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    Yep, that is right; I am three-quarters of a century old, 75 years old.   Changing worlds I have seen and watched.  Things have happened my great grandmother described have been surpassed many times over, but I am not sure she would be overjoyed at some of the things that have happened.  I grew up with her telling me stories of when she was growing up in Illinois before the Civil War, describing how it was watching Lincoln's funeral train returning to Springfield on a rainy day, and all the black umbrellas were up as people stood there silently.  I marveled at her stories of 'riding astride a horse, wearing her older brother's pants', since her long skirt was in the way.  She told stories of riding in large steamers going to Cuba.  My mother said Granny Kate was a 'storyteller', and was making much up.  Turns out Granny Kate went with Clara Barton into Cuba during the Spanish American War, helped set up hospitals, and then helped set up an orphanage in Matanzas Province.  A census report tells of her being a 'carnival promoter'; well, she was, kind of.  Seems she went into countries around the world setting up trade expositions to introduce countries, including South Africa, to US manufactured goods.  She sent two sons into World War I; both returned and their stories of war were not romanticized.  She did many other things, but most of all I remember her talking about electricity and how it changed things.  She loved to travel and when airplanes came along, she was right there and flew!  She saw countries come together and then fall apart.  She loved the radio, and she really loved TV and she owned one as soon as she could get a station in Illinois.  She watched this country enter the Atomic Age, and I can remember her saying that she had lived through 4 wars and that was quite enough for anyone, and that war should be ended.  She talked about getting the right to vote, and vote she did.  But what I remember most of all is that she taught me some life long things: women can do what they want, war is bad, people all over the world are good.  She watched developments in medicine that saved her daughter as insulin was developed, she saw vaccines come along that kept children alive, and she talked about things to come for my world.  She was always optimistic about the future for me, for my children and my grandchildren.

    Today, looking back to Granny Kate, who died in 1947, at age about 96, I wonder how she would look at what is going on.  I am not sure she would be pleased; she would also be kicking my backside for not speaking out.  I was 9 when she died, and she expected me to speak out even then.  I did speak out for years.  In college, I was told, "that is not for a female" and I said, "Why?".  The answer was 'because females can't really do it".  So, I did it.  I was an NCAA sailing SKIPPER; I was told courses that were not for me, except I was a History major, and my fields were military and Russian history.  I got a job teaching, and Granny Kate kicked my backside when a school board decided the men would get higher wages than we women, because they had families to support.  I put up my 25 year old hand, and said, "I have two children and am the main breadwinner as we are a farming family.  I have most of a Master's degree, have more students than the men, and do the same duties.  WHY should I take less pay?"  When the smoke cleared, I was kept off tenure for making waves, BUT, we all got insurance paid and our wages were the same.
     Granny Kate talked about the country and how things were changing for the better.  Improved medical care, education was stronger, there were new inventions and new ideas.  She had great hopes for this country.  
     Today I look at the disasters over the last twenty years, and even before.  We haven't learned our lessons about war and its casualties, not just those in battle.  We have courts who have said that corporations are more important that people, yet it was people who built this country.  We have Congressment who cannot talk out things like civilized human beings, striving to do what is the best for all.  They throw temper tantrums like spoiled 4 year olds.  Racism which was alive and well when Granny Kate was alive has returned with a vengeance.  She lived in Oklahoma when it was a territory, and after it became a state.  She would not expect people to go around brandishing guns.  She expected people to act like civilized human beings.  She looked at America as a center of hope for all people to look up to.  
     At age 75, I am not sure what this country is going to have to offer to my grandchildren and great grandchildren.  The name calling if you don't have the 'correct political view', if you don't believe the 'correct religious view', these are NOT behaviors I want my descendants to have.  We are a mixture of many cultures and nationalities; there is good in all of them.  I looked forward to a day of no wars, no religious conflicts over 'whose God is better', a day when women are respected and where people of all colors are accepted.  That is one of the reasons so many came to this country for several centuries.  The hope of a nation like this that my Granny Kate passed to me---I am not sure it is there to pass on to my great grandchildren.  

Sat Feb 07, 2015 at 5:14 PM PT: Almost a year and a half later, I look at the world, and wonder how things could have deteriorated so much in such a short time.  Full out attacks on women's rights, more and more children being killed by guns in their own families, protest marches, rise of measles..a disease which was virtually ended in this country because of vaccines.   Polio is again active in the world, and it will hit here eventually.  I am a polio survivor; I want to see NO OTHER CHILD TO HAVE POLIO or to be blinded by measles.  We have seen another epidemic..Ebola..  But, pharma doesn't make much money finding a cure, or a vaccine so they won't work hard until it hits Europe and the US.  
     We have a Congress whose goals are to drive us back long before Granny Kate was born, before medical care was available to most, before women had any rights.  There are many in this country who forget where their roots are from and they turn on those who want to come here for the same reasons their families did.  We have so many who ignore what is going on in the world, and say 'It is all God's will'.  For some reason, I don't think God, for those who believe in God, would be very pleased with those who destroy deliberately his planet.  
     I guess the last few months have made me pretty cynical about the conditions of this country and a number of others.  We are NOT good example for the rest of the world and there was a day that we were.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  i'm almost the same age, gg (5+ / 0-)

    and i'm happy to tell you that, although i was brought up by east european jews who arrived in the u.s. just after wwi, and we lived in the borough of the bronx, in nyc,

    my parents were workers and i was taught the same things you were and feel the same way as you:  everyone on earth is entitled to food, shelter, safety, medical/dental care, education

    your granny was spared having to see what happened to this country after 1947; i remember the leaping joy when wwii ended;  but now, those of us who can't help being informed know all too well that the "ordinary" people have been sold to global corporations whose only object is profit

    hopefully this last carnival atmosphere in d.c., because of shit fits by those who fear the future in a multicultural society, may have made an impression on those who vote

    i think the youth of all the various u.s. populations are much much cooler and way savvier than previous generations, and if they'll vote, maybe you and i will live to see the trajectory of our society change to being people-centered

  •  Here's another, I'll be 75 in December. (4+ / 0-)

    Thanks for your diary, grannygrey50, and thanks also to isabelle hayes for her comment. There's no time to sit down in the ol' rocking chair; we are still needed to help make things better for our grandkids and the great-grands.

  •  I Raced Sail in College 13 Years Later and I Would (5+ / 0-)

    estimate women skippering racing at well under 10% not much higher in casual day sailing. I only faced a female challenger a few times in my home club. A number of experiments and instructional tricks we tried at our large midwest co-ed club showed that women could learn and compete as well as men, it was clearly social dynamics interfering, and somehow or other they had to be interfered with at least in that time period.

    So good for you for having the gumption to buck a very strong trend.

    Anyone from the early to middle 20th century would be saddened at what the country's been coming to for the last two generations. The question is to what extent we have a nation at all. Increasingly we're being transformed into a mere location for parts of markets.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 04:43:54 PM PDT

    •  sailing in college (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SaraBeth

      I qualified for the National Timme-Angstons, and had beaten out Michigan, Michigan State and Notre Damn at our 'home' club to qualify.   Girls could 'crew' but not skipper.. We sailed the MIT Tech Dinghys..  Our sailing club was co-ed, and we had a blast.  We girls often outsailed the guys!  I did have an edge; I learned to sail on Narragansett Bay in RI when I was a kid in the 40's.  
      BTW, I have a granddaughter who I think may be an incarnation of Granny Kate..except Granny Kate was a Scots redhead, and the granddaughter is a wild blonde..but I see something in her...look out!  Her mother is a D-1 Women's Basketball Coach, and doesn't get the same pay or respect as a men's coach.  But, Pat Summit broke the glass ceiling..and I got to watch that.  

  •  We must preserve all the memories of our Granny (4+ / 0-)

    Kates.  I am afraid that too many of our young women take too much for granted. They need to understand what Granny Kate fought for and how some people want to push women back 50 years. I never met any of my great grandmothers, some of whom were living in Oklahoma when it was a territory. I wish I had had an opportunity to hear their stories.

    "I swear it to you on my common woman's head, the common woman is as common as a common loaf of bread ... and will rise."

    by Expat Okie on Thu Oct 17, 2013 at 05:23:23 PM PDT

    •  Some of your great grandmothers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SaraBeth

      probably drove wagons to help homestead their land in Oklahoma!  A lot of women did it to help.  You go digging and you just may find some records about them.. That is how I found Granny Kate's stories were 'perfectly true'...
      And, you are correct about so many wanting to push women back 50 years...I think it is  more like 100 years or more...

      •  My grandmother's uncle (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        grannygrey50, GreyHawk

        took the photos of the Oklahoma Land Rush that we all see in the history books. She donated the plates to the state before she died.

        She divorced a cheating husband with three little girls back in the day that women just didn't do that. She went to work for a small oil company as a bookkeeper. She was there until her retirement and she had shares in the company that took care of most of her retirement.

        She met and married the Grandfather I always knew. They were together for some 40+ years. He taught her (and all of us grandkids) to fly fish. She won tournaments, wearing waders and her ever present pearls.

        She was ALWAYS a lady, but she was ALWAYS tough and strong. Born on the 4th of July in 1900 she was a true Yankee-doodle-dandy...she lived just 3 months shy of her 100th birthday. She was greatly loved by her community and there was standing room only at her funeral.

        Grandmother Mary was a shining example to me as to what women could do...which was everything.

        Women today can be just as strong as our grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Women are the glue in any society. It has always been so.

        The hand that rocks the cradle truly does rule the world, or could, if we just stopped listening to those who would oppressed us.

        "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

        by SaraBeth on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 03:14:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Granny Grey (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GreyHawk

    That is a really beautiful post.  I'm glad that you wrote that.  I don't know a lot about my grandparents let alone anyone much further up the line.  My Fraternal grandparents lived next door to us in El Monte CA.  But that Grandfather died when I was 3 so I don't remember much about him.  My maternal Grandmother died when I was 6 but I had gotten to know her much better.  My sisters and I were over there all the time.  But she never talked much about the past.  She was Czech on both sides.  She was born here in the mid 1880s in upstate NY.  So I'm a 1/4 Czech.  I some of her facial features and all of her hair.  Both of my sisters were born blonde and developed curly hair.  I had my Grandmother's dark and absolutely straight hair.  Still have it though there's some "natural silver frosting" in it these days.  At 62 I'm 13 years your junior.  The rest of my mother's family was scattered all over the place so I never got to know any of them very well.  Younger and older sister are trying to work on an ancestry.com subscription but there's not been much extra info out there.  I wish that I knew something about the experiences of my ancestors but beyond that of my parents, I don't really know.  Glad that you had a great grandma who told her stories.  

    I'll believe that corporations are people when Texas executes one

    by Arriba on Fri Oct 18, 2013 at 05:11:29 PM PDT

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