Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day and I nice phone call from Noel.
Thanks Noel! :-)

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I can't write any mushy poetry about my mom. I never felt I was able to live up to her expectations ~ from memorizing the multiplication tables (isn't that what calculators are for?) to making a decent living in a ‘real’ profession.

She was surprised and pleased when I went to college in my 40's and she had found out she had cancer when I graduated with my BA from The Evergreen State College in 1989, before she died of cancer.

It after my graduation that I found a note from her in a book she had given me, “Reweaving The Web of Life ~ Feminism and Nonviolence” edited by Pam McAllister.

For Gabi who is weaving the web of her life as I would have hoped. Love Mom

That surprised me. I never really felt that from her when she was alive, even when she sort of said the words.

She joined the army as a nurse during World War II and then they found out she had tuberculosis. So she spent the war in a sanatorium somewhere near Black Mountain College in Asheville, NC. She said she walked there for classes sometimes. The Army gave her a full medical retirement as a lieutenant (I think) with a check every month to match.

She was a feminist from early on in her life. I remember she said to me once that it was easier for her to be a feminist with that income ~ I give her credit for being aware of that. With three marriages that didn’t work and job moves, etc. she could move when she needed to and many people can't.

There are things I am proud of my mother for. We marched together in anti-war marches in San Francisco during the Vietnam War. She supported the Cezar Chavez and the United Farm Workers and was very involved in the Gray Panthers.

Mom was a good role model in many ways ~ but definitely not sappy ones.

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"To describe my mother would be to write about
a hurricane in its perfect power."

~ Maya Angelou

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Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis (September 30, 1832 - May 9, 1905) was born in Culpeper, Virginia. Jarvis worked around what is now West Virginia to promote worker health and safety concerns. During the American Civil War she organized women to tend to the needs of the wounded of both sides. After the war she became active in the promotion of Mother's Day, a holiday at that time involved with the causes of pacifism and social activism. She organized meetings of mothers of soldiers of both sides of the late war.

Click here to read more on Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis and her daughter Ann Jarvis in the Wikipedia encyclopedia.

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The "Mother's Day Proclamation" by Julia Ward Howe was one of the early calls to celebrate Mother's Day in the United States. Written in 1870, Howe's Mother's Day Proclamation was a pacifist reaction to the carnage of the

American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. The Proclamation was tied to Howe's feminist belief that women had a responsibility to shape their societies at the political level.

Click here to read the article & the lyrics to Ward's "Mother's Day Proclamation" in the Wikipedia encyclopedia.

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This Mother’s Day I dedicate to Carolyn Wagner. She is an amazing woman and I am honored to be her friend.

Some background about Carolyn and her wonderful family ~

Cick here to read the 1988 Salon article "Letter from Fayetteville" ~ Not hating the haters: The campaign for gay rights comes to Arkansas ~ by Rebecca Bryant.

and click here to read the article "Making Men: The Boy Who Doesn't Fit In" - a 1999 Boston Globe article about the Wagner family from Fayetteville, Arkansas and how they handled it when their son William was assaulted in a hate crime. They filed a complaint with the Office For Civil Rights that the Fayetteville School District was in violation of their son's title lX rights. The Wagners succeeded in convincing the OCR that GLBT students are covered by Title lX and the Supreme Court upheld Title lX rights for students, regardless of gender of victim or harasser and or sexual orientation/gender identity. The Fayetteville School District became the first in our nation to have been found in violation of a gay students Title lX rights.

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