Portraits of Change is a deep, intimate look at the powerful impact of the women's movement and the widespread social upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s on women's lives. The author follows four generations of women in her family from the turn of the last century to the present as they came of age, married, divorced, and grew old. Enduring parallels and family patterns tying one generation to the next were overwhelmed by the many differences erupting from the changes that swept through this country at mid-century. The changes were so vast, so powerful, that her grandmothers' experiences of marriage, sex, work, motherhood, divorce, and aging bore little resemblance to her mother's or her own. Yet on the most personal levels they dreamed the same dreams, suffered the same disappointments, and shared the same joys. In each generation they responded to the constraints and freedoms that would shape the next, not thinking their reactions would lead to unanticipated and often painful consequences for themselves, their daughters, and those who loved them. Relying on interviews conducted almost thirty years ago with her grandmothers as well as her own experiences and those of her mother and daughters, Mary White Stewart looks with unerring honesty at these lives and wonders at both the hard-earned freedoms and the painful, unanticipated consequences of rapid, historic change.
Preface Acknowledgments Introduction I Constructing Childhood II If It Feels Good . . . III May I Have This Dance? IV Divorce and Disillusionment V Doing It All VI Coming Undone VII Coming to Terms