CHARLTON – March is Women’s History Month, making it a good time to celebrate local author Teri Gay. The Charlton resident is an expert on upstate New York’s rich history of female pioneers.
Gay is the author of “Strength Without Compromise,” which she released in 2009, and the 2013 release, “The Wife Who Came with Workboots (And Other Stories of Life and Love in Charlton Country)”.
“The Wife” is a memoir, set against the backdrop of Teri Gay’s life living out in the country with her second husband, John Gay, an engineer and land surveyor. The book tells about growing up in Glens Falls in the 1960s and ’70s, being a wife and mother, and a professional woman in the ’80s and ’90s. The book details the struggles of getting divorced and remarrying, turning 50 and embracing life and the 21st century. Gay talks about growing up poor, rising to a career corporate executive, suffering through personal turmoil, and how she managed to come through it all.
Gay explains she decided to put her heart into writing specifically about this side of feminism, not only because our region is rich in its history, but because these issues remain so current. Similar struggles remain for today’s woman who wants a career, a family, maybe both, maybe at the same time and maybe not.
She said the book is about “celebrating gender differences between men and women, and encouraging women to embrace our femininity as we strive to work, raise our families, and contribute to our world to the greatest level of our potential, instead of promoting a feminist agenda that is articulated in the language of oppression of women by men, or negating our femininity in order to achieve parity with men — and, finally, promoting the idea that in the 21st century gender equity works in both directions.”
Her second release differs from her first book, which could serve as a historical learning piece too. Regarding “Strength Without Compromise,” Gay said she was amazed at how these women accomplished change, step by step and piece by piece from their upstate New York farms, where they were also working as farmers, raising a family and caring for their husbands. The book is set against the backdrop of the national women’s rights movement at the beginning of the 20th century, focusing on the need for political equality and suffrage. It focuses on the Political Equality Club of Easton and the work of its two most ardent leaders, Lucy Allen and Chloe Sisson.
The book showcases how these women organized to educate, inspire and collaborate with their community to enable women and win them the right to vote.t seem to be a battle of the sexes, but rather a fight for human equality.
Gay said she is “writing from my love of geography and place, as my work and writings are very much a product of the attachment I feel to this region, the land, this southern Adirondacks area where I was born, grew up, and where I now live today; and, conveying the importance of really knowing this place, carrying it inside me, and being privileged to write about its history and people, and how it allows me to live my best life and do my best work.”
Gay is a graduate of Leadership Saratoga (2006), and is a member of the Brookside Historical Museum, the Charlton Historical Society, and the Saratoga County League of Women Voters.
She is the wife of John Gay, engineer and land surveyor, and President/CEO of Northeast Consultants in Malta. She is the proud mother of three sons, two stepdaughters, and eight step-grandchildren. She lives in Charlton with her family and their black lab, Bear.
Gay is like a pioneer herself, completing years of researching and writing that documents the changes women fought so hard for, the very changes that are honored as we come to the close of Women’s History Month.
Are you a fan of Teri’s work? What was one of the most interesting things you’ve learned from her work? Login and tell us by commenting below!