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  • When I was a teenager I quickly learned that my "best friends" tolerated me, but adored "Miss Shirley". She was the lady everyone coveted for the role of their mother. She wore brightly patterned dresses that swept the ground, rarely wore shoes, let us drive her car (no matter how old you were - the only prerequisite for the job was that she had to have a fascinating book to read, while you were grinding the gears of her volkswagen). She told us long vivid stories of women she thought should be our role models - Colette, Amelia Earhart, Josephine Baker and Margaret Sanger. Took us to bathe in mountain streams so that we could be "at one" with nature, encouraged far reaching discussions, and considered our points of view as if they were profoundly important.

    People said she was ruining us, that we were wild children, but honestly... she was just encouraging us to explore our inner selves... and she was always closely at hand, keeping an eye on us, so that things never really got out of hand.

    Today I am in my late 50's. My mother lives thousands of miles away from me, but even today she is surrounded by a new contingent of young women who seek her favor, and wish that she was their mother.
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