D is for Distinction


A few days ago, I returned to a book that I read a number of years ago when I was involved in research regarding gifted females. The book, Gifts of Age: Portraits and Essays of 32 Remarkable Women, explores the creative contributions of well-known women; for example, Julia Child and Joan Baez, as well as lesser-known yet still outstanding women. The individuals in the book are creators, givers, healers, and seers. The stories of their lives are lessons to us regarding how to grow and become better selves.

It was my good fortune during my life as a doctoral student to read and to assist in the analysis of interviews of eminent Canadian women. Later, as an academic, I interviewed a number of eminent American women. Perusing the pages of Gifts of Age and remembering our interviews caused me to reflect on the women of distinction that I have known at different stages in my life and the gifts that I have received from them. I invite my readers to do likewise. Because some are still living and because this month of producing a blog each day does not allow me the time to obtain permission from each to publish names, most shall remain unnamed for now.

  • I remember the gift of reading that my mother, Evelyn Freeman Todd, gave me. It started me on the road to a life of learning. Who gave you the gift of reading?
  • Another woman of distinction my life was my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Poole, who told my mother that I, “would go far.” Looking back, I realize that she gave me responsibilities that normally a kindergartener could not take on.
  • Many, many other teachers stand out in my memory as well. In particular, I remember my high school Spanish teacher, who gifted me with the passion for learning languages; and my doctoral advisor, who passed on to me the passion of pursuing life as an academic. What are you passionate about and who led you to that passion?
  • The list of women of distinction in my life is not easily exhausted, as there are so many women from throughout my life for whom I feel gratitude. However, I cannot close this reflection without sharing the gift of my mentor, Annemarie Roeper, who taught me so many lessons about growing old gifted. Is there a gifted elder whose lessons you follow?


Painter, C. (1985).  Gifts of Age: Portraits and Essays of 32 Remarkable Women. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.

This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z (2016)  Challenge. Click here. to see all of the blogs in the A to Z Challenge. 

*Photo: Women, by Candace on Flicker ~ https://goo.gl/eljgsy. (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

2 thoughts on “D is for Distinction

  1. A most excellent post, thank you. So many women of distinction passed through my life, some are still around. Thanks for the reminder. From my mom, to my aunt (like a mom). Other women I never met in person yet consider of distinction.
    Enjoyed reading and the visit.
    Happy A to Z.


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