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.
Oh yay! It’s November! It’s time that I get to post my gratitudes every day!
Gratitude is a big part of my life. I did 365 Days of Gratitude in 2014 and I was interviewed about it by the lovely Hannah. Every November, I take the time to photograph and post one thing for which I’m grateful. I’m pretty sure this is my fourth year practicing gratitude in the month of November.
I know that it’s important to me to begin to slow down at this time of year. September and October are both busy, hectic, loud months with school starting, routines being developed, Halloween excitement, all that. In November, we begin to pause, we begin to quiet down. We get ready for Advent and the meditation and introspection that comes with that season of preparation. It gets darker and darker as the days get shorter and shorter. Nature starts to shut down and pack up for the winter. November is just a natural time to turn inside and give thanks for those things that surround us.
So, please join me in giving thanks for the month of November. There are so many hashtags on Instagram that point to gratitude, but the ones I use the most are #30daysofgratitude to be part of the larger community of gratitude, but I also like to do my own #30daysofgratitudeATT (for And Then They…) so I can keep track of my, and my friends’ posts more easily. So, if you post some gratitude posts this month (there are no rules saying you have to do it every single day), please add those hashtags so we can all follow along with each others’ months of gratitude. I’m carolynfwilliams on Instagram if you want to follow along.
Did September fly by for everyone or was that just me? Seriously, it feels like I blinked and it was over. I’m not complaining because October is my favorite, but you know. The days are long and the years are short and the months are shorter.
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.