“a much better sense of what they should be getting”

Q: So, if you wouldn’t mind describing yourself for me, physically and emotionally.

A: Um. I am a small person physically but not a… but my personality is big and I think that small people attemt to compentsate by being bigger in ways they can get away with. So, emotionally I would say I’m relatively reserved and careful with showing my feelings which has just been a series of decisions I’ve made over the course of my lifetime, that I like to be contained so I’m rather contained emotionally but physically I like to be expansive.

Q: What is the earliest memory that you can recall?

A: The earliest very clear memory, visually and emotionally very clear, was when I was a little kid, maybe three years old, I’m from [Name of City]. My father was leaving for work, it was in the winter, it was snowing, and I remember looking out the window as he was getting ready to go to work and saying to him… I always called him “daddy” as a kid, my mother called him “Dear ______” and then I ended up calling him “Daddy Dear ______” and so I remember being very concerned that he didn’t have his galoshes, you remember galoshes in the rain? So I remember saying, “Daddy Dear ______, be sure you have your galoshes before you get out.” and him bending down, he was a very tall guy, bending down and hugging me and kissing me and he put his galoshes on. it was very warm and snug with my mother and father there in the apartment, making sure he was going to be ok before he went out. So that was my first very clear memory and obviously a memory that I cherish.

Q: And how old do you think you were?

A: I think I was about three, I think there were other memories along the way but this stayed with me in such a thorough sense. I can even now, actually, picture the room, picture him, picture my mother, picture the furniture, picture the snowing outside the window, it’s a little video.

Q: What is one thing that you’ve done in your life that you’re proud of having done?

A: I spent many years when I was working as a Union Organizer and I’m very proud of the work that I did there, it was very hard work, but very important work and I did it for a number of years; I must say, I was organizing academic women which, at that time, was no easy job. Faculty had been very hesitant about organizing into unions, some of them feeling as a professional class they didn’t want to take on blue collar trappings, but the academic staff, people who work on campus and a variety of jobs really need to be organized because colleges and universities are notoriously cheap employers and give their employees few rights. So, that I organized a number of local unions based off of the union that I worked for which was based out of [Name of City]. Part of that work, not only did I feel was it an acheivement in advocating for union membership, but that people, primarily women, taking on responsibility for their own work lives, and it’s a big responsibility when you sit down with your employer and negotiate your pay or working conditions, and for benefits, you really have to know what you’re doing in order to do that. So I felt that early on, even though the word feminism was not strictly applied, it was a very feminist action that I was doing. And I wish that more people today were more unionized, if workers today were more unionized they would have a much better sense of what they should be getting.

Q: Kind of going a little bit of a different direction, what does hate look like to you?

A: oh… Hate is uh, it can be blatant in your face, name calling, violent gestures, actual violent physical contact, or it can be very subtle where one is just consistently ignored or demeaned so there are gradations and uh… I personally don’t encounter that any longer, I encounter, during the time that I was doing the union work, a lot of resistance and a fair amount of name calling. I mean women at that time, trying to organize thier own lives, were met by a lot of very crude remarks, but that came with the territory, you just let it flow off you. I’d say hate, with what’s going on in this particular political season is really, it’s vicious, so in a broader sense, as far as this society being very seperated with either out and out really lousy remarks or using this whole kind of subtle language of codes to let people know that they’re hateful and don’t have a place. In a public sense I think we by and large live in a hateful environment. Hateful to the point where people are very quick to call each other “bitch” or…

How are you with profanity on this?

Q: it’s fine.

A: ok, I’ll give you a brief example, I live in [Name of city, Name of State], and a couple weeks ago a friend of mine and I were meeting other friends to see a movie in downtown [Name of city] and we pulled into my bank’s parking lot, on a weekend, and we parked in a spot where it wasn’t exactly kosher but it wouldn’t interfere with anyone. So as we were walking out of the lot a guy walked into the ATM, this was a typical scruffy, burkley kind of guy, he looked like he really needed a bath and a shave and some clean clothes. So as we were walking out, he said to us, “you’re in an illegal spot.” and we said, “yeah, but y’know we’re not blocking anybody and the bank is closed.” at which point he just looked at us at said, “FUCK YOU, YOU BITCHES!” and it it was just, “BITCH, BITCH, BITCH, BITCH.” At which point [My friend] and I looked at each other and we started laughing. I mean his response was just so completely over the top for what it was and as we started laughing he said to both of us, “FUCK YOU YOU CUNTS! FUCK YOU CUNT, CUNT, CUNT, CUNT!” which of course… so I said to him, “Y’know you should go home to mommy and have a warm bath.”
But it’s that kind of thing, I mean, BOOM! right. there. So he was probably pissed off that these two women that were probably his age at least… he felt completely ok about this stream of profane vindictives that he was hurling at us, out of nowhere, I’d never seen the guy. And the reaction that we had, I don’t know if he thought he was going to intimidate us, but the reaction that he got us laughing like it was so crazy, really drove him nuts, so that is something for me, relatively new. And I think it kind of accrues to this whole atmosphere, I don’t know if you’ve experienced anything like this in [Name of city] but you get into a city, you get a little more.

Q: Last question, if you could say one thing, anonymously to a large group of people, what would you say?

A: Have a good time. Enjoy yourselves. Do what gives you a great deal of pleasure and satisfaction.

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