Guess What Happened 95 Years Ago?

On August 18th 1920, the 19th amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified by Congress.  This amendment gave American women the right to vote.  It’s hard to believe that women have only had the right to vote for less than 100 years.

It's actually happening!

After I wrote my post at the end of July (Boom:  Who Knew?) about the six different generations still alive today, one of my friends texted me a question.  He asked:

“If you could live during any other period in time, when would you choose to live and why?”

I’ve thought about my answer a lot since then and after much consideration, I’m sticking to it.  Here’s what I said:

“I would choose to live at the turn of the 20th Century and be a part of the women’s suffrage movement.”

The word, “suffrage” means the right to vote in public, political elections.

I Voted Sticker

I have a family connection to the women’s suffrage movement.  My great-grandfather’s sister…who would technically be my great-grandaunt…was a suffragist and according to family stories, hosted women’s suffrage meetings at her home in Elkhart, Indiana during the early 1900’s.

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Her name was Laura Mae (Parker) Foster but she went by her middle name.   I am her namesake and my middle name is also Mae.  I never knew Aunt Mae (she died eight years before I was born) but I inherited some items that once belonged to her.

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I also have an old, yellowed newspaper clipping of her obituary from 1952 which ran in The Elkhart Truth, my hometown newspaper.  Apparently, she was also president of the Progress Club and the Thursday Club in addition to being a charter member of the Elkhart chapter of the League of Women Voters.  Oh, how I would have loved to talk with her about her experiences during that time.

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The women’s suffrage movement in the United States began officially with the first women’s rights convention in the world which was held in1848 in Seneca Falls, New York.  The convention was organized by Lucretia Mott and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who were also active members of the abolitionist (anti-slavery) movement.

In 1851, Stanton met Susan B. Anthony and the two women formed a life-long friendship and collaboration focused on obtaining voting rights for all women.  Once slavery was abolished after the Civil War, the two women founded the “National Woman Suffrage Association” (NWSA) and began campaigning for a constitutional amendment for universal suffrage and for other women’s rights.

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth

Another organization, the “American Woman Suffrage Association” (AWSA) was formed around the same time by Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and Josephine Ruffin.  The AWSA focused on trying to win the women’s right to vote state by state.

In 1890, the two organizations merged in order to be more effective.  The new organization was called the “National American Women Suffrage Association” (NAWSA).  Led in the early 20th century by Carrie Chapman Catt, the NAWSA held parades and rallies to draw attention to their cause, and allied themselves with local women’s clubs and some labor unions.

Women's suffragists parade in

At the time, marching in parades and giving speeches on street corners was considered by many to be “unladylike” behavior and there was a wave of hostility against the suffrage movement by both men and some women.  Many women wanted the right to vote and believed in the work of the suffragists, but were too timid or afraid to openly join the effort.

The Suffragist

On March 3, 1913, the day before Woodrow Wilson’s presidential inauguration, 8,000 women suffragists marched up Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington D.C. demanding the right to vote. Using the nation’s capital as a backdrop for their event was intended to show the world the national importance of their cause.

The parade turned into a near riot when the crowds of mostly men surged into the street grabbing, shoving, tripping, and jeering at the participants.  Police who were there to protect the marchers, stood back…and in some cases joined in.  The events of the day were in the papers for weeks and ultimately publicized and helped the cause of women’s suffrage.

March 8, 1913, front page of

In 1916, Alice Paul and Lucy Burns organized the National Women’s Party (NWP) and began a more militant campaign for women’s suffrage.  The NWP picketed and held demonstrations in front of the White House and all over the country.

Moms Have Demands!

Many suffragists were arrested for “obstructing traffic” and thrown in jail where they went on hunger strikes and endured force feedings.  Women kept marching and demonstrating and believing in the cause of suffrage for three generations until their efforts finally paid off.

Suffragist Helena Hill Weed,

The 19th amendment was ratified by a margin of just one single vote in August of 1920.  Seventy-two long years after the Seneca Falls Convention, the 19th Amendment read:

Section 1. The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Suffrage Parade, 1913

I’m proud that my great- grandaunt was one of the women who worked so tirelessly to gain the right to vote for all women in the United States.  If you’re wondering when other countries granted women the right to vote, here’s a sample list:

1893 – New Zealand

1894 – South Australia

1907 – Finland

1913 – Norway

1915 – Denmark

1917 – Russia

1917 – 1919 – Most of Canada

1918 – Germany

1918 – Poland

1919 – Austria

1919 – Netherlands

1921 – Sweden

1922 – Ireland

1928 – United Kingdom

1931 – Spain

1934 – Cuba

1934 – Turkey

1944 – France

1945 – Yugoslavia

1946 – Italy

1946 – Vietnam

1947 – China

1947 – India

1947 – Japan

1948 – Israel

1949 – Syria

1952 – Greece

1961 – Paraguay

1961 – Rwanda

1962 – Monaco

1963 – Iran

1971 – Switzerland

1980 – Iraq

1984 – Liechtenstein

1997 – Qatar

2002 – Bahrain

2003 – Oman

2015 – Saudi Arabia



Melts in Your Mouth, Not in Your Hand

I went to the dentist yesterday and they offered me a fluoride treatment after my cleaning.  “Really”, I said.  I hadn’t had one of those since I was a child in the 1960’s when drinking water fluoridation was just becoming widespread.  Apparently, with everyone drinking so much store-bought bottled water, we aren’t getting the fluoride for our teeth that we once got from drinking good old tap water.


When I was growing up, we had well water and it was really cold and tasted so good.  I do drink bottled water when I’m in the car, but usually at home we drink filtered water from the refrigerator.  According to my dental hygienist, that filtering takes some of the fluoride out too.  Sigh.

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So, I got a fluoride treatment.  It took about a minute for her to swab the mint-flavored liquid all over my teeth.  I had to leave it on for 20 minutes and it will protect my teeth for three to six months.  Oh, and if you’re thinking about getting a treatment, it cost $15 and is not covered by insurance.


Now that I’ve had my fluoride treatment, I’m ready to try the new flavor of M & M’s that just hit store shelves…Pecan Pie.  Pecan Pie flavored M & M’s join the other limited time fall favorites, Pumpkin Spice, Candy Corn and Candy Apple.  I haven’t tried them yet, but I intend to do so as soon as I find them in a store near me.

Courtesy: Mars

M & M’s and I go way back.  When I was a girl, I used to buy them…both plain and peanut, which were the only flavors…at Willard’s General Store in Northern Indiana where I grew up.  Willard’s was a small, family-run grocery store the size of today’s convenience stores.  My grandmother shopped there whenever she needed just a couple of items because it was much closer than driving all the way to the big Kroger store.

M&M's Plain or Peanut

Willard’s had an old, free standing oak and glass display case for all of their candy.  I loved to stand in front of it and consider my choices through the glass.  Once I had made up my mind, there were sliding doors in the back where people could simply help themselves.  There was only one size of M & M’s in those days and they cost a nickel.

Forrest Mars invented plain M&M’s in Newark, New Jersey in 1941.  He was inspired to invent a candy-coated chocolate because soldiers wanted a chocolate candy they could carry with them that wouldn’t melt.  Peanut M & M’s were introduced in 1954 but only in the tan color until 1960 when the other colors were added.  The longest-running M & M product slogan also came out in 1954:  “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.”

In 1932, the young Forrest E.

The original colors of M & M’s were brown, purple, red, yellow and green.  Tan replaced purple in 1950.  In 1976 when I was a teenager, red M & M’s were pulled off the market because of fears that the red dye was a carcinogen. Red M & M’s were replaced by orange and ten years later when red M & M’s were brought back, the orange ones stayed too.

Almond M&M's®. +1

In early 1995, the Mars Company ran a promotion where they asked consumers to vote for a new color of M & M’s to replace the tan colored candies.  The choices were blue, pink and purple.  Fans could vote by calling 1-800-FUN-COLOR.  The winning color (blue) was announced on all the network news programs as well as on the David Letterman Show and on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.  For added fun, the Empire State Building was lit up in blue on the night of the announcement.

Autism Speaks and the autism

Now, M & M’s come in many sizes and flavors.  I still love the original two flavors but my all-time favorites are the Almond M & M’s.  I tell myself they are healthier because they have well, almonds in them!

M&M'S® Almond | Products

In addition to the peanut and plain M & M’s (which were renamed “Milk Chocolate M & M’s in the year 2000), M & M flavors over the years have included:  dark chocolate, white chocolate, mint chocolate, almonds, orange chocolate, coconut, pretzel, wild cherry, cinnamon, raspberry, birthday cake, pumpkin spice, candy corn, candy apple, cherry cordial, strawberry peanut butter, peppermint, gingerbread, peanut butter, red velvet, carrot cake, dark chocolate peanut, pineapple, crispy, vanilla shake…and now pecan pie.

M&M's in different Flavors

For some Easter fun one year when my kids were growing up, I bought every flavor of M & M’s I could find in the stores.  We were with our extended family for the holiday, so we did a family M & M taste test of every flavor and then voted for our favorites.  Which flavor do you think won? (Answer below.)


At my you can order milk chocolate M & M’s for special events.  For one of my two son’s high school graduation parties, I ordered M & M’s with his school colors (brown and orange) and had the year of his graduation (2007) and the name of the school mascot (Huskies) printed on them.

What’s your favorite flavor of M & M’s?

Author’s note:  Peanut M & M’s were the hands down winner in my family’s M & M’s taste test several years back.


Let’s Take A Walk Down The Lane And Talk It Over

One of my sons was in town this past weekend for a work event.  While he was here, we had dinner with my parents…his grandparents.  I could see that he enjoyed spending time with them and catching up.  Grandparents love us in a way that no one else ever will.

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My children are in their 20’s and all four of their grandparents are still living.  I wonder if they realize how fortunate they are.  I don’t know if they do.  Sometimes it feels like people who have been around your entire life, will always be there.

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My husband didn’t know any of his grandparents.  He is the youngest in his birth family, and his grandparents were all gone by the time he was born.  I feel badly for him that he didn’t get time with any of them.  There’s nothing like the unconditional love of a grandparent.

I adored my grandparents.  In fact, I would go so far as to say, I hit the grandparent jackpot.  Were they perfect people?  No, probably not.  Were they really, really good grandparents?  Yes, absolutely.


Going to either of my grandparents’ houses was like crossing an invisible threshold.  It was a place where all the unimportant rules fell away and I was the most important person in the world.  Isn’t that the way every kid should feel when they are with their grandparents?

Grandparents Quote

Both of my paternal grandparents died when I was still a child, but my maternal grandparents were around until I was in my 40’s.   My paternal grandmother died very suddenly when I was 11. The news of her death brought my world crashing down around me.  I was inconsolable.

She had been my confidant.  I could tell her anything and she would listen so carefully and talk with me so patiently.  I loved her face, the smell of her Chantilly perfume and the sound of her laughter.


She always bought my favorite Faygo root beer whenever I would spend the night at her house.  And when I would come down the stairs on Sunday morning, big band music would be playing loudly on the open hi-fi (high fidelity) stereo, and she would have the “funnies” as she called them, waiting for me in the breakfast nook. : Faygo Root Beer Ryan's visit 013

I don’t have many physical things connected to her, but the things I do have are precious to me.  I have a Christmas candle holder from her house and the charm bracelet she started for me on my 10th birthday.  I also have her birthday angel, and the bottle of perfume from her dressing table.  She died 44 years ago but there is still a little bit of liquid left in the bottom of it.  Sometimes I open the bottle when I’m thinking about her so I can remember what she smelled like.

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One of my most vivid memories of her and the time we spent together is from the night we went up to her third floor attic on a treasure hunt and spent hours looking through old trunks and hat boxes and bureaus.  We tried on old clothes and hats and jewelry and laughed together about how fancy we looked in our respective finery.

Whenever we would go to her house for a visit and ring her doorbell, she would see me peeking in the side windows of her front door and she would be calling my name before she even got the door open.  No one has ever been as happy to see anyone as she was to see me.


If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know I’ve written a lot about my maternal grandmother and her farm.  It’s her Mason jars that I cherish and her love of flowers and gardening that I inherited. She is the one who inspired the name of my blog…Walk Down The Lane and the picture on my blog is of the actual lane we walked.

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Whenever any of us (her grandchildren) would have something on our minds that we wanted to talk about, she would say, “Let’s take a walk down the lane and talk it over.”  I used to walk down that lane with her a lot because I always seemed to have something on my mind that needed talking over.  All of my cousins and both of my brothers walked down that lane with her at one time or another too.

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Photo by Jeff Hull, Corinth, Texas

Recently my cousin, Jon, Facebook messaged me and said he had been thinking about our grandmother and some of the lessons she taught us all.  I’m sure if I polled all of my cousins, we could probably come up with a long list of lessons our grandmother taught us and great stories about each of our time with her.


But here’s one thing I know for sure.  Of all the people I’ve known in my life, no one holds a more special place in my heart than my grandparents.  And, it’s all because of the way they made me feel when I was with them.

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If you still have living grandparents, let them know how much they mean to you.  If you are a grandparent yourself, lucky for you!  You have the opportunity to love and impact your grandchildren in special ways that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

In August of 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a proclamation that made the first Sunday after Labor Day every year “National Grandparents’ Day”.  The purpose of the observance is:  “To honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children’s children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer”.

National Grandparents Day

National Grandparents’ Day even has its own flower, the forget-me-not.  Forget-me-nots and other seasonal flowers are given in appreciation to grandparents.  Four million greeting cards will be sent to mark the day and many people will invite grandparents to dinner or visit with them in their homes. This year, National Grandparents’ Day will be observed on Sunday, September 13th.

Forget-Me-Nots, Calamint,

I’m not a member of the grandparents club yet.  Lots of my friends are and I get to enjoy pictures of their grandchildren in person and on Facebook.  I’m looking forward to the day when I have grandchildren pictures to show too.  But for now, I have the memories of my own grandparents and how they made me feel.  And someday, I hope to make my own grandchildren feel just as special.

Grandparents provide what


Just What The Dr. Ordered!

From there to here,

from here to there,

funny things

are everywhere.

~Dr. Seuss from “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish”

For my birthday last week, I asked for a new book by one of my favorite authors, Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss.  I grew up reading his books, read them to my younger brothers, then read them to my own children.

The unfinished manuscript for the new Dr. Seuss book, “What Pet Should I Get” was found in his office by Geisel’s wife after his death in 1991.  It includes an eight page note from the publisher about how the decisions were made for finishing the book, and also includes some history and pictures of Geisel with his own pets.  It’s a delightful read (surprise) and ends with a bit of a mystery and an opportunity for the reader to decide how the story ends.

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If you’re over the age of five, you’ve most likely heard of Dr. Seuss and probably have read at least one of his many books.  What you might not know, is that he wrote under two pseudonyms…Theo. LeSieg (Geisel spelled backwards) and Rosetta Stone in honor of the last name of his second wife, Audrey Stone Geisel.  He used “Dr. Seuss” for the books he both wrote and illustrated, and Theo. LeSeig and Rosetta Stone for books that he wrote with other illustrators.

I read to my children every day when they were small.  That’s one of the things I did well as a parent.  One of my sons loved the book “Wacky Wednesday” by Theo. LeSieg and wanted me to read it night after night.  I would get so tired of reading that book and finding all the “wacky” things on the pages that I used to say, “Let’s save that one for your dad because he really loves to read it to you.”  Yes, that is a true confession.

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Another of my children was on a “Cat in the Hat” kick one summer and wanted me to read it to her every night.  After a few weeks, I could recite the book without even reading it.

I’d like to say it was my outstanding reading aloud skills that accounted for my children’s love of these beloved books, but alas, I cannot.  Dr. Seuss had a way of writing books that were fun to read, fun to hear, and he paired his words with pictures that were enormously entertaining.

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I have my favorites too, “Ten Apples up on Top!”, “Because a Little Bug Went Ka-CHOO!”, “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish”, “Green Eggs and Ham”.  And yes, I did use green food coloring and make green eggs and ham for them when they were small.  Of course, no one would eat the green eggs so I only made them once!

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The book “Oh the Places You’ll Go” is a favorite of mine too and I have gifted it many times to high school graduates.  It’s about life and its challenges and was published in 1990.  It was the last book Dr. Seuss had published while he was still alive.

"Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Theodor Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904 in Springfield, Massachusetts.  His middle name, Seuss, was also his mother’s maiden name.  He graduated from Dartmouth College, and then attended the University of Oxford where he majored in English Literature and dropped out without completing his degree.  Later, he was given an honorary doctorate from Dartmouth for his contribution to children’s literature.  He then added “Dr.” to his pen name.

Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr.

In his early career, he was an illustrator and a cartoonist for magazines such as Life, Vanity Fair and The Saturday Evening Post.  He was also a (mad) ad man and worked as an illustrator for advertising campaigns for companies such as General Electric and Standard Oil.  In 1935, he wrote and drew a short-lived comic strip called “Hejji”.

His first book, “And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street” came out in 1937.  Geisel received 27 rejection letters from publishers before a friend from Dartmouth who worked at Vanguard Press finally accepted the book for publication.  Geisel later said he was walking home to burn the book when he had a chance (and life changing) meeting with his old friend.

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During the 1940’s, Geisel wrote three Caldecott Honor Books:  “McElligot’s Pool”, “Bartholomew and the Oobleck”, and “If I Ran the Zoo”.  A Caldecott Honor Book is a runner up for the Caldecott Medal which is awarded annually by the American Library Association.  This award is given to the artist who creates the most distinguished picture book of the year.

"Who won the Caldecott?     About - Caldecott Award

In May 1954, Life Magazine published an article about illiteracy among school children.  It said that children were not learning to read because beginning reading books were so boring.  The director of the education division at Houghton Mifflin Publishing asked Geisel to write a beginning readers book using a list of 250 words that he thought were important for first-graders to know.  He challenged Geisel to “bring back a book children can’t put down.”  Nine months later, “The Cat in the Hat” was completed using 236 of the words on the list.


Geisel didn’t become the definitive children’s book author and illustrator until “The Cat in the Hat” was published in 1957.  It was followed by “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!”, “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish”, “The Cat in the Hat Comes Back”, and “Green Eggs and Ham” and by then Dr. Seuss had become a celebrity.

Dr. Seuss Quotes

He has sold more than 200 million books around the world and his books have been translated into 15 other languages.  When he died at the age of 87 in September of 1991, Geisel had written and illustrated over 60 books.  “What Pet Should I Get?” is now one of my new, personal favorites.

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Here are some fun facts about Dr. Seuss:

*He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

* The Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in his hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts features sculptures of Geisel and of many of his characters.

Dr. Seuss National Memorial

*He never had children of his own but liked to say, “You have ’em, and I’ll entertain ’em.”

* The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award was established in 2004 and is given annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year.

*Theodor Seuss Geisel was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1984 “for his special contribution over nearly half a century to the education and enjoyment of America’s children and their parents.”

*Read Across America Day is held every year on Theodor Seuss Geisel’s March 2nd birthday.  Sponsored by the National Education Association, this is a day for every child in every community across our country to celebrate reading.

*Theodor Seuss Geisel had a stamp printed in his honor by the United States Postal Service.

Theodor Geisel dies at 87;

* is a fun Dr. Seuss website for students, parents and educators.  Make sure you turn on your speakers to hear the sound effects and also don’t forget to sign up for The Seussville News email newsletter!

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Author’s note:  I’d love to know your favorite book by Dr. Seuss?