I was in the second class of women and a group of us went through a very intensive class with him, a junior level class that was on political philosophy and I had never taken politics or philosophy and I was halfway terrified. I had come from a public school and I was here on scholarship, Norwood, Mass., had a really strong Boston accent. I was constantly realizing that a lot of people had had a different educational experience than me. I was afraid that I didn’t have opinions so I tried to avoid any courses where you would have to venture an opinion. I took mostly science courses and art courses but taking a political philosophy course was way out on a limb. I would sit there and I’d just say [to myself], “Today you’ve got to say something, Jeanne. These kids will never know what your voice sounds like!” And the closest I came, Mr. Gaudino brought a video camera into class one time and of course we’d never seen such a thing, and he aimed it at me and he said, “Miss Gerulskis, what’s missing in this section of the Federalist papers? You’re really good at this?”

How does he know I’m really good at this? I think it was because of all my writing and after-class experiences. So he aimed the camera at me and I said, “Ump.” And that was it for the entire year. That was my class discussion, that little “Ump.” He let me off because he knew how engaged I was with the content from how much I wrote and because after class it didn’t feel like a class . We went to his house and it was like hanging out with your uncle. Then I felt free to talk and I didn’t realize that was part of his evaluation of my course efforts.

He definitely treated me more gently. I don’t know if that was because I was a woman or because he saw that I had a lot of capability but was intimidated about expressing it. All I remember is that Prof. Gaudino said, “Whose perspective is missing in this? You’re really good at seeing what’s missing, whose voice isn’t heard.” And over the years I’ve thought about that many times because I lived in a community of loggers and I later worked at a museum where I dealt with three different Native American nations. I had married into a native family. So I spent a lot of time looking at experiences through other people’s eyes.