Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Famous Family Members

My family has been "into" geneology for years. It's always nice to know where one comes from.

Lately, my uncle has been sending my dad information on their aunt (my great-aunt), Josephine Rathbone Karpovich. Aunie Jo, as we called her, was this wonderful, rather eccentric woman when I knew her. Not wildly eccentric, but she didn't fit the "norm" for a woman of her years.

I knew Auntie Jo as this beautiful woman who travelled the world. I knew she spent a lot of time in India, where she learned relaxation techniques, which she taught here. I remember her taking a cousin on a trip to Peru when I was, oh, ten or twelve years old maybe. This was the inspiration for my trip to Peru in 2000.

I know she loved brussel sprouts - would eat them raw from the garden - but she allowed as how they didn't love her.

I remember visiting her and Uncle Peter at their home in Massachusettes, feeding the ducks that dabbled in the stream behind their house, and inheriting all their "Sing Along with Mitch" albums.

She wrote an autobiography and gave copies to my sister and me. I read it with fascination (I was maybe in 9th or 10th grade at this time). Couldn't tell you now where it is.

Today my Dad sent me the following YouTube piece about our Auntie Jo - who it seems was a lot more famous than we thought. I thought I'd share a little of this wonderful woman's history with you here, even if it isn't Women's History Month.


  1. I can see why you're so proud, Ellen. What a remarkable woman. Thank you for sharing her with us.

  2. Wow, what an amazing woman! Just to achieve a PhD was unusual for a woman back then. How inspiring!

    Funnily enough, this past weekend I visited the Mill of Kintail by Almonte, a former home of R. Tait McKenzie, an early prof of phys ed (and also a sculpture) who was influential to the founders of the ACSM.

  3. Atta girl! Earned both by you and by Auntie Jo! It helps to remember that she grew up in an age when most women hardly finished high school, let alone complete college -- and then go on to earn her PhD! Your great-grandfather was adamant that all three of his children obtain their college degrees -- and they did. That Aunt Jo could have been considered "eccentric" might well be demonstrated by the fact that, on her first trip to Hawaii, she tried snorkeling and surfing! And, to my knowledge, this was when she was in her sixties -- give or take a decade. I (almost 40 years younger than she) thought it remarkable, but not for Jo! And now, having passed into my seventies, I allow that, should the occasion present itself, I just might try surfing again -- this time with the board. I guess that the apple doesn't fall far from the family tree. Dad

  4. So happy to have found your blog...and you!
    We've been studying Dr. Rathbone's work for years and we'd love to speak with you. Please contact me at your earliest convenience (email on my profile page). Best Regards!
    Carole : )

  5. I'm so glad you posted this. I have been trying desperately to save this video so it's not lost again. My next step was to blog about it. But, you seem to have many more clearer memories of Auntie Jo than I.