Strong Women

I have been working on a series of posts that I have been referring to in my head as “Strong Women” posts.  As I sift through the decades of slides and pictures left to me by my father, I am developing an appreciation for my female ancesters.  And I want to preserve and share this understanding and appreciation with my daughters.

As I sat in the dealership this morning waiting for my car to get serviced, I read a Black History Month article on Harriet Tubman, and it reminded me that my appreciation of strong women started when I was a young girl.

I attended a parochial school, started Kindergarten in 1962, and graduated from the 8th grade in 1971.  Each month the county bookmobile visited our school.  I loved to read and looked forward to this day each month with great anticipation.

It was exciting to watch these big brown vehicles pull into the school parking lot!

I remember discovering the Biography section of the bookmobile and for several months I exclusively checked out biographies to read.  And not just any biographies.  I read every single biography on every woman that was available – Catherine the Great, Cleopatra, Marie Curie, Harriet Tubman, and St. Joan of Arc are the ones I remember reading.

The feminist leanings in me were certainly not being cultivated by my parents.  I can honestly say that there was no one person championing these ideals to me or for me either.  I believe that the undercurrents of the Feminist and Civil Rights Movements were having some impact on me, but they were more like background noise in my life.  I grew up in an insular, homogenous, middle class area.  We had Jewish neighbors and one black girl in our school, but that was the extent of our exposure to diversity.

As I consider some of the ways my grandmothers, great grandmothers, and other female ancesters were strong and even courageous, I am grateful for them as well as for women like Harriet Tubman who were willing to face personal risks to make the world a better place for me, my daughters, and for everyone including all the boys and men in this world.

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