Shrewsbury – Rockie Blunt Jr.'s inspiration for the creative writing seminar he will host Tuesday July 10 from 2 to 4 p.m., at the Shrewsbury Public Library came to him in the summer of 1948.
That's when the longtime Shrewsbury resident and author of six books overheard a conversation between a young woman, her father and a high school principal.
The principal was urging the father to send the woman, one of the smartest students – male or female – in his school that year, to college, something the young woman wanted very much.
"What do you need to go to college for?" Blunt remembers hearing the father ask the daughter. "All you're good for is making babies. You need to be barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen."
Blunt, 81, shook his head, a sad look on his face, when he remembered that exchange between father and daughter nearly 60 years ago.
"That was the mentality back then," Blunt said. "Women were completely cared for by their husbands. The only jobs they could get back then was as a nurse, teacher, nun or secretary."
Because women were expected to – and did, for the most part – acquiesce to their husbands, Blunt believes many have never expressed themselves in any capacity.
His seminar will give them a chance to do that.
"The seminar is specifically for these women," Blunt said, "who were suppressed by society. I'm aiming for women that are at a point in their life where the kids have grown up and moved out, and their husband has died, and they have a chance to open up and share their innermost thoughts for, probably, the first time ever.
"Hopefully I can bring about some creative freedom for these women," Blunt said. "There's a real need for these women to open themselves up to the world."
Blunt said the seminar is not intended to focus on geneaology – as some of the releases about the event have stated – but if someone attending wants to discuss the topic, he's written a book about his own family history, he'll be happy to discuss it.
Blunt said he would like the attendance at the seminar to be around 15, and hopefully there will be adequate interest that additional sessions can be added later in the summer.
"I think the idea of writing down their innermost thoughts will be met with a lot of enthusiasm once these women get comfortable with the idea. I think they'll find it exciting," he said. "Even today, all these years later, these women that I'm talking about are still aff ected by the way they were brought up. They were taught to be reticent and to know their place. I want to wipe all that away."