Mully: Women’s Work

Read Mully’s story from the beginning

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Mully: I had already made the preschool program for Cere in Berkeley, now I wanted to make a program for Oliver.  Skip decided he was going to get a job because now he had two children. So he became a real estate agent and we bought this repossessed place that had three acres but the plumping was non-functional. The yard was full of old cars, there was a hole in the wall where a fire had been and, there was this old funky chicken coop that was perfect for a preschool!

Scan 20So our friend, Blake, who lived across the street, rented a sander and we sanded off all the chicken shit. We put a stove in and insulated the walls and put in sheet rock. I built a loft. We found this outhouse in the woods across the street from my house and I said ” Well we need a bathroom for the kids.” So we moved it across the street and dug the holes, and that was our bathroom.

Meanwhile, I am doing all the plumbing in our house. I apparently am a worker. I like to roll up my sleeves. I love chopping wood, all the physical things, going out and chain sawing whatever it is. That was what we did a lot of in those days. There were a ton of women around here doing the same thing. One group of women formed a team and they would go to each others’ houses and help garden or paint.

This wasn’t a new thing on the island. Women got the right to vote in 1910 in Washington, which was ten years before the United States gave all white women the right to vote. There was an all women’s administration complete with the mayor and city council  in our town here in 1919.

Langley_all-woman_government_1920Front row, L-R: Grace English, Helen Coe (mayor), Emma Monson.Back row, L-R: Clara Brown, Lillian Wylie, Maggie McLeod, all-woman city government

Because we live on an island, and its only resources were trees and seafood, the area drew pioneers. People who had the kind of energy to make something out of nothing, and that was still true when we came in the 70s, and it is still that way today.We were this collection of entrepreneurs and visionaries with all of this initiatory energy to make things happen.  We liked taking care of business.

I was definitely “all systems go”. There were no social services here so we all helped to start an alternative health clinic called Wellspring.  I taught childbirth education and served on the board of directors for a number of years. I had my preschool. Oliver called it the Yellow Cabin Pre-School.  It was to die for!

Square from the fund raising quilt for Wellspring Health Clinic
Square from the fund raising quilt for Wellspring Health Clinic

We started a record store with Country Joe for a while when he first moved here.  But his record company made him move back to California so we let that go.  I was in a women’s choir, writing women’s music. I performed in Bob’s acting group, The Fools …What else was I doing?

Oh! Hanging out with Shanti and exploring all the women’s spirituality and you know, mushrooms and whatever else. I was a total full moon goddess devotee. I had realized I could never be a communist because they don’t believe in spirituality so I was done with communism and into the Goddess instead! laughs.

But, I could never go on the women’s canoe trips that they took out on the Nootka Sound because I was the only one in my peer group of women with two children, and Skip wouldn’t take care of them. All these women and lesbians were a threat to him. The last thing he wanted me to do was associate with “these people” that were going to take me even further out of “reality” than I already was. So I never got to go.

By then, Oliver was ready to start Kindergarten and Cere was in 5th grade, I decided to give all my pre-school equipment away to this fledgling childcare program that was starting up at the Senior Center.  I was going to take a short break and figure out what I wanted to do next. Little did I know that in a few months I would begin my “alternative service “ as a woman running a gas station.

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