NINE HUSBANDS of Aunt Ida
I've frequently changed my name, much like women change their lipstick hoping to transform their lives. However, I realized that my surname was merely borrowed from a man. It did not define me, and it never quite fit. I often returned it to its rightful owner. Instead, my character is what truly matters. My codename from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) felt more fitting than any borrowed marital name. Although born Munnerlyn Edison, I now go by the codename Aunt Ida, a name that stuck like superglue. Much like my go-to red lipstick which never disappoints, cheats, or lies to me. I've always used it to my advantage.
For over 4,000 years, red lipstick, often associated with power and passion, has been used by women to display their social status. From Ancient Egypt's elites to American suffragettes in 1912, this beauty trend has made a statement. However, rumors circulate that red lipstick is made from bugs. This rumor turns out to be true. The cochineal bug, native to Central and South America, has been used to create the red dye for centuries. When Spain invaded Mesoamerica, the cochineal bug became a source of wealth. Even Britain hired pirates to plunder cochineal bugs from trade ships. The British used the dye for their renowned red coats, and it's rumored that Betsy Ross used the cochineal bug to dye the red stripes on the first American flag. Carmine, an FDA-approved ingredient found in many red products, is a natural dye extracted from the female cochineal bug. Despite its vibrant colors, some may find the idea of bugs on their lips unappealing. I believe my lips are worth more than the color red. They, along with the government, controlled my life for 90 years.
My untold story as a female codebreaker and heartbreaker was kept hidden to protect the innocent. But now, I'm ready to share my life as a CIA female special agent.
More importantly, my story spotlights my work as a female spy for the US Government, a job we didn't discuss with anyone, even each other. Most took the secret to their graves. Now, at 90 years old, I am the last living member of the original team of women who started the CIA as codebreakers.
The NSA and CIA are known for their silence. But at my age, why hide anything? It's time to tell the story of the brave women who engaged in espionage and sabotage to keep our country safe. I am in control of my happiness and refuse to take secrets to my grave. It just proves that none of us are immune from life's trials and tribulations. I can proudly say, I’ve lived one remarkable life.