Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Probably because of last month’s holiday, I awoke this morning thinking of my home town, Durham, Connecticut. All during my grade school years I marched in the Memorial Day parade, which always ended in front of the cemetery. Although we knew my mother’s side of the family had been in New England since before the Revolutionary War, it wasn’t until the 1990’s that I discovered that one of my eighth great grandmothers, Phebe Canfield Camp, is interred in that cemetery.  I doubt my mother was aware we had such deep roots in the town.

I've often lauded the bravery required of and exhibited by women living in the New World during the 1700’s and before, when the entire population of settlers was under 300,000, and creature comforts were few. Women routinely faced death by starvation or childbirth, or infections, or by the hands of the original inhabitants. Getting water for drinking, cooking, bathing and laundering must have required daily acts of determination and even heroism.

In 2015 our U.S. population is over 300 million. Women share personal and intimate information in the ether for anyone in the entire world (and beyond?) to see and use. We typically drive personal transportation machinery at speeds of 60 or more miles per hour. We trust our safety to strangers who pilot us through the air. We expose our bodies in a way Phebe could not have condoned or even imagined, and we may elect to raise children without benefit of a husband in the home. We are confident we can provide a living for our families.
On this day, June 17th, a new thought occurs to me. If Phebe were here now she might laud our everyday brand of bravery. It requires different skills than she needed, but our bravery is equally impressive.

Jeannie Newman, CEO of JZN Associates,  offers professional and personal development workshops and seminars  to corporations, organizations, and agencies. Topics include the CustomerCentric Mindset,  Staff Retention, Self Esteem, and everything in between. All offerings feature Emotional Intelligence at their core. Find her at, or on LinkedIn. Her avocation, as you may have guessed, is genealogy.



  1. If Phebe had asked herself, What else is possible? I wonder how big she could have possibly imagined. How big can each of us possibly imagine from the current point of view? How much would that change in a week, two weeks, etc? Interesting thoughts and questions stirred by your post Jeannie. Thank you!

  2. A lovely homage to our foremothers, thank you for posting.