Quite a few years back, I remember a flag hoisting: I watched as my dear friend slowly made her way across to hoist the flag. She was eighty-four.
“Bob,” she used to say, “In Jalandhar, where I lived with my husband, I used to be known for who I was, here I am known as someone’s mother or the children’s grandmother!” And as the frail hands pulled the rope that held the flag I whispered to her, “Now you’re famous.”
“Yes,” she whispered back, her eyes twinkling, “from today, people will point to my son and say, that is her son, and to my grandchildren, those are her grandchildren.” We both laughed and I steadied her as we stood straight and sang the national anthem.
U.S. Congressman Tribble narrated a story about teaching his daughter that she was her own person. Wherever she went, the little girl was constantly associated with her father. “Oh, you must be Congressman Tribble’s daughter,” well-intentioned adults would coo.
She explained to her parents that she wanted to be herself, not simply known as Congressman Tribble’s little girl. Her father told her not to worry about it. Her mother, who perhaps understood the problem better, suggested, “The next time that happens, just stand right and say, “I am Constance Tribble!”