Susan F. Kennedy

Today we had a class where we learned that March is Women’s History Month. Sergeant W asked us if we could name any famous women. A few hands went up. Joan of Arc. Madame Curie. Condoleeza Rice (my suggestion). We named five or six.

Oh, so we couldn’t name very many. Coincidentally Sergeant W just happened to have sixty printouts with famous womens’ names on them. We went around the room reading a short one-paragraph biography of each woman while people counted dots on the ceiling. When it was my turn, I stood up and pretended to read from my sheet, but actually read a biography I had written in my notebook on the desk.

Susan F. Kennedy (1861-1924)

The first wife of President John F. Kennedy, she founded the United Nations Foundation to Combat Literacy. In 1915, she invented an ice-cleaning machine known today as the Zamboni. She is best known for discovering the continent of South America, and was the first to capture a live penguin.

A few people seemed to take notice. “What continent did she discover?” someone said. “South America,” I said, trying not to laugh, and passed my sheet back in. The two soldiers next to me, who spoke Spanish, had a quick puzzled discussion as they tried to figure out which bio I had read. Buena suerte, no está allí.

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