His View: Marion Spinelli, a Woman Ahead of Her Time


Powerful Ladies. Does that phrase conjure up Wonder Woman or Laura Croft?  For you, maybe. I have been lucky to have many real-world powerful women in my life: my mother, grandmother, wife, sister’s and aunt to name a few.  Someone once said, “behind every successful man is a surprise mother in-law”, and that highlights how often women have taken a behind the scenes role in society. The world is a funny place and there have be so called “rules” or behaviors that men and women have been expected to follow.  Sometimes with no rhythm or reason. It’s just how it is or how it was. These societal “rules” are changing and have been changing for the way women are viewed and what is expected of them. Some men see it as an invasion of their manhood or a loss of power. In my opinon, these men fight or try to subvert this change only out of fear.  Most men welcome a Powerful Lady as a partner, mentor or even a friend. Yes, sometimes hormones get in the way, and that’s how men are wired and I’ll save that for a future discussion. Here’s what I think. This world is a hard enough place to make your way, so why not pull in the same direction with our fellow humans? Male or Female.  

A woman very much ahead of her time and a powerful woman, is my grandmother.   Marion Spinelli, maiden name Corsaro, born in 1902 at the beginning of the 20th century. A suffragette in a time when women were arrest and punished by the men and their family’s for protesting for the right for women to vote. At four foot eleven packed with six foot six of ambition, she had a loud voice when needed.  She ran her family like she was the CEO - a role she could have had, but she was just born too soon.

She did create along the way two Powerful Ladies, my mother and my aunt, who she instilled with the character needed to move the women’s movement forward one more notch or so. Marion’s drive was not so much to make women equal to men as to create more opportunities for women.  She wanted to make a women’s ambition and natural drive accepted.

Marion was trained as a seamstress and dreamed of becoming a clothing designer. Though that dream was never totally realized, as a child I saw the stream of people coming through her Cape Cod home disappear into the basement sewing room and come out with one-of-a-kind wedding dress or evening gown. Marion handmade my blue suit for my first communion.  So few people know how to hand make clothing today, let alone to the degree of perfection and detail as my grandmother. You could turn her items inside out and they were just as finished and beautiful as the exterior.

Though Marion saw the enactment of the Women’s right to vote, other avenues for women were still were cut off by the society of that day. She did not give up but turned her ambition to her growing family always instilling that education and reading was the way to succeed for everyone. If she could not reach the level of ambition she wanted in her lifetime, she was determined that her son, and especially her daughters, would have the knowledge to do so.

I remember the respect my Grandfather had for my Grandmother.  He instilled in my uncle and all of us other boys in the family that women were to be respected, were more than capable, and that the good ones will keep us on our toes.  I’m proud to be part of a family that was ahead of its time.

From one proud son, nephew, husband and father, I’m here to tell you that You have the Power!


George has been married for 43 years to his high school sweetheart, Wendy. He has three daughters and one son - all powerful. He loves a good hero’s journey be it a great movie, book, or comic book. Family, music, art, motocross, genealogy, Americana and the American Dream are a few of his favorite topics. He believes in equality and that “with great power comes great responsibility.”