Heavens. I’m just sneaking under the wire with this one. It’s March 31 and the last day of Women’s History Month. I just wanted to salute those forgotten ladies who contributed to civilization over the centuries. Here’s my list of The 13 Most Important Women In History. Or, as we used to call it on my old college campus back in the day — “Herstory.”
13) MRS. CONNIE CONGOPANTS — In 1917, a Trenton, New Jersey, housewife and mother of six, Constance, became the first person to add those little sweet canned Mandarin oranges to a dinner salad. “It really wasn’t anything,” Abigail wrote in her autobiography, “I Shoulda Married A Guy Named Johnson” (Doubleday, $29.95, Amazon). “I was making my usual salad when a blinding light appeared in my kitchen. Out steps this celestial woman with a giant, conical bald head and bright red lipstick and says, ‘On our men’s planet, the guys just love the tangy sweetness and counterintuitive taste of Mandarin oranges!’”
12) LUCY, SR. — In 1938, anthropologists in South Africa discovered a cave with the earliest known wall paintings, dating back 4.6 million years. That predates Lucy, the little cave babe, by about 1.5 million years. A staggeringly large drawing of approximately 4 feet by 8 feet, or, a modern plywood sheet, the full-color painting depicts a placating caveman, bent over with arms outstretched. In a voice box above his head, he asks: “Will you please tell me what’s wrong?!?!?” Lucy Sr. is seen with her back slightly turned toward her hairy, stooped significant other, lower lip extended, arms folded over her cave girl breasts with a voice box above her coldly saying, “Nothing…”
11) BETTY CHARLEMAGNE — Betty was one of the many wives and mistresses of Frankish emperor, Charlemagne (first name, Bob). Her relationship to the famous 8th-Century king was short-lived, however, as she was the first woman in herstory to utter the phrase: “Nag? I don’t nag. Your mother nags…”
10) BEVERLY CHARLEMAGNE — Bev was one of the many wives and mistresses of Frankish emperor, Charlemagne (first name, Bob). Her relationship to the famous 8th-century king was short-lived, however, as she was the first woman in herstory to ask: “Do you think this giant green poofy silk dress makes my butt look big?” Sadly, Charlemagne said, “Oui” and Beverly was never seen again.
9) MRS. SARAH TIPPISH-LEE — In 1902 Wyoming, which a few years earlier had just made the mistake of giving women the right to vote, Sarah became the first woman in America to have a driver’s license. Moments later, she became the first woman to parallel park AND hit two parked cars. To her credit, Sarah left a pair of brief notes saying, “Whoops! Sorry!!” but didn’t sign them.
8) VELVEETA, CONSORT OF THREETWOCOMMEN, EMPEROR OF EGYPT, 3,553 B.C. — Egyptologists recently deciphered hieroglyphics noting that Velveeta, Mistress No. 3, was the first woman to laugh out of context.
7) LAVONNE “KITTY-KAT” LAVANOKOWSKI — First woman to do the Mashed Potato, North No Discernible Scenery, Nebraska, 1959. Was promptly arrested and still serving time at the Susan B. Anthony Women’s State Prison. Lavonne comes up for parole again in 2024.
6) SUSAN B. (for “Buster”) ANTHONY — No relation to the famous suffragette, but invented the Whoopee Cushion, For Girls.
5) SHANGRA-LA-LA McGILLICUDDY — This nomadic Tartary oxen herder of the late Pleistocene Epoch invented the first lapel. Not to be confused with Debbie McGillicuddy, lead singer of the 1960s Motown group, The Lapels. It should be noted that while Shangra-La-La McGillicuddy DID invent the lapel, it was only one lapel and that was on the back and horizontal. Years later, in Babylon, the single lapel was moved to the front of jackets by an anonymous servant named “Slave Girl.” It wasn’t until 1783, in the court of French king Louis XVI, when court seamstress and official Tart de Stable Boys, Denise Fromage, added a second lapel to Louis’ jacket moments before the signing of the Treaty of Versailles as the king felt, “strangely lopsided” with just the one.
4) SYLVANIA LA DOLCE VITA — Wife of famous and controversial 1920s world explorer, Tony La Dolce Vita. Tony made international headlines by driving the couple’s 1918 Alfa Romeo from Naples, Italy, to Siberia, smack dab in the middle of the Russian Revolution. Actually, the pair had set out to the market in Naples to purchase meatballs and months later, ended up in the badlands of northern Mother Russia. Sylvania became the first woman in history to utter: “Honey. Bambino. Why donna you stoppa and askka for some directions…?”
3) HENRIETTA HIGGINS — In 1708, the flower peddler became the first woman to serve in Britain’s House of Commons and is actually famous for losing a public debate against Ratcatcher Tommy on the topic of The Inherent Dishonesty Of Men. Rare in such arguments, Tommy got the last word in when he responded: “Oh yeah? ‘Inherent Dishonesty,’ Mum? Then how come your kind paints their faces and tries to appear taller than what they actually are?”
2) TIFFANY-MARIE ARIGATO — Fabled 7th-Century Japanese author and first known artist, poet or country/western song writer to rhyme the words, “Moon” and “June.” It was in her anti-haiku prose, “Moon. June.”
1) MILLY FILLMORE — According to the National Museum of Transgenderism in Palmdale, California, the 13th president of the United States was actually the woman, Mildred Fillmore, who posed as the square-jawed Millard Fillmore. Millie was famous for inventing the popular blue-haired box haircut for older women and became the first president to recognize the country of Togo in West Africa, although long after he/she was out of the White House. Milly liked the idea that “…there was a place left on Earth where a woman had the freedom to go unfettered and topless.” Pre-dating Lyndon Johnson, Fillmore was also the first president to allow pole dancing in The Oval Office…
With 119 major writing awards, Santa Clarita’s John Boston is noted as one of America’s top newspaper columnists. Visit his bookstore at johnbostonbooks.com, won’t you?