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Dreams of Maime

Cat in Bed

So the other night this word came to me while I was sleeping—maime.

Maime? The word repeatedly permeated my subconscious, and I woke up with it on my lips.

Don’t you just love waking up after having an interesting dream? I have some pretty funky dreams. (Like the one I had last week where I was at a vacation resort but kept obsessively packing my bags during a heavy rainstorm, and later I hung out with Molly Ringwald in the lobby. I hope that dream means a long trip is in my future and not something as whacked out as I think.) I try to write them down as soon as I wake up so I can figure out what the hell they mean.

When I woke up with the word maime on my mind, I had to do some research into why this word had robbed me of a portion of my REM sleep. So I Googled it and found out the following:

-The name Maime means “origin” and is not a popular name for a child.
-M’aime is a French word meaning “love me.”
-Saint-Maime is a commune in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence department in southeastern France.

A little later that day I got followed by @maimecat on Twitter. Freaky! Coincidence? I think not. I clicked on @maimecat’s URL on Twitter and found that it is linked to a Maime Cat YouTube channel for a cat named Maime that likes to speak its mind about politics and poop, sometimes in ghetto talk. Seriously, if you like cats, these videos will crack you up.

I knew I needed to dig a little deeper and ta-da! I found a search listing for Maimie Pinzer (close enough!). It turns out she is definitely a woman who rocks…so here’s her story.

“I wish I was born a man. I know what I’d do in the morning. I’d button up my coat and jump on the tail of a train and steal a ride to wherever it was going—and when I’d get there, I’d stop to consider ‘What’s next?’” —Maimie Pinzer

Maimie Pinzer was born into an affluent Philadelphia family. When she was 13 her father was murdered and left the family with no income; she eventually fell into a life of prostitution. She was disowned by her mother, got syphilis, and became addicted to morphine after losing one of her eyes. Luckily, one day when she was at her worst, she wandered into a shelter staffed by a group of women who volunteered to help mentor women in need. The social worker on duty that day just happened to be a decent mentor (not the usual thinly disguised Christian proselytizer) and helped Maimie to transform her life and encouraged a correspondence between Maimie and Boston philanthropist Fanny Quincy Howe. The two women continued an unlikely friendship and letter correspondence for the next 12 years (from 1910 to 1922).

The Maimie Papers contains these well-written letters that tell her story of the life of a prostitute and her struggles to turn her life around. In her truthful accounts Maimie explains why many women choose the profession over a threadbare yet respectable profession and never apologizes for how she lived her life. She also talks about the nightmare of being a secretary at a meatpacking plant (now who couldn’t relate to that?!). Maimie understood the concept of “paying it forward” and went on to help other women in the same situation by starting a shelter, the Montreal Mission for Friendless Girls, a halfway house for young prostitutes.

Her writing has been critically acclaimed… “Maimie writes like a dream… An astonishing book,” says the New York Times Book Review.

“To be a woman, poor, and alone, in America during the early part of this century was not easy. To survive at all was difficult. Maimie survived—and more, helped others. She was remarkable. She was admirable, but above all, she was lovable. You think how much you would have liked her vitality. I really do recommend the book.” —Doris Lessin

So, Maimie, thank you for popping into my dreams. You were a fighter with a ton of spirit and never gave up. I’m certain this is the takeaway I was meant to receive (sorry MaimeCat).

The Maimie Papers: Letters from an Ex-Prostitute (The Helen Rose Scheuer Jewish Women’s Series)

Photo: Josee Holland

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6 People have left comments on this post

» EA said: { May 21, 2012 - 4:39 PM }

It’s so weird that I found this awesome article! A few years ago I dreamt of the word “Pinzer” I literally heard the name in my dream but couldn’t remember anything else in the dream but that word. I did a search on Google then and came upon a small bio of Maimie Pinzer and she really resonated with me in a big way. I didn’t find much else about her until I suddenly decided to do a more thorough search on her today and I landed here! It boggles my mind that you found out about her via a dream just like I did. What does that mean? I find it amazing and strange! The more I find out about her the more I want to know. I feel connected to her. Life is weird :) Thanks for writing this article it and sharing that. Finding this was a very sychronistic event to me and the end mention of Maimecat had me cracking up for minutes! Lol