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.

A FEMINIST FRIDAY STORY FROM MOLLY AT SHALLOW REFLECTIONS

It’s been four years and I’m finally able to write about losing my sister

It has been 4 years since I lost my sister Linda and I haven’t written about her until now. In all fairness I wasn’t writing on a regular basis when she died and I was weary from all the grief I endured over a five-year period, first losing Mom, then Dad, then Linda.

She taught me to keep a child-like view of the world and its wonders. And I miss that so much.

It is an appropriate season to break my writing silence about her since she loved the holidays. At Thanksgiving, we shared our day with a traditional family meal, but the highlight of the weekend was Black Friday when Linda led us to the mall to have our photo taken with Santa. Shopping was secondary to this non-negotiable ritual and we had an abundance of laughs squeezing into Santa’s booth, knocking down small children to be first in line.

santa-photo-2004-editedLinda didn’t have an easy life.

She was a teenage mother and she and her childhood sweetheart raised four rambunctious children. Finances were tight and there were crises throughout the years, the worst being the loss of her 16-year-old son Danny from cancer. She could have justified an attitude tainted with bitterness, anger, and depression but instead she continued to bless us with a beautiful smile accented with the sound of her laughter.

During the last years of her life, her family included a beloved dog named Lady Bug, a Peek-A-Poo with an attitude. Linda always said she could not bear the thought of losing her and Lady Bug outlived her in the end, sparing my sister from enduring this sorrow.

Close calls.

She had inoperable uterine cancer in the mid-1980’s, postponing a trip to the doctor until she had insurance to cover the treatment costs. We thought we were going to lose her and I did the typical bargaining with God, asking for more time in exchange for never taking her for granted again. My prayer was answered and life went on with me taking her for granted.

In the 1990’s a new cancer embedded in her colon and the surgeon prepared us for the worst predicting stage IV. I’ll never forget the night before her surgery when she and I dashed into the grocery store for something and ran into a family friend.

Linda told her she was going to have surgery the next day and Mavis looked concerned and asked, “What for?” Linda grinned and chirped, “Colon cancer!” like she had just won Publisher’s Clearing House. She and I immediately doubled over laughing until we cried and peed our pants. That is the way it was with Linda. You never got together with her without someone needing a change of underwear.

Once again I met God at the bargaining table negotiating for more time with my precious sister. I promised I would appreciate every single day with her if only we could have her for a few more years. Miraculously her cancer was stage I, cured with surgery. She adjusted to life with a permanent colostomy and we adjusted to having her alive, forgetting that our time with her was borrowed.

The final diagnosis.

The final diagnosis was lung cancer and this time there was no cure. She wasn’t a surgical candidate but embraced radiation and chemo with a spirit of “I’m going to beat this!” When the tumor didn’t shrink she made the brave decision to stop treatment and entered the hospice program.

Thus began six months of renewal when she gained weight, restored some of her strength, and sprouted hair with uncharacteristic natural curl. We spent heaps of time together talking, crying, laughing, and changing our underwear. There was no forgetting that each day was a gift and she helped us prepare for the pending loss reflecting her faith in a loving God who would carry us through it.

Photo courtesy depositphotos: used with permission

Photo courtesy depositphotos: used with permission

The aftermath.

And now we live on; a family forever changed without Linda’s spirit of love, life, and laughter.

And none of us has been able to bear the thought of having a photo taken with Santa on Black Friday.

Do you have adult siblings? How do you make sure you don’t take them for granted? If you have lost a sibling how are you doing? 

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