Elizabeth, (mother of William, father of Jacob, father of Eulah, born in March of 1893; mother of Elaine, mother of ME) came over from Ireland in 1825, the year that the Erie Canal was completed, the year that John and Abigail Adams' tightly-wrapped (How could he not be, with that set of parents?), far-traveled son became the nation's 6th President. What did that rough, complex, smelly, exuberant, slow-moving, candle-lit world look like? How can it be that such vivid times and people are so irrevocably beyond our reach? That's the question, the mystery that pulls at my heart, that has led me write and illustrate so many books over the years, every book a slice of timepie.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Women's Mystery Month
Extremely ancient Romans began their calendar year in this month named after Mars, god of war and candy bars. "January, February, MARCH!" So said Whizzo, a Kansas City TV clown, to get gaggles of shy little Baby Boomers stomping about the stage in their Buster Browns. I would have been one of them had my little brothers not gotten all chicken-pock-polka-dotted and foiled our chance to appear on television in living black & white. It's that memory that I associate with this month of mud, kites, Julius Caesar's fatal Ides (44 B.C.), the Boston Massacre (1770), Passover, and the vernal equinox. Only in 1987 did the U.S. Congress issue a resolution, declaring this to be Women's History Month. And, I discover in writing this, that in 1995, our Congressfolk designated March as Irish American Heritage Month. That being so, I hereby kill two birds with one stone – no, that sounds dreadful. Cadge a crocus and a shamrock with one pluck? Hoist two flags on one pole? I acknowledge my long-gone ancestor, Elizabeth Stewart of County Tyrone – how I WISH I could hear how she talked, see what she looked like!