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Living Women’s History

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We never made a big deal out of Women’s History Month in grade school.

Black History Month was a chance to learn about men like George Washington Carver and the Tuskegee Airmen and women like Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth.  And for the longest time that was it. Then in Georgia I interviewed the co-owners of the funeral home that assisted in the preparations for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral as part of our paper’s month-long series on notable black people in our local community. And that made me reassess the way we Americans celebrate our history.

Basically, I think, we ignore it. That is, until it’s convenient to remember because of a mandated month celebrating where we’ve come from.

We overlook your Average Joes — people like H.E. and Evelyn Shelton of Hanley-Shelton funeral home — who left their own little mark on history. We neglect to remember that no matter how insignificant, everyone has a story. Even people whose distinction is that they were the only civilian to die at the Battle of Gettysburg.

So today’s post is a little tribute to all the things that other women have done to let me be who I am. This is my own celebration of Women’s History.

I am, however, also forever grateful to three dynamic, everyday women:

  • My mom, who hasn’t yet given up on me. She instilled in me one-third of my work ethic (Dad’s responsible for one of the other thirds, but that’s another post) and taught me that you can go off on completely random adventures with no more preparation than, “Hey! That looks like fun. Let’s go ride go-karts in our wedding clothes.” She’s also the one who had to personally deal with my rear-first entry into the world which has forever become one of my very best stories for why being stubborn isn’t a bad thing. It’s just part of who I am.
  • My big sister. I fly my nerd flag high and proud because of her. She exposed me to sci-fi and fantasy. To video games and to fencing. My alma mater is her alma mater because by the time she graduated from college, there was nowhere else I wanted to go. She is unbelievably awesome and my idea of a true Wonder Woman.
  • Mlle. Holt, English and French teacher extraordinaire … wherever she is. Her wit and defiance to curriculum conventions provided me with the role model I needed in high school. There was no fence-sitting in Ms. Holt’s class. She encouraged us to have opinions and to defend them. Even if it was only that Romeo was a milquetoast and not actually a character worth dying for. She also always had time for her students which counted for more than she may have ever imagined. Should I ever teach, I want to be my own version of her.

That is all.


Editor’s Note and attribution:

soomo publishing also does a really great video on the Declaration of Independence. They’re working on rethinking how materials are presented to students by integrating technology with learning. I think they’re seriously on to something.