Sunday, October 17, 2010

Listening to Women

Women do seem to have the role of suggesting the wiser course, with more thought for the future.

Sure, that's a generalization. I'm thinking of Belau (bet you weren't) and the Compact of Free Association. The women hoped the men would stand by their Nuclear Free Zone position (this was a small tropical island nation, expressing defiance and a fond hope for a nuclear free world).

Through several plebiscites, the men did, before they caved. Or at least that's one way of telling it. Roll the tape forward and Valerie Plame Wilson becomes the new voice of sanity, urging the men to reduce their nuclear arsenals to zero.

Not that much has changed, beyond the names and the places...

In that spirit, of listening to the women for a change, I was privileged to join my mother and a large crowd of well wishers to celebrate the life of Pat Hollingsworth. She'd stayed the course, fighting for women's rights and the abolition of nuclear weapons.

I was pleased that her family encouraged us to toast her memory with Jack Daniels. The Quaker Meeting had suggested alcohol would be inappropriate (not my policy) but we had too many people for that venue anyway. Hoffman Hall is much bigger.

Pat was a superb pottery maker (among other talents) and her estate was giving away numerous pieces. Mom selected a handsome mug.

Yvonne brought her dog and sang songs, taught us a game ("conkers") from her childhood. Another man made a stirring speech, about not giving up.

Afterwards, we visited the Wall of Fame, part of the Portland State University campus, whereon my mother's name is carved in stone next to Mary Bolton's, with Pat's just inches away.

The Womens International League for Peace and Freedom memorialized many of its star players here, although Barbara Drageaux chose to stay off the list for some reason.

When I got home, I learned of the death of BenoƮt Mandelbrot. I'd opened for him once, giving a talk on fractals on short notice. Cool dude.

An Achievement

Memorial Service