Dianne Feinstein

Sep 29, 2023 | 1 comment

Dianne Feinstein (nee Goldman) in the 1950s at Stanford — a Stanford Magazine Photo

I was surprised at the tears that came unbidden when my morning edition of the New York Times announced that Dianne Feinstein had died.  I can’t say that I really knew her, though we went back a long time, Dianne and I.

We were at Stanford together back in ancient times — the fifties.  She, two-and-a-half years my senior, was in the class of ’55; I, in the class of ’57.  Her last name was Goldman; mine was Little.  And, though our paths may have crossed more than once in the two years we shared at Stanford, I only remember her (and vaguely, at that) as on the Women’s Senate at Branner Hall, one of two dorms for Freshmen women — which meant that she was a sort of a dorm assistant there.

However, I was at Roble Hall, the other (and much larger) dorm for Freshmen women (and where Dianne, herself had been as a Freshman.)  I don’t know how I would have come in contact with Dianne Goldman unless some of our dorm meetings were combined…  And, even so, that would have been “quite a many” young women as my mother would have said.  So I probably only remember Diane in retrospect — perhaps teaching us the appropriate Freshman behavior at our first pep rally at Lake Lagunita.

Entrance to the History Corner of the Stanford Quad

I suppose it’s possible that I ran across her going to a Western Civ class in the History Department (for I believe she was a history major) but it was years before I really had a chance to speak to her and now I don’t remember what we said.  She was living around the corner from a good friend of mine — a fellow-teacher in Hayward who happened to  live in San Francisco.  It was during the early 70s and though Dianne was not yet running for mayor, she was surely a mover and shaker in the City by the Golden Gate.

In 1979 Mayor Feinstein leads 15,ooo marchers in a 1st anniversary commemoration of the Mayor Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk assassination.

I say this only because the entire block around her house (actually, a mansion in my eyes) was cordoned off.  Always.  No parking.  And parking in that part of the city was at a premium — only on-street parking even for most of the residents whose old-fashioned apartment buildings didn’t have garages.  I remember going around and around and around the blocks looking for a place to snuggle in my VW bug.  It never occurred to me to go up to Dianne’s door and plead, “For old time’s sake…”  Especially when we didn’t really share any of those old times!  But once, as I walked by her house, having parked three blocks from my destination, we did come face-to-face and exchanged a few words.  I wonder what they were.

Nevertheless, I was definitely a Dianne fan and her death saddened me in many ways.  Mostly, it was yet another wake-up call that my generation is fast disappearing and Dianne Feinstein was one of the best of us.   We are all impoverished by her passing.

1 Comment

  1. Robert Gwinn

    I did not get to know Ms. Feinstein, but we sure lost a great leader today.


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