The other day I came across something Eleanor Roosevelt said, and in
thinking about it, I have come to the conclusion that more truthful
words were never spoken:
"Women are like tea bags - they don't know how strong they are till they get under hot water."
It made me think of the many women I have known, and now know, that
have been dunked in really hot water and have come up Superwoman
strong. The first that comes to mind is my aunt Lucylle. In the 1950s,
when faced with her divorced sister's (my mother) sudden medical
problems (creeping paralyzation and death 8 years later) stepped out of
her already busy life working daily at her and her husband's 'Mom &
Pop' store to deal with medical needs and daily ones for us all, as
well as help her own mother (who lived with us and was in the beginning
stages of what is now called Alzheimers).
Without her, who knows what would have become of me and my sister
and brother? It is more than a little thanks to her that all three of
us survived the sturm and drang and went to college besides. And my
sister, Virginia, the oldest... not only put herself through college
but did what she could to help with the bills, and after our mother's
death and her own marriage, took me into her newly-wed home for my
final year of high school.
There is my childhood friend in Oklahoma who, after two marriages
collapsed and with two children to care for, went back to college and
became a lawyer. There is my friend at my local YMCA, a musician, who,
in her 40s, was stricken with a brain tumor that, though removed, left
her blind. She learned brail, kept on playing the piano and singing,
and now entertains at the Institute For The Blind. Another actor
friend’s husband died unexpectedly of a heart attack shortly after they
had bought a house. She kept on keepin' on and has been able to keep
the home he so dearly loved. There are my two friends right now who are
continuing their lives and their work and keeping their sunny,
optimistic dispositions thru their own terrible illnesses and those of
their family members.
I thank the gods-that-be for putting my life in touch with them all,
and so many others as well. They have helped me, and their many other
friends, see that no matter what befalls us, we have the strength and
the courage to surmount it. So here's to you, Ms. Eleanor Roosevelt,
for seeing and putting into words many years ago how wonderfully strong
we women can be. Thanks.
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