Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
(Reprinted from the May 5, 1977, Tri-County News) Women today are so busy trying to find themselves amid their philosophies and demands that they sometimes fail to look within at their abilities and characteristics. In The World's First Love by Fulton Sheen, the difference between a woman's equity and equality is discussed. Bishop Sheen says " ... the important question is not whether a woman finds favor in the eyes of a man, but whether she can satisfy the basic instincts of womanhood. The problem of a woman is whether certain God-given qualities, which are specifically her's are given adequate and full expression. The qualities are principally devotion, sacrifice and love. They need not necessarily be expressed in a family, nor even in a convent ... It is sometimes said that the professional woman is hard. This may, in a few instances, be true, but if so, it is not because she is in a profession, but because she has alienated her profession from contact with human beings in a way to satisfy the deeper cravings of her heart." Dotte Serbus has worked out the "equality" issue in her life by spending many years working for other people. She began outside employment at age 15 when she worked at St. Barnabas Hospital. That was followed by a stint at Dayton's, time with the telephone company, secretarial duties with Northland Electric, supervising at Farmer's Mechanics, bookwork for Imholte's, office work at Madden's and finally employment with Dr. Alden. Perhaps because Dotte has proven herself capable of fulfilling role expectations in various areas, she is now willing to delve into other areas of her person: the areas described by Bishop Sheen when he defines equity. One does not acquire equity overnight, but from the womb and throughout life. As she prepared for her 20th high school reunion, Dotte smiles about being able to write "wife and mother" for her occupation and not feel insignificant or purposeless. Dotte was the last of four children who lived in a large Minneapolis home, which included the extended family of grandparents, parents and relatives. Because of that experience, Dotte feels less of today's generation gap than some. Her involvement in journalism as assignment editor of the high school newspaper was another character-forming experience for Dotte. Having received several state awards for high school writing, and being a member of Quill and Scroll, Dotte found great satisfaction in the utilization of her talent. By the time Dotte met Dennis Serbus in the corner store in Kimball, she had probably become aware of her equity in devotion and sacrifice, which had been brought to the fore in her numberous jobs. After Dec. 1, 1962, when she became Mrs. Serbus, she no doubt also realized the full extent of the ability to love. The Serbuses moved to a lake cottage in Kimball from Minneapolis in 1964. By that time, daughter Becky had been born, causing mom some small amount of anxiety by producing dirty diapers, which had to be washed in cold water - without a machine. The next period of discovery of personal capabilities and talents came with building of the Serbus house. Not only did Dotte and Denny build the house themselves, but they were forced to battle over some housing loans, which brought Dotte into the political arena. Meanwhile, throughout the building and political rallying for this or that, Mrs. Serbus managed to bear three more children: Doug, Monya and Charley.
As the Democratic delegate for the district convention and the chairperson for Maine Prairie, Dotte finds much excitement and personal satisfaction in working with the public and its political representatives. She is also involved in the Title I program, the Advisory Board, Legion Auxiliary, church work and for the past six years the Girl Scouts. Part of the timing of this column has to do with Dotte's decision to resign her duties with the latter organization. It has been after great consideration and because of her feeling that it is wrong for the Girl Scouts to speak out on any political issue - regardless of the issues - that Dotte is stepping out. However, her concern for the local youth will continue. I guess I have been somewhat biased in some of the columns in the defense of the "wife and mother," but I have not done so in generalizations, but in exciting specifics. I will admit that there are probably many wives and mothers whose existences are sadly meaningless. So, I am not trying to pit the working woman against the housewife, but rather measure happiness and meaningfulness in terms of healthy expression of self-worth. Dotte Serbus feels good about herself from all signs that I receive. She deserves self-worth as a hard worker deserves a salary increase. She has spent years expending energy on others, for causes, for self-edification. she will tell you what she thinks about an issue and she will express herself impressively.
So, what does the future hold for Dotte Serbus? Well, she intends to spend the summer unwinding, with the family (whenever they can manage to pull dad away from policing the Kimball streets), without pressures and responsibilities. However, when the unwinding is done, Dotte will sit back, re-evaluate her priorities, and move onward. I am convinced that for Dotte Serbus, life will never be without purpose. ********** "The Brave Journey of an Orphan Train Rider" is coming to Kimball Oct. 6. This is your chance to learn about this amazing part of our history. Watch this paper for more in the weeks ahead. ********** For more information about The Kimball Historical Society, please contact us at Box 100, Kimball, Minn. 55353, or phone (320) 398-5743, (320) 398-5250 or (800) 252-2521. ********** "Great history and traditions are critical to our preservation mission."