Melville Reuben Bissell

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Melville Reuben Bissell was born today, September 25, 1843.  Melville Bissell created the first carpet sweeper.

Following a financial breakdown which caused the Depression (Panic of 1873), Melville realized inventing something would offer financial security and set to work on creating the carpet sweeper.  He patented his product in 1876.

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In 1884, a fire destroyed his plant.  But he rebuilt and actually expanded his business.  Sadly in 1889 Melville died from pneumonia.

The Bissell name and business was carried on by his wife Anna.  Anna Bissell became the first woman to hold the position of Chief Executive Officer in America.

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Anne Sullivan

Sullivan, Anne

Johanna “Anne” Mansfield Sullivan Macy a.k.a. Anne Sullivan was a strong woman for her times.  She had a very rough life in the beginning and not letting that define her is amazing to me.

Anne Sullivan was the teacher who was able to succeed in finding ways to teach Helen Keller, a deaf, dumb and blind child who was having fits of rage out of frustration.  Keller’s parents were at the end of their rope and turned to a school for the blind for assistance.  The director of the school thought of young Anne Sullivan, just age 20 at the time and mentioned it to her.  Anne left immediately to help the child.  So began their 49 year relationship.

This young woman was able to do something remarkable.  Something so selfless as to devote her entire life to helping another woman.  I am in awe of this.  She survived a rough beginning and became a remarkable human being.  Yet the focus on Anne Sullivan is no where near the level of attention spent on Helen Keller’s achievements.  I find this sad as the success of Helen Keller was based solely on the accomplishments of Anne Sullivan.  Truly an amazing person!

AnneS_4photo courtesy of Perkins Museum

Here are a few links with more information on Anne Sullivan.  I hope you enjoy reading about the strength and talent of this woman as much as I did.

National Women’s Hall of Fame

Wikipedia Anne Sullivan

Perkins Museum

Lady Godiva (today in history)

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Legend has it July 10, 1040, Lady Godiva rode horseback through the streets naked in protest of her husbands wishes to raise taxes on their town.

It’s a very fascinating story I think especially of the will of the wife to prove her compassion for others and give up something considered such a sin to her religion which was nudity.  I wonder if she thought to herself “I will show him” as she rode that day.

You can read the entire history about it here as it also explains how the term “peeping tom” came into play in our history.

How it should be

mom

I try to keep my posts short and will do my best here.  This is my mother.  She is 71 years old.  She has always been a very independent woman carrying on the legacy of most of the women on her side of our family.  This picture was taken yesterday, June 6th, in the Erie Canal.

I am sure some of you remember the song about the Erie Canal.  We are lucky enough to live very close to it and are able to take our boat on it and kayak.  It’s always a great time!!

My father passed away in 2002 from cancer.  A few years later my mother’s best friends husband passed away also from cancer.  Rosie is also 71 years old.  These two women are crazy together and keep us on our toes.  This winter they decided to take off and live like gypsies visiting friends along the East Coast driving from Buffalo to Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and all over Florida.  They had no reservations, picked places to stay along the way, bought food to eat in the car and visited all of their friends and relatives.  They were gone for 3 months and spent less money than it would have cost our family of 4 to fly and stay somewhere for a week!!

They kayak almost every day in the summer in the early morning.  These pictures were from yesterday along the Erie Canal and the Ellicott Creek.  They loaded their kayaks onto their cars and off they went.

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driving off the Island to the Erie Canal (mom)

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Mom’s friend Rosie

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cruising along

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stopping along the way for lunch (they had an apple, banana, and blue chips lol)

going in

Rosie launching

Erie Canal

Where the two canals meet

Can’t imagine where I get my independence and determination from 🙂

“If you want something make it happen or make an excuse”

great aunt dottie

grace

Aunt Dottie with her mom and 2 brothers (the tall one is my maternal grandfather)

This is my great aunt Dottie.  I’ve mentioned before I come from a long line of independent women.  Aunt Dottie was the only girl in a family of 4 boys.  She is an adventurer.  In her mid 90’s now she still swims in the Lake, takes Tennis and is on a softball team.  She teaches water aerobics and does yoga.

She had 3 daughters and raised them on her own.  Sadly her oldest died of a brain aneurysm at an early age.  She worked hard and enjoyed all the good things in life like flying a plane and skydiving.  I love to listen to her stories of her life.

Her wisdom is an inspiration.  Her simple philosophy of life should be taught in schools.  She always said to us children to live life and not be afraid of failure.  If you get knocked down, get up.  You don’t deserve special treatment nor for anyone to take care of you if you are healthy enough to take care of yourself.  If you want something, make it happen or make an excuse.  I remember thinking it was mean when I was a child to say something like that.  As I’ve gotten older, I appreciate those words and the truth behind them.  And I am sharing those wonderful words of wisdom with my children.

She is coming to visit us in August and I can’t wait to see her and listen to her adventures over the last year!!