Sunday, September 30, 2012

Remarkable Women





This weekend has been somewhat of a bust. We planned to go to a state park event, but on Saturday morning, DH was not so enthusiastic anymore . He said he would go, but I was not energetic enough to be perky for both of us! We lingered, hum and hawed until the whole day evaporated with nothing to show for it!

This morning after tea and reading, we started to watch the Sunday Morning news programs. I was knitting on a special project that had had a difficult start. However, a third of the way finished and I was going strong. When the program finished, I looked down to see a huge mistake in my piece. GRRRRR. I tried to save it, but alas, I had to pull it all apart and then DH was looking at me for lunch before the Sunday football games started! GRRRRRR.

So I made lunch, cleaned up, left the knitting on the floor, and went to my chair to look at a small book I had found the night before on my shelves. I don’t remember when or where I got it, but it is titled Remarkable Missouri Women. I could use something remarkable in my day because I felt like such a failure. I was not disappointed in the book!

On the pages I met women I knew and some I didn’t. Of course I knew Laura Ingalls Wilder, Rose O’Neil, and Kate Chopin, but these brief bios revealed new tidbits that were interesting to me. I also met a founder of Missouri kindergartens and the founder of Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri. One of the most amazing women was Cathy Williams, a former slave that impersonated a man and became a Buffalo Soldier after the Civil War!


But near the end, was a story that rocked me. I remember wearing garments with a Nelly Don label. Do you? Imagine my surprise when I learned that Nelly Donnelly had her start in Parsons, Kansas, right down the road from where I grew up. In fact, I “dragged Main”, went to the Drive-In for movies (Old Yeller, A Patch of Blue, How to Stuff a Wild Bikini), and drank copious icy drinks at the A&W there in my day. So I was surprised to read this story of a successful woman in the garment industry during the last century and her start in Southeastern Kansas.

Nelly’s story is multifaceted. There is her rise from poverty, success in business, a “wood colt’s” tale, a kidnapping, gangsters, both happy and unhappy marriages and more. She went from Parsons to St. Louis to Kansas City. You can find the main parts of her story on a website at http://www.nellydon.com/index.html  Just the nostalgic look at earlier fashions is worth the time to take a look at the site.

I am ending the weekend with my mind on race thinking of all these women and possibilities and stories…especially of a little Kansas gal who made it big. And I never knew!

Hum...maybe I will go pick up my yarn and needles and begin again.....

8 comments:

Linda O'Connell said...

I hate those wasted days, too. But thinkof all your discoveries. I am interested to know more about Allison Joseph. I will have to check out Crab Orchard. Thanks for the tip.

BECKY said...

What a neat book! I'll definitely check out the website, too. I don't think you had a wasted day after all, do you?! Have a great week, Claudia!

Susan said...

Hi Claudia...Oh, how well I know how quickly time can evaporate. But it sounds like the day was salvaged, after all. Hope you picked that knitting back up! Susan

Laurie Ritchey said...

That sounds like a wonderful way to spend the day. How fun to discover that someone famous grew up so close to where you lived. That sounds like some inspiring reading. Thank you for your comment on my blog. laurie @ http://dealingwithmyinnercritic.blogspot.com/

noexcuses said...

Thanks for sharing such a fascinating book! Will definitely check it out! I had a similar weekend where I almost felt it to be uneventful! Maybe it's a sign for some of us to stop and relax a bit. Hope you have a remarkable week!

Lynn said...

Sounds like a fun book to take a look at! Thanks for sharing.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

You were found by serendipity! Glad your "wasted" day turned out to be something else. :)

Donna Volkenannt said...

Geez. I don't visit your blog for a few days and look what I missed. Thanks for sharing all the wonderful information. Sounds like your day was filled with lots of fascinating learning.