As I dig deeper into the lives of Amy E. Blanchard and Ida Waugh I find myself increasingly interested in the subject of women's friendships. One book usually leads to another, and there are so many that I want to read that I have to be very careful which rabbit hole I choose to slip down and for how long.
I bought a book at the thrift store a very long time ago, but just recently unearthed it from the bulging shelf of my reference books. Carolyn G. Heilbrun (a.k.a. Amanda Cross) wrote Writing a Woman's Life in 1988; it is a veritable wealth of inspiration and information, especially where my own research is concerned. Not only did it provide me with many new points of reference, it reinforced the importance of sharing Amy and Ida's friendship with the world.
As she discusses the importance of uncovering friendships between women, particularly those of the past, she writes "If one sets out to survey the annals of friendship...one ends by reading...of male friendships. If the friendships of women are considered at all, and that is rare enough, they intrude into the male account the way a token woman is reluctantly included in a male community."
What struck me to the core, to the very heart of my passion for uncovering the story of Amy and Ida was this particular excerpt: "The sign of female friendship is not whether friends are homosexual or heterosexual, lovers or not, but whether they share the wonderful energy of work in the public sphere. These, some of them hidden, are the friends whom biographers must seek out."
Amy and Ida worked in the public sphere as they lived, with a drive and passion that to not work would be unthinkable, just as to not share their life with each other would be equally unbearable. BFFs as they say nowadays...Best Friends Forever.