By Enid Davis
I had the honor of interviewing Gloria Brown on Saturday evening, March 23, at the gala event at The Harker School. Brown, a Palo Alto resident, graduated from Miss Harker’s School as a high school senior in 1945. The interview was held in honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Miss Harker’s School in 1902.
The stage setting was perfect. Two large burgundy arm chairs, book shelves stocked with texts from Miss Harker’s School and the Palo Alto Military Academy (both of our founding schools), and an iron coat rack that displayed two dresses once belonging to Sara Harker set the scene.
I asked Mrs. Brown questions concerning life in the Palo Alto boarding school during World War II. She described how Miss Sara went shopping armed with over 50 ration books. There was little help in the kitchen and on the grounds, but the small, devoted staff worked very hard to make life comfortable for the students. We learned about the war efforts of Miss Sara and the students. I read a letter sent to Miss Harker by General Douglas MacArthur thanking the headmistress for her efforts to improve the life for underprivileged children of Japanese leper parents.
Gloria went on to describe the delightful Sunday dinners and the parties with boys from schools approved by Miss Sara. She spoke about her admiration for Sara Harker, calling her the “most influential person” in her life. This, in spite of her near expulsion for tossing her Latin book out of the bus window as she left for summer vacation. Unluckily for Gloria, the book had been recovered by Miss Sara.
Mrs. Brown closed the interview with an explanation of the school’s motto: “To serve, not to be served,” and the recital of the school’s anthem. She also told the appreciative audience that she “will always be a Harker girl.”