Daddy's Girl

One Story at a Time

Daddy's Girl
Who Needs A Man?
There is Nothing to Fear . . .
I have been to the ocean, the ocean, the ocean!
University of Washington, Tacoma - A Special Place
Call Me BJ
Are Museums Deliberately Blind to the Needs of the Blind?
Skiing With Wendell
The Slayer of Innocents
"Keep Out" meant KEEP OUT!
Oral History
The Wedding Dress
Rex - Touched by God
Oh, what a beautiful . . .
"What You Don't Know . . ." (1)
"What You Don't Know . . ." (2)
The Right to Live

I am a relic, a dinosauress from an earlier age. I suppose that it is true that for all of my life I have reaped the benefits from the struggles of other women for a woman’s place in our “male dominated” society. My grandmother’s generation saw the last of the down-and-dirty fight for women’s right to vote. My mother’s generation gloried in the fruits of that hard fought battle and ushered in the era, via WWII, of women working outside the home. This is now considered normal. It was my generation that continued to fight and largely gain equal rights/equal wages. But somehow the purpose of these fights glided over and passed me by in my personal struggle and the joy of day-to-day living. I have never quite understood what the fight was all about. Maybe, I was brainwashed at an early age?


I was either very fortunate or very unfortunate in the father God chose for me. I have never quite decided which, but I have mostly felt fortunate. I have no doubt that for my mother my daddy was a bit of a male chauvinist pig in as much as he never taught her anything about being self-reliant. He wanted to be her hero. On the other hand, he taught me more about ‘manly’ things than he taught my brothers. How could he avoid teaching me when my questions and I were always underfoot?  What father could resist the adoration in his little daughter’s eyes? He was my hero.


Daddy taught me to box and wrestle along with my brothers. They were my sparring partners. He taught me about fair play. He taught me how to hit and catch a baseball, shoot a basket, and throw a football (he didn’t have to teach me how to run, that was natural). He taught me to measure, saw, and nail. He taught me to wire and plumb a house. He taught me to distinguish between a weed and a plant. He taught me to get my hands greasy working under the hood of a car. He taught me a love of books. He taught me to think. He made sure that I knew that I could do anything I set my mind to – if I failed the first time, I learned – if I wasn’t perfect the second time, I learned – by the time the third time came around I had learned to do it right, if not perfectly.  Daddy always insisted on two things: one, I must be a lady and two, if a task was worth doing at all; it was worth doing to the best of my ability.

I never felt that as a female I was under-trodden or second-class – I could, and did, hold my own intellectually, and on the sports field with any young man. As a child and teenager I was smaller, perhaps more fragile, than my male classmates, but I was more competitive, more determined, and I was meaner, maybe sneakier. When I moved away from home, daddy gave me basic woodworking and automotive tools; today, those tools, and the ones I have added, are well-used friends.


When I joined the work force, it was normal to put up with a certain amount of sexual harassment. We all did. My wage, for the same work, was considerably less than my male counterparts, but because I was more diligent I was often promoted sooner. When I was relatively young and visited a hardware, automotive, or lumber store to purchase supplies for a building project or automotive repairs, it was usual for the male sales clerk to patronize me. His ego never allowed him to realize that my ultra-feminine wide-eyed-innocence was using his bias to pick his brain. After I had gleaned whatever small amount that particular man could contribute to my knowledge (I did learn quite a bit this way), I would demonstrate that I knew exactly what I was doing. From then on, I could have a pleasant shopping experience at that establishment. I haven’t played that game for many years.


That was just the way our world was, and I don’t think it was a bad world for a woman. A gentleman would open doors for me, help me with my chair or wrap, and walk on the street side of the sidewalk. Men from my generation, with all of their faults, usually made a woman feel cherished and protected. That is not a bad thing.


I have very traditional children. My son is a six-foot-four-giant, a very manly-man. His enormous paws wield his daily tools of hammer and saw with consummate expertise, but he also sews a finer hand stitch than most women. He is intuitive and gentle and when he holds his tiny son it is with infinite tenderness. My eldest daughter, the mother of two and their PTA President, designs and creates beautiful furniture and structurally remodels homes. My youngest daughter is a math teacher and the mother of a little boy. She does all of the automotive work on her rare 1972 Mercury Montego, ‘Frank’, you know the small things like replacing the transmission.


Although I understand that the true meaning of the word feminism is the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. And I understand that in this world, with the ever increasing numbers of single mothers, an equitable wage for equal work is a necessity. I do not understand how seeking to make a woman the equal of a man in all arenas can possibly enhance our lives as women. Therefore, I do not understand feminism.