30 Before 30
In honor of my upcoming 30th birthday, I’ve researched countless “things to do before 30” lists. And while there are plenty to choose from, I kept coming back to “Thirty Things Every Woman Should Have and Should Know by the Time She’s 30.”
The List was originally published in Glamour by columnist Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Over the next 30 weeks, I’ll be tackling each item on The List and reflecting about it here… publicly (gulp). I hope you enjoy and we can grow together. After all, turning older is a privilege denied to many.
By 30, you should know…
21. The names of the Secretary of State, your great-grandmothers, and the best tailor in town.
Finally — an easy task (for the most part)!
This week’s “reading” was simply a fill-in-the blank exercise to identify these prominent people.
- The Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson
- Your great-grandmothers: Lillian, Wanda, Marie and Edith
- The best tailor in town: TBD
I could leave it at that, but you know that’s not my style. Here’s a little more about my perspectives on each of these people.
Secretary of State
From his multi-millions as (now former) Exxon CEO to his close ties with Russia, Rex Tillerson’s name has been on a lot of lips since his nomination and confirmation in early 2017. I don’t know how you couldn’t know his name at this point.
But, I didn’t know a whole lot about his background beyond Forbes profiles and mass-media blunders, so I figured I’d study up. Despite opposing many of his political positions, I was pleased to discover his extensive involvement in the Boy Scouts of America — he even served for a few years as its national president, which is its highest non-executive position.
Being a Boy Scout does not inherently make you a good person, but I was grateful to find some common ground with the guy. It’s too early in his service, in my opinion, to judge him outright and I hope to hear of positive policy work and relationships formed in his future. Call me an optimist, but I’d rather that than stew over every single pick in this administration.
Half of this section was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. We were always very close with my maternal side of the family tree, and I knew those names without hesitation.
My mom’s maternal grandmother, Lillian, was alive for the first few years of my life. I remember giggling over our July birthdays, her affinity for baking and how much she adored being the matriarch of an extensive clan. I’ve always loved her name, and when the time came for Brother and SIL to name their second daughter, I suggested Lillian in her honor. Plus, it’s one of the most fun names to say, a la “Rugrats” dynamic duo, “Phil-lip” and “Lil-li-an.”
My mom’s paternal grandmother, Wanda, died long before I was born. From the stories I’ve heard over the years, she was a vivacious woman with a zest for life and a helluva lot of patience — six kids will surely do that to you! Her only daughter, my Great Aunt Mary, tells the best stories about Wanda and the whole family; her voice carries through the phone with incomparable charm and wit.
My dad’s side of the family tree was a bit more distant from my upbringing. Part of it was geography, but I relied heavily on my dad’s Aunt Merlyn for genealogy stories when I was a kid. She died last year, and with that went one of our last remaining links to my dad’s side.
Through the help of my mom, though, I was able to learn the names of my paternal great-grandmothers.
My dad’s maternal grandmother was Marie. My mom tells me she was a seamstress by trade and spoke very little English. She was a strong Sicilian — and don’t you dare call her an Italian! (This, by the way, sounds exactly like the type of woman to raise my Grandma Helen.)
My dad’s paternal grandmother was Edith. About the only memory I have is from visiting her and my great-grandfather’s gravesite when I was about nine years old. Ever the strong, silent type, my dad didn’t talk a lot about his grandparents around me — although that could have been a side effect of his memory loss after the stroke.
I only met one of my great-grandmothers, so it’s no surprise I’m filled with envy and emotion when I see friends post photos with generations of strong women. I may not be able to rival Great Aunt Merlyn’s knack for genealogy, but I can sure as hell appreciate the women who influenced my upbringing in their own way.
The best tailor in town
Finally, a real stumper. I am not the fashionista I once was — or at least, once thought I was.
I rarely buy new clothes, and when I do, it’s usually athleisure. The clothes in my closet that aren’t athleisure generally fit well… until they don’t, and then they’re donated.
The last item I had tailored was a bridesmaid dress I wore once and haven’t seen since I loaned it to my HS bestie (no rush on returning it, Jen 😉 ). But, I wouldn’t recommend the tailor anyway because of the pricing; though they did manage to get it done quite quickly.
I’ve seen enough episodes of “What Not to Wear” to know how invaluable well-fitting clothes can be. Pieces tailored to your body (obviously) fit better, which makes you feel better, and then the world is sunshine and rainbows. I’m being a jerk, of course, because I haven’t invested in pursuing a tailor.
So that’s my task in the next few weeks… as I prepare to donate ~10 bags of clothing, in fact. If you have recommendations for tailors in the SF area, please do let me know! I trust Yelp for many things, but a personal suggestion in this arena is always best.