Sometimes you find interesting things when you climb your family tree. For example, one of my prehistoric Ice Age ancestors was the first female professional rock chipper.
Her name in Cro-Magnon language meant “Pretty White Thing in Shell of Tasty Sea Animal.” The name “Margaret” means “Pearl.” So, we call her Maggie. Maggie the Cro-Magnon.
Even as a child, Maggie refused to accept the traditional cave dweller female roles. Yes, she learned how to skin animals, clean fish, put meat on a stick and hold it over the fire, and sew animal skins together. She could even poke holes in small bones to make needles. She knew those skills were handy, but she’d rather be out playing Dodge Rock with the boys or hunting wooly mammoths. She could throw a spear with the best of them, and her skill at mimicking animal calls was legendary. Her wild aurox mating call was especially prized.
Maggie showed the first signs of becoming a woman when she was 12 years old. Her parents figured it was high time to get her married off. Maggie would probably be dead by the time she was thirty, like everyone else, so Mom and Dad thought if they wanted to have any grandchildren who lived into adulthood they had better get Maggie married, even if they had to hold a spear to her head.
Unknown to Maggie’s parents, she was already in love with a boy named Andy,* who lived two caves over from Maggie’s family. Andy thought Maggie was hot, especially when she wore her high-cut animal skin with the leather underwear, and had no objection if his parents wanted to force him to be her husband. Andy’s parents made a deal with Maggie’s parents and the two kids were married as soon as they could get all the friends and relatives together and find an available shaman.
After a year of wedded bliss, including the birth of twins, the novelty wore off and Maggie became restless. She snapped at Andy whenever he spoke to her. Sometimes she would forget to have dinner ready, and the cave looked like nobody ever packed down the dirt floors or dusted the stone furniture. One evening, Andy decided he had had enough.
Andy: Sit down. We have to talk.
Maggie: I don’t feel like talking. Go outside or something.
Andy: You KNOW I can’t do that! There are wolves out there! That’s why we have to keep that stinky fire going all night!
Maggie (bursting into tears): My life is over! I’m nothing to you but a sex slave who cooks dinner and stomps the floor down! You make me do all the hard, boring work while you go out and have fun hunting down dangerous beasts and fighting wars! I WANT TO HUNT DANGEROUS BEASTS AND FIGHT WARS, DAMMIT! I can still do the wild aurox mating call and throw a spear!
Andy: Ah, Sweetie, don’t cry! You know I hate it when you cry!
Maggie (still crying): I can’t help it! I’m never going to have any fun again for the rest of my life! I’m a mess, and it’s all your fault!
Andy thought about Maggie’s situation and wondered what he could do to make her feel better. One day, he was walking past the cave of Clive the Toolmaker, who lived next to a cliff and whose name meant “Guy Who Lives Next to Cliff.” Clive had put up a sign, done in the best cave painting style, indicating that he was looking for a part-time apprentice.
Andy thought Maggie would be satisfied with a part-time job, and she was certainly capable of cutting rocks, as well as throwing them. He spoke to Clive. Clive agreed to give Maggie a try.
The rest is history. Maggie soon became the best flint chipper in the region. Clive retired at the ripe old age of 40 and Maggie took over the business. Her income was so good that Andy never had to work outside the home again. He became humanity’s first house husband, which was fine with him, because he turned out to be a great cook. He is credited with being the first person to add herbs to meat. He published a cave-picture recipe book and earned a lot of beads from it.
Feminism is nothing new, although it always seems to be.
By the way, Maggie fooled her parents. She didn’t die before age 30. She lived to be 70 years old. Andy lived to be 69, only because women usually live longer than men. In today’s years, they would have been about 100. That just goes to show you that being happy in your work can be a lifesaver.
*Andy’s Cro-Magnon name meant “Muscular Hunk with Big Fingers.” The name “Andrew” comes from the Greek for “manly.” Okay?