I’m running guests blogs tomorrow and Saturday night as I prepare for my father’s memorial service. I’m so grateful to have them, but I am extra aware that the clock is ticking on our time together for Causes & Effects.
I’m ending the blog Dec. 31, although there are some thoughts on how to continue it that I’m excited about. I look forward actually to having a day off the computer —even when I’ve run guest blogs, I’ve still had to post them —and being able to travel without having to take the time to blog whether it was from Mexico or Poland or Nashville or New Orleans or wherever else I went. I will add, however, that it was fun to try to tie in my giving with my trips by picking a local charity or something inspired by being on the road.
All of this is to say I’m very clearly feeling the loss of my father a week after his Dec. 11 death and I’m starting to feel the pending loss of the blog. Quite frankly, I’m feeling a little clingy and possessive about it. I had never expected the blog to turn into my way of communicating and sharing about my life in the way that it has... especially since I’m a very private person. I’m as surprised as anybody that it morphed very quickly from being just about the chosen charity to my relationship with that charity or thoughts that led me to that charity.
I’m back in Raleigh and as my sister and I and the ministers talk about our eulogies for dad, it’s been a stroll down memory lane and today I remembered something I’d never written about. My sister and I were both Rainbow Girls. I seriously doubt anyone reading this has ever heard of Rainbow Girls. It’s an international service organization for girls 11-20 (though I never knew of one who stayed in after high school) that focuses on giving back. We would read at The Morehead School of the Blind, we’d do bake sales for good causes, etc. It’s affiliated with the Masons, of which my father was one, and Eastern Star, of which my mother was one.
I can’t say I particularly enjoyed my time as a Rainbow Girl because I wasn’t popular and I never got elected to any of the major positions, plus there were cliques in Rainbow, just like everywhere else, and I found myself feeling like a bit of an outsider sometimes. But the capper was when my sister and I became aware that there were no Catholics in Rainbow (this was because some of the rituals were secret and since Catholics technically couldn’t confess them, they couldn’t join- or at least that’s how I remember it) and there were certainly no blacks. I don’t know what would have happened if someone of color had tried to join. Heck, we weren’t even allowed to wear black clothing, as our advisor told us that “Rainbow was about happy colors!”
By the time Jeannie and I realized all this, we were pretty much done with our Rainbow days, but I remember asking our parents, who did not have a racist bone in their combined bodies, why they let us be part of an organization that seemed so exclusionary. They told us they had honestly never looked at it that way and they felt that Rainbow provided us with such a good outlet to be of service that they focused totally on that aspect. And I really believe them to this day.
Today, I went online and found a website for The international Order of the Rainbow for Girls and my memories of those days and even our secret greeting came flooding back. Lo and behold, there were even some girls of color in some of the photos-- not many, but enough to make me believe that Rainbow may have changed its way a little since we were members.
So today’ $10 goes to the hopefully now multi-cultural International Order of The Rainbow for Girls and the good work it does. And next time you see me, ask and I’ll be happy to show you the secret greeting.
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