The burdens put on my mother Anna Greither by society and by the time and place she was born was unreasonable for anyone, perhaps much moreso for a woman thinking she had a right to decide her own life. Her eventual rejection of many of those burdens, and indeed her laying some of them all the way down (or hurling them more like), was destined to be equally unreasonable in some way or ways.
This notion of feminism - for that is what this was - came to her at least in part through her grandmother, my great-grandmother Maria Deininger, who had five children by three men - and no husbands. All of her children bore her own lifelong last name. In a small town in the Black Forest of southwestern Germany in the 19th century, my mother's grandmother was a respected woman. What the fk was that about?
(Through DNA testing I have now learned I do not have any Ashkenazi Jewish genetic heritage. In fact, I am white af. If we have spoken about this, you know what I've resolved here.)
For good or bad, my mother taught me that a woman can choose her life. She can do what ever she wants regardless of who likes it or does not. This is a little complicated for me, of course. But it is still amazing.
I have not always been able to honor my mother as she wanted me to do. Her behavior toward me was too often too dishonorable. But she has always held a place of honor in my heart and in my mind. And a lot of her is alive in me, to my undying gratitude.
[Photo circa 1947, Germany-French Zone]