I majored in biology, minored in chemistry and mathematics at a small college in Minnesota in the 60s, which meant that I was the only female science major in the Science Hall. I proceeded to work in many different jobs that were dominated by men. I went back to school at age 55 to receive my Masters in Computer Information Management Systems where I was still one of the few women. I also learned to ride a motorcycle at that same time. I like to think that all of those men helped me become a stronger woman.
When I taught business and computer classes at a small college in Washington state. I offered my students some advice:
“For the first day on a new job, wear your best navy blue suit like the one I’m wearing today. If you have just moved into a new home, however, and can’t find your best shoes, follow Jenny Joseph’s advice. Wear a red hat with purple that does not match or as I have done, wear your red sneakers and make a statement.” I wore my red sneakers with a navy blue suit to start and end each school year.
“Life is too short to wear plain white socks, so go for something fun.”
“Set some long long-range goals.”
A) One of my long-range goals is to write the Great American novel. Now that I am retired, my husband and I have moved to Texas. With our house restoration completed, I have finally found time to write. That Great American novel is still a work in progress, but this first novel puts me on my way.
B) My second long-range goal is to become a stand-up comedian. My students were to be my practice audience. Being a stand-up comedian is yet to be explored, but who knows what the future may bring.
Being eligible for membership in the Red Hat Society™ can either intimidate or validate a woman as she faces the next chapter in her life. In Red Helmet On A Motorcycle, Maggie King, a 55 year old recent widow chooses validation. With the support of her close friends she buys a street legal motor scooter and adds a red helmet. As she learns to ride her bike she is able to move past her grief, and show her pride in being a Red Hat Society member. The bike also opens a pathway for independence, new friendships, adventures, but most of all the possibility of romance. Is she ready for romance? If so should it be with a conservative man who rides a Goldwing like the one her husband had or a wild man who rides a Harley?
Twenty years of marriage to a cheating, verbally abusive husband has taken its toll, but 57-year-old Claire Murphy has decided this time she really will divorce him. She is proud to take her first steps when she moves into an apartment building that she later learns is occupied by 80-year-old women. They are eager to state that it is never too late to find love. Claire isn’t sure she will ever be able to open her heart to loving again.
Fearing that the divorce will be expensive, Claire concentrates her energy on her job as a mortgage loan officer. She accepts an additional position working weekends at a new residential housing development. She shares with her friends that the scenery of shirtless construction workers on a hot summer day is very entertaining. Her favorite worker is the foreman who presents her with her own red hard hat. Will that red hard hat be enough to protect Claire after her husband is murdered, and she is the prime suspect?