[Fearless Females, 17th of March, Social Organizations and Groups…a report from 2011
Not really. But it makes for a great headline. LOL
I don’t know what organizations my Grandma Shellabarger belonged to while raising her family. I don’t really think she had much time for them to tell you the truth.
In the 1980s, she was in her 70s and in a rest home due to partial paralysis after a brain tumor. This was before skilled and intermediate patients could be housed together. My Grandma only needed minimal care. Her mind was quick even if her body was not.
While she was at one rest home in Alameda, Alameda County, California, she got involved in many of the different activities and groups. I was in my young 20s and had my own political views about Reagan and the economy (I was not in favor of either). I had no idea of my Grandma’s political leanings except that she believed FDR saved the country.
So, I was quite surprised the day she came over for dinner and at the dinner table talked about her activities with the Gray Panthers. The Gray Panthers is an organization whose members are Senior Citizens who are politically active. My Grandma hated Ronald Reagan. Her chapter of the Gray Panthers were working on getting him impeached. She was involved in such radical activities like writing letters to the editor, writing to her Senator, signing petitions, and stuffing envelopes.
This may have been the first time that I realized that my Grandma was much more than the old woman who had the brain tumor. She was quite opinionated and forthright. The brain tumor caused her problems (like the paralysis), but her mind was sharp as a tack well into her late 80s. It made me feel good to know that a group like the Gray Panther saw my disabled Grandma as important even after when she was in a rest home. Working towards Reagan’s impeachment, even if unsuccessful, gave her some purpose in life–in between ceramics and embroidery.
I wish I knew more about her activities prior to the brain tumor. But, I can pass this one on to the next generation. Grandma Shellabarger was politically active and once she worked to impeach the president.
Genealogist and writer. Creator of the Portuguese Hawaiian Genealogy and Heritage website, yourislandroutes.com