Today, fill your cup of life with sunshine and laughter.

07 November 2006


This is a bit of a departure for me, but maybe I can make it work for my own particular style of blogging. Thanks to Dana Bunny for suggesting this to me, btw.

I hope it doesn't disappoint you, because I'm POSITIVE this is not going to be what you expect. When I sat down to make the preliminary list of beautiful women that I would include on my list (yes, I make lists, and I make rough copies ... I'm a teacher!), the first people that popped into my head were not celebrities, nor were they classically beautiful. Nevertheless, that's the direction I'm going to have to take, because I couldn't think of anybody else once my mind started going down that path. My apologies for including a name that is of personal interest to me, included because I've known some truly beautiful people and I couldn't consider this blog complete without naming at least one.

5 Most Beautiful Women (in no particular order):

1. Molly Brown has always held a certain fascination for me. I live only a two hour drive from the cemetary where the victims of the Titanic were buried, and grew up knowing the stories as well as any Maritime kid. That fascination led me to research a little more about this wonderful philanthropist. Molly Brown married James Joseph Brown, who worked in the Colorado silver mines. While her husband advanced to superintendent in the mines, Molly started soup kitchens and became active in women's rights. After a move to Denver, she helped found the Denver Woman's Club and worked for juvenile courts. In 1909 and 1914 she ran for Congress. She spearheaded a campaign that raised money to build the Roman Catholic cathedral in Denver. Molly Brown was traveling in Egypt in 1912 when she received word that her grandson was ill. She booked passage on the Titanic to return home. Her heroism in assisting other survivors was recognized, and included the French Legion of Honour. Molly was head of the Titanic Survivors' Committee which supported immigrants who had lost everything in the disaster, and helped to get a memorial erected to the Titanic survivors in Washington, DC.

2. I met Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. A small number of teens studying music in NB were chosen to perform for the royal couple on their yacht. I sang a song in gaelic, and completely crucified the pronunciation. So much so, that Prince Charles looked confused and later asked me what language it was. I remember Lady Di as being the kind of person with whom you felt instantly at ease. She chatted comfortably with us for a while, making certain we all were included in the conversation. I was very impressed by her, especially since she was only 3 years older than us, even though her poise and manner gave her an air of maturity well beyond ours.

Starting in the mid-to-late 1980s, Diana became well known for her support of charity projects. She was the first celebrity to be photographed knowingly touching a person infected with HIV. Bill Clinton summarized the impact of this when he said:
"In 1987, when so many still believed that AIDS could be contracted through casual contact, Princess Diana sat on the sickbed of a man with AIDS and held his hand. She showed the world that people with AIDS deserve no isolation, but compassion and kindness."
Diana also made unpublicized visits to show kindness to terminally- ill AIDS patients. She is also believed to have influenced the signing, by the governments of the UK and other nations in December, 1997, of the Ottawa Treaty, which created an international ban on the use of anti-personnel landmines. One of the most publicized appearances by Princess Diana was her visit to Angola when she visited landmine survivors in hospitals.

I know there are many stories about her personal struggles with bulimia and depression, but these only underscore my admiration for her. She was only human, with human frailties, but she used her celebrity in a positive way.

3. My favorite female actress, Katharine Hepburn was best known for roles in which she played strong, sophisticated women. However, I admire her because she was such a strong, intelligent woman herself, as evidenced by these quotes. (I always wanted to be like her.)

  • I never realized until lately that women were supposed to be the inferior sex.
  • Life is to be lived. If you have to support yourself, you had bloody well better find some way that is going to be interesting. And you don't do that by sitting around wondering about yourself.
  • Everyone thought I was bold and fearless and even arrogant, but inside I was always quaking.
  • If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun.
  • Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only what you are expecting to give — which is everything. What you will receive in return varies. But it really has no connection with what you give. You give because you love and cannot help giving.

4. Christiana Elizabeth Colliss-MacLatchy was a woman of great creativity and insight. She was a founding member of the charitable organization"Friends of the Moncton Hospital" and the local chapter of the "Women's Institute" service club. She was active in the Women's Auxiliary, Girl Guides of Canada and the Anglican Church Women's group. She taught courses at the YWCA in quilting and advanced sewing. With all that, she still found the time to be a great wife and mother, a good friend and neighbour and a fantastic grandmother.

I remember her unfailing kindness and generosity towards others. There was no "meals on wheels" program in our small community, so my grandmother took it upon herself to organize one, providing and delivering many of the meals herself. She played the organ at her church, and led sing-alongs on Sunday afternoons for anyone who cared to drop by. I remember her house as always being graced by the presence of friends. Afternoon tea parties, quilting bees, sewing groups: something was always going on at my grandmother's house. It was a hub of activity in the community. Even my friends always felt the welcome, to the point that they would often visit her, even if I wasn't there.

With everything that she did, what I remember best about Gram was that she always had time to do things with me. Sometimes she involved me in whatever activity she was embroiled in at the time, but often, it was just the two of us. How I loved our chats! She taught me so much: how to quilt, how to sew a flat seam, how to knit, how to cook and bake. But she also taught me a lot about life: the importance of having a sense of humour, the importance of giving back to your community, the personal benefits to being kind and gentle towards others. My grandmother was my role model and my hero. She still is.

5. My final choice is perhaps the godliest humanitarian ever to live. I don't feel my words can do her justice, but I believe these words will serve:

"Mother Teresa marked the history of our century with courage. She served all human beings by promoting their dignity and respect, and made those who had been defeated by life feel the tenderness of God.''
- Pope John Paul II

The unconditional love for humankind as expressed by Mother Teresa may never be matched in our lifetime. I find there is much in her to honour:
  • Speak tenderly to them. Let there be kindness in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting. Always have a cheerful smile. Don't only give your care, but give your heart as well.
  • "Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin."
  • There is a terrible hunger for love. We all experience that in our lives - the pain, the loneliness. We must have the courage to recognize it. The poor you may have right in your own family. Find them. Love them.


Anonymous said...

Wow, Coco, you picked some real beautiful women!

Anonymous said...

Now those are beautiful women, and knowing they inspired you, now allows me to see why you are the woman you have become.

AND...even more importantly....YOU GOT A PICTURE TO POST UP!!!!

YEA! Coco

damm said...

Thank you especially for the stories of Molly and Christiana, I was not aware of these two. Can I put my mom as #1?