I wanted to go downtown with Halley and her mother to watch the women light their bras and toss them into the Chicago river, but my mother said no like she always says to liberating ideas. So here I am alone,bored and snooping through my mother's photo album. I flip through a few pages and come upon the one and only photo of my grandmother. My mother never speaks of her, so why, I wonder, has she kept her photo.
I slide my fingernail along the edge and lift the glossy image from the decades old glue that has bound it there, and slip it into my pocket. I sneak off to my room, shut the door and lock it. And like some kind of contraband I lift the photo of my grandmother out of my pocket, and lay across my bed and stare at it. I stare at her in the middle of two other women,all of them wearing heavy coats, hats,and holding ice skates. She is a rather large woman with an almost irreverent smirk on her face. I turn the photo over and there, written in the most beautiful handwriting, were the words...three happy women
My grandmother had the most bold of coats compared to the others,one with wide stripes that went all the way down, and her black hat was the biggest. I notice that she holds onto her skates in a very powerful manner. I wish I had known her; all I know about her is that she caused a scandal in their little town by divorcing my grandfather, and leaving her children and going off to join the Universalists.
I guess in those days it was kind of like burning your bra, a strike of willful,shocking independence.
I bet my grandmother would have been at the bridge downtown today if she were still alive. I bet she left my grandfather because she dared to speak her mind and dared to have her own thought on how things should be done. If only my mother were like her, I'd be at that bridge witnessing this history making act, but no, my mother is a traditional mother, cooking and cleaning.
As soon as I am old enough, I am going to leave this stifling environment and become a liberated woman, doing what I want to do. But as I flip the photo in my fingers I realize how much my mother looks like her mother and I think...how could she leave her little daughter? Three happy women, one lonely abandoned child.
I take the photo and put it back into the album and realize how free my mother must be to keep it.