Recently by Gary North: Five Principles That Made America Great
I have written about the Little Red Haired girl in my life. There was another. But I did not dream about her. I had to compete against her. I lost. Her name was Sandra Jennings.
I just found out she died two years ago. So, now I can go public.
She was 3rd runner up in Miss America in 1958. She was a pianist — a serious pianist.
In college, she was not taken seriously by at least some of the more academically inclined men. I knew differently.
I was in competition with her and several others in 1961 to get selected for Project India. Students were sent to India in the summer to represent the University of California. I really wanted to win. It took training: studies in Indian culture, plus two rigorous weekends of competition, the second being statewide: all of the preliminary finalists at the (then) five University of California campuses. I am competitive. I have been in tough competitions. This was really tough. I made it the the statewide finals.
Sandy went to India. I didn’t.
Now, for obvious reasons, she beat me and several others. Who would you want to represent America to Indians, me or her? But what I recall most vividly is this: in the competition, she knew the history of Goa. In the spring of 1961, nobody else did.
Goa was a separate country run by Portugal. It was on the west coast of India, a holdover of the old empire system. In December 1961, India invaded it and absorbed it into India. But in the spring, who knew? She knew.
She was competitive — not fiercely, just relentlessly. She was as sweet a girl as I have ever been torpedoed by.
I recall this. In our car trip up the San Bernardino hills to round one of the competition, one of the cars broke down. She was in it. I was sitting in the back seat of the functioning car. So, she had to sit on my lap. Lucky me, right? Very lucky. All bad.
As the car went up the winding road, my stomach began to churn. I had to ask to get out. I went to the side of the road and heaved. Then I got back into the car, and she got onto my lap.
This was not one of my shining moments.
She never mentioned it.
She met her husband on that trip to India. So, I’m glad she beat me. (I like to think that she beat me. Maybe one of the others did. I don’t remember them at all. I remember her. Does this surprise you?)
She later went to the American University Law School and passed the bar.
Dumb broad, right?
Years later, I saw her on campus. I was in grad school. We got to talking. She wanted to know about money and inflation. So, I gave her a verbal outline. She seemed to understand what I was saying. I went home and wrote it up as an article: “The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Inflation,” copying George Bernard Shaw’s The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism. It was published by The Commercial and Financial Chronicle. But it came as a result of a conversation with a very intelligent woman.
March 15, 2011
Copyright © 2011 Gary North