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when you limit others you limit yourself.

Dec 19, 1996 07:32 PM
by liesel f. deutsch

Dear April Joy,

Your message did my heart good. You tell it like it is. Thank you!

If, for a minute, you'll forgive an old lady's bragging, I didn't do this on
purpose, but I think I've lived the life of a feminist.
When it was time for me to go to college, my father said "what for? She's
going to get married anyway." My mother, who usually won these arguments,
thanks goodness, replied that the State wanted me to go to college, and so I
should go. I had received several scholarships. One of them a State
scholarship for my tuition. And so I went to college.
 I got married & had 2 kids, true to female form. As a reverse from the
usual family situation, my husband wanted me to go to work, but I just
refused. I wanted to bring up my kids myself. When they got older, I took a
job with the State, where men and women were paid alike, and promoted by
exam. My husband died while my kids were still in High School, so I put them
through college. They both have advanced degrees, and good professions, and
I pride myself on that. I've lived by myself since my husband died, but,
contrary to what most of us expected, I can't say that I've been unhappy.
I'm living much more peacefully by myself. I don't need to make allowances
for anybody else's foibles. I've traveled, I've had several hobbies which I
really love, and through which I think I blossomed forth. One difficult
thing at first was going into a restaurant by yourself. I got used to that
too, but I do get annoyed at the humerous hostesses, who invariably look
past me, and want to know whether I'm really only one. I'm much more
satisfied than when I was struggling to please my husband, who was never
pleased anyway ... that he admitted. After he died some of his friends told
me how he bragged about what a good job I was doing with our kids. A lot of
good it did then. I even did a good job with the IRS, who audited him every
year, including the year that he died. He never kept any records, so I had
to guess at the figures. I ended up paying an extra $100,-, which wasn't
doing too bad I thought. On that occasion I also had to console an IRS
agent, who came to my house, and sat down on my love seat crying "I hate my
job!" I've gotten lonesome at times, but I've found ways of compensating for
that. After my kids were taken care of, I just lived a life as I damn well
pleaased. I live in a messy bachelor pad, set up for me to enjoy. It's too
late now to think of getting married again, but when I did, a few years ago,
I had made up my mind that if I found someone, he'd have to live either in
another wing of the house, or in an adjacent apartment. I'm used to having
my space, and living my way, without making allowances for anybody else's
foibles. And, so far, I've been able very nicely to take care of myself.
With this kind of,life I lead, I think I'm entitled to call myslef a
feminist, or as I said in my write up about Chanukah, on Chanukah I light a
menorah. This is usually done by the men of the house, but I've been head of
the family for so long I think I'm entitled.


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