Rachel's Tribute to Her Mother

The posting below is from the Facebook page of Rachel Jones:

     Rachel Jones

On this 2013 United Nations International Day of the Girl Child, this Grownup Girl Child would like to publicly acknowledge the influence of one Eloise Blocker Jones, whose non-stop feminist commandments during my childhood wound up sealing my fate--for better and worse.

That’s because those commandments made me prioritize any and EVERYTHING ahead of natural order-type stuff like marriage and motherhood. But here’s the thing: Eloise Blocker Jones had led a life that compelled her to denounce messages from her own childhood when it came to the girls she birthed. Eloise Blocker Jones was determined that we would know there were options and be unafraid to choose them. She would be damned if the world would shut us down without a chance to take a first step. My Grandma Stella had dismissed 19-year-old Eloise Blocker’s dreams of higher education or independence by pressuring her marry to the first man who took an interest.

But Mama must have spent her entire half-century of married life wondering what might have been. She was extremely intelligent, exceptionally articulate, had a lacerating wit, and probably could have been Oprah before Oprah was born--in a parallel universe. Because Eloise Blocker Jones was born in 1926 America, the door to self-actualization, career dreams and world travel was hermetically sealed. She literally kicked it open for her daughters with messages like, “You have a brain – USE IT. You have a voice – SPEAK UP. You have an intellect – CHALLENGE IT. You have eyes – SEE THE WORLD. You have a uterus….”


Mama probably didn’t mean for me to embrace that last commandment so maniacally. In fact, she might have gotten a kick out of seeing me fumble my way through motherhood before she died 7 years ago. But at least I was blessed to hear her say how proud she was of my career. And I know her guts, sarcasm, force of will and even her deep, husky voice continue to fuel my own journey.

So to all you other girl children out there, young and old, take a minute today to remember what your first female role model taught you. It may not have been all flowers and moonbeams, but you’re here today because SHE fought her way through being a girl child in this crazy world.