So I took a trip to Peoria Illinois and had to catch a connecting flight in Atlanta. I had about an hour and a half to catch that connection and so there was no great rush and I was able to take my time. After taking the “plane train” to an adjoining concourse, I arrived at my new gate, but with the overwhelming feeling that something was wrong. Then it struck me! I had left my back pack on the damned airplane, and oh joy, I had no idea what gate that airplane was at! So there was a good five minutes tracking down a Delta CSR to have her look up the gate for my arriving flight, and then half an hour to get back to that gate. Just to make things fun, the Delta rep gave me the wrong gate and so I literally ended up walking the entire B concourse by the time I found the plane that I had arrived on. Fortunately they had found my bag and it was waiting with the gate agent there. I remember thinking that this was a serious and scary sign of how far my mental status seems to be degrading lately, and that I’d better make sure that I never do that again.
Yeah, never do that again you idiot!
Guess what I did on the way back from Peoria? I kid you not – I got all the way off of the jet bridge before I realized that I had left my backpack on the plane again! I’m starting to scare my damn self . . .
So this weekend my wife wanted a little time on her own without the children, and so I took them shopping for Halloween costumes and stuff. We had about a 45 minute drive to get there and I was relaxing listening to one of my favorite albums – a compilation of old TV hits by Ray Conniff. When my daughter asked me what it was, I explained that these were all songs from movies and TV shows that were popular when I was her age, and then I explained a little about some of the TV shows.
I was kind of surprised to realize how many of those shows were ground breaking for portraying women taking careers and making their own way in a time where it wasn’t all that common.
I told her about the series “Police Woman”, that was all about a female detective, and she wasn’t all of that impressed at the idea so I tried to put it a little bit in context. I told her that back then, most women were housewives who were expected to marry and then stay home and take care of the children. A woman who was not only making her own way through the world, but was in fact doing it in a very male dominated career field, was something special and noteworthy. You should have seen the look on my daughters face.
“Why couldn’t girls get jobs?!” she asked me with more than a little bit of anger in her voice.
“Well, they could, but usually not real good ones, and they were usually kind of looked down on for doing it.” I replied.
“But that’s not fair!”
“Darn right it wasn’t fair, but that IS the way that it used to be!”
The next song that came on was the theme to “The Mary Tyler Moore” show and my daughter surprised me by asking me what show it went to, and much to my surprise I realized that it was much the same kind of show.
“Well, that show was also about a woman who was making it on her own!” I told her.
“Really?” she replied, looking kind of skeptical.
“Would I lie to you?!”
When the theme to “Welcome Back Kotter” came on, I volunteered the information about that show before she asked.
The next song that came on was the theme From “Laverne and Shirley”, and before I could offer its story, she asked me about it. I actually hesitated when it caught me by surprise that it ALSO was very similar to the first two.
“Well, that was a TV show about two young women living together and also trying to make their own way through the world without relying on a husband to do it for them.”
I dunno, I’m probably really late to this revelation, but it really did surprise me how many shows I grew up with that had as a significant part of their story, a woman making her own way in a male world. Today most of us , and certainly the young women today, take it for granted that they are free to have their own careers without being looked down upon.
My hat is off to “Police Woman”, “Mary Tyler Moore”, and even “Laverne and Shirley” for helping to teach little girls that it was possible to stand on their own two feet – that they didn’t have to rely on someone else to take care of them. Well done ladies!
Believe it or not, my daughter and I even spoke a bit about how important those shows were for that very reason.
“So, in a way they were heroes?” she asked me.
“Honestly, I think so. They taught little girls what they could do if they wanted to. They taught little girls that they could be whatever they wanted to be if they were willing to work for it.”
While my daughter and I were talking about this, my three year old son was sitting in the back seat in his car seat, and he perked up at the word “hero”.
“When I grow up, I wanna be Iron Man and save the world!” said my little super hero. The bad news is, I think that he has a ways to go. About half an hour later I was helping the recently potty trained little hero to go potty and he peed all over daddy’s leg.
I figure we’re gonna have to hold off on saving the world for a little while yet . . .