Granny D…

The obituary in this week’s Economist is about Doris “Granny D” Haddock, who died on March 9th, aged 100.

At age 89 she walked across the United States to publicize her campaign for election reform. 
 

Mar 25th 2010 | From The Economist print edition

THE most trying part came in the Mojave desert of California. The royal blue sky glared down on the grey brittlebush, and the heat was searing. Great trucks thundered past, showering her with grit, and a fierce wind got up that made her stagger. The worst of it was that her hat (the straw garden hat that had belonged to her dear friend Elizabeth) was whipped off and trundled through the cacti, where it splintered and broke.

She was walking across America, an odd occupation for a woman of 89. But Doris Haddock became annoyed if anyone made much of that. Her large, dark eyes narrowed then, and her gentle voice acquired an edge. And indeed there was little in that voice, with its perfectly enunciated consonants (drilled into her at Emerson College of Oratory, when she had girlish dreams of going on the stage) to suggest she was much over 30. The adventurer in her heart, she liked to say—stressing that she meant the adventurer in everyone’s heart—was always young. She could still ski, hump a 25-pound pack, sleep on the ground and get up again; and though she went to bed choking on dust in Arizona, or nursing bleeding feet from frozen shoes in West Virginia, the next day she made sure she walked her set ten miles, until all 3,200 had been done. Friends in Louisville made a stout oak staff for her; she slung it over her shoulder, and hung her banner from it.

The question she wanted people to ask was not how (on earth!), but why. Why, in January 1999, had she set off to walk from Pasadena to Washington, DC? The simple answer was that she had lost patience with the power of big money in American politics. Congressmen and senators did not listen to people like her—people who spent years nursing their husbands when they had Alzheimer’s, or who battled to keep the interstate out of their small towns, in her case Dublin, New Hampshire. They patted little old ladies like her patronisingly on the head, while taking wads of money from special interests for whom they would do favours later. Mrs Haddock was sick of it. She had organised petitions for campaign-finance reform, with tens of thousands of signatures, but got nowhere. So it was sneakers on, and hit the road.

[ for the rest of the article ]

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About dearrosie

We think we need so much, when all we really need is time to breathe. Come walk with me, put one foot in front of the other, and get to know yourself. Please click the link to my blog - below - and leave me a comment. I love visitors.
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4 Responses to Granny D…

  1. Mahalia says:

    awesome. take this as a another reminder that there is nothing about getting “old” that means you have to sit back and watch things happen. you continue to create your life, and have the potential to create change on many levels, for your whole life. yay to that! also, yay to 20 degrees C weather on April 1st in Toronto!

    • dearrosie says:

      Granny D was expelled from Emerson University after her marriage because married students were not allowed on the campus! (They apparently gave her an honorary degree in 2000)…… Wow! Can’t believe that Toronto’s 20 degrees C on April 1st!!

  2. I heard the story on Granny D on NPR last week, and I almost had to pull over, it was so moving. She just never stopped — if only her efforts had been more fruitful! The last years have just gotten worse and worse with the effects of money in politics. Other countries aren’t like this – and who does it benefit when we spend BILLIONS of advertising everyone hates? It doesn’t inform the electorate — quick the opposite! So why have we never been able to stem this destructive tide — when that money could feed people, PAY FOR health insurance, do some good?? It’s tragic — but love GrannyD!

    • dearrosie says:

      I agree with everything you’ve said Betty! Wouldn’t it be marvelous if all the hungry and homeless were fed and housed, and could see the doctor and dentist…

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