I was born on Monday while my father was playing golf. He was always proud to tell him. My father was a self-made seller. My mother was a resourceful domestic economist and resourceful industrialist. I can still see two of them dancing on Que Sera Sera across the tarpaulin floor of our newly built suburban house. They set off via Moon Landing, Camelot, Free Love, and breaking the genetic code. In my view on the stairs between balustrades, I watched the turn in the gender gap and the "hug and influence" of the Cultural Revolution.
"What do you want to be when you grow up Patricia?" The question was $ 64,000 in my childhood. I always wanted to respond to 'How the hell should I know, I am six years old', but I caught myself and smiled the way young girls were expected to do. I remember admiring this weird idea that I can't be I could not control what I ate or wore or even the time I went to bed. My mother and I were in constant conflict over the puffy sleeves, floral overalls, and patent leather shoes. Can I dictate my future?
I now realized that asking this question in the late 1960s put me at the forefront of social change. In 1968, there were 28.7 million women in the workforce, most of whom were trustees, boredom and printing. Most of the workers were clerics, waitresses, domestic workers and cooks were women. But young women entered the joint task force in large numbers. They get college degrees and enroll in graduate school at the fastest pace in history and their expectations for the future are changing. Suddenly women were able to look for jobs in business and management as never before.
So, I was a little girl at a time of radical transformation ideally captured in a small talk about mothers having lunch at Macy's or on-line at the bakery. Unfortunately, my father did not treat me differently from my brothers. The owner of a small company, he did not see sex lines. The women ran his office and my mom ran his books. I remind him repeatedly telling me that there is nothing I can't do, if I decide. His other famous speech was to find an opening in life. This was important to him. You may not always get what you want — and you may not always want to get what you get — but my parents felt it was important that you share your claim in the world and stick to it.
My Irish grandmother repeated this idea of self-determination that I remember sitting on the shore of the Warren Hotel in Spring Lake, New Jersey with a "high ball" declaring that this was the greatest country in the world. He had no knowledge or care that the drinks that were brought by the hotel staff actually cost my father money. For his part, my father confirmed this American idea as a land of abundance and never told the pop that the drinks were not free.
My mother was a housewife. All my friends' mothers were housewives. They were wonderful women, but I couldn't imagine I was doing a house and taking children like us. So, I dreamed of being a diamond trader like my father Haberman's red friend or selling pork like Neil Dragh, his other friend who had the biggest black and red truck I've ever seen – complete with a giant pig head painted on the side.
I have a brief 'I want to be a hostess' the moment that my American grandmother made me never promise to express again. "Tell me you want to be a pilot!" She said with her eyes wide open and her hands pressed hard on my shoulders. Prospects for becoming a business magnate, an international spy, and even an astronaut. There was absolutely no reason why I could not go anywhere the girl had gone before.
Then there was the year that I wanted to be a nun. Outside the vow of poverty, dress, veil and dress – I felt like I could do it. The idea of sitting around elegant wooden tables and eating Entenmann Coffee Coffee was very attractive. The nuns at my grammar school painted a promising peaceful picture of humanity. It was quite different from the furious playground at St. George's Margaret School where I was routinely ostracized for not wanting to get Bay City Rollers. Diane Cavanagh wears, "You see, I told you she's obsessed" with her tight school folds swaying on her knees. I had no time for a foreign band in funny pants and knee socks. I had to know what I wanted to be.
My cognitive and intellectual development was developed in the rainy summer afternoon during the marathon sessions of Candyland ™ and Kerplunk ™ sitting in the Indian style on the garage floor. As I rode my banana seat bicycle up and down Sandra Lane, a quiet street surrounded by a few suburbs of New York, I found myself at a socio-political crossroads in America. You're the Mod Squad's sugar-free soda. You five easy pieces, 60 minutes, Fleetwood Mac and Aretha Franklin. I was deliberate and defiant, neither like me nor in line with everything, was a child of my era.
I wasn't aware of everything that was happening in the world at the time, but I knew there was a terrible war. I remember my grandmother on Long Island and the fateful morning in which three men with a flag folded up their front steps. Their eldest son had just left for Vietnam. His name was John. It was small arms fire. He was 20 years old, and I can still see his picture on the living room wall to the left of China's wardrobe. I've never looked at this house the same way again. Years later, I still think of John as I peered over the hedge. What did he want to be, when he grew up?
The truth is that life takes us on its way. Robert Burns famously wrote to the mouse:
The best plans developed from mice and men
Go too much pervert,
And leave us only sadness and pain,
For the promised joy!
I'm still you Mubarak, compared with me!
The present just catches.
The poem is a famous apology for a mouse the author loves while plowing a field. Burns eventually believed that the mouse has the easiest life. He lives nowadays, while humans are a chain connected to all things past. We are derived from our collective consciousness, intended or unintentional. The mouse did not have to suffer during the days before the Pocket Calculator and smartphone. Never wrestle with shoulder pads and disco. He was oblivious to the Cold War, Johnstown, Charles Manson and Sam's son. Amid the turmoil in the field, the mouse was never asked what he wanted.
I now risk sounding like myself a six year old asking my grandmother what that was like before the cars. When I arrived in New York from Ireland, I was not checking out Car Fax for the best deal on Tesla or waiting for a freshly-Uber trip to Boarding House. It has been trying to seamlessly infiltrate the inner life of Green centuries. She was grateful for her lack of observation and satisfaction for her distinction. At the age of 19, I was still making a decision about majoring in my college, while working on a trans-Atlantic ship – hoping the world would be brighter on the other side.
When I look at the human presence through her eyes and the pure weight of those transformative choices that are often when our backs are on the wall, I realize that they are the most important things. My grandmother, mother, aunt and all women in my younger life have never had the luxury of endless choices and gender-neutral ambitions. They were occasional humanist and feminist activists who believed in "everything they would, will be" by systematically removing agreements, restrictions, restrictions, and heavy chaos in the past. From feminine charm to girl with tattoo tattoos … these were the days of our lives. We've come a long way, right?