Folklore Tidbit No. 2

From 1983 to 1985, Lois Golightly (1931-2021) wrote a column called the Feminist Forum for Northwestern Michigan College’s White Pine Press.  The Feminist Forum “took its place on the NMC campus as an expression of women’s concerns world-wide.”  

Lois described herself as a Christian feminist which she stated was a self-designation that tended to freak out a lot of people on both sides of fence.  In her monthly column she wrote thoughtful ideas for both men and women to ponder.

In the winter of 1986, she put the Feminist Forum on hold, for she was the lead organizer in bringing Judy Chicago’s Birth Project to the NMC campus.   She needed to focus her energy on the exhibit which required the coordination of security, scheduling volunteer docents, extensive communication and many other behind the scenes details.

Here is an excerpt from her column dated December 7, 1983.

Forward: Feminism, n… 1.a) the theory that women should have political, economic, and social rights equal to those of men b) the movement to win such rights for women.. “Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language (1966)

Feminism has often received a bad press but not here! I made up my mind early on not to be intimidated by responses to the word and to be willing to identify myself with both the philosophy and the label.  However, labels and names are quick “tags” which, by their very shorthand nature, can lead to as much confusion as clarification.  Hopefully, this “Forward”  and the column itself will advance your understanding of various aspects of feminist thought.  It is varied: feminists, female or male, are the first of all individuals.

Lois thought that we needed reminders of our free press rights and responsibilities, and she was hopeful that someone else would come forth and write commentary of whatever view.

Some of you have remarked on the Traversecityist podcast theme music.  

There is a story behind it, and here it is. 

 In the early 1980’s Ingemar and Lisa Johansson, Mike Sullivan and Rick Jones formed Song of the Lakes, a Michigan based group who sang the praises of the Great Lakes. Their charisma and energy attracted audiences from around the globe, and they soon became recognized as the unofficial ambassadors of the Great Lakes.  For me, Song of the Lakes was part of the soundtrack to my childhood and early adult years.  The drummer, Rick Jones, a multi-talented artist and the backbone of the group, provided an always steady beat with his bodhran. 

 In 2010, I invited Rick to collaborate on a dance theater project. He didn’t think twice about it, and committed to our rehearsals and performances. I was so grateful for his participation in the project, because his presence not only added to the drama on stage, it focused our entire ensemble. Rick had a memorable charisma that I have yet to encounter in any other human being.  It was mysterious and raw, and it drew you in. His spiritual presence was accentuated by his style – a full beard, rocks and bear teeth strung around his neck, leather jacket with flowy fringe, muslin-cloth tunics, and old, faded Levis. He even rode a Harley-Davidson.  

Rick Jones definitely contributed to the culture of the Traverse City region, and I believe his life story and his work belong in the Library of the Congress.  This leads me to the Traversecityist theme song. Jones Grove is inspired by the Appalachian folk tune known  as Shady Grove or Matty Grove.  It was composed on an Akai MPK mini keyboard, which is available at the Woodmere Branch Traverse City Public Library. It reminds me of a galaxy far, far away and sometimes nearby, and it makes me wonder what the spirit of Rick Jones is up to now.