Persistence - Being Heard

My grandmother - like pretty much every other woman in my family - was one to speak her mind.  I imagine it was because speaking at all was very difficult for her.  Born without a palate, it was a miracle she survived, let alone learned to speak - which she did through sheer persistence.  

I can’t say for sure that my grandmother was a suffragist.  I do know that she was a business woman, owning her own needlework shop in her home town of Gridley, California, in the early 1900’s.  I know that she was the executor for her brother-in-law’s estate - which was an unusual role for a woman in the first half of the 20th century.  I know that during the great depression she organized a WPA project to help poor women support themselves by making quilts.

 Mamie Sala in front of her needlework store, Gridley California

Mamie Sala in front of her needlework store, Gridley California

But I also know that when the 19th amendment passed, my grandmother, then a farmer’s wife, worked to register women voters in rural Minnesota.  Herself a descendant of revolutionary patriots, she was frustrated by her German and Scandinavian immigrant neighbors who told her “Oh I couldn’t vote - my husband wouldn’t let me.”  My grandmother couldn’t understand passing up the opportunity to make oneself heard.  

To me, my grandmother personifies persistence.

“Nevertheless, she persisted” has become a rallying cry for women this year.  It means that we will continue - to vote, to speak up, and eventually be heard.