Category Archives: abuse and control

Punishment Must Meet the Crime

Standard

It seems the news is following my blog. This refers to a recent post

explaining how I stuck my ‘foot’ in my mouth in February. I may have

rubbed someone at work the ‘wrong way.’ I think time will help heal

this situation and I am cheerfully talking to the persons involved

while ignoring their one or two syllable responses. (“Yes” and “No,”

are ones most being expressed.)

 

**My ‘punishment’ may or may not ‘fit’ my crime of being passionate

about equal rights.**

 

Now, I see on the news, that college students are really in deep trouble.

They ‘should have known better.’ The Columbus students at Ohio State

University piled many people into their apartment, plugging multiple

technological devices, television, stereo and probably phones charging.

Fifteen students were all standing outside a large and old house, where

the place had caught on fire early this morning. Fortunately, only the

one sleeping on the mattress pushed up to the plugs got minor burns.

 

The fire department member who spoke to Channel 10 news let all the

listeners know there was a mattress pushed up against this messy and

dangerous conglomeration of plugs into an outlet. They are now,

what the newscaster ominously stated, “homeless.”

 

**Their punishment should be to have spend time in a beginner’s

course called, “Electricity for Dummies.” They should have to show

a ‘graduation’ certificate before any other landlords allow them to

rent again. This was a mistake they will never make again. **

 

The second group of college students you may have seen their hateful

video, come from Oklahoma University. They are making national news

for spouting derogatory comments and racial slurs in their thoughtless,

drunken filmed tape. These men from the SAE fraternity, should be

‘ashamed of themselves.’

 

The fraternity boys ‘know better,’ too. If I were their parents, I would

never spend a dime on them again. They would have to find their own

way home from college, the car keys taken away. I could not believe

this insulting SAE group of men.

 

My Dad, brother and first ex-husband all belonged to a different type of

fraternity men. They may have ‘partied’ hardy, but there was definitely a

higher level of integrity. They participated in philanthropic projects and

during Christmas, collected toys, food and clothing for needy children.

My brother and my ex-husband also were participating in the seventies

movement of wanting diversity in their membership.

 

My friend, Melvin when the lunchtime noon break came around and

he saw the news story about the fraternity, stopped to ask me what I

thought of them.

 

Melvin and the guys were watching television in a different direction

from our table. Their t.v. was on the Sports Channel. I assume more

“March Madness” going on. He said he could not believe the college

boys had actually filmed their mean-spirited rant or rap.

 

My friend, Melvin exclaimed,

“What were they thinking, Robin? Are they stupid or what? Now,

you know you need to blog about this one. Preach it, Robin! Tell

them what kind of penalty or punishment they need to serve.

I don’t think picking up trash on the side of the road matches the

hate leveled in their words.”

 

Just in case you don’t wish to search for what is called, “Racist film

by college fraternity men,” I will tell you the content.  It said they

would not want to have any  “N-word”  joining their fraternity. It

goes on saying more nasty stuff. It is posted on many sources of

social media, just look it up.

 

With Melvin’s encouragement a few of us brainstormed, (women

who are mothers.) We came up with the following service to keep

the men ‘on parole’ rolls. This would have to be closely supervised,

parole officers checking in on the guys at ‘work sites.’

 

**We think the young men from the Oklahoma U. SAE fraternity

should participate in both an elderly and youth oriented program.

The programs should serve a diverse community of people and help

the boys to ‘see the light.’ (Melvin, I preached it!)**

 

The places we came up with were for them to volunteer for 100 hours

of community service at an inner city soup kitchen, homeless shelter

or an impoverished area’s nursing home facility. They need to meet

the elderly face to face, help them with more than just surface

projects.

 

We added an extra 100 hours of working at an inner city daycare

facility. We would like them to look at the faces of a wide range of

children representing ethnic groups at a center for children. We

would like them to think about the hateful words they said in their

‘chant.’ Another punishment would be to change dirty diapers.

Well supervised by the daycare center’s staff. Careful use of wipes

and special lotion, so the babies and the toddlers will not experience

any discomfort.

 

The discomfort should be for those young men who felt they could

express themselves in such a disrespectful way towards many

who may never have wanted to join them anyway.

 

The amazing and positive result of this film coming out in the media,

was college students and other people gathered on campus. Many

joining hands, some putting their hands upon each other’s shoulders.

There were a few past SAE fraternity men who came forward, were

vocal and expressed displeasure at the film. The group consisted of

more than one race in their unified peaceful demonstration.

 

The result of their protest was at least two young men were expelled.

I hope their punishment will be to do some of our suggested activities

mentioned above. This would help clear their conscience and hopefully

‘clean the slate’ they muddied.

 

Going from the sloppy electrical mess some college students

resulting in their now smoky and damage apartments in Ohio

to the Oklahoma University debacle, you can see a very huge

downward slope in behaviors.

 

The news moved on to this sick subject.

 

The last headline story, you may just wish to skip.

 

It is always a tragedy.

 

One that seems to happen at least once a week.

 

I wish I knew the statistics on boyfriends, family members

or caretakers who harm

young children.

 

The most recent story horrified me. I worked for a couple of years

at a battered women’s shelter, where usually the woman were the

ones who were hurt. There were also children’s stories which made

me sob at night. This ‘hardened’ woman will share the fact that

yet another person, in the U.S. raped and killed a little baby. The

most recent case was in Arkansas. The little baby girl was only

8 days old.

 

By the way, you don’t want to search this subject. There are

many stories, one after another on this subject. Steven Smith

in Ohio, on Death Row, asking for parole, a man who raped a

6 month old baby girl, Autumn. A woman who raped her

10 month old son.His name was Ashley, like the character

in the movie, “Gone with the Wind.”

 

I quickly closed the pages of articles on this subject.

 

**Everyone was thinking the death penalty for these persons.

Another table beside us, with some young men from Heavy

Bulk pitched in, agreeing with many in consensus.

I feel the person who does anything to a defenseless person,

child or elderly, should have their sexual organs taken away.

(Since women do this crime, sadly, I could not just use the

word, “castrated.”) The person should not get to just take

the drugs that ‘kill’ their deviant sexual appetites. This is

too dangerous, the consequences too extreme. I would not

want to trust them to take the drugs. Surgery is all I could

think of. . . I don’t advocate the Death Penalty. **

 

I am not sure how the justice system will handle any of

the above cases.

 

What I sometimes hear as a defense, but am in disbelief of, is the

thought of “freedom of speech.” (As in the SAE fraternity case,

Oklahoma University.)

 

Anyone venturing a ‘judgment’ or opinion?

 

 

 

“You do the crime, you pay the time.”

 

 

Artistic Genius

Standard

My young friend, Margaret, at a fun blog recommended I see this

movie, “Camille Claudel” which is a French movie about Rodin and

one of his many female apprentices, who became enraptured with

him, became an artist by her ‘own right,’ and ultimately finished her

life in a mental

institution for 30 years. This was another example of how being a

woman during a different time period created challenges for her

own ability to present her artwork, mainly sculptures, to the world.

 

Poor dear Camille Claudel.

While getting this movie, you may have to go through a rather

complicated ‘search,’ since mine took me on a nearly ‘wild goose

chase.’

 

This was not available in the state of Ohio, in DVD form?

How is this possible?

 

Anyway, Central Campus of Southern State Community College

sent Delaware County District Library the movie, “Camille Claudel”

in VHS form. Thank goodness, I have one of those tiny televisions

with a VHS ‘drawer’ installed in it. It is one that has accompanied

more than one of my own three children off to college in the late

90’s and early 2000’s.

 

The director is Bruno Nuytten and has the sense of darkness in

his scenes and perspective thrown into his filming close shots.

The main actor, portraying Rodin, is Gerard Depardieu who was

in the American movie, “Green Card” and is well know for his

Academy Award nominated role in, “Jean de Florette.” The

female character is played beautifully by Isabelle Adjani. She

may be recognized for several roles but more famous, at least to

me while playing in, “Ishtar.” She was nominated for her portrayal

of  a character she played in, “Story of Adelett.”

 

This fine French film, “Camille Claudel, fascinated me. It was truly a

disturbing masterpiece. It  was nominated for “Best Foreign Language

Film” in 1989. (Gerard Depardieu was thin and muscular in this film.)

The story begins with a young, lithe woman in an alley in Paris, where

she is digging into a cliff of what looks like mud.  This must have some

amount of ‘clay’ in it.  She is gathering clumps of this, being muddy

from head to foot, and flinging it into her large container; like a bucket.

 

The brutal cold scene depicts snow on the ground.

It is February, 1885.

 

Camille’s story is full of  harrowing and intensely dramatic moments.

I hope you may look up her fantastic sculptures.  One which has the

name of “The Chatterboxes.” In the film, the piece looks like it is

carved from black coal, in its raw material state.

The beautiful sculptures may be viewed at the Musee D’Orsay in

Paris, France. Or much closer, you may look Camille Claudel on

the Internet.

 

Another, called, “Age of Maturity,” a neighbor child named Robert

asks such a sweet and insightful question of Camille of a gorgeous

sculpture:

“How did you know there were people inside the big rock?”

As if she had chiseled them Micah said,

“Out of their hiding place, like in a cave.”

 

My grandson, age 5 1/2 mentioned when I had him come across the

room where I sat at the dining table watching this film.

Micah was over by the living room section of my apartment watching

Saturday morning “Sponge Bob Square Pants” episodes and eating

pancakes he had helped make.

 

Later, he took a “cartoon break” to wash the dishes, taking his shirt off

and standing on my step stool. He rushed out to see a particularly

dramatic scene where the noise caught his attention.

 

Sadly, Camille Claudel was used and debased in every way.

She became a model, muse and an original artist and sculptor,

under the tutelage of Rodin.

 

She lost touch with her father, mother, brother and reality by

becoming immersed and having a long-lasting affair with Rodin.

Rodin’s wife who lives apart from Rodin, while he is ensconced

in his huge studio, calls Camille loudly on the streets, “Whore”

and many obscenities.

 

I felt it was most depressing that her husband is still given his

wife’s adoring attention, not disparaging HIM with the same

kind of swearing in other scenes. She persuades him after many

years of his intimate relationship with Camille, to move away.

When Camille is eventually thrown out of Rodin’s studio, having

served her time with him for almost 28 years, I cried. It is such

a tragedy, but you cannot help wanting to see more. . .

 

Camille writes long letters to the Court and Magistrate, asking

and pleading for her own sculptures and art pieces, ones she

designed to be given back. She independently had created lovely

marble sculptures with fine detailed hands, arched backs and

her brother finds her living in the upstairs of an abandoned

building, wishing to use his fame as a poet, along with his good

friend, “Blot,” who wishes to be her ‘benefactor.’ He is meaning

by helping financially and wonderfully is not asking her to give

her still beautiful body to him.

 

There is a point when the Court says she was ‘paid’ for her donations

of her artwork. (They were stolen and kept by Rodin.)

Camille defiantly declares,

“I burned the check!”

 

Her anger at her inability to get her own art back leads her to yell

about “Rodin’s gang.” She feels that France calling her sculptures,

“Property of the State,” are wrong but cannot find anyone at any

level to listen to her pleas. Her friend and lawyer, “Dr. Michaux,”

tried his best to defend her. The cops who haul her each time out

of the courtroom seem to show a more sympathetic view, as they

take her away.

 

When her father is dying, Camille goes to see him, she listens but

cries as he says she ‘disappointed him,’ but he ‘still loves her.’

There is something hurtful and touching in her studying the

Her brother, after the one singularly amazing gallery opening,

describes her pieces as lighting the inner beauty and qualities

of people through her sculptures. They have such delicate and

sensitive details, but she later while they are transported back

to where she is ‘squatting,’ is told not one piece was sold. Her

appearance in finery at the opening, with rouge and red lips

made her appear scandalous, unfortunately.

 

Camille destroyed many of her pieces, her madness in these

scenes of devastation is understandable. I would have gone

mad, under the circumstances.

The authorities never jail her in prison.

 

It was her own brother who ultimately, ‘betrayed her,’ and using

the ‘excuse’ of preventing her from hurting herself, placed her in

the mental institution.

 

Camille Claudel was put into a mental institution in March, 1913.

She lived, ‘imprisoned’ there, until 1943.

 

Camille never did any more artwork after she was placed there.

This was her own way of rebelling and refusing to ‘buckle under

authority.’

 

Thank so much for recommending this, Margaret! Your comment,

after reading my post about Mozart’s sister, Maria Anna Mozart

led me to watch this. You were so right in your choice of this movie,

another example where because of her gender, along with her

choice to become involved with a famous sculptor and artist,

she lost herself.

You may find Margaret who has a clever and funny video of

herself recently on a post at:

http://verybangled.com

 

 

The best question I feel needs to be asked,

“Where does creative passion separate from insanity?”

 

 

Onward later tonight, I will be watching, “Amadeus,” which I had

seen so many years before. . .

My grandson, Micah, is with me, while playing Teenage Mutant

Ninja Turtle ‘free games,’  I will try to check a few posts out.

Upcoming Movie Based on Book, “Fifty Shades of Grey”

Standard

As my good friend, Bill and I were walking out of the movie we saw

together on First Friday in January, he turned to ask me what was the

big deal about the new movie, “Fifty Shades of Grey?” I told him that

my youngest daughter and her friends got very excited about the book,

passing it around like it was a ‘chocolate bar’ or something that could

not be put down when it first came out. I told him I had written a post

back in 2013. They finally found a cast in late 2013 or early 2014, the

movie is going to be released so couples can go see it together for

Valentine’s Day, 2015.

 

I will re-blog the post I wrote about the book since I have read the first

one. It may or may not persuade you to go see the movie. I have already,

not too long ago, written a post which stood up and said, “I didn’t like

the movie, ‘Gone Girl.'” I hate to put my neck out once again about a

film based on a book. I just will hope you ‘hear me out,’ on the subject!

 

There is a big hoopla going on about the book, “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

I am sure  you have heard there are shocking love or sexual scenes in it.

You can imagine, if you have not read the book, it has lots of  juicy and

intimate details. I am glad that the female author (a single mother with a

family to support) who wrote it will be able to help her family survive for

quite awhile on the (3) books’ proceeds.

 

Now, with a movie on its way to be released, the topic needed to be

opened, just like a can of worms. You know I don’t hide from fear or

controversy.

 

When I heard that it was a trilogy, I was flabbergasted. I guess I cannot

imagine it being that great of a subject matter. A boss who uses control

of the young woman underneath him, both at work and in the bedroom,

just doesn’t sound like my ‘cup of tea.’

 

What makes me write about this is the fact that it is intermingling two

diverse subjects: sexual pleasure (lovemaking) and control. There is

a breathy element of naughty mixed with the possibility of danger in

the books. I am not one who likes to give up my own right to express

myself and handing over power to an authority figure, as in the case

of Mr. Grey, I cannot imagine Human Resources being too happy with

this situation either. I only got through one of the books; just barely.

 

I have a few thoughts about the first book. Sorry, I did not wish to read

the other ones, but I can base this on the first one. . .

 

I have seen a few good movies which cover the same subject matter and

topic. Both Nicholas Cage and Clint Eastwood played characters who

explored the “under belly of the city.” They investigated the sleazy world

of pornography, sex trade of prostitutes and the subject of asphyxiation

to create a “high.”

 

All of this is by no means “NEW.” I do remember Cage’s film was

called, “8 mm.”

Clint Eastwood was in two movies on the subject, “Play Misty for Me”

and the more risqué one, “Tightrope.”

 

The movie, “8 mm.” refers to the film size not the male organ’s size.

(Trying to get you to laugh!)

 

There is a sad and also violent more current movie entitled, “Blue

Valentine.” In it the couple is played by Michelle Williams and Ryan

Gosling. I also have seen, “In the Cut” with Mark Ruffalo. There are

mainstream movies that have the enticement of the naughty and kinky

parts of relationships.

When salacious details are told in the context of a mystery, intrigue or

relationship analysis, it can be worth watching.

 

Maybe that is what people are figuring why “Fifty Shades of Grey” is

worth reading. How the romance and relationship are enhanced by

interesting use of role playing captive and captor.

 

Props to play games in the bedroom such as scarves or neckties can

be fun, as well as handcuffs. The quality of the book is more of the

issue, along with the way some of the readers have become rabid,

almost in their fascination and conversations.

 

Every summer I have chosen what I consider ‘beach reads,’ books

that have romance or some playfulness in the plot. For mysteries,

Janet Evanovich, (I have read up to her #19th book, which includes

the two men in the main character of the book’s life.) I also read Nora

Roberts and other romance novelists, who have manly or masculine

‘heroes’ and feminine, but independent, heroines. I like the use of

both characters having the quality of strength, along with a sensitive

nature or side for both sexes coming into play.

 

I am abhorrent of the idea of mixing violence, or even roughness,

with sex.

You may call me a little old fashioned but no one I know would call

me a “prude” or “prurient” in nature.

 

I have a lot of enjoyable and fun memories of the days of trying all

kinds of positions, sex toys, and lubricants. I still have many styles of

lingerie; some of which added a lot of excitement on three honeymoons.

 

Working as a child advocate at a battered women’s shelter put a major

damper on some of my thinking about whips, chains and being tied

up.  The act of choking someone to get them to be on the edge of an

orgasm is not something you would consider seriously once you met

and witnessed a few women who had the ligature marks from the hands

that had surrounded their necks.

 

The bruising on “CSI” television shows or “Law and Order, Special

Victim’s Unit,” pales in comparison to the actual and real sight of this.

I have  met and heard the most horrendous stories of women who had

started the evening while making love with their significant other, only

to have it “go way wrong.”

 

This would include the woman whose husband wanted her to wear her

cowboy boots and a cowgirl vest while he wore his steel toed boots.

Warning! Below reading this, consider if it will upset you too much.

 

If you don’t want to hear this, stop and skip this part. It is violent.

The cowboy used his steel toed boot where it did not belong. It was

not her idea of excitement and the surgery needed to repair this,

along with her lifelong residual pain, is horrendous.

 

The emergency room staff called me, since I was “on call” to pick her

up. Usually I was packing my children in a car to pick up someone

with or without their child/children at the police station. This is

because a police car would reveal the confidential location of the

shelter if it were to be the transporter.

 

Another instance, was a man who thought while his wife was

suspended by a rope low enough to enter her, that would make her

have a great time and it would help get his rocks off, too. It ended

up another emergency room disaster. The nurse was required to

call the police, who then pressed charges on the man since it

turned out, the wife had not been consensual but actually had

been coerced into this bizarre sexual situation.

 

The hospital does not take kindly to these acts and will press charges

if they are involved, even if the woman doesn’t want to press charges.

That is the law and they have made a commitment to report any abuse

or suspicion of abuse.

 

Even if both parties are agreed at the beginning, most of the time,

the women who get hurt, admit they were asking the male participant

to “Stop.”

 

Sometimes, of course, it is an accidental situation but for the most

part, the woman have been dosed with a certain “date rape” drug or

over-indulged with alcohol.

In those cases, the police do step in. The man is accused of taking

advantage of the situation.

 

I hope all those enjoying the book series will continue to do so.

I just had to put my 2 cents in.

 

I have to say, “NO THANKS,” when it comes to participating in

games where there are dominant and submissive roles.

 

Not that anyone is asking for me to actively participate

in such sexual escapades. . .

Single Ladies Unite!

Standard

On June 4, 1948, Marion Richards placed a greeting card and a corsage on

some of her coworker’s desks. Inside each card, she left a special message

and in honor of her choice of words, there is a holiday on June 4th to celebrate!

She had chosen, you see, women who were over thirty years of age and were

unmarried at the time. She wanted them to feel loved and cared for, despite

their status.

This day is called, “Old Maid’s Day!!”

Oh my! Let’s see, in that time period my Dad was 16 years old and my

Mom was 20 years old.

Both my parents had aunts that were unmarried, due to choice, situation

or loss of a husband. They lived in separate homes, leading active and

productive lives.

My Great Aunt Marie had lost her husband to death while young. She had

worked until she was 67 years old at Gorton’s Fish Company in Gloucester.

She was one of the ‘highlights’ of my 16th summer in 1972. She had a little

red sports car and would take me to the drive-in movies, pick up young (and

cute) hitch-hikers when we were heading out of town. She would carry on the

liveliest and most interesting conversations. She was a good ‘role model’ for

my future dates by being independent and leading a positive life. I remember

one of her favorite outfits that she wore. She had a bright coral blouse and a

beautiful silk scarf with a floral design that included the color of turquoise.

She showed creativity and good fashion sense, which I liked to think about

as time went by She showed a ‘joi de vivre.” She will always be, in my eyes:

Forever young!

When my Great Aunt Marie was 92, I went to visit her. She still had her

own apartment, liked to walk to Bingo, to McDonald’s and the stores

in Gloucester.  When I woke up early to hear her lilting voice raised in

song, I walked slowly and quietly into the kitchen to find her dancing.

There she was floating on her toes, gracefully pirouetting and spinning.

When that song that says, “I Hope You Dance” came out, I carefully copied

all the words and mailed it to her. We were pen pals, and although she

never remarried, she always professed love for Pete, her husband who

had died. She never expressed regrets for not having children and truly

seemed interested in mine. I kept some of her letters, since they hold

such amazing positive words of encouragement. She was not lonely and

made friends up until she died at age 96! No worries for her being an

“Old Maid!” Not in her vocabulary or sensibility.

My Great Aunt Harriet was also a widow, a little older than my Aunt Marie,

but still would take her easel out Bearskin Neck and paint boats and the

infamous Rockport, Mass. red boathouse, Motif Number 1. She also was one

who would hop on her bicycle and go to the other ‘coves’ or inlets to use

her drawing pad. She was quite lively, intelligent and could get my 16 year

old self intrigued in everything from conservation, sea life, and politics!

Mom used to talk about her “elderly old maiden aunts,” which in reality

were cousins of hers. They were retired school teachers. They were not

related, so there were times, much later in my life, that Mom said one

time,

“I think they may have loved each other, choosing to spend their retirement

days, reading and volunteering at the library in Middletown, Ohio.”

Still later, while watching Sean Penn acting as the gay character with the

same name as the movie, “Milk,” she expressed thoughts that her maiden

aunts “may have been” lesbians adding,

“I guess we will never know for sure, since they never told anyone, that I

knew of, in the family.”

Tomorrow, (June fourth), is “My Day!” It may be “Your Day!”

In this world of crazy reasons to celebrate, rejoice in the feeling of being

‘free to choose whatever you wish to do,’ as long as you don’t go out and

break any laws, I don’t care if you even ‘play hooky from work!’

Many women, in today’s society, choose to remain unmarried well past

their 30’s. There is no ‘time limit’ or restrictions or even suggested age

that one must marry now. When women choose to focus on their careers,

their own paths in life, and possibly having children with no marriage

license. . .

I think, “Whatever works for you!”

If you haven’t found Mr. Right, he may just be around the corner.

(At least you have not settled for Mr. Wrong!)

If you are looking for Ms. Right, she may also be just around the corner.

(I hope you catch her eyes!)

If you are content in your ‘Single-dom,’

May it be a kingdom filled with

Joy, Independence and Tranquility!

Who needs an excuse to celebrate being single?

No one needs one, but it is fun to do so, anyway!

Any excuse for a Party of One!

In case you have forgotten the beautiful and inspirational lyrics of

Lee Ann Womack’s song’s lyrics are written by Mark D. Sanders

and Tia Sillers in 2000.

“I Hope You Dance”

I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,

You get your fill to eat, but always keep that hunger.

May you never take one single breath for granted,

God forbid love ever leave you empty-handed.

I hope you still feel small

when you stand beside the Ocean.

Whenever one door closes,

I hope one more opens.

Promise me that you’ll give faith

a fighting chance,

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,

I hope you dance..

I hope you dance.

I hope you never fear those mountains in the distance,

Never settle for the path of least resistance.

Living might mean taking chances but they’re worth taking.

Loving might be a mistake but it’s worth making.

Don’t let some hell-bent heart leave you bitter.

When you come close to selling out– reconsider.

Give the heaven above more than just a passing glance,

And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance,

I hope you dance…

I hope you dance.

Time is a wheel in constant motion,

Always rolling us along.

Tell me who wants to look back on

their years and wonder where those

years have gone”

(A couple of repeated stanzas and the “I Hope You Dance” repeats.)

If this song isn’t energetic enough, check out Martina Mc Bride’s

song, “This One’s for the Girls.” Of course, you can always rely on

the fun song, even sung by the little Chipmunks’ girlfriends can

be silly to dance to: “All the Single Ladies” by Beyoncé Knowles

and others.

A totally different song, a rowdy and controversial song with

anti-violence message and ending domestic abuse is called,

Independence Day,” sung by Martina McBride. This was not

played on radios because of the difficult subject matter of a mother

fighting back against abuse by burning her family’s home down.

The reason I support this song is due to Martina McBride’s being a

dual spokeswoman for the National Domestic Violence Hotline and

the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

“Independence Day” contains a powerful message for those who are

needing an ‘anthem’ to give them ‘backbone’ to get out of abusive

situations. I like it just to shout out the lyrics, “Let freedom ring!”

 

Letters from Our Soldiers

Standard

A man who collects letters from those wartime men and women

who died, gathered them together to donate a huge amount to

a university. Andrew Carroll, editor of the New York Times

best-sellers, “War Letters” and “Behind the Lines,” donated

his collection of 100,000 letters to Chapman University in

Orange, California.

For those of you who liked “Reader’s Digest” magazine and

their equally valuable reading place, “Reader’s Digest

Condensed Books,” I would like to share that I dreamed of

having a position and getting paid for working for one of

those highly esteemed reading sources. I always thought

what an interesting job it would be to ‘cull’ and ‘sort’

through newspapers, magazines and newly published books to

discover which ones would be worthy of being condensed and

read by millions of readers.

After all my days in doctor’s offices and hospitals with my

youngest daughter, (who has lived with JRA since she was 11,

diagnosed at age 13) I would like to nominate those special

and easily read magazines for some kind of Pulitzer Award!

The books were ones I could take to a babysitting job, while

12 and up, read one or two of the ‘books’ encased in those

esteemed volumes and feel I was ‘in the know’ for a time, on

what was considered popular literature, nonfiction and other

kinds of writings. They sometimes led me back to the library

to get the complete book, wanting more details.

What I am doing today is presenting you with an article and

a lead on some books, which may ‘whet your appetite’ for more!

I am considering myself, ‘duly elected’ to this position and

consider finding these ‘gems’ to share with you. In each letter,

there is a story.

Had my cousins written during their Viet Nam War experiences and

shared the letters with my mother, she would have kept them. I

wish I knew more of their experiences.

I will always remember when my twin second cousins, Johnny

and Eddie, came back from the Viet Nam War. My cousin, Ed, went

back to being a pharmacist at Tuck’s Pharmacy, located in the

small, notable town of Rockport, Massachusetts. My cousin, John,

came back to California, briefly found out that his wife had

been unfaithful, and left the West coast permanently. It was my

16th summer, the one my parents let me go work at the candy

counter, learning how to be independent since my Great Aunt Dot

and Great Uncle George, gave me working hours, dinner hour and

the curfew of 10 p.m. during the week, 11 p.m. during the weekend.

I learned firsthand about PTSD, through deep and dark discussions

with Johnny. He was not happy with his war experiences. I wish now,

that I had written notes down, during that three month period.

His life irrevocably changed, whereas his twin brother, who had

been in the ‘medic’ field tents and not in direct contact with

weapons. No, he just handled their aftermath results, seemingly

unscathed.

Andrew Carroll has collected letters from the Revolutionary War,

the Civil War, WWI and WWII, Korean War, the Gulf, Afghanistan and

Iraqi skirmishes, too.

1. A Revolutionary War letter~

Writing from father to son, James Williams began a letter to Daniel,

on June 12, 1779:

“This is the first chance I have had to write you. I am, by the cause

of Providence, in the field in defense of my country.” He describes

missing his children and wife. I love the way he shows his emotions

about her,

“Your mother, who sits like a dove that has lost its mate, having the

weight of the family on her shoulders.”

Sadly, James died at the Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina.

He had written these foreboding words,

“The uncertainty of life ought to induce every man to prepare for

death.”

2. A Civil War letter~

When a soldier has been mortally wounded, their words are even more

heart-breaking, since time is slipping away from them. Here is a part

of a letter from John Ross Wallar, who volunteered to be a drummer boy,

in the Civil War. This is most sad, since he was only 15 years old.

He dictated these words in a short letter, sent to his family:

“Dear Sister, Father, Mother and Friends,

I received your letter, but I don’t think I ever shall see another

that you write. This is Friday night. But I don’t think I will live

to see morning. But my kind friends, I am a soldier of Christ. I

will meet you all in Heaven. My leg has been taken above my knee. I

am dying, at this time. So don’t mourn after me. For I have bled and

died for my country.

May God help you all to pray for me. I want you all to meet me in

Heaven above…

My wound dresser is writing this letter.

Write to Alexander Nelan, for I won’t live till morning.

So goodbye, my friends. May God be with you

all. God bless my poor Soul.”

3. A WWI letter (in France)~

On September 11, 1918, a Columbia University student who had volunteered

for service, leaving school. Sgt. David Ker sent a letter to his mother

the day before the attack on Saint-Mihiel, France. He wanted to keep his

family’s spirits up:

“Tomorrow the first totally American drive commences, and it gives me

inexpressible joy and pride to know that I shall be present to do my

share….Should I go under, therefore, I want you to know that I went

without any terror of death and my chief worry is the grief my death

will bring to those so dear…”

4. A WWII letter~

Tommie Kennedy, 2nd Lt., only 21, knew he would not come home alive.

He was captured by the Japanese at Corregidor and spent nearly 3 years

as a P.O.W. He was ‘fatally malnourished and incarcerated on a ship.’

Kennedy scribbled a farewell message to his parents on two family

photographs:

“Momie & Dad:

It is pretty hard to check out this way without a fighting chance

but we can’t live forever. I’m not afraid to die, I just hate the

thought of not seeing you again.

Buy Turkey Ranch with my money and just think of me often while

you are there… make liberal donations to both sisters…

I guess you can tell Patty that fate just didn’t want us to

be together…

Hold a nice service for me in Bakersfield and put head stone

in new cemetery…

Loving and waiting for you in the world beyond.”

This letter was smuggled from one POW to another and it was

finally mailed, getting there in late 1945. Four years after

Tommie had left home to be in the service.

5. A Vietnam War letter~

Lt. Dean Allen wrote to his wife, Joyce, on July 10, 1967.

“…Being a good platoon leader is a lonely job…” Pondering his

position and not being able to discuss things with her, he said,

“I guess it (writing a letter) helps a little though because you

are the only one I would say these things to. Maybe sometime I’ll

even try to tell you how scared I have been or now… Sometimes,

I wonder how I’ll make it. My luck is running way too good right

now. I just hope it lasts…”

He tells his wife, “I love you with all my heart.” Four days later,

Dean stepped on a land mine.

6. An Afghanistan War letter~

Mainly during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, service members have

usually ‘Skyped’ or emailed letters. There have been some exceptions,

for which it helps for posterity’s sake, to have them as examples of

this period in wartime. Sgt. Josh Harapko, with the 10th Mountain

Division, preparing to be part of coalition forces, for Operation

Anaconda, was 23 years old. A major assault on the Taliban and al-Qaida

was planned, before advancing into one of the worst Afghan campaigns,

he wrote this letter to his mother dated March, 2002:

“Dear Mom,

I’m writing this letter before I leave. I couldn’t say what I

wanted to over the phone. First I want to say I love you so much.

You were always there for me even though I would never talk about

my problems.

Second you gave me the options to be a man, giving me slack in the

rope to try to make the right decisions. No matter what you always

believed in me, no matter how much of a punk I was to you…

I don’t want you to worry about me. (I know you will cause I’m your

son.)

Mom, I’m not afraid to die for something that is right… I just hope

that I made you proud… I’ll always be with you…”

This young man, Josh, survived combat in Afghanistan but died exactly

one year later, on March 11, 2003. His Black Hawk helicopter crashed,

during a training mission at Fort Drum, N.Y. Shortly before he died,

he had given his mother this letter. She cherishes it.

The words of the nearly dying and the ones who fought for our country

are very brave and sure in their convictions. I am in awe and amazement;

there is such selfless-ness through their written correspondences.

Andrew Carroll’s words are good ones to close this article and to give

a summarization:

“On a more personal level, these correspondences provide a tangible

connection to the past and humanize our men and women in uniform,

capturing their distinct personalities, experiences and aspirations.

Through their words, we see them as more than just soldiers, Marines,

airmen and sailors. They are a parent, a sibling, a child, a spouse,

a fiancé or a best friend.”

May this fine and early tribute, through Andrew Carroll’s words,

to all of our servicemen and women, living and gone ahead, a week

early…

for Memorial Day, 2014.

A Special Memorial for Ben

Standard

Ten Years Ago Today

February 24, 2004

Once upon a time there was a boy named Ben. He liked

wild and domestic animals and studied dinosaurs. He

enjoyed information, found in books and on computers.

He was filled with the love of learning and curiosity

about space and limitless galaxies.

When Ben played encyclopedia games on the computer to

learn about wild animals, he would become immersed in

their worlds.

This was the eighties; when his babysitter’s Dad who

loved this scientific aspect of the boy, set up all

kinds of World Book and Discovery programs challenging

Ben’s interests and his need to know.

He didn’t just “play,” he became absorbed and spent

time thinking. Sometimes, his Mom and babysitter would

ponder and worry about Ben, after Lynn Anne’s busy day

of nursing and Robin’s hectic day of being around just

kids. Sharing a cup of coffee, talking about their

children were rare, short moments for the two friends.

Ben’s parents, Lynn Anne and David, were professionals

and admired his intellect. His older brother, Zach,

was not at all into the same things, but loved him

dearly. He included him, if Ben ever wanted to join

him with his friends. Ben’s babysitter and her son,

James, loved him like he were part of the family.

Never was he excluded in their home. At school,

there were times where teachers were intimidated

by his knowledge, children were not interested in

listening to his fascinating and imaginative stories.

This was noticeable, even while in elementary school,

but the problems became more evident, in middle and

high school.

The parents chose to take Ben to a family counselor,

participating in therapy with him sometimes, too.

Ben was the young ‘tag-a-long’ to Zach, Jamie and

Mick. When they were at the movies or pool, all 4

were a ‘team’ within itself. No one could ‘pick

on’ any of their members. They often would play

‘Marco Polo’ and stay in the shallow end of the

pool to include Ben.

Camping and hiking with Ben and Zach’s family was a

wondrous experience for Jamie. He felt comfortable

and included in the male-oriented atmosphere. At home

he had, after all, two sisters, with himself being

‘sandwiched’ in between.

Lynn Anne and David were very open minded, like

the babysitter. There was always the choice to

express oneself, but also the space to be alone.

Ben moved back and forth between these places of

solace and comfort, not ever letting the building

remorseful depression show. He had ‘safe havens’

but they were not always transportable.

The fondness of those three boys will always be

one of the best parts of my son’s memories. Zach

came to my son’s wedding with a female friend,

stayed until the very end. There were no real

expressions (spoken out loud, at least) between

the two older boys, of wishes that Ben were still

here to celebrate James marriage to Trista.

They had needed each other, that was the truth.

Jamie moved off to Dayton, having graduated from

Delaware Hayes High (1999), along with Zach who

graduated a year later (2000). There were not many

moments of looking back at younger Ben.

The older boys were no longer around to be his

‘safety net’ and fierce protectors.

The fateful day came, when Ben was tormented once

again in the cafeteria. Sensing Ben’s ‘weakness’

and gentle soul, a big, tough football player had

been teasing him often, especially with no one

willing to stand up to him.

It was Ben’s ‘last straw.’

Before much thought went though his head, Ben was

rushing out into the briskly cold day, running behind

the frozen high school football stadium.

Ben knew his only option. At least, that is the way

it seemed that day, when he waited to jump in front

of the rushing train that ended his life.

We all loved Ben, we all miss him and he is on my

mind, as I had been his daily caregiver for several

years.

Felicia, my youngest daughter, graduated with the

boy who damaged Ben’s very core, a few months later

in June, 2004. He lives in California now. Not sure

what his conscience is like, now that he may have

grown up enough to face the consequences of his

verbal actions.

The date is indelibly imprinted on my mind.

Wishing we could just rewind his life and make Ben

stay with us and be here today.

In his memory, I suggest you may enjoy listening

to “Across the Universe,” written by John Lennon,

credited as a collaboration of McCartney-Lennon.

This was given as a donation to the charity musical

compilation of “No One’s Gonna Change Our World,”

December, 1969. Later, the Beatles included this

song in their final album, “Let It Be.”

I imagine Ben knowing finally the secrets of the

Universe and smiling.

Losing Oneself

Standard

These words make me pensive.

They make me delve deeper into myself.

There are many ways to interpret them:

Losing oneself…

in writing,

in one’s work,

in another’s arms,

in daydreams,

in tasks,

in crafts,

in creating,

in music,

in art,

in church,

in Nature,

in a Higher Being,

God/Buddha/Allah…

in a book,

on your path in life,

in space and time,

on the waters, drifting…

in addictions,

gambling,

drinking,

drugs,

food,

shopping,

losing your mind,

in depression,

and in countless ways.

It is important not to ‘lose yourself.’

It is meaningful to go~ beyond yourself.

It makes a stronger relationship, if

you are you, and they are they.

Don’t go off the deep end, please!

I’d place my ‘bet’ on you being a

winner, in whatever ways you choose

to contribute to this world.

Take comfort, reach out if you need

a shoulder to lean on.

Three songs that cheer me up when I am

thinking of sad times,

1. “Go Your Own Way” by Lindsey Buckingham,

Fleetwood Mac album, “Rumours,” released

in 1977.

2. “I’ll Be There,” sung by the Jackson Five,

featuring Michael Jackson. This song was

written by a team known as the Corporation,

including Berry Gordy, Bob West, Hal Davis

and Willie Hutch. This was their third album,

released in 1970.

3. “With a Little Help From My Friends,”

(Written for “The Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely

Hearts Club Band” album with Ringo as

the singer, in the character of “Billy

Shears.”) Released in 1967. Joe Cocker

sang this at Woodstock in 1969. Someone

at work had thought Joe wrote it, but it

was written as a collaboration between

Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Oh, and

I had to look up this fact, now you know

too that the Beatles came BEFORE the

legendary Woodstock!)

Try not to lose yourself in a negative

way and keep your chin up,.

I hope, mainly, you will find yourself.

Here in the colder part of the country,

I feel for the even more frigid areas,

those up North and East of us!