Susan B. Anthony
My Aunt Helen in High School, Town of Arthur, 1937
Aunt Helen is fourth from the left, third row from the top. She was the first woman in her family to be enfranchised, Though the Women’s Suffrage Movement began in her home province of Ontario, the struggle was long and treacherous, involving political battles at the municipal, provincial and federal levels as well as in Britain. Ontario was among the last of the provinces’ women to whom the vote was extended. My grandmother was forty years old before she could vote. (more on Ontario history of women’s suffrage here)
Emmeline S. Pankhurst arrested in London, June 1914
Ah, the gentler sex. I don’t think that guy running alongside is saying anything nice. It strikes me that 100 years have not since passed … it just wasn’t that long ago that we can afford to forget.
Remember, remember, remember …
I have forgotten why I gave you
a parakeet for your birthday.
And I have never understood
why you named it Jay Okada.
Whenever you spoke to the bird
(‘Good morning, Jay Okada’; ‘Hello, Jay Okada’),
I felt a brief jolt of excitement, followed
by a longer interval of melancholy.
Now that you’ve moved to Saskatoon
and married a successful bank manager,
please tell me if these were the feelings
you intended me to feel many years ago
when you gave the parakeet my name:
momentary excitement and