Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Women's Equality

Salut (albeit late) for Women's International Equality Day! I always think of the work of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Endless bravos to Jane Addams for helping to found, and a joint recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1930. I have had the good blessings to know many interesting, dynamic or just an endless special woman my life long!

Thoughts of the mother of a friend, Adeline. Photo inserted. When my Mom died, this friend said he wished he had a Mom like mine. My Mom was fine but I would have loved a Mom like Adeline as well! Of course, I would only visit on holidays and she would bake all sorts of italian foods. She would go to Pegnataro's in New Haven and make sure we had lasagna, apizza and the stuffed breads! Of course my friend had a different experience as his Mom also had a disabled child who needed endless care. I remind my students that not until 1974 were all children required to be educated (Public Law 94-142). Those with special needs often languished in the basement or attic or were institutionalized. The scandals in the early 1970s showed the horrors of such wanton institutionalization. So, my friend's childhood consisted of being second to the sister with multiple needs. I am truly amazed at the remarkable strength that Adeline had though in raising 3 children, the two boys getting advanced degrees and professional jobs. Adeline has about 15 grandchildren now although few will remember her spirit. I remember how she finally put her daughter in a home when Adeline reached 60 years but made sure her daughter visited holidays! I was blessed to have her friendship.. "a true friend waiting for a visit".

A long ago buddy, Hannah was a member of WILPF, in fact she made me aware of them. Hannah an oldtime child welfare social worker, CPUSA member in the 1930s thru 1950s, and long time resident Greenwich Village bohemian. In my community organizing work, she would always show up at demonstrations and sign petitions. I had endless interesting chats with her. We were both members of the Village Independent Democrats and always eager to support progressives. Hannah was a real mensch and I will always love her! Om mani padma hung!

Thinking from the paradigm of caregiving, I am always assured, hopeful, by the understanding that so much of our lives are enriched and we thrive from the caregiving we have or give. It is not just Winnicuit's "good enough mothering" but the notion that we all caregive throughout life. I am always blessed to have known and then to have read "The Caregiver's Tale" by Dr. Ann Burack-Weiss!

peace, hugs, compassion

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