A Brand New Home
Students Move Into Green Residence Halls
IN THE EARLY morning hours of August 30, the very first student residents of Atherton Hall began opening their doors. Pitzer students and staff welcomed the newcomers and pitched in to help first-year students and their families with the move-in. In September, the last students to occupy old Sanborn Hall relocated to their new rooms in Pitzer Hall and the new Sanborn Hall. Read more about student life in the new residence halls in Life In Our Green Home.
Reading Annie’s War
Professor Emerita Jackie Levering Sullivan Shares Her First Novel
It seemed to me too many folks were awful sad and lonely or else angry about something, like the war hadn’t truly ended. Little bits and pieces of it were still stuck in everybody’s craw like a tiny bit of fish bone. Not nearly enough to choke you to death but enough to make your throat raw.
JACKIE LEVERING SULLIVAN, founder and director of Pitzer College’s Writing Center, celebrated the publication of her first novel, Annie’s War (Eerdmans Books), with a reading, book signing and ice cream social at the Grove House on October 12.
The novel, for children ages eight to twelve, begins one year after World War II. Eleven-year-old Annie worries about her father, who was declared missing in action, and her mother, who believes that her husband is dead. Then Annie’s appendix bursts, and she is stuck in the hospital for more than a month.
During her stay, Annie gets an unusual visitor—President Harry S. Truman. Though everyone insists he is a figment of her imagination, the president offers Annie the friendship and support she desperately needs.
Annie faces more family tension when she is sent to recuperate at her grandma’s house. Grandma has taken in a new tenant, Miss Gloria Jean Washington, a young black woman fleeing discrimination and her own sad past. Annie’s Uncle Billy, a bitter WWII veteran, is furious because he doesn’t want a “colored” so close to home.
With the help of Mr. Truman, Annie tries to understand her uncle’s behavior, her father’s absence and Miss Gloria’s sorrow. She begins to realize some wounds of war never heal.
During the reading, Levering Sullivan explained her creative process and why she chose to write the book. She initially began Annie’s War as a story about a girl trying to help her family cope with the aftermath of WWII, but soon found that she was actually writing Annie’s story to satisfy her own curiosity about how the real Miss Gloria came to be such an important part of her family.
As a young girl Levering Sullivan spent her summers in Walla Walla, Washington, with her grandmother and her housekeeper Gloria. Levering Sullivan would pass countless hours with Gloria at the Corner Grocery that was attached to her grandmother’s house and going to the movies. “When I close my eyes and think about Gloria, I can still feel the soft touch of her hands cupped around my face,” she said.
During the ’40s, a time when prejudice was commonplace, Levering Sullivan recalled how her grandmother ignored her neighbors’ attitudes and gave Gloria, a black woman, a home and a job. Many years later, a conversation with her aunt rekindled the affection and admiration she felt for her grandmother’s strength of character and she began to write.
“This book started with images of my grandmother and Gloria in the Corner Grocery. There were happy images, though I know the time was not always so happy for all of us,” she said. “Later in the process, I was writing at a time when we found ourselves in another war and I thought this story might resonate with young readers who have been touched by the conflict in Iraq.”
Politics of Race, Immigration and Ethnicity Colloquium
PITZER COLLEGE Associate Professor of Political Studies and Chicano Studies Adrian Pantoja and Claremont Graduate University Assistant Professor of Politics and Policy Jennifer Merolla led the Politics of Race, Immigration and Ethnicity Colloquium (PRIEC) held at Pitzer College on September 28. PRIEC is an ongoing series of meetings that brings together faculty and graduate students from the West Coast to discuss their research related to race, ethnicity and immigration. “While this conference typically meets at large research universities such as UCLA or USC, I invited the participants to hold their meeting at Pitzer College,” Pantoja said. “There was a general consensus that this was one of the best PRIEC conferences and the participation of Pitzer students greatly contributed to its success. The participants are looking forward to a future meeting at Pitzer.”