Germantown High School * Philadelphia, PA. * Class of 1957


Lois Addison

What GHS Meant to Me

***I don't think my sense of my years at GHS has changed all that much from how I felt when I was there. School meant everything to me. Always has. School was simply "not home". I had a really difficult time at home. This was true for as long as I can remember. I was a"at war" with my mother" with no support from father or brother.from as far back as I am able to remember.

***Of course there were the "grim" memories. The teenage years as a social failure. But that was minor. School was my life. I cannot count the number of days I arrived at my locker, very early in the morning in tears. What saved me? Mainly teachers. While I am glad to have the yearbook again, and I will scan their pictures and print them , I didn't need the yearbook to remember them.

***There was Miss Steger. She was head of the women's phys ed department. She was a grandmother to me. She was really marvelous. She took night classes at Temple in poetry. She was also a left-wing Democrat and we shared, along with the Raackes a passion for politics... for Adlai Stevenson. Miss Moody. She was a rock for me. Told me I was a good kid and encouraged me to hang in there. Miss Pence, also Phys ed, taught me about classical music. Played Bach for me. Taught me what a fugue was. Do you remember Miss Steele? I can close my eyes and see her. Challenging woman. I remember we read Addison and Steele's Spectator Papers. And there we were - Addison and Steele. She used to give me A+ for content and D for spelling. She encouraged me to play Scrabble... "Please play Scrabble...." She had gone to Bryn Mawr - in olden days when it was difficult for women to receive good educations. And then Miss Goldberg. She took me aside and gave me Catcher in the Rye, Auden and Yeats. Dr. Mullikin who taught Plane Geometry and Algebra. She taught me how to think - to organize material and analyze it.

***There was the intellectual challenge of the students in my classes.... and after- school athletics.

***Teachers have always been important to me. Actually I can name almost every teacher I had from kindergarten on up - and from even those early years, it was teachers who made an enormous difference in my life - not just GHS ones. But the teachers at GHS saved my life, and that is no exaggeration. I will carry them in memory until I die. I have always felt that one cannot repay one's teachers - one can only pass on their generosity. While I am strongly non-religious, what I was given made teaching something like a sacred mantle. When I was a Teaching Fellow at the University of Michigan - they set up a student-initiated university wide " 10 Best Teaching Fellow Awards" - I got one the first year they were given and I sent it back to GHS - it seemed fitting .

***I am just really glad I went there.
***Lois Anne Addison

Life After GHS

***It is impossible for me to convey anything about my life in a simple form. Life has turned out much differently from anything I expected and I ended up taking a lot of less travelled paths. As I look at my life now I realize that the most consistent drive and force in my life has been political and social values. You may remember how intense I was about the Stevenson-Eisenhower Presidential election in '56.

***I needed to get away from home, somewhere where my mother could not easily come and see me. I went to Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa. I had intended to major in physics. I ended up in Philosophy. I was going to go for a PhD in Philosophy at the University of Michigan. But I won a full fellowship to the newly created East-West Center in Hawaii. I hated it. The administration treated the Asian students terribly - so some of us organized and challenged what was happening. The US House sub-comm on state dep[artment appropriations was not amused and denounced us as "left-wing agitators sent to EW Center to stir up trouble". It was a circus. I was the first to resign my grant. I returned to Pennsylvania.

***Since the summer after graduating from Wilson, I had won the James Finnegan Award and worked at Pa Democratic State Committee - I went to Harrisburg to work there again - stayed 2 and a half years . Decided I really did want to go to grad school and went off to Ann Arbor in '64.

***Those were radical years, of course and in that period I lost my "political innocence" - started reading more critical histories re: US Foreign Policy under both Dems and Repubs...

***Because I had done something else besides go straight through school, the Chair of the Department of Philosophy assigned me as a TF to teach in their undergrad political theory course - for the first time I read the "Early" Marx manuscripts - and in a way, that changed the course of my intellectual development and my life.

***When my 3 years as TF came to end, I became a Lecturer in Philosophy at a new experimental college that was part of the U of MIch (Residential College)... was there for 5 years...

***During that time, the women's movement exploded, and so did the lesbian movement . I came out and started challenging certain structures - fought for and got the right to have my Fresh seminar be all-women but pissed a lot of people off in the meantime.

So I moved further and further to the left - became a lesbian separatist - put out an Underground paper called "Spectre".

***I had been in Czechoslovakia right before the invasion in '68 and had followed what the Czechs did to subvert the Russians - mainly very clever use of ham radios... so in '70 as I was still teaching, I went to the local Comm College to study TV repair..... to learn about electronic stuff.

***Just as my academic career was on the brink of "making it" - i.e. I was invited to be one of the faculty in a 3 faculty course on Marxism in the "big school". I chose to leave the university . I had completed all course work and exams but had not written my dissertation. I was alienated from the university as a place of great privilege. I decided to work for some radical changes. In a way what I did was choose a downwardly mobile path... a job would be just that - a job. That was '73

***My partner and I went to Detroit. I had a job fixing tvs and I put my partner through nursing school. We were going to join the Public Health Service - so I went to Lab Tech school. She got into the PA program at Duke and we moved to North Carolina....

***I got a job running the lab in the Family Medicine Department at the University of North Carolina - and ended up teaching the residents a lot about laboratory medicine. I co-authored the first book on office labs and got several CDC and fed grants to develop educational programs for residents.

***I ceased to be a lesbian separatist when partner left me to have an affair with a male attending at Duke. I had a very hard time and it was the staff at work that took care of me.. This certainly forced me to re-evaluate my position. They were wonderful years - because my politics and that I was a lesbian were all out in the open. We would have wonderful; arguments. I taught generations of Fam Prac residents how to take care of gay male and lesbian patients and a lot about primary care lab medicine.....

***In '87 I re-met Dorothy and in '89 immigrated to Canada and have been here ever since. Since the medical system here is quite different (no office labs) there was not much to do and as I was away from the states and out of a lab, my contracts slowly dried up. So I started gardening . We live on 5 acres in the country.

***I don't know if it made the papers there but almost a month ago an Ontario judge ruled that the denial of marriage licenses to same sex couples was a violation the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and he ordered immediate change. So Dorothy and I got our license and after 16 years were married on June 28th.

***I share my life with Dorothy and three cats (Alice B Toklas, Gertrude Stein, and Zami) and 2 Bouvier dogs (Morgaine de Fey 8 1/2 and Pride, a puppy). I spend my time gardening, taking care of our animals and the birds. I cannot imagine life without classical music. I read a lot, think about all sorts of things even more , and write little vignettes about the woods and all that live there. I make all our beer and wine (Canada has extremely high sin taxes). I am sorry I was not born in Canada so that I would have learned to skate and play ice hockey. I would have been very good. I regret that I lost my left index finger in '73 because I would have loved to play the cello.

***This synopsis does not do my life "story" justice and may be more than you cared to know, but does give a sense of a life quite different from what I started.

***Lois Addison

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Special Thanks to Lois Addison for Scanning Yearbook Photos &
Special Thanks to Katherina Kripl Bonner for sending Lois Her Copy of the June 1957 Yearbook
& to George Palmer for sending Lois His Copy of the January 1957 Yearbook.

This Page Updated 07/03/04 gwf