I’ve had a few, not as many as men I know. The other day a very fit older neighbor decided to take on a project, eradicating “Mount Weed,” where someone dumped a load of topsoil and left it. As I saw him shoveling, I asked if he’d found Jimmy Hoffa yet. He told me his great-grandfather was a ditch digger and he was just following in his footsteps.
This is a very well educated man and businessman. We talked about his theory that the best man for the job was someone who had mastered football. I said that back in the day (girls now play soccer and are learning team sports) girls didn’t have that opportunity and that I was a mediocre gymnast but the first week on the team in a new town I was elected Captain. I was a good captain, but gymnastics is inherently an individual sport in which you compete against yourself (like golf). Team spirit is not easy to build.
Since that conversation I’ve thought of the people outside my parents who influenced my growth and skills and the first must be my sole surviving Aunt, a retired English teacher who definitely made me mind my p’s and q’s. In the early grade school years it was my 2nd grade teacher, Mrs. Johnson who made me feel welcome and want to learn. After that it was my music teachers from violin to piano and choir. Over the past few years I met my grade school music teacher, Mrs. P., and we shared recipes – check out hers on this site for Grape Pie.
Then it was Mr. B. in 7th grade math. That was never my subject but he had a way of teaching the class that resonated with me and I learned all I could from him. In high school the first two years were dull and drab because I knew everything and we were in a different state. When we moved back near our old home I was behind and had this great history teacher. Also my French teacher (even though I had to go back a year) challenged me.
I was terrified to go to college, didn’t think I could cut the mustard. Once I got the right advisor, chair of the Soc. Department, I was OK. He spurred me on to greater goals as did my history and art history professor, who passed years ago. My advisor and I are still in touch today.
As to work there is only one direct report, a woman who consistently empowered her staff, stood out and unfortunately I only worked for her for a year. There are one or two legislators who stand out, one who directly impacted yesterday’s vote for Marital Equality in NY State. I must say I helped that effort 26 years ago by helping to pass legislation in one house that prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation. I am proud to have been a part of that effort, no matter what you might think of me for doing so. At the time people said we were giving gays “preferential treatment” when the bill proposed to include sexual orientation or the appearance of such to be an illegal reason for failing to hire or firing employees.
Since then I’ve met mentors in consulting and volunteer work and I thank you all. It makes a difference in life to have people around who can answer questions and give advice. Please let there be more mentors for girls in school, and may math and science be stressed. Cheers, Dee