activist, writer, and founder of the Feminist Press

Florence in Words

End of Year Thank You, Begun on December 15, 2017

January 31, 2018

Tags: health

Iím early this year, or I will be if I manage to write this page. Up to Friday, the fifteenth of September, 2017, I was moving right along to decent health. But on that day, something changed, when a careless or perhaps irritated cab driver threw my folded walker into the back of the cab directly into my left side (instead of putting it in the trunk with the groceries). Since that day, I have been an invalid, more or less confined to my apartment. Three months of no plays, films, ballet, opera, even dinners or lunches out, no visits to friends.

Yes, there have been a few visits to doctors, an X-ray, an MRI, even a visit from a doctor. But I cancelled a dental cleaning as not important enough (and now Iím a bit worried about that). I have many people to thank, including the heroism of Don Thomas who got me to a sports medicine doctor on Yom Kippur where I had an x-ray and a diagnosis that remained in placeóan injury to the soft tissue around my left waistóuntil I had an MRI a couple of weeks ago. Then it was clear that I had also had an injury to a small spinal bone which was healing, and still a bit painful.

In addition to Don, Lucy Cajamarca, who has been my housekeeper for as long as Iíve been on West End Avenue, has kept me, my apartment, and the cat, Mr. Taksi, clean, sane, and even relatively cheerful. And then thereís Elyse Hilton, a writer and a friend, who has often anticipated my needs for company, reading, and literary conversation, as well as mundane help on the computer. And Paul Pombo, my accountant and good friend, who can unscramble even the worst of messes created by me and Microsoft 10. Always present is Helene Goldfarb, general guardian who goes to doctors with me and also cares for the Feminist Press, partly in my place.

Unfortunately for me, family members do not live in New York City, but in Washington D.C., Kansas, and Mississippi. Alice, like Ann J, is allergic to cats, and so their visits are somewhat curtailed. Most amazing was the visit at Thanksgiving from granddaughter and namesake Dr. Florence and husband Jason, who live in Los Angeles, so that I might meet their new baby, Paloma. And you know, if youíve been reading my blog, that I never sent this one out. But Iím doing it now, and Iím trying to find a way to continue the blog, move it away from my physical illness and back to writing about books and politics again, or friends, some of whom are writers. I need the blog, even if no one reads it. I need it because I need to move my fingers as well as my brain. I need it because I also enjoy people who write comments. I wish some of you would be harder on me, would scold me for collapsing into mush. So I have Parkinsonís. There are worse things. I need some of that old fearlessness I once had. So feel free to scold me. I need scolding. Badly.

(begun in December, 2017; finished January 28, 2018)


  1. January 31, 2018 2:38 PM EST
    So happy to see you writing again. I won't be hard on you for going through what you have in the last year. I consider you brave no matter what. Much Aloha, C
    - Carol Dahl
  2. February 1, 2018 12:53 PM EST
    You certainly wonít remember me from Goucher because I transferred out of your class..long story...but I have been following your blog for awhile..my husband had Parkinsons for years before his death a little over a year ago. Iím 68, also write a blog for my sonís PR firm...a fashion blog..he pressured me into doing it, utvit keeps me busy. Iím fortunate to be in excellent health...havecsix grown children, four grandchildren...and Bengal cats! Iím probably the polar opposite if you...I was content to stay home and raise the kids...Iím a nurturer..took care of my elderly parents until their deaths, and then, of course, my husband. I e debated for awhikecwhether to contact you, but we both seem to have free time and a need to talk, to have human contact. Feel free to keep in touch..I wish you the best...
    - Shelley Sarsfield
  3. February 1, 2018 3:07 PM EST
    Delighted to hear from you, whatever your experience in my class at Goucher. Perhaps you'll tell me more about your husband's illness and much more about what you've been doing, reading, enjoying since Goucher, and perhaps what mattered to you there.
    - Florence Howe
  4. February 5, 2018 8:06 AM EST
    Hi Florence! I read your blog. I think about and mentally thank you for your freshman english class at Goucher. It meant alot to me because I had never seen or listened to such a worthy role model. Also, I'm listening to Gail Collins' book "When it all changed." Have you read it? I'm interested in your thoughts.
    - Betsy Herman
  5. February 5, 2018 9:55 AM EST
    I read Gail Collins in the NYTimes whenever she appears and I find her clever and witty. Her book is like that. You'd enjoy it if you enjoy her columns. Cheers, Florence
    - Florence Howe

Select Works

"Everyone concerned about global feminism, womenís contributions, and humanityís future will be enhanced and enchanted by A Life in Motion.ĒóBlanche 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
ďIt is impossible to imagine womenís studies without Florence Howe. Myths of Coeducation shows her vision and courage, insight and dauntlessness.ĒĖCatharine 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.

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