Photo of the day: THREE FIERCELY INDEPENDENT WOMEN: My three ‘moms’. Each woman went against the society of her times and lived her life as she saw fit, not as society dictated. I am these three women. If you love me – you love them.
Anny Cornelius: My theatricality, musicality, passion, humor and style. Against all dictates of the day, she refused marriage offers from royalty and fine suitors and ‘married’ her opera career to wind up singing Carmen at The Berlin Opera.
Amahlie (Jaehne) Von Rittern: Divorced her husband to raise her child as she saw fit. Later gave up her concert pianist career and country to come to America (not knowing the language) to help raise me. My appreciation of music, love, compassion and sense of art and balance come from her.
Ursula Von Rittern: Divorced her husband to raise me on her own. Refused alimony in the 1950’s and did it all by herself. She went from selling vacuum cleaners to California residents in the early morning on the telephone to finally breaking through the sexist glass ceiling of the 1970’s and 80’s and wound up in a corner office, assistant to the CEO of Manufacturer’s Hanover Bank. My liberal views, determination and hard work ethic come from her.
I am these three women.
In the works is a family history of four generations of independent women who all raised their children on their own against all odds, through two World Wars, traveled around the globe, sacrificed, fought sexism and society’s morals. Mom is 87 and currently writing the book. Stay tuned . . .
Photo of the day: PERSON OF THE YEAR – URSULA VON RITTERN
I have broken with tradition and rather than giving my annual title to someone who is on Facebook, I have given the title to someone who is not on FB but deserves the title this year… – my mom. The photo is of her 80th birthday celebration, six years ago.
Personally it has been one of the most horrible and disappointing years I have had in a very long time. It started with Gray Line bus tours laying off the senior tour guides (me) who spoke up trying to save their jobs and it steadily slid downhill from there. One job disappointment after another and sadly many personal and career disappointments as well. The political and national news has been a nightmare almost all year, I can hardly bear to watch the TV. With determination mom stood in the cold on the long lines to cast her vote this year, rather than mail it in. But, one can always look down. I did not get wiped out by hurricane Sandy and mom and I still have each other.
As in several of the worst tragedies we have suffered together, from deaths to illnesses to cruel twists of fate, she has always been a rock. There is always that youthful joyful voice on the other end of the phone or just around the corner. She brought me elaborate home cooked meals in the snowstorms and bad weather when I was ill, stood by me in all the awful disappointments that came literally up until even yesterday.
I am doubly blessed! I have a loving ‘family of friends’ here on Facebook and on my blog. Some of you I have never even met and I feel so close to and owe so many of you a nice long phone call. But you are “there”, showing me love and support when I need it, for that I thank you all greatly. Thank you und vielen Dank! But when we are lucky enough to always have a loving mother to turn to, we are the most lucky person in the world. Isn’t true…we always turn to mom. So for all the comfort and support and the security of knowing no matter how awful it got and gets, she would be and is there . . . mom has to be the Person of the Year.
This is 86 year old Ursula Von Rittern, my mother. She immigrated to this country from war torn Germany after WWII and settled in NYC. She has voted with an absentee ballot for the past ten years so she doesn’t have to stand in the long lines. “This year I am voting in person dammit, no matter how long I have to stand in the cold, this is too critically important!” So – we did! GO MOM!
Note the black folding chair in one hand and her cane in the other, she came prepared!