Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Saturday Challenge- Fearless Females Lunch Meeting

This weeks challenge from GeneaMusings:
1)  This is March, the month for Fearless Females posts, started by Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog - see her Fearless Females blogging prompts for 2017 at   

2)  Answer this question for March 16 (I've changed it a bit): 
If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead), or any famous female, who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you talk about?

I can think of many different relatives I would like to have lunch with. So many of these women led fascinating lives, but we don’t hear much about them. Men were featured in the histories of our country, like those of most other places. Meanwhile, the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters were hovering in the background. They were overhearing snippets of conversation at those political meetings. They were at the sidelines of battles, bandaging and caring for the wounded or preparing food for the battle weary relatives. Or perhaps, they were far away back home keeping “the home fires burning.” They were busy with their day-to-day household tasks and taking care of the animals and fields that the men away at war usually did.

Or perhaps not.

Perhaps they were quietly doing their own thing and leading their own lives parallel, but separate from those of their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers. That is part of the fascination of this topic and the difficulty in choosing one woman that you would like to have lunch with. We don’t know the details about many women’s lives and those details could be quite fascinating. What to them was the dull boring daily work, is something unique and special to us. Seeing how housework was done in “olden times” or different skills such as blacksmithing, carpentry, barrel making and on and on are the things that make up living history museums.

I tend to gravitate towards the “women’s work” type of displays there. Although, some of them are things we think of as such, were actually commonly done by men in certain time periods. Teachers, weavers and tailors were often men. However, those skills were the same or similar to those done by women in the home at that time as well. I enjoy seeing the kitchens in such villages and how they went about preparing meals as well.

However, today, I am choosing a woman closer to our own time period to sit down to a virtual lunch with. Today, I think I would like to sit down with my Grandmother Ward. Frances Ellen Ingalls Ward (1889-1962) led a life that probably wasn’t all that different from what we might lead today. I “know her” and know about her from stories that my parents, brothers, aunts and uncles have told me over the years. I never, though, got to meet her in person, not even as a toddler. I think it would be fascinating to chat with her and get to know her a little bit better in person.

I would like to hear about what it was like for her growing up. She must have some interesting stories to tell. A few facts from those years make me think there must be some. She lost her mother at a young age, her baby sister died, her father remarried, and then a few years later they moved from Jefferson to Cayuga counties in New York, what today is about a two hour drive and would have definitely been longer then. These would have been considered rather ordinary to her—she was certainly not alone in having these events occur during her childhood. However, to me, I would like to hear what happened in her words and how she felt. I can read facts and imagine what it would have been like, but to hear her talk about these things and other events that were important to her would be wonderful!

Where would we go? Wherever she wanted to. We might drive around Cayuga County and see places she knew in her lifetime as they are now or perhaps, visit Antwerp, the village near where she grew up. I’m sure Grandma might want to see the house where she lived in North Wilna, but the site is now part of a target range on Fort Drum and just cellar holes. For lunch, we would stop somewhere at a family type restaurant or diner that she would like or perhaps for some fast food. That would have been very much a novelty still for her in her late years so perhaps she would enjoy doing that.

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