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by Martha Roth
Spinsters Ink, 1996

“Goodness . . . shines from us like a line of beacons showing the way.”

“Indeed, the loving, caring, acting beings-so real, so unforgettable-who comprise this book shine like a beacon: reaffirming, inspiring, and steadying. I want everyone I love to read this book. But, most of all, I want people for whom these beings and these kinds of ‘family values’ are undiscovered country to read this book right now!”
—Tillie Olsen, author Silences and Tell Me a Riddle

“A skillful and touching portrait of movement people from their glory days in the anti-war ‘60s to the somber days of  the Reagan ‘80s.”
—Katha Pollitt, essayist, author of Reasonable Creatures

Goodness brings the reader  into a close-knit community of midwestern peace activists, whose coming of age during the tumult of the 1960s profoundly shapes the rest of their lives. The evolving relationships among friends and lovers, women and women, women and men, mothers and their children are woven into a story of pain and discovery, of trying to change the world during an era of intense social upheaval, and of trying to maintain the idealism of the 1960s without succumbing to the cynicism of later years.

At the heart of this book are the women: Cora, Dinah, Maureen, Thelma, Persimmon, Max, and the others—women who discover and explore feminism through their peace activism, who support and prod one another through the puzzling maze of finding themselves, who touch one another in ways that reverberate into future decades, who create lasting friendships that enable them to survive.

Goodness is a must-read for anyone who participated in the idealistic turmoil of the 1960s and the birth of feminism that emerged at the end of that decade—or those who wish they had!

Excerpt from Goodness
P. 113:

When the weather warmed up, we took our clothes off and painted our faces, walked barefoot, wore our real hair. After years of perms, of teasing and setting, ironing and color rinses, I finally got my real hair back in 1967. We all became pagans, even the Minnesota Lutherans learned to drum and chant. Joel and Amos had long hair, they were beautiful hippie children except they did get their shots because their father was a very straight doctor. A girl named Sunsparrow who lived in my house for a while acted shocked.

“You really want them injected with poisons? You know how many kids get sick from those shots?”

Lots of people stayed in my little green house - theater buddies, draft resisters, assorted hippies and musicians and their women, which is what we called each other in those days. I didn’t mind being somebody’s woman, it sounded earthy. We took our shows on the road to college towns wherever there were anti-war groups and of course I schlepped the kids along, although Reuben never failed to give me a hard time, usually on the phone. Did he offer to take them? No. He just gave me a hard time.

“How do I know what you’re doing, Dinah? What you’re exposing them to?”

“Get hip, Reuben. I’m their mom.”

“Well, I’m their dad. How do I know what you’re feeding them, where they’re sleeping. This filthy hippie life breeds incredible parasitic diseases, scabies for god’s sake. People haven’t had scabies since the Middle Ages.”...

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