I celebrated Mom’s birthday yesterday. She’s been gone fifteen months. Yesterday marked the 94th anniversary of her birth. I can only imagine what heaven is like but if she’s aware in any way what happened today in the United States of America she’d be happy. One hundred and one years after women were granted the right to vote a woman of color has been elected Vice President of the United States. My Mom was keenly aware of the glass ceiling. She put up with it all her life.
After finishing college in 1947 she was passed over for employment as a mathematics teacher because she was a woman. This was after graduating magna cum laude with a bachelors degree. A year later after completing a masters degree in Mathematics at Fordham University a man got the job she applied for. That brought her to Buffalo, New York and a teaching assignment at her alma mater, D’Youville College. Four years later after marriage to my Dad she left teaching to take care of me. She had three more children and was a worked as my father’s dental assistant and office manager. After he died she entered the work force as a teacher and helped us all get married and established. She continued to face trials because she was a woman. She was denied credit despite paying off a mortgage. She persevered nonetheless. remarried and eventually retired.
Whenever she talked about the trials she had as woman in America she’d become very animated. I can still see her pointing with her arthritic fingers and her chin quivering as she spoke. Mom voted for a woman in the last presidential election. We all know what happened. Today that changed when Kamala Harris was elected to the Vice Presidency. I think Mom has a broad smile this evening. I can see her pointing that finger at me and telling me her story one more time.
Everyone who loves freedom around the world is smiling tonight too. Kamala Harris smashed through the glass ceiling. We need more women in leadership.
One Reply to “Mom is happy”
Thank you, Don, for this remembrance and hopeful message. I am very glad to see Kamala Harris in this position. I remember RGB said, when asked how many women should be on the Supreme Court, “nine,” which of course elicited shock. But as she pointed out, no one thought it was odd when there were nine men on it. And we also need to continue working for equal pay. It is not right that women with equal responsibilities and abilities should be paid less than men.
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