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My “Woman’s” History

Following the path of my mothers and grandmothers.

NPS ranger

“This Big”
A National Park Ranger describes the size of Mauna Loa which is in Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park and is considered by many to be the largest volcano in height and area in the World. Copyright by WyoJones. Used with permission. All rights reserved.
I don’t ever remember seeing a female park ranger when I was growing up. If you want to know more about women in the National Park Service, check out this Wikipedia article.

When I was in high school, we all had to take this test. From what I remember, it was looking at a flattened box and then picking which box we thought it would be if it was put together. I *think* it was a military aptitude test, but it was a long time ago, so I’m probably wrong about that. It was, however, an aptitude test.

I got some crazy good score. Apparently, I rock at putting flattened boxes together.

Our guidance counselor called us in, one at a time, to go over our test results. I can remember my surprise and delight when he told me my score. And then he told me his assessment of what career choices would be good for me.

Keep in mind, these were flattened boxes. I don’t remember anything else.

He told me I should think about a career in interior design.

I can remember being a bit puzzled by that, but nodding dutifully.

We were both a product of our time, though, for him, it was more set.

No, I didn’t become an interior designer. The notion is hilarious when I look back at it.

But I wonder what the test would have said about me had the results not been filtered through the lens of that time?

I can remember a teacher who told me that girls weren’t good at math and I shouldn’t worry about it. The thing is, I’m sure other girls in my class were told the same thing, but they didn’t let the words stop them. They did good at math and went on to challenge the barricades between them and their dreams.

I look back and I am happy with my life and my choices.

My choices.

I am happy to celebrate the “big” moments, where women busted through barriers, but for me, the history of women is about being able to choose the life they want to live. That counselor was wrong about me and that teacher was wrong not to help me with my math problems. (I still struggle with math. lol)

But I still managed to find my own path to the life that has brought me joy and satisfaction despite the hard stuff.

I guess if I have a message for the young women taking counsel from others, it would that you seek to understand not all history is made in the halls of power. Write your history. Live your history.

My personal history — and great blessing — has been to follow in the path of strong women who quietly made the choice to do good things.

Mothers. Grandmothers. Great-Grandmothers.

I thank them for their quiet faith, for their resolute courage, for their grace and dignity in the face of the challenges of their lives.

I am better because of how they lived and the choices they made. Because of them, I have written my history in the way I have lived my life. (And I’m very thankful that my sister is a better interior designer than I am and for calculators.)

Perilously yours,


For Women’s History Month:

story bundle image

We’re kind of messing with history, considering how much magic and steampunk we’ve thrown into the mix (and how some of our stories have no history at all). But we’re reaching for the spirit of the celebration, not the celebration itself. (Click on the cover to check it out!)

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