Monday, May 19, 2014
Monologue on Margaret Tobin:
(The curtain rises. The room consist of a lamp on a stand next to an overstuffed chair. There sits an older woman dressed in a stylish 1800s cream colored dress with a small ruffle around the color. She looks up and in surprise)
Why hello there (she stands and walks center stage) It’s nice y’all could come visit me today. My name is Margaret Tobin and I was born on July 18, 1867 in Hannibal, Missouri, which was later called Denkler’s Alley, but that’s neither here nor there.
I grew up in an Irish Catholic family; my parents were immigrants from Ireland. My, it was a house full, what with five siblings. Catherine Bridget from my father’s first marriage and Mary Ann from my mother’s first marriage then they went on to have four more kids, me included. (pacing across stage left, still looking out at the audience) my parents were both widowed young. Times were hard back then. (stops and shakes her head remembering) .
Yes, times were hard. I went to school run by my aunt and when I was thirteen I went to work in a factory. (walking back to center stage)
My older sister Mary married Jack Landrigan and moved to Leadville, Colorado, a rough and tumbling mining town and when I was eighteen my brother Daniel and I followed. Daniel worked in the mine while I took a job in a Daniels and Fisher Mercantile, working in the carpet and drapery department. I was a fairly good seamstress I guess. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted for the rest of my life though.
(standing with hands on hips and head held high)
And that’s why I made up my mind that I was going to marry a rich man, no more working by sewing and mucking about in these mining towns for me.
(slowly walks to stage right & smiling lovingly)
Then one day in the summer of 1886 I fell in love. I met James Joseph Brown; of course, everyone called him ‘JJ’. His parents came from Ireland too. He was a learned man and wanted to better himself then to just be a mere miner. We struggled and had our kids but eventually JJ rose up in the ranks of the mining community.
We had the stylish life I always dreamed of. I was a very busy lady; I raised money for children’s causes and worked for the Women's Suffrage Association.
(excitedly she adds)
Oh and then on April 6, 1894, we bought a home on Pennsylvania Street in Denver and built a summer home, Avoca Lodge, in the foothills. Imagine….two homes!!!
(marches to center stage again, hands on hips)
Why, I was one of the first WOMEN in the United States to run for political office, and ran for the Senate eight years BEFORE women even had the right to vote. (nods head)
Over the years JJ became one of the most successful mining men in the country. But it was all to much for JJ. He didn’t like the limelight, so we separated in 1909. (pauses in sad memory)
But hey, I was still a prominent figure. I even organized an international women's rights conference. How’s that for coming from a young nothing in a mining town?
I took trips around the world. My daughter Helen, and I traveled throughout Europe. (pauses and looks serious). On one such occasion we were staying with the John Jacob Astor party in Cairo, Egypt, when I got word that my grandson was ill. I took the first ship back to the United States; a ship named (pause) RMS Titanic.
(leans toward audience) It was suppose to be indestructible. (rolls eyes)
I guess you know how that trip went. After hitting the iceberg, I couldn’t just stand there, I had to do something, so I helped load others into lifeboats and eventually they forced me to board lifeboat six. Oh, the sounds of people in the water crying, (shakes head) I urged the quartermaster to go back to help those in the water, but he refused. He even refused to row so the other women and I worked together to row. I just wanted to throw him overboard if truth be known.
There were some pretty scared women who had to leave their husbands behind on that ship. I knew I wanted to keep up their spirits until we were rescued.
Afterwards, I had well wishers and I wrote a note back to my lawyer: "Thanks for the kind thoughts. Water was fine and swimming good. Neptune was exceedingly kind to me and I am now high and dry."
Yes, I had adventure and fame, why they even made a movie of my life. Maybe you saw it. It was called, ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown’.
(sitting back down in her chair, hands folded in her lap, she pauses for a few seconds),
I died in my sleep in New York, on October 26, 1932, at the age of 65 ………the doctors later discovered I had a brain tumor. But, I had a full life. (smiles and curtain goes down)