Today I was asked in honor of Women's History Month to share the name of a woman who is a hero in my mind and tell why. I answered the question and realized I would be remiss if I did not also note the same here. As I work to balance my life now at home, throwing myself back into work, hobbies, and relationships I left behind during my deployment; I noticed I chose those things/people over continuing my message. The posts will continue once more. In this month I paused to learn more about the writing craft (and am okay if it still takes awhile to show) and I also focused my efforts on developing my voice and opinion to clarify to myself what I want to share. Life is busy; therefore I'm grateful for the pattering rain on the windows reminding me it is a delicious day to be alone with my musings and focus on my keyboard. This day allows me to ensure I honor my hero of choice while still in the month honoring historical women. I also need to set the stage and tell you a little about her as future posts will include her sage advice.
Grace Luague Hogstad, Mom...I call her Mini-me...She is my hero, actually my heroine, for so many reasons. Yes, she raised me and is a pretty incredible lady; however, she also deeply engraved into my younger brothers' and my psyche a certain mentality I actually took for granted. It was not until I entered the world that I realized not everyone has her beliefs and methods of implementation. Mom engrained into our sub-conscious a fervor for learning and consciously the importance of higher education. It was, and still is, a fiercely important topic to Mom as education was her ticket out of the impoverished Philippines. She indirectly and directly guided our path, even early on, though it was not commonplace in the '80s, she enrolled us in pre-school and not only taught us to read at a very young age, but got us all excited about books; a passion my dad supported as well.
My parents divorced when I was 12, and though a child of divorce; I always felt very fortunate because Dad stayed in Palmdale and we still maintained a close family unit, both parents would even go to all of my brothers' football games together. As a single parent, Mom was determined to ensure we kept the same house and lifestyle; she wanted us to have everything we needed, but not give us everything we wanted. She was able to make it work being a real estate broker with her own business, Grace Hogstad Realty. Mom started real estate many years before, in order to have the flexibility to go back to school, but the business took on a life of it's own. Though busy, she still ensured she took us on vacations; we have many fond memories of frequent trips to Yosemite.
She was pretty strict in raising us, perhaps more so with me. I was allowed to go to parties, but always had to give a phone number; that meant there had to be some sort of adult supervision. I would be terrified she would call to check on me...but she never did once, armed with the possibility, she did not assert the right. I vividly remember the first time we openly fought, I was 16 and realizing certainly she wasn't right about everything. It was Clash of the Titans, not on the sea, but in the desert home we called Palmdale, CA. I was dead-set on going to this rave and she, ever familiar with the land and maps, knew it was in the middle of nowhere. I swore there would be security, according to the flier; and she didn't give a flying....Both of us at max-capacity shouting match volumes as my brothers cowered from us, downstairs in their bunk-bed. Then...Mom looked me square in the eyes and said, "Fine, you can go, but I'm driving you. I'll drop you off." She got me. I stopped ranting and stared back, I was MORTIFIED at the thought of my mom taking me to a rave. I couldn't imagine how uncool I would be in everybody's view and no, I had no idea they would likely be high and not care. In my earnest fight to go, she leg-swiped me flat on the ground by saying yes, but under completely unacceptable circumstances! I caved, utterly deflated, I couldn't even argue any further, that woman got me good and my brothers reemerged from their hiding positions. This memory will always be distinct for me, the friend I wanted to go with, well...many years later, we lost her when she passed away due to drugs. I never did go to a rave...and I learned Mom indeed was always right...
For my brothers and me, it was never IF we were going to college, but WHICH university we would attend. I never wavered about school; my brothers and I nervously giggle at the thought of what would would have happened if we told Mom, "College is just not for me." We also did not have the luxury of a college fund or savings plan, but that was okay. Both parents knew it had to happen, fully supported us, and we somehow knew it would all work out; we never let finances stop our intentions. All three of us chose University of California schools, with in-residence tuition, paying less for all four years then what parents now sometimes pay for one year of private school. We all got scholarships and grants, I was fortunate enough to have the Air Force pay for both my undergraduate AND graduate degree; it all worked out. I took my path, Jonathan (4 years younger than me) also went to UCLA (Mechanical Engineering), then later on to Columbia School of International Political Affairs. Brandon (9 years younger) went to Berkeley (Biology), became a published lab rat in Nature Journal for progressive AIDS research at NYU, and is now getting his PhD at Mount Sinai. Yes, had to brag - who has two thumbs and is a damn proud big sis - THIS GAL!
All the while Mom kept leading by example as she made time for both real estate and more education; several nights a week she would travel down to Cal State Northridge and earned her Master's Degree in Creative Writing. Now she has semi-retired from real estate and is in her final year, finishing her PhD in Mythological Studies and already completed the Master's portion in Depth Psychology, through Pacifica Graduate Institute in Carpinteria, CA. She is writing her dissertation and memoir supporting her assertion that in addition to Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, there is indeed a Heroine's Journey. Her memoir is focused on her childhood in the Philippines and her own journey in coming to the United States. Yes I'm biased, but seriously Oprah is going to flip out over her book. I have no doubt. When she finally completes her dissertation, she will actually have two books. The memoir for Oprah's Book Club and the second, more academic, (though Oprah would probably like it too) will be very significant to Feminism and all women around the world.
My mother has more than earned her place as my favorite heroine. Mom is an amazing, powerful woman; she intuitively raised us with passion and enthusiasm we all exhibit in our lives today. She was Filipina strict while raising me, but we are so close now she was the Maid of Honor in my wedding. I'm privileged to honor her this Women's History Month in my humble forum. Perhaps maybe next year I will again make note of her; by then, she will have made history in the positive aftermath of publishing those books.
Mom, I know you will read this as you have subscribed to this feed - I love you, thank you, and...get back to work, FINISH your thesis/books! Hugs.