YOU’RE JUST A WOMAN
You’re just a woman, you don’t need college. That’s what my mother heard when she was a girl. Thinking about girls and how they are prepared to lead (or not), I’ve decided to re-publish a poem I wrote. The original model was by George Ella Lyon, a poet from Kentucky. I followed her style and wrote my own poetic memoir. I’ve marked in bold a particular line my Mom heard and I still feel the pain when I remember. Watching for God involves looking for our purpose, a way to use our gifts. My Mom didn’t have a chance to do that, except that she told me she loved being a wife and mother. I am thankful. I, too, loved being a mother, and now a grandmother. There are five boys and one girl. Can anyone imagine saying to my granddaughter, “You don’t need college, you’re just a woman?”
I am from a tee-totaler and a flag waver
I am from a drummer boy from Boston
and a Pennsylvania farm girl
salty tears lonely.
I am from pen pals and he proposed before they met
and a match made with postage stamps.
I am from he always wanted two little girls and a white picket fence
and she wished he’d not spend so much on flowers.
I am from a disabled vet with a broken body
and Jesus is the Great Physician.
I am from “You’re not any better but you’re just as good”
and “Don’t play with fire or you’ll get burned.”
I’m from a two-bedroom house on Sunday Street and
the Johnstown Flood which happened again.
I am from steel mills and a city bus
And Saturday rides to the downtown library.
I am from a writer-dreamer with no place to write and the girl
who was told “You don’t need college, you’re just a woman.”
I am from both – the dreamer and the disappointed farm girl
Who struggled to give me safety and opportunity.