Hillary’s ClassView film
MARTHA TEICBNER: The Wellesley College motto then, as now, is Non ministrari sed ministrara - "Not to be served, but to serve," not to be ministered to, but to minister. Not to be passive, but to be active, I think, is really what it gets down to.
NARRATOR: Every June, the women of Wellesley College return for their class reunions. Over the last century, Wellesley classes have included more than their share of exceptional women. But this year, one class seems special. It was the 25th reunion of a group of women who have come to be identified with their most famous classmate. They knew her as their friend and student body president, Hillary Rodham.
But Hillary and her class are special in another way. ln the past 25 years, they 've
made a journey unlike any other generation, through a time of profound change and upheaval for women. This is their story, the story of Hillary's class.
This is the Wellesley of the 1930s, when their mothers were in college. Wellesley accepted girls who were smart, well-bred and sheltered, middle class girls as well as the daughters of the wealthy. For many of them, the unabashed goal of a Wellesley education was a trip to the altar. Every spring, Wellesley girls rolled h ops down a hill in a race to see who would be the first to marry. With any luck, the winner would get a Harvard man.
In 1965, when Hillary's class came to Wellesley, the hoops were still there. So were most of the traditions of their mothers' and grandmothers' day.
JOHANNA BRANSON: Well, I remember coming to Wellesley when I was 1 8, fresh from Kansas, walking around the campus, thinking, "Oh, I have never seen such a beautiful group of young women together in one place in my life." We were brought into an assembly in Alumnae Hall practically the first day. we w re here and we were told- the phrase was, "the cream of the cream." And that sounds really bratty and elitist now to me when I say it, even. But at the time, it was a wonderful thing to hear if you were a girl. It was a wonderful thing to be told that you didn't have to take second seal to anybody and that you were- you were one smart cookie.
NARRATOR: But Wellesley girls were expected to be not just smart, but also graceful, young ladies who were studious and genteel and who understood the rules. In 1965.curfews were still enforced, men allowed in the dorms only on Sundays, with the door open, and skirts required for trips into town.
JOHANNA BRANSON: You had to pass a course called "Fundamentals of Movement," which involved learning how to get out of back seats of cars gracefully in high heels. And you had to have a posture picture taken. A posture picture was- you were- you were taken into this little black box of a closet. I think they let you keep your underwear on, but I'm not sure about that. And little stickers were put down your spine and you stood there and, all of a sudden, to your side, the doors flew open and lights flashed and a photograph was taken and the- and the doors slam shut again, you know, lest anybody really see you out there. And a picture had been taken of how well those spots lined up on your spine.
NARRATOR: Diligent, straight-backed, well-behaved A students. That was why they'd been accepted to Wellesley in the first place. Ann Sherwood was a doctor 's daughter from Ohio.
ANN SHERWOOD SENTILLES: We'd all worked hard. We'd all achieved across the board. We'd all done basically the same things. We were all editors of the paper or editors of the yearbook or heads of the government or whatever it was. We were all- we were all the same and we were all pretty much white Anglo-Saxon Protestants.
NARRATOR: Almost all. Of the more than 400 members of the Class of '69, only a few were black. Six, to be exact. Francille Rusan was from St. Louis.
FRANCILLE RUSAN: I come to Wellesley. I have my trunks and my parents. And I meet my roommate, Susan Liebowitz, who was from New York. And I don't think anything is strange at all. And over the next few days, as I'm meeting the other students, I realize that all of the other black students except one have black roommates. And when I talked to my own roommate, I discover that the college has called her and asked her if she would like to be a part of an experiment. And I'm pretty upset because they never called me and asked me if I would like to be a part of an experiment.
NARRATOR: Janet McDonald was from New Orleans.
JANET McDONALD HILL: I went to Wellesley at 17. I also had never met anyone who wasn't black until I got to the campus at Wellesley. It was a big shock. So I planned to call home and I did. And I expected my father to answer the phone and I was going to say, "Daddy, I want to come home", and he was going to say, "Honey, I'm coming to get you." And then I would come home and go to Newcomb College at Tulane University, which would be fine. But my mother answered the phone and the rest is history.
NARRATOR: If Janet and the other black students felt like outsiders on the Wellesley
campus, Nancy Wanderer was the ultimate Wellesley insider. An honor student from the Pittsburgh suburbs, Nancy was elected president of their freshman class.
NANCY WANDERER: I did a lot of bustling around and if there was something that needed to be organized, I usually ended up getting involved somehow and doing that. It was fun, but really, it felt more serious than that to me. It felt like something I had to do and make a contribution, even if it was to sophomore fathers' day or something that didn't ultimately affect the world at all.
NARRATOR: While on other campuses, students were in open revolt against authority, Wellesley, like most other women 's colleges, remained quiet and peaceful. But very slowly change did come to the campus. It began with opposition to the rigid social rules and regulations.
ANN SHERWOOD SENTILLES: You know, somebody was telling me, you know, at what minute I could kiss my date good night and step inside the door and that just didn't make any sense.
JOHANNA BRANSON: The social change really mattered because that had to do with our self-respect and our ability to assume responsibility for our own lives. And so we focused on those rules first and changing those rules. And by the time we graduated, we had gotten rid of most of them.
NARRATOR: Once the social rules were dropped, the student movement gained momentum. Hillary Rodham emerged as a leader in the campaign to change Wellesley. Black and white students banded together in demanding a more modern curriculum, more minorities on campus and an end to the war in Vietnam.
MARTHA TEICHNER: It was very exciting and very disturbing and disturbing in ways that, I think, defined a lot of people for the rest of their live$. It certainly defined me. And I think that some people held back and chose the old route, the old Wellesley, the Wellesley of the '50s and the early '60s, and other people saw it as a river moving them into a different era.
NARRATOR: While many of her classmates were moving in a new direction, Nancy Wanderer chose the old Wellesley, to the great relief of her mother, Marge.
MARGE WANDERER: What we hoped we would get from Wellesley is that we thought it would develop her into a fine wife and a wonderful mother. I hate to say that these days, but that really is what we thought was going to come out of Wellesley. And we were not disappointed because what she came home with was beyond a mother's wildest dream and I just thought, "Wow. Whatever it cost us, it was well worth it because look what she found at Wellesley."
NARRATOR: Nancy was married in the Wellesley Chapel in the spring of 1968.
MARGE WANDERER: She was a traditional bride, with veil and train, with 750 girls and their dates, in the chapel. And her mother was pleased as punch because here was the- was the end of a dream. This young lady dressed in white was my daughter and she was beautiful.
NARRATOR: Nancy and her classmates graduated a year later and, for the first time ever, Wellesley allowed a student to speak at commencement. The class chose the president of their student body, Hillary Rodham.
NANCY WANDERER: Hillary and I were, I think, on a somewhat similar track when we came to college. We were both involved in college government. We were friend s and colleagues in some of the -things that we did, that we tried to do together. l always had one eye on Hillary. he was always doing things the way I maybe could have done if I'd made different choices, so I was always watching Hillary.
NARRATOR: The main commencement speaker that day was Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke. He urged the class of '69to resist the wave of youth protests sweeping the country, which he called "a perversion of democratic privilege." When Hillary took the podium, she set aside her prepared remarks and responded impromptu.
JAN DUSTMAN MERCER: It was brash. It was brilliant. It was unplanned. And it was disrespectful to Edward Brooke, Senator Brooke, who spoke at our- at our graduation. And I can remember squirming in my seat. At the same time, you know, the inner me was saying, ''All right!'
NARRATOR: Hillary chastised the Senator for underestimating her generation. She defended their idealism. As the French students wrote on the wall of the Sorbonne, she said, "Demand the impossible. We will settle for nothing less."
MARGE WANDERER: I would have thought that someone could have stopped her. I would have liked to have stopped her. I'm sure her mother would have liked to have stopped her. But her class absolutely encouraged her and when she finished, they rose in a body and applauded her. And I will never forget it because Nancy said to me at the end of graduation, "Take a good look at her. She will probably be the president of the United States someday." And that shook me up.
MARTHA TEICHNER: She was saying what our generation of Wellesley College students came to believe was possible. We thought this is where life would take us, as a
generation and as women.
JOHANNA BRANSON: By the time we graduated, we had real choices in front of us. It wasn't a given role in life we were facing. It was energizing. It was exciting. And you believed that you could accomplish almost anything.
MARGE WANDERER: It kind of frightened me. The whole group frightened me because this was the beginning of a whole new era and these women were going to go out and take over the world. Not my daughter, because my daughter was very safely married. I thought she was going to be home sweeping the floor and taking care of the baby, so I wasn't going to worry about her. But I worried about the other ones because they were so sure. They were so sure of themselves and that is something that Wellesley instills in these women. I just hope that they all are successful and happy. No, I'm going to re-state that. I just hope that they 're all happy.
BETSY GRIFFITH: The class of 1969 was remarkably lucky to graduate when we did. We had all kinds of opportunities opening up to us because of the times. We had been taught to excel, to expect that we could do well, that there should be no inhibitions on what a woman could do. That's the Wellesley message. And then we finally graduate into a world where the women's movement will make lots of changes, will open many doors for all of us.
NARRATOR: Doors were opening and it seemed that all they had to do was choose. Jan Dustman found a job with a large Boston bank. Within two years, she was one of the only two women to be promoted to marketing officer.
JAN DUSTMAN MERCER: It was a day I'll never forget. As a congratulations and sort of a celebratory thing, our boss took us to lunch. And he took us to the officers dining room where only officers of the bank were allowed to eat. And people sat at long tables and they were served and it was really quite formal. People turned around and just kind of looked at us. It was as though we had come into this room that was such a male bastion and their looks did not indicate surprise or upset or anything. It wasn't a negative thing at all. It was just we were so remarkable, being women and being there.
ANN SHERWOOD SENTILLES: I knew in high school that I loved working on the newspaper and I pursued it at Wellesley and I knew I wanted to go to graduate school and I was thrilled when I got my first job at a T.V. station.
According to Harold Holdsworth, clerk of the Franklin County Board of Elections, the last-
NARRATOR: Ann Sherwood was hired by a television station in Ohio to be their first woman reporter on the air.
ANN SHERWOOD SENTILLES: For Eyewitness News, this is Ann Sherwood.
I had a news director who magnanimously and tenaciously let me cover school integration and city politics and children 's issues. And I just- I had a wonderful time. It was great fun.
MARTHA TEICHNER: When I finished my four years at Wellesley, I didn't have a clue what I wanted to do. I was terrified. It wasn't that I was facing a big adventure. It was, "Oh, my God. How am I going to do something that I think means something in my life?'
WALTER CRONKITE, CBS News: Our Martha Teichner went to the education ministry, occupied for two weeks, and found the militants to be fresh faced youngsters.
MARTHA TEICHNER: So it is not only here in El Salvador, but throughout Latin America. These are the children of revolution and wherever they go-
NARRATOR: Like Ann, Martha Teichner pursued a career in journalism. Her work took her around the world, but Wellesley was never far behind.
MARTHA TEICHNER: Non ministrari sed ministrara - that's the- that's the motto, not to be ministered to, but to minister, or something like that. But it's- it's not to be passive, but to be active, I think, is really what it gets down to and, you know, it's a compulsion.
Along ''cocaine alley,' 'where cocaine supports just about everybody in one way or anot11er-
When you leave Wellesley College, you drag with you that motto in- in a sack over your back that's a weight on your shoulders to the end of time. It's true.
NARRATOR: Before they knew it, it was their 10th reunion. Hillary Rodham brought her husband, the newly--elected governor of Arkansas. Francille Rusan was in graduate school and the mother of a toddler. Jan Dustman also had news to report to her classmates.
JAN DUSTMAN MERCER: Jan Dustman Mercer, 10th reunion: "Tom and I are both bank vice presidents but, strangely enough, the only arena in which we compete is the kitchen. Having always wondered how people manage to balance career, marriage and children, we finally feel prepared to find out if we can add the third dimension as successfully as the other two. There's a little Mercer due to arrive on the scene shortly after reunion."
When I was promoted to vice president at t11is bank, I was also pregnant and no one else knew it. All I can remember thinking was, "Oh, my word. I wonder if they know that I'm pregnant? What would happen if they did know?" And [knew that I was in uncharted territory anyway and I just figured this extra little glitch- it wasn't exactly a little glitch- this glitch was going to have some unknown effect on me and my career. Little did l know how much of an effect.
NARRATOR: Jan had her baby and, a few months later, went back to work.
JAN DUSTMAN MERCER: I didn't want to stay really late. I did want to get home and see my baby and 1 felt tremendous conflict. But I also knew that there were people watching LO sec if I was at my desk as many hours as I had been before. I actually had a woman c me up to me and she said to me, "Jan, you've got to do this well because you're doing it for all of us." And I was flattered, on the one hand but my overwhelming feeling was, "OJ1, my gosh." You know, "This- this is not just me. I'm carrying this huge weight around with me."
ANN SHERWOOD SENTILLES: There was a mantle you carried, beiJ1g the first woman who did whatever it was you were doing. And many of my classmates were the first woman in their law firm to make partner, the first woman in that business, the highest-ranking woman in the bank, whatever the- whatever it was. Unfortunately, I think we saw it as a burden. We saw it as an opportunity, but as a burden, instead of being able to delight in, "Hey, we're here and look what we're doing" and enjoying it.
NARRATOR: Ann tried to enjoy it. She'd married and held onto her career as a reporter while managing her growing family, but it was getting increasingly difficult.
ANN SHERWOOD SENTILLES: I agonized for years that I couldn't do it all. Now, I did know I couldn't do it all and I did spend good time doing what I could do, but I really thought I should be- always thought, always thought I should be doing something more.
NARRATOR: For some of the black women in the class of '69, the conflict between work and family felt less dramatic.
FRANCILLE RUSAN: I always thought I would have a career. I didn't really think about that this would be a big deal because my mother had- had worked.
NARRATOR: Francille Rusan married, had children and built a career teaching Afro American studies.
FRANCILLE RUSAN: Most black women had been raised to believe that you would get married, but you would be capable of supporting yourself. And I think that was something that was very different from the white students that graduated from Wellesley. The idea that you would have a career was a new idea and there was much more conflict about staying at home and not staying at home.
NARRATOR: Janet McDonald married Calvin Hill, a star running back for the Dallas Cowboys who was often away for long stretches at a time. She worked 12-hour days as a consultant for the Army and the Pentagon while her son, Grant, was young.
JANET McDONALD HILL: I also connected with Grant every single day, mostly from the Pentagon, when he was a young child and at home with a sitter after school, by calling him at 4:00 o'clock every day, where we had the kind of a conversation d1at mothers who are at home have. And if I were in Germany, if I were in Fort Hood, Texas, if I were at the Pentagon, it didn't matter. I made that connection the same time every day.
NARRATOR: But for Jan, working at the bank while raising a young child was getting too difficult.
JAN DUSTMAN MERCER: I ended up leaving the bank because the older my son got, the more I felt I had not enough flexibility, so I kind of popped the decision on them, but I was extremely disappointed that no one came to me and begged me to stay. If nothing else, I was an important number for government statistics- you know, a woman in a high position. And the ranks closed very quickly behind me. It was- it was a very painful experience, as a matter of fact.
NARRATOR: In 1980, Ann, too, was faced with having to leave her job when her husband was offered a new position in Dallas. Although she didn't want to go, she followed him there.
ANN SHERWOOD SENTILLES: Moving to Dallas was one of the hardest things I ever did. I had a 6-year-old, a 3-year-old and an infant. I had no help, no support, and I had a husband who was in a new job and that was taking all of his emotional energy and physical energy, too.
IRWIN SENTILLES: I thought we had talked about what we were doing, but I probably didn't listen as much as I should have to where Ann was.
ANN SHERWOOD SENTILLES: I didn't do anything right about it. I did a lot of crying and raging and screaming and I'm not proud of that time in my life. It was- it was not good for the marriage. It was not good for my children. I mean, I began to wonder if my children would ever be happy because they never saw me happy.
IRWIN SENTILLES: Raising kids takes a lot of time and that's always been a priority for us. Ann is the one who has executed that priority, I guess.
INTERVIEWER: So do you think that's what she wanted, to stay home with the kids?
IRWIN SENTILLES: That's a hard question.
ANN SHERWOOD SENTILLES: I realized that I'd made a deal that nobody else was party t0, that I had given up several things that were important to me: my independence, my career. And in exchange, I expected Irwin to be there- be there for me whenever I needed him for whatever I needed. He didn't make that deal.
MARTHA TEICHNER: There are reports that the Iraqis have crossed the border overnight and laid new mines-
NARRATOR: Murtha Teichner continued with the television career that Ann felt she had to give up.
MARTHA TEICHNER: And by just turning around, I can count more than 40 oil fires on the horizon.
I'm never bored. I never get tired of the stories. That's what drives me. I never get tired of the adventuring. I never get tired of the writing.
On the ground in Sarajevo, the C-130s don't even shut off their engines.
But if someone had told me when I was 24 that the price tag at the end of the road, when I 'm 46, is that I would have moved 10 times, moves over 600 miles, being uprooted again and again and again just when some sort of root in a personal life begins to grow, I don't know what I would have done. When I was in London the first time, from 1980 till 1984, I had just gotten to the point where I thought, "Well, I 'm reaching out so that this really is home and maybe I could meet somebody and get married and so on and so forth"- I was about 34, 35. I could figure it out, but mid-30s, at the time when you start thinking about those things, if you haven 't had them. And I was transferred to Dallas and the management - the president and the vice president of CBS News - came through and transferred a lot of people. And my first reaction, the first thing that crossed my mind was, "Now I 'll never have children." And I knew that- that that was it, that by the time life played itself out, with the amount of travel I did and so on, that that was it ,that I would be 40and probably transferred again and that my chances were- were most likely demolished forever and I went outside. And my office overlooked Hyde Park, which is a lovely green, big, elegant park in the middle of London. And I went outside and I sort of stumbled through the park to a bridge and I grabbed onto a bush, just stood there for an hour and a half and cried and cried and cried uncontrollably because I knew I would never have children. And yes, I could have said, ''I quit," but I had a mother to support, so I couldn't say, "Well, I'm just going to walk away from this" because who would take care of my mother?
NARRATOR: Martha did move to Dallas and, after a few years, she was transferred to South Africa, then back to London. She didn't marry, nor did she have children. The year she was transferred to Dallas was also the year of her 15th reunion. She didn't go.
Ann also decided to stay home in Dallas and not to go to the reunion.
ANN SHERWOOD SENTILLES: I let my classmates be my peers. lf I'm going to feel judged, they're my jury. And I think, well, they must wonder what I do all day or why I don't work or how productive I think I- you know, I read other people 's judgments and they're really my own.
NARRATOR: Nancy Wanderer had also worried about how her classmates would see her.
NANCY WANDERER: I actually gave some small thought to not going to the last reunion, which will shock people because l am the 100 percent most loyal class of '69 Wellesley person there could possibly be. But I did. I did think about it because so much had changed right about the time of that reunion and I didn't even know what I would say to people when I came as a different person or- you know, different- different circumstances.
NARRATOR: Nancy had stayed home, raising her two children, while her husband built a career as a successful academic in Maine.
NANCY WANDERER: I never felt like a wife. I tried to. I tried to- I tried to be a faculty wife. I tried to be a graduate student wife. And I just never felt comfortable with it. I always wanted to be my own person in these scenarios and it never seemed like what anyone wanted me to be.
My husband had a high position in the administration at the college and we were not only going to the faculty things, we were going to things with the trustees and all of the dignitaries and I was supposed to behave myself. He didn't tell me this, but I felt there was an expectation of me to be polite, to be not argumentative when- when, for example, the trustees say, "I never hire women salespersons because my customers would never find them credible." I was supposed to say, "Oh, yeah, I really can understand that. "Instead, of course, I was getting in these fights with these people and I was doing small, subversive things like coming to these dinners after I'd be running with my friend, another woman professor, and washing my hair and coming in with my hair wet to the- to these dinners.
NARRATOR: Al the age of 38, deeply unsatisfied, Nancy applied to law school, a dream put aside 18 years earlier when she married. But her restlessness continued.
NANCY WANDERER: And I can remember a night, out in a stormy night, where I went running and my husband- he son of caught up with me and we were out in this- this wild storm with wind and rain and everything else, where he just looked at me and said, you know, "What is wrong with you?" And I- I- it was at that moment that I realized "There is something wrong."
I couldn't bring myself to leave. Finally, he was the one that said, "You 've got to go. "I'm actually very grateful to him that he was- he was wise enough to know when when the end had come.
NARRATOR: Their 15th reunion took place in 1984. To Johanna Branson, the changes seemed dramatic. '
JOHANNA BRANSON: It really hit me at our 10th reunion. We were in our early 30s, so we still were optimistic about getting married, about having children, and everything still seemed to be going our way. And I remember looking around in this room full of women, all dressed in these bright, solid-color jackets, you know, just ready for network news interviews that might drop on them and clutching these thick leather appointment books and running around, networking. And I was thinking, "This is getting borderline insufferably smug,' you know? The optimism was turning a little bit into something that seemed to me to be unbounded. And it was a world different five years later, for the 15th reunion, because women were in their late 30s. Carter wasn't in the White House. People had lost their snazzy jobs. Maybe they were having to reinvent new jobs for themselves. There wasn't a track they could follow. Maybe people 's marriages weren't existing anymore or they still hadn't found somebody. And a lot of people, I think, were facing real fertility problems. And so, as a whole, I remember looking around that room and thinking, 'This is a much humbler but a much more interesting group of women, much more complex."
BETSY GRIFFITH: Here are the words I want you to think about: feminism, liberation-
NARRATOR: Betsy Griffith is an author and an academic ·specializing in women 's history.
BETSY GRIFFITH: Is "feminism" a word which is comfortable to you? Some contemporary writers say it's the new "F" word. Nobody wants to use it. Nobody will say it about themselves.
What does it mean to you?
STUDENT: People parading around on the streets or whatever, just being very militant, saying- you know, bashing men and whatnot.
BETSY GRIFFITH: They don't remember when girls couldn't wear jeans. They don't remember when girls couldn't play Little League soccer. They don't remember when you couldn't be a pilot or get into the military academies. They have no sense of when there were barriers, so you have to put them back in that context and then you talk about what created the change and the commitment to change by women who were feminists. I'm a feminist- unabashed, militant, happily feminist.
NARR ATOR: Betsy is the headmistress of Madeira, an exclusive private school for girls outside Washington. She has two children - a daughter and a son.
BETSY GRIFFITH: John David doesn't seem to notice that he's had a working mom his whole life and he has- seems perfectly content. And when I invite him to bake cookies with me, he thinks it's so unusual that he turns me down. And it would probably be different if I didn't have a husband who also had flexibility in his life to do all these things. I could never have done this job without this marriage supporting me.
JOHN DEARDOURFF: First word- want. Second word- school. Remember that one?
I jokingly refer to myself as "Mr. Mom" in this- in this situation and I enjoy seeing her succeed and so it's not a source of embarrassment at all to me that I do some things that- that men may not do as a- as a normal routine.
I think that Betsy actually thrives on the challenge of making both parts of her life work. There are labels for everything. There are lists for everything. There is a time for everything. She is fastidious in the extreme.
BETSY GRIFFITH: [unintelligible] junk food?
MEGAN: Yes. We need- we need chocolate chip granola bars
BETSY GRIFFITH: Okay.
MEGAN: -and Brussels mint cookies-
BETSY GRIFFITH: Wait, wait. Cookies? Where 's cookies?
MEGAN: No, Mom.
BETSY GRIFFITH: It's required.
BETSY GRIFFITH: Non-negotiable required.
NARRATOR: Betsy's daughter, Megan, is 17.
BETSY GRIFFITH: Give her a chance. Don't back out before you know what happens.
MEGAN: I don't want to.
BETSY GRIFFITH: You have to do it today.
MEGAN: I think she has very high expectation for me. I think she has very high expectations for everyone. I think she expect everyone else to work as hard as she does, to try as hard as she does, to accomplish as much as she tries to accomplish.
INTERVIEWER: Would you do it?
MEGAN: No. I wouldn't- I wouldn't do it the way that she does it. I don 't think I would be able to- to not sleep, to be so stressed all the time, to just run around and run around, that I would want to have it more separate: '''This is my job. This is my family" and there's a line in between them. But whatever. It's her life, not mine- yet.
INTERVIEWER: Who do you measure yourself against?
BETSY GRIFFITH: Oh. I measure myself against an expectation of what I think I could be. I don't think I can define that yet. I don 't think I've satisfied myself on that measure yet. That person would be more balanced. That person would read the newspaper every day. Th.at person would be able to do The New York Times crossword puzzle and exercise for 35 minutes at least four times a week and always be home at bedtimes and still bake cookies. But I'm- maybe I'll grow into that person. I think a lot of us see ourselves as evolving.
JANET McDONALD HILL: Yes, there have been some professional things I haven 't been able to do because I put my son first.
NARRATOR: Janet Hill runs a successful corporate consulting firm in Washington. Her son, Grant, now 21, just signed a $45 million contract to play basketball for the Detroit Pistons. Her husband, Calvin, is a sports consultant.
JANET McDONALD HILL: I don't feel upstaged because I feel very grounded with them and they do check their egos at the door when they come in, their athletic egos at the door, so they don't bring that home. I don't dance. I don't dunk. I don't act. I don't sing. I can't carry the ball. I don't know the motion offense from the man-to-man defense. I'm a fan and I'm simply a super-fan, if you will, as all parents are.
GRANT HILL: I said, who goes to Wellesley? Shh! I'm joking. Joke! I'm a feminist, okay?
JANET McDONALD HILL: I am proud of Grant's career. I'm proud of Calvin's career and I'm proud of my own, too. I don't have a big ego and I don't need a lot of patting on the back to know that I'm gelling the job done and that I'm getting the job done in a superior fashion. I'm generally very happy with my life. I'm pretty content.
JAN DUSTMAN MERCER: I'm not sure how our summer's going to shake out, either.
NARRATOR: Every few weeks, Jan Mercer meets her friend and Wellesley classmate, Ann Sentilles, for coffee.
JAN DUSTMAN MERCER: Tommy's going to debate camp.
ANN SHERWOOD SENTILLES: Oh, fun. Where?
JAN DUSTMAN MERCER: He's going to Winston-Salem.
JAN DUSTMAN MERCER: I was a banker for 12 years. I've been a full-time mother for almost 12 years. Many of the people in my neighborhood where we moved had no idea I had ever had a career- never asked. It was not the norm. They just had no idea about that long period of time in my life that was so important to me.
MARTHA TEICHNER: I couldn't have chosen to just stay home. It was not part of my being. It's not something that I condemn or say is good or bad. It's just I made a choice that, in some ways, is painful to me. They've made choices that, in some ways, have been painful to them.
HARRY SMITH, CBS News: [''CBS This Morning"] Good morning, Martha.
MARTHA TEICHNER: Good morning, Harry. I'm peeking through the papers here. Diana is-
It's a real battle because there are always obstacles. Either it's to compete against somebody that- that is younger or prettier or male or that is the flavor of the month.
HARRY SMITH: Paris and fashion- the words just go together, don't they? Our Martha Teichner just got back to her home base in London after a look at the big spring fashion shows in Paris and she joins us this morning. You look great this morning, Martha, by the way. Good morning.
MARTHA TEICHNER: Oh, thank you, Harry.
HARRY SMITH: So skin, huh? Skin is the thing?
MARTHA TEICHNER: Skin. Skin is the thing. You noticed I'm not wearing any of those things. A, I'd be arrested and, B, it's cold here. I'd freeze to death.
It's a protocol. By doing it with a smile, by doing it according to all those techniques that you learned at Wellesley about being gracious instead of being confrontational.
HARRY SMITH: Great story, Martha. Thank you so much. Great to see you.
MARTHA TEICHNER: The biggest challenge, of course. in my professional life is maneuvering so that I can stay out there. I'm 46 years old. I'm at the losing end of a television news career, no matter how successful or no matter how long or- or satisfying it may be. It's staying out there.
NARRATOR: On the occasion of her 20th reunion, Nancy Wanderer wrote to her classmates.
NANCY WANDERER: "This reunion, I find myself at the end of my 20-year marriage, standing at the threshold of a whole new life. I'm frightened, but energize about what lies ahead both in my new career as a lawyer and in my I life as a self- sufficient woman. I have learned about the support and strength that comes from close ties with other women and I know this will sustain me as I move into the unknown. As the poet Adrienne Rich says, whatever we do together is pure invention. The maps they gave us were out of date by year. At 41, I'm on my own, but definitely not alone."
I know other friends who live with women who are their life partners who- who find ways to not say that. They say they're single mothers. They say they're divorced. They say they're single. And none of that felt right to me and I- I've never been very good at not telling the truth. In fact, I'm lousy at it.
MARGE WANDERER: We couldn't understand it. We didn't want to understand it because it was just something that we just didn't want. And so we didn't go into it. I wasn't so much what I thought. It's what I thought that other people would think.
NANCY WANDERER: I called her and tried to talk to her for- for years. Finally, we hit a- we couldn't do it. We couldn't talk about it. And finally, we hit a point where my father suggested that we shouldn't try to talk and so we didn't.
Losing my mother is an almost unthinkable thing to me. She is the- the person that I've modeled my life on, in all the ways that feel important to me. I couldn't imagine not having her, but I couldn't imagine not being who I was. It- it was an impossible choice and ultimately, I had to choose life for myself.
This is the first time I've hung clothes out this year.
SUSAN: I know. It feels so good to be outside.
NANCY WANDERER: They may freeze.
SUSAN: I know.
NARRATOR: Nancy and Susan have been living together for four years.
NANCY WANDERER: I feel like since I've been on my own and also sharing a home with Susan that- that I'm an adult for the first time.
Well, I see forsythias coming, but- now, when- when did we put that in?
SUSAN: That was the first summer.
NARRATOR: It was only when Nancy's father died in the spring of 1993 that mother and daughter came back together.
MARGE WANDERER: I don't think I realized - I know I never realized what it is to walk away from a child that you've had and it took me a while, but I couldn't walk away. And I think when I came back, I came back as a better mother. Her father never came back.
I can't believe the moon!
NANCY WANDERER: Isn't it great?
MARGE WANDERER: I know.
NANCY WANDERER: In probably another week, it'll be full.
MARGE WANDERER: We'll have to go in.
NANCY WANDERER: And she knows that she has some finite number of years left and I think she just warns to- to really get the most out of it that she can. And I think she also knows that she doesn't want to do that without me. And of course, now that means me and Susan, also.
And she said, "No, the full moon is the "- I think it was the 24th and- I think we've got it now. I don 't think anything like this will ever happen again.
MARGE WANDERER: So are you trying to tell me that with every full moon that there is someone arriving-
SAM DONALDSON, ABC News: It is said in this town repeatedly that Mrs. Clinton has-
ANN SHERWOOD SENTILLES: You know, you spend a day running car pool and say, "Hillary doesn't do this." Yeah, and think what- you know, what 's my life- do I measure against Hillary?
IRWIN SENTILLES: I think Hillary's been really hard for somebody like Ann because she points up the big question: Has what she's done, in fact, been meaningful? I think it's been incredibly meaningful. The problem is, is that you don't get a lot of people reinforcing your judgment.
NANCY WANDERER: Over the years, I have tried to measure myself against Hillary. I think, on the whole, I have felt like I haven't- I haven't come through the way she has. I do find myself still agonizing over that. What if I hadn't gotten married my senior year? What if- I mean, Hillary and I probably would have ended up running against each other for college government and I wonder, what if I had won? Where - where would I be today? What if I'd gone to Yale Law School instead of waiting till I was 38 and going to the University of Maine? They were all choices I made freely and I don't regret them, but- but I have- I've had to- I've had to really struggle with it over the years.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: I wouldn't have missed the chance to be here and to say, "Hello, Wellesley. How are you all?" I'm just so proud!
BETSY GRIFFITH: I think she's a person who has always been responsible. I think she's made responsible choices. She would have been whatever she wanted to be. She as all of those gifts. She made a choice to follow her heart to Arkansas to marry the man she loved, not to compete with him in political life, co be the number two person when she had the strength to be number one.
HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: Wellesley was very, very important to me and I am so grateful that I had the chance to go to college at a place where women were valued and nurtured and encouraged and where we didn't seem odd at all chat we wanted to do whatever it was that we thought best for our lives.
NARRATOR: Some of Hillary's class now have daughters at Wellesley. Twenty -five years after they set out to change the world, most of them are still trying to figure it out.
BETSY GRIFFITH: I don't think that we've got it down yet. I think we have a lot to learn. But I'm not sure that our example is as inspiring to younger women. I think they pick up that there are cracks.
It's a condemnation of our generation, really. It is the 60s parents. Those of us who were- I think all of those good things about the '60s, al l f that energy and ambition and revolution, made us self-centered. I think, for all the talk about doing things for community and changing the world, we are pretty self-centered people. Those of us who've thought about career, who've invested in career- that's taken time away that other generations of women would have given to family.
JOHANNA BRANSON: I have three daughters and I wanted everything to be better for them by now. And I think that's part of every young generation. You think everything's going to change much faster than it will. But I really worry about the younger generation of women. It seems to me that sometimes I- sometimes I worry that, in fact, we created a kind of nightmare for them, that we created so many options and so many choices that, as mothers, we've insisted for our daughters that they- that they think of the world as being wide open. Sometimes I think it's overwhelming for them.