Your and everyone else’s coverage of the life and death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg brings to mind the story of an 18-year-old Cleveland Heights boy who in September 1954 had just enrolled as a freshman at Cornell University.

During the first week of orientation, he and several of his new dorm buddies attended a freshman mixer on campus. Cornell was famous for its ratio of 10 males for every female. So, a favorite extracurricular activity for boys was to find dateable girls – a universal sport requiring no particular athletic skills.

During the evening, our Heights boy spotted a cute little sort of blond gal who he boldly asked to dance. She was very quiet, perhaps quite shy. After the dance, he walked back to his dorm mates on the sideline and reported: “She’s just a dumb blonde from Brooklyn, James Madison High and her name is Ruth Bader.”

Many years later, when she was appointed by the president to the prestigious federal appeals court of Washington, D.C., he sent her a note of congratulations, omitting the DB reference and she sent it back with the notation, “Thanks for remembering.” How many men can say they danced with a Supreme Court Justice – past, present or future?

This wasn’t the last or only bad judgment our Heights boy ever made and certainly the least costly. But he finally got it right and lived happily ever after.

Howard A. Kline

Shaker Heights

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