The Women Within Me

Last year I decided to investigate my family history–mainly my paternal side. The reason wasn’t so much because I wanted to know about my ancestors–but it was more of a personal journey of learning about why I am so quintessentially different from the rest of my family. I am very different in my perception of life, values and the way I view my connection to the world and its people as a whole. I have been very spiritual since a young age, relying heavily on my spirituality to get me through the darkness. I have a universal understanding that we are all connected regardless of race, age, sexuality, religion etc. Furthermore, I am outspoken and stand up for what I believe in-even if that means being ostracized, ridiculed or being perceived as a “freak” or “crazy.” 

So my search wasn’t so much about who “they” were–but about who “I” am. I needed to feel like I had a connection to *someone* who was like me. My search began initially by investigating my grandfather–which ultimately ended in a slight dead end (though I am working on digging that bit up now). I ended up finding out about my grandmother and then was taken to a website called The Sprague Project. My great gran was Eva Sprague. I emailed the websites coordinator Richard Weber and told him who I was and my relation to Eva Sprague and my grandmother Jennie Newman St. Andrews. He was kind enough to send me a 300 page genealogogy on my family dating back to the 1200’s! 

I hadnt really *looked* through all of it. Its 300 pages! But, an occasion arrived that I needed to print out the book. During this time, as I was printing–I was reading excerpts. I had a lot of knights in my family–who was initially from Kent, England. A Reverend who founded a church, a Mason and a lot of rich well educated people. Then, for some reason, I said out loud, “somewhere in here has to be someone like me.”

Then, as if my ancestors were listening–and the time was right–information started printing out that would change the way I feel about myself and my connection to my ancestors. 

Before me was page after page of strong, outspoken, revolutionary women–women who stood up for beliefs and others–believed in tolerance-and freedom–and who died for their cause, were jailed or were banished. These women were like me. They are me. They are within me.

Mary Dyer

From my genealogy, page 99. “The famous Mary Dyer, lost her life fighting for religious tolerance in the colonies. Her statue is in Boston.”

The most notable of these women were Mary Dyer, Anne Marbury Hutchinson and Mary Bliss Parsons. 

I am related to these beautiful women. And even though its generations and generations apart–I feel a kinship to them. 

Tried three times for witchcraft!

Its strange–but I feel like they are around me…guiding me…watching me. There beautiful souls gently pushing me on my path. 

They were considered heretics, lunatics, bat shit crazy bitches–because they stood up for their beliefs-and for others. They were outspoken. Loud. Amazing beautiful women.

Anne Marbury Hutchinson

10th generation great gran. From my genealogy page 129 “Anne Marbury was the daughter of Rev. Francis Marbury and Bridget Dryden. She was baptized on July 20, 1591 at Alford, Lincolnshire, England. On August 6, 1612, she was married to a
textile merchant, William Hutchinson, at St. Mary’s Parish at Woolnoth, London, England. In July 1634, Anne, William and their brood of children emigrated to America, where they arrived on September 18 and
settled in Boston, part of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Anne led a quiet life as a housewife and a midwife. She held weekly meetings with other woman to discuss the Sunday sermons. Eventually, these meeting attracted a larger following. The historically simple explanation of the problems that eventually befell her was that her belief in the covenant of grace versus the covenant of works led some, particularly
the Puritan leadership of Massachusetts Bay, to view her as an antinomian heretic. More than likely, the situation was more multi-faceted than this. Anne was subsequently tried and convicted of heresy, and in 1637, she was banished from the Massachusetts Bay Colony by Governor John Winthrop. In 1638, she established a settlement on the island of Aquidneck (Rhode Island) with some of her followers. After her husband, William Hutchinson, died in 1642, Anne removed with her younger children to an isolated, wooded area on Long Island Sound (now Scarsdale, New York). In 1643, Anne, all of her servants and her younger children, except one, were massacred by Indians. Her ten-year-old daughter, Susannah, was the sole survivor of this massacre”

These women are me—they are who I am. They are my family.

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Let Me Tell You About My Cat

I was never a cat person. I had cats growing up and save for one, a rough house bad ass boy named Joey, who I loved like no other….cats were not my thing. In fact, I found them to be annoying and despised litter boxes, cat toys, clawing and everything associated with cats.

Then one day, we got a mouse in our apartment. And if its one thing I hate, its vermin. We tried what we could to stop our mouse issue, but living in an old house-it happens. I jokingly said, “we should get a cat.” Unbeknownst to me, the Universe was about to deliver.

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It was a very hot humid June day of 2012 and my husband and I were sleeping in the living room, where the air conditioning was at its finest. At some point during the evening I had a very vivid and real dream (perhaps I was soul journeying?) in which I met my deceased dog Casey. Casey had died unexpectedly in 2011, and left me heart broken. In the dream he sat on my lap, and telepathically told me it was time to get another furry friend-and it had to be a cat.

I woke up and said, “we have to get a cat.” After breakfast, I hopped online only to discover that the MSCPA was having a special adoption fee for all cats 2 years and older. It was some strange twist of fate. 

We headed over to Angell Memorial and at the very first cage we saw this beautiful cat. Just sleeping. And then suddenly, she walked over to us and put her paw through the cage. One of the volunteers commented on how Ashes (the cat) is really shy and never greets people. There was something about this cat that drew me in. Reading her history was heart breaking. She was found wandering Blue Hills, covered in fleas, cuts and abrasions. To add to that she had just recently had kittens (which we assumed or are strays somewhere now). She had been in the shelter for a month. I just felt so drawn to this cat. She was 2 years old and just beautiful. 

We adopted her and kept her shelter name Ashes, because to me, she was a Phoenix who rose form the Ashes.  

ImageWe soon discovered that Ashes had the same personality as me. I even joked around saying if I was a cat, I would be Ashes. The first 8 months with us, she was neurotic, anxious, moody. But then I noticed her mood changed. She became very nurturing, caring and empathetic with me. I have depression and anxiety–that at time consumes my life. Even with medication I have moments where I cant function. Somehow, Ashes has picked up on my changes. 

She has literally become one of my closest friends. Whenever my depression is so overwhelming, she will stay by my side the entire day, even forfeiting her beloved food dish to be by my side. She wiggles her body right up against me and wont move. Sometimes, when I am in the midst of uncontrollable crying bouts, she will actually put her paw on my arm, kneading it, and then leaving it there. Just letting me know that everything is really ok. She has licked tears from my face and let me give her extra hugs when I feel lonely. 

ImageWe don’t have any more mice in the house, but honestly, I think that that mouse showed up as a way of leading to me where I needed to be and who I needed in my life. My cat is the best cat. She teaches me unconditional love, empathy and most of all, that in the end its all perspective. Everything is OK. Despite suffering and feeling like you are at your lowest, life goes on and things really do work out the way they are meant to. We parallel each others lives. I have much to learn from this beautiful girl. As Ashes would say, things will all be purrfect.