Spin Cycle: Taking a Stand

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Gretchen’s spinning assignment for the week is “taking a stand,” in light of the observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Taking a stand is something I rarely do on my blog. I generally like to stay sort of controversy-free. I get enough of that on Facebook. But when this was announced as the spin o’ the week, I couldn’t narrow myself to a topic. I have opinions. Lots of them. So instead, I’m giving you my Take a Stand background.

Taking a Stand and I have a history. My parents owned a weekly newspaper when I was growing up – so the best way to be heard around our house was to write an editorial/opinion piece and have it printed. I’m sure I’m exaggerating. Mostly. While it might sound like an odd way of family communication to you, it honestly did a lot for my ability to form a reasonable argument. Sitting down at a computer to write out your feelings takes time and thought. There’s editing. I’ve never been a big editor of my work – I mostly have it in my head and write it down. But seeing your thoughts in writing makes you think. “Is that what I REALLY want to say? Am I taking this too far? Can I back that up?”

I remember in one of his columns, my dad made some remarks about teen clothing. When I was a teen. And I did what every teen would do, I wrote a rebuttle column. Is that not normal? I waged the best “expression of individuality” argument I could muster. I’m sure it was full of teenage angst, and feeling “misunderstood.” But I suppose to his credit, he printed it.

Growing up, I had all kinds of romantic notions of what senior year of high school was supposed to look like. I’m sure it came from movies. Plus, from the outside looking in, it seemed like the classes before mine were pretty close. I went to a rather small school, so we all knew each other pretty well. So when senior year finally came, I was shocked that it kind of seemed like all the other years. I don’t know why I thought we’d all magically be the best of friends just because we were in 12th grade. Again, probably movies. In any case, I wrote an editorial in my dad’s newspaper about it. I don’t even remember what I said. But I remember the Monday that it went to print I was TERRIFIED. Like, stare at the clock and wonder if I could call to have it taken out terrified. I’m sure it wasn’t that big of a deal in real life. My own teenage dramatics certainly played a part. But I do know that another friend of mine and I went on a sort of crusade to “cast all our differences aside” that involved us singing this song in the lobby as people came to school one morning. Also if I recall, I was a part of an attempted walk out in fifth grade. I was pretty sure I was born in the wrong decade.

In some ways, I feel like taking a stand is in my blood. I can’t tell you how many newspaper people there have been in our family. It seems like it’s passed down as a trade like some families pass down farming. Or blacksmithing. Do people still do that? Journalism is a really unique job field. No one starts out in it thinking it seems like a good path to make money. Or because they don’t know what else to do. Or because they think working 8-5, M-F sounds kind of boring. You have to love it. You have to be passionate about it. If you’re not, you’re headed for the world’s fastest career burnout. One thing I really appreciate from that heritage, is the feeling that there’s room for everyone’s opinions. And the idea that I need to either back mine up, or keep them quiet. And there are times where opinions are not appropriate, facts are.

Speaking of in my blood – I’m so proud of this next fact, you’d think I’d somehow MADE it happen. Alas, I had nothing to do with it. But if you dig through my family tree, you will find a woman by the name of Lucy Stone. I’d link you to some truly fascinating information on Wikipedia, but unfortunately I’m writing on the black out day. But please, go read about her later when the black out is over, unless SOPA makes that no longer a choice. In any case, she was a contemporary of Susan B. Anthony. I have even read in places, that part of the reason Susan B. Anthony got involved in women’s rights was because of arguments made by Lucy Stone. She was a women’s libber long before it was cool. Lucy was one of the first women to graduate from college in Massachusetts. She was the first known woman to keep her maiden name after marriage. She also lectured against slavery. I mean, how cool is that?? She organized the first women’s rights conference, for crying out loud. She and her husband published the Women’s Journal. See? There’s that newspaper stuff again. And did she do it because Daddy let her do whatever she wanted? Nope. He didn’t think women should be educated. She disagreed. So she made her way through college on her own. In 1847. Oh my goodness, I get so excited about her that every time I look her up or find new information, it’s like I’ve had about five energy drinks. I get giddy. Before long, I will be the nation’s expert on all things Lucy Stone. Which will be fascinating, since NO ONE HAS HEARD OF HER.

And there you have it. Maybe someday I’ll Share Some Opinions here on the blog. You know, once we get to know each other better and you know where I’m coming from. Meanwhile, head over to read some more spins – I’ll bet there’s plenty of people who actually Shared Some Opinions. Just remember, everybody gets to have their own say on their own blog. If you don’t agree, you can write about it on your blog.

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4 responses »

  1. I LOVE this! What an amazing legacy your family has left for you! And I remember you telling me all about Lucy Stone back when I wrote a piece about Suffrage a couple of years ago – amazing!

    You’re linked!

  2. This is just so darn cool! All of it: Lucy Stone and you singing a song in school and all your editorials! I just love it all. I am a freelancer for my local newspaper, so to me your family sound like kindred spirits. Just so cool!

  3. How neat that your dad printed your rebuttal to his column! He took freedom of the press seriously. What a neat family legacy you have; I’m going to learn more about Lucy Stone. She sounds like an amazing woman!

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