Story ‣ The Children Of California Shall Be Our Children

A woman in modest dress, accompanied by her husband, dressed in a comfortable but cheap suit, got off a train at Boston Station and went to the Harvard University principal’s office.

They did not make an appointment. At first glance, the secretary decided that those people at Harvard had nothing to look for.

“We’d like to meet with the school principal,” the man said in a silenced voice.

“He’ll be busy all day,” the drought secretary answered.

“We’ll wait,” the woman said.

The secretary ignored the visitors for several hours hoping that at some point they would be disappointed and leave on their own. However, when she made sure that they wouldn’t go anywhere themselves, she decided to harass the director and inform about their visit.

“Maybe if you accept them for a minute and wake them up, then they’d rather leave? ” she asked the director

The director sighed angrily and agreed. As important as he is, he certainly does not have time to accept people dressed so modestly.

When the visitors entered, the director immediately measured them with his stern and arrogant gaze. The woman turned to him:

– We had a son, he studied at your university for a year. He loved this place and was very happy here but sadly passed away a year ago unexpectedly. My husband and I would therefore like to leave some memory of him on the territory of this university.

The director was not happy about it at all, but on the contrary he was very irritated.

– Lady! – he replied impudently, – we can’t build monuments to everyone who studied at Harvard and died. If we did, it would soon be a cemetery.

– No, I didn’t mean so – the woman quickly objected, – we don’t want to build a monument, nor a statue, we want to build a new building for Harvard.

The director looked at the faded checkered dress and a cheap suit and exclaimed, “God, do you people have any idea how much such a building costs? All Harvard buildings are worth over seven million dollars together!

The wife hasn’t said anything in a minute. The director had an ominous smile of joy. So they will see her out of here after all!

The woman turned to her husband and said quietly:

– Is it so cheap to build a new university? So why don’t we build our own university?

The man gave a nod in agreement. Harvard director faded and looked confused.

The Stanford spouses got up and left the office without further ado.

In Palo Alto, California, they established a university that bears his name – Stanford University in memory of their beloved son.

(Wikipedia: “Stanford University was founded by a train tycoon, US Senator Leland Stanford and his wife Jane Stanford. The university is named after their only late son, Leland. Leland Stanford, Sr. told his wife, “From now on, all the children in California will be like our own children”… )