My Grandmother Was A Feminist Icon Before That Was Even A Thing


Women’s History Month is upon us again. And Facebook’s algorithms are probably slamming your newsfeed. This is a picture of my grandmother, Polly Winkles Holmes, ever the politically active do-gooder of her day. She led the Decatur branch of The Women’s League of Voters; and, administrated retirement villages for the elderly at a time when female bosses were rare, and retirement villages a new ethical concept. She was exceedingly progressive for her day and place. She was pro-choice. (Unfortunately, her children did not turn out to value female life and personal autonomy much as she did.)

I have been told I resemble her in certain features. But mostly I inherented her fire. Generations may separate us… but like Grandma, if you fuck with my family and loved ones, I will eloquently, verbally eviscerate you. We disagreed on the subject of cats and wine until she discovered she rather liked elderberry wine. And my gone-but-not-forgotten Vesper Woolf spent the night with her a couple times. Grandma would never admit to the rest of the family she had a housecat for a night or two when I visited. She even sent Vesper a get well card once.

Grandma’s 90th birthday is this month. She’s in the best facility in the area for dementia. Medicare and Social Security, along with veteran’s spousal benefits, are ever essential and imperative insuring the Greatest Generation get the care they deserve. Also, we have the Boomers next. Let’s take care of our own first and foremost.