College during the 1960’s was an intense experience: the Viet Nam war protests were going full bore, the civil rights movement was changing the bland Father Knows Best culture that had prevailed through the 1950’s, Stonewall happened, and Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique. Life at the College of St. Elizabeth was intense in its own right: many of us, including me, were first generation college. We were a small class, around 126 young women. The Church emerged from Vatican II in a state of great turmoil, which affected the nuns who taught us in ways we didn’t fully understand because they didn’t talk about it — but they were sharply, and angrily, divided between the traditionalists who opposed most of the Vatican II attempts to move the Church into the current century and those nuns who wanted to go full bore ahead. We sensed, rather than fully understood, the turmoil going on behind the Motherhouse doors.
Perhaps for all those reasons, and because we are approaching our 50th class reunion, connections are happening for the first time in many years. The pic below is me, Ceil Eng Weck and her husband Phil. Ceil and I were classmates, and we haven’t seen each other in 40 years. She found my blog online, tracked down my cell phone number, and said she had seen that I come to the San Diego area and might we get together. We did, and I met her husband Phil for the first time.
I used to write the Class Notes for our Class of 1967, and Ceil reminded me that I called her to express sympathy when her mother died. She said it made a difference. I was touched by that — I want to be the kind of person who makes a difference in the lives of others.
Ceil and her family have had a good life, and for that I’m glad. She is the same thoughtful, kind, intelligent woman I knew so many years ago, albeit with many more layers of experience. She has spent her working life in the Diocese of San Diego, and is more overtly religious than I. She would call our getting together a blessing, and I think she is right.