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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1976
Page 4
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Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1976 - Page 4. May 1976. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. May 10, 2021. https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/2571/show/2558.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(May 1976). Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1976 - Page 4. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/2571/show/2558

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1976 - Page 4, May 1976, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed May 10, 2021, https://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/2571/show/2558.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title Houston Breakthrough, Vol. 1, No. 5, May 1976
Publisher Breakthrough Publishing Co.
Date May 1976
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Periodicals
  • Feminism--United States--Periodicals
  • Newsletters
Subject.Geographic (TGN)
  • Houston, Texas
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Original Item Location HQ1101 .B74
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b2332724~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
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Title Page 4
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File Name femin_201109_517d.jpg
Transcript Mothers live varied lives BARBARA LEE TEAS AND GENA Special mother SANDRA GERTH AND ELIOT Single mother Hobbling around on an injured ankle, Sandra Gerth was cooking dinner when her six-year old son- Eliot burst in the door. A friend was going on a picnic, Eliot said, and could he go too. She said he could. She's the only one he had to ask. Gerth, 29, has raised her son alone for the last three years. She was divorced when he was three, and h i s father moved to Washington. When asked what it was like being a single parent, Gerth laughed and said'Tll give you an example. "Since my bicycle accident a few days ago, I get tired really easily," she said."The other night I fell asleep on the couchabout 9:30. The dinner dishes were still on the table, the butter was melting - everything.About 1:30Eliot comes out of his room - all the lights are still blazing - and he says, 'My ear hurts." "That's the way it is being a single parent," she laughed again. "The responsibility is there all the time." Once reluctant to divorce because of Eliot, Gerth said she gave a lot of thought to her son's life without both parents. She felt she'd make the better parent, though, because she understood the "dailyness of a child." She isn't concerned about the lack of a "male role model" around the house, because she considers herself a "complete person." She can't fix chocolate chip cookies, she says, but she can fix Eliot's bicycle. Gerth is also a sports enthusiast and pursues her activities knowing she sets an example for her son. "It's important that he not relate to a mother or a father figure in this area," she explains. "I want him to relate to a person who's keeping a healthy body." Sports aren't her major activities, however. She's a graduate student in Biomedical Communication at the University of Texas Health Science Center. She also works full time as the coordinator of audio visual services at the School of Public Health. All of which brings up her two main problems with being a single parent: time and money. "These are the specific problems of raising a child alone," Gerth says. "I'm lucky to have a good education and only one child. People with six chidren and a 10th grade education really have a hard time. "Still," she says,"there are not enough hours in the day for doing dishes, laundry, cooking and talking to my kid." Despite the problems, though, Gerth is happy about her relationship with her son who, she says,she "likes very much. "I'm not saying it's better to be a single versus a two-parent family," she adds. "It's just different. Whatever person Eliot turns out to be will have something to do with that difference. But not a whole lot." RHONDA GRIFFIN-BOONE BARBARA LEE TEAS looks on herself as the mother of a "special" child. Her daughter, Gena,nowten is brain-damaged. "I had a normal pregnancy and a natural birth. There was no lack of oxygen-Gena breathed right away-so she should have been very normal," Teas says as she looks back. Gena is an exceptionally beautiful child. She appears to be normal. She was two years old before her family realized anything was wrong. Her development was slow, but people kept saying "she'd blossom out." She began walking at 14 months, but her speech never developed except for a few single word sounds. "At first the pediatricians and neurologists said she had an overall developmental delay. Then we began EEG tests. The first was within the normal range, but a second and third came out irregular-so we had to assume there was some brain damage','Teas recalls. She talks openly of the stages one goes through before accepting the reality that something is irreversible. You first go through disbelief, then through guilt, then you question why and how it happened, then you feel more guilt and, finally, you accept it and are motivated to do something about it," she says and adds: "I personally felt a greater burden of guilt than my husband- probably because I was the one to actually give the physical birth." One day a friend shared not the usual "I'm sorry" but rather "what a challenge!" "That was the turning point," Teas said. "I took Gena on as a challenge." For the next six years Barbara Lee Teas and Gena visited neurologists, speech pathologists, psychologists, linguists, and pediatric specialists. Gena's hyper-activity was becoming a big problem with each year of her growth. The doctor told Teas "Keep her so busy until she's so tired she drops off to sleep." "They never brought up "what about the mother?" Teas says. Gena's behavior required constant supervision. Widowed mother OLGA SOLIZ Olga Yvonne Soliz is the mother of two children, Itze Olga Marie, 12, and Everitt Fernando, 11. She has been a widow for three years. She married Fred Soliz when she was a student at the University of Houston. After getting her degree in business administration, she worked for several years managing a customs brokerage office before having children. When Itze was five, and Everitt was three, their father developed cancer. Olga Soliz had to return to work outside the home to support the family. She says that without her children, her parents and her job, she couldn't have survived the period of his illness or her widowhood. The women's movement also provided support, and related to her needs for compassion and understanding. Soliz describes her own mother as a "homemaker, a super woman, and a feminist, although she doesn't realize it." She is the center point of the family; the one person with whom everyone in the family keeps in touch, Soliz says. At one point her mother did work outside the home and loved it, but her family didn't so she returned to the home. Soliz' mother and father moved next door to her when her husband was ill. Without her parents, she says, she couldn't participate in so many community activities and organizations. She is a leader in the Harris County Women's Political Caucus, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Familias Unidas, and the Magnolia Branch - Y.W.C.A. She first joined LULAC three years ago with the purpose of getting women active in the organization, rather than being an auxiliary to the predominately male group. At first she was met with opposition, but she she's been honored as the "Outstanding Woman of the Year" by the people who once opposed her. In 1968 she was named "Mother of the Year" by Familias Unidas. Soliz says her biggest revelations in being a single parent were things like taxation, insurance, yard work, and car maintenance - areas in which she had always depended on her husband. Soliz does not dwell on the tragic periods of her life. She looks ahead to the time when she will be able to start her own business. That time is not far off, she says. ADELAIDE MOORMAN "She couldn't tie her shoes, but ;he could get through three locks >n the door in two minutes." One day Gena was found lying >n her stomach spread-eagle in the middle of Sunset Boulevard. Another time she jumped on a hot charcoal grill and burned the soles of her feet badly. During one period she broke window panes with her hand or head. "Two years ago I felt like I would have a complete breakdown unless I could find some kind of structured and protected environment for her. Teas and her husband, Gene, and their teenage son, Kyle, made the decision to place Gena in a residential state school. And, Teas made the decision to work outside the home. She is now president of Globetrotters, a local travel agency. "I felt and still feel," Barbara Lee Teas says, "that that was the best arrangement for both Gena and me." Gena spends each weekend with her family, and her mother has taken on a wider range of projects to help retarded children. In her business she has organized Texas charter flights to the "Special Olympics." Through Chi Omega Sorority, she has helped raise over $100,000 for the Harris County Center for the Retarded. On her own time she lobbied in Austin last year during budget hearings for funding for special children. "It's because of my love for Gena," she says warmly. "I want Gena to reach her full potential. I know she has a better chance in an ongoing school program. She's a "special child." And, it is clear to those who know Barbara Lee Teas that she is a "special" mother. JANICE BLUE Great grandmother HAZEL MAY FRIDGE Hazel May Fridge, 72, a small woman with large blue eyes, sits in her room in the Senior Citizens' Home in Houston's Dominican College surrounded by magazines, books, stacks of newspapers, letters and a dozen overflowing cardboard filing boxes. "It's a job in itself to keep up with what's going on in the world," explains Fridge, a vibrant woman with three granddaughters. Fridge supported herself through college, working as a bookkeeper while studying to be a