Always extremely close to her extended family, Elion brought her niece and nephews with their spouses and children - a total of eleven people, including four children under the age of five - with her to the Nobel ceremonies in Sweden. Taken aback, the officials arranging the ceremonies discouraged Elion from bringing the children to the official banquet. "I'm not going to bring them all the way to Sweden and then have them spend the evening in a hotel room," Elion retorted. "You put them at a separate table where they can see their parents and their parents can see them, and they'll be fine." Terrified of disappointing or embarrassing their beloved Aunt Trudy, the children were on their best behavior, even forcing themselves to eat the reindeer served at dinner.
Notes: Quote from Sharon Bertsch McGrayne, Nobel Prize Women in Science: Their Lives, Struggles, and Momentous Discoveries (New York: Carol Publishing Group, 1993), 302; story about reindeer from videotape of Memorial Service in honor of Gertrude B. Elion, held March 27, 1999.