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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

In flight

Flash forward from college to just a few years ago.
Flying from NYC to Memphis and am seated next to Gloria Steinem. She is writing profusely on a yellow legal pad. I am determined not to begin incessantly talking...asking, telling her things I know she must hear all the time from people such as me.
She is beautiful...truly. A fact that belies that she is in her eighth decade of life. Nearly everyone who passes us recognizes her, and I am surprised that the majority of people who comment are young men...."Ms. Steinem, I have been so influenced by your work." "Gloria, my girlfriend has read all your books. "
Midway through the flight, her pen stops working and she asks if she may borrow one. Thus begins a conversation. She is on her way to speak at a university. We talk of her marriage to her husband ...her one and only marriage (David Bale) which occurred in her 60's. She mentions that she had waited so long to meet such a profound man, and was grateful for every one of the fleeting years she had with him before he died. ("David went through the world with few possessions and great empathy for all living things. He had the greatest heart of anyone I've ever known.") She tells me her UES apt is decorated in pink! She asks me about my work with fitness and wellness.
A gracious genuine human being. And oh so very intelligent.
I am thankful for that time on the plane, for the privilege of meeting someone who has made such influential contributions in my life and the lives of so many women. And I would venture to say men, as well.
I close these posts with her latest quote regarding our upcoming elections. This quote is what set me on a journey to blog my thoughts. For quite some time, I have been trying to formulate my thoughts regarding women in the Republican party and what I see as a step backwards for those things we have accomplished in the name of parity.
"I don't know if God is embarrassed by being given credit for Christine O'Donnell, but I am. I think great Republican women like Margaret Chase Smith and Millicent Fenwick would be, too." Gloria Steinem
Oh, and Millicent Fenwick is another of my heroines.

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