“Iron Girl”

Eleanor Egg, bronze plaque by Gaetano Federici, Paterson Museum, Paterson, NJ

Eleanor Egg, bronze plaque by Gaetano Federici, Paterson Museum, Paterson, NJ

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Last week I went to the Paterson Museum, Paterson, NJ, to see this marvelous bronze relief by Gaetano Federici, “In honor of Eleanor Egg, Champion of America.” It was commissioned in 1931 after she defeated champion Polish sprinter, Stella Walsh, in the 100-yard dash at a meet in Jersey City, NJ. Known as “Iron Girl,” Eleanor Egg, competed in the broad jump, setting a world record in 1927; the 100-yard dash; and the shot put. She won approximately 227 medals, 22 silver cups, 6 trophies. An injury prevented her from competing in the 1932 Olympics. “So, I missed the best chance that I ever had,” Egg recalled. “I’ll never know what I might have done. The large plaque was placed on Paterson’s Hinchcliffe Stadium, until the stadium was abandoned, then placed in storage. Happily it is now on display!

Born  in 1909, Eleanor Egg joined her parents’ acrobatics act, she said,  “when I was 1 year, 7 months, and I was billed all over … as the smallest acrobat in the country.” When she was eight years old, her parents quite show business and moved to Paterson, where she out-raced her classmates, including her school’s sprint champion, a boy.  Her parents cheered her on, particularly her mother, Caroline who once entered a race with Eleanor. Noticing that two Eggs were entered in the 800-meter race, a reporter asked Eleanor if it was her sister.

“Why, that’s not my sister, that’s my mother,” she replied.

When the reporter asked Caroline Egg, who was almost forty years old, if it was hard for her to run 800-meters (one half mile), she said, “Why I’ve run miles and miles.”

 

 

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Female Heroes

Temple_GrandinLegal_Justice_LeagueI rarely listen to anything during my long walks but recently I took my little radio and earphones (low tech, I know) and heard the cooolest piece on NPR about Maia Weinstock, a science writer who is “Bringing Female Heroes to the Lego Universe.” The images are: Temple Grandin and the female Supreme Court Justices. Here’s the link: http://www.studio360.org/story/bringing-female-heros-to-the-lego-universe/

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Taking a Break

Taking a break we went to Staten Island yesterday (about a 50 minute drive): visited the Chinese Scholar Garden with its impressive rockery resembling mountains that inspired ancient monks, eight pavilions, a waterfall, Koi-IMG_1627filled, pond, Chinese calligraphy, soaring

Banana Leaf Gatecranesroof peaks; walked through the botanical garden; ate dinner in a restaurant on the bank of the Arthur Kill, a heavily traveled shipping lane watching tugboats, tankers, and a lone cormorant; went to a show at a regional theater–all and all a very different but tugstimulating experience, plus we had fun!IMG_7791

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My Interview with Mary Doyle

Rosie cover mediumToday–May 29th –in 1943 Norman Rockwell’s iconic cover appeared on “Saturday Evening Post.” On my blog (can’t seem to post it here) is a brief excerpt from my 1994 telephone interview with Mary Doyle (later Keefe), the model for “Rosie” that appears on the cover of my book: “Rosie the Riveter: Women Working on the Home Front in World War II.” Mary is describing her appearance on Jay Leno’s show fifty years after she posed for Rockwell.

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Rosalie the Riveter

Shortly after midnight, Frank Cutitta sent me a message that his Aunt Rosalie the Riveter had died. I met Rosalie in 2009 when she was honored at New Jersey State Federation of Women’s Club of GFWC’s 101st Public Affairs Day, where I gave my “Rosie the Riveter” speech. A video of Rosalie talking about loading up her car with other workers and driving across the Burlington-Bristol Bridge singing “The Bluebird of Happiness” is on my website. Frank and his family buried Rosalie’s sister Theresa, who was also a riveter, just two days before Rosalie died. He said that he and his family have been using the link to the video “as a remembrance of the spirit of these two amazing women.” I was touched that he wrote and wanted me to “know how special Rosalie felt your story about the riveters was.” The riveters and all the other women war workers are what is special!
http://pennycolman.com/meet-penny-colman/podcast/

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Harriet Tubman

WOW! Harriet Tubman won the vote to be the new face on a $20!!!!! Got the news shortly before Barbara Howard announced it at “Swing Low,” the memorial to Harriet Tubman in New York City. Abandoning my book-in-progress, I speedily drove there to celebrate. PC NBC The photo is of me being interviewed for a segment that will be on NBC tonight at 6:30 (the last segment, the reporter said).

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Great Egret

Great EgretWhat a treat to see on my book-writing-break walk today–a Great Egret! (A sign that I should take more breaks, perhaps?)  Flat Rock Brook, Englewood, New Jersey

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Mother’s Day

img001On the eve of mother’s day 2015, I’m thinking with deep love and profound appreciation about my mother Maritza Morgan, an internationally known artist, who also had a 40-year career as a journalist, writer and translator.  I’ve written about her as a volunteer firefighter in my book Adventurous Women: Eight True Stories About Women Who Made a Difference.  In Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts: A History of Burial I wrote about the painting she created after the death of my father (at the age of 50).  Her painting, “Lazarus” is reproduced in the book. She died shortly before Corpses, Coffins, and Crypts was published, but not before I was able to show her the page proofs and read her what I had written. She could no longer talk, but her smile radiated from the tip of her toes to the top of her head. The image is her painting, “Song of the Turtle Dove” Carved on wood and painted with with acrylics; 49′ x 29 1/2″, 1981

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Honoring Nurses

Nurse's Memorial, Section 21, Arlington National Cemetery

Nurse’s Memorial, Section 21, Arlington National Cemetery

Linda’s mother, Mary Batastini Hickson, was a nurse, and proud of it! So here is a shout out to her and all nurses, for this–National Nurses Week–and all the weeks of the year! During a visit to Arlington National Cemetery, we were deeply moved by the stylized statue of Jane Delano, pioneering nurse and founder of the American Red Cross Nursing Service, overlooking the section with the graves of 296 nurses who died during World War I.

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Nellie Bly

“Google Doodle Honors Pioneering Journalist Nellie Bly for Speaking Up ‘For the Ones Told to Shut Up'” Nellie Bly, was born Elizabeth Jane “Pink” Cochran today, May 5th, in 1864. Here’s the link to an article and song: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/05/nellie-bly-google-doodle_n_7210966.htmlNellieBlygravecrop

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