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From the cover
My Father's Footsteps
I come by my road habits honestly.
There were only a few months each year when my father seemed content with a house-dwelling life. Every summer, we stayed in the small house he had built across the road from a lake in rural Michigan, where he ran a dance pavilion on a pier over the water. Though there was no ocean within hundreds of miles, he had named it Ocean Beach Pier, and given it the grandiose slogan "Dancing Over the Water and Under the Stars."
On weeknights, people came from nearby farms and summer cottages to dance to a jukebox. My father dreamed up such attractions as a living chess game, inspired by his own love of chess, with costumed teenagers moving across the squares of the dance floor. On weekends, he booked the big dance bands of the 1930s and 1940s into this remote spot. People might come from as far away as Toledo or Detroit to dance to this live music on warm moonlit nights. Of course, paying the likes of Guy Lombardo or Duke Ellington or the Andrews Sisters meant that one rainy weekend could wipe out a whole summer's profits, so there was always a sense of gambling. I think my father loved that, too.
But as soon as Labor Day had ended this precarious livelihood, my father moved his office into his car. In the first warm weeks of autumn, we drove to nearby country auctions, where he searched for antiques amid the household goods and farm tools. After my mother, with her better eye for antiques and her reference books, appraised them for sale, we got into the car again to sell them to roadside antique dealers anywhere within a day's journey. I say "we" because from the age of four or so, I came into my own as the wrapper and unwrapper of china and other small items that we cushioned in newspaper and carried in cardboard boxes over country roads. Each of us had a role in the family economic unit, including my sister, nine years older than I, who in the summer sold popcorn from a professional stand my father bought her.
But once the first frost turned the lake to crystal and the air above it to steam, my father began collecting road maps from gas stations, testing the trailer hitch on our car, and talking about such faraway pleasures as thin sugary pralines from Georgia, all-you-can-drink orange juice from roadside stands in Florida, or slabs of salmon fresh from a California smokehouse.
Then one day, as if struck by a sudden whim rather than a lifelong wanderlust, he announced that it was time to put the family dog and other essentials into the house trailer that was always parked in our yard, and begin our long trek to Florida or California.
Sometimes this leave-taking happened so quickly that we packed more frying pans than plates, or left a kitchen full of dirty dishes and half-eaten food to greet us like Pompeii on our return. My father's decision always seemed to come as a surprise, even though his fear of the siren song of home was so great that he refused to put heating or hot water into our small house. If the air of early autumn grew too chilly for us to bathe in the lake, we heated water on a potbellied stove and took turns bathing in a big washtub next to the fireplace. Since this required the chopping of wood, an insult to my father's sybaritic soul, he had invented a wood-burning system all his own: he stuck one end of a long log into the fire and let the other protrude into the living room, then kicked it into the fireplace until the whole thing turned to ash. Even a pile of cut firewood in the yard must have seemed to him a dangerous invitation to stay in one place.
After he turned his face to the wind, my father did not like to hesitate. Only once do I...
About the Author-
Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, editor, and feminist activist. In 1972, she co-founded Ms. magazine, and she remained one of its editors for fifteen years. In 1968, she helped found New York magazine, where she was a political columnist and wrote feature articles. Her books include the bestsellers Revolution from Within, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, Moving Beyond Words, Marilyn: Norma Jeane, and As if Women Matter (published in India). Steinem has received the Penney-Missouri Journalism Award, the Front Page and Clarion awards, the National Magazine Award, the Women's Sports Journalism Award, the Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award from the Society of Professional Journalists, the Society of Writers Award from the United Nations, the James Weldon Johnson Award for Journalism, and many others. In 2013, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.
- Gloria Steinem recounts the struggles and joys she found in her literal and metaphorical journeys as a feminist leader and journalist. Debra Winger brings Steinem's words to life with a tone of quiet passion. Her leisurely pace and conversational tone convey Steinem's weathered wisdom. Winger's patient tone and pacing lend thoughtful strength to passages of conviction. When reading Steinem's observations on oppression, Winger's tone is appropriately solemn and saddened, but she never allows her voice to be steeped in defeat. In this way, she embodies Steinem's steady, hopeful persistence in her fight for women's equality. A foreword read by Steinem herself adds a personal touch to an inspiring narration. E.M.C. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
Starred review from August 10, 2015
“If you want people to listen to you,” iconic women’s rights activist Steinem underscores in this powerfully personal yet universally appealing memoir, “you have to listen to them.” And that’s exactly what she’s done for the past four decades, crisscrossing the country in search of inspiring women and women—and men—to inspire. Steinem, a staunch advocate for reproductive rights and equal rights for women, long before either was fashionable in the public eye, writes candidly for the first time about her itinerant childhood spent with a father who itched to be constantly in motion and mother who gave up her own happiness for the sake of others. Vowing to distance herself from both her mother’s dependent lifestyle and her father’s peripatetic ways, Steinem ended up doing exactly what she never imagined: being a public speaker who’s constantly on the move. Highlights include her role in the 1977 National Women’s Conference—“It was my first glimpse of how little I knew—and how much I wanted to learn”—and her accounts of conversations with taxi drivers across the country. Throughout her travels, whether visiting small college campuses in the South or attending a 1971 Harvard Law School dinner where her equality speech was met with animosity, Steinem strives to create positive, meaningful change. Her inviting prose is easy and enjoyable to read, even when the subject matter veers towards the painful.
PublisherPenguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
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