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International Women’s Day and the Women who have shaped my life

Updated: Mar 29, 2021

Today is International Women’s day and people are celebrating the important roles women have played in the world.

Great and small it takes all types to create the diverse and beautiful world in which we all live and move and have our being.

From Mother Earth and all of nature to the tiny girl child born of her mother, all women are celebrated on this day.

In my life, and probably in yours too, our earliest examples of women are some of the most influential.

My mother was 26 when I was born and took excellent care of me, staying home from work and when I did start school, she served as a homeroom mother to help me feel more comfortable there.

When I was in pre-school in Ms. Aida and Ms. Norma’s class at the Presbyterian Church, my mom once brought our new baby goat to show and tell.

Easter, as the goat was named, was born on Easter morning to our lovely nanny goat Duchess, and I was enthralled with the little guy.

My mom did the best she could leading little Easter into the class room and protecting him from the unexpected onslaught of delighted preschoolers longing to pet the adorable baby goat.

It was little deeds like these that showed me how much my mom loved me.

From picking me up from school during lunch hour with a Happy Meal and taking me to Melissa Campbell’s Spring House Music School for my weekly piano lesson, to hand sewing my annual Heritage Days costume, my mom really put in the time.

Her mom, my Mamaw Manis was also a powerful influential figure in my early life, and impressed on me the importance of family, but maybe more about self reliance.

She had been abandoned at the fair by her mother as a child, and grew up fending for herself in foster homes until she married my Papaw at 18 years old in Depression era Appalachia.

My dad’s mom, too, Mamaw Williams was also a big influence, as she navigated the eventful and at times challenging reality of being married to Lonzo nmn Williams and bearing 8 of his children.

Aunts on both sides, cousins and their wives – all these made a great impression on me and each added a unique square to the patchwork quilt of womanhood.

Devoutly religious and prudish on one side, wildly rebellious and tormented on the other with all the shades in between, I watched these women valiantly meet life’s trials and triumphs.

From throwing off abusing husbands and addictions to graduating with honors from the prestigious Owen Management School at Vanderbilt, raising children, grandchildren, and now the great grands - all of life’s cycles rise and set in these women.

Beyond the family circle is the next of school and church – the community relations that temper the extremes, and show you that what is normal at home may not be that normal at all.

Good and bad, these ever outward arcing spirals of experience whip about like some carnival trick for the mind to know what is and what is not – woman.

Is woman female? Sure.

Does that mean that men can not experience this?

No. Men also experience the feminine, sometime fear it, and actually flow from woman as we all do here in this earthly experience, even the most divine examples we have among us and in history.

Over the years I have written about women who have influenced me particularly in music and the arts, and on this occasion, I make a list of a few of these here

Billie Holiday

Joni Mitchell

Elzada Manis

...and here is an Amazon playlist of some of my favorite women artists with the theme of International Women’s Day


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