In June 1961, after applying to Harvard’s graduate program in city planning, Phyllis Richman received a letter from Harvard asking her exactly how she planned on having a career and a family.
You see, Phyllis’s admission seemed like a waste of time to the admissions office. William A. Doeble, a professor in the department to which she had applied, wanted to make sure that she really wanted to put all of the time and money into an education that they felt she may never use when she was already so busy being a wife.
In his letter to Richman, Doeble wrote:
“[F]or your benefit, and to aid us in coming to a final decision, could you kindly write us a page or two at your earliest convenience indicating specifically how you might plan to combine a professional life in city planning with your responsibilities to your husband and a possible future family?” Keep reading »
This piece is crossposted with permission from Role/Reboot.
My dad grew up a poor boy from a small fishing village, just minutes away from the site of Shakespeare’s “Othello.” He spent his childhood playing along the walls of the great Venetian fortress. His village dates back to antiquity, his childhood colonialism, and his youth decolonization. He fled his country to get educated and build a better life in New York City. And he did. With graduate degrees from an elite institution under his belt, he rose up the corporate ladder and married two times to American women. Despite all his economic progress, he held fast to tradition.
I grew up a middle class girl in a suburban town just minutes away from New York City. I spent my childhood playing soccer and hanging out at the mall. My town dates back to the postwar era, my childhood consumerism, and my youth social justice. I fled my country to get a more affordable education and build a global dream of equity in Montreal. And I did. With graduate degrees from elite institutions under my belt, I moved through the social justice industry living and working in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and the South Pacific. Despite all my cultural development, I fought to change my father. Keep reading »
I’m a lucky gal. I am very close with my mom and feel comfortable opening up to her with just about everything under the sun. But there are still a few things that I never, ever, ever, evvvvver want my mom to know about me, mostly because I really don’t want to see or deal with her reaction. In honor of this coming Mother’s Day, I polled my fellow Frisky staffers about what they would just DIE to have their mom learn about them. Share yours in the comments! Keep reading »
It has been five-and-a-half months since my dad died and yet it sometimes feels like it hasn’t hit me yet. Even though his ashes are sitting in a box in my apartment. He had been absent from my day-to-day life for years, our interactions limited, at their most intimate, to Skype. Then we stopped talking. And then eight months later, he died. After the initial shock, my day-to-day life didn’t seem to be that different. I was used to not speaking to him, and had long ago resigned myself to not seeing him again. I couldn’t figure out how to grieve. Keep reading »
My sister is the good daughter. My sister was kind enough to get married and procreate. She’s not only doing the species a favor, but my parents as well. My parents had always wanted to be grandparents to a couple of rascals. My sister gave them two: Jackson and Elliot. My parents are obsessed with them.
Just as it was when my sister and I were little, there’s nothing in the world my parents won’t do for Jackson and Elliot. My mother has completely re-centered her life around them and refuses to miss a holiday or birthday. I spent Christmas on the couch by myself, while my mom catered to my sister’s kids every whim in Colorado. “That was the choice you made,” my mother said. I’m not sure what choice she’s talking about — the one where I decided to move to New York City to pursue writing, or the one where I thought going to Colorado for Christmas would be the pits. We both hung up on each other before we could get into a lengthy discussion and ruin the holiday even more. Besides, being on the phone with me was tearing her away from the grandkids, and we can’t have that, can we?
Groan. Keep reading »
A mini-explosion occurred on the Internet this week when Bishop Larry Trotter, pastor of a Chicago mega-church, posted a picture of himself in the bathtub with his four-year-old granddaughter. Trotter sat in the tub smiling beside the little girl, whose face has been blurred out; both are covered in bubbles, so it’s impossible to tell whether he or she is naked (or wearing swimwear, or otherwise clothed).
Quite understandably, people got very concerned. Keep reading »
In the few days following my dad’s passing a few weeks ago, I received flowers from friends and coworkers, endless phone calls, emails and Facebook messages expressing condolences, and more than a few people offering to help in any way they could. It was wonderful and comforting, to be sure, and would, I thought, keep me going as I set about tying up all the loose ends of my father’s “estate,” something I assumed would take a few weeks to a month, at most.
Well, a little over a week has passed, the flowers have dried, the calls have died down, and people have rightfully moved on. But, I’m realizing, the shitshow is just beginning for me. I don’t know what I was thinking, assuming that settling my dad’s affairs would be a simple process, but it’s far from it. He didn’t have a will. I won’t have a death certificate for a few weeks, at which point I can then finally establish myself as the executor of his estate, which hopefully no one will contest. (You hear that, uncle of mine?) In the meantime, his house languishes in rural Hawaii, already two months behind on the mortgage payments. The unofficial “tenants” my dad had let stay there over the years have the run of the place; I’ve heard that they’ve already begun selling off his more valuable possessions (there aren’t many) like his TV. And I can’t do anything about it because Hawaii’s tenant laws allow any old person to establish residency in a home by spending a few nights somewhere. Seriously! Crash at someone’s house for a weekend and it’s suddenly your place! I will have to formally evict people who never paid a month’s rent from my dad’s home, as they sell off belongings I can’t even prove are his. It’s a nightmare. Keep reading »
I turned 20 years old this year, and with that birthday came the 10th anniversary of my father’s death. This past decade has given me plenty of space and time to orchestrate my thoughts about losing a parent.
Unfortunately, I don’t have a magical secret to healing. I wish I did. Still, what I can do is let you know what I’ve learned since 2002. I’m going to speak in terms of losing a parent, but, really, almost everything I say can apply to the loss of anyone you love. Keep reading »
Thanksgiving can be one beautiful holiday, but depending on your situation, it can also be a lot of condensed family-filled time. Since your family is obviously interested in your life and what you’ve been up to, lots of questions are bound to pop up. Some will be easy to answer, but others you may not be comfortable with. In order to make your Thanksgiving as smooth and painless as possible, read through these five easy tips to help you set healthy boundaries before you set the table.
1. Tune into your feelings. Start getting comfortable with tuning into yourself and what makes you tick. If someone says something or is acting in a way that makes you feel uneasy, that’s a cue that they’re crossing a boundary. Read more…
Tis the season to spend a long weekend in someone else’s childhood home, sandwiched between your boyfriend and his older sister, trying not to say anything about the uncle who you think is the person who keeps kicking you under the table.
And even though you wouldn’t be caught dead in this awkward situation last year, you somehow managed to acquire a significant other whose family you’re obligated to impress. So how to you win them over without sacrificing your sanity? Pass the stuffing — we’re shoveling some filial knowledge onto your plate. Here are seven simple ways to get in good with the SO’s family. Read more…