weekend getaway (or how i ran into gloria steinem in the bathroom)...

bell hooks and gloria steinem

i had the most amazing weekend recently! it was really refreshing. i took a  quick trip up to kentucky, where i spent at least 2 days laughing. i laughed so much my back hurt! that is what happens when you get all those generations of southern women (i will include myself in that, though i will always think of myself as a transplant) together. five women ages 29-86! oh, boy. my poor uncle who was stuck amongst us. my husband is probably thanking me for not asking him to go, but i'm glad i went! i wanted to take a side trip to berea while there, a lovely old town with the most wonderful college! all tuition is free to students willing to work in exchange. i had only known it to be a school of craft, and a an amazing place to buy the most beautiful handmade (student made) goodies.

i had no idea they also have a women's studies program, which has been lucky enough to have bell hooks on faculty for the past six years.she recently opened the bell hooks institute for critical thinking, contemplation, and dreaming. steinem came to help inaugurate the institute and agreed to have a conversation with hooks for an intimate audience. the talk, was amazing... they covered so many subjects regarding women, race, family, community, empathy, aging,  and laughter! it resonated with me in so many ways. the fact that they are long time friends really added to the intimacy of the occasion. i am so grateful to have gone, and so thankful to my mother for finding out about it. oh, boy it made me miss my own women's studies days. both women looked incredible! i can personally attest to this, as i ran into gloria steinem in the bathroom! 76! we can all hope that we too find a life so fulfilling as to leave us looking so radiant!

the funny thing was my 86 year old grandmother was horrified when we told her we were going, but after having feminism defined for her she realized she had never actually known what it meant... and proclaimed herself a feminist too! amazing... there is hope after all!

berea, kentucky
if you are in the south, or ever that way i highly recommend visiting the town and school.

4 comments:

ImSoVintage said...

It was amazing, but I'm still mad that I didn't go to the bathroom with you 8-)

Heather said...

Is it weird that I wanted to squeal with joy through this whole post? That's awesome. And the school sounds like a serendipitous match for you in so many ways. So happy you had such a fun and exciting weekend. bell hooks! Gloria Steinem in the bathroom! Was there a Mary Cassatt painting in the hallway? :)

barbara said...

Lots of "mind food" and laughter sounds so good ... Just looking at the photo of Berea I'm sure those first floor rooms with big windows must be creative workrooms(!) amazing to know such a place exists ...

Cary Walker said...

heather.. totally thought of you:) i know you can fully appreciate how cool this was for me;)

barbara... the whole town is very inspiring. beautiful setting. one of the shops is a store in the front and then filled with workshops where you can see the students create.

it is really wonderful that this place exists. it's a beautiful area but so historically oppressive for the people who live here. many of the students here come from the local rural community, which is very poor and poorly educated. it honors and carries on the traditional craft culture here, but also gives the students a chance for a better life to come out of this!