Bread and Roses for International Women’s Day

I don’t know when I made International Women’s Day a personal holiday–probably sometime in college. Somehow I don’t need reminding of the significance of March 8th when it comes around. The date leaps out and says, “Remember!”

The day I remember fell in Spring 1991. I had doubled the office space of my graphic design business with a move across the Capital Square that January–just days before Operation Desert Storm broke loose and the economy froze like a frightened possum. My bank loan to outfit the new space drained fast as design work dried up. In early March my bookkeeper pointed out the dire news–I was losing money at a rate of around $4000 a month. With three employees, 1500 square feet of office, and no clients, what could I do?

I took her news and walked out the door. First I went to the florist around the corner and bought three long-stemmed red roses. Then I went to the bank and asked for three crisp hundred dollar bills. I returned to the shop and presented my gifts to Susan, Carolyn and Cathy. “Happy International Women’s Day,” I said. “Bread and roses.”

I’ve always wondered why exactly I did that… but I’ve never regretted learning that that’s the kind of person I am.

Here are three International Women’s Day suggestions for you:

1. Listen to Judy Collins sing “Bread and Roses”….


2. Read Linda Lenske on women and labor in “Maria from the Sewing Room”

3. Make a donation to a cause that celebrates women, such as Madison Community Foundation’s “A Fund for Women.”

Three cheers for the women!

About first person productions

My blog "True Stories Well Told" is a place for people who read and write about real life. I’ve been leading life writing groups since 2004. I teach, coach memoir writers 1:1, and help people publish and share their life stories.
This entry was posted in Call for action, Sarah's memoir. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Bread and Roses for International Women’s Day

  1. Great story, Sarah. What a wonderful way to celebrate womankind! But I have to ask…. did your business survive that economic glitch intact? (fingers crossed that it did)


    • YTwo employees moved on, one to a better job and another to study overseas. The third ran the shop for me singlehandedly when I was selected to be part of a Rotary International Group Study Exchange tour that took me to Italy for five weeks that spring. Talk about a welcome escape! Susan, I will ALWAYS be grateful to you for that. Business began to pick up again that summer… stories for another day.


  2. Great post!

    We Bread and Roses Centennial people in Lawrence, MA, have been sending this to our friends:

    Dear Friends,

    2012 is the year for commemorating the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike,
    an important event of a heritage we share.

    Please connect with us on Facebook:
    Lawrence, MA, will hold numerous centennial events
    (, as will other places.

    Have a look at our calendar:
    and our virtual exhibit:

    Please tell your friends and plan a visit!

    Of course, as always the Bread and Roses Heritage Festival on Labor Day will
    be a high point!

    In Solidarity,

    Bread and Roses Centennial Committee
    Bread and Roses Heritage Committee
    Lawrence, MA


  3. Pingback: Happy International Women’s Day | True Stories Well Told

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s