Throwing Away Women’s Lib

Thinking about our coming holiday, Mothers Day, reminds me of how much women lost because of the Women’s Lib movement. In order to understand my unpopular opinion, we have to look back in history to the role women played before Women’s Lib became popular.

During the fifties and early sixties, most women didn’t work. They stayed at home and were housekeepers and mothers, living useful, comfortable lives. They kept the home looking nice, cared for the children and prepared nutritious meals. And they had time leftover for pleasurable activities. How many women have that today? Are the Housewives of Hollywood the only ones?

Now, women have to be housekeepers, mothers and have jobs. They had idyllic lifestyles and threw them away, insisting women be given jobs that were traditionally filled by men.

The men said, “Okay, then work!” I think at the time women were aiming to get good paying office jobs, and they wanted paid the same amount as men, something that has never really materialized on a national level. I know there are exceptions to this lower pay scale, but for the most part I think men still earn more.

The worst thing about it is that we didn’t only lose our easy lifestyles, where we could spend a little time in recreation during the day, but we lost a lot of respect from our husbands. Women began to feel “equal” to their husbands and insisted they be considered for all kinds of labor intensive jobs, such as factory workers, highway workers and soldiers. I don’t know how these women do it, unless they are in excellent physical condition.

I’m sure there are many of you who believe Women’s Lib was really a great liberation for trapped woman. I welcome your opinions in my comments section. Are you happy with the changes that Women’s Lib made in our country? Or do you agree with me that we lost more than we gained?

Advertisements

My Hero, J.D. Salinger

I was whisked back to my teenage years as I watched a documentary on J.D. Salinger on “American Masters”, PBS January 21st. The film was made by Shane Salerno, who released the theatrical version to the public in September. I was both inspired as a writer and warmed in my heart when I learned that many people idolized Holden Caulfield as a character and J.D. Salinger as a writer, as I did.

All my feelings of angst and disapproval from my peers came rushing back to me as I remembered reading “Catcher in the Rye,” which I consider a classic. It describes teenage alienation perfectly. Didn’t we all wonder who we really were as teenagers and who we were going to become? I know my sense of self was quite elusive, parts of me floating around wondering who we were. Of course having multiple personalities did not help.

I felt that the protagonist, Holden Caulfield, was like me in many ways, especially because I attended a private girl’s school in Pennsylvania. Not only did Holden lack confidence in himself, but he also thought many other people were ‘phonies.’ I felt exactly the same way during my teenage years. It seems like teenagers can be smart and stupid at the same time, myself included.

There is some controversy that “Catcher in the Rye” was responsible for several murders. According to a blog by the atomicpoet, the only killer obsessed by Catcher was Mark David Chapman, who killed John Lennon and then stood by reading the book until police came on the scene. Chapman was supposedly a Christian who took offense to Lennon’s atheism….and saw him as a phony. Chapman hoped to save children from Lennon’s godless ways.” John Hinckley tried to kill Reagan, and a copy of Catcher was later found in his room. It can hardly be said that Hinckley idolized the book.

Thank goodness I did not kill anyone. I just read the book, loved it and identified totally with Holden Caulfield. I also saw the movie, Finding Forester starring Sean Connery as a former best-selling writer who is now a recluse living in Brooklyn. It seemed to mirror Salinger’s life in many ways.

Mr. Salinger had a concrete building on his property called ‘the bunker,” where he escaped to write every single day. I don’t think he had a window or a telephone in the small building. I get the idea he wanted to be alone. I also read that he had a penchant for taking a week to craft a single sentence. That definitely strikes a chord in my heart. I’ve worked long and hard on a few of my own.

Another interesting detail about Salinger is that when he was deployed in WWII to Europe he took the first six chapters of “Catcher” with him, and worked on them during his downtime. During the time of his combat he served in the concentration camps, and was deeply affected by what he saw there, later suffering from a nervous breakdown.

The best surprise from the PBS Show is that upon Salinger’s death in 2010, he left instructions in his will for publication of several major works that were written during his lifetime but never published. One of the books is “The Complete Chronicle of the Glass Family,” an extremely long book featuring one of Salinger’s characters, Seymour Glass, about a family with six children who are all geniuses. Other books that will be published are “The Last and Best of the Peter Pans,” and “A Counterintelligence Agent’s Diary” and “A World War II Love Story”. The books are to be published between 2015 and 2020.

For more info on the killer controversy go to atomicpoet.wordpress.com/2012/01/31

Know Someone at Risk for Suicide?

Last week I attended an eye-opening lecture on suicide prevention. Besides learning the awful statistics that there are 104 suicides/day and 18 veterans a day kill themselves, I learned how to talk to someone who may be at risk.

Darcy and Paul Granello, from The Ohio State University Counselor Education Department, gave the program. They very vividly described the pain that a person feels when they are thinking of ending their lives, and point out ways to give that person hope by referring them to a counselor who will listen to their problems and/or a doctor who can prescribe medication. Darcy and Paul have found that once a person gets help for suicidal thoughts, they never talk about it again. They learn to value themselves.

The Granellos talked mainly about teenagers and college age people, since their work is at the college level.

The most important thing I learned was how to talk to someone who may be thinking about killing themselves. First you need to know the signs, such as hearing statements like:

“You’d be better off without me.”

“Maybe I won’t be around.”

“Nothing matters!”

“There’s no end to this pain I feel.”

“It’s no use.”

“Doesn’t it ever get better?”

IF SOMEONE SAYS SOMETHING LIKE THIS TO YOU, THE WORST THING YOU CAN SAY IS NOTHING. The Granello’s have discovered that if people are thinking of suicide, if they tell someone about their thoughts and that person doesn’t respond at all, SILENCE TELLS THE VICTIM THAT NO ONE CARES. It reinforces the idea that killing themselves is a valid solution to their pain. However, most people find these statements uncomfortable and don’t know what to say, so the Granellos’s suggested the following possibilities:

LISTEN – be open and willing to hear what the person has to say. Questions that show interest may help move the conversation along, but avoid giving advice, making judgments, and offering your solution for the problem. Many times, young people need to be convinced that an adult’s concern is genuine before they’ll open up and talk about their feelings. Listen for feelings behind the words. This works for peers as well.

If you determine that a teen could be at risk, ask directly, “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” THIS WILL NOT PUT THE IDEA INTO THE TEEN’S HEAD. The signals that caught your attention were already there. Asking this difficult question will open the door for a dialogue about what is going on and give you a chance to help.

If the teen admits to having thoughts of suicide, it is critical that you stay calm. Hear them out, treat his or her feelings with genuine concern, and take them seriously. Be sure to contact others to help with the problems. Don’t try to handle it alone. Involve parents, counselors, and community resources as needed.

Darcy and Paul’s main point is that suicide is not about death – it is about finding an end to the pain! The Granello’s know that the pain doesn’t end when someone kills themself. It just passes to someone else. The Granello’s son killed himself, and his pain became their pain, and opened the door for years of study on the subject. It was a very inspiring lecture. For more info try:

http://www.siblingsurvivors.com/index.htm

http://www.friendsandfamiliesofsuicide.com/

http://www.parentsofsuicide.com/

Still Proud to be an American

In honor of all the men and women who have served in the Armed  Services of the United States, I would like to remember Memorial Day. As a young child, I watched family, neighbors and friends in uniforms going off to fight in WWII. My parents told me these men were going to fight in the war, but I had no concept of what that actually meant.

One such relative was my second cousin, Bobby Double. We all lived in Pittsburgh at the time, and my mother had lived with Bobby and his parents for several years before she married my father. Mother and Bobby had developed a close relationship. Bobby seemed to love my sister and me, and he was always friendly, visited often and always played games with us.

During the war, my parents were probably quite ill-at-ease, because my father was German and my mother was of German descent, not exactly an honorable heritage at the time. One day mother told us that Bobby had been drafted. When we realized he would be going oversees, we cried, but our lives went on. Mother told us how brave the men were to go and fight for their country. I felt respect for the people who were fighting the war, especially Bobby.

Sometimes I would ask for more sugar on my cereal and Mommy would tell me that we had very little, because sugar was being rationed. I remember listening to her long explanation of rationing, imagining mean men on ships stopping the sugar from coming into the United States. Mostly I wished for more sugar.

One day my mother and father seemed to be particularly happy. Bobby came over in his army uniform, smiling from ear to ear. My parents were hugging him and everyone was laughing and hugging each other and picking me up and twirling me. I was happy too, but I had no idea why.

Only many years later, when I was in my twenties studying history, did I realize that was the day WWII was over. Even though I was only three at the time, I remember V-E Day, the celebration that occurred at the end of WWII, in May of 1945. The United States had helped win the war against Hitler. Bobby no longer had to be deployed, and we would soon be able to buy as much sugar as we wanted. Praise the Lord, our side won!

 

Other Multiples

If you know someone with multiple personalities, please tell them about my blog. I would like to connect with them