Saturday, July 16, 2022

Women on a bus in 1957

"On a recent trip to visit family, I found myself frequently travelling alone on public transportation. As a female, out of my usual surroundings, I always looked for the safest place to sit. Where might I be safe on this subway, in this train, on this bus? Is there anywhere safe anymore?

Over and again, I found myself seeking out the nearest mother with a child in a stroller in order to seat myself near them. Did that mother have a special forcefield around her? Why did I gravitate to the mother with the child as the safest haven? Because I realized that this mother had made a conscious decision to stand on the front lines."

That's a quote from an article about how Christians are on the front lines in the culture wars. However, for me, I recall an exact incident like this in June 1957 that happened to me. My parents had taken me to the bus stop in Dixon, Illinois, to begin a very long trip by myself at 17 to Fresno, California for a summer term in Brethren Volunteer Service. I've written about it at this blog with photos. I certainly didn't have experience at 17 of traveling alone, but I looked for the first adult woman with children (she had 3) I spotted on the bus and sat with her. She couldn't have been more than 20 herself and had an Appalachian accent. I ended up being her babysitter half way across the country, sitting with the little girl and telling her stories while I combed her wispy hair, stories my mother had told me to keep me quiet about critters who snarl the hair of little girls. I think I also used my own money to buy her snacks because her mother didn't get off the bus when we took meal breaks. I felt safer, and the mother was certainly trusting, as I took the little daughter into the rest room, helped her with the toilet and cleaned her up while mommy tended to the boys (the children all had the strong odor of unwashed clothing and bodies).

Maybe it's instinct for women to seek each other for safety. With the culture wars of today, who can you trust?

1 comment:

Norma said...

Facebook labeled this as "sensitive content." Not sure what that would be except Fauci's name is in the right hand column having nothing to do with this post.