I absolutely forbid it!” She took aim and fired her words across the spotless tea table. Like a brass tipped long-nosed bullet from a 22-rifle, her voice exploded into the heart of my enthusiasm. Something broke loose and spilled onto the thick white carpet. I peered down at the floor, checking for a messy puddle. Did broken dreams leave stains to remind us of what was, what might have been? I gasped, feeling pain riddle through my body and, willing breath back into my passion, I choked, “But, I only want to…”
It was 1976. On my way to the completion of a degree in psychology, I’d awakened, I’d become political. I’d become a feminist—committed (some would say obsessed) to the struggle for women’s rights. I’d changed my focus to Sociology, the most radical edge of a conservative university. Every course of study focused on the reclamation of woman. The Changing Perspective of Women in Literature. The Sociology of Women. The Evolving Role of Woman. For Women in History, I’d been set afire with determination to reclaim my own herstory. I would explore the story of my mother’s mother, Anna Ashby Dietrick.
“No!” She slammed her palm onto the table.
Another shot, this one rattling the gleaming china cup against its saucer. Tea rippled from rim to rim, the volley creating turbulent waves in the delicate Havilland cup.
“But, Mother, it’s for a term paper.” I was willing to plead, but I would not surrender, not this time.
Her menacing dark eyes narrowed, threatening another shot. Another wound. I crumpled and was still. Silenced…