Thursday, October 24, 2013

We've come a long way, Baby

The weather was wet and sloppy. It was fall. I remember pulling up to the field in the old '29 Chevy Roadster (this was in the 60's not the 20's). In fact, I remember wearing a blue jacket. Pretty vivid, huh? Fred Dafler was standing in the field by the table where a few of us sat with pencils in hand. We kept the stats for the cross country team. In the spring we took stats for the guys as they pole vaulted, ran the dash and relays, etc. In the fall it was cross country time. I was a sports enthusiast yet being part of the support team was the best. I had no idea that a new day was coming.

A friend of my granddaughters runs cross country. She just beat her own time and is a very strong member on the team as a new freshman. We've come a long way since it was only boys who ran. Now those girls who have the ability can challenge themselves in events that are now open to both sexes. Girls have more chances for college sports scholarships now. The guys are as supportive of the girls as the girls are of the guys.

Suffragettes were founded in 1903 by Emmiline Pankhurst and daughters Christabel and Sylvia. My grandmother would have been the first in our family to have a glimpse of what was to come. In fact, I think my Grandmother Loxley tried her best to have her own freedom in a time when men still held the reins. She tucked her meager egg money behind the baseboard hoping to buy something for herself or her children. Or, perhaps she thought of it as a way to escape from a life that held her back. She wrote and was actually published in the Advocate. She was a teacher and a woman who loved to laugh. I often wonder how she would have soared in this present day.

My mother was a basketball player. She came from a family of strong women. Her sisters were always pushing the boundaries. Mom was her own woman. Dad had a strong influence on Mom, but Mom usually had her way in expressing herself and making a difference in the lives of many people. She was power in herself. Mom wanted to go to college but hopes were doused in the Johnson household. Mom was intelligent and strong. She would have made a great ambassador.

We didn't think about liberation in high school even though it was the 60's. We were well-educated in Home Economics to be well-trained wives. We sat on the sidelines and watched the boys in sports. We were still living in homes where our fathers were considered head of the household and having a son to carry on the family name was preferable.

Many women have paid a price for us to have homes that consider both parents as head of household, where women have careers and baby girls are just as desired as boy babies. We live in a time when equality still struggles on so many fronts, yet, we've come a long way baby.

Fall brings on memories of a damp day and boys covered with mud and sweat. A '29 Chevy sat along the road. It was the eve of a new day.

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