Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Airports and Suffragettes

What a busy week I’ve had! It included a Thanksgiving luncheon at the senior hall where the food was great and it was the only opportunity I’ll have, this year, for a traditional holiday meal. The next day was a Red Hat Society tea and I was supposed to go to their craft show crawl, today, but I was beat, so I canceled. Thursday I had three major things going on that kept me running from morning to night. First was an airport tour in the morning followed by a lecture on Kennedy conspiracy theories in the afternoon and in the evening a Write and Share MeetUp. I didn’t actually sign up for a crazy day like that. The airport tour and the MeetUp were both moved around the calendar after I signed up and it was either go along with the changes or not go at all.

The airport tour was awesome. The airport covers 3,000 acres and the tour started out with us traveling the entire distance around it, doing a fence check of sorts. We found a flock of wild turkeys trying desperately to find their way back out of the airport. They probably heard our tour guide talking about the wild animal wrangler. Then we toured the fire station on the grounds where we learned the extensive differences between regular firehouses and equipment and those at airports. After leaving that building we went to another, the winter maintenance building where they keep twenty some machines for pushing, sweeping and blowing snow. Most of them are twenty feet wide and not allowed on public streets. Their newest blower cost one million dollars and it’s the largest model available in the world. Ever since my husband saw the 1970 movie, Airport, he was fascinated by airport snow removal so on the tour I soaked up every bit of information I could in his honor, asking all the stuff I thought he would have wanted to know including the fact that their giant sand pile is heated. After leaving there we drove around the other outbuildings at the airport, the private plane hangars and FedEx was the most impressive complex. It was mind boggling, actually, to see all the containers filled with packages ready to get shipped. 

Friday was my Movie and Lunch Club. There were 14 of us for lunch but afterwards we broke into two groups. Eleven went to see Secret in their Eyes and I was one of three who went to see Suffragette, a movie based on real events in England in 1911 to 1913. Here’s the synopsis as it appears on the movie’s official website: “A drama that tracks the story of the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal State. These women were not primarily from the genteel educated classes, they were working women who had seen peaceful protest achieve nothing. Radicalized and turning to violence as the only route to change, they were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality - their jobs, their homes, their children and their lives. Maud was one such foot soldier. The story of her fight for dignity is as gripping and visceral as any thriller, it is also heart-breaking and inspirational.”  

Maud worked in a laundry under deplorable conditions that included low pay and sexual assaults and she gets caught up in the Vote for Women Movement and the story ends with her friend throwing herself under the king’s horse on Derby day. The friend, Emily Welding Davison was a real-life suffragette whose death at the Derby earned her a place in women’s history. It also earned her a funeral procession attended by thousands and the movie showed actual newsreel footage of the event. Another famous real-life suffragette was Emmeline Pankhurst who was played by Meryl Streep in a two minute on screen scene.

I went into the movie expecting to like it and to be reminded of the price that the suffragettes paid for the freedoms we enjoy today and I wasn’t disappointed. One review I read, however, took the screenplay to task for telling the story from the viewpoint of Maud instead of from the viewpoint of the well-known women in the historical events the movie covered---the beatings, bombings, imprisonments, hunger strikes, and forced feedings. etc. I didn’t have a problem with that. It wasn't a documentary and if it had been, less people would go to see it. If I have a criticism to share it was the fact that I wasn’t crazy about the sepia tone and extreme close-ups used in much of the film. It was hard on my eyes. (Maybe we just sat too close to the screen?) I will say this too: It’s the only movie I’ve ever gone to where total strangers were talking with one another as we walked out and the general consensus was that film made us appreciate how far we’ve come as women over the past 100 years....and yet we still don't have full equality. If I had granddaughters, I'd take them to see this movie. ©



 This is an great video for anyone who might want to know about the making of this movie and the research..

20 comments:

  1. Awesome review ... I'll go see it soon! My Maui neighbor friend and I are doing a turkey dinner at her house. So far, we've found two more lonely hearts to join us. Nonetheless, we are making ALL of the infamous dishes!

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    1. Sounds like you're going to have a great holiday. I wish I could be there with you all.

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  2. That was a great review. I have to see it. Boy, you've had a busy week, especially the day you had three events. I don't know how you do it. Did you walk all over those airport acres or did you have a golf cart? It sounds like a lot of walking.

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    1. Actually, we didn't walk at all. A mini bus of 25 seats was able to drive us all around and through the buildings we toured. Inside the building we just got out, heard a talk and got back on the bus. In some cases we didn't even get off because our tour director was able to explain what we were seeing. We went a lot of places where she had to card us through gates. It's such a big place but the gates in itself where interesting. At one, her access was temporarily cut off and we had to go to another. These are tours not advertised to the public but rather arranged through organizations and corporations.

      That day with three events about killed and Levi was not too happy about it. It's part of the reason I canceled out on getting up early the next day to go to the craft show crawl.

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  3. I would have loved the movie too. I was a cop in a mans world, so I get how all this works. I survived and was respected in my field so I know the hard work that goes into being successful. Oh the comments I've heard. I can only imagine the horrors they suffered. I thank every one of them that came before me.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. Oh, the stories you could tell! On a slightly different aspect of women working in historically traditional male roles, the captain of the airport firefighters and EMTs is a woman. She runs the whole program. And I thought it was interesting that what was once a bunk room not too long ago was replaced with individual but tiny bed rooms.

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  4. I'm so excited to see that movie. I am PASSIONATE about voting and always say a prayer of thanks on any election day for the women who came before me who helped ensure my right to vote. I am appalled at people (but women in particular) who don't vote to vote without any idea of what/who they are supporting and how this person/issue will impact lives.

    You do so many cool and interesting things! I'd be your tour companion for sure! :)

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    1. I don't get why people don't take voting more seriously than they do either. We are quickly becoming a nation of low information and fractured voters.

      I hope this movie does well so there will be more of this type made.

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  5. Now that visit to the airport really sounds fantastic to me. I didn't realize that heated the sand. Wow! Today and of course you already know, we have snow. It's to early. My friend will be going on a cruise on Dec. 12th. Lucky him. I have to wait until January 20th 2016 and I can't wait.
    Have a warm day as best you can Jean. See ya my friend.

    Cruisin Paul

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    1. It was fantastic. Not only is the sand heated it's a special kind of sand that won't get sucked up into the engines. They can't use salt on airports because it damages the planes. The sand is heated because sand all has moisture in it and for airports they can't have the sand clump.

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  6. That airport tour would have been fascinating. Of course I know about de-icing the planes and all of that, but I've never really thought about the complexities of keeping the runways open. Yes, I knew there were plows, but heated sand? And million dollar machines? Goodness, me. And I was glad to see you had a bus. It would have been a shame to make you all march around that perimeter.

    Did anyone gobble at the turkeys, or tell them to run for their lives?

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    1. They had three of those huge snow blowers but two were older. I don't think we could have marched around the perimeter. It would have taken forever. I don't know how many of those 3,000 acres were fenced in but a lot. They keep the grass cut very short on both sides to discourage wild life.The wild turkeys were surreal to see so close to Thanksgiving. I haven't seen an several years.

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  7. I'm eager to see Suffragette, and I'm happy to hear that you liked it. I applaud the filmmakers for making the film from the point of view of the "foot soldiers" rather than the famous leaders. Two of the women in my women's activism course had seen the film just before we had our last class, and they used the film to enrich our discussion of the relationship between the English suffrage movement and the American movement in the early 20th century. -Jean

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    1. That must have been an interesting discussion. I didn't know a lot about the violent nature that the movement took in England. What struck me, too, is how I've seen photographs of suffragettes for decades and I've romanticized them without fully appreciating how much courage it must have taken to march and protest.

      I don't know if you watched the 2nd video I posted but I thought their discussion added a lot to my enjoyment of the film.

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  8. Okay. I am officially exhausted just reading about your week! I have never missed voting. One year, 1964, I didn't vote for either Presidential candidate, but I still voted on the rest of the ballot. I felt like such a rebel. Hee Hee Hee

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    1. I am exhausted having lived through my week. I didn't do anything yesterday but play on the computer.

      I've never missed a vote either.

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  9. I am with other commenters expressing surprise at heated sand! And the airport tour sounded really interesting!
    A couple of years ago we sat in the departure lounge at Ottawa Airport watching the snow plows on the runway. There were at least six or seven in a line going up one side and down the other. But I sense from the comment above that you have already had some snow and so probably don't want to think about this!
    We in Northern NY have had an unseasonably mild November although it has been moving more toward normal temperatures the last day or two.
    Regards,
    Leze

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    1. We had snow yesterday. About 3 inches still on the ground but it melted on the sidewalks and roads. Winter is officially here.

      The airport plowing pattern isn't that easy to do. They are so close together and snow can pull your tail end off to the side. I suspect with the huge trucks that is less of an issue. We tried it from time to time on the back of our mall, just for fun but it was less nerve racking to be spaced further apart. Airport plowing differs from road or mall plowing because they can't have piles of snow on the edges because of the wing spread of the planes goes well beyond the paved runways. Thus they need the big blowers for the final piece of equipment in the plow train. The big brooms they used after the plows and the blowers go down. Then the sand goes down for traction if it's icy and they have a plane about to land. For someone who flies often like you do it was interesting to learn that when a pilot lands "hard" on winter airstrips it probably means he/she was afraid of sliding. A "hard land" (the term the tour guide used) can prevent sliding or skidding if it's icy.

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  10. Jean :

    reading your blog always inspires me you know how to keep life exciting with all this flurry of activities. I love your airport tour now I will impress hubby with my new knowledge I bet he doesn't know airport use heated sand to clean their runways. thanks for reminder of good movie review. I wanted to see when I had seen trailer of it. Ofcourse now I will make movie date night with hubby. Anyways we both enjoy this kind of movies now. I guess we are getting mature now lol.
    look forward to your blogs.
    Asha

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    1. Have a good Thanksgiving, Asha. Hope your son will be home to enjoy it with you and your husband. I always look forward to your comments. We have a history, don't we.

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