I know. I’m late to the party, but I recently watched the best movie I’ve seen in a long time, Hidden Figures. The film, a biographical drama based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly, is the story of three brilliant African-American mathematicians, Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson who worked at NASA, each leaving her own indelible mark on history. Katherine Goble Johnson calculated trajectories for Project Mercury, Friendship 7, Apollo 11 and Space Shuttle missions. Dorothy Vaughan was NASA’s first African-American supervisor and Mary Jackson attended graduate school at night to become NASA’s first female engineer. These women sought to achieve equality by challenging unfair labor practices and discrimination at NASA in 1961. Their story, and others like it, sparked what historians call “the second wave of feminism,” marking the 1960s as a decade of profound cultural transition which forever altered the role of women in American society.
Burning Gold by Clea Calloway chronicles the emotional conflicts suffered by Jenni Ann Gold Cagle. Jenni Ann is a likable twenty-something artist traumatized by the heinous, random act of violence that claimed the lives of her mother, father and beloved baby sister, Abby.
The story begins immediately following the tragedy as sixteen year-old Jenni Ann is adopted into the family of her maternal Aunt Lyn and Uncle Charles Bennet. In spite of her aunt’s and uncle’s love and commitment to helping her heal, Jenni Ann’s nagging conscience never ceases. She believes her recklessness and neglect on The Night makes her responsible for the murder of her family. Jenni Ann refuses her aunt’s repeated attempts to get her into counseling and instead turns to drugs and sexual promiscuity to numb the unbearable pain of guilt and grief.
Originally publish on June 20, 2014.
Today is my youngest son’s birthday. He is nineteen. He’s filled my heart with more joy than I ever imagined possible and continues to do so, but he was one dreadfully difficult child to potty train. On one particularly bad day during his potty training years (no not months…years), I remember someone telling me not to worry because he “certainly won’t go off to college in diapers.” I didn’t find my friend’s attempt at levity amusing. Perhaps it was because I was, at the time, preoccupied with cleaning my three year old’s poop from under my fingernails, but as it turns out she was right. Jared is headed to college this fall and he is indeed a “super-dooper-pooper” wearing big boy pants (has been for a while now).