Category Archives: Phil Collins

Celebrate Global Advocacy

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Today is World Humanitarian Day, declared by the United Nations in 2008, to give

tribute to ones who died in the 2003 bombing of the U.N. Headquarters in Baghdad.

On that day, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq was killed,

Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 others who were not in any military personnel duty,

but were public servants. These ‘voiceless victims” gave up their lives. This honors

all those who are negotiators, compromisers, and humanitarians who chose such lofty

goals as World Peace as part of their life’s purpose.

 

World Humanitarian Day, August 19th,  is a wonderful result of collaboration

between countries. The country where Sergio Vieira de Mello originated, Brazil,

along with Switzerland, France and Japan helped to steer, then ‘table’ the draft

of the resolution. International foundations worked tirelessly to promote this

and it came about six years ago.

 

Donations, to UNICEF, an organization that has Sudan at the top of their ‘needy’

countries’  list are welcome. They ask this to be done in honor of this celebration

for the victims of crimes against humanitarians and their families.

 

A meaningful expression that I found while looking this up was:

“Light up your map” by supporting and sending money to UNICEF, with “our global

advocates” in mind.

 

Humanitarian. What an inspiring and amazing kind of person.

 

I hope this post will encompass this theme, along with including my own

observations and something recently discussed among my grandchildren.

After we watched Fievel, in his original role in the animated children’s film

from 1986, my grandsons were talkative. Lots of subjects came out of this

movie, my introduction to the fact that they had immigrants in their family

tree, from my side of the family, (their mother’s side) from Germany, Sweden,

Scotland and England. Then, one of the two boys, has African as one fourth

of his blood, while the other boy has many overlapping countries from his

Daddy’s and Mommy’s sides, of the German, Swede, Scot and English tribes.

While we were happily going all over the subject, they mentioned that their

Mimi and Poppy had the song, “Somewhere Out There,” as part of their wedding

music. This is the theme song from the movie, “An American Tail.”

In my oldest grandson’s memory, he came up with “Coming to America,” as a

song he had learned from his music teacher at school. I was amazed, that he put

these two songs together. Since this song is also about immigration. I mentioned

that it is one of my all-time favorite songs, sung by Neil Diamond.

They, of course, said, “Who?”

I didn’t even try to get them to recall who he was, since that would mean a whole

other discussion.

Just for your information, this song came out before, “An American Tail,” the

children’s film about immigration. “Coming to America,” was on the soundtrack

for the movie and album, “The Jazz Singer” (1980). The album’s hit single, made it

to the top of the charts, in 1981, making Diamond’s sixth ‘hit single’ at the time.

The theme of the song is to embrace the history of immigration, starting from

the 1900’s up until today. Interestingly, one of the lyrics’ passages includes his

repeating, “They’re coming to America… Today! They’re coming to America…”

When Neil Diamond performs this song live, he substitutes this audience

participation phrase, “Stand up for America… Today! Stand up for America…”

 

When we talked about their own heritage, my oldest grandson asked why is it

that he had overheard this question while recently at the zoo,

“Why don’t people talk English? If they can’t talk English, they should go back

to where they came from!”

I was looking at him, hoping and praying he would not reveal that it was

anyone he knew that said these rather ‘hateful’ words.

The next thing Sky said surprised me. He had apparently been thinking for some time

about the comments. This was only two weeks’ ago, when his parents had taken both

boys for an employee appreciation day at Zoombezi Bay, part of the Columbus Zoo.

Skyler said, “If people feel more comfortable talking to each other, then it should

be okay to use their country’s language, don’t you think, Nana?”

I smiled and said,

“My Filipino friends talk English with their spouses and almost always with

their children, too. But you know Felda and her two children, Kridia Dawn

and Zachary?”

The boys looked serious and nodded.

The youngest one piped up,

“Maybe they like to hear their Mommy speak her language if she sings songs.”

(Felda does have a beautiful voice, they had heard it at one of their many parties,

because part of the ‘games’ is to sing karaoke, adults and children, too.)

“Exactly! Good job, Micah!” I exclaimed.

I continued to explain why my good Filipino friends use their ‘homeland’s

language:’

“Felda wants her kids to know what her language was, so they will recognize

some words, each time they travel back to see their grandmother there in the

Philippines.”

Skyler got pensive again, my ‘serious thinker!’

“I am so glad you live close to us. By speaking Filipino with their grandma,

this would make her so happy, wouldn’t it? Do they talk on the phone or

Skype with her?”

I think my grandkids are all so ‘tech-savvy’ I forget about this new ‘age’ stuff.

“Yes, I am sure they do. But I will ask about this, I have seen them Skype at

work, for Felda’s or Mary Jane’s mother’s birthday together. I don’t know why

they would not Skype with the children to see her and share with her, at home.”

I was winding down on this subject and added this comment,

“They sit separately at work, while eating lunch and on their breaks, to

chatter happily and quickly about their personal lives.”

Skyler mentioned that it would be ‘cool’ to be able to have a hidden spy code

language, to talk to your friends in.

I agreed,

“So, when people say these things, I think they may be misunderstanding why

the ones who are using another language are doing this. A different reason may

be,  they are overhearing visitors from another country or ‘foreigners.’ Just like

we like to travel, someday I hope you will go to another country. You may wish to

use the language of that country but you may look for someone who understands

English. When foreigners visit, they seek out our cultural places, like museums

and zoos. Sometimes, there is no one who knows their language but there are

special headphones and language tapes, to help them to understand what they

are seeing. ”

 

It was funny how Micah was taking this all in, which is unusual. He interrupted

my final statement to interject,

“What do you think about when people ask me if my Daddy is a terrorist? Are

they trying to be funny? It makes him so mad!”

Micah’s Daddy’s father is black. For some reason, even when he wears his hair

in an ‘afro’ or braids, people think he looks like someone from Iraq or Iran. I

tried not to smile because he’s made some jokes about trying to go to the airport

and being held back, if he were ever wishing to travel internationally. He will use

a Robert Kline kind of comment, “I just picture the guards taking me down, then

I am lying on the floor using my Ohio accent, telling them I was born here!” I know

he doesn’t think it is funny and under the comic words, he is hiding his pain.

“It is not meant as an insult. If anything, the best way to answer people about

this, is to say, “Of course not! That’s my Daddy!”

I also told Micah that being able to see humor in such things and make light of

them, will carry him far in life.

 

Skyler summed this all up in one fantastic phrase, which he admits may have

come from the children’s animated movie, “Tarzan:”

“They are part of us. We are part of them.”

 

Referring to the song Phil Collins wrote for “Tarzan” (1999):

“You’ll Be in My Heart.”

“Why can’t they understand the way we feel?”

(The gorilla mother singing to human baby, Tarzan)

“They just don’t trust what they can’t explain.

I know we’re different but deep inside us,

We’re not that different at all.”

 

 

As far as language, it is true that~

I wish my Grandmother Mattson had taught me some German.

I wish my Grandfather had taught me some Swedish.

I watch that one television show, “Welcome to Sweden,” just to learn a few phrases.

I know my Dad learned a little Scottish and used a few phrases that are more ‘slang’

than anything else.

 

Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called Children of God.”

 

Who do you consider a great humanitarian?

Do you feel we need to be more or less understanding to others, when it comes

to language barriers?

Be honest, we can learn from each other’s points of view.

 

 

 

More Newsy Info

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Melvin was back from his trip to Boston, Massachusetts and I was

so happy to see him, I almost hugged him! He is my bright light at

the end of the tunnel, the day that seems to look impossibly long

gets shortened with his little handy, dandy words. He was gone

the whole week before and including Labor Day.

This began at morning start up meeting. He whispered to me, as

I had asked him, “What’s the going rate for lobsters?”

“Guess what? They were $5 a pound and I bought one almost every

day, if not, then I ate a whole lobster out!” Oh, I was filled with envy!

I had told him, the fishermen had charged $5 for any sized lobster out

on Bear Skin Neck. One of my favorite memories had been when my

great aunt and great uncle took turns handing me money to retrieve

two in 1971, my sixteenth summer in Rockport, Mass.

Then, he told me not only did Melvin see some of his Army buddies

who had served in Hawaii, he also had some of his family there for

a reunion. I had not heard this before the trip. He told me that it

was held at a beautiful park and that it was catered in. He had spent

$400 on ten people’s dinners, including his own. He mentioned this,

saying that some of his kids and grandkids didn’t have much money

and he had offered if they made it out East he would cover the reunion.

Also, that Melvin being immodest said, “I was polite, stood in a long line,

letting others go before me, and by the time I got to the buffet, there was

NO MEAT!”

By golly, if my family had allowed me to pay for their meals, I would

have gone around with a hangdog look, pouty face in place and got

some meat! But this is what I mean about Melvin, he was so cheerful

and almost giddy with glee, “I just went on back to my hotel and

ordered up some lobster!”

Obviously, Melvin is not hurting for money. But he grows the nicest

veggies for me, along with the ones that my son, James, gives me,

I have had a wonderful and bountiful summer. He takes good care

of his live-in girlfriend, who declined the offer for the vacation. She

encouraged him to go and see his family and Army buddies, too.

I filled Melvin in on our quest to know the “other Robyn” better and

my recent, curious findings. First of all, she grew up in Detroit, Michigan.

I grew up in Sandusky, Ohio. Another “proof” she is not my long lost

“twin.” If you are lost on this, my continuing saga is just part of being

the brunt of one of Melvin’s jokes, equating me with a woman who is

over seven years’ older than I am, has short, blonde hair that sticks up

like feathers, kind of punked but not on purpose. I think she may just

not remember to comb it. She also “paints” her face with heavy makeup.

She is very sweet, and greets me with this unique way of thinking I

remind of her friend, Alice. I had to find out more, she told me that

she had moved here to Delaware in the 80’s and her Dad had worked

for PPG as a manager. She has a son and daughter, she has been

divorced since the 80’s and never remarried.

Robyn’s Dad died of complications with Parkinson’s Disease in 2000.

I had told her last week, my Dad in January, 2001. On the other hand,

my Mom is alive and kicking but this is where I am going to tell you

there are “gaps” in Robyn’s memory, she says she “Has no clue when

her mother died.” I asked, “Was it after your Dad?”

Robyn replied, “Oh, yeah, sometime after he died.”

She also, to this day, hedges the following questions,

“If I remind you of Alice, do you see her?”

“How long ago did you know Alice?”

and

“Where did you meet Alice?”

She is the Robyn who has daily sign up sheets everywhere in the

building that she puts her initials on, that used to mean about 2

years ago, that you had cleaned that area. We don’t do these but

somehow clean ones are put up weekly for her to keep busy and

sign. I have not figured this out, Melvin and I speculate that she

may have a work plan in place like the schools have IEP’s until she

retires. We hope she can do something else, but as we leave soon

after she arrives, we don’t see actual work being accomplished.

Another weird element of my Labor Day weekend that definitely

confused and set me back was that my ex-boyfriend’s blocked

cell phone number got unblocked. Not looking, while driving up

the road to Mom’s, there was no special ring for him so I picked

up the phone and answered it. I was fully engaged in driving and

I figure if people can balance sandwiches, I can do a straight shot

on I-71 to Cleveland!

I found out it was Mark and tried to get off, saying I was driving.

So, he said he would call later. I could not get him to understand,

No don’t call later.

Next time he called, my Mom who still thinks he was so nice and

he fished so she had sent tons of fishing newpaper clippings the

whole time I had dated, then not dated him for over a year. I said,

“It is Mark.” She said, “Oh answer it, find out how he is and say ‘hi’

from me.”

In the course of the weekend, seven phone calls ensued. Not as

many texts as I used to get from Lenny, but still more than I needed

to hear from Mark. The last ones were he was up on Lake Erie, fishing

with his brother, (who I loved and his sister in law, I loved too.) He had

decided to show him my parents’ cottage and fish off the stone pier

only 3 houses over. They had been in Huron and traveled towards

Vermilion. They were only about 35 minutes away from where I was,

I got a strange longing feeling. Yes, dumb me!

I did not see him but the very last phone call extended me an invite

to the family cookout at his brother and sister in law’s house. He had

also asked if I would like to take Micah (who he had carried on his

shoulders awhile ago, around the Cleveland Zoo) to the Wilds sometime

soon.

My older brother, only 18 months younger but since I have two, I call

him “older” said not to go to the picnic. My younger one, my dreamer,

professor, runner, and one who hopes for good things to happen to

his dear sister, said, “Go! Maybe he gave up on that woman he went

back to. He had some time to think about it, and maybe he is ‘done’

with her and back to who he belongs with!”

I went to the picnic, I enjoyed seeing the grandkids, sister Theresa,

brother and his wife. I had a nice time up until the old jangling ring

that he has for hisused to be, while I dated him, ex-girlfriend/now present

girlfriend rang. I got up and left, hugging the people I wanted to be part

of and had believed a possible future family. They all tell me that woman

has a hold on him that they don’t understand. They always say they “don’t

want her to come”, along with “she thinks she is better than we are!”

I cried all the way home, left a message for my dreamer brother and my

realistic brother, both who had their activities booked. I had my daughter

to cut her hair, two grandsons who hugged me and I will recouperate from

my mistake (again) and hope to close that door more firmly on the past.

The cell phone company prefers you to use their verizon.com to “block”

a phone number but this particular young man on the end of the phone

line who answered my “Help me” words I spoke to each person or message

that I got, was wonderful and a God send. He said he had had to block an

ex, that it had been painful and that he would very kindly do it while I

blubbered to him asking him to do that. I would be on the road and did not

want to hear his apologies.

The words, “You have no right to ask me how I feel…” in the song by Phil

Collins, “Separate Lives” came on the radio after I got off from Verizon. I

thought they were very appropriate to the moment.

I went over my checklist countdown for future times I need to face this

kind of obstacle or sad situation:

1.  Put moral compass in place.

2.  Do a sanity check and call for help (not younger brother or Mom!)

3.  Make a list of pros and cons. Notice cons list is much longer.

Come to the conclusion to: Move forward and not backward!