A quiet little town

Palo Alto is where I took up residence for a couple of weeks, before I head down south to that famous city of angels and stars for a writer’s conference. From the outside it seems a quiet little town, but there is more to Palo Alto than meets the eye. Underneath, Palo Alto is a vibrant city that sucks you right into the country’s techno vortex. It is the home of Stanford University, the alma mater of more than a couple of successful entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Yes, graduating from Stanford definitely enhances your life’s expectancy.

Mausoleum of the Stanford family

But as you know life is closely related to death and at Stanford, too, life and death go hand in hand. Stanford’s namesake Leland Stanford Junior died in 1884 of typhoid just a month before his 16th birthday, while on a trip to Italy with his parents. Devastated by the loss of their only child, robber baron Leland Stanford and his wife Jane Lathrop Stanford founded Stanford University in his honor. Leland Stanford died of heart failure in 1893. His wife Jane took the Stanford reigns, keeping a tight grip on them. Apparently not all were happy with her dominion, because in 1905 she died of strychnine poisoning. Her famous last words: ‘This is a horrible death to die.’

Stanford family