Edith Andersen

Welcome to my blog of ruminations and essays.

Julia, granddaughter of Julius Caesar, and the infamous Herodias are two women from the chronicles of first-century European history. At the same time on the other side of the world (Asia) womankind enjoyed freedom forbidden women in later centuries, and some still frown upon to this day. Reading of women’s lives in growing empires around the world familiar patterns repeat. Men go to war, establish empires, then plot and plan on how to control women’s sexuality.

After growing up in a country where hard work, toughness, and independence ranked one, two, and three on the staircase of values, and the concept of self-esteem was years in the future, immigrating and raising children in the United States was a cultural shock. In my mini cosmos, it seemed that American parents treated children as porcelain dolls. I started out as a not-fitting-the-mold kind of a parent.

When you read history, especially when you do it because you want to, you see how it repeats and repeats. What we call chaos in D.C. is patterns repeated throughout history. Politicians’ understanding of history isn’t their strong suit. The animosity between political groups is human behavior we can’t decipher because we don’t know history well enough. We throw up our hands, announcing that everything is going to hell in a handbasket. Sounds a bit like my morning shoulder exercise routine.

Loneliness is a feeling when you wish someone else were with you. Solitude is wanting the company of one—yourself.  Loneliness is a state of mind that thrives most in the midst of crowds. Solitude is a physical and mental state of choice. Stories of religious leaders and deep thinkers suggest that alone time is time […]

It’s not often you know something beyond a shadow of a doubt. I’m not talking about the space between more likely than not and beyond a reasonable doubt. I’m talking about no question in our mind. Although I didn’t witness the crime, every arrow pointed in the same direction. The facts are on my side. And most importantly, I saw the aftermath, nervousness, avoiding eye contact, and the body language. If you can’t trust your eyes, what can you trust?

Historians shape our view of the past in how they tell it. Most of premodern human history is told through the male lens. If they wrote about women at all, it was limited to women with exceptional talents, powerful women, or those who exercised extreme malice and evil. Likely, these male historians didn’t wear out their quill pen elaborating on the women’s point of view or their feelings. So the best we can do is to infer women’s emotional state from their reactions to their circumstances.

One thing I need for all of eternity is time with girlfriends. In my early twenties, children, husband, household, and my educational pursuits left little breathing time. But by my early thirties, I’d met women who became my sanity and confidants. A group of us started a monthly bridge group. Jeannie purchased a tablecloth listing different openings, Maureen (I think) got her hand on a bidding wheel, and we proceeded to learn to play Bridge. We drank into the night. We laughed until we near peed in our pants. Four decades later, our game hadn’t improved much, but the joy and sanity outweighed any concern.