Every weekday morning Mama would walk us to school and chat on the schoolyard with the other mothers, discussing their supper menus and any juicy news they had heard since the day before. We lived in a small town where walls were thin and lips were loose. Today’s hot topic was the recent sale of the old Dorst home to a couple from out of town.
Martha, who lived across the street from the house, couldn’t wait to share her latest insight, “This morning the wife drug the trash bin to the curb and then drove off in the convertible. I haven’t seen hide nor hair of the husband yet.”
“SHE took the trash out?”
“I was sure the sedan was her car!”
“You don’t suppose she works?”
A few “tsk tsk tsk’s” and head shakes followed the comments.
Nancy’s house shared a back fence with the couple. “Not a peep from the yard. They’ve been in there almost a week now and the lawn hasn’t been mowed. George says they don’t even have a barbecue.”
“Well, I’m going to do the neighborly thing and take some lemon bars over today,” Mama stated. “After the wife comes home, of course,” she added.
After the dinner dishes were dried and put away, Mama folded her apron and told Papa she was going to take dessert to the folks in the Dorst home. Papa looked over the newspaper and frowned. “Mary, mind your own business.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I thought you’d be pleased that I’m reaching out to our new neighbors to welcome them to town,” Mama answered.
“You know darn well you’re just going over to get news to tell your hens,” Papa stated sternly. “You’re going to miss “Bonanza.”
“I’ll only be a short while and I’ll take Lizzie with me. There’s some lemon bars on the counter.”
A woman in a navy blue jumpsuit answered the door. Mama stepped forward, “Hello! Welcome to the neighborhood. I’m Mary and this is Lizzie. We live three doors down on the left.”
“Oh! How nice! Please come in. I’ve been meaning to introduce myself, but we’ve been busy settling in.”
Over instant coffee and lemon bars we got to know Ivy and David. David was a writer, deep in the editing phase of his third book, who excused himself to return to his work. Ivy was an artist and advocate of a fledgling women’s movement, NOW, and David’s sister. Ivy talked passionately about her work for over an hour and Mama was quiet on the walk home.
The mothers didn’t even wait until the kids had waved goodbye the next morning. The questions flew at Mama from all sides.
“Did you go over?”
“What was she like?”
“What was HE like?”
Mary smiled thoughtfully, “Her name is Ivy and she’s invited us all over for coffee after lunch today. I think you’re going to like her.”
The National Organization for Women (NOW) was founded in 1966 by 28 women at the Third National Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women in June (the successor to the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women), and another 21 women and men who became founders at the October 1966 NOW Organizing Conference, for a total of 49 founders. Both conferences were held in Washington, D.C.
They were inspired by the failure of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; at the Third National Conference of State Commissions on the Status of Women they were prohibited from issuing a resolution that recommended the EEOC carry out its legal mandate to end sex discrimination in employment. They thus gathered in Betty Friedan‘s hotel room to form a new organization. On a paper napkin Friedan scribbled the acronym “NOW”. NOW was also one of the first women’s organizations to include the concerns of black women in their efforts.
Above excerpted from Wikipedia.
Written for To Live & Write in Alameda’s October Flash Fiction Challenge #3, “New Neighbors.” We had three days to write a 500 word short story and share with our group. During the month of November, we are voting on favorite stories from each challenge and overall.
If you have a writer’s soul and live in Alameda, please join our group! No experience necessary … members range from those who dream of writing the Great American Novel to published authors. No dues, many free daily/weekly meet-ups, reasonably priced workshops and focus groups and retreats, and tons of encouragement and support.
Here’s the link: To Live and Write in Alameda.