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Inspiring Women February 2023

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profile<br />

This is My “Golden Age”<br />

Claudia Tessier, a member of AWC Berlin, grew up in the Flower Child<br />

years. Today, as she approaches her 80s, she embraces her maturity<br />

and doesn’t let it stop her from trying new things.<br />

I<br />

grew up in a small Massachusetts town<br />

characterized by traditional American<br />

culture. I thought my life was typical and<br />

normal, but I didn’t find it satisfactory.<br />

I wanted more. My mother encouraged<br />

me, nurturing a love for books, music, and<br />

animals, as well as a desire to travel.<br />

The Flower Child Years<br />

Moving to Boston for college and work exposed<br />

me to greater diversity, but moving to San<br />

Francisco in 1966 was the defining point in<br />

my adult life. It was at the height of the Flower<br />

Child years, with political movements, protests,<br />

and more. I worked, socialized, and made<br />

friends with people of all ages, ethnicities,<br />

religions; professionals, mainstream workers,<br />

unemployed; gays, straights, hippies, sexists,<br />

feminists; intellectuals, non-intellectuals,<br />

anti-intellectuals. I was stimulated by such<br />

authors as Betty Friedan, James Baldwin, and<br />

Gloria Steinem; by such activists as Angela<br />

Davis, Tom Hayden, and Malcolm X; by such<br />

performers as Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, and<br />

Aretha Franklin. I marched, protested, sang,<br />

danced, loved, laughed, cried, changed,<br />

and grew.<br />

Claudia Tessier<br />

An enduring impact<br />

I left San Francisco in 1975, but its impact<br />

persists. Decades later, when I traveled to<br />

Berlin, first for conferences, then for pleasure,<br />

I was reminded of San Francisco in the 60s<br />

and 70s. Berlin’s diversity especially appealed<br />

to me. Its population: diverse in age, ethnicity,<br />

experience. Its multiple concert venues, opera<br />

houses, museums. Its varied architecture,<br />

cuisines, activities, neighborhoods. Its ease of<br />

travel, locally and widely.<br />

Claudia and<br />

her husband<br />

enjoying Egypt.<br />

58 INSPIRING WOMEN INSPIRING WOMEN 59

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