In 1986 I did the March for Women’s Lives here in LA, well actually in Culver City. It was the biggest protest March I’ve ever done outside of a Gay Pride parade. It was on March 16 a week after a huge one in DC. They say there were 30,000 people there. I think there were more. It’s was allegedly the largest march at that time in LA since 1968.
It was amazing to be with so many like-minded women. It wasn’t easy because it was pouring rain and there was lightning and thunder and I’m terrified of both since I had been struck by lightning a few years before. My friends had to do a whole lot of talking to get me out of the car. Everyone was supposed to wear white. In a very short amount of time it looked like the world’s largest wet tshirt contest. We were soaked to the skin but somehow joyous.
We marched and on one street it was lined with men holding bloody baby dolls and calling us murderers. They’d put out cribs and were dressed in white medical coats and were almost black faced their faces were so darkened with anger. You know that dark red men get when they are furious? Some were dressed as ministers and priests and were shaking Bibles at us. I kept thinking, how on earth do men get a say in what I do with my body?
I was walking with my friends, mostly lesbians, Girl Scouts and Pagans (some of us were all of the above) and I was very glad I was in a large group. Cocooned in that large group of women was the most comforting thing when faced with all that hate. There was a lot of joy in marching like that even though it was horribly uncomfortable and we were starting to shiver pretty badly by the time we got back to our car.
I remember listening to the speeches by women like Jane Fonda and being ready to go into battle at any moment. I remember thinking these women could do anything right then.
We have to do it all again. We’re still fighting for our human rights. We’re still fighting for the rights to control and define what a woman’s body is. That should not be. Lesbians still fighting to be seen and listened to. We never passed the ERA and maybe it’s time to resurrect that again.
So Saturday, I’m walking again and it’s supposed to be the only sunny day this week. I’m wearing black this time. I haven’t decided whether to wear a gay pride shirt or a goddess shirt or split the difference and wear the goddess tshirt and my gay pride hat from work especially since it’s from a healthcare company and we need to save ACA. I don’t have a pussy hat and I’m the world’s worst knitter. I failed knitting in the class we took in 7th grade Camp Fire Girls at Sears. So a baseball cap it will be.
I’m marching with my camera so I will post pictures, So far 70,000 people have registered and another 70,000 are “interested”.
I’m walking. 30 + years later. I think this time it will be with a cup of Starbucks hot tea in my hand, I’m older and I want my comforts too. I’m also taking my tactical flashlight and my medications and other things in case all hell breaks loose.
But I’m walking.
I waited until today to vote because I wanted to stand in line with other people who would be excited to vote and they were. I’m usually the 3rd or 4th person in line when I arrive before 7am. This morning I got there about 6:30 and I was closer to 20th in line. The line quickly went around the building and around the 7/11 parking lot next door.
People were standing absolutely quietly in line. Maybe because it was early but the woman who got in line behind me said she had never been so excited to vote and the woman who was getting in line behind her and said she was surprisingly emotional about it.
The atmosphere felt a little like being in church on Christmas Eve, full of anticipation and yes, hope. Hope that our voices would be heard.
The crowd was at least ¾ s female and mostly younger than me.
I know I was excited. I haven’t been this excited to vote since June 6, 1972, my first time. I have to admit I voted Republican that first time because my parents were Republican but that was the only time and after Cam and I came out Mom and Dad started voting Democratic while still being registered Republicans because of the hate the Republicans were spewing against gay people. I don’t think they ever voted for a Republican again. Having gay kids made them converts. For my dad it was a switch back, he was a Democrat until he married my mom. The difference between being raised on a rural farm in Illinois and having been deprived during the Depression , riding the rails as a hobo and having joined FDR’S CCC in California to get a meal and a job and finally joining a union and a woman whose parents were well of during the Depression in California and who hated FDR.
So today I voted for the women who went before to give me a choice to make my voice heard. Please vote, it’s so very important.
Election Day Playlist
All over the world – Holly Near, Ronnie Gilbert, Arlo Guthrie, Pete Seeger
America the Beautiful – Melinda Carroll
America the Beautiful/ This Land is Your Land – The Limeliters
America (My Country Tis of Thee) Craig Duncan
Battle Hymn of the Republic – Craig Duncan
Be thou my vision – Craig Duncan
Blowin’ in the Wind – Peter, Paul and Mary
Boys in Green – John McCutheon
Da Pacem – Libana
Don’t lose heart – Cris Williamson
Dona, Dona, Dona – The Chad Mitchell Trio
Dona Nobis Pacem – Melinda Carroll
Dona Nobis Pacem – Yo Yo Ma
Every day heroes and heroines – Deidre McCalla
Follow the light – John McCutcheon
Freedom is Coming – Circle of Songs Kate Marks and Friends
From a Distance – Bette Midler
Hawaiian Roller Coaster – Kamehameha Schools Children’s Choir
Hard Times Come Again No More – Yo Yo Ma, James Taylor, Edgar Meyer, Mark O’Connor
Hills of America – Emerald Rose
I will be gentle with myself – Circle of Song – Kate Marks
Ishq’ Allah – Melinda Carroll
Jubilate Gaia – Libana
Just around the Riverbend – Judy Kahn
Last Night I had the Strangest Dream – The Limeliters
Let there be peace on earth – Melinda Carroll
Peace is – Fred Small
Peace Prayer Mandala – Libana
Peace Train – Cat Stevens
Ready for the storm – Kathy Mattea
Singing for our lives – Holly Near
Something about the women – Holly Near
We shall not be moved – The Seekers
Well, may the world go – John McCutcheon & Tom Chapin
Women of our time – Judy Small
I hail Lady Liberty
I hail the women who went before me
The abolitionists of my line
Who became Suffragettes
I hail Columbia
I hail the women who were beaten
The women who were jailed
The women who were force fed
The women who defied the men
Who tried to suppress them
I thank them for their sacrifice
I thank them for birthing the 19th Amendment
I hail the Constitution and the Bill of Rights
I hail the 26th amendment that allowed me
My first vote for President in 1972
I give thanks for all who fought for this privilege
I wear white today to honour those women
I wear white to honour the first woman to run for President
We have waited since June 4, 1919 for her
I honour the women of colour that fought
For the Voting Rights Act of 1965
And who were unsung when they fought
For Suffrage in 1919
I honour the women for fighting
For what we take for granted
I honour them and I voted
I voted for an honourable and honest
All hail Lady Liberty
All hail Columbia
May she stand a top the Capitol
And watch over her.
So mote it be
Purple sage: https://purplesagefem.wordpress.com/ has an awesome blog and has been reading Lillian Faderman’s book on Dyke history. It’s interesting to see her take on my times.
I came out in the late 70’s and the 70’s and 80’s were a wonderful time to come out. There was a huge community here in the LA area and it was big enough to have a lot of different varieties and lifestyles. We had several bars but the culture had evolved enough that there were other things to do besides hang out in a bar. There were butch femme bars, mostly in Hollywood like the Palms, as well as Peanuts for the under 21 crowd. I used to go there with my deaf friends from CSUN because their speakers were on the floor and the deaf women could dance because they could feel the beat. There were the two main bars in Long Beach, The Suite where it was how you looked that mattered and was a meat market and the Que where everyone was welcome. Our bar was Vermies in Pasadena (If you wanted to see Melissa Ethridge she played the Que and Vermies but on week nights so you had to be willing to stay up) or we went out to Pomona to Robbies and the Valley had Menopause Manor AKA the Oxwood Inn. We thought the women at the Oxwood were sooo old, they were probably in their 40’s and 50’s. Sunday afternoons were for the men’s bar Rumours to see a local duo Second Wind.
But we also had things like softball leagues and rugby teams and I came out into the huge collection of Girl Scout lesbians. The place to see and be seen at the time were the women’s music concerts. When Cris Willamson, Margie Adams, Meg Christian or Holly Near came to town, they usually played Royce Hall at UCLA or the Veteran’s auditorium or the Ebell and it was packed. Everyone wore their best clothes. Somewhere I have a picture of all my friends and myself on our varying takes on dyke chic that were all tuxedo versions. It helped that women’s tuxedo fashion was very “in” in the 80’s so clothes we liked were readily available and then there was the wonderful West Coast Women’s Music and Comedy Festival that started in Willits and finally ended up in Yosemite. That happened every Labor Day and was heaven on earth. Usually about 3,000 women of all different communities all in one place.
We had Girl Scout campers area, neutral areas, noisy areas and S&M play area, there were the leatherdykes there were Goddess dykes, butch/femme areas and a disabled area with lots of friendly women to help. There were androgynous areas and child care for women with children and areas for young girls that came with their moms. There were workshops on every topic you could think of and music and drumming all the time. We had rituals out on the grass under the moon. The vegetarian food wasn’t that great so there were cooking areas for non-vegetarians which led some competition among the Girl Scout dykes and since my group included some friends from CalTech with access to dry ice some fudgsicles that were the envy of a lot of other women as well as when we baked things or fried bacon. Yes, we were evil and loved it.
There were tall women, short women, women of all colours and shades, women of all abilities, women with scars and women with bold beautiful tats covering mastectomy scars and we for a few days a year were all family. Women built the stages, ran the sound and did security and fire patrol, women did the cooking and the child care, and the first aid at the med tent, all of it volunteer labour and everyone took a shift or you had to pay extra. The only time you saw a man was when you heard, “Man on the land!” when they pumped the Portajanes.
They had awesome vendors and that is where the majority of my jewelry came from for years.
And at night all the communities melded at Main Stage under the stars and it was magic. To be among all those women loving women was amazing. My first one was in Santa Barbara and we had come straight from camp. It was amazing to see all those women. We drove up there and we knew we had reached the place because the women at the gate were topless. I remember thinking, oh Lady, you won’t catch me doing that. Yeah, that lasted until the next morning and it was hot. I learned that redheaded pasty white girls with chests that have never seen the sun should wear overalls over certain parts of your anatomy. I had a tan from camp but not there. Owie, thank heavens for the good souls with aloe vera to share. I had to go back to work when I got home.
Long Beach had a yearly dyke picnic that brought people together as well as a bunch of men that stood outside the park and would yell things like, “Which ones the man?” thank heavens the cops were pretty cool and kept them out of the park.
Point being, we had a community and when you came out, you had places to go and friends. There were bookstores to go to like Page One in Pasadena that was owned by two wonderful women and friends of mine worked there and told me what books I needed to read so I was introduced to Sally Gearhart and Rita Mae Brown and Jane Rule. I read Another Mother Tongue and Patience and Sarah and The Wanderground and laughed hard at Ruby Fruit Jungle. We could listen to the latest women’s music and pick up a copy. Occasionally we had a field trip to Sisterhood in Westwood. They had great posters and tshirts so we came home with Mountain Women ts and Uppity Women Unite or the Ladies Sewing and Terrorist Circle.
Now that kind of community does not exist, the bookstores and bars are mostly gone. I haven’t heard of the picnic still happening and all of it was found in the Lesbian News, found all over town even in straight book and record stores with the free stuff at the front. I don’t know what a kid does now for community. Our biggest problem was finding a lover that hadn’t slept with most of your friends already. One of the reasons my friends found the first episode of the L word hysterical was because of the chart they made. We did that one night. I found out later the writer of that episode knew someone who had been there and used it.
I miss those days when it still was the LG community before the damn alphabet soup happened.
We drove by his garage every Sunday on the way to church. It was on Cahuenga in clear site of the freeway. He always has some fun movie or tv car parker in the lot. For many years the Batmobile sat in front of the building. All was right with the world as a kid if we could see the Batmobile.
Another piece of childhood gone even thought the garage moved to Toluca Lake many years ago.
And I actually remembered this morning.
Origins and history
The exact origin of the superstition is certainly unknown, though it has appeared in print at least as early as 1420 in England, where it is most commonly said to have originated, though some reports place its origins even earlier, into the 1200s. Today it has spread to most of the English-speaking countries of the world, although like all folklore, determining its exact area of distribution is difficult. The superstition is related to the broader belief in the rabbit or hare being a “lucky” animal, as exhibited in the practice of carrying a rabbit’s foot for luck.
Some have also believed it is representing a jumping into the future and moving ahead with life and happiness.
As with most folklore, which is traditionally spread by word of mouth, there are numerous variant versions of the “rabbit, rabbit” superstition, in some cases specific to a certain time period or region. There are hundreds of variants, some of the most common of which include:
The inverse: instead of believing that saying it will bring good luck, believing that not saying it will bring bad luck.
Instead of saying “rabbit, rabbit”, saying just “rabbit”, or “rabbits”. Some also extend it to three rabbits: “rabbit, rabbit, rabbit,” which has some of the earliest written references.
The earliest referenced usage may be to saying “rabbits” three times before going to sleep the last night of the month, and then “hares” three times first thing upon waking, though just two years later, it was three “rabbits” in the morning with no “hares” at all.
Gilda Radner is reported to have said “bunny bunny” upon waking on the first day of every month. Alan Zweibel used her variation as the title of his book recounting their friendship.
Using the night of the new moon (traditionally the first day of the lunar month) instead of the first night of the month.
Another varitation is “bunny bunny hop hop”
Saying “black rabbits” the night before, and “white rabbits” on the morning in question.
Believing that the effect is stronger on one’s month of birth.
Referring to the first day of each month as “Rabbit Day”.
Various ways to counteract forgetting to say it, most commonly saying it backwards (“tibbar, tibbar”) before falling asleep or saying “Moose Moose” upon waking on the second day of the month.
A different but related practice of saying “Happy White Rabbit’s Day” to someone in order to bring good luck.
Making “rabbit, rabbit” be the last words said on the last of the month and the first words said on the first of the month.
One variation involves an element of competition: Saying “rabbit, rabbit” to another person on the first of the month entitles the speaker to the luck of the listener for the duration of the month.
Traditions also extend to saying on the first of each month: “A pinch and a punch for the first day of the month; white rabbit!” White rabbit is declared to be the “no returns” policy on the “pinch and the punch” the receiver felt. Origins of this saying is unknown.
Saying “White rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits”.
A more modern variation is to say “rabbit, rabbit” to someone on the first day of the month, and whoever says it first wins. The idea of luck is not involved.
Saying “white rabbit, white rabbit, white rabbit” as the first words of the month, before getting out of bed — and the speaker must first reverse position, so that speaker’s head is at the foot of the bed & vice versa.
Harold Nicolson, the politician and diplomat, often said “Rabbits” not only on the first of the month, but as a general talisman in his long-running diary, held at Balliol College, Oxford.
Around 1920 the following belief is common in many parts of Great Britain, with local variants: To secure good luck of some kind, usually a present, one should say ‘Rabbits’ three times just before going to sleep on the last day of the month, and then ‘Hares’ three times on waking the next morning.
Cavendish, Richard – Man, Myth, & Magic Volume 9. BPC Publishing, 1970
Cavendish, Richard – Man, Myth, & Magic Volume 17. BPC Publishing, 1970
Knapp, Mary – One Potato, Two Potato: The Folklore of American Children W. W. Norton & Company, 1978 (ISBN 0-393-09039-6)