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Thursday, February 18, 2021

Throwback Thursday: Ellen McConnell Blakeman Passed Away 3 Yrs + 1 Wk Ago

The text-based image atop this entry may look familar to you dear reader, as it is a copy of the dedication page for volume two of my book series, Words In Our Beak.

This is a photo of my three volume book series, "Words In Our Beak." Information re the books is another one of my blog  posts @

As you may have noted, volume two is dedicated to the memory of the dearly departed Ellen McConnell Blakemann, who died three years and one week ago on 2-11-2018. 

My book's dedication page indicates she was one of Cam's first fans and biggest suporters. Cam, a female Northern cardinal, is the narrator of these books in which she recounts her experiences of spending time in my rooftop garden, where the stories are set.

As for Ellen, I initally met her when we were in elementary school, and on one occasion our third grade teacher had us stay in from recess so that Ellen could help me with my poor penmanship. We subsequently lost track of each other when we attended separate junior highschools.

However, years later,  (in the late 1980's or early 1990's) we reconnected when I was living in NYC. Ellen was living in Oak Park Illinois at that time, but even though geography and years had separated us from constant contact, we quickly rekindled our friendship and kept in touch up until a week or so before she passed way. 

Among other things, Ellen became one of Cam's biggest supporters.

This was thrilling to Cam on many levels. For one, the state of Illinois, where Ellen spent her life (except for a brief time in the Washington DC area) appoints a cardinal, (albeit the male variety) to be their state bird. 

And for another, Cam, being an advocate for the avian community, admired the many accomplishments Ellen achieved on so many levels; especially advocacy and being a forerunner in a role women now play.

In terms of Cam, her inspiration to advocate for the avian communiy started when she learned that orinthologists often dismiss female cardinals for their "so-called dull  coloring" and "concentrate on the bright red males."

Ellen as I just mentioned, "achieved on so many levels; especially advocacy and being a forerunner in a role women now play." 

Ellen goes down in history as being a predecessor re a role young girls are now allowed to play in the United states government, for she was one of three girls to ever become a Senate Page. Prior to that only boys were considered for the opportunity; as illustrated below in a copy of a 5-14-2019 tweet sent out by U.S. Senate History.

Ellen is the girl with the short black hair in the left panel of the tweet's images.

In the following picture, which has been in featured prior posts here on Blogger, she can be seen as a grown woman. 

She is often on my mind as you might imagine, given our history, but I have been thinking of her even more saw when I follow news stories that discuss the proceedings within trials that involve the United States's Senate.

The year of 2020 began with pages in the spotlight, delivering messages, water, milk and other things during the impeachment trial of then President Donald Trump, "the Senate (had) to survive [because of the consequences of COVID-19] the rest of 2020 without eager teens holding doors open and chatting in the chamber."

This whole scenario caused me to want to talk with the dearly departed Ellen and hear her personal view on the pandemic's impact on Senate Pages.

2021 hasn't changed much from 2020 when it comes to opportunities for Senate Pages. 

The other week when the second impeachment hearings for former president Trump, were being held, commentators remarked on how diffent things looked at these hearings without the presence of Senate Pages. 

Those individuals are not yet a part of the landscape in the the wake of the cornavirus pandemic due to the precaurions which need to be taken to prevent the spread. This is probably another topic I would've discussed with Ellen had she not passed away three years and one week ago on 2-11-2018.

The legacy she leaves behind in so many areas is far too much to mention in blog posts but if you are curious to what she has said about being a Senate Page, please click here to read a PDF of an interview she gave.

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