FEMINIST FRIDAY 2018 – A BAND OF SISTERS

We are celebrating Memorial Day this weekend.  It is a day set aside to celebrate the men and women in the armed forces who so bravely worked and gave their lives to protect our democracy.  The following is an article from Military.Com about some famous women Veterans.

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In honor of Women’s History Month, Military.com highlights these seven female veterans who played large roles in the history of the U.S. armed forces, and beyond. Ranging from the Civil War to the present day, and covering all the services, these women broke barriers, made a difference, and are now role models for all future generations.

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Bea Arthur

Best known for her roles on the popular television shows “Maude” and “The Golden Girls,” the late Bea Arthur was also once a truck driver in the Marine Corps. She was one of the first members of the Women’s Reserve and aside from driving military trucks, she was also a typist. Arthur enlisted at the age of 21 in early 1943 under her original name, Bernice Frankel. Appraisals from her her enlistment interviews described her conversation as “argumentative” and her attitude and manner as “over aggressive” — fitting, given the cantankerous characters she would play later in life. In a handwritten note, the Marine interviewer remarked, “Officious–but probably a good worker — if she has her own way!”

Arthur was stationed at Marine Corps and Navy air stations in Virginia and North Carolina during her career, and was promoted from corporal to sergeant to staff sergeant. She was honorably discharged in September 1945, married a fellow Marine (Private Robert Aurthur) shortly afterwards, and changed her name to Bea Arthur before enrolling in the Dramatic Workshop of the New School in New York in 1947. After a successful Broadway career that included a Tony award, Arthur made a splash as “Cousin Maude” in the classic TV series “All in the Family” in the early ’70s, and went on to star in her own sit-com, and cement her celebrity fame in the long-running “Golden Girls.”

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Army Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody

The first woman to serve as a four-star general in both the Army and the U.S. armed forces, Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody joined the Army in 1974, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Women’s Army Corps in 1975. Her first assignment was as supply platoon leader, 226th Maintenance Company (Forward, Direct Support), 100th Supply and Services Battalion (Direct Support), Fort Sill, Okla. Her biggest impact was as commander of the Army Materiel Command, or AMC, one of the largest commands in the Army, employing more than 69,000 employees across all 50 states and 145 countries.

“It was Ann’s most recent role, as commander of the AMC, in which she unified global logistics in a way [that has never] been done,” said Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno . “She capitalized AMC’s fundamental logistics functions to maximize the efficiency and services they provided of supply, maintenance, contact support, research and development, base and installation support, and deployment and distribution. She connected AMC not only to the Army, but ensured the joint force was always ready and supplied as well.” “From the very first day that I put my uniform on, right up until this morning, I know there is nothing I would have rather done with my life,” she said. “Thank you for helping me make this journey possible.”

At her retirement ceremony in 2012, Dunwoody said, “Over the last 38 years I have had the opportunity to witness women Soldiers jump out of airplanes, hike 10 miles, lead men and women, even under the toughest circumstances,” she said. “And over the last 11 years I’ve had the honor to serve with many of the 250,000 women who have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan on battlefields where there are no clear lines, battlefields where every man and woman had to be a rifleman first. And today, women are in combat, that is just a reality. Thousands of women have been decorated for valor and 146 have given their lives. Today, what was once a band of brothers has truly become a band of brothers and sisters.”

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Grace Murray Hopper

Known as “Amazing Grace,” Commodore Hopper’s importance in U.S. naval history is apparent everywhere you turn: a destroyer was named after her (USS Hopper, DDG-70), as was the Cray XE6 “Hopper” supercomputer. As founder of the COBOL programming language, a precursor to many of the software code approaches of today, her work is legendary among computer scientists and mathematicians.

In 1943, during World War II, she joined the United States Naval Reserves. She was assigned to the Bureau of Ordinance Computation Project. There she became the third programmer of the world’s first large-scale computer called the Mark I. When she saw it, all she could think about was taking it apart and figuring it out. “That was an impressive beast. She was fifty-one feet long, eight feet high, and five feet deep,” said Hopper. She mastered the Mark I, Mark II, and Mark III. While trying to repair the Mark I she discovered a moth caught in a relay. She taped the moth in the log book and from that coined the phrase “a bug in the computer”. During her career she she mastered the UNIVAC I, the first large-scale electronic computer, and created a program that translated symbolic math codes into machine language. This breakthrough allowed programmers to store codes on magnetic tape and re-call them when they were needed — essentially the first compiler.

In 1966, Hopper retired from the Naval Reserves as a Commander, but was called back to active duty one year later at the Navy’s request, to help standardize its computer programs and their languages. She was promoted to Captain in 1973 by Admiral Elmo Zumwalt, Jr., Chief of Naval Operations. And in 1977, she was appointed special advisor to Commander, Naval Data Automation Command (NAVDAC), where she stayed until she retired. In 1983, a bill was introduced by Rep. Philip Crane (D-Ill.) who said, “It is time the Navy recognized the outstanding contributions made by this officer recalled from retirement over a decade and a half ago and promote her to the rank of Commodore.” Rep. Crane became interested in Hopper after seeing her March 1983 60 Minutes interview. He’d never met Hopper, but after speaking with several people, was convinced she was due the added status of being a flag officer. The bill was approved by the House, and at the age of 76, she was promoted to Commodore by special Presidential appointment. Her rank was elevated to rear admiral in November 1985, making her one of few women admirals in the history of the United States Navy.

By the time of her death in 1992, Hopper was renowned as a mentor and a giant in her field, with honoree doctorates from over 30 universities. She was laid to rest with full military honors in Arlington National Cemetery.

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Eileen Collins

As a young child, Eileen Collins loved to sit with her dad in the family car and watch airplanes take off and land. The roar of the powerful engines and the grace of the aircraft as they seemed to float in the air always held excitement and enchantment for the young daughter of Irish immigrants. That love of flying would lead the Air Force colonel to be honored as the first woman to command a space shuttle mission, STS-93, in July of 1999, and place the NASA astronaut into the history books.

Colonel Collins joined the Air Force in 1979 and served as a T-38 flight instructor until 1982. From 1983 to 1985 she was a C-141 Starlifter aircraft commander and instructor pilot. She was assistant professor of mathematics and T-41 instructor pilot at the Air Force Academy from 1986 to 1989 and graduated from the Air Force Test Pilot School in 1990. While attending the Test Pilot School, Collins was selected by NASA for the astronaut program and became an astronaut in July 1991. In 1995 Col. Collins became the first woman to pilot a space shuttle and in 1999 she was the first woman shuttle commander. She has over 5,000 hours in 30 different types of aircraft and has spent over 537 hours in space.

“I was very excited and happy,” said Collins, who applied for both a pilot and mission specialist slot with NASA. “But even though I’ll remember that day for the rest of my life, it really didn’t sink in until I graduated. I knew that there had never been a woman shuttle pilot before. Now, I’d be the first.”

After four successful shuttle missions, Collins retired in 2006. “I do miss being in space,” she said, “but I flew four times, and all four missions were very busy because you’re constantly working and under stress. You have a mission; your boss is the people of the country and you don’t want to disappoint the people. Usually toward the end of the mission, you can let your hair down a little bit because the primary mission’s done and everything is put away. That was when you could put your face against the glass, stretch out your arms, and you don’t even see the ship around you, just the Earth below, and you feel like you’re flying over the planet.”

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Harriet Tubman

One of the most celebrated heroines in American history, Harriet Tubman is best known for ushering slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad in the 1850s. But not everyone knows that Tubman, who escaped slavery in 1849, set up a vast espionage ring for the Union during the Civil War. She served as a cook, a nurse, and even a spy for the Union during the Civil War, and also was the first woman in American history to lead a military expedition.

In one of her most dramatic and dangerous roles, Tubman helped Colonel James Montgomery plan a raid to free slaves from plantations along the Combahee River in South Carolina. Early on the morning of June 1, 1863, three gunboats carrying several hundred male soldiers along with Harriet Tubman set out on their mission. Tubman had gathered key information from her scouts about the Confederates’ positions, and knew where they were hiding along the shore. She also found out they had placed torpedoes — barrels filled with gunpowder — in the water. Ultimately, her group freed about 750 slaves — men, women, children, and babies — and did not lose one soldier in the attack. Reporting on the raid to Secretary of War Stanton, Brigadier General Rufus Saxton said, “This is the only military command in American history wherein a woman, black or white, led the raid, and under whose inspiration. it was originated and conducted.” Sadly, Tubman was paid only $200 during her three years of service and was denied a pension for her spy work.

AVNURS, pho 1 Elsie Ott, who made the first air evacuation (?), was also the first to receive the Air Medal. Shown in photo receiving the award from Brig Gen Fred W. Borum, who made the presentation at Bowman Field, KY, in 1943 (?). Credit Photo to the National Museum of the USAF

Elsie S. Ott

During World War II, the U.S. Army Air Corps pioneered military medical care through the development of air evacuations of wounded personnel. Contributing to this was 2nd Lt. Elsie S. Ott, a flight nurse on the first intercontinental air evacuation flight that demonstrated the potential of air evacuation. Born in 1913 in Smithtown, N.Y, Ott attended Lenox Hill Hospital School of Nursing in New York City after completing high school. After several positions in area hospitals, Ott joined the Army Nurse Corps in September 1941. She was commissioned as a second lieutenant soon after and had assignments to Louisiana and Virginia before being sent to Karachi, India. It was during this assignment that she would participate in the first air evacuation. Originating from Karachi, India, patients were evacuated to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Ott was assigned to the flight with only 24 hours’ notice. Prior to this she had no flying experience and had never flown before. She gathered blankets, sheets and pillows for the trip, but the only medical equipment available to her was nothing more than a first aid kit. No medical professional screened the patients who were to fly with Ott, and she and a sergeant with a medical background were the only people on board to care for patients. The plane left Karachi with five wounded personnel Jan. 17, 1943. Of those five, two were paralyzed from the waist down, one suffered from tuberculosis, another with glaucoma and the fifth was suffering manic-depressive psychosis. After stops along the way for refueling, the plane reached its destination nearly a week after beginning — normally a three month trip by ship.

Ott knew that her report on the trip would be crucial for further planning, and she immediately sat down to make notes for future flights. Among the suggestions she listed were the need for oxygen, more wound dressing supplies, extra coffee and blankets. She also noted that wearing a skirt was impractical for this kind of duty. Two months later, Ott received the first U.S. Air Medal, the first given to a woman in the U.S. Army, for her role in the evacuation flight. She would later be promoted to captain before being discharged in 1946. Nearly 20 years later in 1965, Ott was selected to christen a new type of air ambulance: the C-9 Nightingale.

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Sarah Emma Edmonds

Union soldiers during the Civil War knew a comrade known as Franklin Flint Thompson, but in reality Thomspon was really a woman — Sarah Emma Edmonds — and one of the few females known to have served during the Civil War. Edmonds was born in Canada in 1841, but desperate to escape an abusive father and forced marriage, moved to Flint, Michigan in 1856, where she discovered that life was easier when she dressed as a man. Compelled to join the military out of sense of duty, she enlisted in the 2nd Michigan Infantry as a male field nurse.

As “Franklin Flint Thompson” Edmonds participated in several battles the took place during the Maryland Campaign of 1862, which included Second Battles of Manassas and Antietam. As a field nurse she would be dealing with mass casualties, especailly at Antietam which is known as one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. She is also said to have served as a Union spy and infiltrated the Confederate army several times, although there is no official record of it. One of her alleged aliases was as a Southern sympathizer named Charles Mayberry. Another was as a black man named Cuff, for which she disguised herself using wigs and silver nitrate to dye her skin. And yet another was as Bridget O’Shea, an Irish peddler selling soap and apples.

Malaria eventually forced Edmonds to give up her military career, since she knew she would be discovered if she went to a military hospital and her being listed as a deserter upon leaving made it impossible for her to return after she recovered. Nevertheless, she still continued serving her new country, again as a nurse, though now as a female one at a hospital for soldiers in Washington, D.C.

In 1865, Edmonds published her experiences in the bestselling Nurse and Spy in the Union Army, and went on to marry and have children. But her heroic contributions to the Civil War were not forgotten and she was awarded an honorable discharge from the military, a government pension, and admittance to the Grand Army of the Republic as its only female member.

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THANK YOU LADIES FOR YOUR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY.  YOU ROCK!

Thank you for taking the time to read about these remarkable women and if you have a story you would like to share about a woman veteran, please feel free to leave your link in the comments section.

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FEMINIST FRIDAY 2018

 

I was paging through a fashion magazine this week and happened to glance at a young woman standing in tree pose.  It was an advertisement for yoga attire but it told a snippet of the story of the young woman.  It told how she had been in a coma for three years and was considered to be in a vegetative state.  I immediately looked up Victoria’s story because having had a child who was diagnosed as vegetative, I am drawn to these success stories.  Victoria’s story is one of amazing determination by her and her family.  Here is her story in her own words.

One small step: My 10-year journey from a wheelchair to walking

Victoria Arlen
Frederick M. Brown/Getty ImagesParalympian swimmer Victoria Arlen attends The 2013 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.

I was told it couldn’t be done. My dream was impossible. But on March 3, 2016, after spending 10 years in a wheelchair paralyzed from the waist down, I took my first steps without assistance. That was no easy task.

But first, let me take a step back.

When I was 11, I got sick. My back and side ached, so doctors took out my appendix. Then my legs began giving out. My foot dragged. Within two weeks, I lost all feeling and function in my legs. Next, my hands stopped working. I couldn’t control my arms, couldn’t swallow properly or find the right words when I wanted to speak. It was as if someone was slowly shutting down the switches on the circuit board that controlled my body and brain. I was slowly slipping away from my family.

Then everything went dark.

Two years later, I woke up inside a body that could not move. I was locked in. I could hear the conversations going on around me, but I had no way of alerting anyone that I was aware they were there.

It took three years for doctors to diagnose me with two equally rare conditions: Transverse Myelitis and Acute Disseminated Encephalomyelitis, autoimmune disorders that caused swelling in my brain and spinal cord. I’ve since learned that, had my doctors diagnosed me correctly in 2006, a steroid injection could have prevented all of this. But at the time of my diagnosis, they offered my family little hope. They told them I would be a vegetable for the rest of my life. I heard those conversations.

But my parents believed in me. They set up a hospital room in our house in New Hampshire, and took care of me. My three brothers — I’m a triplet and we have an older brother — talked to me and kept me in the know about what was going on outside of my room. They empowered me to fight and get stronger. They didn’t know I could hear them, but I could.

Then, in December 2009, I made eye contact with my mom. Slowly over the next year, I began coming back to life. Raw sounds became words, became sentences. A twitch of my index finger became the wave of my hand. The ability to swallow pudding eventually led to me mowing on a steak. I learned the name Justin Bieber, held my first cell phone and learned what it meant to “poke” someone on Facebook. But despite daily progress, one thing never returned: my legs. I was told the swelling had caused permanent damage to my spinal cord and I would be paralyzed from my belly button down for the rest of my life. Every specialist told me the same thing: “You need to get used to being in a wheelchair.”

I’d already overcome the impossible. I’d woken up and re-learned to live. My idea of what is possible had changed. When my doctors said I would never walk, I didn’t believe them. I knew I wasn’t meant to spend my life in a chair.

Although I believed I would walk again, I knew it would be a long, difficult road littered with challenges I couldn’t foresee. I remember coming home from high school one day crushed because kids were bullying me because of my chair. I had been so happy to return to school and after that day, I didn’t want to go back. As my crying subsided, my parents promised they would do whatever it took to help me to walk again. They kept that promise. They never lost hope.

At some points, hope was the only thing I had. When I began my journey toward walking again, I clung to hope like a life raft. There is a Helen Keller quote that I saved in a journal I’ve kept along this journey. “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” I had hope; I was still working on confidence.

Growing up, I was a water baby. We lived near a lake, had a pool in our backyard and as soon as I was old enough, I joined a swim team. By 10, I was winning local events. As I began to heal from my illness, I came to the sad realization that I would never swim again. I didn’t think I could swim without my legs. But my brothers disagreed, so in 2010 they threw me into our pool. I was terrified. But it was a turning point in my life. It was the “jump” I needed to get back to my life. When I was swimming, I was free from the chair. And to my surprise, I was still good. In the water, I found freedom — and my confidence.

In 2012, at 17, I made the USA Paralympic swim team and competed at the London Games. I brought home three silver medals and a gold in the 100-meter freestyle. I set a world record in the 100-meter free. When I returned home, I was met with quite a bit of fanfare. All of a sudden, my chair and I were thrust into the spotlight. I was invited to speaking engagements and appearances. People recognized me at the grocery store. I began telling my story to television reporters and newspaper writers, becoming a beacon of hope to so many around the world. But I never lost my hope and vision for getting out of that chair.

As I pushed toward my goal of walking, I found the hope I needed at Project Walk, a paralysis recovery center based in San Diego. Through the Dardzinski Method, an activity-based therapy, Project Walk has helped many people dealing with paralysis to regain function and even walk. My mother and I temporarily relocated to San Diego and lived with family so I could train every day. We realized this was the place that could help me, but we didn’t want to live hundreds of miles away from my brothers and dad. So, keeping their promise, my family decided to open the first Project Walk franchise on the East Coast. This way, I could train every day and achieve my goal, while others in my hometown could regain the hope they needed, as well. In 2013, my mother had asked one of my specialists what the possibility was of me ever walking again. He told her, “I wouldn’t mortgage the house.” Well, my parents mortgaged our house and in 2015, they opened Project Walk Boston.

It became my refuge. Despite agonizing frustration, I put in everything I had every day, spending thousands of hours working and fighting for one flicker of a sign that my legs were still alive. For the longest time, I didn’t see even a twitch of movement below my level of injury.

Then, on Nov. 11, 2015, I took a small step. I was strapped into a harness above a treadmill and two trainers worked to move my legs. It had been six years since I “woke up” and my legs had shown no life. Most doctors say if there is no improvement after two years, there will be no improvement. Still, I showed up every day, for up to six hours a day, and worked. That day, one of my trainers noticed a flicker, a small movement from within my right leg. It wasn’t much, but it was all the hope I needed. I harnessed that flicker and fanned the flame. Slowly, I began regaining movement in my legs. As they became stronger, I began sitting less and walking with the aid of forearm crutches and leg braces more frequently.

Five months later, on March 3, 2016, I let go of the crutches and put one foot in front of the other. I haven’t stopped since. I sometimes feel like the Will Ferrell character Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights. Without my chair, “I don’t know what to do with my hands.”

That’s not to say every day is perfect. Walking is still challenging and I still have significant impairment. I wear leg braces, follow a training program for two-to-three hours per day and on the days when my legs feel more paralyzed, I have my chair or crutches on standby. But my struggle is now less visible. Only my trainers, those closest to me and I know the extent of the damage and the effort it takes for me to continue to progress each day. Only they see the thousands of hours of training, 15 different pairs of leg braces, three wheelchairs and all the blood, sweat and tears. Sometimes my recovery and the regimen I have to keep feels like a second job. But it’s all worth it. It’s been 10 years since I was able to look someone in the eye instead of staring at everyone’s butts all day.

Without the chair, there is no obvious evidence of my journey, no wheelchair or pink crutches to explain the past 10 years. They were such a reminder of what had happened to me that with them; I never felt I could truly move on or be free. But standing was scary, too. I was incredibly nervous about announcing this news. I was unsure how people would react to me. But then I realized this is my journey and nobody else’s and maybe it can give hope to people who need it most.

For the past two months, I’ve been finding my new identity and reflecting on a turbulent 10-year journey. I’m 21. I’m in the public eye. My identity to many is that of a girl in a wheelchair, a Paralympic gold medalist, a television personality for ESPN and a survivor. Standing upright felt like drastically changing my hair and then worrying what everyone else would think. I wondered if I would be accepted without my chair. But I needed to be comfortable and at peace with my new identity before I could ask the same from others.

So far, the reaction has been incredible, so many tears and hugs and so much support. It’s been fun surprising my family and friends and giving them a proper hug. I didn’t do this on my own, and I am grateful for everyone who has helped me to this point. Each day, I become more comfortable with my new reality. I thought taking those steps on March 3 would be my finish line. But really, they were only the beginning.

One month after taking my first steps, I posed for a new ESPN portrait without my wheelchair.

VICTORIA ARLEN YOU ROCK!

If you have a story about an inspiring woman, please feel free to leave a link to it in the comments section.

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FEMINIST FRIDAY 2018

MOTHER’S ROCK!

It is Mother’s Day this Sunday in the United States.  To be honest this is not one of my favorite holidays because it is a day that seems set aside to make everyone feel inadequate about not appreciating their mothers enough.  My feeling has always been come for dinner, call me, tell me you love me once in a while, not just one day of the year.  Anyway…. here is a quirky list of mothers of famous people that I thought you might enjoy.

Ludwig van Beethoven

As a girl, Maria Magdalena Keverich worked as a chambermaid in the homes of the wealthy. Johann van Beethoven was her second husband. She was described as “rather tall, longish face, a nose somewhat bent, spare, earnest eyes and kind. A little colorless perhaps — raised to a passion only for the occasional quarrel with the neighbors.”

Alexander Graham Bell

Eliza Grace Symonds Bell was the daughter of a surgeon in the British Royal Navy and was a talented portrait painter. Although somewhat deaf, she played the piano well. Her deafness inspired her son’s research into hearing, although it was said she did not have a lot of faith in his work.

Dwight David Eisenhower

Though poor, Ida Stover was determined to go to college. She scraped together enough money to attend Lane College in Lecompton, Kan., where she met fellow student David Eisenhower. She was known as a firm but gentle disciplinarian and was deeply religious. It is said she once won a prize for memorizing 1,365 Bible verses. As a pacifist, she was not in favor of her son attending West Point but decided to let him go.

Henry Ford

Mary Litogot grew up on a farm, and met her future husband, William Ford, when she was 12 and he was 26 and came to work on the farm. They married nine years later. Mary was self-sufficient and a diligent worker. Henry later attributed his clean factories to her belief in cleanliness. She encouraged his interest in machines early on. He later said, “I have tried to live my life as my mother would have wished. I believe I have done, as far as I could, just what she hoped for me.”

Napoleon

Letizia Ramolino Bonaparte grew up during the Corsican struggle for independence from Genoa and imparted to her children an early interest in politics. When Napoleon was crowned emperor in 1804, she was feted everywhere as “Madame Mere.” At one time, she had three sons who were kings and one daughter as a queen, but she continued to obsess over accumulating wealth. “I may one day have to find bread for all these kings I have borne,” she said. Letizia outlived most of her famous children.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Alberta Williams King was both the daughter and the wife of Baptist preachers. She taught her children to “always remember you are as good as anyone.” Violence and tragedy became a part of her life. In 1968, Martin Luther Jr. was shot; in 1974, her son Alfred drowned; and in 1974, she herself was killed by a deranged gunman while she was playing the organ in church.

Louisa May Alcott

Abigail May became the patient and long-suffering wife of Bronson Alcott and supported him in all his radical views on education and utopian living. She served as the model for Marmee in “Little Women,” but Louisa always claimed that “Marmee, good though she was, was still not half good enough to do justice to the real woman who inspired her.”

Al Capone

When her son, Alphonse, was found guilty of tax evasion, Teresa Capone came to see him in jail with a big dish of macaroni, tomatoes and cheese. Teresa, who came from Italy as a young woman, could not speak much English, and when her son was transferred to the Atlanta Penitentiary, she could only look at him and mutter a few words; foreign languages were not permitted. She always maintained that Al was “a good boy.”

George Washington

Mary Ball Washington was a strict, authoritarian figure. George always addressed his letters to her with “Honored Madam.” When he wanted to join the British Navy, Mary refused her permission. Shortly after that, George left to live with his brother at Mount Vernon. When news came that he was elected president, he stopped on his way to the capital to give his mother the news — it was the last time he ever saw her.

The Marx Brothers

Minnie Schoenberg was the daughter of a magician and a harpist in Germany. She left that country as a teen to come to New York, where she married a somewhat successful tailor. She encouraged her sons to go into vaudeville. In 1923, although Groucho did not agree with her, she figured they were ready for Broadway — and they were. While being fitted for a dress for opening night, Minnie fell and broke her leg. She was carried to the theater on a stretcher for the opening night show.

Source: “Mothers: 100 Mothers of the Famous and Infamous,” edited by Richard Ehrlich; Paddington Press Ltd.

I invite you to share a story about an inspiring woman in the comments section. Just leave us a link to your post. We can never read too many stories about inspiring women. 

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The quotes in this article came from: “Mothers: 100 Mothers of the Famous and Infamous,” edited by Richard Ehrlich; Paddington Press Ltd.

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FEMINIST FRIDAY 2018

LITTLE GIRLS WITH DREAMS BECOME WOMEN WITH VISION.

One of the blogs I follow is the Youth Services Association.  Whenever I start to feel down about the state of the planet and our fellow citizens, I hop over to this site and I am uplifted by the zeal of the children for creating a bright future for us all.  I thought I might share one of the stories with you.  Enjoy.

Everyday Young Hero: Arushi Madan

Global Goal 13: Climate Action – Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impact

Known as the “Green Machine,” due to her great passion for the environment, Arushi Madan (17, Sharjah, UAE) takes every opportunity to spread awareness about the need to protect the environment and reduce waste. She is addressing the issue of climate change by spreading environmental awareness through environmental protection. The campaigns and workshops she runs educate and encourage community members to take action. Believing in actions more than words, Arushi works at the grassroots level to set an example for others to follow. She is on a mission to inspire and empower more eco-warriors to lead a green future.

Arushi aims to promote environmental values by setting positive examples. She has set up an effective waste segregation system in her building that sorts and recycles about one ton of paper every month. Each ton of recycled paper saves 17 trees and 4000 KW of energy. By recycling about one ton of paper monthly since June 2014, Arushi has saved about 782 trees and about 184,000 KW of energy. This has contributed to the reduction of the carbon footprint, but most importantly it is educating the residents of her community on the simple actions they can take to improve the environment. Her goal is to set up the waste segregation systems in at least 10 more buildings in her community. She aims to divert maximum waste from landfill by changing people’s attitude towards environment and showing them how they can make a difference everyday.

Arushi has diligently influenced many in her community about environmental protection through her campaigns, workshops, and self-initiated projects. She visits schools to spread awareness and interact with kids using environmental videos, games, quizzes, and “Green Talk” sessions. She teaches students about the benefits of organic farming and organizes educational trips for youth to sustainable buildings and other “green” UAE sites. She campaigns at food courts, malls, cafeterias and she gives motivational presentations to educate women, laborers, and children. Arushi has put together several successful environmental campaigns. “Save Paper, Save Trees, Save Planet” motivated about 70 people to recycle one ton of paper while learning tips that help reduce their carbon footprint, as well as save trees and energy. Through her “Earth Hour” campaign in India, students learned the true meaning of Earth hour and got energy saving tips such as, candle-lit dinners, LED lamps, and unplugging idle appliances. She involved hundreds a campaign called “A Dose of Help” that collected more than 1000 unused medications that were donated to the Emirates Red Crescent, in order to help patients in need. She mobilizes and engages youth and adults in tree planting and community clean-up campaigns. Her projects have drastically reduced waste going to landfills, energy consumption, and inspired youth to take lead when promoting sustainability.

Arushi’s efforts to minimize waste in her own building have not only inspired the residents around her to take part in the movement, it has inspired community members to implement waste segregation systems in their own buildings. With the sponsorship and help of environmental agencies and corporations she has mobilized youth to work towards environmental protection. Through leading newspapers and magazines, she shares her concerns about the environment and offers sustainable tips.  Her efforts are appreciated by local government and municipalities who have honored her on World Environment Day. Arushi is truly a role model for those who follow her practices and most importantly the youth she inspires in her community everyday.

ARUSHI MADAN YOU ROCK!

If you have a story about an inspirational woman, teen, child, please share a link to your post in the comments section.

The information in this post came from an article written by YSA Partnerships Intern, Haley Panek.

 

FEMINIST FRIDAY 2018

“We can have feminist icons, but the real heroines are just quietly doing what is needed.”  Osyth

I live in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania metropolitan area and was horrified and relieved to see the successful emergency landing of a Southwest plane last week at our airport.  As I listened to the pilot being interviewed, I heard a female voice.  Two things struck me, one – no one seemed to make a big deal out of the fact that this was a woman pilot.  Hooray for that I thought.  And second, who was this remarkable woman that fate chose to be at the helm of that plane.  So, here is Tammie’s story and it is all the more remarkable because, as usual, she had to overcome great obstacles because of her gender to become and pilot and save 149 lives.

Tammie Jo Shults, Who Safely Landed the Deadly Southwest Flight, Has Been Breaking Glass Ceilings for Years

When an engine exploded on Southwest flight 1380 Wednesday, pilot Tammie Jo Shults calmly alerted air traffic control and prepared for an emergency landing in Philadelphia.

“We are single engine,” Shults, a former U.S. Navy pilot, said, according to a recording of the correspondence. “Part of it’s missing,” she added. “They said there’s a hole and someone went out.”

Shults later landed the Boeing 737-700 jet with one engine and a shattered passenger window, with 144 passengers and five crew members on board. A horrific scene unfolded inside the cabin when the engine explosion blew open a passenger window, partially sucking out the passenger sitting next to it. That passenger later died in a hospital, according to a Philadelphia-based NBC affiliate, and seven others were injured during the ordeal.

As the crisis unfolded in her aircraft’s cabin, Shults alerted air traffic control about the “injured passengers” and requested medical professionals to be ready when the plane touched the ground. The National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, is currently investigating the event. Shaken passengers later praised Shults as a “hero” for her poise under pressure and her ability to prevent more deaths or injuries.

“This is a true American hero,” passenger Diana McBride Self wrote in a post on Facebook. “A huge thank you for her knowledge, guidance and bravery in a traumatic situation. God bless her and all the crew.” Self said Shults “personally” spoke to passengers after they landed.

“She has nerves of steel. That lady, I applaud her,” passenger Alfred Tumlinson told the Associated Press. “I’m going to send her a Christmas card — I’m going to tell you that — with a gift certificate for getting me on the ground. She was awesome.”

In a statement late Tuesday, Shults and Southwest Airlines First Officer Darren Ellisor, one of the other crew members on board flight 1380, said they were “simply doing our jobs.”

“On behalf of the entire Crew, we appreciate the outpouring of support from the public and our coworkers as we all reflect on one family’s profound loss,” the two said in a statement.

When reached by phone Wednesday morning, Shults’ husband, Dean Shults, said they were both unable to comment.

Shults is one of a small percentage of female pilots in the commercial airline industry. Just 6.33% of commercial pilots are women, according to 2016 data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). And starting at a young age, Shults faced adversity throughout her career as she navigated the male-dominated field.

Here’s what to know about the barrier-breaking pilot.

She was one of the Navy’s first female fighter pilots

Courtesy of Linda Maloney

Before she became a Southwest pilot, Shults was one of the first female fighter pilots in the U.S. Navy. Shults initially had limited options in the Navy due to combat exclusion laws that prevented women from flying combat aircraft. But when the law was repealed in 1993, she became one of the first women to fly the Navy’s combat jets.

She then learned to fly the F/A-18 Hornet — a newer Navy fighter jet at the time, she wrote in a passage for the book Military Fly Moms, which features insights from female pilots. But she still had to do so in a support role. “Women were new to the Hornet community, and already there were signs of growing pains,” she wrote. She struggled with her training unit, she said, due to their lack of “open-mindedness about flying with women.” But that mentality was hardly anything new for female pilots at the time.

“Not only is Tammie Jo a great pilot but she is a person of character and integrity,” said Linda Maloney, who flew with her in the 1990s in the Navy and who wrote Military Fly Moms, told MONEY.

“She is one of the best … personable, warm, caring and just an amazing person,” Maloney added.

She faced adversity as a female pilot from the get-go

By even expressing interest in aviation, Shults was met with adversity. As a senior in high school in New Mexico in 1979, she attended a lecture from a retired colonel on aviation as part of a vocational day program, she wrote in Military Fly Moms.

“He started the class by asking me, the only girl in attendance, if I was lost,” she wrote. “I mustered up the courage to assure him I was not and that I was interested in flying. He allowed me to stay but assured me there were no professional women pilots.”

From there, she struggled to understand her desire to fly, as the field wasn’t very accepting of women. She had limited opportunities for most of her career in the Navy before the combat exclusion law was repealed, and she still lands in the minority as part of a small percentage of female pilots for commercial airlines.

“Tammie Jo’s professionalism and skill doesn’t surprise me at all,” Kathryn McCullough, a retired Northwest Airlines captain and member of the International Society of Women Airline Pilots, told MONEY in an e-mail. “That is what baffles me … Why don’t more airlines want women pilots? We are calm, capable and more than qualified.”

The Air Force didn’t want her

Indeed, when starting her career, the Air Force “wasn’t interested in talking to” her, she wrote in Military Fly Moms. “But they wanted to know if my brother wanted to fly,” she noted.

The Navy “was a little more charitable,” she said, and allowed her to fill out an application for aviation officer candidate school. It wasn’t until a year after she took her Navy aviation exam did she find a recruiter to process her application. “Within two months, I was getting my hair buzzed off and doing pushups in aviation officer candidate school in Pensacola, Florida,” she wrote.

Other women inspired her to pursue her goals

While attending MidAmerica Nazarene University in Kansas, Shults found new inspiration to become a pilot. She met a woman who received her Air Force wings, therefore having the ability to operate an Air Force aircraft. “I set to work trying to break into the club,” Shults wrote.

In the Navy, Shults worked for Commander Rosemary Mariner, the first female commander of the Point Magu, California-based VAQ-34, a tactical electronic warfare squadron of the U.S. Navy that is no longer active.

“Commander Mariner opened my eyes to the incredible influence of leadership,” Shults wrote. “She was a shining example of how to lead.”

 

TAMMIE JO SHULTS YOU ROCK!

The information in this post came from a n article written by Marty Martinez for Money Magazine.

 

If you have a story about an inspiring woman, please feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments section.

FEMINIST FRIDAY 2018

“Where will our country find leaders with integrity, courage, strength-all the family values-in ten, twenty, or thirty years? The answer is that you are teaching them, loving them, and raising them right now.”   Barbara Bush

Barbara Bush was considered by many to an example of a hopelessly antiquated woman.  But I have always admired her way of navigating a very public life and staying true herself.  The world has lost a woman who had true power and used it for the good of her family and the world.  What follows is an article that appeared in the New York Times this week that I believe gives us a glimpse of the woman behind the persona.

 

Barbara Bush, a First Lady Without Apologies

By Jon Meacham

She knew who she was, and she saw no need to apologize for it. In the spring of 1990, the administration of Wellesley College invited Barbara Bush, then the first lady of the United States, to speak at commencement and receive an honorary degree. Students at the women’s college protested, declaring in a petition that Mrs. Bush had “gained recognition through the achievements of her husband,” and adding that Wellesley “teaches us that we will be rewarded on the basis of our own merit, not on that of a spouse.”

And so a generational battle was joined. As her husband, George H. W. Bush, put it in his private White House diary, Mrs. Bush was being attacked “because she hasn’t made it on her own — she’s where she is because she’s her husband’s wife.” Mr. Bush added: “What’s wrong with the fact that she’s a good mother, a good wife, great volunteer, great leader for literacy and other fine causes? Nothing, but to listen to these elitist kids there is.” To the young women of the last decade of the 20th century, Mrs. Bush, who had dropped out of Smith College to marry, seemed a throwback to a less enlightened time.

Mrs. Bush, who died on Tuesday at age 92, never flinched, appearing at Wellesley and using her commencement address to explore the complexities of life’s choices. There was no single path, she told the graduates; one followed one’s heart and did the best one could. “Maybe we should adjust faster, maybe we should adjust slower,” she said. “But whatever the era, whatever the times, one thing will never change: Fathers and mothers, if you have children — they must come first. You must read to your children, hug your children, and you must love your children. Your success as a family, our success as a society, depends not on what happens in the White House, but on what happens inside your house.”

The loudest applause came when she remarked that perhaps there was someone in the audience who would, like her, one day preside over the White House as the president’s spouse. “And I wish him well,” Mrs. Bush said.

It was classic Barbara Pierce Bush: politically skillful, balanced — and good for her husband, for she presented herself as at once reasonable and reasonably conservative, which was the essence of Mr. Bush’s own political persona.

Barbara Bush was the first lady of the Greatest Generation — a woman who came of age at midcentury, endured a world war, built a life in Texas, raised her family, lost a daughter to leukemia, and promoted first her husband’s rise in politics, and then that of her sons. As the wife of one president and the mother of another, she holds a distinction that belongs to only one other American in the history of the Republic, Abigail Adams.

It’s neither sentimental nor hyperbolic to note that Barbara Bush was the last first lady to preside over an even remotely bipartisan capital. She and her husband were masters of what Franklin D. Roosevelt once referred to as “the science of human relationships.”

Part of the reason grew out of the generational and cultural disposition that had prompted the Wellesley protesters to speak out. Born in New York City in 1925, raised in Rye, N.Y., and long shaped by the WASP code of her mother-in-law, Dorothy Walker Bush, Mrs. Bush was reflexively hospitable. The elder Bushes governed in a spirit of congeniality and of civility, a far cry from the partisan ferocity of our own time. In her White House — and at Camp David and at Walker’s Point, the family’s compound on the coast of Maine — Democrats and Republicans were welcomed with equal frequency and equal grace.

She had always known what she was getting into, for George H. W. Bush saw life as both a great adventure and as a long reunion mixer. After graduating from Yale in 1948, Mr. Bush drove himself to Odessa, Tex., sending for Barbara and George W., who had been born in 1946, once he’d rented half a duplex they were to share with a mother-daughter team of prostitutes. It was the first of 27 moves the Bushes would make on their American odyssey.

Writing her parents from Odessa to thank them for sending $25 to pay for nursery school for George W., Mrs. Bush reported that “G.W.B. has a wee bit of the Devil in him. This a.m. while I was writing a letter early he stuck a can opener into my leg. Very painful and it was all I could do to keep from giving him a jab or two.” They would lovingly tease each other for decades; George W. Bush often said he had inherited his father’s eyes and his mother’s mouth.

And her tongue could be sharp. In 1984, after she unwisely described Geraldine Ferraro, who campaigned against her husband as Walter Mondale’s vice-presidential running mate, as a word that rhymed with “rich,” she acknowledged that her family was now referring to her as the “poet laureate.”

She was tireless in her advocacy for literacy, and in 1989, at a time when AIDS was still shrouded in mystery and misunderstanding, Mrs. Bush visited a home for H.I.V.-infected infants in Washington, and hugged the children there, as well as an infected adult man. It sent a powerful message — one of compassion, of love, of acceptance. Her popularity as first lady was such that, in 1992, some voters sported buttons with a final plea for the World War II generation: “Re-Elect Barbara’s Husband.”


 

BARBARA BUSH YOU ROCK!

If you have a story about an inspiring woman, please feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments section.

FEMINIST FRIDAY 2018

“We can have feminist icons, but the real heroines are just quietly doing what is needed.”  Osyth

The following post was written by Darlene Foster who writes at Darlenefoster.wordpress.com.  It is the tale of her two great-grandmothers who made a fulfilling life for themselves and their families while enduring great hardships.  What struck me about this story, of these two real heroines, was that Darlene said that because of the legacy of these women it has given her the confidence and courage to know that she can thrive under any circumstance.

A Tale of Two Katharinas, a Legacy of Strong Women

“People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors.” Edmund Burke

I was fortunate to know both of my maternal great-grandmothers. They passed away when I was in my early teens but I remember them well. They were formidable women with hearts of gold. One thing was for sure, you didn´t mess with either of them.
Both great-grandmothers were born into German immigrant farmer families living in South Russia and came to Canada at the beginning of the 20th century to help populate and develop the Prairie Provinces. They certainly did their part in populating the area as they had twenty-four children between the two of them!


The Hoffman family upon arrival to Canada

My grandmother´s mother, Katharina (Herrmann) Hoffman, arrived in Canada in 1909 from South Russia with her husband, three small children and another on the way. Being German, they could no longer safely stay in a country on the verge of a revolution. The Canadian government needed robust, hardy folks to settle the prairies. The steppes of Russia were very similar to the Canadian prairies, the price was right at one dollar and they needed a place to live.

The brave family took the onerous three-week journey across the Atlantic on a cattle ship to Halifax, then on a train to their homestead in southern Alberta. A stop had to be made in Winnipeg so Katharina could give birth to her fourth child, my grandmother. They eventually arrived at their destination; a desolate piece of land with no house, trees, water or neighbours. A temporary house, built from sod blocks carved out of the earth made do until a wooden house was eventually built. The sod was plastered with mud and cow dung inside and out and then whitewashed.


Katharina Hoffman and her Family

Great-grandmother decorated the walls with designs from a cut out potato dipped in beet juice. Katharina had seven more children once settled in Canada. Not all survived childhood as was the case in those days. A great cook, I recall her delicious German baking vividly. She grew a large vegetable garden, her home was kept spotless at all times and she made clothes for her children from flour sacks. She was a plucky, hardworking and resourceful woman who loved her family above all else. I am so lucky to have her blood running through my veins.

Katharina Mehrer and her family

My grandfather´s mother´s story is similar. Also named Katharina (Stoller) Mehrer, she arrived in Canada from South Russia in 1911 with her husband and four children under four, the youngest only six weeks old. With these small children, they travelled through Europe by train, crossed the Atlantic by boat and then across the United States by train before arriving at their homestead in South East Saskatchewan.

This young woman left behind a life of comfort and had to deal with homesickness, extreme climate, a new language and the death of an infant. Not only did she go on to have another nine children, she acted as a midwife to other members of the community, attending over fifty births. She also helped her husband in the fields. There was no time for self-pity. No matter the hardships, she just got on with it. I recall she was a tiny woman full of energy and determination.
I love this story my great-aunt shared about an experience her mother, Katharina Mehrer, had in April of 1912, the first year they were in Canada.
Her husband was out turning sod when he had some trouble with the horses. He called to Katharina, who came across the road, leaving the little ones in the house, thinking she would only be a few minutes. It took a long time before she returned – to an empty house. Panic-stricken she rushed out, calling for the little ones but all that greeted her was silence. After searching the yard she returned to the house wondering what she could say to their father.
In the Kitchen, on one of the walls, there were six large hooks on which to hang heavy garments. On one of these hooks hung the long, black wool coat that her husband had brought from Europe. A long bench sat underneath. As she entered the kitchen she noticed a slight movement of the coat. She pulled it to one side and there sat four little people, sleeping and perspiring. Five-year-old John holding the baby and a little sister on each side of him. He explained to his mother that she was gone so long that he decided to keep them safe in case someone came to take them away.

The little boy, John, was my dear grandfather who passed those nurturing habits on to my mother and me.

Family was everything to my great-grandmothers who handed this value on down the line. These women believed in education and encouraged their children to get a good education and do well in life. Consequently, there are many successful people in our family. Both ideal role models, the Katharinas provided the attributes of determination, steadfastness and tenacity to the subsequent generations.
Whenever I think of these two remarkable women, I appreciate the trail they blazed for the rest of us and am eternally grateful. I am who I am because of them. When I set a goal, I will do everything to achieve it. I am not afraid of hard work and my bosses have often commented on how much work I could accomplish and not break a sweat. I even made the trip back across the Atlantic to live in another country. Mind you, I did it without small children in tow and on an airplane, not a three-week boat journey. Most important, I had a choice. A freedom I also owe to both Katharinas.
When things seem to go wrong for me and I have a bad day, I remind myself of what my great-grandmothers went through and carry on. I believe the strength of our ancestors does sustain us.

The Hoffman, Mehrer and Foster Women Rock!

If you have a story about an inspiring woman, please feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments section.

FEMINIST FRIDAY 2018

“We can have feminist icons, but the real heroines are just quietly doing what is needed.”  Osyth

The New York Times went one step further and solicited stories about the “real heroines”.  I know you are going to enjoy these stories and the love of the writers telling their stories.

 

Readers Nominate Their Overlooked Grandmothers for a Times Obit

Times readers submitted photographs of their overlooked grandmothers and great-grandmothers.

When we published the first installment of the Overlooked project two weeks ago, we asked readers to suggest people they felt deserved, but didn’t get, New York Times obituaries.

By now, we have received close to 2,500 submissions. Among these were about 30 from readers who told us of their own grandmothers or great-grandmothers who often fought strong institutional prejudice against them.

We found their stories moving, fascinating and inspiring and wanted to share them with you. A selection of these tributes, submitted by the grandchildren or great-grandchildren of the subjects, is below.

The biographical details of these submissions have been independently verified or corroborated by reviewing news reports and source material. We have also condensed and edited them for clarity.

Dr. Anita V. Figueredo with Mother Teresa, in Kolkata. Dr. William J. Doyle

Dr. Anita V. Figueredo
1916 to 2010

My grandmother was one of the most remarkable female physicians of the 20th century. Born in Costa Rica, where the idea of a woman doctor was far-fetched, she declared her intent to pursue medicine when she was 5. Her mother believed in her, and the two set sail for New York, where they settled in Spanish Harlem.

At 19, Dr. Figueredo was one of only four women at Long Island College of Medicine. She was one of the first two female surgical residents at what is now known asMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Her 4-foot-11-inch frame required her to use a step stool to perform surgery.

As San Diego County’s first female surgeon, she maintained an oncology practice throughout motherhood (she and her husband had nine children; legend had it she sometimes went right from operating room to maternity ward). She was credited with introducing the Pap smear to the West Coast, having been trained by George Papanicolaou himself.

An article about Dr. Figueredo in Look magazine.

Her other great passion was humanitarianism, which produced a long friendship with Mother Teresa, who called her “The Smiling Apostle of Charity.” These details represent the tip of the iceberg of Dr. Figueredo’s life. (I have not, for example, mentioned the time she rode the New York subway with a severed head in a paper bag.) —Submitted by Lila Byock, Los Angeles

Peggy Jean Connor with her grandson RJ Young Amanda Reagan

Peggy Jean Connor
1932 to 2018

She sued the governor of Mississippi and other state officials in 1965 for voting rights reapportionment and finally won. She was secretary of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which challenged the all-white Democratic Party at the national convention in Atlantic City alongside Lawrence Guyot and Fannie Lou Hamer.

She’s a Carter G. Woodson award recipient. She has a research grant named in her honor at the University of Southern Mississippi. She passed in January 2018. She is my grandmother. —Submitted by RJ Young, Tulsa, Okla.

Dr. Marguerite Rush Lerner with her husband, Aaron. Courtesy of Lane Rush Lerner

Dr. Marguerite Rush Lerner
1924 to 1987

My grandpa Aaron B. Lerner received a New York Times obituary in 2007, but my grandma never received similar recognition, though they worked as a team and she had incredible achievements in her own right. I think their relationship dynamic is what allowed both to achieve great things together.

“Who Do You Think You Are?” was published by Prentice-Hall in 1963.

Her parents did not believe women should have careers, so she worked as a typist during World War II to save money for her education. She began her medical degree at Johns Hopkins but transferred to Case Western Reserve to be closer to my grandpa.

She was the first female chief of Yale University Health Services’ dermatology clinic in 1971; was a very successful author who wrote children’s books centered around public health and diversity, as well as medical texts; performed early research in breast cancer; and raised four boys.

Behind the scenes, she significantly helped my grandpa’s team showcase its groundbreaking discovery of melatonin. Sadly, she passed away from early onset Alzheimer’s, which shortened her career. —Submitted by Lane Rush Lerner, Chicago

Erica Laros with her grandmother Mafalda Caliri. Sherry Caliri Ferdinandi

Mafalda (Muffy) Katherine Vessella Caliri
1912 to 2015

My great-grandmother had only an eighth-grade education, yet was a woman of wisdom. She lived at home, cooked meatballs on Sunday and shoveled snow until age 99. She adored her family and was close to God. She nurtured plants and people, loved music and saved aluminum foil in perfectly neat little squares.

She was born to two Italian immigrants from Caserta. In 1935, she married a Sicilian cobbler, Antonio Caliri, in a simple wedding with just three orchids as a bouquet. Around the same time, she registered to vote to cast a ballot for Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who made an impression on her when he spoke in Providence.

When I was 30, she said she wanted to show me something and led me to her dresser drawer. Wrapped in a silk handkerchief was a dinner roll, shrunken from its original size and fossilized by time. “It was blessed by the spirit of St. Anthony,” she said. “It’s over 60 years old and it’s good luck — I carried it in my suitcase everywhere, even to Italy.”

When Mafalda got sick and needed long-term care, I hid the dinner roll in my own dresser, periodically checking to make sure it was still there. When she was laid to rest, next to her husband, Antonio, so too was the magical roll. —Submitted by Erica Laros, Cranston, R.I.

Julia Bardmesser, second from left, with her mother, daughter and grandmother, Tatyana Y. Kosolapova.Boris Kosolapov

Tatyana Y. Kosolapova
1918 to 2016

My grandmother was born in Odessa, Ukraine, and died in Brooklyn, N.Y. She was a material scientist, with books translated into English and Japanese. She headed a lab at the Institute for Problems in Materials Science, one of the premier research institutes in Kiev.

She was involved in the design for, among other projects, the Soviet space program and the Chernobyl reactor cover. When she died, her colleagues in Kiev held a one-day conference in her memory.

She accomplished all this as a Jewish woman in the Soviet Union, going through World War II and Stalin’s repressions; an aunt and uncle arrested in the 1930s were sent to Siberia for 10 years. She had an incredible work ethic, writing her books and dissertation at night after a full day of work and caring for her family.

She emigrated here in 1995, after she retired. She was the best example of the Russian intelligentsia I can think of: well read, intellectually curious, kind, helping other people as much as she could. —Submitted by Julia Bardmesser, New York City

Mary Stanley Low in 1936, holding her favorite pistol. Juan Breá

Mary Stanley Low
1912 to 2007

Mary Low was my grandmother.

She was a political activist, poet and teacher born in London. She was a co-author, along with her Cuban first husband, of “Red Spanish Notebook,” a very early English-language eyewitness account of Barcelona at the start of the Spanish Civil War.

She wielded both a pistol and a pen to fight fascism when it still had no name, helping organize a women’s militia. She escaped Franco and the Nazis, to Cuba, where she lived for 25 years, leading a surrealist movement and a Trotskyist group. She then escaped to Miami, where she taught Latin and the classics.

I grew up with stories of George Orwell (she said he was very brave), Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, André Breton and Wifredo Lam — all artists and writers — told amid songs she sang about anarchists and workers. (And she really loved the Beatles.)

As a grandmother, she was equally doting and eccentric. She hand drew me playing cards of French monarchs; I think I was the only 8-year-old who knew the entire Plantagenet lineage. She once decorated my bedroom in the style of Caesar’s army tent.

“Three Voices,” a book of Mary Low’s poetry published in 1957. Courtesy of Laylah Bulman

But she was most proud of “Red Spanish Notebook,” written in the midst of a civil war. People need to know a woman told that story, risking her life to do so. She can inspire other women to shine a light and tell the truth to the world. —Submitted by Laylah Bulman, Miami

Bertha Klausner Courtesy of Rebecca Spence

Bertha Klausner

1901 to 1997

One of the earliest female literary agents, Bertha Klausner represented such figures as Upton Sinclair, Eleanor Roosevelt, Basil Rathbone, Robert Payne, Marcel Marceau and Representative Adam Clayton Powell Jr.

For decades she worked out of her New York apartment on 40th Street and Lexington Avenue, and in the late 1940s she set up a satellite office in Los Angeles, at a time when few women operated on the business side in Hollywood, selling radio television, and film scripts.

Known for her loyalty to writers, Klausner worked until two months before she died, at the age of 96. She was my great-grandmother. —Submitted by Rebecca Spence, Taos, N.M.

Dr. Priscilla Frew Pollister Penelope Jane Pollister Price

Dr. Priscilla Frew Pollister
1903 to 1992

My grandmother was a biology researcher and professor at Brooklyn College at a time when there were few full-time professional women scientists.

She and my grandfather were from a mill town in Maine and did their undergraduate studies at Bates College; she went to grad school at Columbia University with a specialization in invertebrate biology and got her Ph.D. there in 1936. She spent several summers doing research at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

I have been told she was an effective and inspiring lecturer; undoubtedly there are students who remember her. I recall her sharp wit and cackling laughter. In later life, her overall look and demeanor did little to dispel the notion among neighborhood children that she might be a witch — and this absolutely delighted her! —Submitted by Penelope Jane Pollister Price, Souderton, Pa.

Mary Sherwood Wright Jones in 1972 Courtesy of Anne Sherwood Pundyk

Mary Sherwood Wright Jones
1892 to 1985

My grandmother was an artist and illustrator who created original, sequential illustrations for the children’s classroom newspaper My Weekly Reader from 1928 to 1960. Her weekly contributions supported the publication’s pioneering reading readiness program and reached millions of readers.

Illustrations that appeared in the children’s classroom newspaper My Weekly Reader. Courtesy of Anne Sherwood Pundyk

Using pen, ink and brush, she created several hundred short narratives for children featuring, among others, her earnest, enterprising character Peek the Brownie.She illustrated many other books as well, including “A Child’s History of the World” and was my first mentor in my own career as an artist.

Her legacy will continue as she was honored in 2015 by the Ohio State University Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, which accepted her work into its permanent collection. —Submitted by Anne Sherwood Pundyk, New York City

If you have a story about an inspiring woman, please feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments section.

FEMINIST FRIDAY 2018

I have watched with great interest and a very happy heart the young activist from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas School working to make a change in the gun control policies in the United States.  They have been unstinting in their efforts to try to make a change that would guarantee the right to safety at school to every student in our country.  I have always been curious about who the people are that schools are named after.  Imagine how please I was to read about Marjory Stoneman Douglas.  This school is named after a very inspiring activist.  I guess the students come by their activism honestly.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas

Marjory Stoneman Douglas’s 1947 best seller, The Everglades: River of Grass, raised America’s consciousness and transformed the Florida Everglades from an area that was looked upon as a useless swamp – to be drained and developed commercially – to a national park that is seen as a valuable environmental resource to be protected and preserved. After this successful campaign to preserve the Everglades as a national park, Douglas continued her work by founding the Friends of the Everglades, a conservation organization still active today.

Always ahead of her time, Douglas graduated from Wellesley College as an English major in 1912. A few years later, Douglas went to Miami to be a reporter for her father’s newspaper, which later became The Miami Herald. During World War I, she served with the American Red Cross in Europe. After the war, she launched her career as a newspaper editor at her father’s paper. Many of her editorials focused on what she perceived to be Florida’s increasing problem of rapid commercial development. In the 1920s, she left the newspaper to launch a second career as an author. Over the years she published many books and short stories, both fiction and non-fiction – most for adults but several for children – especially focusing on women, the history and life in southern Florida and environmental issues. She also engaged in a number of other campaigns and charity work to improve society: campaigns against slum-lords and for improved housing conditions, for free milk for babies whose parents needed aid, and for the ratification of the Women’s Suffrage Amendment.

Most important, she dedicated her life to preserving and restoring the Everglades. She lived long enough to witness great successes. In 1996, for example, Florida voters passed a constitutional amendment that held polluters primarily responsible for cleaning up the Everglades. And the Florida and federal governments have authorized multimillion-dollar projects to restore and expand the Everglades. In recognition of her tireless and successful struggle, the state of Florida named the headquarters of its Department of Natural Resources after her.

Awarding Mrs. Douglas the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1993, President Clinton recognized her achievements. Upon her death in 1998 at the age of 108, President Clinton said: “Long before there was an Earth Day, Mrs. Douglas was a passionate steward of our nation’s natural resources, and particularly her Florida Everglades.”

MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS YOU ROCK!

 

I invite you to leave a link in the comments section to an article you have posted about an inspiring woman.

The information in this article was obtained from Wikidpedia.

FEMINIST FRIDAY 2018

 

I read with great interest this week that the New York Times was starting a project to recognize women who added significantly to society but were never recognized in the New York Times Obituary Column.  I found it interesting that they said that up to now the column has been dominated by white men and they wanted to rectify this situation.  What follows is the link to 15 stories of very inspiring women.

AMISHA PADNANI AND JESSICA BENNETT YOU ROCK!

 

Please feel free to add a link to a post that you have written about an inspiring woman in the comments section.