Eye roll, this is the way it was, I walked six miles through the snow to get to school each day . . . no, not really. But that is the "way it was" stories I was brought up with, even though I grew up in California.
For me the way it was, is that I took a bus to school and it took about an hour. This was not bussing for integration bussing - this was bussing for an education bussing. I lived in a semi-rural area and if you wanted an education, you got on a bus that went all around the area picking up kids.
When bussing for integration happened, I was in high school and I remember reading the stories in Time magazine. I really couldn't understand "what's the big deal" with bussing. The stories always emphasized how long the kids would need to be on the bus. It usually was much shorter than I was on the bus. To me it seemed a one way issue - want an education - get on the bus.
Women had three main career paths, when I was young - teacher, secretary, nurse. If you didn't find these attractive, you could work at becoming a wife and mother, although no one described this as a career. That is the way it was.
My Dad was a great proponent of "using your brain." Since I happened to have one, he expected me to use it - he never told me about the problems women had trying to break out of the expected. I did well in school and thought that was the key to being able to succeed. I didn't know about glass ceilings or that women could only do three things.
My first clue should have been when I was offered a scholarship at the Coast Guard Academy. I sent the application back and was rejected - at the time they were only taking men. My scholarship was because they liked my brains and thought Cydneys were men. I didn't know to fight injustices like this. Actually, truth be told, the brochures they sent me extolled the great tradition at the Coast Guard Academy of jumping off a cliff into the Atlantic Ocean. Growing up in California, I believed all oceans were very VERY cold!! I did want to go to college for free - I didn't want to jump into a cold ocean. That is the way it was.
Writing has always been like painting to me. In high school I was on the newspaper and really enjoyed writing to deadline. I liked finding new hooks. I liked investigating stories. My aunt was a former journalist and journalism instructor at San Francisco City College. I felt like I was following in her footsteps. I wanted to be editor of the Hoofbeats. I worked really hard. I was crushed when our instructor/advisor called me into her office and told me that I couldn't be editor because I was a girl. That is the way it was.