What About Women (other than wives)

 

WHAT ABOUT WOMEN (other than wives)?

As we reach these geezer ages, it’s obvious there are more geezerettes than geezers. When I attend an event (church, concert, fund raiser) there are more white heads with fluffed up hair than shiny bald pates. That tells us that for interesting conversation, we had better make friends with some of these women, or spend our bored time watching the golf channel.

Many of these white haired beauties were formerly married and lived the lives that their late husbands created through employment. They may have been military wives, corporate wives, faculty wives, or, in some unfortunate cases, wives of abusive, alcoholic, unemployable, or otherwise, men who created troubled lives for their families.

There are two groups of older women with whom I like to commune: 1) formerly married women who created interesting careers or connections separate from their marriage, and 2) single career women who never cluttered their lives with marriage.

As a prime example of the first group, let me introduce you to Barbara Ensrud, who as a young college graduate from Mississippi, immediately went to New York city, hoping to become a teacher, but without the proper credentials. She did find work, however, and following several job changes found herself employed by Time-Life as they were publishing Foods of the World. She was hired to do research for their publication and the research into food gradually led her into also studying wines, which then led her into the vast and varied world of wines. This world of wines introduced her to all the top names of wine and food journalism, and as her knowledge grew, also did her personal acquaintance grow with the big names of wine publicity, as well as the growers in Napa Valley, CA and elsewhere. All this new found knowledge encouraged her to leave Time-Life and become a sought after wine journalist. She did a regular wine column for the NY Daily News, a wine feature for the Wall Street Journal, and regular pieces for Vogue, House Beautiful, and many other well known journals. She was, and still is, invited to wine tastings in NY, CA, VA, and other well known wine sources. Her books on wine, Wine with Food, The Pocket Guide to Wine and others were very popular and allowed her to leave NY after 28 years and re-settle in Durham NC, where she has taught wine classes for Duke’s continuing education classes and holds private wine events. Dinner at her home always is a unique wine experience with the food and wine creating a rich dining event. She is so well known that when I visited Porto, Portugal, the home area of famous port wine, she arranged a private tour for me alone at a famous port winery. I was treated as a wine expert, solely due to my acquaintance with Barbara Ensrud. This was an exceptional opportunity for me, solely due to my friendship with this widely respected internationally known woman.

In many dinner situations, particularly if you now are living in a community where you share tables with others, too often the conversation centers around the careers of the male diners. So if you want to learn something interesting, forget the males and inquire into the careers of the women at the table! You will immediately be introduced to a woman you might have known for several months or a few years, never aware of the dynamic career she built for herself during and even after those years. As an example, one never married woman I know quite well spent her entire career in library management. Folks may say, Oh, libraries are dull places with stacks of books that nobody reads. Don’t fool yourself. I visit a branch of my main city library and the parking lot is usually full with folks waiting for a parking space to open on any day of the week. But let me tell you about one of these women, Marcia Tuttle, retired following 28 years as Head of the Serials Department at the Davis Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC. She started her library career at the library school of Emory University which led her to her first job at Princeton Theological Library at Princeton Seminary. Her career there was unrewarding, but helped her to be appointed as a reference librarian at Princeton University Firestone Library. Before her major career post in Chapel Hill, she spent two years as head reference librarian at the University of Vermont.

Serials deals with publications and magazines and her work there became noted by the American Library Association (ALA). She realized that the world wide systems to select, catalogue, and otherwise manage the thousands of journals landing on the desks of every library were absolutely unruly, disorderly, with all libraries smothered under their own messy systems. She realized that there could be answers to straighten out this jumbled mess, so she created her own newsletter, distributed internationally and in this marvelous document, over time she offered permanent answers so all libraries from Patagonia to Maine could live with efficient systems, everyone on equal terms with this mountain of journals, magazines, and other paper serials totally under control. This led her to invitations to speak at conferences in California, Australia, the Netherlands, and elsewhere. She became so well known for her leadership within her profession that I have read 30 pages of testimonials written about her and her work following her retirement.

Some women use the law to realize success in a venture toward justice and improved economic values. We won’t use her name nor the name of her organization, but tell you that through her submersion into her work, many small loan borrowers have been able to find lenders charging acceptable interest rather than being forced to borrow and pay 350% and higher interest amounts. Pay day lending needs to be buried in the quicksand of thievery and this woman is determined to bury it as she works state by state convincing law makers to find justice to replace thoughtless greed.

Then you all know Barbara Corcoran, famous with Shark Tank. Well, Ms, Corcoran, with whom I have been with twice, once as I introduced her during a fund raiser, and next when several of us had dinner with her in Central Park, NY. Her young life began in Edgewater, NJ, a small Hudson River town along with ten of her siblings together, primarily managed by their creative and loving mother. Barbara left Edgweater, moved to NY city, and became a small realtor in the rental market. With a built-in urge to work only for herself, she then built the Corcoran Group, becoming NY city’s largest residential real estate agency which she eventually sold for $66M. The point here is that Barbara was committed to a desire to be her own boss and it all worked out just as she wanted. Now, as an investor of many Shark Tank entrepreneuers, she has multiplied her investment into larger numbers.

As young kids, in most every grade of school, we had female teachers, usually unmarried. In fact, in most early and mid American communities, if or when a woman teacher married, her teaching days ended. Somehow, most old time school districts would terminate a woman teacher who married, while marriage was a recommended condition for the men teachers. Talk about discrimination! Now, as older men, it makes lots of sense to seek older, unmarried or formerly married women as our friends or companions. Why? The main, and possibly the only reason that matters, is that these women will be interesting, intelligent, will make good companions at the dinner table, or anywhere you happen to be. Have them talk about their careers, the memories they have of their successes into their chosen ventures, and how both the careers and the memories have given them fulfillment into their senior years. You will always be a winner knowing and listening to these women.

Born in small town in Ohio, high school in Lorain, Ohio, then College of Wooster, then US Army Counter Intelligence Corp. where I learned most about human relations among the friendly and otherwise. Followed by a career advising businesses and individuals as the types and costs of employee benefits and personal insurance. Now a radio interviewing host

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