Posts Tagged ‘old broads’

My mother was a feisty old broad. I miss her.

Old Broads

The New York Times recently featured a story about Francoise Gilot, “The It Girl at 100.” Accompanying the story was a picture of Gilot wearing a bright red sweater suit. Says Gilot, an artist who lived with Picasso for 10 years and bore him two children, “I wear red as a kind of protection, an affirmation of character. It allows me to show myself the way I want to be seen.”

The author of the piece, Ruth La Feria, describes Gilot as the “only woman with the spunk and self-determination to leave Picasso.

 Just looking at the photo that accompanied the story compelled me to take the time to read the piece. I think there is something beautiful in old broads, and I use that term with the utmost respect. I would much rather be called an old broad than a little old lady. I adopted it from an environmental group that called themselves “Great Old Broads for Wilderness.”

The group was founded in 1989 on the 25th anniversary of the Wilderness Act by a feisty bunch of lady hikers who wanted to refute Utah Senator Orrin Hatch’s notion that wilderness is inaccessible to elders.” As a reporter, I wrote several stories about the women’s efforts, and Hatch’s fight against wilderness designation for portions of Southern Utah.

Seeing Gilot’s photo, meanwhile, reminded me of another old broad whom I admired, Karen Blixen, who wrote Out of Africa as Isak Dinesen. I visited her old coffee plantation in Kenya, which is now a museum. There was a huge photograph of her hanging on a wall that showed her as an old broad smoking a cigarette, which I fell in love with.

I’m not sure I see the same beauty in my own mirror, but then I’m only 82. I’m sure the wrinkles will get deeper if I just keep on living. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to admire photographs of feisty old broads. There is just something very special about them.

Pat Bean is a retired award-winning journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon (Free on Kindle Unlimited), and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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Gloria Steinem, still speaking out for equal rights for all. — Wikimedia photo

“At my age … people often ask me if I’m passing the torch. I explain that I’m keeping my torch, thank you very much, and I’m using it to light the torches of others.” — Gloria Steinem

The Times Are a Changin

Gloria Steinem was a magazine journalist, just five years older than me, who was at the forefront of the fight for civil rights and women’s equality at the same time I was a working mother who was a newspaper reporter. She is now 86 to my 81 and she still has fire in her.

This magnet hangs on my refrigerator to remind me there is still life to be lived.

In a recent NY Times interview, Gloria said, “The progress we’ve made is not sufficient, but there is an advantage to being old. I have a role to play in the movement by saying, ‘Here’s when it was worse.”

I, too, remember when it was worse. I had a boss who told me I was the hardest worker in the office. Then I discovered that the guys in the office were making three times my meager salary. When I asked my boss’s boss, who controlled the purse strings, for a raise, he said it was hard for him to consider giving me a raise when all the men in the office had families to support.

I pointed out that all the men in my office currently had working wives, and that I was putting my then husband through college and was the sole support of him and my five children. “Oh,” was all he said. I got my raise. Such a situation hadn’t even occurred to him.

When Gloria Steinem’s Ms. Magazine was published for the first time in 1972, it was the same time I was fighting for equal pay for equal work.

Also, while I wasn’t raised to be a bigot, and Blacks were never disparaged in our home, I was indoctrinated by the teaching “separate but equal.” I heard the phrase often, and saw evidence of it growing up in the 1940s and ‘50s, with White and Black Only water fountain and restroom signs being the most common.

It wasn’t until I saw beyond what I had been taught growing up, while covering school integration issues as a reporter, that I quickly discovered how unequal things truly were. Reading books about the issues gave me even more insight.

Being a journalist reporting on the true facts, let me feel I was doing something positive to change things for the better. It gave me a false hope that true equality would actually happen. Maybe it will but it hasn’t yet.

Meanwhile, being retired and an old broad has made me feel helpless that there was nothing more I could do to make the world a kinder, fairer, better place in which to live. But reading that my elder journalist sister Gloria is still out there promoting equal right issues for all, made me rethink my plight.

I can still speak out against injustices. I can write letters promoting fairness and kindness. I can publicly support Black Lives Matter. Yes, all lives do matter but that is not the issue), And I can vote for people who give a damn about all America’s people.

Thank you, Gloria, for relighting my fire.

Bean Pat: To old broads everywhere who still have fire in them and who try to make the world a better place for all.

Pat Bean is a retired journalist who lives in Tucson with her canine companion, Scamp. She is a wondering-wanderer, avid reader, enthusiastic birder, Lonely Planet Community Pathfinder, Story Circle Network board member, author of Travels with Maggie available on Amazon, and is always searching for life’s silver lining.

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            “No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.” – Regina Brett

One of the best things about taking Pepper for an early morning walk is getting to see the sun come up over the desert. -- Photo by Pat Bean

One of the best things about taking Pepper for an early morning walk is getting to see the sun come up over the desert — while the moon is still in the sky. — Photo by Pat Bean

That’s My Life

What Regina said is what I have to do, despite the fact I’ve been fighting a sinus infection. I’ve gotten up, dressed up (OK, so it was just a sweater over my pajamas at 6 a.m.) and walked my dog, Pepper, four times a day.  And I live in a third-floor walk-up.

But don’t get me wrong.  I’m actually thankful, because the task of doing this over the past year has gotten me in better shape than I was a year ago. That’s great news for someone who is pushing 75.

Every old-broad should have a dog to walk.

Bean’s Pat: Interesting Literature:  http://tinyurl.com/oqw3gsj More quotes. I like No. 9 best.

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Hello World – Again

“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury.

Discovering My Voice as a Wondering/Wandering Old Broad 

This is an illustration that Laura Hulka helped me come up with for my Bean’s Pat, my way of paying back all the reader awards my blog has received. What do you think? Is it a go?

This is my 645th blog since I started my WordPress blogging journey with a blog called “Hello World” in November of 2009. I was taking that Gotham travel writing class I mentioned in my last two blogs, and the instructor said I needed to have a blog.

That first year, I blogged about 10 times a month, mostly about the places I had visited as a full-time RV-er.  Then in 2011, WordPress began its post-a-day challenge and I accepted. I’m so glad I did. .

Writing daily has given me the voice that the first draft of my travel book needed, improved both my writing and thinking skills, and garnered me worldwide friends.

At first I tried to disguise that I was an old broad when writing my blog, which was the same thing I did in the first draft of my book, “Travels with Maggie.” Maggie, as many of my readers know, was my canine traveling companion for eight years. She died earlier this year, and now I travel with an energetic, fun-loving Scottie mix named Pepper.

Don’t forget to smell all the flowers and be amazed at all the butterflies you come across. — Photo by Pat Bean

Recently, as I continued blogging and struggling with the rewrite of my travel book, I realized that being an old broad was one of the best things I had going for me. It set me apart from all those young travel writers out there in search of love. It’s not that I have anything against such a search. I certainly did my share of that. But that’s not me today. The person I am today, and which is my voice, is that of a wondering/wandering old broad.  It’s exactly what I do and who I am.

I wonder a lot about things but seldom have answers to the questions. The only advice you’ll ever get from me is to live in the moment and take time to smell as many of life’s flowers as you can.

I wonder if I would have ever recognized my true self without my daily blogging?

Book Report: Good rewriting morning. Travels with Maggie is now up to 35,726 words

Bean’s Pat:  Baroness Trumpington http://tinyurl.com/br6r7p2 Not a blog but a newspaper story about a great old broad I admire. I think society underrates us old pussies, as Agatha Christie called Miss Marple and others of such an age.


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