Huffpost Media
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Elizabeth Hemmerdinger Headshot

Batting 1,000

Posted: Updated:

When I was a little girl, my grandfather taught me how to count. He cut a slot in the lid of a pickle jar and put all his change in it. When I'd visit, we'd pile up pennies and nickels and dimes and quarters. We added and added and I learned about how the accumulation of things worked. 1,000 was the biggest number we'd ever reach. I couldn't lift the jar that had 1,000 coins in it. We'd dump it out, roll the coins, take them to the bank, get bills -- and buy my favorite things. Which happened to be comic books.

archiecarWe'd walk hand-in-hand to the newstand on the corner of 72 Street and Columbus Avenue. It was just brimming with comic books clipped to arms on a stand that swivveled and reached to the sky. I just loved the comics. "Archie and Veronica" were my favorites. Good teachers; grumpy principal, devilish but good-hearted friends. I never liked the romance stories. I still don't. Give me a good laugh, and I'm yours.

In those days, when I was five and six, I could read the comics easily. One day it dawned on me that Pappy indulged me in great wads of comic books because he read my stash, too. He was German, not terribly well educated, a hard working fellow with a weird sense of humor. He read the tabloids diligently every day, to stay informed. But he liked a good story, and the comic books were just his speed.

When Chris, our editor, brought to our attention the fact that she was about to post WVFC's 1,000th post, Pappy sprung to my mind: and our counting and our stories. Yesterday Olga Statz wrote about the church she attended with her family that is threatened with closure; her post enfolded insights into this country's experience with slavery and its secret French-speaking history.

I, too, am an immigrant's descendant: true for all of us in this country not descended from Native Americans. Our stories and insights are treasures of our heritage and foundation for our future. We layer our experiences and insights, expose contrasts of thought and belief, reveal profound similarities, and retell incidents that provoke shared laughter and tears.

My friend Anne De Mare to send me our horoscopes for this week. This is hers:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world," wrote anthropologist Margaret Meade. "Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." An excellent example of that occurred during America's Revolutionary War against England from 1775 to 1783. Of all the men in the 13 colonies who could have fought for freedom, only 16 percent did. I hope that gives you encouragement as you seek to fix a glitch in the status quo. You and your band of allies have more power than you know.

WVFC started as a very small group of thoughtful writers; adding singular thoughts daily, as if a few pennies at a time, in a pickle jar. When we started, we knew we were grown women who could - and would - carry a big load.

When we began four years ago, the word "menopause" was virtually taboo, in discourse and print. Now - it's common as kleenex, tampons, and ED. We're in it, and we're interesting. I rejoice in this milestone of 1,000 posts and look forward to the exponential growth in our site, in our aggregate of shared experience, remembrance of families and traditions, our delights and outrages, our joys and sorrows and our commitment to changing the world through the clean, green power of telling each other what we know. And below, a few of my fellow Board members reflect on the process that has gotten us here.

patlunch1cropped

Patricia Yarberry Allen: Blog number 1000 went up today at www.womensvoicesforchange.org.

We began to write on November 21st, 2006. We chose to write to create a realistic portrait of women over 40. We knew that we were not the stock characters in sit coms. We knew that we weren't invisible. We knew that we were just reaching our peak. We had not been left on the shelf because we had a sell by date that had passed by.

Our readers joined in our conversation with comments, and have often then joined us as writers. We look forward to new stories and new insights.

Our marketing has always been that old standby: WOM. That would be word of mouth. All my friends know that I am really a fat balding editor chewing on a cigar caught in the body of a menopausal woman. I am always looking for new writers and want to hear their stories.

We have Poetry Fridays. We have a vital Medical Advisory Board. Many of the writers who contribute on a regular basis have recognizable voices and readers who look forward to hearing about their passions.

We have a wonderful editor, Chris Lombardi, who contacts our writers whenever there is breaking news and makes it easier for us to be part of the national conversation. She talks us through story ideas and supports us as we write and re-write. Everyone needs an editor and we have a wonderful one.

None of us could have imagined how thrilling this experience has been. I must admit that writing is a joyful experience as long as the Muse is around. But she is a fickle bitch, out drinking bourbon with some scandalous playwright just when I need her most.

Blog post number 1000: this is a milestone to celebrate.


sillerman

Laura Baudo Sillerman: Chris, our inspired and inspiring editor, informed our board that we reached our 1000th entry today. It occurred to us that the news reached the Board, who first met in my kitchen four years ago, in precisely the same places as our readers find themselves.

Some of us are at near low points on our journeys, and others are in pretty great shape. One is anticipating a very artistic summer, two are involved in breakthrough medical care, another is at the center of a cultural universe, another is practically dismantling the bomb of the economy single handedly. We're doing mom duty; we're doing daughter duty. We're high fashion sometimes and jeans a lot of the time. We mostly take care of ourselves (none to the height of Dr. Pat's bar, but some mighty close). We have husbands who love and depend on us and ex-husbands who once did. We have busy lives that we sometimes want to flee from, but mostly we take responsibility for.

We are just like you out there, and that's why we've reached Number 1000--because the buzz around women of our age is a sound that feels like it must be made in public. None of us is particularly New Age, but none of us would deny that WVFC feels as much like a channel as it does a blog site.

Photo from All-American Girls Baseball League, 1943
We reached our fourth digit because all of us respect the number of decades it takes to get it right. And while none of us is batting 1000 personally, we believe that--as a demographic--no one has a better average than the women we represent.

Congratulations to all our readers for all the words they've inspired. We toast you on this landmark day and thank you for being the reason we got here.