Traverse City Record-Eagle

Feature Columnists

January 18, 2014

Rob Ford: 3 women had power, influence long before they knew it

I had the fortunate circumstance of living with the influential forces of powerful and brilliant women pressed upon the budding persona of Rob Ford from an early age.

My mother was a former member of the United States Marine Corps. I don’t know if your mom was ever a Marine, but mine was, and from as early as I can remember, her themes of personal responsibility and respect were more than evident.

“Show up to work five minutes early, Rob. Nobody ever got in trouble doing that,” was just one of the more valuable pieces of advice she’s given to me.

So, home life was covered.

My early school days were a parade from one female elementary school teacher to another. I was in the sixth grade before I had a home room teacher who was not a woman. From that point on, the genders were mixed, but the influences of women upon my life hardly ceased.

In fact, when the regular teachers were absent, the substitutes may have even more influential.

A certain aspiring judicial candidate named Betty Weaver was a frequent substitute teacher at Glen Lake during my middle school tenure there. And if Miss Weaver achieved a reputation as a stern dispenser of justice from the bench of the Michigan Supreme Court, it comes as no surprise to this former student of hers.

Where my mother’s lessons of personal responsibility and respect were learned around the dinner table, in church or throughout the household, Miss Weaver’s were dispensed somewhere near the business end of a firmly clutched yardstick.

The justice wasn’t what anyone would ever call ruthless or reckless, but from the moment you entered a classroom of hers, the notions of who was in charge, whose rules would be adhered to and what the consequences for straying would be were never in question. As a student, you might not have liked it, but you knew what the deal was. It was as simple as that.

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