Today is my darling Maya’s 16th birthday. I can’t believe it’s been 16 years already. Wow. The weekend is going to be full of birthday parties, family and friends and cake and fun. Part of having a daughter, in this time when things have gotten so much better for women than they were in the past, and yet being aware of how far we still have to go (birth control, harassment at work or on the street…why are these still issues? Insane and frustrating.)…part of that is seeing articles like this, and having them cause me to think of her. Of my hopes for her, and my dreams for her, and sadly, my fears as well. For her birthday, though, let’s concentrate on hopes and dreams and conquests made, shall we? 100 years ago today, the date of my daughter’s birth, women first voted in San Francisco. Happy Suffrage, SF women! And Happy Birthday, Maya, my darling daughter, my dream come true.
March 29: The right of suffrage was extended to the women of San Francisco yesterday for the first time, yet there seemed to the observer little out of the ordinary. The women came and took their turn at signing the register, picked up their ballot and entered the booth just about as naturally as did the men. To the election officers there were many new things however. Registrar Zemansky had appointed many women as election officers and their influence in the voting places was plainly evident. In the Twelfth precinct of the Fortieth district Mrs. Rhoda Ringrose, who was an active worker for equal rights, was a judge of elections, and early in the morning she intimated that she did not like the smell of cigar smoke, but did not mind the smell of oranges. The men gave vent to their feelings. “We ought to have some Florida water to sprinkle around here,” said one and there was a chorus of suggestions of sweet-smelling things. The election officers in the Fourth precinct of the Fortieth district, all men, introduced a touch of the feminine. Two of the booths were labeled “For Ladies,” and two other “For men,” while another bore the sign “Take Your Choice.” In the booths “for ladies” were mirrors, vases of flowers, powder puffs and powder, hairpins, napkins, a towel and the walls were covered with pictures. Policemen on guard seemed to evince the greatest measure of curiosity and concern and were studiously polite to the fair suffragists. Said one, “I don’t think it’s going to be as bad as all of us thought. I’m glad to see the ladies vote. Just think that all along, foreigners ignorant of our ways, who could barely sign their names in English were allowed to vote, while these good women were barred out.”
Source ~ SFGate Wayback Machine
* See, I had this post all written, about how Maya’s birthday this year is the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in San Francisco, wow, how awesome…then I proof read the post, and duh, it was reporting about *Yesterday*, meaning, March 28, 1912. I didn’t want to let it go, so even though this isn’t accurate, it stands as originally written. Call me Mike Daisey if you like. Drats.