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December 12

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 Listening, by Sey Chessler


QUOTE by May Daly.

Excerpt from Listening
by Sey Chessler

      "One morning about 20 years ago, my wife and I were arguing about whether or not I ever listened to her. It was one of those arguments that grow into passion and pain and, often, to me at least, into a kind of hysteria. This one became one of those that do not go away with the years.
      "Suddenly, she threw something at me, and said:
'From now on you do the shopping, plan the meals, take care of the house, everything. I'm through!'
      "I was standing in the kitchen looking at the shelves of food, at the oven, at the sink, at the refrigerator, at the cleaning utensils. At my wife. My reaction was orgasmic. Somewhere inside of me there was screaming, hurting, a volcanic gush of tears flooded my head and broke down over me. I shook and sobbed. I was terrified. No matter what, I knew I could not handle the burden. I could not do my job and be responsible for the entire household. How could I get through a day dealing with personnel, budgets, manuscripts, art departments, circulation statistics, phone calls, people agents, management, writers, and AT THE SAME TIME plan dinner for tonight and tomorrow night and breakfast and a dinner party Thursday night and shopping for it all and making sure the house is in good shape and the woman who cleans for us is there and on time and the laundry done and the children taken to the doctor, and the children taken care of?
      "How could ANY ONE person do all that and stay sane: No one could do that properly. No one. Natalie simply watched me for a while. Finally she said:
'Okay. Don't worry. I'll keep on doing it.' She put on her coat and went to her office.
      "Despite her simple statement that she would go on doing it, I stood awhile telling myself that NO ONE could do all of that. No one. There was a CLICK in my head - and it dawned on me that SHE was doing it.
      "How invisible my wife's life was to me. How invisible to men women are."

[Another excerpt from this essay can be found in WOA 12-13.]

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B. 12-12-1747, Anna Seward, English poet and author of Louisa (1784).

B. 12-12-1779, Saint Madeleine-Sophie Barat, founder of the Society of the Sacred Heart.

B. 12-12-1928, Helen Frankenthaler, American painter and one of the inventors of color field technique. Her Mountains and Seas, 1952 was highly influential.

B. 12-12-1835, Sarah Brown Ingersoll Cooper, director and superintendent of the Gold Gate Kindergarten Association, which incorporated nearly 4,000 pupils in the pioneer learning experience.

B. 12-12-1857, Lillian Nordica, great lyric soprano with the Metropolitan Opera, who oddly was best known for her Wagnerian opera roles.

B. 12-12-1869, Clara Damrosch Mannes, musical educator and pianist. Daughter of musician Leopold Damrosch and brother of conductor Walter, she was an accomplished pianist and was already a teacher when she married. She and her husband founded the David Mannes Music School (later Mannes College of Music) and were world-acclaimed duet concert pianists.

B. 12-12-1870, Rachel Crothers, playwright, started writing plays at 13. Many of her more than 38 plays have the theme of strong women wanting to live a life of freedom. In addition to writing them, RC also directed and produced some 34 on Broadway. She helped form the American Theatre Wing, which operated such things as the Stage Door Canteen during WWII. Her mother at age 40 went to medical school.

B. 12-12-1900, Maria Telkes, Hungarian-born American physical chemist and biophysicist who developed a distillation system converting sea water to fresh water using solar energy. MT planned the solar energy home designed by Amelia Peabody, designed by Eleanor Raymond, using sodium sulphate decahydrate to store solar heat (and dissipate summer heat). It worked fine.

B. 12-12-1962, Tracey Ann Austin, tennis player, at 16 became the youngest person to win the U.S. Open. Won her second open in 1981 just before an injury cut short her career.

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      "If God is male, then male is God. The divine patriarchy castrates women as long as he is allowed to live on in the human imagination."
            -- May Daly, Beyond God the Father

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