FLORENCE HOWE

activist, writer, and founder of the Feminist Press




Florence in Words

For An Unusual Day

July 15, 2018

Tags: Parkinson's

For whatever reason, my fingers are typing today as though there was no Parkinson in sight, and so I’m taking advantage of that to write a public blog instead of a private complaining journal. Yes, it’s midsummer and too hot even for a brief walk (with walker, of course), but I can still dream of the years when a brief hot walk would take me to the beach and the ocean in Amagansett. And without bitterness, for those days made these possible. I chose a New York apartment instead of the beach house when it became clear that I couldn’t afford both. And so I have, at least for today, some calm and only a faint feeling of regret for the loss of the little beach house and the ability to walk along the beach or dip into the ocean on its calm days.

What do I enjoy now? The comfort of my apartment, its bright views of the city, reading (often for Feminist Press still), visits and phone calls from friends, occasional taxi rides to eat out, and once the fall sets in, the opera series I still subscribe to, and the theatre tickets also on subscription. I am fortunate to have caring friends and especially a caring reconstructed family who call daily and visit as frequently as possible for them.

Yes, I know it makes for a bland blog—but I need to own to the absence of depression today. For whatever reason, perhaps because my fingers are typing at their usual speed and correctness, I feel somewhat like my real self. Even if it is to be short-lived, I am grateful to know that somewhere I can still feel as I once did thoughtlessly, taking life for granted.

An important postscript. As I reread what I had written, I realized that I had focused only on my own two inches of being, though I spend many hours a day reading the daily-delivered New York Times or watching MSNBC on the television, or the Los Angeles Times on my phone. And yes, in another time, I would also be out there in political action. But today, I am not going to let that regret control my day.

The girls from Kansas: the great great-grand-kids and their grandmother, Alice

July 6, 2018

Tags: family, Parkinson's

Florence (Me), Mina, and Kennedy
Alice, my adopted daughter, has two children. One of them, Jack, married Mavin, and they had two children, both girls, now six and nine. Kennedy celebrated her ninth birthday in a New York restaurant; her sister Mina celebrated her sixth when she returned to Kansas the following week. They had been brought to New York by grandmother Alice, eager for them to have time with me, and of course to see something of this great city. But to tell the truth, we all knew that they were most eager to see Taksi, that great cat I have been writing about. And alas, he was not eager to meet them, though they pursued him through the week, whenever they came to visit me. And on their very last day, he actually came out, seemingly to give them an opportunity to play with him. Asked what they liked best, they couldn’t decide, but their schedule included not only the Statue of Liberty, but the Metropolitan Museum and the Museum of Natural History, which they visited three times, including the Planetarium.

And of course they stopped in to see me almost every one of the seven days they were in town. And they spent some time many days going through the apartment counting turtles I have on bookshelves and in cabinets. They were given books—including four from Feminist Press. And each day they drew pictures and followed Taksi around, trying to walk quietly so he would not hide under the big bed. Yes, I enjoyed being finally taken for granted through all the partying in my apartment, and they enjoyed some of the visitors as well. My friends visited and cooked or we ordered in.

It has been very quiet here since they flew back to Kansas. And my daughter? She’s recovering and getting to all she abandoned in order to give me and the two little girls a rare gift.

Select Works

"Everyone concerned about global feminism, women’s contributions, and humanity’s future will be enhanced and enchanted by A Life in Motion.”—Blanche Wiesen Cook, author of Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume I and Volume II
Lecture delivered by Florence Howe on January 8, 2011, at the Modern Language Association Annual Convention
“It is impossible to imagine women’s studies without Florence Howe. Myths of Coeducation shows her vision and courage, insight and dauntlessness.”–Catharine R. Stimpson, Rutgers University
A revised and expanded edition of the classic groundbreaking anthology of 20th-century American women's poetry, representing more than 100 poets from Amy Lowell to Anne Sexton to Rita Dove.

Quick Links