Last Wednesday, my friend Rhonda wrote about her life as "A Working Woman." Her story generated a lot of questions and I am pleased that Rhonda offered to answer them here. The first part of her answers follows; part 2 will follow tomorrow.
Part 1 - Volunteering
Many have asked for some details on just how Rhonda accomplished dual citizenship in the land of femininity.
First, let me thank my lucky star for the stubborn attitude I was born with. I knew very young that one gender was not going to contain me. I remember having dolls, kitchen sets and staging elaborate tea parties for my dolls. I remember my mother having beautiful shoes and at every opportunity, I would dress up in her chiffon and silk dresses and heels. Oh, it felt wonderful. But I also remember my outdoor sand box. There I had trucks, tractors and miniature road building equipment. Hours on end, I built roads, bridges and move my tiny trucks back and forth. The dirtier I got, the happier I became.
There was a neighbor whose granddaughter visited the country for several weeks every summer. She was a year older than I and we played together for hours. She was quite the “tomboy” as they described rough and tumble girls back then and in a way, I related to her. Not that I was rough and tumble, quite the opposite, but because she could be both girl and boy. She could dress up in beautiful dresses on Sunday, but during the week she was climbing trees with me. So the concept of being both goes back a while.
Later in life, after years of getting over the guilt and practicing a feminine look/attitude, I ventured out. Much to my amazement, the Earth did not fall off its axis. In fact few noticed and just being Rhonda became a wonderful entertaining routine.
As in one of the e-mails I received this week, “You can only go to the mall so many times”. So I ventured out to museums and cultural events. I love classical piano music and became a member of the local piano guild. There were weekly concerts and the music was delightful. I met wonderful, enlightened, and happy people.
After one of the concerts I stayed, helped put away chairs, and cleaned up the refreshments – so that became a routine. I was asked if I could get there early and help with tickets, so I had another opportunity to meet people. No task was too insignificant and I volunteered to help stuff membership and invitation envelopes. Ultimately I became a board member and made many valuable and lasting friendships. Plus the music was wonderful.
I did the same attending and volunteering for the local jazz society and volunteered to serve refreshments at a local art museum. This expanded my circle of friends, gave me more opportunities to be out and built my confidence. Several part-time jobs opened up and I gladly accepted them, now back in my field of computer setup and database research.
One of my fellow volunteers at the art museum mentioned that she had a new job and asked if I would interested in her old job. I had already volunteered there, so I knew the job and manager. I interviewed and was hired in the fundraising office as an administrate assistant! I loved it. I kept that job for over two years until the office moved.
Actors Allan Zinyk and Peter Jorgenson femulating on stage in Leading Ladies in 2008.
Wearing J. Mendel.