By Barb Hauge
In June, Montanas Home Demonstration Clubs take over the college campus at Montana State University-Bozeman. We call this Womens Week. Each year we get a lecture from the campus police about parking correctly in harmony with the yellow lines. Lesson 101 in College Life.
Its been a number of years since I attended, but for an old gal who once had a scholarship and didnt go (World War II was on and I had a full time job) being on a college campus was a heady experience. During the 10-plus years I attended I took all the classes from Advanced Literature and World Religions to Woman and Her Car and Belly Dancing. All were interesting, educational and fun, though Belly Dancing was the most fun and a real athletic workout. It got to be even more fun when I got home and gave my husband a demonstration. Our instructor was the real expert. Banquet Night she dressed in a Harem outfit and did Dance of the Seven Veils around the head table, draping her last veil over the college deans bright red ears.
Actually, we Home Demonstration ladies kind of kicked over the traces and after-hours activities included drinks at the Molly Brown, where ankle-deep peanut shells decorated the floor. We whooped and hollered at the college rodeo, cheering on all the bucking broncs and wild bulls. We took in theatrical performances at the cozy Little Red Barn and saw everything from A Funny Thing Happened On the Way To the Forum to Stop the World, I Want to Get Off. It was an occasion of female reunions where mothers and daughters got together for memories, tears and laughter. I took our foster daughters to foster their interest in college.
Our neighbor, MaryBelle Hay Liese, was one of the cool cats who originated Womens Week. We recently attended their 52nd wedding anniversary party. When asked if she had ever considered divorce, MaryBelle said, No, but I have considered killing him a time or two.
One year at Womens Week in a class on Dealing With Problems a lady said her husband always read the paper and never noticed her. MaryBelle suggested, Serve him breakfast buck-naked some morning and see what he does then.
One year I wrote a turn-around on Lucille called ONeil.
In a bar room in Glasgow across from the depot on a bar stool she took off her ring. I thought Id get closer so I walked over; I sat down and asked his name. When the drinks finally hit him he said, I swear Im quittin. I finally quit livin on dreams. Im hungry for laughter and here ever after Im after whatever the other life brings.
After she left us I ordered more whiskey; I thought how hed been her downfall. From the lights of the bar room to a rented hotel room we walked without talkin at all. He was a looker and I was a hooker, but he must have thought Id lost my mind. I couldnt hold him cuz the words that she told him kept comin back time after time.
You picked a fine time to leave me, ONeil. With four hungry children and a crop in the field. Ive seen some bad times; lived through some sad times, but this time your hurtin wont heal. You picked a fine time to leave me, ONeil.
Yes, we all did leave our husbands, but only for the duration of Womens Week.