I am a woman and I just voted. I voted for a woman to become the President of the United States. One hundred years ago, that would have been laughable. Not only would a woman never be on a ballot, but women couldn’t even cast ballots. There is something so important about all this. It is imperative that we look at this and acknowledge the enormity of the situation.
I’ve always known the history of Oswald West and women’s suffrage in Oregon. I’ve always known that he was able to grant the vote to women during his term as governor. I’ve always known about Abigail Scott Duniway, and known that she was a suffragette. But I haven’t always known the full story of women’s suffrage in Oregon, and I wonder how much you, my curious reader, know. I did some research and I want to share it with you.
When Oregon’s constitution was written in 1857, it included this statement, “every white, male citizen of the United States of the age of twenty-one and upwards, who shall have resided in the State during the six months immediately preceding such election…. shall be entitled to vote at all elections authorized by law.” One man, David Logan, moved to omit the word ‘male’ before ‘citizen,’ but his request wasn’t even discussed. When the 14th and 15th amendments were passed in the federal constitution, the Oregon constitution was amended to include all males as electors, but not women.
Women still didn’t count, despite efforts by equal suffrage supporters to claim voting rights for women, along with the newly emancipated black men.
In 1872, four Oregonian women took a stand and went to the polls to vote. They gave their votes to the judge, who put them under the ballot box – not in it. Their votes weren’t counted, but their act of voting was an important one, nonetheless.
The next year, 1873, Abigail Scott Duniway , one of those four brave women, founded the Oregon State Equalization Society, and my great-grandfather, Oswald West was born.
Abigail Scott Duniway wrote and published a newspaper, New Northwest, which was a widely circulated pro-suffrage publication. She also led the way for suffrage supporters in Oregon and followed the “still hunt” strategy for gaining support for suffrage. Instead of throwing parades and huge protests, Duniway and her supporters tried to influence the men in power in a more personal, quiet way. They would write letters, hand out pamphlets, and wait until the end of the campaign to make public displays for their cause.
As the family story goes, ten years later, in 1883, young Oswald West was able to hear Abigail Scott Duniway speak on women’s suffrage near his home in Salem. He remembered her looking right at him and asking, “Don’t you feel like your mother is as good, if not better, than the ordinary saloon bums in Salem?” Os, being a staunch prohibitionist from an early age, whole-heartedly answered that – yes, he did feel that way. From that moment on, his political opinions were ignited and he worked to help women win the battle for the vote.
Oregon has the distinction of having put this matter to the voters more than any other state. Oregon male voters voted on suffrage in 1884, 1900, 1908, 1910, and finally passed the amendment on November 5th, 1912 with 52% of the votes – 67,625 votes in favor, and 57,104 votes against.
On November 30th, 1912, when Oswald West was Oregon’s governor, he asked Abigail Scott Duniway to write and sign the Women’s Suffrage Proclamation. (photo of this can be see here) She drafted the proclamation and Os West, along with Ben W. Olcott, as Secretary of State, signed it.
This is a history I’ve always known. I have always been proud of this family history. I’ve always been proud to carry on the legacy of the great men who were there when Abigail Scott Duniway made her lifelong dream a reality. I’m so proud of this history that I gave my daughters middle names that honor and remember West and Olcott for the foresight and respect they showed to Oregon’s women.
Today, we get to cast a ballot that Abigail Scott Duniway, along with Os West and Ben Olcott, would be so incredibly happy to know exists. We get to vote for a woman to hold the highest office in our nation. Not only that, but we get to vote for a woman who deserves that office more than anyone before her.
One hundred and four year ago, tomorrow, Oregon’s men decided that women were worthy of the incredible right to vote. Next Tuesday, we all get to decide who will be our next president and it very well could be a woman.
It was a fight to achieve equal suffrage. It has been a fight to give women the rights that men have taken for granted for centuries. It has been a fight to get women in any office. It has been a fight to get Hillary to November (a long, hard fight that just proves her strength and resilience). It will be a fight to get her elected. When she’s elected the fight won’t stop. It is clear that we still live in a nation wrapped up in sexism. Hillary has crashed through the glass ceiling, but there are still shards of sexism laying everywhere.
As a child, I remember looking at the poster of all our presidents that was in my first grade classroom. It didn’t even occur to me that it was strange that all the presidents were white men. It was just the reality that I knew. I so much love that that isn’t the reality that my daughters were born into. They were both born while we’ve had a black president, and, hopefully, the next one will be a woman. The world is changing.
Also, I came across this lovely coincidence: There was a suffragette who was very active during the 1912 campaign who was named Harriet, but called Hattie, just like my Harriet. She was a brave African American woman “in a state that had codified black exclusion laws in its constitution. Redmond’s work for voting rights helped lay the groundwork for the Black Civil Rights movement of the mid-twentieth century.” I can’t think of a better woman with whom Harriet should share a name. Read more about Harriet Redmond here.
This year our Family Weekend consisted of 3 nights in tents, countless s’mores, a perfect river, campfires, fairy houses, one head injury, games, biographies by Grams, 10 kids under 10, 10 adults over 30, a surprisingly pleasant vault toilet, one Trump pinata, a beautiful forest, nice weather, fun, and, of course, family.
The kids spent so much time moving rocks and sticks around in this area. They worked so well together building fairy houses and houses for all of the action figures.
The Wind River was perfect for us. We had a great beach right next to our campsite, with lots of big rocks in the shallow, warm river. We all worked together to reroute the river to create waterfalls and a wading pool for the little ones.
We spent lots of time cooking, eating, talking, and singing around the campfire.
One of the highlights was the pinata. Each family was asked to bring some sort of entertainment.
Of course, the kids had a wonderful time with their cousins.
And I always love when I get to spend so much time with this handsome man.
I’ve missed listing my gratitudes, after having done it almost weekly for an entire year in 2014. I’m coming up on my 35th birthday, so I thought it would be fun to think of 35 things for which I’m grateful.
Yesterday, I went and had a crepe and a cup of coffee after getting a new crown and thought I would take that time to write down a list of 35 things. I tried not to think too hard, just to write whatever came to mind.
Today, as I type it up, I will add some thoughts and reflections on the 35 things I thought of yesterday.
Jesse. This one was easy and obvious. I am so grateful for my husband and the 15 years I’ve had him in my life. He is such an incredible partner.
Alma. My sweet four-year-old who is becoming cooler and cooler every single day. I am grateful for her affection, her stories, her laughter, her light.
Harriet. My funny 2 1/2 year old who is seriously hilarious. She knows it, too. One of her favorite things to do is to do something funny, then say, “Me nunny!” which obviously means ‘I’m funny!’ Her personality is really coming out and it’s a wonderful mixture of hilarity, organization, adventure, and affection.
Mom and Steve. These are two of the greatest parents and grandparents on this planet. Mom is my best friend and I know I can always count on her.
Dad and Deena. Two more of the greatest. Watching my dad with my kids is one of my favorite things to do. He always had the best advice and has always been someone I can lean on.
Dave and Maureen. Two more fantastic grandparents. Maureen always has fun ideas and projects to do with the girls.
Alma’s relationship with my Grandma. I am so happy that Alma got to spend time with her great-grandma. She’s been gone for almost 3 years, but Alma still talks about (and to) her.
Cousins. My cousins, my kids’ cousins. All cousins are fun. It’s such a unique and precious relationship.
Coffeeshops. I have such an affinity to coffeeshops and the hours they provide me to think and write.
Preschool. We are lucky to have such a fantastic preschool that values play and exploration. As I look toward kindergarten, I get anxiety about the expectations, but I know that our girls are in a good place right now, with the right expectations and values.
Subbing. I love my time with middle school students. I love going to a class, seeing kids I know, learning with them, then leaving them. I love not having papers to grade or standards to worry about. Subbing is the best.
Eugene. My hometown is the best. We have museums, concerts, restaurants, nature, it all. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.
HearthStone. My guilty pleasure. A super nerdy computer game and time suck.
Church. Our church community is practically perfect. And not at all, which makes it even more perfect.
Sunshine in February. I have always loved having a week of sunshine right around my birthday. It’s like a cheerful reminder of springtime. But then it change back to:
Rain. During the summer, I start to get seasonal affective disorder, but it’s because all the sun is ugly and overwhelming. I long for rainy days to wash all the summer dust off everything. I like the February sunshine, but we better get some more rainy days before summer starts (not like last year!).
Snow. We get far too little snow in the valley. More trips to the mountains are needed. I’m excited to get the girls on skis in the next couple years.
Flowers. I love how every flower seems like a beautiful surprise this time of year. It’s not like we don’t know they’re coming – it’s just such a blessing when they pop up.
Bikes. Alma is all about her balance bike these days, and Harriet is all about the stroller, so we get to go on lots of walks. The February sunshine helps.
Language. I love watching the kids pick up on the English language. Alma loves trying out big words and I love it when she gets them wrong. It’s so fascinating. Harriet doesn’t have a whole lot of words, but she can sure make herself understood.
Peace Corps. In general, and specifically my experience.
Azerbaijan. My home on the other side of the world. I think about it daily and wish we could go back.
Jefferson Memorial. The words on these walls are what our country is all about.
Hamilton, the Musical. If all American history could be taught through musical theater, I would be an expert. Now if only I could find a way to get to New York, and my hands on a ticket…
Friends. Not the show, the people. We just had a weekend with some of the best. We are surrounded by some of the best people in the world. I love my friends.
Our House. It’s perfect for us.
Fresh eggs & produce. Growing my own food is so great. Cooking eggs from our chickens can’t be beat.
Instagram. Sure, it’s a time suck, but it is so inspiring. It is like a huge creative community.
Writing. Taking the time to write has been so special to me. I have ideas and dreams of writing books, but for now, getting my ideas down on this platform is wonderful.
Reading. I am in the best, most enlightened, book club on the planet.
Gel Pens. Love ’em.
Music. Couldn’t live without it.
Patience. Mine, and from others.
Hobbies. My hobby is sewing. Jesse’s is brewing. I love that both of our hobbies create things out of nothing.
Obama. I’ve seen the stats. He’s been a successful, inspiring president.
6:52 – I want to remember how every single day Harriet wakes up and asks Jesse for milk in her Dora cup. I want to remember how she says Doa Bup. I want to remember how she can point to Dora and Boots, but that she’s never actually seen the show (as far as I know).
9:13 – I want to remember how this morning got away from me and suddenly I was at work and I hadn’t taken any photos of getting ready, dropping the kids off at dad’s house, getting to school, preparing the lessons, drinking my coffee. I also want to remember these fun kids. 7th graders are so entirely funny.
10:38 – I want to remember how, even as a sub, I get to teach some of my favorite lessons. The teacher for whom I was subbing didn’t have time to really prepare a lesson, but we texted about what was going on. I was happy that she was talking about heroes, and I jumped at the chance to do one of my favorite activities about the Hero Cycle. It’s not a particularly difficult activity, but it really helps the students understand the Hero Cycle.
11:35 – I want to remember this school. It’s where I did my student teaching, and a big chunk of my subbing. It has changed a lot, but it has a lot of heart. The kids are charming and funny and bright. The staff is full of some of my very favorite people. It’s also a fancy new building with lots of great things, the least of which is the instant hot water in the staff rooms. But that hot water tap was pretty great during my two day job there.
12:35 – I want to remember these days of papers to grade, lessons to teach, ideas to share.
2:32 – I want to remember the energy of kids at the end of the day. They know that freedom is soon theirs, and it’s electric. It’s like a surge, then they leave and it’s silence.
2:38 – I want to remember raindrops and windows and school buses.
4:18 – I want to remember how Alma is requesting certain songs when we’re in the car. It used to be the ‘paper song,’ also known as ‘the monkey on your back,’ officially known as “Anyone Else But You” by the Moldy Peaches. Lately it’s been “The Dreaming Tree” by Dave Matthews, which I obviously love. She asks lots of interesting questions about the song. She asks about death and about trees. She will see a tree out her window and ask if it’s the Dreaming Tree.
4:56 – I want to remember how Alma had a fever for 4 days and didn’t have much appetite. Seeing her eat a bowl of yogurt while watching Octonauts made me very happy.
5:47 – I want to remember cooking with Jesse. We make a good team, and it gives us a chance to talk and catch up after our days. I love that man, and love that we get to do this life together.
6:18 – I want to remember how this girl won’t stop dancing and singing ever, even with a 4 days fever. Tonight we had a dance party to “Everything is Awesome” because we had a family movie night and watched The Lego Movie and it’s stuck in all our heads. But it’s true – everything is awesome.
6:33 – I want to remember how much these girls love the bath. I want to remember Harriet’s curls, especially when they’re wet.
8:49 – I want to remember these tea dates with Katrina. It does my heart and soul so much good to get out of the house and spend time with her. Talking about jobs and kids and our lives is so easy and great with Katrina. We were joined by another sweet friend, Christy, when she happened to come to the teahouse to stock up. It felt good to talk and laugh and connect with these two wonderful mamas.
My word for 2015 was STRONG. I wanted to increase my strength in many ways. I wanted to show my girls what a strong woman looks like. I wanted to strengthen my body, my mind, and my relationships.
I had plans of getting my wrist party everyday. I wanted to do a sun salutation everyday. I wanted to floss more often. I didn’t do all of these things. I didn’t increase my physical strength much at all.
The thing about STRONG as my word was that it was hard to find tangible ways to incorporate it into my daily life. Not like GRATITUDE in 2014.
When I started thinking about this post, I thought it would be a post about how I failed my word this year.
Then I kept thinking… I thought about this past year. Let me tell you, this past year was a doozy.
We started the year with Jesse in a new job. A new job that, from the start, wasn’t a good fit for our family. He was working long hours – going to work before the girls were awake, coming home for dinner, and going back to work after the girls were in bed.
The company had some internal problems, and Jesse’s position ended up being eliminated. I have never been more relieved to hear about someone being laid off. I knew that a period of unemployment would be hard on our family, but I also knew that it wouldn’t be long, and that Jesse needed a rest.
I worked as much as possible during that month, but also took some days off so we could be together as a family.
After only about a month of unemployment, Jesse was offered an amazing job at the University.
Looking back at the first half of the year, I remember the stress, the tensity, the long hours, the time spent missing Jesse, and know that I was strong. I was strong to be able to support Jesse during those months. Strong to support the girls. Strong to keep my shit together. Those months seem like forever ago, the feel like a dream.
Actually, now it feels like we’re in the dream. Jesse loves his job. He loves where he works. I love visiting him there. I’m so proud to tell people what he does and where he works. His job is making a difference in the world. He’s part of something important and worthwhile.
This year, Jesse and I also celebrated being married for a whole decade. We took the time to renew our vows in front of our daughters, our friends, and family. The past ten years haven’t been easy, but they have been fun. I feel the strength of our marriage, and the strength of our commitment to each other and to our family.
Anyhow, all this just to say that I have surprised myself with the strength I’ve shown this past year. My strength didn’t show itself in the ways that I expected, but it has shown itself in ways that were necessary. We have come through a tough time, and we’ve come our ahead. If that isn’t strong, I don’t know what is.
My mom’s birthday was yesterday, and I’d say we did a good job celebrating.
But I have to back up a little bit. Actually, about 30 years… When my parents moved back to Eugene in the 80s, the Oregon football team wasn’t very good. My dad bought four season tickets anyway. He got pretty much the best seats… Right on the 50 yard line, 18 rows up. They are seriously perfect. Right in the middle. Far enough up that you can see the whole field, but close enough that you feel like you’re in the action. My dad has been a fan through it all – losing seasons, winning seasons, national championships.
That brings us to about a month ago. My dad called me to tell me he was flying my brother out from Virginia for a football game – actually, for a last football game in his seats. He’s decided that this is the last year he’s buying season tickets. Dad asked if Jesse and I wanted to go along, and that Deena (my step-mom) would watch the girls and put them to bed.
Dad also suggested that since it was mom’s birthday weekend, we should have a breakfast and surprise her with Dan. I texted Dan and told him not to tell mom he was coming. I texted Steve (my step-dad) and told him the plan so he wouldn’t make other plans. I didn’t tell Alma because I knew she’s spill the beans.
On Saturday, I got to go to a football game with these three handsome guys.
I know that football games aren’t usually emotionally charged, but I have to admit that I felt pretty darn happy to be sitting in those seats with my three favorite men. Knowing that it would be the last time in these seats was also a little strange – I have so many memories tied to the Ducks and those seats and that view. Also, ever since Peace Corps, I get pretty choked up when I hear the national anthem (that’s another story for another blog post…).
It was a rainy game, but we didn’t get too soaked. Besides, as many of you know, it never rains in Autzen Stadium. We had an unfortunate event that culminated with the women leaving a puddle of vomit in the row in front of us, but on the bright side, that opened up our view so it was even better than normal, even if it didn’t smell as good as normal.
The game was great, it was close, but the Ducks won. It was a fond farewell to the seats that hold so many memories.
Then, yesterday morning, Dan came about a half hour before mom and Steve were expected. Dan and I were waiting in the kitchen when they showed up. Jesse did a great job getting Alma to talk about something other than the fact that Dan was in the kitchen. She still didn’t know that it was surprising to have Dan there, otherwise she would have said something like, “There’s a surprise in the kitchen! It’s Uncle Dan!” Here’s how it all went down (nothing really happens until about 30 seconds in) :
Mom was certainly surprised, and we spent the rest of the morning together. We had breakfast, played around the house, then went out to lunch.
When Dan moved away over a year ago, I truly thought we wouldn’t get the chance to see him again until his wife’s graduate program was done. We’ve been lucky to have seen him twice now (thanks to my dad!), once in California, and again this weekend.
My girls love him, and he’s really fun with them. He’s definitely that uncle who tries to teach them the wrong things, and I love him for it.
The end of October brings two things: Halloween and November. First things first, let’s get to Halloween. It was Alma and Harriet’s first time carving pumpkins this year. I have to admit it went much better than I expected! The promise of cinnamon rolls probably helped.
This year my girls are Little Red Riding Hood and The Big Bad Wolf. I made Alma’s dress using the same Shwin and Shwin pattern I’ve used before (here and here and here) for my base, but really altered it. I made a circle skirt and added a petticoat layer. The dress is so fun and twirly. I also did snaps instead of buttons or a zipper. Snaps are my jam these days.
For the cape and hood, I used Oliver + S’s pattern from their Little Things to Sew book. I used a cozy flannel for both the dress and the lining of the cape. The outside of the cape is red velvet because it doesn’t get more Little Red Riding Hood than red velvet.
Harriet’s costume is a little more thrown together. I made the hat with wolf ears (that sort of looks like Yoda ears) using a pattern from the same Oliver+S book. It’s made out of flannel, with a plaid flannel lining. The vest is borrowed from Harriet’s friend Elsa. The makeup is by me and my eyeliner pencil. The tail is just a bunch of yarn I combed and pinned to her pants. She loves growling these days, so a wolf is kind of perfect. Today they got to wear their costumes to school. Hopefully they come home with all the parts and pieces.
So, next up is November! My favorite because we get to anticipate the anticipatory season on Advent, which is my favorite! It’s kind of like how Thursday is fun because you know Friday is coming up.
I’ve been doing the #30daysofgratitude project on Instagram for at least 3 years. I love being mindfully grateful (as evidenced by 2014 and my 365 days of gratitude). During my year of gratitude, I would write down one thing each day – one word only. This November project is more fun because it can be a full sentence, a story, or a word – in addition to the photo.
The thing about these hashtag projects is that they are much more fun when friends play along (thanks for joining me with my #93summerdays, Meredith!), so please join me this year! I know I’ll be joined with hundreds or thousands of strangers, but it’s fun to have friends and readers play along, too. I’ll be using the tried and true #30daysofgratitude hashtag, but I think I’ll add #30daysofgratitudeATT (for And Then They), just to keep things separate.
If you want to practice gratitude next month, please use both #30daysofgratitude and #30daysofgratitudeATT, so I’m sure to see your posts. Also, share your Instagram name in the comments, or comment on my posts so I can follow you! (Mine is carolynfwilliams)
Happy Halloween, and thanks for reading! I’m grateful for YOU!