They are women -- hear them roar!
I was interested in your recent fine feature on books of local interest, just in time for summer reading.
The story of “The Bird Girl” by Sandra L. Underwood was especially welcome, unveiling many interesting facts about the sculptor, Sylvia Shaw Judson. Her work, of course, became famous at Bonaventure Cemetery after the photograph by the late Jack Leigh appeared on the cover of the best-selling Midnight book. As you note, the statue was later moved to the Telfair.
The life of the sculptor is instructive, too, in how she managed a career as a wife and mother as well as a noted artist.
Also, Greetings From Savannah a collection of colored postcards of our city through the years, edited by our popular historian Dr. John Duncan, is a visual and historic treat. (Both books are from Schiffer publishing company.)
I was interested in reading of Rosemary Daniell’s latest on her Zona Rosa writing class. However, I feel you made a sweeping generalization when you took her writing to be typical of how all women talk when they get together. Saying “women in their private conversations are far more graphic and revealing then men ever dreamed of being” is just a bit too much!
In the course of my own 50-year-plus happy marriage to a pilot, 20 of them as a Navy wife, and moving from Texas to Boston and Panama to Montreal, I have had many close friends. Certainly, military wives are interested in good marriages, with the special stresses that separations and maintaining a family in the absence of the husband and father, place upon them. In fact, there is no group of women I admire more.
However, though an individual might have a specific problem that she confides to a friend, or seeks professional counseling for, I have never heard, in our frequent wives’ get-togethers, anything like the graphic comments which you cite as normal. Most women in fulfilling relationships are also conscious of the privacy of the other person involved, and honor their feelings as well.
Ms. Daniell seems to have a special grudge against what she perceives was the too-polite society of her mother’s time, in which many women hid their real feelings. Though this may be true, others of that time managed to have good marriages and satisfying lives in spite of such constraints.
My own mother also enjoined me to “be nice,” as I started to school every day. But she was also quick to speak out against a perceived injustice, and expected the same respect for herself and her daughters, which she accorded others.
Her list of “not nice” would have included not only the vulgar and the insensitive, but people who mistreated children and animals, abusive and controlling men, and those who disparaged another’s race, ethnic group or religion.
I believe Ms. Daniell goes too far in her description of “Southern women who never told the truth about anything.” There have been many Southern women who did just that, including Savannah’s own Juliette Gordon Low, who left an unhappy marriage to found the Girl Scouts.
Even Scarlett and Melanie in that Southern classic Gone With The Wind were strong women who survived a war and the social upheaval of everything they had known.
At any rate, the so-called sexual revolution of the ‘60s and better access to family planning have occurred since then. Ms. Daniell must surely be aware that the greatest danger to women’s health and happiness today is not sexual prudery, but a move to end safe, legal abortions, restrict birth control information both here and overseas, and even outlaw condoms in the face of an AIDS epidemic.
This is strictly a political gamble to keep such issues current in the hope of diverting attention from two wars, outrageous deficits, global warming and other ecological issues.
Also, the war against homosexuality, waged for the same reason, will also restrict the rights of lesbian women to full legal partnership with their chosen mates.
Margaret W. DeBolt
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Thanks for the thorough report!