America has changed in 40 years. The change, to some degree, is most evident in the dramatic increase in the number of young women who participate in sports and get an opportunity to continue their education after high school with athletic scholarships to colleges. Prior to 1972, that wasn’t happening very often.
As a young man, the women in my life were strong. My father’s mother owned her own business in 1937. There is a phone book from Columbia, Miss. with an advertisement for her business, Bond’s Beauty Salon, inside. She married a man at least 10 years younger than she was on their wedding day. He was a soldier during World War II.
My mother worked two jobs while making her way through college to a master’s degree in communication while trying to tame a teen-aged son. It was not an easy task.
It would seem historically speaking my grandmother was a woman ahead of her time. She pursued a trade that was available to her. She traveled and saw the U.S., then started her own business before settling down in her early 30s to begin a family.
My mother, though, had to take care of her younger siblings. She was the oldest, 15, of five children when her mother died. Her dream was to go to college, but her father explained she would have to serve the role of mother to her brother and sisters and there would be no way for her to attend college. This was in the late 1960s. Her escape was to get married and start her own family, which led to her 13 years later returning to college with teen in tow.
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