Walk Nostalgia

It started yesterday.  My alarm went off at 5:30 like it normally does and Mrs. Wigglebottom got up out of the bed in the other room and came in to see if I was going to get up.  I was not.  I hit “snooze.”  She wandered aimlessly around the house for a few minutes.  I could hear the click of her toenails on the hardwood.

When it went off again at 6, same thing.

Will today, she asks, finally be the day that we get up and walk?

I, too, miss our morning walks and it is so beautiful here at dawn, I feel like we’re missing out.  And yet, we still have four more weeks where we’re supposed to be keeping her crated all the time.

We, of course, did not crate her, because she hasn’t been crated since she was a puppy and I couldn’t see the wisdom in paying that much money to fix the dog’s leg only to turn around and slowly drive her crazy by keeping her confined.

America, she’s so bored and I’m at my wits’ end about what to do about it.  Clearly, she feels okay and any discomfort she feels is outweighed by her desire to get back to moving around and being a dog.

To switch gears, they still haven’t decided if they’re going to operate on my grandma.  Yesterday, it was a definite yes.  Then late last night, her heart doctor got wind of their plans and was basically, “You’re going to risk killing her over a broken bone?  That seems stupid.” and so he’s going to look at the CAT scan himself and give his verdict on whether the severity of the break warrents the risk of putting her through surgery.  It may be that they just immobalize it for a couple of months and then it doesn’t work great ever again.

I just hope that they’re doing a good job of letting my grandma decide.  Yes, she’s old as dirt, but her mind’s good, and, in the end, she’s the only one who can really know what’s right for her.

I was thinking last night about my grandma, who was not a feminist.  I think so often we hear about how feminism ruined it, how everyone was happy and everything was fine until those feminists came along and ruined it.

But my grandma’s life was not fine.  She wanted to be a history teacher and she went down to Illinois State (which, at the time, was the Normal college) to do so and when she got there, they tried to steer her into Home Ec because History was for men.  She tried to argue that there were no men, there being a World War on and all, but it didn’t matter.

So, she gave it a try, hated it, and came home.

Just because she didn’t have words to describe what was happening doesn’t mean that, when I was in college, she didn’t sit at the dining room table one Thanksgiving, crying as she told me about it.  She knew what happened to her was bullshit, but there wasn’t anything she felt like she could do about it.

On another tangent, I’m on this email list and I feel like I made such a complete doofus of myself on it last week, talking about how I was excited to learn that Muddy Waters played in a band in Mississippi that contained a guitar player, a fiddle player, and a mandolin player and how I wanted to hear what that would sound like, blues on a fiddle and a mandolin.  And everyone came back with, basically, “Oh, god you n00b” and I about wanted to die of embarrassment.

But yesterday, over at Boogie Woogie Flu, Ted Barron put up a song with a blues violin!  I could listen to it!  And it is cool.  And so I can return to being a dork in private.

11 thoughts on “Walk Nostalgia

  1. Illinois Normal had one of the most academically challenging Home Ec programs in the US at the time your grandma went to school. We look down on Home Ec women as jello-making, curtain-pleating cake-baking white-glove church ladies now, but in mid-century, they saw themselves as a field in which smart women could get into lab science (nutritional research and ag research), go into medicine (public health), create public policy (especially about children, family law, and health), get paid to have careers in art and design, and generally break a lot of barriers. It was also a place where really promising women could have full-fledged university careers (since nearly all the profs and department chairs were women). It sucks that she didn’t like it, but in retrospect, the people advising her may have been trying to give her a route to fulfill her academic promise by channeling her into a field that had room for her to be ambitious rather than a field that would have her knocking her head against the wall.

  2. Yeah, but come on! You don’t tell someone she can’t be a history teacher because they have to hold those spots for men, and then expect her to be all “Oh, well then, home ec, great!” Yes, they may have been trying to give her such a route, but the fact is that they felt they could channel her into something more appropriate for women so as to hold open spots in History for men. So what if it was a good option? That wasn’t the option she wanted.

  3. My mom is a history (well, social studies, since she teaches 6th grade) teacher. She first started teaching english because she couldn’t get hired for her real love, history. Those spots usually went to, as you said, men and especially coaches.

    Finally, after 20 something years of teaching, she got a position as a social studies teacher and now she’s department head. Times have changed, but the discrimination against women on this subject is still really recent.

  4. Not saying it was. As I said, it sucks that she didn’t like it. I just thought it might be some consolation to her to know that her intelligence and drive had been recognized. It would have sucked perhaps even more to have professors train her for a job that they knew damn well she’d never get hired for without saying anything about the structural sexism that an incoming freshman wouldn’t have known anything about.

  5. Oh, Mrs. Wigglebottom. How I feel for you. I can’t complain so much about my last medical procedure, compared to yours, but I can say that it is VERY embarrassing to be shaved and have all the other cats to see and snicker at. I wish you a quick recovery.

    And Aunt B., it is a pity what happened to your grandma. I can’t say that being a female cat has impeded my success, however, being a cat PERIOD has been a real roadblock to my blogging career. When CNN did a piece on best animal blogs, yours truly was ignored in favor of some dog’s blog that featured a lot of “Wuff, wuff. Isn’t I cute?” The media is not keen on giving credit to an animal for being an astute observer and critic of today’s political landscape. They fear the competition, I believe.

    I suggest you interview your grandmother about some of the successes she had in life and whom she touched along the way. I would love to read a blog article about her.

  6. My mother was told she was going to the nearest Nazarene college where she would study to be a nurse or a teacher and meet her husband. So she did, choosing teaching, although she really wanted to be a doctor. She was told that doctors have to be “smart.” Seriously. A couple of years ago she told me that “I never knew you just had to be able to learn things; I can do that.” Uh, Mom, what the hell do you think “smart” is???

    When she started teaching, she was the primary breadwinner (being the wife of a poor rural pastor). But she was badgered to pay into every damn thing that went around the school, because “women only taught for hair and shoe money.” This for a woman with a Master’s degree in English, who double majored in education and history! It still smarts…

    And it was just 12 years ago that I was looked at strangely for studying quantum physics!

  7. Pixie,

    That’s not sexist. Anybody gets strange looks for studying quantum physics.

    It means you’re quarky.

    Ahhh…I kill me. Geek humor…

  8. Ex, it could have had to do with my basic calculation problem owing to dyslexia (I can’t remember the big, long word for that form of the disorder – I keep getting those letters confused LOL). Or it might have been that three of my classmates had perhaps never been quite so close to a girl and the other one had been far too close to too many! ;) But, yeah, I was warned that I was the only woman in the program, and that the one before me “hadn’t done well.” If it weren’t for that dyslexia problem, I’d have stayed and been fabulously successful just to prove a point.

  9. Yeah, I was physics major, and there were,maybe, three undergrads that were women and physics majors.

    And this was at a pretty big university center.

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