Moon Message :: 3.1.16

Moon Message #9.16 :: Life Review || Half Moon in Sagittarius

Between New Moons in Aquarius and in Pisces, opposing tensions continue to build. This invites earthy grounding, setting clear intentions, and enjoying ordinary conversations between Mothers, Grandmothers, and Granddaughters.the-boston-girl-9781439199367

In her opening paragraphs, Anita Diamant’s lead character is asked this question, “How did you get to be the woman you are today.” Granddaughters want to know. I found a dazzling correlation between this question and my book, Soul Stories.

In this new book The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant the answer is slowly revealed in a conversational life review by storyteller and Grandmother, Addie Baum. Chronologically, her stories in this memoir span her years between 15 and age 85. It’s lovely that she was born in 1900, because nearly the entire 20th Century was reviewed through her life stories. So much happens in every single life.

I know we were somewhat primitive in the past century compared to our modern lives now, but some parts were very dear, including the innocent nature of young women. Addie offers details specific to an immigrant family, even though she was born in Boston. The author made these counterparts leap to life: Tensions between Mother and daughter, between work and school, and between men and women before women could vote.

Addie Baum experienced a difficult home life with her fearful and suspicious immigrant parents. She was being smothered but she was strong enough to break free. Her curiosity led her to a library reading group which led her to interesting women who led her to interesting jobs: First she worked as a secretary, then as a newspaper reporter, and she really made her mark as a real estate assistant. Serial jobs for survival rings true in this century, hopefully women feel as progressive in their struggles as Addie did. She read newspapers, every word, every day. This made her an expert in the culture; she knew things no one else knew.

I appreciated the Elder voice of a woman who remembers all of her previous ages, sometimes with humor and always with a warm emotional tone reserved for granddaughters. The Boston Girl is a first person narrative of a long life filled with short stories about all the highlights.

As a young girl during World War I, 1916 and 1917 held the darkest of Addie’s stories; she helps us remember with sympathy all the men and boys who died. Then she reflects on the flu epidemic of 1917 saying “more soldiers were lost during the flu epidemic than the war” and how losing two young nephews tore her own family asunder.

Staying close to her family, especially her older sisters, Addie found resilience for the great depression throughout her early adulthood. Then the middle sister committed a silenced suicide. The police were involved but dared not break through the family’s illusion. This sister played a central role in life as well as in death.

In all her 85 years, this Grandmother tells story after story about incredible joys she experienced, such as her long friendship with a girlhood friend, Filomena who sent postcards from Taos to Boston, enough to fill two shoeboxes. When, at age 26, her love story began to weave through as romantic as reflective, her candid stories seem to make fiction very real.

Guided by the central question, this book takes on an air of reality through every story. Very little about the 20th Century actually gives women a longing for any of those ten decades, still the times were less violent, less pornographic and with less of the bullying thread in all grades. Phones and social media are changing our girls. Girls are still curious about women as role models, they still wonder how our lives came together. Was it easy or hard to grow through what we went through?

Many of Addie’s words are true every day, no matter the times. She said to her granddaughter, “Oh, Ava, there is so much sadness in this life,” in one sentiment. And admitting in another, “I feel sorry for the girl I used to be. She was awfully hard on herself.”

I consider this book a superb template for women of a certain age to tell our life stories. I would call this new genre Spiritual Memoir. Sharing our stories will cause our traumas to lessen and our authentic identities to step forth. Life events happen that may seem ordinary to us, but to the next generation, our daughters and our granddaughters, stories that shape us will be historical references and important models for girls who will experience challenges we cannot imagine. Particularly if we are able to find the jewels in our lessons and make the traumas shine, we must not be silent.

Through story, we discover ourselves; our stories matter. My book, Soul Stories, guides a life review such as this so the answers to what made us are slowly revealed. When we take the time to deeply remember, we are able to answer this question for ourselves. We need to know how we became the woman we are today. After all the turmoil and trauma is remembered and ritually released, our reward is a definite increase in peace and joy.




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