Yesterday I wrote about my excursion to Capitol Hill, and I observed that many women were there to fight the good fight. Perhaps, I added, The People’s House, a nick name for the capitol building, should also be called The Women’s House.
As I pondered that idea, however, I remembered a story my teacher friend told me that day. As educators were scrambling to meet with legislators, the difficulty of so doing became apparent.
“I’m sorry, can’t do that right now.”
“Maybe later this afternoon.”
“Could you write me a note?”
And then, my friend noticed that the football coach from her school headed toward a small crowd of lawmakers. He hadn’t even opened his mouth before one legislator called after him.
“Well, what’s the state champion football coach doing up here on the hill?”
The men smiled, shook hands, and then the cluster pulled Coach into their midst for a good ol’ chat. But I really shouldn’t complain because the coach was there to support his school and his district. Because of the proposal to increase class size and eliminate planning/preparation time every other day, teachers and coaches at that school decided they needed to cut some after-school activities such as spring training for football. Students and parents were not happy about this decision because it’s hard to maintain championship teams without additional training.
I’m not being sarcastic about this because I see the value of keeping young people busy in our non-agrarian society where they don’t have to plant and harvest crops. I just wish some groups saw the same urgency in beefing up academics as much as we beef up athletic programs. I also wish the legislators extended the same cordiality to the non-coaches, the mothers, and the female teachers that approached them.
As I wrote yesterday, I stopped by Olene Walker’s portrait to pay homage to her. Gov. Walker was the first woman lieutenant governor and governor. Her party abandoned her when it came time that she could be re-elected, and it hurt Olene very much.
Once I was on the Capitol grounds, I also stopped to say hello to Annie Wells Cannon, Utah’s first woman legislator. She was active in the territorial government, and in 1912 she was elected to the House of Representatives. Hey! Wait a minute! Women couldn’t even vote in 1912. But they could in Utah, AND they could be elected to public office as Annie was.
That’s not all she did, however. Annie was charter member of the Red Cross and the Utah Women’s Press Club. She was a teacher at age 14 and a doctor by her mid 20s. Of course, she also served as a Relief Society President for 16 years, worked on the general board of that organization for 8 years, and raised 11+ children!!!!
The tributes to women may be few up there on Capitol Hill, but their CONtributions are many, as evidenced by these two examples!