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.
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.