Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Making History

"Well-behaved women seldom make history." —Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

I have loved this quote since the first time I came across it, years ago, and I was interested to learn that Ulrich is a historian and was talking about the funerals of Puritan women when she first said it. It makes me wonder what people will say about us when we’re gone. We have all, at one time or another, thought about being famous or making history. It’s human nature, I think. But, what do we really mean by making history?

I would love for one of my poems, or many of them, to be in a widely used anthology, of course. I’d love to write a book of poetry that changes lives. Both of those things count, to some extent, as making history, but they aren’t likely to happen. So, what do I really want?

I want to be the woman whose descendants--and by that I mean the children of my nieces and nephews—and friends and friends’ children and children’s children tell stories about me long after I'm gone: How I caused trouble when it was the right thing to do, and sometimes because it was the most fun thing to do. How I stood up for what I believed and threw the best damn party around. How I refused to quit just because it was hard and was the most loyal friend ever. How I loved fiercely and threw fits that were talked about in three states. When I am gone, or when I am old, I want people to say, “I wish I had known her.”

That's the history I want to make.
What about y’all?


Elizabeth said...

I want to come to one of your best damned parties!!!

Katrina said...

You'll be on the guest list from now on, Elizabeth.

Tina said...

I want people to say that I was friends with you -- that would be high acclaim. And that I survived one of your parties. That should get me a purple heart.

Katrina said...

Be careful who you tell you're friends with me, Tina...I'm not everybody's favorite ;) Surviving my parties is a skill many have mastered. I have every faith in you.