A Dr. Quinn/Joan of Arcadia crossover. To refresh your memories: Joan of Arcadia was a CBS show that was on 2003-05. In the show Joan Girardi was a teenage girl who saw God in various forms on a daily basis, and would receive assignments that led to her helping others or in learning an important life lesson.
5/2/05, Arcadia High School, Room 215 – Women's Studies class…
A tall blonde girl named Glynis says, "How can you say the women's movements had no effect on the career paths of these women? Without the growing influence of the Suffrage movement and the Temperance movement, these women would never have dared to attempt entry into male only professions."
Joan replies, "Glynis, I'm not saying the first women in professions lived in a vacuum, unaware of the changes occurring in the 19th century, but to attribute their accomplishments to the group-think of a movement is to sell the individual short. Women like the first lawyers, Arabella Mansfield and Ada Kegley, or the earliest doctors like Elizabeth Blackwell and Michaela Quinn are personal heroes of mine, but their accomplishments had far more to do with personal drive than the times they lived in."
Glynis retorts, "That's ABSURD because those women couldn't have taken the first step in their careers if it weren't for the pressure being applied to society by an increasingly militant women's movement."
Joan snaps back, "You're absurd…"
Miss Holder interrupts, "Don't make it personal, Miss Girardi."
"Sorry Miss Holder, sorry Glynis. What I meant to say is that although the women's movement of the day was important to women in general, in the case of the individual the overwhelming deciding factors were intelligence, determination and even luck."
"Luck?" Glynis snorts.
"Sure. For instance Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman accepted into a medical school only because the college thought a rival school was playing a prank on them. The acceptance of her application was just them going along with the gag. When Geneva Medical College realized this was for real, they felt obligated to keep their word – fully expecting Ms. Blackwell to flunk out within weeks. Instead she fooled them and graduated first in her class. Another example of luck, when Michaela Quinn, the first woman doctor on the frontier, was hired by the town of Colorado Springs it was because a telegraph operator mistook her for a man named Michael A. Quinn. When Dr. Quinn arrived the town rejected her, but she had the guts to stick it out and as the months went by the town came around. In these cases it was the individual, not some movement…"
(The bell rings.)
Miss Holder says, "Alright class, thank you for a lively debate. I hope to see similar passion on your finals in three days! Dismissed."
As the class files out into the hall, Glynis and Joan catch each other's eye and share a grin – neither taking the debate so serious that it would affect their friendship. This being the last class of the day, Joan makes a quick stop at her locker before heading for the exit. As she walks down the corridor, Joan becomes aware of someone walking with her. She glances over and recognizes the deity version she has mentally classified as Cute Boy God.
Joan sighs. "Okay, give it to me. What's the assignment?"
"No assignment, Joan. I just wanted to say I was glad to see you so thoroughly involved in this topic. It is a refreshing change from your recent behavior."
"You mean my mood swings between ranting anger and weepy despair because my boyfriend cheated on me and broke my heart – the rat bastard."
"Kidding - sorta. I know I'm suppose to ease off of the anger and do my best to focus on all that was good in our relationship so I can let go of the bitterness over how it ended." (Joan says with lingering bitterness.) "Hey, is that why I'm so gung-ho for this Women's Studies class? Because I'm so ticked at Adam and guys in general?"
"Do you believe Women's Studies invites anger toward men? Or is the topic of genuine interest for its' own sake? Finding new heroes is a positive step as long as it isn't also a new source for anger."
"Well, I am impressed by those women, most of whom I never heard of until this class. The way they stood up to bigotry is heroic, and that opened my eyes to the very long history of men being total jerks to women – and that has nothing to do with me and Adam. Studying these women, I feel inspired."
"Then actually meeting one of your new heroes will be even more inspiring."
"Whoa, if you're talking about ghosts again…"
"No Joan, the real thing."
They reach the exit doors, step through and the world changes…
May 2, 1867/Springfield, Massachusetts...
"I feel ridiculous."
"Nonsense Joan, you look lovely."
Joan subtly tugs at the dress she is now wearing, trying to find some level of comfort. All around her the people of 1867 go about their business, unaware of a time traveller in their midst. To Joan it all seems like an elaborate movie set and she half expects a director to call: "Cut." Joan hurries to keep up with Cute Boy God, also dressed in the 19th century clothes of the upper class. Joan passes one of the windows of a train here at the Springfield station and pauses to examine her reflection. She has to admit the dress, as uncomfortable as it is with full length sleeves, high collar and a hemline that drags the ground, is attractive. It is green, her favorite color, and has a stylish gold trim. Never one for hats, Joan wishes she could dump the feathered bonnet resting on her head at a jaunty angle.
"Hey, where are the gold streaks in my hair?"
"Women of this period didn't streak their hair, Joan. It is important for you to try to blend in."
"Okay, I get that, but do we have to be so accurate? Do I really need all of these petticoats, plus a corset and whatever this thing is on my butt?"
"It's called a bustle, and it is all the fashion. And Joan, try to watch your language. Genteel ladies of this era were very formal and very careful about how they spoke. One's backside would never be mentioned in polite society."
"Fine, I'll be careful, but couldn't we at least lose the corset? Who would know?"
"Some would notice, and besides, don't you want the full experience of this era? It could help you in your study of the women's movement of this time. Now, do you remember my instructions?"
Joan nods. "Make up a simple background story and stick with it. DO NOT say or do anything that will change history. About that, isn't my very presence a risk? Like, suppose I ask that guy who's leaving the station for the time. He pauses to tell me and because of that he is a few moments late in crossing the street, just in time to get run over by a trolley."
"Time is not quite so fragile, Joan. Just don't reveal that you are from the future, or discuss events that might cause a person to change her life path."
"You mean Dr. Quinn. I'm really looking forward to meeting her, but how can I be sure we will get to talk?"
"You have the same compartment as the good doctor, which is printed on the ticket in your reticule."
"Your purse, Joan."
Joan opens the drawstring bag dangling from her wrist and looks inside. She finds the train ticket, numerous coins and some bizarre looking paper money. Joan looks back but Cute Boy God is gone.
"Help you with your bag, Miss?"
The request comes from a very young boy, and Joan realizes by his impoverished appearance, baggage handling is how he makes his living. Joan nods her agreement and wonders if the suprisingly strong boy is an orphan or just helping out with the finances of a poor home. Joan leads the way to the train and the boy easily keeps up despite the heavy carpet bag he is carrying. It doesn't take them long to find the appropriate compartment, and the boy automatically opens the door for Joan before following with her bag.
As her bag is being deposited on a padded bench on one side of the compartment, Joan gets her first look at the famous Dr. Quinn sitting opposite her. Joan's first surprise comes from how beautiful Michaela Quinn is. Joan knows the woman is currently 34, but she looks younger and probably could have had a career as a model or actress back in her own time. Of course Joan has seen a couple of pictures of Dr. Quinn - internet research came up with an 1859 graduation photo of her with a small group of other women (all stern-faced and grimly dressed), and a photo taken in 1892 on 'Dr. Quinn Day', marking her 25th year in Colorado Springs (at 59 she was surrounded by her husband, children, grandchildren and assorted town dignitaries). Nineteenth century photography just didn't do justice to such a beautiful woman.
Joan hands the boy a dollar, hoping it is an appropriate tip. The boy stares at the coin for a moment before smiling hugely... "Thank you, Miss. Thank you!"
The boy hurries away still clutching his coin as Joan realizes she must have considerably overtipped. Oh well, it was God's dollar, not hers. Joan takes a seat and as the two women evaluate each other, Joan wonders what to say to a 'living legend'.
Michaela Quinn smiles politely at the stranger, waiting for her to introduce herself as it is appropriate for one much younger to start introductions to an elder. Michaela is glad for the company as she has been riding alone since the train left Boston, pausing for this first scheduled stop. The stylish young woman opposite her is about half her age, quite attractive and somewhat nervous. Michaela guesses this is the young lady's first trip alone and she is unsure of herself, as witnessed by her greatly overtipping the baggage smasher.
"Since we are travelling together, I suppose we should get to know one another. My name is Michaela Quinn."
"Would that be 'Doctor' Quinn?"
"Why yes, how did you know?"
"You carry a traditional doctor's bag, and on the clasp are the intials P.W.M.C. That's Pennsylvania Women's Medical College, isn't it?"
"Yes, I was part of the first graduating class and we were given these bags as presents. Do you know a lot about medical schools?"
"Not really. I'm mostly interested in the advancement of women into non-traditional roles."
Joan is surprised that Dr. Quinn ever so briefly rolls her eyes, and Joan gets the impression she has been classified as 'one of those'. This reminds her of her own relationship with her best friend Grace, who is the ultimate radical who passionately and instantly gets involved in every cause that comes around.
"And are you following a non-tradtional role, Miss...?"
"Oh, sorry for my manners. My name is Joan Girardi, and yes, I plan to follow a study of the law."
"Indeed? That is very non-traditional for a woman, Miss uh, 'Ger-arr-dee'. Did I say that right?"
"Yes. It's an Italian name."
"Oh, I've never met an Italian before."
Joan is surprised by this, but then remembers from the family tree that Italians didn't begin large scale immigration to America until a few years after the Civil War. "Then speaking on behalf of all Italians, and I can do that since I'm the first you've met, what do you think?"
Michaela smiles, finding the young woman amusing. "You are much fairer than I expected. I thought Italians were olive skinned with dark hair?"
"Most are but my ancestors were northern Italians, who tend to be fairer and truth be told, I'm as much English and Irish as I am Italian. All part of the great melting pot that is America."
"I like that turn of phrase: 'Great melting pot'."
Before Joan can respond, the train whistle blows long and loud followed by a jerking motion as the train begins to move. Hastily, Michaela closes the window. Joan wonders why as it is already a bit warm in the compartment, but the billowing clouds of soot and smoke that blow by the window quickly answer that question. As the train picks up speed, the level of smoke dissipates and Michaela again opens the window.
"Wow, I can't imagine what that level of air pollution does to people's lungs." Joan automatically comments.
"Uh, smoke and dirt in the lungs, it has to be bad for people."
"I agree, although many of my colleagues dismiss it as harmless. However, I have treated too many factory workers to believe bad air is anything but injurious to one's health."
Joan notes the light in Michaela's eyes as she speaks of a medical subject. "You obviously enjoy being a doctor. How did you get started?"
Joan listens politely as Dr. Quinn goes over her background story, which Joan already knows. The last of five children, Michaela's father was so sure this time it would finally be a boy, he had the name 'Michael' already picked out. With no future son on the horizon, Josef Quinn began training his youngest in science, preparing his daughter for her future as a partner in his medical practice. For seven years Michaela Quinn worked side-by-side with her father, assuming she was fully accepted as a competent physician by all of her patients. But then her father died...
"Much too quickly, all but a handful of patients found other doctors - male doctors. I had no choice but to close the practice. Of course all of this would have been different if David had survived the war."
"David?" Joan asks, confused. There was no mention of a 'David' in Dr. Quinn's bio.
"Dr. David Lewis, my fiance. We were to be married and I was going to join his medical practice the way I did with Father. But, with only two days notice, David enlisted in the army and went off to serve his country. The first I knew of his decision was when he showed up for dinner wearing a uniform."
Joan hears the lingering bitterness in Dr. Quinn's voice. "Men are like that. They do dumb things for reasons even they don't understand, often hurting the women in their lives without thinking of them."
Michaela nods her agreement. "It would have been an advantageous marriage, and I think we would have been...companionable."
"In the medical practice of Lewis and Quinn?"
"No, of Lewis and Lewis. I, of course, would have taken my husband's name."
"Of course." Joan repeats, appalled by what she is hearing. This is Michaela Quinn, her hero who stood against the army of male ignorance and prejudice, conquering all? No, this is a pampered, sheltered 19th century woman who very traditionally leaned on first her father and then her husband-to-be as she played at being a real doctor. To Joan, Michaela is at best the modern equivalent of a nurse-practioner. Allowed to practice medicine as long as there is an actual doctor on call to back up her decisions, or if neccesary, override them. How did a woman this naive manage to survive in the wild west, on her own for the first time, and succeed? On the other hand, if you think about it, her success is even more impressive considering how she started.
"Oh, there's the first bell for luncheon service. Would you like to join me, Miss Girardi?"
"I could eat."
A half hour later Joan and Michaela are in the midst of their meal, still enjoying talking to each other. The food is surprisingly good, even though Joan hesitated a long time before choosing soup, bread and apple pie for dessert. Food sanitary conditions must be lower than they are in Joan's time, and these choices seemed the safest. As they dine, Michaela tells Joan of her grand adventure of moving to the Colorado Territory to begin her own medical practice.
"Why do you suppose Colorado Springs agreed to a woman doctor? There are over a hundred in practice here in the east, but you will no doubt be the first woman to practice on the frontier." Joan says.
"I wish I could believe there is a more progressive way of thinking in the west, but honestly, I imagine I was the only doctor to answer their advertisement. I suppose they think a woman doctor is better than no doctor at all."
"And you're sure they know you are a woman? Did you tell them you went to a women's medical college?"
"Well no, it was all done by telegram and you naturally keep those short. I merely said I was a medical school graduate who had been in practice with a senior doctor for seven years and that he...passed on, and so I was looking for a fresh start. But I signed my name 'Michaela' Quinn. They must know I'm a woman."
Joan is tempted to blurt out the truth, but she remembers God's instructions about not changing history. Dr. Quinn will just have to learn the hard way what awaits her in Colorado Springs...
"Then no doubt you're right about a woman doctor being considered better than no doctor."
"And what of you, Miss Girardi? You said you were going to study the law? Do you plan to be a lawyer?"
Joan remembers her cover story, grateful she has kept it simple and close to the truth. "I would like to be one someday, but currently there is no way for a woman to become a lawyer. No law school will accept one, and no bar association will allow one to become a member."
"Then how do you plan to study for the law?"
"Most states allow an individual to apprentice with a practicing attorney, like my grandfather. After a certain number of years of study, you are then allowed to take the bar exams. Of course I'll have to settle for being a law clerk in my grandfather's practice. Hopefully by the time he retires, I will have a reputation for competence that will allow me to continue working in another attorney's practice."
"Or perhaps become a lawyer on your own by then?"
"I think I'll be grey-haired before that happens." Joan says, recalling that it took an 1892 Supreme Court ruling to allow female lawyers, and even then the dissenting opinion said women were meant to be wives and mothers only, and the law should not be changed for the rare exception.
"I'm sure someday soon women will hold all sorts of professional positions, including that of lawyer." Dr. Quinn says.
From the table opposite them a male voice loudly calls out, "God forbid!"
Joan glances at the tubby little man who has been overhearing their conversation. Joan was vaguely aware of the snorts of derision he has been softly giving as he listened in, but until now she has been ignoring him.
The man shouts, "Waiter, bring me my bill. I've decided to skip dessert as these two gabby hens have ruined my digestion." (The man stands and glares down at Joan and Michaela.) "You two should read your bible and learn where a woman's place truly is, and it isn't the obscenity of a woman doctor or the foolishness of a female lawyer!"
Michalea blushes a bit but replies, "Sir, we were having a private conversation..."
"Poppycock! The whole dining car could hear the nonsense the two of you were babbling. YOU, 'doctor' should find yourself a husband before it is too late, and as you seem to be a woman of quality, you should know to avoid disreputable company. It does you no good to be seen with some papist guinea..."
Joan jumps to her feet, her blood boiling. She expected sexism in this time period, but this is the first time anyone has ever insulted her heritage or religion. "What the hell did you say?"
"Hah! Hear the mouth on this little whore? But what can you expect of a dirty little wop?"
For a moment Joan is speechless, and she becomes aware of the gasps going about the dining car. She suspects this has much more to do with disapproval of people making a scene rather than the topic of conversation. No doubt a lot of people in this room agree with everything this ruddy-faced bigot is spewing.
Michaela Quinn stands, anger on her face. "How dare you speak to my friend in this manner? You sir are no gentleman!"
Joan adds, "Yeah fatso, what makes you so special you think you can look down your nose on anyone?"
The man snarls back, "I am Algernon Tyler of the New York Tylers..."
Joan scoffs, "So what? You're of English ancestry? Hey, when your ancestors were still worshipping trees, mine were spreading Christianity throughout the civilized world. My ancestors conquered yours, bringing with them literacy, the law and..." (sniff) "...baths. Something that obviously didn't stick with your family."
Several people in the dining car laugh and the man becomes angrier than ever. His hands ball into fists and he takes a step toward Joan. Suddenly several men present stand, their intentions clear. As much as they may disapprove of this public display of bad manners on Joan's part, and their possible agreement of feelings about Italians or Catholics, these are two women dressed as respectable ladies, and they as gentlemen will not allow a lady to be accosted. Tyler pauses, realizing he is making a mistake.
"I will not bandy words with an ill-mannered girl who doesn't know her place!"
Tyler leaves the dining car with as much dignity as he can muster, a few muttered curse words escaping his lips. Everyone returns to their chairs, glad the scandalous scene is over. As Joan and Michaela compose themselves, they are subjected to stares and whispers.
"Thanks for having my back, Dr. Quinn."
Michaela has never heard this particular phrase before, but she grasps its' meaning. "I despise men like that. My father taught me to never judge people by their color, religion or social status, and even though it is common to do so, I still find it shocking."
"He sounds like an amazing man."
"He was." (Michaela notices all of the stares and whispers.) "Perhaps it would be best if we returned to our compartment."
"Yeah, it'll be easier for everyone to talk about us behind our backs if we're not here."
Michaela smiles, liking Joan's sense of humor but worries about her new friend's brash approach to life. She leads the way back to their compartment while wondering if she, as a mature and more experienced woman, should lecture Joan about her behavior. For the next hour the two women discuss life and the changing times for women. Joan finds herself championing those leaders of the suffrage movement who are insisting on bold demonstrations, even limited violence if need be, to gain women their due rights. It is an odd position for Joan as she normally finds herself on the side arguing reason and compromise in similar debates with her radical friend Grace.
"But surely intelligent discourse, a calm examination of what is reasonable and fair, will gain more than hunger strikes, burning in effigy, and endless shouting matches." Michaela says.
"Reasonable discourse only works with those who are reasonable. You can't reason bigotry out of people. You have to expose it for the dirty, rotting evil that it is. Shine a light on what is dark, petrid and foul - then people will recoil in disgust and demand change."
"You are quite the radical, Miss Girardi."
Joan grins. "Really, I usually am not this way, but my encounter with 'Algernon' got me worked up."
"A good example. Did that encounter change any minds? No - and he might have hit you. If there hadn't been gentlemen present..."
"Then we poor, weak women wouldn't have been able to stand up for ourselves? Sometimes you have to take the risk, go a little further out on the limb than you are comfortable with to reach your goal. In a way I wish that loudmouth had hit me."
"Miss Girardi, you can't mean that."
"I'm not saying I would have liked the experience, but the revealing of his true character might have changed some minds and taken our cause a small step forward."
Joan chuckles at what seems a private joke to her. "No, I didn't sign up for martyrdom, but sometimes taking a reasonable risk can gain you more than a reasonable discussion. If as women we are to advance, now and in the future, we can't rely on a man being there to prop us up. We are strong, and we can stand on our own."
Michaela pauses to consider her response, finding herself drawn closer to Joan's views. Suddenly the compartment door slides open and there stands Algernon Tyler, swaying not from the movement of the train but from being drunk. He takes a swig from a flask of whiskey...
"You bitch! Talk to me like that will ya? Now I'm going to teach you a lesson you will never forget!"
As Tyler enters the compartment, Joan stands. Her police officer father insisted on self-defense classes and Joan tries to recall what she was taught. There are vulnerable spots: the eyes, ears, throat, etc; but there is always the one favorite target. Even in this cumbersome dress, Joan is sure she can kick high enough to reach his 'dangleberries'.
Tyler steps closer, Joan draws back a leg and then...
Michaela Quinn doesn't know what possessed her. She has never committed an act of violence in her life, but suddenly she finds herself swinging her heavy doctor's bag, breaking Mr. Tyler's nose with a very satisfying 'crunch'. Tyler staggers back, trips over his own feet and goes smashing down to the floor. He lays there moaning, all of the fight knocked out of him. The noise alerts the train's staff and quickly the conductor arrives on the scene.
After explanations are given, Tyler is roughly hauled away, told that he will be thrown off the train at the next stop. As Joan and Michaela stare at each other, putting into perspective what has happened, they smile, then giggle and finally laugh long and hard. Minutes pass by before they can stop and wipe tears from their eyes...
5/2/05, outside of Arcadia High.
Joan walks along revelling in the giddy freedom of being back in jeans. Cute Boy God again walks beside her, dressed for the year 2005. As Joan looks about, it almost seems strange to be back in her own time.
"I enjoyed that, thank you."
"You're welcome Joan, but other than an enjoyable adventure did the trip have any other meaning for you?"
Joan nods. "I think, despite what you told me about not changing history, I may have had a tiny influence on Dr. Quinn's approach to the world."
Cute Boy God smiles. "Perhaps a nudge in the right direction, but no more than that. We wouldn't want to violate her free will, now would we? Anything else?"
"I get that you sent me there to learn a lesson, and I have learned a new appreciation for Glynis and Grace's positions. The times you're living your life in do have a significant influence on your actions, and sometimes you do have to go to extremes, but..."
"Not always. What Michaela said about being reasonable and calm made a lot of sense too. So, can I hold both positions to be true?"
"Actually Joan, that is the lesson. Peaceful discourse is always the preferred way, but in the face of true evil, you must sometimes take a more radical approach."
Joan nods, getting it. Recently a man arrived in town that Joan knows to be truly evil, a man with dark plans for Arcadia. A man she knows she is destined to battle. Joan was having doubts about being up to the task ahead of her. It is not just Michaela Quinn who has received a 'nudge' in the right direction this day.