I am one-quarter Swedish and one-quarter Portuguese, along with some Finish, Polish and, I think, German. I was your typical mixed-culture American kid growing up in Duluth, Minnesota. Swedish is the culture with which I most identify. My grandfather was born to Swedish immigrants (from the province of Dalarna, Sweden) in 1911. When I was a young girl, he took me to a maypole festival that I remember fondly. I also remember visiting the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis for the Midsommer Celebration. When I asked him what he and my grandmother did to survive the winters in Minnesota, he told me they would dance. He loved to polka, and he would dance with me in his little living room. When he passed away in March 2013, I stated at the funeral that if you see me dancing at a festival (alone), I am dancing with my grandfather.
The dancers of the Rochester International Association 40th Annual World Festival (see article on page 14) have come from around the world and now call Rochester “home.” The folk dancers tell stories of their people, who have come so far in so many ways, through their motions and expressions. I love the colorful costumes and envy the close-knit communities they seem to have amongst some of the migrant cultures.
In this issue of RochesterWomen, we celebrate National Women’s History month (March), which celebrates women’s suffrage and rights. In just my lifetime (since 1969), the rights and roles of women have changed tremendously. We now have varied occupations and opportunities for women in the United States and globally. The roles of women have changed even since I started RochesterWomen magazine in 2000. We now have more women business owners, more highly educated women in the workforce and better systems for women and families. I am honored to have been able to feature so many successful and inspirational local women over the past 15 years. Read The Male Perspective on women’s roles (page 49). This column was originally created to be humorous, and this issue is no exception. But it’s also a tribute to women in the workplace.
RochesterWomen magazine has been celebrating Women on Wednesdays, along with Rochester Civic Theatre and Diversity Council. Coming up on March 11, there will be a presentation on Women in Performing Arts; on April 22, a conversation on Young Women and Their World; and wrapping up the series on May 6 will be a discussion on Mothers as Mentors. I hope you will join us for these free conversations and become more active in the lives of others and in our community.
Mysa (pronounced like MEE-sah): A Swedish word meaning “the joy of coming home after a long day of work and mysa-ing (alone, with a friend or with a group).”