Tuesday, October 6, 2009

On the Go in Milwaukee, Wisconsin!

Remember those street photographers who took pictures of window shoppers? Coming from a very small town, this was quite an amazing incident for our little family (Mom, Dad, little sister Connie, and me...oh, and Josephine) as we walked along completely unaware we were being photographed. After all these years, I still find this picture so interesting. I can even remember what I was thinking and it was one of those things that sticks with you through the years.

See the woman in the striped blouse? Her mother knew my older sister who lived in Chicago where we had been visiting. Her name was Josephine. Well, Josephine needed to get home to the same town we all lived in so my parents agreed to give her a ride even though we were hundreds of miles from home and were on our way to visit my grandmother in Milwaukee.

Well, Josephine liked to talk. A lot! Chatter, chatter, chatter...and then she said the unthinkable. She told me my little sister was cute but I wasn't. Now a girl that age does not need to hear such a thing! So I, of course, felt quite bad about this. However, my grandmother quickly cleared things up by whispering in my ear that Josephine had it all wrong and I was just as pretty as can be. But by now, I just dreaded having to spend time in the family car with the chatterer for hours to come. And that's what I was thinking.

Girls this age need so many confidence boosters! Even today, girls often feel insecure about so many things. It's so important to remember that being at that "awkward age" is about as painful as it gets for a young girl. Maybe that's why I love teaching Women's Studies to young women and letting them know how strong, capable, and beautiful they all are! Does my soul good!

(If you happen to see Josephine walking down the street, tell her I said, "Thank you." Without her input—and my dear grandmother's—I may have had a very different view of life!)

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Have a wonderful day, everyone!


  1. this is such a wonderful post!!! I was very shy when I was young, insecure and definitely not the pretties gal in town! When I thought that perhaps people were looking at me overly long and wondered why could have been wrong with me, Mom would comment that they would not be staring if they did not like what they were looking at. True or not true, it always gave me a bit of confidence, and to this day I never forgot those comments of reassurance from my mother. I try so hard to give my own girls a snese of confidence, because as you say, it is so important to feel as if you are worth somethng, no matter what you look like or what your talents are! A delightful topic today, Coralie!!! Thanks for sharing. Debby

  2. So glad you had your grandmother to remind you how beautiful you are! Our family helps build our self esteem and give us confidence - thank goodness!

  3. Many girls/women have insecurities. They stem from many different avenues.
    People should be careful what comes out of their mouths when addressing children. Somethings can stay with us all our lives....

  4. Aren't grandmas wonderful. I'm always amazed at how insensitive some folks can be. I'm glad you were able to make lemonade and work with young women trying to improve their self images. I've always though an inferior to whom complex was a great thing to have. Have a great day.

  5. Thanks for this post. Girls of our era, and every one after that, always get zinged by a good meaning aunt or family friend who pops our bubble and makes us doubt ourselves at a critical age. My aunt wounded me many times, and I was self concious for decades, now at nearly 58, I really don't care what others think about me. I yam what I yam, as Popeye always said.

  6. What a blessing grandmothers are and what a blessing you are to other young women and to all of us who read your blog. Twyla

  7. Oh I do just love your grandma!! What a kind and sensitive thing to say to you! What a wonderful testimony! God Bless Grandma...and Josephine..

  8. Wow--My Grandfather was the one who always encouraged me, told me I would grow up to be a beautiful woman. How blessed we are!

    That Josophine looks a bit sharp in temperament. I imagine she was a little jealose of you.

    I've never heard of street photographers before--only the paperatzi.

    Lovely blog, wonderful story!

  9. That is a great picture. That must have been popular then because i have some of my mom and her sister and other family members that were taken while they were shopping. That was in Dallas. Hugs, Connie

  10. What a great story. I gasped when I read what Josephine said! I had a horrible self esteem growing up... because I was not as pretty as the other girls.. and some people let me know it. If I had only known then what I know now. That really beauty comes from within. It is so true. Thanks for sharing.

  11. beautiful keepsake....precious...enjoy your day!! : )

  12. Hi, Coralie,
    You certainly are beautiful and wonderful, too. Thank heaven for grandmothers!! I tell my grandchildren how beautiful they are all the time. Unkind words spoken to us at an awkward stage (or any stage for that matter) can certainly be hurtful. Thank you for working with young ladies to make sure they understand how wonderful they are!! Vicki

  13. I love the stories of your youth. This is such an empowering story!


  14. The tag of Milwaukee grabbed my attention, since I grew up not far from there.
    Oh dear, how that comment must have hurt!
    We all can learn to be more careful in what we say. Thanks for sharing this,
    Terra co-author of "Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts: Stories to Warm Your Heart and Tips to Simplify Your Holiday"