Monday, January 23, 2017

Arleen Goes To Washington

I've done all the reading and planning, and am now set for my big adventure, and I am doing OK.

1/18/17:
This post is being started three days before I depart for the Woman's March on Washington.  One person has told me that I am crazy, others have expressed their concern about such an endeavor at my age, and others just stare because words fail them.  They all have a point.

I have my thermals, I have my clear plastic tote, I have my hand and feet warmers and I have my pocket chair.  I am keeping an eye on the forecast in Washington and, so far, they are showing a clear day in the mid-50s.  I might not need the thermals. They are calling for some rain on inauguration day.  Tears from the heavens!

I am being told that this rally is not political, it is personal.  I can agree with that.

The night before:
There is some nervousness, but I am going to ignore it and let go of my fears.  My daughter, who is also going to march in her city of Santa Cruz, sent me a necklace with the peace sign on it.  She inspires me and she is proud of me, as are my other children. 

4:30 AM, Saturday
Up, dressed and almost out the door.  I was a little tired when I did my signs, and some letters went a little askew, but I only had two placards and figured nobody would really notice.  Besides, it fit my personality well.



Arrived at 5:05 where buses were to depart at 5:30 and found people already boarding. There was no room for my companion and I, but two other buses are supposed to arrive any minute.  The first two took off on time and we were to wait for ours that were expected any minute. This transportation was secured from another transportation company, and somehow things were not coordinated correctly and they did not show up for another 90 minutes.  That meant that we would not arrive until 10:30, which is after the rally is to begin.  200,000 to 300,000 were expected so getting there at that time, would put us at the disadvantage of getting close to anything.  However, we had our Metro cards and thought that if we took the train as soon as we arrived, we would get to see most of the rally.

Looking hopeful


We read on our phones that the crowd was surpassing what was predicted and there would be half a million people at the march  At about this time, the driver asked if anyone knew how to get there.  Apparently, he did not have GPS and this was not his regular route.  As I sunk in my seat near tears, an ambulance and fire engines whizzed by.  An accident had happened down the road but all I could think about was me and how this too was going to affect the trip.  We passed the cars and saw doctors working on some people on stretchers.  That brought me back to reality.  Getting to the rally seemed small in comparison to what was happening there and my heart went out to those poor people.


11:30 AM:
We arrive.  We cannot get on the Metro because it is too crowded and probably a two hour wait so we must walk the 2 1/2 to 3 miles.  No problem.  I am wearing very comfortable boots and I love to walk.  On the way, we meet the friendliest people, including those from the National Guard, who thank us for being there and wish us a great day.  The streets we walked were beautiful, with Victorian homes dotting both sides of the road.  Most of the homes displayed signs in honor of Martin Luther King.  They were inspiring and wonderful to see. 


We continued towards the capital and passed many funny, touching, and motivating signs.  Women's anatomy seemed to be the central theme and I enjoyed reading them.  I was stopped a few times and asked if someone could take a picture of the message that I was wearing.  I chose "dignity" and "human rights" as my topic.  An old woman talking about their vagina seemed a little inappropriate for me.  There were plenty of others who could do that subject more justice.   



Some signs that I liked:






There were many men there also in pink hats.  They were there to support their wives, sisters, mothers and daughters.  I wanted to thank them all.



A message that I saw a few times and was carried by various older women said, "I can't believe that after all these years, I am still protesting this s_ _ t".  How true and how sad.

There were people there of every ethnic background, every color, every religion and sexual orientation. There were babies and teenagers, the young and the old, and the disabled.  I saw quite a few people in wheelchairs and with canes.  Some brought tears to my eyes because you knew how important and hard it was for them to be there.

We never got to see the celebrities talk.  We never got to the mall where people were stuffed in like sardines. We only got to march for a few blocks before it was stopped because the crowd was too large for the streets.  However, none of that mattered.  I was there and experienced a wonderful, exciting and important day.  I was even interviewed by some ladies from an on-line site and the article was posted today.  I am not fond of the picture or the quote they chose (out of my 5 minute conversation), but, heck, someone wanted to listen to me and that is a blessing at my age.  On our long walk back to the bus, we came across local residents who put out tables and poured water and juice and offered apples and other treats to the weary visitors. Some people, I hear, were also invited into their homes to rest. Now that is hospitality!  They wished us well and thanked us for coming.  Washington is a beautiful place with beautiful citizens.

Most of the news today is very positive about our effort which was far more attended than anyone ever imagined.  The world marched also, as there were events in all seven continents, including Antarctica.  No matter our differences, what all of us humans have in common is the quest for human rights and to live in a safe, clean world with respect and dignity.  The work started Saturday, and it shall continue. 
















85 comments:

  1. Tears. I am so grateful to you and to everyone else who marched. And to all those who treated you with kindness. Love your signs too.
    Megathanks.

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    1. We spoke for many who could not attend, EC. Asking for kindness and respect was the underlying theme of the march. That we would have to ask is what was sad.

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  2. My daughter attended the rally in her city, Chicago, but also couldn't march because streets got packed. I saw her a week ago and told her to be smart and safe. Would've told you the same, but you knew. I love what you did, Arleen. Thanks for what you did. You are remarkable.

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    1. When I got home late that night, I turned on the TV to watch many of the other marches. Words cannot describe my feelings when I saw the throngs of people who attended these events around the world. Chicago, which had expected a large crowd of 50,000, had 250,000 and LA had 750,000. London was reporting 100,000. What was wonderful to read also was there were no acts of violence and no negative incidents anywhere. Estrogen is a good thing.to have around.

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  3. You are a hero! Thank you so much for your effort, participation and for caring. You Rock!

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  4. Good for you for taking the time and making the effort to go!

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  5. Thank you thank you thank you so much for going. It feels as though we have been represented.

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    1. You were. Hopefully, with continued action, this movement will be heard by those in power.

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  6. Bravo. It is important that in an era of 'alternative facts' (previously known as lies!) that your voices (silent or not) are heard and counted.

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    1. Gaynor, It saddens me that such ridiculous statements comes out of that woman's mouth.

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  7. It was so historic and important,and you were there at the biggest mass demonstration in U.S. history! Your descendants will be talking about this for generations. Your show of strength will make it harder for power hungry (but vote conscious) politicians to erode the rights that women have fought long and hard for. Thank you!

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    1. I wish I had gotten into the mall, but luck was not on my side. However, I saw the other half and the joy we were all having being there was indescribable.

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  8. Congratulations on your fortitude and strength, Arleen. Despite all the set backs, you can forever say you were there at this critical moment. You should be very proud.

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  9. I am so proud of you for taking a stand. Your Canadian sisters held rallies and marches here at home and a vast contingency boarded buses and made the trek to Washington to join you in person.

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    1. When I saw the crowds of people marching in so many different countries, my heart swelled. We thank our northern sisters for their support.

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  10. I am so glad it went well and it is indeed Historic and significant, I applaud you and Loved the Message on your Sign! Thanks for Sharing your Experience... Dawn... The Bohemian

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    1. Thank you, Dawn. I am still coming down from the high of this event. It was amazing.

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  11. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. We must be doing this for the last time. I admire all the young energy, and the old energy. There are more of us this time; we will prevail.

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    1. We will prevail only if this energy continues. I know you are part of this, Joanne, and with people like you and others I have met, we will succeed.

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  12. I'm crying-so many emotions and impossible for me to put into words.

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    1. Susan, I was brought to tears when I was there and again when I related some stories to my family. One sign that really touched me was held by two young people who were siblings. It said, " We are here for you, Mom."

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  13. An amazing journey for sure. At any age we each have a voice in this great country.

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    1. We were there to make sure that our voices will never be silenced.

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  14. Thank you for going on the walk and thank you for posting about it. It is really interesting to read about this from a personal perspective from the other side of the world.

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  15. You are my hero! That is amazing--thank you for going and for writing about your experience.

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    1. Except for the bus ride, I enjoyed and was inspired every moment of the day. Were you able to pick me our on the bus, Amy?

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  16. Arleen, I think you're brilliant and hate it when people say,'At your age.....' Look after yourself. Love Molly xx

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    1. Oh, thank you, Molly. When people tell me that I can't do something at "my age", I try to prove them wrong. There is very little that I can't do that I did 20 years ago. I just do them slower because that is what I chose to do.

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  17. I love you for this post
    Thank you x

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    1. Thank you, John. It was a powerful day and I hope our message was heard by those in power. We are committed to follow this up with strong activism.

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  18. I am so glad you wrote about this experience. Thank you.

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    1. I am running out of adjectives to describe the event and that day. I am so glad that I was able to do it and make my family proud.

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  19. I marched in Austin, Texas, cane and all. Organizers expected about 35,000, but they now believe we had 75,000-100,000 in our very red state! We waited almost two hours to get off the courthouse lawn, and the first marchers had already returned from the 15-block walk. People took care of children and offered each other compliments on signs, hugs, and support. I am so glad I did not miss it, although it was hard to arrange, and I've already made up my postcards with a photograph from the march and sent them to my two senators, continuing the momentum as suggested in the "10 Steps in 100 Days" initiative.

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    1. Linda, it was amazing that the numbers expected and the numbers that attended doubled in almost every place the march was held. Hopefully, that will continue with the activism that will be needed to retain our rights and dignity.

      Like you, I have begun that today.

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  20. Way to go! Loved reading all about it!!

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    1. Thank you. I only write once a month and it is never this long. I am also concerned with not offending anyone with my political beliefs. However, this was an important event, and I wanted to tell my story.

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  21. I believe no one is better than anyone else, for I believe we're all interconnected, therefore I applause you for taking such a stand! Thank you!

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  22. Fantastic Arleen, you little minx! Your tireless effort to get there would have put many others to shame. I think the response from so many wonderful women from all over the world was truly amazing. Now; where did I put that pink tutu?
    CLICK HERE for Bazza’s interesting Blog ‘To Discover Ice’

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    1. A pink tutu would have been perfectly acceptable. Everybody was embraced and accepted.

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  23. Proud of you, Arleen. And I love all the pussyhats, and the signs. Oh doesn't it take us back to the 60s, and all those protest marches then.

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    1. From what I know, the hats were all made by individuals and not mass produced by a company in China. The only place I found them to buy was on Etsy.

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  24. Dear lady....I don't know if I would have marched as you did....and it certainly was courageous. If I remember correctly, women, have always had to fight for rights and equality from the beginning of time.
    Hooray for you@!

    xo

    Jo

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  25. Hi Arleen - how amazing that you went and participated ... I heartily congratulate you ... and your descriptions and stories are just wonderful to read. Brilliant and how lovely the family were at other rallies ... such a great range of causes ... women have so much to contribute, as to appreciative families ... cheers and as others have say Hooray for you ... Hilary

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    1. Yes, there are so many causes and to get anything done, a cohesive message must be made. I marched for dignity, which seems to have disappeared from the landscape.

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  26. What an interesting and amazing day that way!

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    1. It was, Susan. Everyone that I met was kind and polite. As a matter of fact, "kind" pins were handed out. I wear it proudly on my coat.

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  27. YOU ARE MY HERO!!! I am so excited that you went, and grateful that you shared the experience with us. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Even though I wasn't there, my spirits were buoyed when I heard the Women's March crowd was so much larger than the inaugural crowd. :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Susan. It was wonderful to be surrounded by strong, brave women who peacefully protested what is happening to our great country. It was a day of empowerment and a day of unity.

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  28. I'M SO PROUD OF YOU!! Your chronicle of events was so honest and beautiful that I had to go visit another few blogs before commenting here 'coz you made me cry. It is amazing that so many women stood up for right and goodness, and did so with enthusiasm and an overwhelming togetherness (and men too). Thanks so much for sharing the pics! I can almost pretend I was there. Now before I cry again, I'll just give you a big virtual hug and post!

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    1. The whole thing was very emotional, Lexa. When I came home, my sister called and told me that as she watched the march on TV, she cried. No one ever expected it to be as large or inspiring as it was. Hopefully, the message of the that day will continue and bring about results.

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  29. I miss Obama too: his smarts, grace, dignity, kindness, and humor. I'm so exicted to hear that you went to the march. That's just wonderful. I too thought we did all this years ago, when we were young. And now we have to do it again. It touches my heart to think of old people and people in wheelchairs having to do it again. And doing it. Because marching for what you believe is not easy when you get up there in age. I'm not sure I could do it, so I am so very proud of you. And now I too am tearing up.

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    1. i was very proud that I could do this and hope that our voices and actions will be heard.

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  30. My wife was seeing her neurologist at Mayo that day. She has Alz. & answering a few Questions about Presidents she said she couldn't think of the new ones name but new "he was a jerk." She passed..:)

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    1. This comment just made my day! Thank you! 💖

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    2. Fifteen years go when my mother was very sick in the hospital from kidney disease which caused her to have some dementia, a doctor began to ask her questions to test her memory. When he asked her the name of the President, my mom, a very ladylike and articulate woman, thought for a minute and then said, "that a-hole". Your story made me think of that right away. It seems, great minds think alike. BTW, the doctor said, "good enough".

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  31. Thank you for sharing your story! I'm getting so much strength for all the solidarity people around the world are showing.

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    1. Hopefully, Jennifer, the action that will follow will do some good.

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  32. I'm all teared up and busting with pride to know you.
    x

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    1. It was a wonderful experience, Laura. I am so happy that I could do it. Lately my days have been full of writing and calling our representatives. I don't know if any of this is going to do any good but I can't sit sit by and just let this happen. I have children and grandchildren that will have to live with what this administration does to our country.

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  33. arleen:

    I saw your comment on john gray's blog a few weeks ago that you did not know how to knit and that you wanted a pussyhat. I knit and can make one for you. AND you are in PA like me!

    e-mail me at girl9654@yahoo.com if you are still interested in a hat!

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    1. If and when I participate in another march ( the Scientist March), I would be interested in a hat. I will contact you, Anne Marie.

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    2. Arleen, your pussyhat is almost ready! contact me privately so I can send it to you! :)

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  34. I had wanted to attend our local march but backed out at the last moment because it was snowing. I would have to drive approximately 45 miles in it and that didn't appeal to me so I stayed home. My facebook page was covered in pictures of everyone at the march and what a powerful experience it was for the next two days. I really regretted not going.

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    1. If it was snowing, I could never been able to go. Thankfully, the weather in PA and Washington DC was perfect. There will be more marches and other things that you can do, just keep yourself informed.

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  35. Thanks for sharing this, it is very interesting. Unlike a lot of people in my part of the world, I am not overly aware of what is going on in the United States of America, so I found this post very informative.

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  36. Kudos! You were part of history. I am so proud of all the marchers. My daughter and son in law marched in Philly.

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    1. Yes, Sandra, I think it was history making. Millions of strong women (and men) were there to make a statement about rights, dignity, and justice. I am very proud of what we did that day.

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  37. Stellar post . . .
    I regretted not having participated in the march . . .
    I "marched in my heart" though . . .
    Thankful for you! And the many others!
    Justice, Dignity, Rights, Civility LIVED in the MARCHES on Washington and around the world. YES . . . for this solidarity, loved your post.

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    1. Thank you, Lynne. It was very important for me to be there and I am so thankful to have the support of so many.

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  38. Followed you back from Relatively Retiring. Hope you don't mind. This is amazing.

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    1. Thank you, Zhoen. When I returned home and turned on the TV and saw all the millions who walked with us, I also was amazed and very, very proud.

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  39. Well done you!
    I feel a part of me was there with you too - living downunder it was impossible to join you.
    I'm full of admiration for being brave - you did it!
    Shane x

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    1. I wasn't brave; I was mad and scared about what this man who was elected promised to do.

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  40. I am just reading this for the first time. What an adventure. Thank you! Hugs!

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    1. It was an adventure and one I will always be proud of being part of in this year of discontent.

      I hope you are doing well, Bonnie.

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