Lenore Schaeffer married at 16 and says, "I was kept very
busy being a wife and mother, and then a single mother, raising
two sons alone." Her first husband "ran off with a
chorus girl" when she was pregnant with their second child.
She refused to take him back. Twelve years later she married
her second husband, whom she describes as "a good man and
a good provider." Schaeffer, who lives independently in
her own home, took up ballroom dancing at 82. She claims to be
the nation's oldest competitive ballroom dancer. "I have
danced my way from New York City to Mexico City, and I have a
house full of trophies to prove it."
What was the most important thing
that happened for women during this century? When
women were finally given the right of citizenship. The right
to vote was the first step in the struggle of women to achieve
equality with men, in obtaining an education, seeking employment
in all areas of endeavor, and receiving equal pay.
How did it affect your life?
I was an adult who couldn't vote, wasn't permitted to receive
a higher education. My parents were immigrants, and to their
way of thinking education wasn't important for me, but it was
for my brothers. I wasn't able to develop my potential in the
workplace because the opportunities in the commercial world were
reserved exclusively for men. For women, the right to vote started
What advice would you give to girls
today? Take advantage of all the opportunities the
women of my generation fought so hard to achieve for you. It's
time to take a step further and elect a woman president!