Monday, March 8, 2010

Fearless Females - Prompt 8

March 8 - Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal or collection of letters? Share an entry or excerpt.

My maternal grandmother, Emma Taylor Hopkins, didn't really keep a diary or journal but she wrote 54 pages about her life in a spiral notebook not long before she died in 1978. Here's a excerpt about her one and only plane trip.

Transcript (if you aren't familiar with her handwriting it can be hard to make out sometimes):
"I took one trip on plane to San Francisco. Lila Bolten & I went to a PTA Convention in 1956. The trip out there was wonderful but coming back I had to have oxygen. I couldn't breathe so I went to the bathroom and took off my corset and left it in there. The stewardess noticed me and put the oxygen on me for 2 hrs. Everyone was wanting to smoke so she took it off and I was O. K. We had to change at Kansas City & she brought my corset to me in a brown paper sack. I carried it off and at that time didn't care if I ever put it back on. When I got to Chicago, had to wait on another plane. My husband was at Louisville to meet me. So I had him paged to wait for me as I was trying to get to Mt. Vernon in time to see Linda & David in their Dance recital. I made it and I have never had the desire to fly again. I came too near to conking out."

This story is funny to me but not just for the obvious "taking off a corset in a airplane rest room and then leaving it in there" segment. What is funny to me is that she had my grandfather paged at the Louisville airport to tell him to wait for her because her plane was late. First she refers to him as "my husband". Who did she think was going to read her story that wouldn't have known who she was talking about if she'd said Elmer was waiting for her in Louisville? And the bigger question, did she think he would just leave when her plane didn't get in on time? It's not like they lived in Louisville and she could call a cab when she finally arrived. They lived over 200 miles away in Harlan County so I can't really see my Papaw saying "that's too bad, her plane is late, she'll just have to get home the best way she can, I'm outta here."

Of course, the important thing is that she made it to Mt. Vernon in time for the dance recital. I'm not sure about my brother's performance, but I'm sure mine was worth her efforts to make it on time.

Fearless Females is a series of daily prompts for March in honor of Women's History Month created by Lisa Alzo at The Accidental Genealogist.


  1. The whole story gave me a chuckle.

  2. This made me laugh, thank you. What a wonderful piece of your grandmother's story you have.