The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

Our Daily Lives presents excerpts of women’s autobiographies, essays, letters, journals, diaries, oral histories and testimony with the hopes our readers will respond to the authentic emotions and ideas and see a connection to their own lives.

Gen. Kennedy Tells How to Stay Cool

Our Daily Lives presents excerpts of women’s autobiographies, essays, letters, journals, diaries, oral histories and testimony with the hopes our readers will respond to the authentic emotions and ideas and see a connection to their own lives.This month, Our Daily Lives presents an excerpt from “Generally Speaking: A Memoir by the First Woman Promoted to Three-Star General in the United States Army,” by Lt. Gen. Claudia J. Kennedy (Ret.). Below, Gen. Kennedy recalls working with a brigade commander whose evaluations could have brought her Army career to an end. Years later, she writes, her “quiet self-discipline” under difficult circumstances was a good long-term strategy in any career that has its ups and downs. Gen. Kennedy refers to herself as an MI officer. She was in Military Intelligence.I continued to focus on my job.

Too Close for Comfort

Our Daily Lives presents excerpts of women’s autobiographies, essays, letters, journals, diaries, oral histories and testimony with the hopes our readers will respond to the authentic emotions and ideas and see a connection to their own lives.This month, Our Daily Lives presents an excerpt from “Lurgan Champagne and Other Tales: Real-Life Stories From Northern Ireland,” edited by Kate Fearon and Amanda Verlaque. In “Lurgan Champagne,” young Northern Irish women write about growing up in a country torn by sectarian violence. In this excerpt, “Too Close for Comfort,” the author describes growing up in an environment where fear and violence are the norm. She mentions the 12th of July, the height of sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland. The date commemorates the defeat of a Catholic king by Protestants in 1690.

Women Struggle to Make It on Housemaid’s Wages

This month, Our Daily Lives presents a first-person account of journalist Barbara Ehrenreich. The author went undercover to take a series of low-paying, entry-level jobs and tried to live on her wages. “This is really a story of how hard you have to work to fail,” Ehrenreich said at a presentation of her book, “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America” (Metropolitan Books, New York), at the New School in New York on May 14.The author describes starting work for a maid service in Maine:I get pushy with Rosalie, who is new like me and fresh from high school in a rural northern part of the state, about the meagerness of her lunches, which consists solely of Doritos–a half bag from the day before or a freshly purchased small-sized bag. She just didn’t have anything in the house, she says (though she lives with her boyfriend and his mother), and she certainly doesn’t have any money to buy lunch, as I find out when I offer to fetch her a soda from a Quick Mart and she has to admit she doesn’t have 89 cents. I treat her to the soda, wishing I could force her, mommy-like, to take milk instead.