Cynthia Gruszkiewicz

By excerpt from an essay by Teri

Cynthia Gruszkiewicz and her twin brother Walter were born October 7, 1920 in the Stanford Hospital in San Francisco.  The twins were “close as two peas.”  Nobody but a twin knows how strong the bond is, asserted Cynthia.  “It’s a lifetime thing.”

In 1938, Cynthia wanted to go to Stanford.  She had the grades for it, but her parents could not afford it.  It was during the Great Depression, and besides his own family, Cynthia’s father was supporting a number of relatives.  Cynthia went to San Francisco State instead.  She began by majoring in English and French, but took science to fulfill graduation requirements.  She took anatomy, physiology “and maybe botany” all in one semester.  She had “brilliant teachers” and “fell in love with science.”  She changed her major to biological science, and kept English as her minor, but didn’t tell her parents.  Back in those days, she recalled, schools didn’t notify parents of student grades unless they fell below a B.  When her parents finally found out about her change of major, her mother said, “Well, Cynthia, you always did have a mind of your own.”

Return to the Greatest Generation Project Page