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Know Your Neighbors

31 Jul 2013
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There are some things we don’t readily share with friends and neighbors—like having paid one’s way through college by dancing around a pole. Or that romance with the golf pro. Or the nip/tuck during a “vacation” last summer. Or that my grandmother once performed an abortion on herself using knitting needles. With restrictions increasing on the rights granted by Roe v. Wade, women are being encouraged to talk about their experiences so that young women know what it was like—and what it could be like again. It wasn’t until 1960 that “the pill” was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for contraceptive use. In 1965, Griswold v. Connecticut struck down a state law that prohibited the use of contraceptives, because the law violated the “right to marital privacy.” Prior to that, even married women could not get doctors to prescribe contraception. And if you were single? Forget about it.…
17 Jul 2013
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What do you do with all the “stuff” that’s left after someone you love has died? As someone currently mired in combing through my late husband’s disorganized-pack-rat accumulation three years after his death, I’m plagued by the question. So I decided to talk to some of the women I know who have been through it. Esther Crayton, who will turn 79 on July 27 and lives in Palm Desert, is one of the many Coachella Valley widows who has faced that issue. First married at 17 just before high school graduation, Esther had the first of two sons about a year later, and remained in that first marriage for “about seven or eight years—it’s hard now to remember the exact dates.” Why the divorce? “He said we had to move to Mexico, and I decided I’d rather end the marriage.” Subsequent to that divorce, her children’s father “took the kids…
03 Jul 2013
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Retirement here in the Coachella Valley is generally a time when you expect to kick back and just enjoy life. But when my husband died about three years ago, I couldn’t retire. I needed to go back to work. In spite of a J.D. law degree, several years of experience teaching seminar classes, and having set up and run a training department within a corporation, I did not meet the standards to teach in California. Whatever you may think about our education system, California’s teacher-qualification rules are strict and specific. It was purely by chance that I saw a small notice announcing a meeting for a program that allows individuals to capitalize on their previous experience to qualify to stand in front of a classroom. It was being offered by the California State University at San Bernardino, at their Palm Desert campus. It was at that meeting that I met…

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