Submitted by Theodosia Wicktor Ahern
I'm 80 years old and raised three sons. Unlike most women my age, I worked and went to school while they were growing up. I'm sure that my work helped them become the strong, self-reliant and honorable men they are today. All three of them have married strong independent women who worked while they raised their children, and all three of my boys turned out to be excellent home chefs too. It's probably because they had a working mother.
My sons were always interested in what I was doing, or where I was working. I think that contributed to their respect for women and appreciation for family. They turned out well in spite of, or maybe partly because of, the roles I had outside our home.
Back in the 1960s I was working and completing my degree at the University of Rochester. Apparently I was considered a "maverick" in the suburbs, but I didn't know it then. I was just doing what needed to be done. My jobs progressed from teaching Nursery School to positions in the mental health field. During some of those years I was a student at the same time.
After retiring in 1998, I started Teddy's Threads, a Longarm Quilting service which I still run from a studio that used to be my garage. I also worked as a weaver, spinner and house interpreter at the Genesee Country Villiage & Museum in Mumford, New York.
Fifty years after starting my career, it's interesting to see how times and attitudes have changed. It's been quite a journey. Continuing to manage Teddy’s Threads gives me a sense of purpose and a focus that I need to keep moving ahead. I work at a slower pace now, but having worked, and been so busy that I had to be as organized as possible, I find that I don't really want to stop completely.
Being a working parent served many purposes depending on the ages of my sons and my personal situation and needs. Now, this little business serves the purpose of keeping me connected to people and interested in many things, and so it expands my circle of friends.
For me, being a working "old person" is connected to my role as a working parent. It was apparently a “maverick” sort of thing to do back in the day, and it’s apparently a “maverick” sort of thing to do now. For me, however, it’s just what I do.