Great day in Madison and so many other cities around the country and the world as women marched with friends, lovers, families, co-workers, neighbors and strangers to let Donald Trump know the whole world is watching.
About 16,000 people in Madison said they were attending the event via the organizers' FB page. Madison police prepared for double that number to show up. When they saw the actual crowds they changed their estimate to 75,000 - 100,000! Having been at the massive protests at our State Capitol in 2011-12, I'm going with the higher figure. And I must note that — unlike those protests — this crowd skewed young which was one of the most encouraging things about the day.
Mark took over 500 photos. These are a few of my favorites.
Knowing that the crowd would be a sea of pink . . .
I wore my bright yellow beret so my group could use it to find me at our meeting place! Worked like a charm.
The scene in Madison via The Wisconsin State Journal newspaper.
"We shall some day be heeded, and . . . everybody will think it was always so, just exactly as many young people think that all the privileges, all the freedom, all the enjoyments which woman now possesses always were hers. They have no idea of how every single inch of ground that she stands upon today has been gained by the hard work of some little handful of women of the past."
— Susan B. Anthony —
Anthony's quote appeared with this photo in "Not For Ourselves Alone: The Story of Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony" by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns. The young woman in the image is Nora Stanton Blatch, the granddaughter of Cady Stanton. She's shown in an ironworking class at Horace Mann High School in NYC in 1901.
In 1905, she became the first woman to graduate from Cornell University with a Civil Engineering degree. While receiving a formal education was still uncommon for American women in the early 20th century, Nora Stanton Blatch went further by embarking on a career in private and public companies as an architect, engineer, inspector and structural-steel designer. She was the first woman to become a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers.
When it seems like we are just treading water and going nowhere, I like to think of the great leap Elizabeth Cady Stanton's granddaughter made — not just into the 20th Century but into another world. A world her grandmother worked to create just as we are working to make yet a newer, more equal world in the 21st Century.
I'll see some of you at the Women's March on Madison happening here today, and I'll be thinking of the rest of you at events in your cities and towns.
when he was running for president in 2008 that Barack Obama would steal our hearts? Or that Michelle, their daughters, Mrs. Robinson and the Bidens would do the same?
Don't grieve for the loss of their outstanding leadership, love and concern for our country emanating daily from the White House. Be glad instead for the eight years that we've shared with them. Their continuing presence here as fellow citizens will help all of us get through whatever is ahead.
I come from a family with four daughters. I'm the oldest (the blond in the rear), then comes my sister Nan (front right), and sister number 3 is the baby in this Christmas picture. My dad is keeping an eye on her as it's her first birthday. Yes, Meg was born on Christmas Day.
I'm age six which might be a bit old to be getting a teddy bear at Christmas but that's my guy at Meg's feet. I believe the plush wire-haired terrier is hers. I can actually recognize at least one ornament on the Christmas tree that is hanging on my tree today and I am wearing a navy blue jersey pinafore with red embroidery on it that my mother made.
Lest you think my teddy bear is just a memory, here he is in my red sitting room with Mark's donkey and another bear that was a grownup gift. The "Backscratchers" chair is by Madison artist Rumi O'Brien. Merry Christmas to you all!
On the back of this photo of my dad and his father, his mother has written "Hamburg, NY, 1941, right after Pearl Harbor."
Here he is with his mother in a companion photo. He looks rather dressed up which makes me wonder if he had perhaps just enlisted.
I know he was gone off to the war in January as this telegram to his parents indicates: "Am in Norfolk on USS Long Island and feeling fine. Do not mention this to anyone when you answer my letters." All very "loose lips sink ships."
The USS Long Island was the first cargo ship to be converted to use as an aircraft carrier since we did not have enough warships after Pearl Harbor. They came to be known as "baby flat tops" as a result of their distinctive look. I have the 1943 Christmas Day Menu Card from that ship which my dad kept. You can read about it here.
It's a rare occasion when a book is not at the top of my list for giving or getting. First on my list of suggestions this holiday season is this incredible set of books by the pantheon of American women writers: Louisa May Alcott, Willa Cather, Zora Neale Hurston, Sarah Orne Jewett, Katherine Anne Porter, Gertrude Stein, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Edith Wharton. The eight-volume set includes novels and short stories and is published by Juniper Books, an imprint of Library of America. Of course, it's ridiculously pricey at $395.00, but oh so clever.
When I checked the website on the weekend, the set appeared to be out of stock. But that did not seem to be the case yesterday should you seriously think about purchasing it. The set weighs twelve pounds but qualifies for free shipping. The truth is that I have the Library of America Willa Cather volume home from the public library. It has the very same titles just no Charles Dana Gibson on the spine. I know I am much more likely to just dream about this set rather than buying it. Maybe I can figure out how to cover my own books in such a highly visual format.
. . .
I was never a big fan of writer Lois Lenski as a child. In fact, I don't think I read any of her books and I am not sure why that is. But Lenski herself is another matter. I am deep into the fascinating biography/appreciation of Lenski written by my friend Bobbie Malone (below left) who's a historian and educator. Bobbie came to Madison via Texas and New Orleans and knows how to tell a story as this book so beautifully demonstrates.
Lois Lenski created a body of children's literature that she both wrote and illustrated and is still in print, a rare achievement. Her first books were published while she was raising a family during the Depression and living in an old farmhouse in the countryside in New England. Lenski had to carve out time and space to create, which was even more difficult then than it is now. Kid lit, American history, cultural history, urban and rural life — all these strands come together in Lenski's work and make Bobbie's book a great read. You can find it on Amazon or locally at A Mystery to Me Bookstore on Monroe St.
Bobbie regularly gets together with a like-minded group to discuss children's literature. They are currently reading their way through the winners of the Newbery Medal. The Newbery is an annual award given by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. If you look at the list of Newbery winners you are likely to find many books that you've read.
Bobbie's group just finished reading "Miss Hickory" and she called me to say she was stopping by to loan me the book as she thought I would like it. "Miss Hickory" won the Newbery in 1947, the year I was born. The author is Carolyn Sherwin Bailey and the illustrator is Ruth Gannett. I sat down with "Miss Hickory" later that day not quite sure what Bobbie thought I would like or what this queer-looking little book was about.
It only took a few pages before I was sucked into this beyond-quirky story about a doll made of an apple twig with a hickory nut for a head, thus her name. Miss Hickory is a feisty character who's crabby and cranky and much older than the word "doll" would suggest. She lives outdoors in a little corncob house but comes into the family house in the winter. Until they go away and forget all about her. Suddenly Miss Hickory must fend for herself out in the world, surround by creatures who may be friends — or not. Her hard head means she's not very good at figuring it all out.
This is a story that is so clearly the product of a different era. It portrays a surprisingly violent world for a children's book; but perhaps one that was familiar to those who'd grown up during the Depression and WWII. There are words that are not explained or defined like wastrel, Daphne and Persephone, treble and bass. There are occurrences that are described with such subtlety that you may miss them altogether. The story is filled with moral lessons large and small about responsibility, behavior, friendship and personality.
There are also beautifully evocative descriptions of animals and the natural world. Look at Miss Hickory's shoes on the cover of the book: they're Lady Slipper Orchids and that's a Hepatica growing next to her! The author actually made me feel kindly towards the animals who were foraging in gardens.
I read "Miss Hickory" in a day, loved every minute of it, and think gardeners and those who love YA books would like it as well. But I am not sure it is really a book for children. If you do buy the book look for a hardcover version with the original cover and illustrations. Like so many classic titles, there are new versions lacking all the charm of the originals.
I actually have a few cuttings from the garden still managing to survive on the kitchen windowsill, but they're not worth showcasing for this meme so near to Christmas. I also have some holiday themed art featuring flowers that is hanging in the hallway leading to our bedroom. I did this drawing with text in 1990 as a special rendition of my newspaper column, "The Artful Shopper," that ran in The Capital Times newspaper in Madison from 1983 until 2008.
Its mate is hanging across the hall on the opposite wall. If you are good at spelling you will notice that I put an extra "s" in the word Christmases. I redid that headline and temporarily affixed it on top of the misspelled one. After it went to press I removed the correction and let my mistake stand.
The frames on this matching pair of artworks are a soft matte silver. Mark framed them for me as a gift one year.
At the end of the hall are a drawing of an angel that Mark did in the 1980s on our first Apple computer. He used the mouse to draw it! The wintry water color was done by Virginia C. Wilson, a multi-talented woman and the mother of local artist Chuck Bauer. The painting was a gift to us from Chuck after his mother died earlier this year.
The bathroom off this hallway has more flowers via a framed piece of antique Chinese embroidery. There's a bit of Eucalyptus and evergreens on top that match the bouquet on the bathroom vanity.
I always glitz up this bathroom for the holidays with my grandmother's Art Nouveau silver dresser set, our garage sale silver vase and a little Revere bowl that holds my watches.
Along the sink wall (hanging above the toilet) is another piece of Christmas art decorated with holiday greens. This is a photo of me with Santa when I was little girl. I'm all bundled up in my snowsuit so I can't imagine I was standing in a long department store line. But neither can I quite remember where or when this might have been taken.
For those of you able to take a dose of politics and reality, the online edition of The Nation magazine has a short article with lots of photos that shows where the cotton comes from that goes into making jeans. It is an edifying story. And one that has become depressingly familiar over the years.
(Photo by Jošt Franko / Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting)
The photo (above) shows the inside of a cotton spinning mill in Narsingdi, Bangladesh. It made me think of the scenes inside the 19th Century English mill in the BBC mini series adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskill's book, "North and South." It looks like it's snowing in this scene from "North and South" but that's cotton fluff in the air. It causes lung problems for workers like coal dust does for miners.
A friend sent me this video yesterday. Until I watched it, I'd never heard of musician Radney Foster. Neither a name or a message I will forget again.
Those of us living in Wisconsin have experienced six years of all three branches of government being in the hands of one political party, Republicans in this case. We have seen our proud history of progressivism shredded so fast that I think it has many of us particularly fearful of what the results of the national election might bring.
We know how quickly and completely the world as one knows it can shift. Our state government seems to now function only to restrict our rights, denigrate and defund our great University, and sell off our public lands for profit rather than preserve them for the next generation.
This video is chilling, but what we've seen in our state has made me realize how fragile democracy is — and why thinking about the future this way may not be as paranoid as I once would have thought.