Although I was never a lover of poetry, there are poems that have found a permanent place in my heart and mind. One has been running in a constant loop through my mind. It is Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken” which has accompanied my walk down memory lane. The first lines are:
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood”
Those words were especially meaningful for me when I was in my junior year in college. I neither had no idea what I wanted to do with my life nor had any clue what I was capable of doing. Little did I realize that would be a life long condition.
While in high school, I wrote an assignment which turned out well and the teacher lauded my efforts. I was hooked on writing, but reality was hitting in college. Writing for a living didn’t seem like an option. I didn’t want to teach; didn’t want to work for a newspaper; women on news in television didn’t exist then. This left me floundering like a fish out of water. There weren’t a lot of options for women that interested me. So, I chose to enter the military which led to a job in New York City which led to marriage and children. I had no plans to be married and have children choosing instead to be a business woman. My goals were to have a $100,000 in income or own my own company by the time I was 40. Those were unimaginable goals in those days. When I met this irresistable man with whom I fell deeply in love, all those plans changed. I know this was the best compromise of my life and was the right choice.
Every day, we make choices. Some are big, some small, but they all have consequences. Our lives are changed by the choice we make. In the time when I was in my mid twenties, it was a blossoming era for women. We were fighting the “glass ceiling” choosing careers that were male dominated as everything was then. Although women had had the vote since 1920 with the passage of the 19th amendment, there were still no career paths for women to take other those defined as correct with only rare exceptions. This would include housekeeping, wife, mother, secretary, retail employee—well, you get the idea. I wanted to be a part of this revolution for women and fight the good fight. It was important to me. But meeting Leo changed everything. I still worked and, in fact, supported us while he attended school for a couple of years until he went to work full time and school part time. Marriage to him also meant children so four years later we had our first son.
At a time when women my age were fighting for their rightful place in the work force, I chose the road less taken. The last lines of the poem say it far better than I ever could:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”