Mom: It’s interesting to look back in history at the women who were influential to the country or the world and also those who made an impact on me personally. Due to my age, Gloria Steinem was a major influence in my life. She revolutionized the role of women in daily life, broke barriers.
Me: Her influence is still apparent. I knew who she was since I was a little girl. People still watch what she does and what she says.
Grandma: Eleanor Roosevelt stands out in my mind. Her husband made lots of big changes, and she did too. She visited the servicemen and women all around the world during World War II. She visited them in the mess halls and on the front lines, putting her own life in danger to bring the experiences of the war home so we could understand what was going on. She raised the morale of the troops and all of us. Her efforts were very important.
Me: I can’t help but think of Oprah.
Her influence is nonstop and goes beyond race. She has overcome a horrible childhood and many other adversities. She did things her own way and found success in many areas. I love that she is able to bring topics and issues that have never before been addressed on a national level to the forefront. When Oprah speaks, people listen.
Mom: I particularly liked her book clubs. She put lots of thought into her recommendations; the stories and authors were diverse. She helped spawn book clubs all over the nation and in many age groups. Speaking of books, this makes me think of another woman I really admire: author Ayn Rand. Her book “The Fountainhead” had a tremendous impact on the way I iewed people, my morals and philosophy. Her ideas are incredible. I have recommended the book to many [people].
Me: I thought the book was extraordinary. I could not put it down—genius commentary on human nature and so much more. That is one to read over and over.
Grandma: I really respected my 10th-grade geometry teacher, Mrs. Black. I can see her still. I took geometry because I liked algebra so much. There were six of us in the class having a really hard time, and after school, we would go to her house, and she worked with us one on one. I admired her dedication and caring nature.
Me: My college dance professor, Gretchen Cohenour, is a remarkable woman and teacher. Her guidance and knowledge still affects me every day. I learned not only about movement, but body awareness, about myself as a person. She challenged each of her students in ways that were unique to the individual. I learned to appreciate different genres of dance.
Mom: Teachers hold such memories. I had two favorite teachers. Mrs. Blakeslee, my sixth-grade English teacher, encouraged my writing. My first play was performed in her class. Jan Helgerson taught public speaking, drama and literature in high school. They were my favorite subjects, but she brought them alive and opened an entire world.
Me: My favorite women are sitting next to me. There are no words to express my love and admiration. I have learned so much from my grandma and mom. I feel blessed to be able to spend the time together that we do.