WOMEN AWARE AND GROWING
By Julianna Joyce Perkins
In the midst of technology and on-line living, an age-old
trend continues to flourish. This is a hands-on, mind-to-mind,
heart-to-heart trend. A trend that reminds us that creativity,
communication, and connectedness - the core of humanity - will
not die. That trend is people gathering in reading groups.
Across the nation more and more women are finding that reading
groups carry an experience that cannot be achieved in any other
manner. These women congregate in bookstores, libraries,
coffeehouses, and each other's homes. They find that much more
than the discussion of books takes place. The stimulation of
their probing, discerning and sharing has brought them into a
union of shared intellect, heart, and spirit. They are growing
as unique individuals within a community of others who celebrate
Recently I had an opportunity to experience this first hand in
a situation that brought me face to face with a full-circle
experience of this trend.
Author Vicki León was on tour with her latest book, UPPITY
WOMEN OF MEDIEVAL TIMES. I had the privilege of having her as
my house guest for a few days; and I had the experience of
accompanying her at her book signings.
One bookstore in particular is a shining example of the impact
reading groups can have on the members. The Women¹s Room at the
Frugal Frigate in Redlands, California had invited Vicki to speak
to their group. This group started nine years ago. It has had so
much impact on the community, that one woman, Joan Koerper, based
her doctoral dissertation on the changes and growth that the women
have achieved. The Heritage Room of the local library has even
included it among its collection of the highlights of the city.
Katherine Thomerson, a schoolteacher, started the Frugal Frigate,
a children¹s bookstore. She placed a small bookshelf by the front
door to offer some adult books that she felt women might find
interesting. The bookshelf grew and grew and the Frugal Frigate
now has a large adjoining room that is filled with books by, about,
and for women. Katherine¹s friend and book lover, Ann Smith,
runs the warm and welcoming sanctuary.
Vicki stood before this diverse group of women and men with her book in
her hand. The members sat before her, their copies with them. It is a
powerful event when author meets reader. Vicki had poured years of
research, energy and self into her book. The readers had opened their
minds to Vicki and to each other. The result was a connection between
them that reached back in time to the women of long ago highlighted by
the book. As I sat listening to the sharing, the questions and answers,
the commemoration of the lives of the medieval women, I was in awe at the
atmosphere. There before me was living proof that we have the ability to
care and change and make the world a nurturing place of harmony and
growth. The power bounced from person to person. The catalyst was the
book; the strength was in the people themselves.
After the presentation, as Vicki signed her books, the rest of us
mingled, chatted, ate cookies and exchanged phone numbers. On the drive
home, Vicki and I marveled at the wonderful experience we had shared. She
was as affected and moved by the group as they were by her.
Just when it seemed that books would fall to the wayside as an archaic
artifact - plunging beneath the popularity of the electronic age, books
have proven their worth, and women have proven their staying power.
I would encourage you to experience this unique phenomenon. Call a local
bookstore or maybe just a group of friends and enter the world of books.
As an afternote, Vicki contacted me recently. This last part of her trip
put over 5,000 miles on her car, and introduced her to literally
thousands of people. Many of the bookstores had more than just a book
signing. They had Vicki speak to their groups. She told me the encounters
could never be duplicated. I understand what she meant. My adventure with
Vicki and the Women's Room is an experience I've not had elsewhere. And
it's an event I hope I'll have the opportunity to participate in again,
soon - with a good book, a cup of herbal tea, and people like you to
share it with. Will you join me?
The Women's Room at the Frugal Frigate is located at 9 North 6th Street
Redlands, CA 92373, or call (909) 793-0740.
Last modified: March 8, 1998 Boomers International, USA:
We do not guarantee any contents of the sites we linked to.
The opinions belonged to the site's owner.