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November 28

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This document has been taken from emailed versions
of Women of Achievement. The complete episode
will be published here in the future.

Excerpt from "I Want a Wife"


QUOTES by Rita Mae Brown.

Remember this one?

      "...I want a wife to make sure my children eat properly and are kept clean. I want a wife who will wash the children's clothes and keep them mended. I want a wife who is a good nurturant attendant to my children, arranges for their schooling, makes sure that they have an adequate social life with their peers... I want a wife who take care of the children when they are sick... My wife must arrange to lose time at work and not lose the job... Needless to say, my wife will arrange and pay for the care of my children while my wife is working.
      "I want a wife, who will take care of MY physical needs. I want a wife who will keep my house clean... A wife who will pick up after me. I want a wife who will keep my clothes clean, ironed, mended, replaced when need be, and who will see to it that I can find what I need the minute I need it. I want a wife who... is a good cook... a wife who will plan the menus, do the necessary grocery shopping, prepare the means, serve them pleasantly and then do the cleaning up... I want a wife who will care for me when I am sick and sympathize with my pains... I want a wife to go along when our family takes a vacation so that someone can continue to care for me and my children when I need a rest.
      "My God, who wouldn't want a wife?"
            -- excerpted from Judy Syfers's wonderful magazine article that has been anthologized often, "Why I Want a Wife" and strikes to the bone the problems of the patriarchal system of social order.

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B. 11-28-1853, Helen Magill White, raised a Quaker, thinking she was as deserving of the same education as men, organized Howard College in Massachusetts.

B. 11-28-1904, Nancy Mitford, English-born American writer, the eldest of six sisters. Wrote a number of light-hearted novels. She worked in France at refugee camps for those escaping the Spanish Civil War and then later worked with the Free French in World War II. Settling in France after WWII, she wrote several acclaimed biographies including Voltaire in Love (1957) and Madame du Pompadour (1954). Her sister Jessica Mitford (B.1917) also was an acclaimed writer.

B. 11-28-1904, Helen Jepson, American soprano and vocal teacher.

B. 11-28-1909, Rose Bampton, debuted at the Metropolitan Opera on her 23rd birthday as a contralto because her doctor had diagnosed a voice problem as a contralto trying to sing soprano. She quickly tired of being a villain and took extensive voice exercise lessons and finally debuted with a 2.5 octave range as Leonora in Il Trovatore in 1937.

B. 11-28-1923, Helen Delich Bentley, U.S. Representative (R. 2nd Dist. Maryland).

B. 11-28-1932, Margaret Costanza, special assistant to President Jimmy Carter.

B. 11-28-1944, Rita Mae Brown, novelist and poet. Gained fame with her rollicking Rubyfruit Jungle about growing up a lesbian in South Florida when she became friends with actor Alexis Smith. Later she had an affair with tennis player Martina Navritalova and wrote a controversial "revenge" book about women's tennis.

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      "If the world were a logical place, men would ride side-saddle."
            -- Rita Mae Brown, in Sudden Death.

      "If Michelangelo were heterosexual, the Sistine Chapel would have been painted white and with a roller."
            -- Rita Mae Brown, in Venus Envy.

      "Next time anybody calls me a lesbian writer I'm going to knock their teeth in. I'm a writer, I'm a woman, and I'm from the South, and I'm alive, and that is that."
            -- Rita Mae Brown.

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