One of my favorite memoirists is Patricia Hampl, and one of her books is titled, The Florist’s Daughter, so I quite consciously modeled the title of my latest article after her book. Back in the 50s, when I was growing up in what was then a small city in upstate New York, my friends and I often walked into Krupczak’s Pharmacy to pay a nickel for a sheet of pink newsprint with the lyrics of the top 40 songs played on the nearest rock and roll radio station, WTRY.
When I grew up and left town, my mother sometimes gave me an update on Mary Ann, the Krupczaks’ daughter, who became a lawyer and eventually the first female attorney general of New York State. My mother was no feminist, but both she and my dad were proud that a fellow Polish American, and one from our town, made it so high in the political world.
Fast forward forty or fifty years, and I’m writing for a new online paper in that same town, now a much smaller depressed industrial shell surrounded by big box retailers and the occasional remaining dairy farm. The editor asks me to write something for the Polish American issue of Upstream his literary magazine. Immediately I thought of Mary Ann. I found her on LinkedIn, shot off a few email questions, and with her reply, was back in the old days on Hibbard Street, buying an ice cream cone from her parents’ store. Then I was a young woman of the 70s, first puzzled, then inspired by feminists like Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug…and Mary Ann Krupsak, who knew them both and many more.
Life takes strange turns sometimes, and where we end up cannot always be foreseen. I’m so pleased I got to know Mary Ann better, if only via email, and to add another page to this chapter in the history of the women of Amsterdam, NY, in honor of Women’s History month.
To read the full article, follow this link:
The Pharmacist’s Daughter – An Interview With Former Amsterdamian & NYS Lt. Governor Mary Anne Krupsak