Category Archives: grief

Baldwin Wallace site: 2015 International Film Series

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You better believe I was excited to be asked by my sister in law,

Susan who is a Dean at Baldwin Wallace University to attend

two of the many diverse international films shown over this

past weekend. The series was held from February 6 – 14th.

The two movies were so disparate they don’t even seem to

belong in the same world we live in. One was more factual

and sad in its depiction of culture, class structure and society.

The other was one that left you feeling strong, independent

and yet vulnerable to feelings about relationships. Both had

a similar thread of how choosing the ‘right path in life’ can

make a difference in life’s outcomes.

 

The Chinese film was called, “Tian Zhu Ding,” which translates as

“A Touch of Sin.” There were four ‘acts’ with true stories embedded

within the plot. The news stories were results from tragic incidents.

The film ends by circling back to a few of the main characters. Each

individual portrayed a character who either committed violence or

were affected and changed by the actual happenings.

 

The countryside setting in the beginning of the movie displayed

beautiful snow-capped mountains and the outside of a coal mine.

There are many struggling people in this remote town. Someone

is offended, and ultimately angered, by the owner of the mine.

You do not find out until another section of the movie how far

this man will go as he takes out his revenge.

 

Part of this true story includes two men being shot and killed

going down the mountain on their motorcycles. It looks to the

observer to be a possible ‘hit job.’ I think this part of the first

story gives the viewer the sense of,  “Life is futile.” This random

act of violence against the two men just made this section of the

film feel more desolate.

 

The town tries valiantly to display a friendly and positive reception

for manager and his wife. A noisy, discordant band, cheerleader-like

people wearing costumes and one loud, angry and discontented man

await the arrival of the mining company boss, who is also part of the

royal family. The main problem making the miner seethe and stew

is that if the family can afford a plane which arrives on the runway

where the gathering is prepared to entertain them, then he feels the

manager should pay the workers better. The disparity between the

classes seem to be the root and meaning behind this part of the film.

 

Later after the film, there was a reception where one of Baldwin

Wallace University professors said they do have unions in China.

She speculated possibly not in the rural provinces, though.

 

The small town’s welcoming committee and reception is declared

over by the manager and the crowd disperses. There were a few

people who shook hands with the manager and tried to ingratiate

themselves with him. His wife doesn’t shake hands but smiles and

appeared aloof. The royal manager of the coal mine ends up beating

the upset man with only his wife and his pilot as witnesses. This

is due to his having embarrassed the royal manager by expressing

his disapproval of the way the mine was managed.  Being ‘called out’

by a subordinate on his wealthy habits in front of the group threw

him into a rage.

 

This poor soul is so badly injured he must go to a hospital.

 

The second story is one where the injured, malcontent man visits

a woman who he has loved since he was young. You can see from

their facial expressions how much they care about each other. She

has been married for some time. She stops preparing dinner and

leaves one of her sons in the kitchen doing his homework. The

film never shows the two in any of unfaithfulness. The viewer

assumes it is unrequited love.  It appears they have never followed

through with a physical affair. The woman won’t leave her husband

but does explain to the man she has known her whole life that she

has loved him since young. She would go with him, if only he would

change. She says he will never amount to anything, only in Chinese

translated into English subtitles.

 

There is a possible theme of redemption in the beginning of this

story. The audience may feel there could be hope for this man who

is distraught and not taken seriously in his coal mining job. It seems

like the man is thinking about changing his ways. He does have a

wife, it is revealed and she is going to have to live with the haunting

vengeful acts he chooses to commit.

 

Unfortunately, he is angered by this hardened  position of his

childhood sweetheart. He goes on to commit atrocities, killing

more than four people. The scene where he gets his rifle and goes

to the royal palace is almost unbelievable. It made me feel like I

was watching a Quentin Tarantino film. This true news story is

not given a date or time but the review and article about the film

describe this as an actual murderous series of events.

 

The married woman in this story will re-appear in the fourth story.

 

The third story is one with a couple of young people. The central

character in this ‘act’ is one young man who is trying to get out

of the coal mining town. He has a friend he contacts using his cell

phone, who affirms there are more jobs in the big city. The friend

upon his arrival calls a man who comes to pick him up in a fancy

car. He is taken to a place of entertainment where young people,

both men and women, are given costumes to wear.

 

They are paraded in front of potential ‘buyers’ of their ‘human wares.’

One strange element is a shortened version of an Army uniform with

the bellies of the young girls displayed and they do ‘march in’ and

the visitors sit on rows of couches ogling them.

 

The clients may buy ‘time’ with the youths or buy ‘acts’ performed,

(implied but not seen.) This becomes sad since the two attracted to

each other, spend time while they have a day off from work. They try

to act like a normal couple on a date. There are smiles and moments

where you have the belief, or hope this may be the first happy ending

of the three stories shown so far. They spend time looking at things at

a local market, see statues of Buddha the young woman is interested

and the ‘boy’ purchases one about a foot tall.  They go to a parking lot,

where they sit in someone else’s car, kissing while the Buddha is shown

left on the hood of the car as rain begins to fall upon the windshield.

There are symbolic meanings to several parts of each story.

 

The girl reluctantly tells the young man she has a three year old

daughter. She poignantly express when you work in the ‘sex trade’

you really don’t believe in love anymore. Her mother is raising the

little girl.

 

This ends the first half of the 3rd story. . .

 

There is another young woman who is working in a public sauna.

This place is where sexual favors can also be bought. She is ‘only a

receptionist’ she tries to explain her employment position three

times to a couple of men who are trying to persuade her to engage

in paid sexual favors.

 

Both these stories come to violence. In the first one, the young

man throws himself over a balcony many stories high in the city.

He had just gotten off the phone with his mother complaining he

had not sent money since he left the coal mine. You sense he had

hoped to find a good job and make enough money to send home

to support his mother. This compounded with the disenchantment

with the city, the reality and rejection of the young girl sends him

into making his final choice.

 

The second story in this section of the movie, has the accosted

young woman lashing out with a knife and attacking, defending

herself against the two male potential rapists. The word, “no” and

slamming the door three times against them did not stop their

attempts to change her mind.

 

Once the man is bloody with several stabs into his chest and arms,

the other man runs away. She leaves the establishment in bloody

clothing and is seen wandering out on the road leaving the city in

the dark.

 

The last story shows the woman from story number two having

left her husband to become a ‘preacher,’ in the form of a street

performer. She must have decided the violent rampage of her

childhood love was a turning point. There aren’t any explanations

for the film’s character’s actions.

 

Sometimes, there was silence in many scenes.

Conversation seemed more to move the pieces of each story

along rather than connect people together.

 

The performance play has a religious revival tone to it. The main

female entertainer is asking members of the audience to come

forward and ask for forgiveness. The message in this seems to be,

‘Your actions will help you to find your path in life.’

 

The wife of the disgruntled coal miner who killed the royal couple

(who also managed the coal mine) in their palace is present. Along

with the young woman from the sauna. She had just come from a

“Fortune 500”  company (displayed on the sign by the tables of

job interviewers). In this scene, the young girl has shorter hair,

wearing a simple outfit. This is not thread bare, but the attitude

of the female interviewer shows disdain towards her. She didn’t

have the necessary qualifications, both educational and experience,

to get the position. She walks dejectedly with her head looking at

the sidewalk out of the building and heads towards a park.

 

Following the sound of the play leads the unemployed woman to

come across a performance upon a small stage set up in the park.

 

There is a feeling of hope amongst the participants in the play.

Their exuberance is catchy and they seem to impart a purpose to

their presentation. Several aimless people have wandered upon

the colorful scene.

 

The city onlookers listen to the motivational messages given.

Those who have felt like life has become too daunting and

overwhelming. It ends with an open-ended optimistic sense

of well being.

 

I would say the fourth story’s theme is about redemption.

 

This Chinese film was every bit as violent as any of ones made

in the United States. I had a preconception that it would show

resolutions made and more detailed explanations given for the

intense situations in the four stories. The outline of the plot lets

the viewer know there will be “four shocking and true events.”

 

The way the stories are ‘strung together’ doesn’t make it easily

understood.  If you don’t play close attention, it might be hard

to determine each character as they are not always wearing any

distinguishing clothing.

 

If I had been at home watching this on a DVD, I would have

rewound it more than once.

 

If any movie is possible to remind you of this film to one of ours,

I would say, “Crash.” That film took several story lines where they

converge into situations. Characters were loosely drawn and then

acted and reacted to the events in each movie. This Chinese film,

“A Touch of Sin,” is reminiscent of the way lives unravel and

become disconnected.

 

The director named Jia Zhangke has written and directed two

other films that a reviewer considered, “Masterpieces.”  They are

called, “The World” and “Still Life.”

 

A movie reviewer for the magazine, “The New Yorker,” Richard

Brody says, “This is one of the best and most important directors

in the world.” In a brochure for the film festival, others label it as

“daring,” “poetic” and leading the country of China, after the real

life crimes, into a period of “self-examination.”

 

I thoroughly enjoyed the Chinese reception with various dishes of

noodles with vegetables, sushi rolls, egg rolls and fortune cookies.

There were some kind of custard wrapped desserts which some of

us wondered if this were a contribution of ‘cannolis’ representing the

Italian food.

 

Since the last movie we saw was from Italy.

 

I listened and was humbled by deep thoughts the Chinese movie

drew out of professors and visitors.

*I would not recommend watching this powerful movie due to its

feeling of hopelessness and despair.

 

Here are a series of thoughts I wrote down before I compiled

this into a ‘review’ on “A Touch of Sin:”

1.  A diabetic injects himself with insulin and proceeds to eat

noodles.

2.  The only two pieces of art work were a beautiful Tiger and

the Mother Mary holding Jesus. The costumes of the band

players and the different plays within the film were gorgeous.

3. Taking justice into his own hands, the one who was beaten

by the royal who managed the coal mines, was accompanied

by waving a wall hanging of a tiger over his rifle.

4. Discontent/Dissent/Inequality of the masses was a recurring

theme throughout the film.

5. A “Fortune 500” company is in the 4th section of the film

and it is titled, “Oasis of Opportunity.”

6. The three languages spoken in China are given as Mandarin,

Shanghai and English.

7. Everyone, at every level in the film, has a cell phone and

modern technology is apparent throughout despite poverty

in the mining village.

8. The scene with a man whipping his horse was upsetting.

9. Taking justice in their own hands seems to be the way

those who felt their lives were unfair was their only way

of equalizing their lives.

10. Smoking occurs in buses, trains, restaurants and hotel

rooms.

11. Men dress as women to entertain in the fourth story.

12. The movie left me feeling very dissatisfied and discontent.

*No violence was taken on my part.

 

 

“Viaggio Sola” is called, “A Five Star Life.” It actually is not the

same meaning as the Italian title would be, “Traveling Alone.”

This is a fun spirited Italian movie about a woman who is one

of those ‘mystery shoppers’ or ‘customers’ to elegant and formal

hotels around the world. The time she is in an Asian country

watching on the veranda a lovely belly dancer while sipping wine

and looking across at a man also a guest at the hotel is an example

of escaping reality.

Her own apartment is sparingly decorated.  Her sister is married

and has two girls. Her brother-in-law plays for the Italian symphony.

She takes her nieces out to eat once in the movie, along with making

reservations of adjoining rooms for their accompanying her on a

special trip.

The girls like checking the mattress for bed bugs, counting towels

and the other parts of the reoccurring list the women orally goes

over as she types the answers into her laptop.

The girls ‘act up’ and use toilet paper in the bathtub which brings

out the character’s lack of understanding children’s impulses. She

yells briskly at the girls, which later one of them can’t go to sleep

and ‘wants to go home.’

The voice over narrator throughout this film is telling the elements

of a proper “5 star” place.

There are amusing times when the main character is disembarking

from a trip to greet a good guy friend at the airport,  where she offers

to ‘cook dinner,’ which he makes a disdainful expression which is

comical, like a, “You know you don’t know how to cook!” look.

While at his apartment, you notice he has candles and nice cooking

utensils as he prepares her a meal.

 

There are a few monkey wrenches thrown into the Italian film’s

plot line, which I won’t reveal because I do recommend this film.

 

It is beyond the simple story drawn here. It is not at all negatively

completed as the similar George Clooney film, “Up in the Air” was.

That movie ending was quite disconcerting, since I saw a future in the

romance being shown between George’s character and an airline

hostess.

 

In the Italian film, “A Five Star Life,” you will see gorgeous scenes of

the following international cities:  Paris, France, Gstaad, Morocco,

Berlin, Germany and China. Each has lavish hotels and delicious meals

displayed to wish you were the person hired to critique and be pampered.

 

 

 

“Capturing Camelot”

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In Columbus, Ohio many wonderful displays come to be shown at

“The Schumacher Gallery” located on the nearby campus of Capital

University. From January 19 through March 25, 2015, you may view

the artistic work of famous photojournalist, Stanley Tretick. This is an

exhibit I am going to try to see very soon.

Stanley Tretick was given the great and valuable experience of being

present at the White House during President John F. Kennedy’s

years in office.  John and Jackie Kennedy were revered for their

youthfulness, energy and attractive appearances.

They became what some would call, “American Royalty.”

Many still consider Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis one of

the historic American icons of fashion. She embodied the word,

“glamour.”

There was a serious, deeper quality of beauty shown in her face

and posture. Jackie demonstrated poise and class, while still

showing warmth in her smiles aimed toward her husband,

newspaper reporters and two children, John John and Caroline.

There was a combination of romance and storytelling in the

way the Camelot period is shown and told. It is a fascinating

piece of history, ending in tragedy. It captured so many of

our minds and eyes, while watching it unfold.  Finally, the

famous assassination and funeral were ones we could not

take our eyes off of either.

There are many movies I could recommend about the story of

Jackie and John Kennedy, including the piece in the recent

movie, “The Butler.” The film covered five different presidents

the butler served. In the movie, there is a poignant scene with

the butler concerned for Jackie and later, his bending down to

talk to Caroline, hoping to help her feel better by offering to get

her a snack or a toy.

We grew up watching the film, “PT 109” about John Kennedy’s

military service which included an accident. This played havoc

on his own personal ongoing pain that wracked his body. Cliff

Robertson did a fine job in his portrayal of JFK. I liked the

movie, “Parkland,” which depicts Jackie’s courage and ‘grace

under fire,’ when her husband’s bleeding head was in her lap

on her clothing. This is also a surprisingly well done piece of

history about the final moments at the hospital. Zac Efron

really redeems himself with this movie. It may erase his

horrible performance in the awful movie, “The Neighbors.”

The advertisement for the display of photographs come with

this riveting description:

“John F. Kennedy was elected to the White House and the

American people embarked on a journey of 1,000 days into

a mythical world that former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy

would recall as Camelot.”

Stanley Tretick’s Iconic Images of the Kennedy’s brochure

closes with these words:

“Capturing Camelot reflects the magic of an era that

continues to inspire affection and nostalgia.”

You may wish to check the hours and there is a Schumacher

Gallery Face Book page, as well as this phone number:

(614)-236-6319 or check out the website listed below:

http://www.schumachergallery.org

Seeing the exhibit is like seeing part of our own history,

the pieces we may wish to remember in this lovely way.

The personal photographs are ones which show the one

behind the fairy tale, give us their personal moments. We

all like to look at photo albums, famous or our own family’s.

There is a part of me, maybe possibly all of us who grew up

during the sixties, who will never forget the Kennedy family.

Remembering Camelot and all the possibilities, it seemed to

reach for the stars and into our dreams.

What’s happening where you live?

Do you like to look for exhibits and special events which come to

your area only once a year, like the “Home and Garden Show?”

This next weekend, Vanilla Ice is going to be at our “H and G Show.”

Have you checked out any local galleries or “One of a Kind” events?

Native American View on “Two-Spirits”

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An article by Cecelia LaPointe, who refers to “Two-Spirit”

which addresses and rekindles awareness of Native Gender

identity, was in the Ohio “Outlook” magazine. This was my

resource which I used finding great Christmas music lists

and an article about Bette Midler in December.

 

In November, Cecelia came to OSU campus to host a poetry

workshop and speak on racial identity and the “Two-Spirit”

existence. Ms. LaPointe has also visited Columbus during

both Native American Heritage Month and Trans-gender

Awareness Week. (Two opportunities I missed last year to

feature in my monthly calendar.)

 

Indigenous communities of Native Americans use the “Two-

Spirit” label to denote gender variations within their people.

In the world, they consider Europe and American cultures

“binary” genders. “Two-Spirits” become a third or even fourth

gender among native societies.

 

“Two-Spirits” are denoted or designated from birth, through

a ritual. This belief of a person embodying masculine and

feminine spirits, two ‘identities inhabiting a single body’ is

not considered ‘weird,’ ‘strange’ or ‘inappropriate.’ Instead

the Native Americans ’embrace’ the different way of life.

 

Two things mentioned in this essay about Cecelia and her

tribe’s belief in what sets these particular people known as

“Two-Spirits” apart:

1.) They dress and change their choice of who they are from

day to day. They are not all ‘one way’ in their feminine or

masculine clothing.

2.) They may choose to carry out tasks or labor, not dependent

on their outward appearance. Gender roles are not delineated

or dictated in the “Two-Spirit” existence.

For example: A person could go out on a hunt or go to war, but

at other times may dress in women’s clothing and carry out

domestic chores. Women could become  ‘warriors’ or chiefs

over their native tribes.

 

Interestingly, according to Ms. LaPointe,  “Two-Spirits” were

not only tolerated, but they were ‘revered.’  For instance, they

were well respected and considered, ‘powerful.’ They often were

given special roles such as healers, mediators and counselors.

 

There are instances where bigotry of “Two-Spirits” has been

carried out. When historians bring up the arguments of their

contributions and respected positions it is to counterbalance

those who say Native Americans are “transphobic.”

 

Sometimes, Natives would bring up “tradition” as a reason to

exclude people who chose to carry out their ‘birthright’ as

“Two-Spirit” people.  They would be acting close-minded to

the long history of the revered members of their tribes.

Ancestors of Native Americans were not against “Two-Spirit”

people, elders were often of this delineation.

 

Ms. LaPointe brings up Spanish missionaries as those who

planted the ‘bad seeds’ which germinated prejudice against

“Two-Spirited” people. “They (Two-Spirit) were essentially

the first victim in the campaign of colonial violence against

the native population of the Americas.”

 

Ms. LaPointe considers herself of  ‘mixed descent’ and feels

she is part of “both cultures, both worlds.” She grew up in a

Detroit suburb and lives in the northern town of Manistee.

She travels to her reservation in the U.P. (Upper Peninsula)

regularly. She is a descendant of the Anishinaabekwe Tribe,

native of the Great Lakes region.

 

Cecelia LaPointe says her reservation is very small yet it is her

“home.” This is where she goes to be with family members. Some

of her own family members hold leadership positions within her

tribe. It is part of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community. Being

located far from the city means it is a positive place for her to

retreat. It is also good since. . .

‘There is less influence from the dominant culture there.’

 

Ms. LaPointe reaches out to others, through her writing

and public speaking. By going to college campuses, she

can share her poetry and also, her viewpoint where the

students may be encouraged to be ‘themselves.’ She hopes

to reverse the history of discrimination against both the

Native Americans and also, those who are filled with what

they call, “Two-Spirit.”

 

There was a wonderful piece of artwork that accompanied

this article in “Outlook,” November issue. It has the artist,

George Catlin’s (1796-1872) painting called, “Dance to the

Berdache.” This was drawn while the Sac and Fox people

of the Great Plains were engaging in a ceremonial dance to

celebrate the “Two-Spirit” person.

 

Here is a part of a poem that talks of her emotions,

“Poem: Ajijaak Dodem Anokil

It is so precious,

Those tears on my hands,

Covering my face,

This grieving is beautiful,

You see we had felt those knives turned inward

On ourselves,

On our family. . .”

 

You may wish to check out Cecelia Rose LaPointe’s poetry

or speaking schedule and other special events at:

http://www.anishinaabekwe.com

 

My youngest daughter and I recently saw, “The Imitation Game,”

which depicts an underlying sadness within the main character.

It is a true story about Alan Turing, a genius. He was the inventor

of a de-coding machine that ‘beat’ Germany’s war coding machine,

“The Enigma.” This British machine helped the Allies win World

War II against the Germans.

 

Apparently, Alan Turing was a man who faced accusations and

there were parts of the film which eluded to his sexual preferences.

This movie brought up the problems that people historically have

faced (and are still overcoming).  The end of the movie has details

about large numbers, unfortunately, of people who were thrown in

British prisons, due to their homosexuality.

 

The actor is one I enjoy as “Sherlock” on PBS and also, has been

in the “Dr. Who” British television series. His name is Benedict

Cumberbatch. You can see him in more than one 2013 Academy

Award nominated movie, since he played in “12 Years a Slave”

and “August: Osage County.”

 

The woman who befriends him and who is very talented in

decoding and helping with the Turing Machine, is played by the

wonderful actress, Keira Knightley. My favorite role she has

played was in, “Pride and Prejudice,” but there are many more

films to see her in.

 

After the movie, when I talked with my youngest daughter who had

cried (as I did, too) during some of the tender and intense parts of the

film, we both agreed upon deep emotions we have in common.

We also share values my parents and siblings embrace.

It is hard to understand why anyone would be so offended by

someone’s personal choices.

 

Sadly, the United States has had many different areas where

numbers of people who chose to be ‘different’ from what some

may perceive as ‘normal’ or ‘mainstream.’ Obviously, numerous

people are still either bullied or face judges in court rooms.

 

Persecutions in the United States have been appalling and we

talked about our abhorrence of this.

 

No country is totally ‘innocent’ of negative practices of prejudice

and persecution. “Racial profiling” has been a problem within our

extended family.  (My oldest daughter’s father of little Micah is

bi-racial. Mainly, since 9/11/2001, he has had taunts and threats

due to his outward appearance. In his younger years, he says at

least in Delaware, Ohio, he found people wanting to be his friend

throughout his schooling and working years.)

 

The numbers of those imprisoned, at the end of the movie, were

such that we just shook our head and looked at each other through

teary eyes, in disbelief. Felicia asked me, “How can anyone feel

they have the right to judge someone else?”

 

This article about Native Americans and “Two Spirit” individuals

was saved in my WordPress drafts.  It helped me to feel that there

is a positive force to include gays and lesbians within the Native

tribes. Their ‘explanation’ or interesting philosophy towards people

who choose to follow two different genders created new thoughts

in my mind. Mother Nature has some unique qualities which I

embrace, sometimes intuitively.

 

Of course, I have mentioned before. . . I have hope for our future

in the possibility that all peoples can accept and embrace our

differences.

 

Written in Memoriam of Alan Turing, scientist, original computer

inventor and mathematician who committed suicide at age 41, a

few weeks before his 42nd birthday in  June, 1954.

Queen Elizabeth II gave Alan Turing a post-humous “pardon” in

2013 for his criminal charges and offenses.

 

Teddy Roosevelt’s Hiding Place

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It is amazing to read another side of a person you may have studied

in Social Studies or in American History classes. Theodore Roosevelt,

Jr. faced horrible losses and a singular joy all in a short period of time.

The pain was so much he needed to get away. He needed to ‘wallow’

in his sorrow and be alone while grieving.

 

“The Light has gone out of my Life.”

 

These words were found in a personal journal, carrying the weight of

true sadness. Theodore Roosevelt’s wife died and in a short amount

of time later, his dear mother died.

 

Both women died in the same house.

Both loved ones died on the same day.

 

The joy was his daughter, Alice Lee.

 

The cause of his wife’s death, as so often happened in the past, was

due to this precious baby. I remember seeing this in movies, in books

and my mother mentioning how common this ‘death during childbirth’

occurred. He was 26 years old, handling the baby by himself. We don’t

hear about the details, except that he chose to escape. His family must

have taken care of baby Alice, while he was gone.

 

“The Elkhorn Ranch” became his place of healing and solitude. This

is place is in North Dakota.

This journey is an incredible story. One where Theodore Roosevelt

sought nature for his grief counseling. This led him to incorporate

the idea of preserving nature into his future plans. Taking care of his

country had not been originally part of his political plans. Teddy

himself said this (paraphrased):

“I would never have been President if not for my experience in

North Dakota.”

Once renewed, he came back to New York and ran for political

offices. . . all leading up to his saving land for National Parks.

 

When the story was mentioned in a brief account on CBS Sunday

Morning, I noted that this story originated from February, 1884. It is

approaching 131 years since Theodore Roosevelt retreated from the

dual deaths, the birth of his daughter and got out of the public eye.

While rustling cattle out West in the Dakotas, he again met death.

Freezing wintertime caused sickness and his herds of cattle died.

 

The image of the sole remaining rock, the only remaining part of

the Elkhorn Ranch’s foundation that is left, was shown. A historian

leaned over the rock, as if studying all of the details of Theodore

Roosevelt’s rocky, rugged path in life.

 

The beautiful miles and acres of land surrounding this place, still

are pristine. The cottonwoods glistening in the sun while shaking and

making a hissing sound captured my attention.

 

But the personal tragedies that Theodore Roosevelt endured is what

really held my interest.

I had to know more. . .

 

As a child, Theodore was a sickly, asthmatic boy. His family was well-

to-do and had him home-schooled. Something in Teddy’s spirit made

him a fighter.  This gut instinct would carry out throughout his life. He

joined athletics, hiked often in the outdoors, and embraced the idea of

trying to strengthen his body.

 

As if he were laughing at the ‘fates’ and was challenging them to a duel,

Teddy wanted to overcome his childhood weakness.

 

Theodore successfully graduated from his home-schooling,

proceeding onward to Harvard for his undergraduate studies.

He successfully went on to Columbia Law School. He met and

married the wealthy Alice, who he lost.

 

Theodore came back from his escape in the Dakotas, having spent

a wild time there. He had ‘licked his wounds,’ found solitude and

regained his determination to make an impact on the country.

There were several steps, you may read about, that led him to

become a politician running for different offices. He rose through

the ranks, showing his acumen for politics.

 

The road to Theodore Roosevelt becoming President was an

interesting political story but I am more interested in his life’s

choices.

 

Again because of a death, President McKinley’s assassination,

Theodore’s path got altered.  Through tragedy he rose to this

place of  leadership, being sworn in shortly after the death.

 

 

Six years later, he met and married his second wife, who he had

five other children with.  His family life is not detailed in the

articles I read, but may be found in historian’s accounts and his

family stories. There are surely many biographies about Theodore

Roosevelt to fill in some of the gaps I have left open.

 

Theodore Roosevelt died at age 60, somehow this makes another

impression on me, one of sadness. I will be 60 this year.

Teddy’s life just seems like it was too short.

I feel his brief life was one filled with great contributions.

One that may be considered “a Force to Reckon with.”

Here’s how he made a difference. . .

~Created the “Rough Riders.”

~Won the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize due to his successful negotiations

and mediation between Russia and Japan, ending the war.

~Appointed the first Jewish man to his Cabinet.

~Talked about different races, if they were to be admired or disdained,

he believed each one should be taken individually and considered on

their merit. His open-minded comments sometimes were muffled by

his outspoken, out of context, racist comments. (See what he said

about Indians, for example.)

~Open door policy about Immigration, but again stressed that

the individuals needed to become American and respect the

country that became their own, leaving behind the country they

left.

~Created “Square Deal” and its unique way of political thinking.

~Went on safaris where the hunted animals were made part of

the Smithsonian Museum’s exhibits. Some have not been as sure

that this was a scientific or worthwhile project. These days, it may

be ‘frowned upon,’ by animal protective league members and

preservationists.

~Spoke out and acted for Conservation and Preservation.

~Directly responsible for Congress approving Eight National

Parks.

~”30 million National Parks and Forests” are his unspoken legacy.

(This high number was mentioned in the news essay, I am wondering

if this is meant to include international park numbers influenced

by his great works.)

 

The above interpretation of Theodore Roosevelt’s life

was written by Robin O. Cochran, (1/6/15).

 

 

Two famous quotations by

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. :

1.  “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do

is the right thing.

The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

 

2.  “Courage is not having the strength to go on,

it is going on when you don’t have the strength.”

 

Nature thoughts:

 

“Between every two pines

is a doorway to a new world.”

John Muir.

 

“The wonder is that we can see these trees

and not wonder more.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

 

“Plant trees.”

J. Sterling Morton.

 

A book to read, newly written:

“The Art of Stillness,” by travel writer Pico Iyer.

It highlights a wide variety of people, including

famous rock stars, artists and ‘thinkers’ who have

found solace in solitude. It also features yoga,

meditation and how being ‘still’ can lead to

success.

“By slowing down and sitting still one can

spark creativity and even adventure,”

“Men’s Health,” January,2015  issue.

 

 

Grandma’s Wedding Dress

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My Dad’s mother was a tiny woman of short stature, with her large brown eyes

peering expectantly in her face from under her wedding veil. There is a portrait of a

group of women, gathered in a photograph, where they are all wearing wedding

gowns. It is unique to see this 85 year old picture, where there are 28 women in

varied lengths and shades of their wedding dresses.

This sepia and cream photograph, which I chose to frame recently, in a gold-

filigreed metal frame with burgundy velvet backing, has been in my ‘custody’ for

almost 40 years.

I took this so-called “Pagaent of Wedding Gowns,” picture where I had to scan and

search carefully to find my grandmother here, out of my mother’s old red leather

photo album. This album was the kind where black pages had white ink lettering

that filled in “only a few gaps in all the years” collected. The words under the

pageant’s heading say, “Women’s Auxiliary.” I wonder why the word ‘pagaent’

is misspelled this way?

 

My old blogging friend, Lorna, seriously you have been around since about 2 years

ago, (Not ‘old’ in age, heaven’s no!) is getting married tomorrow! I am rejoicing and

dancing in my head at this good fortune and news! Please check out one of her most

endearing and comical posts about hers and Phil’s wedding ‘planning!’

http://lornasvoice.com/2014/09/11/the-idiots-guide-to-non-wedding-planning/

 

My warmest regards to the Happy Couple! Upcoming wedding of my youngest

daughter’s best friend from middle school, Holly and Nate, will be on October 4, ’14.

Showering these two couples with love, laughter and the best married lives ever!

So, if I lived closer, Lorna, I would be there for you: singing the funny song,

“I’m Getting Married in the Morning, ding dong the bells are going to ring…”

(from “My Fair Lady,” only inserting “You’re” for “I’m.)

 

My Mom, at the time, did not pay too close attention to this album, since we often

‘ransacked’ memorabilia, in those days.  Usually, I was borrowing scarves, clothes,

jewelry or those dainty handkerchiefs with embroidery or colorful woven floral

patterns. I liked to tuck these into my purses or pockets in jackets. My brothers used

to borrow men’s ties and wove them in and out of the belt loops in their bell-bottom

pant’s belt loops. Randy and I were involved in theater, he with set designs and the

stage crew. He inserted a lot of his original artwork into the plays during those

years.

Randy and I both knew how to “patch” (jeans, skirts, jackets, and other things)

and would get into my Mom’s large sewing ‘basket.’ We were more careful putting

things back in good order in there, since she was more likely to be using it sooner

than later.

The album had those black triangles, normally placed at four corners of a photo,

which had given out in two places. When I told my Mom that I needed to write

a paper or story of a historical event she just said, “Go ahead and use whatever

you like.” At the time,  I decided to do what pleased me best, to write a fairy tale

about my grandmother for this literature class I was taking my Senior year of high

school. My Grandma Oldrieve had died during my Freshman year of high school.

She had lived with us, since I was only 3 years old.

 

My Grandma O. was an enigma to me.

Although I would talk to her, she rarely spoke. She nodded her head and quietly

patted my hand. She took my arm, when I would go to get her daily for dinner.

She held herself up, while leaning on my arm. She had been ‘feeble.’ My Dad had

had to go to work while he was only 11, due to her inability to  pay rent on her

own. This story I have shared elsewhere.

 

My Dad loved his mother, but he was also quiet around her. This is a mystery,

which my Mom explains in her own about way. I do know my Mom felt

gratitude for the 12 years she lived in their homes. My Grandma helped out

with laundry and dishes. She would always send us in our pajamas to kiss her

goodnight, while she sat in her own ‘suite’ of rooms, smoking. My brothers were

hurried, but I would sit for a few minutes to check out what she was watching on

her little black and white t.v. I would perch on the arm of her comfortable chair.

Sometimes, she would give me a dry kiss on my cheek or a frail, gentle hug.

 

To describe the photograph more in detail: There are 20 women wearing white

wedding dresses, 6 wearing black dress and most are wearing long dresses. The

two women who are wearing ‘gray’ dresses, could have on pastel colors which

are only what I can detect as ‘gray.’ There are three women wearing short dresses,

which are below the knees, but would not be considered ‘short’ by most people

these days.

My Grandma O. has one of the mid-length dresses on in a wispy, gauzy kind

of material. It looks like it is layered over a taffeta or satin fabric. It makes me

think of a ballerina’s dress, not the tutu form, but the one that you see in a

formal style performance. Her dress is cream or white.

The photograph mentions that this is taken at the:

“New Thought Temple

December 8, 1939.”

 

When I wrote the details up in my ‘report’ or paper, (in high school lit. class), I

included the questions that I asked my mother and father. Was this in Cincinnati?

Did Dad ever go to this church? Do you know why they were gathered at this time?

Were the women who wore black:  widows?

The answers went like this: Yes, No, No, I think so.

 

I don’t have my original ‘Fairy Tale” about my Grandma and Grandpa,

my father’s parents. I do have the lovely stories of my mother’s parents

and grandparents’ love stories in my blogs. I did not keep any of my

high school writings, but did keep most of my doodles and scribbles,

resembling ‘art.’

 

Here is the ‘essence’ of what I had hoped my Grandmother’s wedding

day encompassed. . .

 

I wrote that my Grandmother loved her beau and wished to please him

always.  She was sweet to him, waited on him, hand and foot. She met him

at the church called, New Thought Temple. When he went off to the WWII

war, he was never the same again when he returned. There are no letters

sent from him, saved in a bundle with a ribbon around them. My Grandpa

was in a Veteran’s Hospital, when I was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He had

only one visit with my parents, my grandmother and me together. My

Mom says he smiled at me, while I was a baby. He did not hold me, my

Mom said it was due to his having sudden seizures, she was afraid he

would drop me. They held me out to have him look at me, they sat with

him and told him that my Mom was planning on having another baby,

(my brother and I are 18 months apart.) He seemed to nod and smile,

she says that he was happy to have visitors. She thinks back, sometimes

to how it may have been, if my Dad hadn’t been given a job in Tennessee

and then, later up in Sandusky. If they had stayed closer, in Cincinnati,

maybe they would have visited more often?

 

My Grandmother was a ‘dreamer’ and she tried her best while coloring in

with watercolors and colored pencils, drawings for Gibson Card company,

while she was a young woman. By the time she had my Dad, she worked

as a ‘Candy Striper’ at the big hospital in Cincinnati. She knew my Dad was

going to Kentucky to work and make wages for their bills, but she did not

express much emotion or gratitude. My father wondered if she had been

depressed or despondent and unable to express herself to her obedient

son?

My fairy tale would be that she wore that dress down the aisle and found

a strong, sturdy man at the end of that walk. My grandmother, Eveline,

had her vows shared with my grandfather, Edwin, with a fine group of

people gathered. His strength pulled them through hard times, his arms

held her up so she needn’t feel like she was alone. My fairy tale would

show her tremendous joy, spinning around while preparing to walk down

the aisle, with her cream gauzy dress. She would be  whispering love secrets

to her maid of honor,  which would give her much satisfaction later in her

life.

While she lived in her son and daughter-in-law’s house, she would reflect

back  upon that splendid day. It would be forever etched into her mind,

with all the beauty in the bouquet, the scent of roses and carnations giving

her such smiles, lingering in her mind.

The comforting three little ones who would come in all clean, powder-scented

and hair slicked back on the boys, would bring her much inner peace and joy.

Memories of her wedding pirouette with her good friends surrounding her,

then the fine wedding waltz with her handsome tall Edwin, would be her last

thought, when she succumbed to her heart attack in 1970. Heavenly visions

of her husband’s hands reaching out to guide her along.

That’s the “happily ever after,” I wished for my Grandmother.

At Last.

 

 

September Days

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“As we turn the pages of time,

We discover hidden mysteries

And triumphs in each new chapter.”

Flavia, (2003)

 

It is so hard to believe we have turned another page in our 2014 calendar

to  nearly 3/4 of the year having passed on by. The ninth month is upon us,

for some of us in this revolving world who measure months as the U.S and

other countries do in 12 month increments.

I am always amazed at how much time really does fly.  Who could truly

understand and envision this concept , while young? I think so many authors

have featured this in their themes. It is true that we never realize until we get

older, we cannot stop the way it seems to speed ahead. No matter how many

times we are reminded to concentrate and told to live in the moment.

 

When I watched the beginning of a recent episode of “The Talk,” I was rather

surprised when they mentioned an example of how we all make mistakes.

One huge decision that Cher fought with Sonny over was the song, “I’ve Got

You Babe.” She did not like it!

Later, Cher fought with her advisor/manager over the song, If I Could Turn

Back Time.” Can you imagine what impact losing both of these songs would

not only mean on Cher’s career, but on our lives? I cannot ever think about

time marching forward relentlessly without pondering the song and its

powerful message of turning back time. That is how connected both of those

things are, songs and memories.

Turning back time, wishing to go back may remind you of the movie,

“Back to the Future” also. That iconic movie, with Christopher Lloyd and

Michael J. Fox are sure part of my personal ‘time machine.’

 

Moving ahead, reluctantly, into September now. . .

 

SEPTEMBER  2014

Birthstone: Sapphire           Flower: Aster

 

This is Yoga Awareness Month!

 

September 1-

Labor Day

Suggested by the veterans, fly your flag today for workers everywhere.

 

2-

First quarter moon.

a sliver or crescent moon

 

6- Family camping for Boy Scouts

Picture my oldest daughter, my two grandsons, their ‘tribe’ out towards

Newark, my helping by transporting tent, camping gear and spending

the day with them. Possibly persuaded to sleep over, but unsure since

tomorrow is…

 

7- National Grandparents Day

All Horse Parade, Delaware, Ohio

 

9- September’s Full Moon

Known as either,

Full Corn Moon or

Full Harvest Moon.

Also,

“Admission Day” in California.

 

11-

This is 13 years since 9/11/01.

Patriot Day.

We honor those who died and give tribute to those living who have

suffered due to loss, having lung and other health issues and those

who worked, tirelessly, sifting through the rubble to find bodies.

I will never forget the images, nor will those who were watching.

Later that same month, Herman’s Hermits came to the Delaware

County Fair. I loved and got tears when they took their traditional

British Flag off the stage and replaced it with the American flag.

Herman made a short and poignant speech, that we were all in this

together and their hearts were aching with ours. They also said to

sing and celebrate together, as those who go to ‘wakes’ do, and we all

embraced the nostalgic music carried over the waves into our hearts.

By the way, it brought me smiles to see women who had brought roses

to give to Herman’s Hermits. Nice memory and kind words spoken,

during a critical and serious time.

 

Delaware County Fair, 2014 runs from September 13- 20. Our part of

the Triple Crown of Harness Racing, the Little Brown Jugette will be

held on September 17 th and the Little Brown Jug will be held on Sept.

18th.

 

16- Independence Day, Mexico.

Ole! Mexico!

17- I like to feature different areas of fifty year’s celebrations. On this day,

9/17/64, the first “Bewitched” television show was shown on television.

The character, male lead, “Darren” was played by Dick York, but later,

Dick Sargent was the actor who took over the role. The female character,

a mother, wife and witch is played by Elizabeth Montgomery as “Samantha.”

The part that I enjoyed was how playful and interactive the cast was, which

included fathers, mothers and mother in law, “Endora.” The child, “Tabitha,”

when born was one of my favorite memories of this show that ran from 1964

until 1972.

 

19- POW/MIA  Recognition Day.

Remembering all those who were lost, held captive, some tortured or giving

their lives for their country. This is a day we may pray for their families and

ancestors. All who were ultimately changed in their course of time.

 

20- International Day of Peace.

The United Nations declared this and I hope that fighting will stop, at least

on this day for calm and Peace around the World.

 

23-

First Day of Autumn or Fall.

I love to get my bittersweet and pumpkin decorations out, draping some

fall colors over places, along with changing over my wardrobe from summer

to fall.

 

24- New Moon.

At sundown, Rosh Hashanah begins through September 26th.

This is considered the Jewish New Year. It celebrates Adam and

Eve, in the Bible story.

 

26- The 28th Annual Ryder Cup Championships.

Golfing enthusiast will be watching this at the PGA Centenary Course. The

professional golfers will be staying in the Gleneagle Hotel, Perthshire, Scotland.

One of the mornings, I am sure, will have the gorgeous mist and fog rising off

the damp grass on the Greens, which will evoke the image of the foggy moors.

 

28-

On this Sunday, we celebrate our being a good neighbor. Help out someone who

may need an extra set of hands, or just be neighborly, offer them some homemade

baked goods or fresh fruit!

 

My September Monthly Book Suggestion:

(In the past, I featured children’s books, which you may find in my 2013 posts.)

 

“Fierce Patriot: The Tangled Lives of William Tecumseh Sherman”

by Robert O’Connell, Random House, 432 pages.

This September makes the 150th anniversary of General William Tecumseh

Sherman’s critical capture of Atlanta during the Civil War. The biography of

this much “celebrated” legendary general is well written. The memorable

march to the sea and later the takeover of Savannah were key strategies. His

personal life, with its complications and character struggles are very intriguing.

It is always fascinating to read about historic events and get a personal slant,

from the writer’s perspective of those times. The role of general and soldier who

later became a statesman is another facet to read about in this book.

 

Here are some quotations to close this month of September off:

“Home is the place that’ll catch you when you fall.

And we all fall.”  (Billie Letts.)

 

“To build a sense of trust takes risks.

You’ll never know whether the rope will hold,

Unless you take hold of it. . .

And swing out over the water.”

(Thomas Kinkade)

 

 

 

 

Blessings Found Daily

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In an Australian photographer and filmmaker, Hailey Bartholomew’s

documentary, “365 Grateful,” you will find blessings. This, of course,

is referring to there being 365 days or chances to show your gratitude.

You will start to believe in possibilities and living on the ‘sunny side of life.’

A woman inspired by Hailey, named Lori Portka, embarked on her own

project, “A Hundred Thank-You’s.”

 

Do you see how this ripple effect can keep on going?

 

Lori Portka had not been painting since she was younger.

She was in tenth grade when a personal tragedy struck.

She gave up her love of art and beauty, in ‘one fell swoop.’

 

By viewing Hailey’s documentary, something loosened up inside her.

This moving and visceral film helped to put her back on a better path.

She chose to put her hidden and deeply rooted sorrow to better use.

To think she had quit her passion, back in her 15th year of life, to carry

around her anger, denial, hurt, and pain is so sad, to me. Her refusal to

experience true happiness until her thirties made her original loss, deeper

than ever.

 

Actions speak louder than words. Such ‘trite’ words, but they can make

you decide that there is more to life than mourning.

‘You are alive,’ Lori finally felt.

 

She started to take delight in her favorite parts of her daily routines.

She was inspired by nature, yoga, traveling, animals and friends.

She had not pursued art as her primary focus, in going to museums or

any other attachments to it.

 

Those were of her past life.

Lori had obliterated all of it from her life.

 

What started her thinking about her own way of handling being grateful,

was to decide she would paint, create and give 100 art pieces away.

This project became her motivation to engage in life, art and spreading

happiness to those who she wished to ‘thank.’

The ones who had ‘touched her life in a beautiful way,’ received their own

unexpected joyful gift back.

 

Lori Portka can be found at LoriPortka.com,

Listen to these words from a changed woman,

“I feel like I am on the right path, doing what I am supposed  to do.

Art feels like home to me.”

Consider finding your bliss, spreading it around by engaging some lucky

participants in your activity or ‘craft,’ and discover how the gifts come

back to you, in unexpected ways.

Lori was a former counselor and educator, she became a fine artist.

One who had stopped painting due to that particular, personal  loss.

You may feel inspired by the film, or Lori’s thank you project, or some

other impetus, that will get you started.

Feeling again, enjoying simple things that sometimes are more meaningful

when you realize, in one moment, your ability to carry out those tasks,

could be swept away.

Loir’s art now pours forth, boldly expressing her joy. Each image is filled

with saturated pastels, paints, chalks and inks. The bursts of color and

vibrant patterns remind me of several artists. But to compare to others,

sometimes is not a necessary part of feeling the emotions rendered by

the artist. It sometimes, in my mind, takes away the individuality of each

artist’s heart and soul.

Lori Portka’s quote for the day can become yours:

“I make artwork that is a reflection of gratitude and joy to the world.”

 

What is your passion or how do you find your ‘bliss?’

Will sharing it broaden and expand your life and horizons?

Will it bring happiness to someone else?