My mother Phyllis Schlafly made quite a name for herself in the fight over the Equal Rights Amendment, but here are a few little-known facts about her.
1. She was painfully shy. It was easier for her to speak at a podium to a huge crowd than to engage in small-talk with one person. She spent her life trying to conquer her shyness.
2. She had a keen sense of humor and used humor to score debate points. She once sang “Bella’s Bunch is Coming to Town” to the tune of the Santa Claus version.
3. She recited the rosary every single day. Prayer gave her great comfort.
4. She sheltered an unwed mother by inviting her to live in our home during her pregnancy, which enabled the woman to keep her job and career.
5. She loved to sing show tunes. Her favorite was “Show Boat,” and she once sang “Ol’ Man River” on a tourist boat on the Nile River.
6. She grocery-shopped at health food stores and advocated for whole grains and farm-fresh foods long before it was popular to do so.
7. Her signature dessert was meringues with ice cream and strawberries. She always hand-whipped the egg whites for maximum fluffiness.
8. She learned how to swim at age 20 because it was a college requirement for graduation.
9. She got an “A” grade in her family law course in law school because she wrote her exam paper from a feminist’s point of view.
10. She slept on a satin pillowcase so her coif would stay in place.