I grew up around strong, mature women who didn’t allow the social constraints of their era confine them to traditional roles as defined in Springfield, Ore., during the �60s and early �70s. Some had more polish than others 퀌_ Ruby, for example, a southerner with stereotypical Southern manners that covered a strong will. Others, like Carol and Rosemary, worked with animals (horses and dogs) and shaped their behaviors toward people to reflect their training philosophies. I learned much from these strong women.
Growing up as a smart girl in Springfield meant dealing with a schizophrenic dichotomy between blue-collar timber workers and the University of Oregon next door in Eugene. Proximity to the U of O meant access to new curricula and new methods for our teachers. Proximity to Weyerhaeuser meant smelling the pulp mill on my way to and from Thurston High School, where one year I took French from Bill Kinkel (now famous as father and victim of his son Kip). Most of my class planned on careers connected to the woods. I wanted to get away from Springfield.
Eventually I went to the U of O, graduated, married and ended up in Portland. I spent time tweaking noses of the complaisant in the Democratic Party political structure, ran the state office for Jerry Brown’s 1992 presidential campaign, worked as a legal assistant, had a child, and worked as a secretary and bookkeeper. I decided to become a teacher, so now I’m a grad student in special education, juggling school, work, teenagers, spouse and volunteer commitments (Band Mom, 4-H leader and so forth). I also ride horses whenever I get a chance and help care for two show rabbits as well as make beaded jewelry.
I hope many of you enjoy reading my column this year. I plan to enjoy writing it.