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I won't argue. I remember my grandmother too well to have any doubts about what she was capable of, and I've seen too many flashes of her in other family women. Everyone lived in terror of Nana's older sister, Marie; and although the baby sister, whom I knew as Great-Aunt Rose Sauerbrunn, is remembered as kind and loving, it always seemed to me she dominated any room she entered. The problem we run into when we drop back in history a few years and try to take the measure of women like my grandmother and great-aunt is that there's so little quantified evidence of their worth. Women were like football's offensive linemen. They might have been overwhelming, but they left nothing behind but legend that says so.
Who knows what Peter Heibel's daughters would have made of the company they weren't allowed to run? Or to return to athletics as an example, who knows what women raised when there was no serious varsity competition in high school, no athletic scholarships to college, and no professional leagues might have accomplished if there had been? Was Nana a born jock with no alternative but to shape herself into a lady? Was Great-Aunt Rose?
But time sweeps on, and someone at my distance can admire the sweep. Last week Rebecca Elizabeth Sauerbrunn, who played her high school ball in suburban Saint Louis, her college ball at the University of Virginia, and her pro ball in Kansas City, was named to the U.S. national soccer team. This June she'll compete in Canada for the Women's World Cup championship. I wonder if she’s ever given her great-grandmother Rose a thought—we don't dwell on those fading photos of ancestors we never knew pasted in family albums. We barely glance. But I can remember one as I watch the other, and I think of Becky Sauerbrunn as a worthy chip off the old whatever.
So go kick butt for the family!