What Your Grandmothers and Mothers Did For You!

You’ve Come a Long Way Baby. . .

I’m jealous of my twenty year old daughter. Makes me sound mean and nasty, doesn’t it? Oh, I’m not jealous of her youth, or glowing skin. I invoke no envy at her lack of adult responsibilities,  good health, or pretty face.  No, none of these things squeeze my green streak.

           What makes that said green streak glow with energy is thoughts of all the opportunities available to her and her generation.

Does she appreciate that I stood on the Court House steps back in the late 70’s and waved my burning bra at the TV cameras?  How much awe does she hold me in for being thrown into a paddy wagon with other ERA fanatics?  Sorry—did I say fanatics? I misspoke.

Those were the days. Women had not been so stirred up since the Suffragettes painted signs, left their disapproving husbands to get their own dinner, and marched to the beat of a different drummer. Their mantra resounded with women have rights, they should be allowed to vote, to hold public office, to smoke cigars, if they wish. (Note: The resulting bad breath is not worth it.)

Those women were my grandmother and great-grandmother. If the trait to rebel runs in the family, it ran past my mother, an ultra conservative—don’t rattle the cage−woman. Although, from what her younger sister once let slip, Mother did have a somewhat racy youth.  By the time I met her though, she was all motherhood, apple pie, and church on Sundays.

I joined the ERA movement to push for equal rights for women. We wanted to be able to do what men were allowed to do by birthright. We wanted to fight in the military, wrestle the bad guys to the ground, and fill our own gas tanks. Note that one time I stopped to fill my tank, and met two other women who juggled laundry, babies, adding oil to the car, and air to tires. When we said we wanted to do it all, we didn’t mean all at the same time.

I tend to write strong women in my Historical novels. Tori Henderson, from A Run For Love is only twenty-two when she jumps on a train in the Oklahoma Land Run to secure a plot of land to make a home for the four nieces and nephews she’s inherited. Her youngest niece, Ellie Henderson, in A Wife By Christmas, is all grown up and fighting for equal rights, which is why she’s at odds with her very straight laced supervisor, Max Colbert. Angel Hardwick, the heroine in An Angel in the Mail pulls up her big girl pants (or the 1860s equivalent) when she finds herself mother to five children and mail order bride to their sexy father.

So here’s to my daughter’s generation. Girls, when you slip on those combat boots, climb the ladder into the burning house, stare down your opposing attorney in court, or finish up that heart operation, remember to thank your mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Ya couldn’t have done it without them.

 

Now you understand why I envy my daughter. She has all these opportunities. Thankfully, she’s making use of it, as a Law Enforcement major at Oklahoma State University. She’s a kick ass kind of gal—no surprise there, after all she comes from a long line of kick ass women.

About Callie Hutton

Callie Hutton, writing American/Western Historical Romance, with a Contemporary and Regency thrown in for good measure. A Run For Love and A Wife By Christmas are available at SMP and Amazon. Annie's Attic will be available May 30th, and An Angel in the Mail in May also.
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21 Responses to What Your Grandmothers and Mothers Did For You!

  1. Suzanne says:

    Great post! Loved it! I think about this all the time. I think there is still a lot to be fighting for as women and hope our daughters pick up the gauntlet.

    • My friend and I were visiting yesterday (she’s around my age), and she commented that it was time for the younger generation to pick up the gauntlet. She’s hoping our generation doesn’t have to do it again. We need to fight, ladies. Don’t let them take away everything we’ve earned.

  2. lynncahoon says:

    I think of the differences between my life and my mother’s. The opportunities I had that she didn’t. Love your post. And Good Luck to your daughter!

  3. Great post, Callie. Opportunities abound for girls these days thanks to those who stood up and fought for their rights.

  4. I’m with you Callie. I wasn’t allowed to go to law school, or get a job pumping gas because I was a girl and that is only the start of a very long list of what I was not allowed to do. No one ever asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Wife and mother was assumed. So I quit college, joined a rock band then joined the Army in ’75. My mother used to write me letters in red ink asking if I was being attacked by lesbians, because one of her friends told her they were the only women in the Army. I eventually made it to law school, but it kills me to see young woman think it can’t be taken away again.

    • OMG, Ella, that’s funny, that she thought you were being attacked by lesbians. Yes, we fought hard for the rights our daughters have. We can never let down our guard, though. And you’re right, young women don’t seem to understand it can be taken away again.

  5. nora snowdon says:

    great post! yeah, women now need to stand up again as politicians are again striving to take away the rights we fought for so long ago. funny that as soon as we start thinking we’re almost equally valued (at least in the western world) the right wing rises up trying to stuff us back into the past…

  6. @Ellaquinnauthor – that’s awesome. And you’re right. These girls nowadays have such a wonderful privilege and I personally know two who aren’t doing anything. They could be finishing school and attending college. Ugh…drives me crazy.

    Great post Callie! I thank both you and Ella and all the other women who fought for the rights we have today. :)

    • So true, Donna. I threatened my daughter as a young girl that she’d better take advantage of all the opportunities she had. She’s pretty annoyed with her high school friends who got married young and didn’t go to college or do anything.

  7. Sharon Clare says:

    I love this post, Callie. I hear your energy in your words. I have two daughters, 26 and 24, and what a life they’ve had. My oldest has lived in England, east-coast Canada and Costa Rica, not vacationed there, lived. She speaks French and Spanish. I just got her back home and now she tells me her feet are antsy. There’s a world out there to experience and she needs to do it now when she’s young. My other daughter also went to school a 16 hour drive away, and is now closer, but studying international business. International, not stay-close-to-mom business.
    Yes, I’m a little envious and I’m trying really hard not to pout because I do want the world for them.

    • Yes, it’s hard not to be envious. My daughter just spent the summer in Key West, Florida working at a camp (we’re in Oklahoma). She also has the wandering itch, and I’m sure as soon as she finishes college, she’ll be off and running.

  8. Ceri Hebert says:

    Awesome post, Callie. I hope young women these days will look back and be grateful to the women who paved the way for them. They’re true heroes.

  9. Calisa Rhose says:

    What a true and wonderful post, Callie. My daughters’ too know how lucky they are due to women like you. They were raised by a mom who didn’t get to do any of that stuff, but encouraged them to take advantage of the results of women like you. Thanks.

  10. Lyn Horner says:

    Great post, Callie. My daughter takes advantage of her rights every chance she gets. She loves to travel and has been to Europe twice, earned her bachelor’s deree in Environmental Earth Resources and her masters in geology, with a thesis on the effects of Hurricane Floyd (she lived through it while attending East Carolina U.) on diverse ethnic groups. She lives a much different life style from me, and I’m happy she has the courage to follow her dreams.

  11. Pingback: What’s Wrong With Our Girls? ~ by Starshelle | The Write Stuff

  12. You are amazing, and your daughter has a wonderful role model to look up to!

  13. jannashay says:

    Terrific post. I love the fact that you burned your bra in the 70s. I am a strong advocate for women’s rights and have always been. My 5 daughters enjoy to the fullest the rights that women fought so hard to win, and I’m so glad they do. Thanks for being one of those women who made that possible.

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