W. Meredith Bacon

Profile By: Jacquelyn Anderson

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Adventures (Not As) Abroad

It was during her undergraduate career that she also met her spouse, Lynne, who has played an intricate role in Meredith’s life. Very early on, Meredith fell deeply in love with Lynne. They shared deep passions for the theater and French. Meredith said, “Lynne always tells me she knew I was different” (Bacon). After their marriage in 1968, Meredith truly thought that she could forget her feelings of living in the wrong body because her love for Lynne would be a “cure” (Bacon). In 1971, shortly after their marriage, Lynne and Meredith both applied for scholarships to study abroad in Romania. In the summer of 1971, they went to Romania, which Meredith says “was a totally life changing experienceliving in a communist regime with the secret police all over the place” (Bacon). She realized that although it was difficult expressing her true identity in America, it was nothing like the feelings she would experience in Romania. All of the telephones in their small apartment were bugged; they even found a microphone in their bed. In Romania, because of the surveillance, Meredith and Lynne had to learn a different set of communication skills, where they would speak between the lines, because someone might be listening in. The pressure to hide her true identity in Romania was horrible, but Meredith went back a couple of times. That is, before she was declared persona non grata for “publishing an article highly critical of Nikolai Ceausescu and his charming wife Elena in History Today” (Bacon). It was this research that helped sublimate everything else, providing her with a professional focus and accolades. However, despite her scholarly success, she found that her truest self was not easily suppressed.  

 

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The First Tentative Steps

Meredith finished her doctorate in 1975 and did her post-doctorate at the Hoover Institution. It was during this time that UNO was hiring a scholar in Soviet Politics, one of only three jobs in that academic specialty listed that year. In 1976, UNO hired Bacon. Lynne eventually secured a position at Creighton Prep teaching French and Spanish. For more than 36 years, Bacon has taught at UNO, including serving as Department Chair. While the position allowed her to focus much of her energy on her career and being a “grind,” she continued to struggle with the part of herself that she could not openly express.

In 1996, Meredith was so depressed that she was hardly able to get out of bed. The gravity of the situation became apparent when she was unable to attend a wedding in Moldova with Lynne. When