Thursday, November 1, 2012


  Breakfast was amazing! Our B&B lady made us rhubarb muffins and applesauce and sooooo much bacon! It was lovely. We actually stayed a long time and talked to them about everything to marriage equality (it just kept coming up the whole time we were in NY...coincidence maybe) whether it is ok to bring your bib to a social dinner, the plight of the young families unable to cook for themselves anymore, to being a small farmer. I got some advice about farming and was told to subscribe to the Small Farmers Journal. This apparently was the bib-wearing husband farmer's bible. We left them for Seneca Falls. Tarra was excited because it was either the place they filmed, "It's a Wonderful Life" or the inspiration for it. Either way, there was sure to be something there to set a twinkle in her eye. I was excited for more falls, it was the name of the town...right?
  On the way I consulted our travel books and was informed that Seneca has no falls ever since they put the Lock in. I had never heard the word before, but Tarra nearly peed herself. She said a lot of technical things which I understood to mean that they had built a boat elevator. She seemed dissapointed that I had not done it justice in that simplification and assured me it was awesome. Still looks like an elevator to me...  Arriving in town we parked outside a, "Women Made" store that read underneath, "Don't worry, a woman is on the job". Pretty cool stuff. We went in and poked around and it took me a minute to really grasp what went on here: this was the center of the cosmos for women's rights.
  As an aside, this is how Tarra and I travel- we seldom look too far ahead and let whimsy and local advice lead us to the cool stuff. We hate tourist traps and things that are overrated. It works most often times. Then we do stuff like not realize that the Stonewall Inn was like two blocks from where we were staying in NYC...) The nice lady at the counter called up a friend across the street and said that there were two newlyweds interested in seeing the Women's Hall of Fame and wondered if, even though the place was closed for the day, she could come down and turn the lights on and let us look around? Her friend agreed and the woman also pointed out all the cool stuff to see on the map. Fuck waterfalls- this was awesome!

 This is the tribute to the Declaration of Sentiments. I will preface this educational bit with the confession that I did not know ANY of this before coming here. I know, I know...BAD feminist. Anywho, so let's go back to like...1848. Times are tense: there are talks of civil war over slavery, the underground railroad is going like crazy, and women wear corsets and floor length dresses, most are cooking in fucking hearths and none can vote or own property (I mean they are property and your car can't own your horse!). Some women are interested though in politics: GASP! So they go with husbands or alone to general assemblies to talk about Abolition. Except, men felt that in a meeting about equal rights and freedoms among humans, they did not mean humans with uterii. Some women were sent back home, and those allowed to stay had to sit in the back and be quiet. A few women, Elizabeth Cady Stanton for one, was like, "you're an idiot and an hypocrite" and went home and organized a giant general assembly of several hundred people in A FEW DAYS who came by horse, wagon, and foot. Badass lady. They drafted the Declaration of Sentiments making clear that our US Constitution meant equality for all and amended it to do so. It evolved into a well thought out list of 16 major complaints which can be summed up into: we are not treated like human equals and we will be beginning now or will die fighting. These 16 complaints are used today in the United Nations to determine equality for women. Many of these ladies went on to fight for equality in all its forms be it suffrage or abolition.
Tarra in the museum of awesome ladies.

Amelia Bloomer saying some choice words about the fashionability of dying to be pretty.

The original plaque honoring the first Women's Rights Convention.

Yeah! The history of lady awesomeness! 
Tarra has dreams!

  The museums were amazing. I really wish I had seen these as a young girl. I always felt so weird in elementary school when people would ask me who my hero was. I would say, "Gandhi", or "Martin Luther King Jr.". I mean, yeah, those guys were amazing, but they didn't inspire me. I wasn't going to grow up to be a successful male social movement leader. Sure there was Susan B Anthony, but who else? I think this is the point where I come to the angry rant about the hidden nature of women in history and make some clever plead for a telling of HERstory. I am a college educated woman! I paid attention and got good grades, why is it that I hear all of these things for the first time as a 26 year old out of school? That's it, I am going to have the best  home school ever where art, physical education, sex education, and OURstory is taught alongside everything else.
  Anyway, the cool stuff kept coming. Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Amelia Jenks Bloomer both lived in Seneca Falls back in the 1840's when it was a booming river trade town. So, coolest thing ever- you can go see their houses!
Stanton House

Bloomer House
  In reading my FB posts, my grandma calls me and says excitedly, "There's a house in Seneca Falls that your great, great, great Aunt or something lived in. Her name was Amelia Blommer and she invented bloomers." I had heard this story a few times growing up. Our family was small and broken up since my great grandmother was a narcissistic antisocial hermit and stopped talking to a great deal of our family. Men never stick around long in our family either... So our family tree looks a little like the ones that grow up under power lines. But to my small ears, bloomers were those things you wore under cheer leading outfits. Big deal grandma, she invented fancy underwear.
This is the, "Amelia Bloomer introduces Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony" statue.

These are bloomers.
  Turns out I was pretty wrong about bloomers and grandma never really divulged the whole story. Bloomers are pants to be worn under a severely shortened hemline. They were radical in 1848, crazy radical. They allowed women to DO things without being hampered by full length gowns and made an obvious visual statement about asserting equality. Amelia was a FUCKING RADICAL! Also, she ran a stop on the underground railroad in her home. This reminds me, I am a lazy bastard and should go out and do something more often.

  So, I learned a lot about women's history and even some of my family history. I am related to one of my new role models. Pretty cool stuff. Oh, here's what the lock looked like.

Elevated view
Lower ground view of the entrance.

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