It was what everyone says is the best event we've ever had--and Betty was almost a no-show! She was in the hospital, forbidden by the doctors to leave, which had Jacqui & Joan at near nervous breakdowns as they tried to set up an intercom between her hospital room in Washington and the National Arts Club in NY. But Betty insisted she would be there--and by heaven she was! She missed the first shuttle from DC and arrived an hour late, but she was there.


When she arrived Barbara Seaman was at the airport to pick her up in a limousine. They got to the Arts Club around 4:30 and Betty looked great, not at all ill. Did she want to rest? NO! She wanted a drink and asked "Where's the panel?" She walked in to a rousing round of applause as the panel was deep into discussing "Betty Friedan's Impact on the 21st Century." I was downstairs trying to handle the seating arrangements (a fiasco!) and so can't report on it (wait for the video). Panelists were Muriel Fox; Catherine Stimpson, Dean of Graduate School of Arts & Culture & Society at NYU; Emma Coleman Jordan, Professor of Law at Georgetown U who represented Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas Confirmation Hearings; and Cynthia Fuchs Epstein, Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City College of NY.

(pictured above: panelists
Catherine Stimpson,
Muriel Fox and Cynthia Epstein)


(Myrna Lamb, Betty with Myrna's
granddaughter -- 15 years old -- April.)

The gorgeous National Arts Club was filled. The great oak-paneled Victorian bar was abuzz with excitement, with many who seldom or never attend a VFA event. I was too busy to circulate but know who was there: Florence Rush, publisher; Ruth Herschberger, author of "Adam's Rib"; Myrna Lamb, author of first feminist musical, "Mod Donna"; artists Susan Schwalb, Cynthia Navarette of NY, and Gloria Orenstein, Judy Meuli, Jean Stapleton and June Bundy-Csida of L.A.; Tiffany Holmes, author of "Woman's Astrology"; Boston women Bonnie Howard, Betsy Dunn, Priscilla Leith; Sarah Kovner (with Donna Shalala's office); Ronnie Feit of DC, now a lawyer, was Betty's asst in forming the NWPC; NOW founders Gene Boyer and Mary Eastwood from Wisconsin; Ginny Whitehill, Kay Cole and Maura McNeil, Dallas activists; Kappi Spencer, the Trust-breaker of Iowa; Carole Ann Taylor, who was Evelyn Cunningham's right hand at Governor Rockefeller's office in the '70's and now lives in Miami.

The dinner was wonderful, a welcome change from the Armory's fare. We ate and talked, not to waste a minute. Sheila Tobias, always cheerful and spirited, was chief emcee, but Muriel Fox and I were in there helping. Maybe it wasn't the best organized, formal occasion, but everyone had the time of their lives!

Betty talked first, then passed the torch to 26-year-old Galen Sherwin, president of NY NOW. I passed it to my granddaughter Natalia Ronceria, a frosh at Clark U; Myrna Lamb passed it to her granddaughter, April.

(Galen Sherwin receives the
"Torch" from Betty

We got no further, as the testimonies took the entire time! But others there were Suzanne Benton and daughter Janet from Ridgefield, CT; Patricia Burnett (Detroit) with Hilary; Diana Gartner of Baltimore, with nieces Devra and Linda Berkowitz; Connie Comer's daughter and granddaughter, Deborah and Brooke Whitfield; Shelah Leader with Lauren; Florence Falk Dickler with her daughter.

(above: Panelist Emma Coleman Jordan,
Professor of Law at Georgetown U
represented Anita Hill)

Some members wish their daughters and granddaughters would belong to VFA -- so we're considering a "Pass the Torch" contingent. What do you think?

Betty sat up front with her friends. The program was "us," the women in the audience. We each gave a brief testimony about how Betty changed our lives. They were all moving, funny, sometimes hilarious, always inspiring.

(above: Betty with Kathy Sarachild)

Here's Kathy Sarachild's (of Redstockings) message:

To Betty Friedan, passionate mobilizer, staunch persuader, grand strategist

At first, in 1963, when I was 20 and ripe for more after reading Simone de Beauvoir, you punctured the myth that American's women are the most emancipated. You opened my eyes to the "passionate journey" of our 19th century feminist foremothers.

Next, although it took me longer to understand its importance, you were chief midwife for the rebirth of organized feminism. You not only wrote, you organized.

Women's Liberation fired the movement's spread, as you established a lasting organization. With you at the helm, NOW set principles and priorities so radical, basic and on target that they light the way forward and set a standard for the movement to return to today.

We stood together in some battles within the movement, taking positions that weren't popular, but we knew were right.

You have undoubtedly detected how much we all have to learn, but thank you for all you have given that we have been able to absorb, and all that we haven't yet.

Stay strong, stay long, seasoned one. We need you now.

More photos of Betty's celebration!

(with Dell Williams)

(with Elizabeth Holtzman)

(with Jan Peterson)

(with Letty Cottin Pogrebin)

(Marie Shear and Kate Swift)

(with Karen DeCrow)


(VFA VP Joan Michel)


Kathy and Carol Giardino presented Betty with red roses.

The event was a smash, as they say. Betty was thrilled. Everyone loved it. It was a magical evening. We hope to have more at the beautiful National Arts Club.

For VIDEOS of the complete evening -Send $35.00 ( for the dinner) , $25.00 for the panel discussion - or $60.00 for the two tapes.


Veteran Feminists of America
Jacqui Ceballos
Gateway Terrace
1942 N E 6th Court E-203
Ft Lauderdale, Fl 33304

Jacqui Ceballos


Some More Thoughts on Betty's Celebration!

Some More Thoughts on Betty's celebration:

I think VFA is doing something very beautiful. I especially loved Kate Millett's telegram, because--despite all our differences, which made the movement really juicy and spicy--we do have to honor our foremothers and our pioneers. I saw women at that event I hadn't seen for 20 years.

It was a sheer joy, and thanks from the bottom of my heart.
Best blessings,
Gloria Orenstein, Los Angeles

I sat in on the panel's presentation, "Betty Friedan's Impact On The 21st Century."
It was surely a highlight of the evening, not to diminish the many wonderful accolades Betty received later on.
Barbara Rubin,