Today is International Woman’s day! As I’ve been reading about the day, I was surprised to find out that it has been observed since the early 1900’s. According to the International Women’s Day website
(www.internationalwomensday.com), in 1908, 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. It is incredible to me that in a time that was so different from our modern-day ideologies, 15,000 women were activists and took a stand for what they believed in. They were ahead of their time, and they paved the way for our freedoms today.
In honor of those women, I am thinking about a couple of women who have had a huge impact on my life:
My grandmother, Marie Frost Levin. The truth is, I only have faint memories of her. She died when I was 8-years-old, and when I try to conjure up real memories of her, they are only the kindest thoughts. She was a working woman in a time when women often didn’t work. The story goes that my Grandfather started the family wheel business out of the trunk of his car, but I am certain that Grandma was alongside him with every step, and perhaps even pushed him in to doing it. In her 60’s, she was on a basketball team. What a tough cookie, and I often think of her as I make decisions in my life.
My mother, Kathryn Unger. As I was writing about my grandmother, I was realizing that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. My mother, too, like her mother has always been a real powerhouse having a huge hand in running the family business. As an adult, she had a Bat Mitzvah, got her MBA, survived cancer twice, and now volunteers and gives of herself to her community more than any other woman I have ever known. She is, for sure, my biggest role model, and I am her biggest fan.
My elementary school music teacher, Rita Kessler. “Miss K” as we affectionately called her, instilled the love of music in me at a very young age. She nurtured my confidence and helped me to believe in myself. My passion for music education and singing and playing guitar goes all the way back to her. I am so lucky to have had such a capable and warm-hearted music teacher in my life. Without her influence, I am not certain that I would have become a music teacher myself.
There are many more women who come to mind when I think of those who have influenced me. Really, the list is endless, and this would be the longest blog post in history if I continued. I think you all get the idea that I’ve had some pretty amazing women in my life. So, in honor of them and the ladies from New York who marched for our rights in 1908, my song of the day is “You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman.” Here’s the thing though…there are two incredible versions of this song that I love, and I just couldn’t decide which one to use. So, today, I’m giving you two versions of the same wonderful song. Carole King wrote “Natural Woman,” and she is just so soulful as she sings it. Click HERE to go to Youtube to hear her perform the song live.
Even though Carole King wrote the song, Aretha Franklin made the original recording in 1967. Click HERE to listen to her perfect voice. She wasn’t called the Queen of Soul for no reason, afterall! In 1971, Carole King re-recorded the song for her album, Tapestry, and both recordings, in my opinion, represent women at their best.
In honor of International Women’s Day, I encourage you all to think about the female influences in your own lives, and please let them know just how special they are. Plain and simply….girl power rocks!