Yay 2017

Some said “Yay 2017 is over”, others maybe thought they were happier back then…even if they looked forward to the new year in 2018.

But, let’s think instead for a moment about 100 years ago, all the way back to 1918.

My Great GrandMother, affectionately called GreatMa to those who knew her best…was a freshman, maybe a sophomore (I honestly am not 100% sure) in college.

Yup, in Brooklyn. Majoring in French.

Useful…huh? Less so today, but back then, I am sure that was a winner.

I am sure that it was less about what she would enjoy doing, than what would be useful for a woman 100 years ago. She could teach, become a governess, or in her case, I think, help her husband who worked with companies throughout Europe. She did graduate, and she did marry, have children (obviously)…and worked in business for years until she retired to sunny Florida with her 1960s powder blue VW bug. She was ahead of her time, just like other women alumnae she knew.

I aspire to be like her, and for my children, boy and girls alike, to follow in her footsteps.

Tonight, my book club shared thoughts on a book that was written – not so much historical fiction – about the 1920s, but probably pretty close to realty for some in the day and age that it was.

I wish I could ask her in person. “Could this have really happened?” “Is this for real?”

I never did ask her about life in general, instead, I learned about her college experience. It was more inspirational, to help me through my early college days, away from home, learning totally foreign things (engineering in my case and quite similar to a whole different language.)

It wasn’t, however; about her every day, Monday to Friday life. Today, I would find that far more fascinating. Four years, just like one year… goes by so very quickly.

From the book, I wonder, what exactly was life like for the super-wealthy living on the upper east side of New York City? Would she even have known? I can’t imagine that she didn’t have classmates who were of that class. Even though she wasn’t “high society” she was above-average income, living in Brooklyn and attending college there…they would have traveled in at least some of the same circles. Wouldn’t they have?

Then…flash forward – what would they think of today?

Would they be happy for us, or think we’d wasted the last hundred years?  It would be wonderful to know.

In any event, I thought that it was time to use up the rest of our graduation plates that said “Yay 2017” because there wasn’t going to be another good time to use them. Plus, the last thing I want to do is just throw them away. Too much of a waste and it would be ignorant of the people, the efforts and the changes that have taken place in the last century – we easily throw away things that could be useful, fixed – repaired… Things that have brought us forward in so many ways, even if it isn’t nearly as far as she would have thought we could have gone.

~ Dawn aka Hat Girl

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