This is Women’s History Month, and I thought I might share some stories about influential women in my life.
Last week, I shared Elizabeth Timothy’s story with you. When women had a secure place in society in their homes during the colonial period, she ran her husband’s newspaper after he died and then started her own business in Charleston in the 18th century.
I have a friend that encourages others to do the next thing and “party on.” It is good advice, and she follows it herself. Whether it is crawling on the floor happily playing with her grandchildren or sharing a cup of coffee and encouragement with a friend, she makes an average day a better day.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “A woman is like a tea bag – you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” This is a vivid comparison, and I believe she knew whereof she spoke.
Mom was what I called her; she was my mother-in-law. In the midst of WW II, she raised four sons and worked in Union Mill. My father-in-law built the house they lived in, and he worked a different mill shift, so there would be supervision at home. Besides baking delicious biscuits, making beautiful quilts, knitting and crocheting gifts, canning vegetables from her garden, and making many of the family’s clothes, she was a good shot. One day she eased her .22 rifle to the head of a copperhead in her home and blew him to kingdom come, as the saying goes. She was a woman of many talents.
I fell in love with Louisa May Alcott’s books at an early age. This Pennsylvania-born women described a family that had high ideals and lived them out. Unbelievably, printed in 1868, “Little Women” is still read today. How she wrote this book in two six-week time frames is amazing to me. Her family perpetually was fighting poverty but was generous in sharing with those less fortunate, both in reality and in “Little Women.” They lived out what they believed. Louisa, aka Jo. passionately predicted at age 15, “I will do something by and by. Don’t care what, teach, sew, act, write, anything to help the family; and I’ll be rich and famous and happy before I die, see if I don’t.”
Discovering radium, which changed science, and then dying from its effects, Marie Curie proclaimed, “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”
So if today is the day you find yourself in hot water, keep swimming.