Susan B. Anthony and Chautauqua County Courthouse

Mayville, New York is a village of about 1,700 people. It’s a quaint small town just a hop, skip and a jump from Lake Erie. I was actually on my way to Barcelona Lighthouse when the wide streets, old buildings and overall tidy appearance of the town turned my head.

I did my usual grid search of the town before circling back to the main drag to study the Chautauqua County Courthouse.

This building is stately and interesting all by itself. Built of stone around 1908, it’s the third courthouse here. I admired its large lawn and how it’s set back from the street. I often complain about my local courthouse and how you’re greeted by a lot of concrete and a weapon of war next to the front door. It’s a cool building but not especially friendly and I’m always jealous of courthouses that are so welcoming as the one in Mayville.

But I digress.

It’s notable to me that this wee town is the county seat when nearby Jamestown is significantly larger.

It was made county seat in 1812 and I’m guessing the choice was made because of the town’s proximity to Lake Erie. It just seems odd to see the cradle of government in a small town when it’s usually located in a county’s larger community.

What makes this site especially interesting though is that Susan B. Anthony spoke here. There was a different building here at the time but on December 26, 1854, she spoke at this site to organize the first county women’s suffrage convention for the New York State Women’s Rights. Committee.

History was made here.

This was actually the legendary suffragette’s first stop on this campaign to rally support for a committee in each county.

The community had this marker placed back in 2019 in anticipation of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment in 2020.

Born a Quaker, Anthony had quite the career as an activist and as an advocate for women’s rights. She died in 1906, missing the ratification of the 19th amendment by about fourteen years. Yet, she lives on in generations of women and girls who enjoy rights these rights she worked so hard to earn.

It is gratifying to know the community takes such pride in this slice of their history.

The Roaring Twenties

Courtesy Huffington Post

The Roaring Twenties are starting to make sense to me.

After an intense period of war and pandemic, this was an era of economic prosperity that gave us technological advancements in radio, telephone, cars and many electrical appliances for the home.

Modernity was a major theme of these years. Women had finally taken the right to vote and were beginning to claim their place in higher education and the workplace.

It was a period of excess, progress and of modern convenience.

This period also gave us the rise of the Jazz Age, dance clubs and flappers with their bobbed hair, shorter hemlines, silk stockings, fabulous accessories, and high heels.

After years of war, sickness and economic troubles, people just wanted to dress up and go have some fun.

Yesterday, I had nowhere to be and nothing to do when I got there but badly needed out of the house so I ran some errands. It is an exaggeration to say that my usual errand running attire these days is a step above homeless chic. However, it IS fair to say I have spent most of the last year in yoga pants and running shoes.

Yesterday I put on my favorite jeans, a cute jacket, my favorite hat, a necklace AND a shoe with a slight heel. My faux leather lime green purse looked cute with my blue sweater. I know this because I received several compliments and the pharmacist at CVS even asked why I was “all gussied up.”

Friends, it felt good to dress nicely. Note, I wasn’t dressed up. Just dressed better than my new normal. And evidently better than the normal at the pharmacy.

The experience made me want to put on a dress, get my hair done (perhaps a 1920s bob?) and go DO something! Maybe take myself out to dinner or a movie or stroll through a museum!

I am curious to see how this will all end up. Will the new normal be even more casual than before the pandemic? People were already wearing pajamas to the grocery store so it’s hard to believe we could get much more casual.

Or will we swing the other direction and embrace putting our best foot forward? Given how hard it is to buy a nice dress or work appropriate blouse, I suspect casual will win the war. But I’m going to do my best to push back.

And no, don’t look for me dancing on tables in a speakeasy! Just don’t be surprised to see me quietly browsing a bookstore in a dress and fabulous accessories.

Suffragettes And Election Day

This picture is a statue in Nashville’s Centennial Park. It celebrates the ratification of the 19th amendment which gave white women the right to vote. These suffragettes serve as a reminder that our right to take part in the electoral process is as a hard fought win and should not be taken for granted.

We live in a world that likes labels. We have been trained to put people in boxes or, more accurately, to choose sides.

Republican or Democrat.

Caucasian or Hispanic.

Cats or dogs.

Coke or Pepsi.

Every survey wants us to check the box that best describes ourselves. Every politician wants to villainize the other side.

You’re with me or you’re against me is the message I receive loud and clear from many of my Facebook friends.

Civility is a lost art. Tolerance for people who are different than us is no longer important.

People have become so preoccupied with criticizing anyone who looks or believes differently that we have forgotten something important.

Despite what divides us, we all are human and we all are Americans.

So whatever happens on this Election Day, I hope that we all can remember that.

Whether your candidate wins or loses, I hope that we can stop searching for the things that divide, stop giving platforms to liars and begin looking for the truth, for the things that unite us as humans and as citizens of this country.

Be kind to your neighbors. Be kind to people who are different than you. Give us a chance to heal.

To my American friends, if you haven’t done so, please exercise your right to vote. And to my international friends, if you are praying people and see fit, please pray for the soul of this nation.