I apologize for recycling a previous post. But please understand, it’s that time of year when all of my powers, both creative and physical, are engaged in a battle to maintain mental stability. Normally, this is not a daunting task, and I’m able to write in spite of whatever my angst of the month might be. The looming exception to my otherwise excellent coping skills is preparing for the twice-yearly transition along I-95, which happens to be occurring as I pen this apology. One would think that after 18 years I would have the whole routine down pat. And I kind of do. But that does not prevent the rush of adrenaline and ADD-type behavior as my mind creates one to-do list after another. So I offer you the essay below, written when I was more of a newbie in the transition process. It is striking to realize that, despite the many intervening moves, how little has changed!
Out of The Closet
Twice a year I am forced to confront a terrible truth. The catalyst for the reckoning happens to be bi-latitudinal (if there is such a word!) living. I migrate, like the birds, south in the winter and north in the summer. Unlike the birds, who seem to have mastered the art of traveling light, I transport boxes and suitcases full of spring-and-summer weight clothing from one location to the other. The foreplay to the actual packing involves opening the door to the closet, staring at the contents in horror, and saying to myself, “how did I get so much stuff?”
It is at that instant when I must face up to the fact that I am a recreational shopper! (What woman does not have her own moment of reckoning?) Not quite as bad as being a shopaholic, but almost. And…it’s a slippery slope.
After all, how many adorable tops or pairs of pants or smart shoes does one person actually need? Did I say “need?” To a recreational shopper, “need” is a four-letter word. As those of us who fall into this category readily recognize, “need” has absolutely nothing to do with it.
There was a time when I was concerned that my enjoyment of shopping was some kind of neurotic pleasure-seeking; compensation for low self-esteem or a substitute for never having been breast-fed. So I discussed the matter with my therapist. She listened raptly, sitting forward in her chair, as therapists do, staring directly into my eyes, while I was staring at her gorgeous Armani suit. Thankfully, her response to my dilemma was very reassuring. “For you,” she said, “shopping is not a neurosis, but a creative outlet.” A creative outlet – wow! How could I possibly consider stifling this instinct! As much as I was overwhelmed with gratitude, I couldn’t help but reflect that in all the months I had been seeing her, she had never worn the same outfit twice.
Creative outlet or not, there is only so much room in one’s closet and one day it was clear that I had reached the tipping point. I must issue a restraining order on further purchases and undertake a closet purge. A friend of mine, who was also shares my artistic burden, suggested that I use her wardrobe consultant who would come to my house and help me rid myself of the excess. How appropriate, I thought. Since I frequently felt that I was possessed by some kind of fashion devil, what better than a closet exorcist!
So she came and performed her priestly magic. Eight large black shopping bags (destined for Good Will) later, my closet was cleansed. I felt cleansed, like I could now exist among the righteous. I stared at empty hangers and a blouse that I hadn’t seen in two years. This was how I would live from now on. This was the new minimalist me!
My resolution lasted about three months. Not bad. This was two months, three weeks, and four days longer than any New Year’s resolution I had ever made. Then the creative impulse began seeping back in. Slowly at first, but soon regaining its old intensity. But I was on guard.
I began inventing a set of rules. Buy something new; get rid of something old. Maintain the balance and the empty hangers. This worked for a while, at least until the major sale at Bloomingdales.
I wonder, am I fighting nature? Is the shopping gene part of female DNA? I don’t think that most men feel the same kind of rush as women do when entering the parking lot of an outlet mall. But then, again, I’m not inclined to let out blood-curdling shouts of excitement watching twenty-two men in helmets and shoulder pads come rushing at each other, squabbling over an elliptically shaped leather ball on a cold winter’s day.
So the war of the overstuffed closet continues to wage, though periodically I do win a battle. I am still overwhelmed by the quantity of stuff that gets packed and shipped to and fro. But I am reaching a new level of acceptance of my tendency towards recreational shopping. Hey, my bills get paid at the end of the month and I never buy what I can’t afford. And I can always purchase an extra box for packing.
Also, I think I have found a solution to the tenement-like conditions in which my garments sometimes reside. My husband doesn’t really need all those suits and jackets, does he?
Are you reluctant to share your age? Are you reluctant to share your email address? If you answered “yes” to the first question, and “no” to the second, and are an AOL user, you’re screwed!
According to the popular wisdom proffered by millennials and beyond, if AOL appears after the @, you are fat, over 80, a technology dinosaur, live in the suburbs, and probably have bad breath. (I didn’t actually read about the last one; I just threw it in.)
Furthermore, those brats claim that AOL users are clinging to an antique, are stuck in the 90s, and should never be taken seriously. About anything. Because we are blithering idiots.
And if you’re looking for a job, don’t dare indicate on your resume that AOL is your email account or you’ll never get your foot in the door. Which isn’t very relevant anyway if, in fact, you’re over 80, and applying to work at Home Depot.
Back in the day, if you wanted an email account and the ability to access the internet, America on Line (became AOL in 1991) was the major player. Their disk packages were everywhere, free for the taking. So we took. It was easy to set up an account, and soon the little yellow man was running across the computer screen, assuring you that your dial-up was working.
That’s when I began using AOL. I did have a free Hot Mail account for a while, but at the time, true to its name, it flooded my inbox with enticing ads for penile implants, pills that would enhance my sexual prowess, ways to meet hot babes, and phone numbers to call if I was interested in a three-way, in any combination of my choice. Eventually Hot Mail left me cold.
Despite the fact that AOL email shaming is rampant, I refuse to be intimidated. So to people who say, “Why do you still use AOL?” I say, “Why not?”
If something has been working for you for 20 years, why give it up? Why go through the trouble of changing, which involves contacting every single person and entity that you know or have been doing business with for two decades? AOL has good security, adequate storage, spam protection, I like the interface, and I can access mail on all of my other devices. Do I really need more? If someone invents an email account that vacuums the rug and washes windows, I might consider switching.
So what if I’m accused of being stuck in the 90s? What was so bad about the 90s and so good now? Some wonderful things happened in the 90s. Like the debut of the original Law and Order on TV. Seinfeld was hot and so were the Sopranos. It was the heyday of Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan. Bill Clinton redefined having sex, and boom boxes were replaced by the Walkman. (Okay, so we also had Celine Dion, Beanie Babies, and the Macarena, but you can’t have everything.) And best of all, the world did not come to an end with Y2K.
And yes, I am very much aware that cooler alternatives to AOL do exist, like the very popular gmail. But I find Google so pushy. They always want to know where I am, and are constantly offering to store my passwords. Frankly, I think they’re up to something. And what makes Google so cool anyway? Big deal that everyone shows up for work wearing T-shirts.
And then there’s Yahoo. But do I really want an email address that has the resonance of a drunken cowboy slapping his horse?
Therefore, for now, I will stand up to the derision, keep my AOL, and will continue to take comfort from that disembodied, but very familiar voice informing me that I’ve got mail.
But I can foresee a time in the future, perhaps when I go to meet my maker, that I may finally have to switch. Because in heaven, the only choice could very well be the Cloud.
(This essay is dedicated to my special friend, Penny, who provided the inspiration.)
I would like to have a conversation about bare-chested men. And no, this topic did not arise from some erotic fantasy in which I was a castaway on a deserted island with Vladimir Putin. But rather, a reality that I have confronted on a rather regular basis now that the weather has heated up here in South Florida.
As I walk my dog on a public thoroughfare, it is not unusual for me to encounter a topless male of a certain age. Said male has removed his T-shirt because he is experiencing an uncomfortable body temperature. What he may or may not be aware of is that gazing upon his unsolicited nakedness may be raising my body temperature as well, and not in a good way.
While a woman cannot reveal the upper half of her anatomy without censure or possible arrest, a man can. The reasons for this imbalance on the scales of justice are a topic for another day. And I am not at all advocating for equal treatment when it comes to disrobing. But I do have a question where men are concerned: just because you can, does it mean that you should?
There was once a time in the not so distance past, where men were, in fact, required to cover up, even at the beach. It was the law. We’ve all seen those old pictures of guys in two-piece suits, where the tops looked like old undershirts. Naked nipples were taboo. For some reason, men began flaunting these laws, and by the late thirties and early forties, were legally sunbathing in Central Park sans tops.
Obviously, there are certain environments where it’s perfectly acceptable to let it all hang out, like the beach, or in one’s own backyard. But stripping on a city street? Let’s please rethink that option, even if you’ve only recently reached drinking age.
None of us is perfect. Those of us on social security may have left perfection behind at least two decades ago, if it ever existed at all. And that’s fine. Love yourself, I say. But casually passing a guy on the street is not an invitation to intimacy. Hey neighbor, knowing that you have sagging muscles or a hairy chest is simply too much information!
The other day, in a parking lot, as I was pulling out, a man pulled his car next to mine. One quick glance told me that he was scrawny, hairy, and had pasty white skin. How did I know this? Because he had no shirt on! Remember “Ugly Naked Guy” from the TV show “Friends?” Well, he went on a diet and moved to Florida after the season finale. Presumably “UNG” was wearing pants, but I sure didn’t wait around long enough to watch him get out of his car. It’s at least 24 hours after the event, and I still haven’t managed to “unsee” him. Had I been younger, this image might very well have stunted my growth!
I’m no prude, but I would appreciate just a bit more modesty. Fortunately, there are some environments that are more inclined to sensitivity, like a restaurant, including one near a beach, that require SHIRT and shoes for entrance. Even the gym, where sweat equals success, tops are a requirement for everyone. And that includes young, buff guys, as well as the older dudes.
I have always taken gym attire for granted, but now that I realize shirts are a rule, I just might consider renewing my membership.
So you guys out there, remember. It’s as hot for me as it is for you. So jog, bike, fast-walk, stroll, whatever you like. But for heaven’s sake, keep your shirt on!
I have, over the years, come to accept the fact that I am an old person. Chronologically, anyway. Although like most of my peers, I find it difficult to reconcile the woman who lives inside my head with the one who was just offered a seat on the bus by a chivalrous young man. Nevertheless, realist that I am, I can’t pretend that the world at large does not notice my gray hair, chic-ly cut though it is, my collagen deficits, or my sensible shoes in place of stilettos.
I’ve made peace with the irregular blip on my EKG, and the fact that I now need medication. I’ve made peace with the need for certain body part replacements, and the fact that my eyesight ain’t what it was. All that, as well as the other indignities that come with another candle on the cake. (Hearing’s still okay, but we ‘re taking it one day at a time.)
But there is one other aspect of aging that I have yet to reconcile. It’s the realization that my own children, my babies, are now middle-aged, and in many respects, have caught up with me. What was I doing when their hair started to gray?
The other day, I was speaking on the phone with my youngest, who is about to turn 50. We chatted about, among other things, his recent eye exam. “Is everything OK?” I asked hesitantly. “Yes,” he assured me, everything was fine except that his vision had worsened. And, suddenly, we were discussing the benefits of progressive lenses over bifocals.
Bifocals? That, along with hearing aids, I had always regarded as an old person’s accessory. How could it be that my baby needs bifocals? If he’s old enough for bifocals, where does that put me? Somewhere up there with Mrs. Methuselah?
Reflecting back 10 years or so, I can now recall seeing the first specks of gray in my older son’s hair. That is, before his hairline began to recede and he started wearing his do closer to the scalp. Come to think of it, the specks were noticeable in my younger son’s as well. Was that before or after he informed me that his cholesterol was borderline and the doctor had prescribed a statin.
Along with these shared signs of aging, it is absolutely startling to recognize that our middle-aged children and we, their parents, have actually become part of the same demographic. The evidence is everywhere.
This summer my “baby” will most likely receive a birthday notice from AARP, along with an invitation to join. If he does so, he and I will be entitled to the same senior discounts, and carry matching membership cards in our respective wallets. In a few years, if I decide to move to one of those 55+ adult communities, I won’t have to sneak him in in the trunk of my car. In fact, he could run for president of the co-op board without faking his ID. And just last night I saw an ad on TV that was attempting to convince seniors to purchase life insurance. Did I hear correctly when the announcer claimed to be talking to anyone between the ages of 50 and 85? As I noted above, my ears are still very much in working order.
I write for a publication called “Lifestyles After 50.” Along with my cohorts, all of our adult children will soon be eligible for their subscription list. (Some already are.) And personally, I belong to an organization for professional women age fifty and over. While this excludes the males, the three daughters are more than welcome to join. We can carpool to the meetings.
And what might be the most fun? If we all enroll in the continuing education seminar entitled “Love, Dating, and Sex Over 50.” We can carpool to that one as well.
So, dear Gen X children, for better or worse, you have collided with both the Baby Boomers and us, the Silent Generation. Welcome.
A few years ago, I wrote a piece about my two Labrador retrievers, Bette and Davis, who lived with us from 8 weeks old to sixteen years. In fact, the title of the essay became the title of my first book, How Old Am I in Dog Years? They were thirteen and fourteen when I wrote the essay, and my point was the many ways our puppies had caught up with us when one considered arthritis and hearing loss. Who would have thought that I would return to the same place, once again pondering the curiosities of life, and how in hell I got to where my own baby could possibly need bifocals?
I’m not big on nostalgia, but I have to admit that an event we’re attending this weekend has me reminiscing and remembering. The theme of the event is 1940s Radio Days, and we are invited to dress in 1940s vintage. I’m not big on dress-up either. I never won best prize for a Hallowe’en costume. But somehow, this time, I am moved to do so. Please don’t ask me why. I have no idea. And I might just burst into sentimental tears.
In any event, reliving the 40s reminded me of an essay I wrote a while back about being a pre-boomer, and how that made me a part of a generation without a title. Or so I thought. Therefore, in stride with my recent walk down Memory lane, I thought it fitting to revive it here.
It occurred to me the other day that I was invisible. Not just me, but my entire generation. It appears that we lack importance. I’m basing this rather sad conclusion on the fact that we have been entirely overlooked by the folks who bestow catchy cohort labels.
Let’s get specific. At the risk of revealing my true age, which most of you already know, I’m referring to those of us born between 1926 and 1946. Admittedly, I have steel wool in my brain when it comes to math, but according to my calculations we number almost 28 million (2010 U.S. census), and yet we go about our daily lives without a cultural tag. And personally, I’m feeling a bit resentful. What kind of legacy is this to leave to our children and grandchildren, otherwise known as the Xs and the Vs, and possibly the Zs?
Born too late to be World War II heroes, and too early to be a part of the post-war birth explosion, we have wound up sandwiched awkwardly between the Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers. An entire generation without a context.
No doubt a result of having too much time on my hands, I decided to delve into this matter a bit further. Perhaps understanding the genesis of other generational labels would allow me to suggest something clever and catchy for my own. Something that would acknowledge the “nameless” 28 million. Something that might fit neatly as a crossword puzzle answer or a response to a question on a TV game show.
Well, thanks to Tom Brokaw, who happens to be one of the nameless himself, those born between 1901 and 1926 were widely lauded as the Greatest Generation. I don’t disagree. They survived the Depression and fought the Second World War. They deserve the recognition, but come on, Tom, whatever happened to taking care of your own?
And the hype about the baby boomers? Aren’t you just sick of it? Those born between 1946 and 1964 think they’re so special. And who can blame them with all the attention they’ve always gotten from the media and the marketers. Big deal. So you’ve earned a lot of money and went to Woodstock. But you have no exclusive claim to rock ‘n roll, civil rights or feminism. Some of us latter-born question marks were right there with you.
Generation-naming just kept moving forward, leaving us further in the dust. Soon there was Gen X, a term with literary roots co-opted by Madison Avenue. Covering roughly the years 1966 to the early 1980s, the X originally meant that the fate of this generation was unknown. Gen Y was so-called because it was the next letter of the alphabet. These folks are also known as the millennials because the majority came of age after the turn of the century. There are actually more of them than there are boomers. But I’m getting a little sick of the attention they’re getting, as well, with all the tweeting and lnstagramming, and the me-me-me attitude. But what else can you expect from a generation that wins ribbons just for showing up? All of that self-centeredness, however, does not make them ineligible for a unique identity, even if the word “millennial” does evoke visions of a mutli-legged insect.
And have you heard about Gen Z, also known as iGen? Born after 2001, and at the time of their naming, barely old enough for a bar mitzvah, they already have the attention of the cultural pulse-takers, while their grandparents and great grandparents slip further into obscurity. All of which brings us to today, when I’m sure somewhere someone is working hard at predicting the zeitgeist of a generation yet to be born, and trying to figure out a catchy name.
So back to the predicament of the nameless 28 million. Surely there were significant events during our decades that would lend themselves to an overriding identity. For example, I’ve heard us referred to as “depression babies” or the “war babies,” but those are such downers Certainly we can do better.
So we are the generation that saw the end of prohibition, the New Deal, Social Security, Superman, and sliced white bread. (Forgot the last one. I think I’d rather be known as a “war baby.} The truth be told, I actually discovered that my generation did, in fact, have a name. If you’re not a sociologist, I challenge you to tell me what it is. I don’t recall ever seeing it used in any type of popular media in my lifetime. If you were born between 1926 and 1945, welcome to the “silent generation.” The “silent generation.” How does that sit with you? Called thus because we didn’t make waves, worked hard, and stuck by good old-fashioned values. All positive traits, I suppose, but so boring!
“What’s in a name?” asked Juliet from her balcony in Verona. But at our age, should we really be debating existential questions with an iGen?
The other evening, I accidentally discovered a new link to my inner child. I lost my front tooth. Or, as my dentist exclaimed, “My dear, you have fractured your incisor.” Call it what you will, I now have a gaping space in my mouth that is aligned with my left nostril, and completely visible when I talk, laugh, smile or eat. None of which I had ever considered giving up, particularly the last one.
Rediscovering one’s inner child is thought to be very therapeutic. But this path I do not recommend. My speech pattern has regressed to that of a lisping five-year-old, only a lot less adorable. And currently, biting into a bagel is simply out of the question.
Why this unfortunate incident occurred points to yet another aspect of my inner child. I was attempting to eat a fudgesicle.
Remember fudgesicles? They were a dessert of choice long before there was such a thing as Hagen Daaz, the ice cream with the fake Dutch name that was created in the Bronx and first sold in Brooklyn, or Ben and Jerry’s, or all those fancy gelati now available in the freezer case of your local supermarket.
As a kid, the fudgesicle – a chocolate spinoff of the popsicle – along with the creamsicle, were among my favorite treats. In those days I didn’t worry about calories or sugar content. Now the fudgesicles I purchase are artificially sweetened mere shadows of their former selves.
Nevertheless, after dinner, I still look forward to my nostalgic goody. On the night in question, however, my first bite resulted in disaster.
Granted, fudgesicles are frozen. But not quite as frozen as, let’s say, an ice cube or a forgotten steak that’s been sitting in the back of the freezer since last summer’s barbecue. Having bit into numerous fudgesicles in the recent past, I hardly expected to pull back from this one with a loose tooth!
Fortunately, I made it to the dentist before the tooth actually deserted me. He looked at me, shook his head, laid a lead collar around my neck and proceeded to take an x-ray. A few moments later he walked back into the room.
“I have bad news and worse news,” he stated, “which would you like first.” “Let me have the bad news first,” I replied, “then we can build up to the other. I’ve always been a big fan of crescendos.”
“Well, I thought we could get away with a crown,” he declared. “But the tooth is too far gone for that.”
“And the worse news?”
“I will have to extract the tooth”
“And then?” I queried.
“You are going to need an implant.”
And that was the moment the cymbals crashed!
Now implants aren’t so bad, although they do make a considerable dent in one’s bank account. I’m a proud owner of several already. But due to its location, this one was horrifying. Between the time the implant was inserted and the months it took to heal, I would look like an extra from “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
The answer to this humiliating situation, my dentist explained, was something called a “Flipper.”
“I’ll take two,” I responded with a mixture of panic and relief. He assured me that one would suffice.
So what was left of my front tooth was yanked out, and too crumbled to even consider putting under my pillow. (My inner child still believed in the Tooth Fairy.) And to assuage my dignity, I was presented with “The Flipper.”
This custom-made piece of plastic, on which hangs a replica on my missing tooth, has become my new best frenemy. While it allows me to smile without humiliation, it is about as comfortable as a tongue depressor. Once inserted, it feels like someone has attached a shelf to my upper palate.
If I happen to see you in the near future, and we engage in conversational pleasantries, let me assure you that I am not inebriated. I only sound sloshed due to my friend Flipper, which is giving my poor tongue a very hard time when it comes to producing “s” sounds. As a result, I’m avoiding meeting new people. I’m reluctant to say my name.
Dining is no joy either. I don’t wear the damn thing when I’m home, but since recreational eating is part of the Florida lifestyle, I don’t dare go into a restaurant without my new companion. Perhaps we’ve discovered the Flipper diet!
I do have a choice. I can choose not to wear it at all, and tell people that I’m auditioning for a role in the remake of the movie “Deliverance.” Or, I can toss vanity to the wind, and grin and bear it. Well, maybe not a full grin, perhaps just a closed-mouth little smirk.
Or better yet, there is an option for a temporary tooth to be bonded in place. If that happens I will happily lock Flipper inside its case and banish it to the back of some drawer.
But for now, I will tolerate my annoying device, since going toothless is not a coveted fashion statement. And, most important, I’m sure it will be an asset when I bite into my next fudgesicle.
Raise your hand if you know that today is the birthday of Susan B. Anthony. As I thought. Only one hand raised, and it’s mine. Or maybe there was one other hand raised somewhere in the back row. What a responsibility it has been all these years to be the only person in the room harboring this important piece of knowledge.
And how is it that I became the keeper of this factoid? The answer to this, and probably most of my other quirks, dates back, of course, to my childhood. And to savings banks. That’s right, savings banks. In the days when savings banks looked like ancient marble mausoleums. And had higher interest rates. Additionally, if you walked into a bank in the 40s or 50s and opened a new account, you just might leave with a toaster or an electric wall clock.
Well, I must have grown up in the wrong neighborhood, because all our bank gave away was a paper calendar. Pathetic as this giveaway was, my mother brought the calendar home and hung it on a wall in our kitchen. And although the calendar could not brown your bread or tell the time, that’s not to say it wasn’t useful. Each day was represented by a little square where you could inscribe an appointment, or some other reminder. And the little square would also tell you if a particular day had a particular significance, like the Chinese New Year, or Mexican Flag Day, or when there would be a full moon.
My favorite page on the calendar was the month of February. Little narcissist that I was, it was my favorite because it’s the month in which I was born. The second week of February was just chock full of important days. February 12 – Lincoln’s birthday; February 13 – my birthday. Well, that wasn’t exactly printed on the calendar, but hand printed on it by me. February 14 – St. Valentine’s Day. And last but not least, February 15 – Susan B. Anthony’s birthday. That lineup made me so proud. I must be so special to be surrounded by all those important people! I confess at the time I had no knowledge of Susan B. Anthony, but I figured she must be an important person to have her own square. As well as sharing my name.
And, oh yes, the following week, on February 22, there was a square marking the birth of George Washington. (On today’s calendar, Lincoln and Washington are no longer entitled to their own birthdays, but have been efficiently combined into President’s Day, which typically falls on no one’s date of birth, but ensures a three-day weekend.)
As I got older, I did learn who Susan B. Anthony was, but sadly misunderstood what she represented. To my 9-year-old ear, she fought for women’s sufferage, which made absolutely no sense to me at all. You can surely understand why. Also, that she was a suffer jet, which in today’s world, sounds like she played quarterback on a losing football team. But as children we mishear lots of things, like Elephants Gerald, the jazz singer, Round John Virgin who’s mentioned in the song “Silent Night,” and Youth in Asia, who, horribly, were being murdered.
But I’m happy to say that by the time I was old enough to vote, it had all sorted itself out. I developed a full appreciation of Susan B. Anthony’s place in history and her personal importance to me as a woman living in 2019, beyond the fact that we share a name.
She was born February 15, 1820 into a large Quaker family who were social activists, and active in the anti-slavery movement. She became a teacher, and fought for equal pay for women, who were paid less than their male counterparts. Sound familiar? She recognized early on that if women were to have any power at all, they needed the right to vote.
In 1852 she joined with Elizabeth Cady Stanton in the Women’s Rights Movement, and dedicated the rest of her life to women’s suffrage. (See, I got it right this time.) Women who supported the cause were called suffragettes. (Professional football didn’t even start until 1892.) She never married, and traveled the country campaigning for abolition of slavery, and women’s rights. Frederick Douglas became a good friend.
In November 1872 the Notorious SBA voted illegally in the US Presidential election, and was arrested. She was found guilty by the judge and ordered to pay a fine of $100. She refused to pay, and walked away. The trial increased her profile, and her ability to raise funds, enabling her to spread her message of supporting equal rights for women.
She died in New York in 1906. Fourteen years later, in 1920, women’s right to vote was guaranteed by the Nineteenth Amendment.
End of history lesson. Hopefully, I’ve contributed to spreading the word about the importance of Susan B. Anthony. And going forward, I will no longer be the only person in the room who knows that her birthday is February 15th.
Sitting on my desk right now is a contemporary appointment book. Like the bank calendar in my mother’s kitchen, each day is represented by a little square. Still listed on the February page are Mexican Flag Day, Chinese New Year, and St. Valentine’s Day. Lincoln’s and Washington’s birthdays have been replaced by Presidents’ Day. And Susan B. Anthony is notably absent. So would you be so kind as to pencil it in? And while you’re at it, although it’s over, mark down mine as well.