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Phyllis Chesler
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We spent the holiday out in East Hampton at the home of my very dear friend Merle Hoffman. A fabulous cook from Brazil grilled and sautéed and baked for us. Here is a photo of the American flag cake which was a version of a Brazilian cake filled with coconut and plums and words cannot describe the sheer deliciousness of that cake. Thank you Elizabeth! And the afternoon-long conversation with two feminist professors, whom I have known since the late 1960s and early 1970s, was equally delicious. Lilia Melani (Literature and Film) and Sandi Cooper (History) were, like me, intimately involved in the class action lawsuit on behalf of women at the City University of New York. What was especially wonderful was the way we sidestepped certain political differences for the sake of the importance of our long history together. We found common ground: The academy requires civility, not hostility, when disagreements arise; the search for facts still remains important; one can interpret the same facts in opposite ways. That evening, we dropped in to another party at Linda Stein's home and saw some other long-time cherished feminist friends: Charlotte Bunch, Roxanne Carillo, Eleanor Pam, Blanche Wiesen Cook, Claire Coss, many members of The Feminist Press, and Rebecca Seawright, a New York State Assemblywoman. Again, whatever disagreements we may have had mattered little. We were all still alive, redolent with memories, a bit worse for the wear—and so there we stood or sat, with our post-surgical slings, stories of plagues valiantly defeated, gripping canes, wearing the flattest of shoes—we who were once amazing Amazons together.