Jill Lepore wrote a book about a woman we know hardly anything about. A thick book, a love letter, a weighty tome about a woman of whom the slimmest of evidence exists—letters, a single hand-stitched notebook, ghostly things that others said of her.
She was a poor woman from Boston right before and after the Revolution. She got pregnant out of wedlock and married the drunkard father. She had twelve children, and only one outlived her. She washed clothes and nursed and tried to make enough money to support her family.
Her name was Jane, and she had a famous brother, Ben Franklin. He taught her to write. Had he not taught her, or not been famous, we would know even less about her, would never hear her voice—every bit as shining as her older brother’s—speak from the old folded pages of her correspondence.
Not many months ago, I was at a party. The women and men drew together in two separate clumps, like magnets do, and I, gladly, settled in to talk to a few of the moms.
I like these women, old acquaintances. I hadn’t seen them in a while, and so I asked one and then another how they were.
They’re both stay at home mothers.
I have been the mother at the party and never have anyone ask me about my life. I have had people hear that I homeschool and do laundry and bedtimes and assume I have nothing to say that might interest them.
I was determined to not do the same thing to these women. So I asked them, how are you and but what is your story right now, and each time, they looked down at their laps, as if embarrassed…
I’m so excited to have my first post up at The Mudroom, which I am hoping will become another home-away-from home on the interWebs. (This is me nudging the editors 🙂 You should check out some of the posts at this fabulous new collective, as well as mine, which is RIGHT HERE.
Image credit: Vebidoo