Friday, May 10, 2013

TING AND I, Tribute to Tina Su Cooper from Friend Deanne Gitner

Deanne Gebell Gitner and Tina formed a strong friendship at Cornell. Both were from upstate rather than “the city,” and each was a member of a minority group (Jewish and Chinese, respectively). They have remained warm friends during the nearly fifty years since they first met. Deanne writes:

Tina lived next door to me in Dickson Hall our freshman year, and she shared a double with our friend Maddi Daub in our sophomore year. The Dickson dorm was all single rooms and only women. It was a time when women students were fighting for their rights. For example, the women’s dorms had curfews when the semester began, and no curfews when the semester ended a few months later. I do not know how much these things affected Tina, but they may have.

Tina met Doug in her freshman year, but Tina told us (her corridor mates) that she needed to find a six-foot-tall man from China, from northern China, to keep her parents happy. We felt we understood her problem, as we were all told to find a Jewish boy and that our parents would give us trouble if we did not.

There were only two Asian women in our class in 1962, one of whom was Tina. Her parents sent her away for her junior year to London to study and, probably, to get her away from Doug.

Tina and I lived in adjoining Balch Hall rooms for our senior year. When Tina returned to Cornell in 1966, she began to fraternize with the few Asian students who were at Cornell then. Doug had graduated. Tina kept up her search for a tall, handsome Chinese boy. She had been noticed by a group of Taiwanese graduate students (men) who wanted to get to know this beautiful Asian woman who studied all the time in Olin Library. One found a unique way of getting to meet her, making her the only person I knew who came home from the library with an armful of flowers. It was too late. Doug had already claimed her heart!

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