June 30, 1982 - the day the campaign to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment ended and ERA was lost.
For ten years women marched, lobbied, and worked to pass ERA - an amendment to guarantee women equal rights under the law.
I know exactly where I was June 30, 1982. I was in my cubby-hole office at the Washington Office of the League of Women Voters of the US. From 1979 until the end I was ERA Campaign Director for the League. June 30 I was disappointed - heart-broken - along with millions of other women in this country. Women had worked hard and hoped for better.
Have you forgotten what it was about?
THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.
Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.
Here is the history of the ERA and more
The stuggle to win the ERA was a real grass roots campaign bringing women of all walks of life to action. In my new program Pushing Boundaries I revive my story of those days hoping other women will also tell their stories so that young women today will understand what motivated women in the 1970s to march and fight to have those 26 words added to the US Constitution.
SOMETHING IS GOING ON
8:30 AM: Last night before I turned off the computer I checked the PA live cam in the bird's nest to see if anything was happening. It was pitch black on the screen - no light's on and no noises. This morning I checked in - bright light all-right and TWO eggs. I keep hoping I will catch sight of the mother bird but so far she's out and about most of the time.
9:30 AM Before I started some real WORK I checked in on the nest. Surprise. The mama-bird is there, settled comfortably as she warms her eggs. The camera is only inches from her feathered body. I wish it were a color-camera - this is a blue bird's nest.
1:30 PM lonely little eggs. Mom is out.
3: 55 PM When I looked in jusy now Mom is back. But she is moving around trying to get comfortable and who can blame her - she is carefully sitting on two eggs.
We are spending the week-end at our place - our house by the side of the road - in PA. It was once the club house for a local 9-hole golf course. During the Depression the golf-course went bankrupt, the farmers took back their land and all that was left was the club house and about a half-acre. Over time the wrap-around porches were enclosed to add rooms to the house and it became a private home. The house changed hands many times and finally came into ours six years ago. We wanted a get-away not a work-away. We furnished it with familiar cast-offs and it feels like home.
One of the advantages of driving up on Friday is a chance for a cheap haircut. At 9 am there is only a two minute wait at the main-street barber shop where Bonnie washed, cut and styled my hair for a fraction of the cost at home - and my new hair-cut looks quite fine.
I always like going to this barber shop. It is a small store front shop with four chairs and they serve men women. No frills - just talk and cutting. People know each other. They exchange local gossip and the latest on the sick and ailing. Usually the room is full of kids on a Saturday morning but not today. I have a chance to thumb the Gettysburg newspaper left on a chair. And find an article about a camera in a live blue bird nest. Take a look.
We have opened windows all over the house to let in fresh air and breezes. The pluses along with that are birds singing and the sounds of leaves rustling in the trees. Very few cars or trucks in ear shot. City sounds on hold.
CANDLE LIGHT DRAMA
This week-end was the last of the Gettysburg Fringe Festival and Jim and I decided to go to town for dinner and one of the programs. We chose the CandleLight at Christ Lutheran Church because we were in the mood for a history program - and Gettysburg is rich with history. Next week brings the 146th anniversary of the Battle Of Gettysburg - a time to remember.
We had a nice outdoor dinner at the Blue Parrot which is on Chambersburg Rd next to the Gettys Hotel and directly across the street from our destination Christ Lutheran Church. All are a half block from town-center square. Actually we selected the Blue Parrot because when we walked by we noticed that the bricked alley between the restaurant and the hotel serves for patio dining. On this warm lovely evening we much preferred the pleasant alley to a dark interior dining room. Cool breezes all during dinner and a parade of interesting people strolling by - without our being right on the sidewalk. The food was adequate and our server was delightful. All in all it was a good choice.
To gather a crowd and set the mood musicians played lively Civil War Era music on the top of the Church Steps. The tunes had a very toe-tapping rhythm and Irish sound. Jim nudged me to notice how all the crowd was moving with the music from a subtle body movement to outright toe-tapping - me too.
The musicians moved inside to the left front of the large square sanctuary and the program began. In the style of entertainments of the day it was a blend of music, recitations and singing. The four readers were in period costume - two women in full-skirted dresses, a Sgt in the Union Army, and a young boy
But the real star of this program is the Church itself - where the drama happened. It is holy ground.
This is the original building built in 1832. In 1863 it served as a hospital which tended Union and Confederate soldiers. 100 men in the sanctuary were lying on planks across the backs of the pews and forty in the basement. The air is thick with ghosts. Ghosts of the injured and dying and ghosts of the women from Lancaster, PA who came with supplies as volunteers to minister to the wounded. They stayed for weeks, living in rooms across the street. A women, in her full-skirted dress, read from the diary of one of those women.
The man costumed as a Union Sgt read from the memoirs of the Union soldier who was actually in this church during the battle. His words describe what it was like, the wounded, the over-stretched doctors, the amputation room in the vestry and how the earth shook during the last-day cannon barrage on the ridge not far away.
In this town of 2400 people every home became a hospital during the seige of Gettysburg and when the Union and Confederate armies left at the end of the battle they left 21,000 wounded and dying behind.
The musicians played rousing troop marching sounds and hymns and we all sang with them. The program closed with everyone standing and singing the Battle Hymn of the Republic. It was a very touching moment.
If you come to Gettysburg I highly recommend this evening. It is re-scheduled during the year.
And the fireflies. Seeing my first firefies of the summer - bright lights flitting around the yard and over the near-by fields.
Influences - A Memory
Carson McCullers is passing by
She lived in a boarding house down the street
Every day she walked to buy some kerosene
For her lamps.
She carried it home in a glass bottle.
Carson McCullers is passing by
My aunt ran to the upstairs window and peered out from behind the curtain
To watch the woman walking by
It is Carson McCullers she’s a writer
I knew by her hushed voice that was important
She puts words on paper and people read them
She is a writer
Carson McCullers is passing by
My aunt was a reader
She loved words - learn a new word everyday
She paid me 25 cents if I would write something
Anything - no matter how bad
Be a writer she said
Carson McCullers is passing by
My aunt loved words
She penciled in the boxes on crossword puzzles
She never wrote stories
Except in long amusing letters typed on onion skin paper
Carson McCullers is passing by
My aunt was an expert at talking
A walk to the Big Star for bread became an epic on her tongue
I listened as she made everything sound amazing
Oh, yes, my aunt could talk
Carson McCullers is passing by
When I was grown up I ate lunch at a new restaurant
In a house where Carson McCullers once lived
I remembered my aunt peering around the curtain
In awe of writers she never wrote
She spoke her stories
I hope she knows I am a storyteller
And talk stories like she did.
e. schoettler 2009
There he was - just loping along yard to yard. I reached into my purse for my camera. I could get a really close shot. I opened the car window. Raised the camera to my eye. Oops. In a flash the deer turned and took off.
Well, he will be back.
I will get him next time.
2. Always nice to stop by Granny Sue's place to check on her garden and see what is going on.
3. Over at Blind Pig and the Acorn its a bit of talk about the heat and appreciation for the air-conditioning we are so used to today. The music on the site reminds me of my daddy - he loved old-time fiddle music.
4. A quick stop in Ireland at Stony River Farm. Hmm. I guess its time to see Star Trek - even through I too am a Star Wars fan.
5. Last stop New York City on Ryan Paulson's website. Enjoy. Jim and I met Ryan wearing a big yellow foam Wisconsin cheese on his head at the 2008 Fresno Fringe Festival - he is all they say. His programs are wonderfully funny and he is a delightful and talented guy.
After all that traveling I need a good lie down.
A touching gift.
2. Fathers Day - 2009
Jim and Jimmy - a fine pair.
I am still emptying boxes in my office so when I found a folder of letters, inspired by Robin, we gave Jimmy a letter he wrote to us in 1987 when he was living in Germany. There is material for several stories in the letter - the more so because we all know what happened several weeks after he wrote it and mailed it to us. He was delighted. "Hey, I forgot I had that Casio battery powered mini typewriter." After reading it aloud he pronounced. " Oh - that old Mercedes. This is a keeper."
Yes, we know. We have kept it for 22 years.
3. Even older letters:
A grandfather writes to his grand-daughter.
There was so much to love about a letter I found at the DAR library 20 years ago when I first began my genealogy searches that I have kept it safe. It is filled with advice and inspiration for stories. I use it often in storytelling workshops.
In 1893 Mr. James Parks answers his grand-daughter who has written asking about their family.
He ends the letter with this statement:
" You will see that there were no great ones among our ancestors. They were all in the common walks of life, no blue-blooded aristocracy, but just upright, high-minded honorable men and women. If there were no"great ones" among them, there were none of who we were ashamed.
September 9, 1893 (signed) James Parks
Isn't that a wonderful legacy!
Saturday was Hot. Hot. Hot.
After Jim and I stopped by the library we decided to have a sandwich out. That would be supper which was fine with me. But, we came just as they locked the door at Einstein's Bagels - which is next door to Manoli Canoli - where I had lunch with Susan Gordon yesterday.
"I bet you'd love the grilled shrimp salad Susan had yesterday." Jim agreed he would. I knew in this heat I would have another Caprese plate ( sliced homemade mazzarella cheese and tomatoes with olive oil and olives.) And, one of Jim's shrimps.
We waited while the waiter re-set the sidewalk tables which were still wet from an earlier downpour. Another man stood in the sun with us - he took the red-checkered table and we took a near-by blue checkered one.
Jim turned to the man at the red-checkered table and laughed, "We like to imagine this is on the Fondamenta beside a canal in Venice." The man smiled, surprised. "I was just in Venice in April. The best vacation my wife and I have ever had. We stayed a week. Our 30th wedding anniversary. It was fantastic."
What an opening gambit for a memorable conversation.
For the next half hour the three of us shared our experiences and our conviction that Venice is a unique experience that you open yourself to. We traveled - separately and together - but all in the same place.
In venice there is no one place to see - no special sight - Venice is an expereince. The man was there for a week and fell in love. Jim and I had our five weeks there and romanced the city - or did Venice romance us. We would go back in a minute. It is our favorite destination.
As he left we shook hands. "maybe we will meet again - in Venice."
A minute later the waiter arrived with a glass of wine,"for you, from the gentleman."
Jim and I agreed - if Einstein's had been open - we would have missed the boat for this encounter and the ride on the Grand Canal.
On the Via Garibaldi, Venice
One of the bonus finds as I am cleaning my office is a book of ready-to-use "quotes". My first thought was to toss it - but after flipping through the pages - maybe not - just yet.
For instance - this proverb stirred some ideas. I think I will sit with it for awhile.
I was still thinking about journeys later Friday when I met storyteller Susan Gordon for a late lunch at Manoli Canoli, a neighborhood ristorante which features Italian and Greek food. I love that they have expanded by adding tables with checkered cloths on the sidewalk which borders
Connecticutt Avenue. With a breeze blowing you can forgive the noise and pollution of the traffic and enjoy the out-door city cafe.
Susan has just returned from a two week writing seminar in Prague and she had wonderful pictures, writings and experiences to share. Even though it been more than a dozen years since we visited our son and his family when they were living in Prague, listening to Susan brought back vivid memories and I could walk with her as she talked.
Jim arrived later to pick me up and here he is enjoying Susan's picture album as she names the locations. He nodded and smiled and remembered - and we all traveled back to Prague.
Were we all changed by our trips to Prague? Well, that's an individual personal story, isn't it.
But I know that the three of us were changed by this cafe travel - sharing a place and our responses to it - having that experience in common.
One of the frustrations for a traveler in coming home is sharing the stories about the places you have been. Mostly you end up just talking about the wonders you have seen and the things that have stirred you to polite captive listeners. But when you are sharing - ah, that is something all together different. Everyone is reliving the place - separately - yet together.
1. Early morning appointment today with the dentist. My least favorite thing in the world. But my iPod saves me. My sister Kathy advised me years ago to take a Walkman and my favorite tape to drown out the sounds of dental activity in my mouth. It worked. Now, keeping up with the times, I have my "special" dentist music on my iPod. And what would that be - what are the magic sounds that calm me during a dental appointment and airplane turbulence - Paul Simon's wonderful album, Graceland.
2. What in the world possessed me to order new carpet for my office? What was I thinking?
Certainly not about how many books are on my book cases or about the other important stuff I have in my office. Boxes and boxes.
It better be worth it when they put down the carpet tomorrow.
3. When I was packing up my office I found a box of old letters I bought at the Dilworth Bookstore in Charlotte at least 12 years ago.
Storytellling Tip: You never know what stories lurk in a box of dusty old letters.
This morning we taped the next installment of my TV show,
Stories in Time- Special Edition, with guests Eve Burton and young storyteller-torch bearer Wei Ann Reidy.
Wei-Ann has recently returned from Pigeon Forge, TN where she took first place in the Middle School Division of the National Youth Storytelling Competition. Interviewing 11 year -old Wei Ann was a delightful experience. She is poised, funny and very naturally charming.
She came to storytelling through a local group of young tellers, Twinbrook Tellers, when she was six years old. The group provided social contacts and activities for the home-school youngster as well as storytelling challenges.
Twinbrook Tellers and the Story Club are the work of Eve Burton. She founded it and continues the on-going work of providing opportunities for young students to grow through storytelling.
About ten years ago Eve Burton founded a storytelling club which led to the performing group, Twinbrook Tellers, when her then elementary-aged son, also home-schooled, expressed an interest. She is a Library Associate at Twinbrook Public Library in Monthgomery County, MD and the Library is still home to the club and the "tellers" group.
Eve speaks with pride for the youngsters who participate in the groups and stresses how important it is for young students to have these opportunities to tell stories to each other as well as to larger audiences. The students develop pride, poise and self-confidence.
Hats off to Eve - one person who is making a difference.
Wei Ann closed the program with a very accomplished and charming telling of a traditional tale, "Gone is Gone".
If you live in Montgomery County, MD the program will air June 24th and July 8th at 9 pm on Channel 16.
The edges of the small pond near the deck in our side yard in PA. have been taken over by sweet-smelling honeysuckle vines. I know we probably should pull them out and neaten things up but I don't want to. We live in a world of neatly clipped and trimmed lawns and perfectly weeded surburban flower beds. I like this bit of free-wheeling wildness. Breathe in the perfume. Leave it alone
Did you know that a chemical in the watermelon can have a viagra-like effect? I heard it on public radio so surely its true. Just passing along the information.
Oh, yeah, the rest of it - one slice won't do it - you have to eat six or seven watermelons for it to take effect.
2. Unidentified brown tufted bird with a yellow beak - perched in a nest right outside the kitchen window. Funny to watch. The bird fills that nest rim to rim. It sits up in the nest like one of those old-time dishes you see on a thrift-shop table.
The best reward for me was finding a book I had forgotten. I must have picked up A Book of Mermaids five years ago at the summer sale at the Gettysburg Library. It is a small, slim book that is packed with old stories about the sea, mermaids and the magic that goes along with those wondrous creatures. I was not ready for these stories when I brought the book home - but now -
they are enhanting. I feel several of the stories settling on my tongue.
As soon as I complete some pressing paper-work and Jim clears his desk, we are heading towards PA for the week-end. Not to relax - to clean house. What a drag! Getting ready for the summer.
I am sure though there will be movies on the agenda sometime. That's what we do there. We have not had a DISH hooked up - so, no CNN - just movies. Movies we choose. That's our power.
And, we will enjoy the quiet. Quiet enough to hear the frog in the pond.
Now that is the serene and soothing view of nature.
For a glimpse of real drama in nature as it happened in Alan's backyard read his post today. You will find yourself right there with him as he tells the story of the Robins and the Hawk - which sad to say does not have a Disney ending.
But above all - fresh awareness of the poison of prejudice.
Pink Elephant - Nice, France , Digital Photograph, e. schoettler
It was hard to turn my back on this little darling. Isn't he cute? And, playful. I was charmed by him. Such a plucky little beast, looking me right in the eye. But there was no room in my suitcase and we had ten more days on the road in Provence. I took this picture instead of leaving empty-handed.
Jim sighed his relief when he heard the shutter click.
Since then it has gotten ever easier to take pictures and leave "finds" behind.
PA Red Shoes, Digital photo, e.schoettler
But I can't always walk away.
Aren't these wonderful? There they were, at the Adams County Rescue Mission, only $1. Worn but still glittery. Some little girl had tapped and scruffed across a stage wearing them.
Not me. Although I always wished I could. I was a nine year old klutz when I took tap lessons at Sacred Heart - my feet just did not get it. But you should have heard me - even walking across the large practice room I could make my taps sing on the wooden floors.
It was wonderful. I felt like Shirley Temple.
No, way I could leave these shows behind! Good thing we were driving.
Monday night I watched Robert Osborne's interview with movie director, Stanley Donen, enjoying all their talk of Donen's wonderful films like Singing in the Rain, and Royal Wedding. When their conversation turned to his 1967 film Two for the Road I sat up bit.
Donen said, "Its one of my favorite films but people really did not understand it." Osborne continued, "well, the linear structure was ahead of its time."
Yes. That's it.
I had never seen the 42 year old film with stars Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney until it played on TCM one rainy afternoon a few months ago. Audrey Hepburn was young and lovely. The French scenery was beautiful. Finney was blond and handsome. It was definitely the sixties. They were on a trip, driving on a road they had traveled several times before and their story flowed with no particular plan prompted by related memories. I was fascinated even when I was completely lost in where the story was going.
Here Donen explained that his plan was to have the story emerge just as we live in our story. All of our story is present in us all the time - and we don't re-live it chronologically - we re-live it as it emerges in response to the prompts, thoughts, or people of the moment.
Two on the Road was Donen's experiment with letting the memories flow just as the characters lived with them - without teasing them into a crafted structure. In other words Donen violated the sacred rule - a story has a beginning, middle and an end.
I am ordering Two for the Road from Netflix to see it again with more understanding of what Donen was doing.
Reminds me of how I write this blog - whatever comes up is what I write about. My story is in those pieces.
Maybe nobody was home in the green bird house but I was very much at home and working. You know how it is - go away for a few days and when you come home not only is the stuff you didn't do waiting but a whole bunch of new stuff has fallen on top of the pile.
Part of my list was preparing materials to send to my daughter. Some of my promo materials have needed a re-do and my daughter Robin has taken it on. I am so glad she has her hands on it. She is adding some interesting design elements and I really like what she is doing. Since I am so used to being a one-woman band with regard to my storytellilng business it is interesting to release a piece of it to someone else. Another plus is seeing first hand the depth and breadth of Robin's professional skills in marketing and design.
TIP: When you feel you need to brush up your public face - find someone with good skills that you trust and who understands what you are doing and ask them to review your promo materials.
Its is still gray and rainy this morning. Not the best weather for touristing - but we are not really tourists here. We have come home for a brief visit. It is sweet, bittersweet and fun. Glad to be here.
That's how time travel is - isn't it. The weather doesn't matter. Its the experience.
I will go back and catch up on Thursday and Friday tonight at home when I can access my pictures. I know I am bringing stories home with me and I don't want to lose them.
We are home and there was a surprise before we left the reunion that brought me right back up to the present minute.
I went back to the meetings with Jim this morning expecting that he would turn in his CME paperwork and then we would leave - but, once we were there he really wanted to attend the morning session. OK. It sounded fairly interesting and I decided to sit in with him. Turned out I was very glad to be there.
One of the speakers, John Sotos, MD, Hopkins Medical School Class '83 and Hopkins trained, is one of three medical consultants for the television show, HOUSE. I have admitted before that I love that show - because it reminds me of the differential diagnosis discussions at Hopkins when I was in nurses' training and Jim was in medical school. Now here it was - I had recognized the Hopkins touch. Dr. Sotos was very entertaining speaker as he explained the creative process of developing a show - how and when the writers involve the consultants for the medical information and then work it into the story. I was on the edge of my chair and I will be watching HOUSE from now on with even more interest.
With historic and new Hopkins buildings towering over the crowd we closed the reunion
at the annual picnic.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Betty Smith moved to Chapel Hill, NC in the late 1930s. She wrote A Tree Grows in Brooklyn in North Carolina. The book was published in 1943. I read the book when Jim and I moved to Brooklyn in 1957. We lived on Argyle Road - a tree-lined street of turn of the century Victorian houses. Nothing like Francie's world as Smith wrote about it..
Jim and I moved to Chapel Hill in 1961. We rented a teeny tiny cottage on North Street that was 2 blocks from Betty Smith's gracious two story white house with tall columns at the front door. When I walked my babies in the neighborhood I hoped I would see her in the yard but I never did. None of this relates to the book itself but it keeps it alive in my memories.
The Sand Pebbles by Richard McKenna
It isn't that this is such a wonderful book - its that I met the author. Richard McKenna came to Manly Wade Wellman's night school writing class at the University of North Carolina to speak to our class of aspiring writers. We were a small group and he was open and friendly. He talked about his years on a merchant ship and working at his writing on his own. He and our teacher Manly Wade Wellman, a lesser known working writer, bantered about the trials of the writing game. I was wide-eyed and enjoying listening to their "insiders" conversation.
Maybe you saw the movie, The Sand Pebbles with Steve McQueen.
Over the years I have run across a wide selection of the published works of Manly Wade
Wellman from local ghost stories to North Carolina history. He once talked about writing for his supper and I came to see that he was really doing that. Being a writer was not glamorous to him; writing was his job.
Once upon a time I was President of a small college of art and design which meant that I often went to meetings with others who were also trying to keep their institutions from floundering. These meetings were predominately male and sometimes intimidating. Often I yearned for a warm conversation about something that really mattered like the nearest needlepoint shop or a thrift store worth a bus ride instead of the banter about football or power tools.
At one such gathering in historic Charleston, SC I was seated at lunch next to a very friendly and interesting woman who kept yawning all through the meal. I assumed she too was an over worked administrator swimming upstream in academia. Until she explained, " Sorry for yawning. I did not sleep a wink. I became so engrossed on my "airplane" book that I stayed up all night to finish it."
That's what I call a real recommendation for a book so I asked for the title and did not rest until I found the book several days later in Charlotte, NC. I jumped into the first chapter hoping it was all she said - it was.
Marilyn Zimmer Bradley retells the Arthurian Legend from a woman's point of view as she recreates the goddess world of Avalon. The heroine is Morgan Le Fay, Arthur's half-sister. It was a fascinating and captivating story. When I finished Mists I was so glad to discover that Marilyn Zimmer Bradley had not wanted to leave this world either and had written two other books on either side of Mists - before and after.
Right now I am reading The Acts of King Arthur by John Steinbeck. He worked from the ancient British Mallory Manuscript to he tell the old tales. When he tells of the birth of Arthur and later as he tells the story of Arthur's relationship with Morgan he describes her as evil. I like Bradley's re-telling much better and I think I will re-read Mists when I finish Steinbeck's version of Arthur. Fortunately the book is waiting for me on a bookcase shelf downstairs when I am ready.