Guess what!? Today is my birthday. I was born this day in 1832, which happened to be my dad’s 33rd birthday, in a tiny, tiny bedroom of a rooming house in Germantown, Pennsylvania. My parents Bronson and Abba Alcott lived there with their toddler, my big sister Anna. They could not even afford a second room and shared a bathroom with other boarders. Now there was a newborn to add to the miniscule family budget.
Germantown has since been swallowed up into the city of Philadelphia, but that was long after we left. I was still a toddler when we moved to Boston to be nearer my mother’s family and one of my father’s scores of jobs. We had several transitions between Germantown and Concord, Mass., where my dad and I made names for ourselves.
Life was not easy. My father was never gainfully employed. Both he, my mother and members of our extended family suffered from depression. My brother died in infancy and a sister died in her early 20s. Unsteady finances kept us nearly forever in debt to family and friends, and forced us to move from place to place. It was not until I made money writing “Little Women” that we could feel secure about housing.
Somehow we persevered. Our family was as dysfunctional as any other out there but we held strong to our beliefs and each other. As easy as quitting sounded, we got out of bed every morning and did what needed to be done without compromising our principles.
Here is what I accomplished during my first iteration, which ran for 55 years:
Wrote an All-American novel. “Little Women” is still translated in
scores of languages and remains a beloved favorite around the world.
Served in the Union Army as a nurse.
Co-founded “The Concord Players,” an award-winning theater that‘s still thriving.
Publicized the need for women’s suffrage.
Was the first women to register and cast a vote in Concord.
Shooed off the debt collectors by financially supporting my family.
Worked as a station master for the Underground Railroad
and housed a fugitive slave for weeks.
I think I did pretty well.
But I’m not done. There’s plenty more to do. I’ve been given the gift of another go-around, this time as a Tortie.
Women continue to be suppressed in many parts of the world. Meanwhile, women continue to raise the bar for the rest of us. I plan to continue to use this blog to highlight problem areas and problem solvers.
I began this blog in February 2013 on a whim, with My Publicist, who does most of the typing. We love reading your comments and ideas for future posts. We love having blog friends from all over the world and are so thrilled every time you stop by and share a thought. We hope you stay tuned as we have so much more to say.
My final hope before closing is that you all enjoy my birthday. I’m having a great time curled up in my little cat bed reflecting on all the good things going on in the world. I hope you’re thinking about them, too.