Having been raised Catholic, I am well away that today is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, declared by Pope Pius IX in 1854. This feast celebrates the conception of Mary, the Virgin Mother of Jesus, who was conceived without the stain of sin. Not to bring up religious controversy, but am I the only one who takes issue with this? Then whole idea of “conceived without sin” seems to imply that the very act of sex creates sin. This premise strikes a discordant reverberation in my very soul, but, as I said, I don’t want to bring up any religious controversy, so I’ll go with it.
Other interesting facts about this date: In 1952, the I Love Lucy show made a direct reference, for the very first time, to a pregnancy on national television.
In 1984, a jury found Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt innocent of libeling Reverend Jerry Falwell with a parody advertisement.
Birthdays associated with this day include Horace (65 BCE), James Thurber (1894), Jim Morrison (1943), and Anna Louise Osmon (1913).
Okay, so that last name probably stumped you. I understand. She is a relatively unknown woman, but important nonetheless. She was born in a log cabin about 10 miles west of the Wabash river in Illinois. She married in 1929 to a man 10 years older than she and gave birth to her first and only daughter in 1931 at the tender age of 17. She cared for a family which included her husband, child, two sister-in-laws and two brother-in-laws. Eventually, she also gained and loved two grandchildren. She was the youngest of 7 children. She could stretch one chicken feed 10 people, embroider the most beautiful pillow cases you have ever seen, hoe a garden, chug a beer, explain Shakespeare (despite an 8th grade education) and cut a person down to the quick without the use of one curse word while a graceful smile danced across her face. She was my grandmother.
Lately, I’ve been working on a book set in the 1930’s and I have used her as the inspiration for my heroine. Granted, my grandmother never (at least to my knowledge) was "lost" by her father in a poker game, worked as a prostitute or ran a boarding house, but the spirit of Alma certainly mirrors that of Anna. I’d like to think this would please her. Actually, I know this would please her. She’s the one who introduced me to intricacies of romantic literature.
So – MeeMaw – this is for you. I love you. I always will. You inspired me to stand up as a woman for what I believe in, to not be ashamed of myself or my actions if those actions were done for the best of intentions, but to learn from my mistakes. You taught me to apologize sincerely, to love unconditionally and to laugh as much as and as often I could.
My Christmas wish – that we appreciate those who came before us. Those who fucked and laughed and fought and voted and wrote and loved and hated and survived and paved the way for us to live as we do.
Thanks MeeMaw and Mary and Lucy and Horace and James Thurber and Jim Morrison. Without you and so many more, my life would be far less full and satisfying. You are all my heroes.