activist, writer, and founder of the Feminist Press

Florence in Words

11 a.m., Thursday, February 15, 2018

February 19, 2018

Tags: health, Alzheimer's

Haven’t been here for too long, and I want to record that I actually went out of the house for two events, theatre events, I mean. Last Saturday to Encores for a medley of old musicals that was very enjoyable. And of course it was wonderful for me to actually get out of this apartment at last. And on this past Tuesday, again with Helene, I saw Eve Ensler’s latest one-woman play, a battle with cancer. She did it alone on a 90-minute staged performance, elegant, amazing, terrifying, and exhausting.

No incident on Saturday, but scary incidents on Tuesday: frozen legs at the house so that Toni, the afternoon doorman, had to lift me up and place me into the Carmel limo. Yes, he’s very strong. Once in the car, I couldn’t help worrying about how I would get out of the car. But then I could, and I could make my way into the theatre. And just when I thought all was well, since all I had to do was go up one step to my seat, I was frozen again, and could not lift my leg up the one step to my seat. So then a kind usher gave me a seat in the front row by asking people to change with me.

I watched the play’s 90 minutes with unswerving attention. Yes, I took a couple of those pills the neurologist suggested I take an hour before theatre begins. And that worked well enough for me to enjoy the play right to the end. “Enjoy” is the odd word here, since the enemy was cancer and the text was explicit, cruel, tortured, tense, without a second of relaxation. It was an amazing performance, grueling for the actor, and without a whisper anywhere in that hushed audience.

And now I am thinking about going to a lecture by Marilynne Robinson at the 92nd Street Y, not only with Elyse Hilton who bought our tickets more than a month ago, but also with daughter’-in-law AnnJ, and with former Goucher student Debby Rosenfelt, now retired professor at the University of Maryland, and former co-editor Nancy Hoffman, who used to be a Feminist Press Board member, perhaps even a founding Board member, and for decades one of the people closest to the reformation of U.S. high school education. AnnJ was quick to find a restaurant nearby, so that we can have a bit of time together before the lecture. And next time I will write about Marilynne Robinson.

Written February 15; revised February 17


  1. March 2, 2018 2:11 PM EST
    florence howe

    Well hello, Mrs. Howe, Goucher ‘66 here. I was an International Relations major but remember you as if it were just yesterday from English 101, which was vicious but served me very well throughout many years of writing speeches and critical analyses in politics and foreign policy. You were also largely responsible for my MA degree term paper coup which I was worried would be rejected because it was barely half the “required” length; Chair of the IR Department gave me an “A,” with thanks — he was tired of reading padded gibberish.

    I happened on your website when a Goucher friend started reminiscing about our professors. Marveling at your past accomplishments and your perseverance these days.

    Our son and only child recently presented us with our first grandchild three months ago. We're in Washington, DC, they're in...DUMBO. I did try to explain to him that people are supposed to come from Brooklyn, not go there on purpose but, whatever, and the upshot is we never get to enjoy Manhattan anymore, as you seem to be managing to do despite serious health issues. Nice to see you have such a lovely, albeit spread out, family.

    Best wishes.
    - Tina Silber

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.

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