This weekend I went with other Hopewell Furnace Historic Site volunteers to perform at the Susan B. Anthony House in Rochester, NY.
We do an outreach program in the form of a one woman play about life in the ironworking industry of Pennsylvania in the 1800s. This piece has been touring for four years. Last Sunday it came to rest in one of its most appropriate venues — the home of a woman who fought tirelessly for women’s rights and declared “Failure is Impossible.”
Very rarely are these performances attended by young people. Maybe we just aren’t bright and shiny enough for the younger set. Most of the women present remember a time when the job ads were divided between Men and Women. Life itself had a set division of labor.
Something I have learned from doing this play (I wrote and directed it) is that stories are still the important threads in the fabric of culture. While many women have not experienced the utter intolerance of the 1800’s female, they understand loss and isolation and the ability to try to believe things can be better.
Susan B. Anthony was an amazing hostess to us on Sunday. She gave us tea, sympathy, and a world where women are valued. Not for their cooking or sewing, but for their hearts and mind.