A mover and shaker: Gloria Redlich
Block Island has so many people to celebrate, we’ve extended Women’s History Month into April. Here’s a profile of Gloria Redlich, Senior Coordinator for the Senior Advisory Committee, in her own words:
My first visit to Block Island was on a date with Harold (eventually my husband). When he invited me to sail away with him for a day to a distant island, it gave my parents pause. After reassuring them, we boarded the Mt. Hope, the ferry leaving from India Point in Providence. Disembarking for the two-hours allotted us to ramble the island, we grew so caught up in the enchantment of the place that we lost all sense of time. Meandering around, we sensed something remarkable was happening: at the moment we began to love each other, we found ourselves in love with the island. Our collective love for the island deepened. In the 1980s, we bought the “last inexpensive” home on the island—a place we initially rented, to help pay for its restoration. We came out as often as we could: I during breaks from teaching in Connecticut.
In a U-turn from teaching, I stretched credulity to become an innkeeper, at which I was less than apt. However, though my domestic experiments were fun and rewarding in new ways, I sought other avenues: I worked at the Island Free Library, happily surrounded by books, the medium in which I am most comfortable. I began writing for The Block Island Times, a natural transition from teaching, as I needed engagement in the exchange of ideas and the crafting of words. Nearly four years ago, I left the paper to work as Senior Coordinator for the Senior Advisory Committee, a group I’d admired for years. I hoped I might give back to this community that I had loved so long. It has been a joy to work with the seniors on island — of whom I am one. It is a community of independent women and men who instinctively prefer not to accept assistance. However, our goal is to be there when they do need us and to help support their remaining in their homes for as long as possible.
The best part of being a woman on the island is that it has been ground for a great deal of my personal growth. My work in academia and journalism may seem to have been a strange preparation for work in social and human services. However, I feel poring over the literature of many cultures has offered me a window into the complexities of human behavior, human nature and the human predicament. In addition, I have learned to follow my mother’s advice: always be ready for the moment when one door closes and another opens. The island has repeatedly opened doors for me.
I am most grateful to be a part of a community in which the work and spirit of women is nurtured and flourishes—whether in the arts, education, business enterprises, the medical field or social services.
To young women growing up today (as to young men), I would say believe in possibilities — even as the world tells you they are impractical. Nurture your passions—even as others suggest they are not relevant. And follow your dreams—even if you find some doors closed. You will find others open. Choose the one you believe is right for you and walk through it into your own unique future!