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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Well Behaved Women Seldom Make History: Thoughts on the last day of Women's History Month 2017

On this the last day of Women's History Month, I am drawn to the well circulated saying "Well behaved women seldom make history". Not long ago my husband bought my sister & I t-shirts with the saying emblazoned on the front.

Lillian Crook and her "baby" sister Beckie Crook Walby, Medora 2008

It is a little hard to tell because of the blazer I'm wearing, but above is a photo of me wearing the t-shirt at a luncheon at which Terry Tempest Williams was the featured speaker, also taken in 2008.

Looking at these photos and thinking about this phrase and Women's History Month also leads me to think about some of my most cherished ND women friends, Jan Swenson, Valerie Naylor, Christine Hogan, Laura Anhalt, Debi Rogers, Linda Weispfenning, Linda Suchy, Eve Suchy, and Sue Bicknell, to name just a handful.  All strong, wise, smart, and witty women whom I greatly cherish in my life.  I've hiked some wonderful trails with them, birded with them, worked with them, cooked with them, sat around some campfires with them, traveled with them, sat in meetings with them, laughed with them, and cried with them.  For the record, we never have burned any bras together.

Here are more photos.
 Valerie's 50th birthday.  Lillian, Valerie Naylor, Jan Swenson, and Christine Hogan, Seven Seas Hotel, Mandan, ND
 Christine Hogan "climbing" Lone Butte in the Bad Lands of ND
Jan Swenson, Christine Hogan, and Lillian Crook (photo by Valerie Naylor) Lone Butte, Little Missouri National Grasslands
Some of us have wonderfully tolerant husbands who play along.  The photo above is of a water-logged birthday celebration held for me in 2007 when we had to abort plans to hike Black Butte and settle for a butte closer to the Dunn County homestead on which we were living at the time.  Jim refused to be so stupid as to take the hike.  Shown here from left is me, Valerie Naylor, David Swenson, Jan Swenson, Larry Dopson, and Christine Hogan (I guess Christine didn't like the raindrops that kept falling on her head).

When I was in my twenties, I belonged to an informal group of women friends called "The Ladies Who Lunch" which included such inspirational women as Bea Peterson, Naomi Thorson, JoAn Tangen, Jean Waldera, Arlene Wilhelm, and Arlene Haunson.  We networked with Bismarck women including now-Senator Heidi Heitkamp, Janis Cheney, and Dina Butcher.  This was in the days when we were working on the Equal Rights Amendment.  That didn't turn out like we had hoped. The arrival of my children and the demands of my career limited the time I had to spend on these activities in my thirties and forties, but it is great to connect with them again via social media and the North Dakota Women's Network.  This winter I attended the Women's March on the ND state capital grounds with some pals.   It was a very bitter North Dakota day, but we persevered in solidarity and good spirits.
Linda Weispfenning, Lillian Crook, Sue Bicknell, Debi Rogers, and Sakakawea, January 2017

I also am richly blessed with some strong aunts and sisters and sisters-in-law, but that is a story for another day.   Adios 2017 Women's History Month.  See ya next year.

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