A Month to Celebrate!

There is so much happening the month of March to honor and celebrate! Of course, I’ll start with Caroline. Her birthday is March 6th and she was born in 1897. It’s also time to acknowledge Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day on the 8th. So many accomplished women have been left out of our history books. Scientists, writers, artists and more need our attention to help tell their stories.

Caroline as an infant.
Caroline Raymond Mytinger at approximately age 23, Cleveland, Ohio
Courtesy of the Stoughton Family

Caroline and her dear friend from high school, Margaret Warner, did the unthinkable for the 1920s. Two women, with little money in their pockets, ventured to Melanesia. Many times, they had to depend on the plantation owners and government officials to arrange transportation from one location to the other. These “hitchhiking” young women endured many obstacles and health issues. From Caroline’s book, New Guinea Headhunt, is an excerpt describing what they gathered. One vessel they traveled on was a supply vessel they called “Maroma” because of the odors emanating from the cargo hold. They endured the discomfort for the opportunity to travel from Samarai to one of the most remote areas of Papua – Rossel Islands (Yela) and  through the Louisiade Archipelago.

“Then there was the first-aid kit. When we left San Francisco, we had carried no medicine at all, largely I think because we had our health and there is nothing quite so indestructible-feeling as a healthy American. But also because we did not have any extra funds with which to gamble on being sick. Now we had brews for malaria, for dysentery, for a total absence of dysentery, for eye-strain and foot and ear fungus, for island sores and insect bites …. These items luckily did not have to be purchased now all of a lump; they were an accumulation acquired as we had acquired the indispositions they had cured.”

Two significant paintings were produced during this portion of their expedition. Yela Fisherman and Iomai.

Yela Fisherman 
Iomai from Panasesa

Lectures and screenings of the film continue! I would like to thank the Northern California Chapter of Explorers Club for hosting an evening. Sadly, I could not attend but a dear friend, Deborah Kirk, represented the project for the evening.

In Australia, the film was screened at beautiful Retford Park hosted by the National Trust of Australia. Major supporter, Lynne Ainsworth, arranged for the event and I wish to thank her and the gracious hosts. Forty people attended with some travelling from the Blue Mountains and Sydney! The feedback and questions following the film were very positive and strong interest was shown in the prints, shown below, and books of Caroline’s that were on display.

Beautiful Retford Park
Painting by Caroline in Northern Australia
Painting by Caroline in Northern Australia

Have a wonderful month celebrating the achievements by women!

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