It was a bitterly cold, snowy evening. The candidates' forum for the Clinton, New York school board was deserted, except for the superintendent of schools, the candidates, of whom I was one, the local newspaper's reporter, and two very elderly women who were sitting in the back row of folding chairs. When I got up to speak, they smiled, nodded as I made points, and applauded when I was through. I had no idea who they were when I went over, after the forum, to thank them for braving the weather to support me.

One of them took my hand in both of hers, smiled, and said: "When we saw you were Wellesley, we had to come. We are Wellesley, too, my dear, and we support one another." What a gift of kindness and encouragement to a younger alum--one I have tried to pass on as I have been able. (And yes, I won the election!)