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Category: Women’s Issues

Our First Born Son is 61 Today

Our First Born Son is 61 Today

When he was born, I was 20 years old. It was thrilling. But I was clueless. I knew nothing about babies. I had never even babysat a child. Everything was new. The first time my pediatrician came to my house, I was embarrassed that I did not know how to change a diaper very well. I was such a baby myself. That was in the days when doctors still did that. And he encouraged me to nurse Charley, saying it…

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RIP Mary Bowman

RIP Mary Bowman

We had dinner every Monday night for years. She liked to have two drinks before dinner. So that meant there was a lot of chatter and conversation between us as we sipped. As we got to know each other well. A mutual feeling of friendship grew between us. I LIKED her. It was fun to see each other every week. I looked forward to Mondays. I had come to Washington DC to live with my aging mother. I needed an…

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The Week After Christmas!

The Week After Christmas!

My favorite time of year! That time in between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. It lasts nearly a week. The day after Christmas is traditionally my absolute favorite. It is no longer as much a necessity as it was in those chaotic days when we had five children still in school. While they were all still living at home, Christmas was extremely hectic. Charley, Helen, Lilla, Robert, and Murdoch were as excited by Christmas as I was. I loved it….

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How to Survive Christmas

How to Survive Christmas

Ice and snow were predicted for Wednesday. Yikes! If that happened, what could I do to protect myself and finish as many tasks as possible? In our family, there are some traditions that are simply carved in stone. Family gatherings for one thing, and decorations, christmas cards, presents, and at least one but more likely several family meals. There are five family birthdays this month. Those birthday people MUST have different presents, not just their gifts from Christmas. Decorations come…

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Happy Birthday, Robert!

Happy Birthday, Robert!

Fifty Years Ago, I had a Baby!! I was thirty, and we decided to have another baby. We already had three lovely children. But many of our friends were just getting married. It just looked like so much fun to add to the family. After all, Charley’s family had two sets of children separated by seven years. And we started so young with the first ‘set .’We were twenty when our first one was born, and I was still twenty-two…

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Thanksgiving! Are You Giving Thanks?

Thanksgiving! Are You Giving Thanks?

This season is so necessary and so healthy. We should all be grateful for the idea of Thanksgiving. It is so healing and beneficial for the world. If you are breathing, you are probably thankful. Besides that this holiday does not require presents, greeting cards, long church services or even elaborate decorations. Just food. It is traditionally a feast day. The reason for the feasting is gratitude. What could be better? There is so much to be thankful for. When…

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How Important is Your Lipstick

How Important is Your Lipstick

How important is your lipstick? When she was about 97, My mother had a fall while letting the dogs out.   She called and called until the cook heard her. Absolutely terrified, the cook called my sister-in-lawand then 911. Mother was shaken, but she said, “Someone bring me my lipstick and a mirror. I am not letting strange men come into my house and take me away without making sure mylipstick is on.” They insisted on taking her to the…

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Drinking: Should You Do It?

Drinking: Should You Do It?

Alcohol is a tricky subject. A young person I know is having a tough time because he has Mono and is not supposed to drink. The reason this is a problem is that he is at college. Drinking is pretty much part of going to college unless you are a Mormon. This situation made me think of how much the culture of drinking has changed. The generation who grew up just after prohibition ended drank a lot. They often had…

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Do You Have a Talisman?

Do You Have a Talisman?

When my first grandchild was born, my mother gave me a ring.It is a noteworthy event when a new generation appears in a family. Everyone in the family was extremely excited about this new development. And in our family, such milestones were often commemorated with a gift of jewelry. My mother and I were standing in her beautiful blue and white bedroom. I noticed our reflection in the mirror. We both looked young to be grandmother and great-grandmother. Mother, at…

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The Secret Life of a Grandmother

The Secret Life of a Grandmother

I have been waiting impatiently for the 30th of June to arrive so that I could go to a luncheon I had been invited to. Yet on the actual day of the party, I forgot. Is this old age? Or is it the various distractions of my life many of which were unplanned but often very pleasant? I am distraught to have missed the luncheon. An author of a historical novel asked other authors to come to enjoy each other’s…

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Changes!

Changes!

How do you feel about change? The world we all inhabit has changed dramatically since I was a girl.There were a lot more rules of etiquette, manners mattered, and going to church was a virtue. People were addressed as Mr. and Mrs. or Miss, no first names until later, and there was a lot less swearing. There were general fears about war, even epidemics, but no one closed down countries as a result. Skirts used to be a certain length….

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What is a woman? Do you know?

What is a woman? Do you know?

Being a woman is the best. We are so lucky. We have all the advantages and always have. Men want us and need us and protect us and basically revere us. What’s not to like about that? We have such advantages! We don’t have to go down into the basement to discover what “that sound” was! For many everyday scary things men will show us their bravery. It is they who get the snake out of the house, get rid…

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Learning to swim in 1916

Learning to swim in 1916

Can you imagine not knowing how to swim by the time you graduated from college? Helen Dow couldn’t swim. But her finance Dr. William J. Hale wanted her to learn. Reading my grandparents’ letters to each other has been enlightening.It is hard for us to realize that swimming was not something that a lot of people knew how to do in the first couple of decades of the 20th century. Helen Dow had never learned how to swim. But Billy…

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Engaged!

Engaged!

All summer of 1916 Helen wrote Billy Hale every day except on the days when they saw each other. While he was absent she spent a lot of time painting china. He visited her in Midland, which was a company town, with little else to offer the visitor. She writes of longing to see him, to kiss him, but not too much. She is clearly passionate about him, but circumspect in her writing about this part. They were still chaste…

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Helen Dow Married her Professor!

Helen Dow Married her Professor!

My grandmother Helen Dow Hale was smart and funny. She was one of six children, the oldest one in her family. She had loads of friends when she went to college. She was young and vibrant and full of hope and plans for the future. She graduated from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1916. While there, along with studying and joining a sorority Theta of Alpha Phi and making new friends, she fell in love with her…

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