Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Women's History Month: Women Friends

I posted a drawing of my great-grandmother Mariah earlier. She was born in 1876, and I looked for historical context. It was the Victorian Age in Europe. Finland established the first women's gymnastics club. On 4 July, 1876, Declaration of Rights of the Women of the United States was published, while the 14th Amendment was passed defining citizens as "male." Were Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton friends? Colleagues of course. Who was Madame Curie's best friend? Did Sofia Brahe have a woman friend? Who were Sojourner Truth's friends? Did my great-grandmother or grandmother have women friends in Finland? Toni Morrison writes that her book "Sula" was the first book about women's friendship - published in 1973. I listened to "Mondays with Marlo" yesterday. Marlo's guest was Gloria Steinem. The two are friends, they looked happy to be together. My women friends are who keep us healthy and in harmony; they are joy sharers, balancers, love practitioners, divas of selective forgetfulness, extraordinary huggers, goddesses of forgiveness. Do my sisters have close women friends? My father's mother, Dinah, lost her best friend Ruth when the Titanic hit an iceberg. She mourned the loss, and with grief and joy, named her firstborn daughter Ruth. I recently read "Let's Take the Long Road Home" by Gail Caldwell about her friendship with Caroline Knapp, and shared it with my friends. "Truth and Beauty: A Friendship" by Ann Patchett is about her friendship with Lucy Grealy. Then I read Lucy Grealy's "Autobiography of a Face," and her years of no friends seared my heart. My book "Chantepleure" is about - and orchestrated by - lifelong women friends; designed and brought to life by my best friend Beckie. We introduced each other to people as "my best friend in the whole wide world." Now we're friends in the cosmos, until we meet in the next wide world of best friends.

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