the time,
my interest in counseling, which eventually resulted in a rewarding
career as a high school counselor and later as Director of Pupil
Personnel Services in the Hayward Unified School District.  Throughout
my varied work years, my Stanford connections opened doors to me that
otherwise would not have been available.

A series of events led to my spending the last twenty-eight years in
Eureka, a northern California coastal town not easily accessible to
the Bay Area. But, because my sister was married to a Stanford
professor. I was able to keep in close touch with all the major
happenings on the campus.  A few years back I lost that link, and for
a while my major contact was the Stanford magazine.  But Stanford has
once again entered my life.  Physical mobility problems now require
that I have physical therapy sessions twice a week.  The facility
recommended to me by my orthopedist as the best in the area is owned
and operated by a Stanford graduate and rabid supporter.  What could
have been dull, onerous hours have become fun filled as we
Stanfordites banter with other Pac12 loyals, riding high when we win
the Rose Bowl, saying wait until next year when the women’s basketball
team doesn’t make it to the Final Four. Once again, being part of the
Stanford Family colors my life.