"Any arbitrary turn along the way and I would be elsewhere; I would be different." ~ Frances Mayes

After losing 112 pounds in almost a year and a half, I have come to realize how very much I was missing. I may be Late to the Party, but I am doing my best to catch up in my own unique way!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

On My Lifeboat

I am in the process of reading  In the Fullness of Time - 32 Women On Life After 50, edited by Emily W. Upham and Linda Gravenson.  I have had it on my list to read for over six months.  I have barely cracked the cover and I am already laughing at, pondering over and now writing about the first few pages.   

Ms. Gravenson introduces the book by allowing us a peek of some of the contributors and their offerings.  At the very end of her introduction, she comments that "these are the women I'd want in my lifeboat."  Which got me to thinking.......somehow this rang a bell with me.  So I googled "people in my lifeboat" and got some very interesting results.  Just as I suspected, this Google search revealed a "social exercise", if you will, in which you pose the question that basically goes like this: If I were to be set out adrift on the ocean in a lifeboat, who would I want to have in that raft with me?

An article by Dr. Juliann Mitchell, PhD on the website BC Culture gives this premise - you have to chose 9 other people to be in your lifeboat.  The two rules are pretty simple.  You must REALLY want the people you choose to be in this (mis)adventure with you.  Just because someone is family shouldn't obligate you to choose them over anyone else.  Rule number 2 is that all the other people you MUST know personally.  They can be either alive at the present time or passed on, the requirement is that you have known them personally.  You should be totally honest with yourself and examine the reasons you would want to include these nine people in your boat.  Remember that your survival may depend on those you choose.

So those are the basic rules.  But you know me.....I don't always like to go by the rules.  So let's bend one.  I think we can drop the "must have personally known them" rule.  In fact, according to MY rules, these people must be complete strangers.  In addition, let's add or revise the rules so that, just like in Ms. Gravenson's introduction, all the people in your lifeboat must be women. 

Now this will require some thought......

but here's my nine fellow lifeboat mates:

1)  Margaret Thatcher:  This lady, the first and only woman to serve as Prime Minister of Great Britain, is nicknamed "The Iron Lady."  Anyone that can stand up to the Soviet Union, lead England through the Falkland Islands War, survive the "slings and arrows" of British politics without ruffling her perfectly coiffed hair, and issue quotes on freedom and politics like this - "Consensus: “The process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: ‘I stand for consensus?'"  is not only going to be in MY lifeboat, but I say we elect her Captain!

2)  Joan Rivers:  Yes, brash and outspoken, full of Botox and Queen of the Facelift Joan.  She didn't win Celebrity Apprentice a few seasons ago for nothing.  Rather, she outworked all the younger folks with a stamina that an Olympic athlete would envy.  She used common sense and tenacity and could give tit for tat to put people in their place.  And she makes me laugh.  If I'm adrift on the open sea, God knows that I want someone handy with a joke!

3) Golda Meir: Another "Iron Lady", Ms. Meir was cut from the same cloth as Maggie Thatcher.  She was the fourth prime minister of Israel and was described by her colleague, former prime minister David Ben-Gurion as "the best man in government".  She was born in Russia, moved to America with her family, married and went to Israel to join a kibbutz.  At one point in her political career, she survived a bombing.  At another time she was diagnosed with lymphoma. As Prime Minister, she ordered the special services to apprehend the terroists that planned and carried out the Munich Olympics massacre of Israeli athletes.  She led the Israelis in the Yom Kippur War. Made of strong stuff, that woman. 

4) Lee Smith: Southern author.... She was born in Virginia, has written 12 novels and numerous short stories, and has won a number of literary rewards. Indefinitely floating out at sea, there had better be a storyteller on that raft, that's all I'm saying!

5) Marie Curie:  Recipient of two Nobel prizes, one in Chemistry, the other in Physics, she was a scientific pioneer in radiology.  A woman that smart deserves to be in my virtual lifeboat.  If anything needed to be invented, discovered, dissected, fused, studied, probed....you name it...Madame Curie would be our gal!

6) Amelia Earhart:  At an early age, Amelia was called a tomboy.  She pretended to go on adventures and exploration even then.  She was trained as a Red Cross nursing aide, enrolled in college and showed little interest in flying until she went to several flying exhibitions. At the time there were few women pilots and she wanted to spread the word that it was possible for women to fly planes.  When Amelia was approached to be the first woman to fly the Atlantic following the feat of Charles Limburgh, she flew on a plane with two men to say she was the first woman to cross the Atlantic by air by keeping the flight log but she never was the pilot.  She worked as a sales rep for an airplane manufacturing company, had her own designer clothes line, was the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, and a vice-president of National Airlines which was the predecessor of Northeast Airlines. Later, Amelia became the first woman to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic.  Of course, everyone knows about her unfulfilled quest to fly around the world. She was a gutsy lady, full of life.  Who wouldn't want her in their lifeboat?

7) Julia Child:  An easy choice! If you don't know who Julia is, then you must have been born on a remote island.  I imagine fish or shark would be eaten to survive on this lifeboat trip and Julia would be the person I would want to prepare it....even if it is sushi!  Not to mention that she led a completely fascinating life.  More stories to hear.  And recipes to share...... Oh, and I bet that even on the open sea in a life raft that she would still wear pearls!

8) Katherine Hepburn:  Born into a wealthy New England family, Kate Hepburn was anything but conventional.  She was educated in all the "right" establishments fitting her background, but chose acting as her career which spanned six decades.  She starred on Broadway and in Hollywood films.  She defied the image of a typical Hollywood starlet, wearing men's suits because, in her words, they were "comfortable".  Without trying to, she started a fashion revolution.  Women began to wear trousers at a time when wearing pants was still a no-no.  She was brash, outspoken and even into her 80's, swam in the ocean at her home in Connecticut every day at dawn.  Kate Hepburn is in my life boat because she would cold-cock another woman should they become hysterical or, even worst, demanding.

9) Mother Teresa:  I figure that if ten women are adrift on the sea in a tiny boat, there'd better be a direct line to The Almighty.  Enough said, Amen!

So there you have it.....my lifeboat mates!  So tell me...Who's in YOUR lifeboat?  Leave a comment and share who your nine women mates are and why!  Happy sailing.....


  1. Well, I guess I'll check you off my list...I'm just sayin'. :o)

  2. La, we can always do a different version and have nine bloggers in our lifeboat! I choose YOU!

  3. Great list! You chose some wonderful women.

    With all seriousness, I'd choose Jesus. I mean I'm out on a lifeboat and need to survive, right? Well, he can walk on water and get me to shore.

  4. Does Parsley not realize that Jesus isn't a woman??!! lol

    This is a hard thing to do. I want to steal a few from your list!! LOL

    I would want to take my bff, Denise...just because. I love your ideas of Madame Curie, Julia Child, Joan Rivers and Amelia Earheart. Ann Richards (former TX govenor) just cause she was smart and could probably whip us all into shape! ha Ellen Degeneres because she is funny. I will go with Jayne Ann Krentz as my author on the boat. And maybe my last pick would be a surprise....because I can't think of another person right now!! LOL
    Now...my question to you.....5 dinner guest (man or woman, dead or alive) who would you pick??