This is my grandmother, Betty Jo Sparks Holmes, standing by a fence in Alabama with her small son and her young brother. This photograph was taken in the late 1920’s. She was a working woman beginning in the late 50’s – because her husband and her son were disabled. For almost 20 years she rode a bus to downtown Birmingham to work as a florist. She could squeeze a dollar harder than anyone I have ever known and get more out of it too! She was passionate about her work, her home and her family; always making sure her home was clean and beautiful and that there was something on the table that was fit to eat. To this day some of the best food I have ever eaten, the best meals I make, came from MiMi. I still use her recipes and methods to make good food for my family or for pretty tea sandwiches – I even grocery shop with her advice filling my head! No one ever left her home hungry; she was immensely talented and seriously funny. She believed in the old ways of putting out fresh tea towels, using the good silver often and being grateful enough to write a thank you note or compassionate enough to write a sympathy card. And she continued to do these things whether her pocketbook was full or not. This week, in her honor and in honor of other amazing women I know- I hand painted a ‘spring collection’ of notecards with cute little handbags.
Susan B. Anthony said, ‘A woman should always have her own purse.’ This week in Birmingham Alabama, 100’s of women, with purses of their own, raised over $600,000 for victims of domestic violence. The YWCA Purse and Passion luncheon has been raising money and awareness in Central Alabama for over 15 years, they do an amazing amount of work which benefits women and children who often do not have access to safety or a purse of their own. These passionate women are proof that when a woman has a ‘purse of her own’ she can be a tremendous help and an outspoken voice for less fortunate women. The YWCA of Central Alabama is living proof that a passionate young woman named Susan B. Anthony was right about women and their ability to be a force for good and actually do need a purse of their own! In the 19th century, she began fighting for women to have the right to go to school, she went to school then began her own career as a teacher who fought for decent wages for teachers. She became convinced that women should have the right own personal property and earn a decent wage no matter what work she did. Ms. Anthony believed that the only way these things would ever become the law of the land was if women also had the right to vote. The passionate activist, Susan B. Anthony, died before women received the right to vote early in the 20th century, 1920, I believe. In Alabama, 90 years ago this week,voting rights for women weren’t extended until 1956, more than 30 years after the rest of the nation. Fast forward to the 21st century as famous Alabamian, Lily Ledbetter, also fought for several decades for equal pay for women. A bill with her name on it was signed in 2009- more than 100 years after Susan B. Anthony died. Yes, ‘Women should have a purse of their own.’
As a bonus, to honor these women- I will make available the closely guarded recipe for my grandmother’s award winning pimento cheese.
It is the best pimento cheese you will ever eat! If you register your email address with Camellia’s Cottage, we’ll let you in on it! Use the sign up box or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
As always we will never ask for your height, your shoe size, when you started dying your hair or where you were when you got those redbug bites. We will never share your email address with anyone, we will never ask if the weight on your driver license is the same as the weight showing on your bathroom scale, we will always let you unsubscribe if you want to- but we hope you won’t, because we’ll never let you leave Camellia’s Cottage without knowing that we are grateful you stopped by! We’ll leave the light on…
Love y’all, Camellia
Grace and Grit –http://amzn.to/1XzrcBX Grace and Grit
Susan B. Anthony –Susan B. Anthony
Visit YWCA of Central Alabama’s website – www.ywcabham.org