Category Archives: “South Pacific”

Join Me for a ‘Spell’

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When my grandmother would ask me to “Come and sit for a spell,”

this meant we would gaze out at the back yard and enjoy the view.

Sometimes, it would take awhile but there would be words shared

and some little fragment of a story, which meant I would have to

gently pull the rest of her thoughts out. Asking questions and then,

waiting. I had a quiet, gentle grandmother who lived with us from

when I was only three years old up until I was a sophomore in

high school. She had what people call, the ‘mother in law’ suite.

 

Eveline was her name and she grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio with

a few tendencies to use Kentucky or Tennessee expressions. Did

any of your grandparents or parents use the words, ‘sit a spell?’

 

Spell is such an interesting word. Here is a current definition of

it  with a few of my own little ‘takes’ on this fun wordplay and

word analysis. I hope you will add your  favorite interpretation

of “spell” in the comments’ section.

 

The vastness and variation of the definitions for “spell” are

amazing. I started this with only three actual uses and found

out there is so much more dimension to the word.

 

“spell”

noun-

1. a spoken word or form of words held to have magic power.

2. a state of enchantment.

3. strong, compelling influences or attraction.

4. a short indefinite period of time.

5. a period of weather of a particular kind.

6. one’s turn at a task or work.

 

verb-

1. orally recite the letters or give the spelling of a word.

2. to relieve someone from work, by taking a turn.

3. to allow someone to rest awhile.

 

I am especially fond of the sitting in a rocking chair, sipping lemonade

with a relative or friend, and pondering while not in any rush to finish

the conversation. Time passing slowly, like the image which is often

used, ‘watching the grass grow.’

 

I enjoy movies where you can see, through the director’s guidance

and the film crew’s efforts, the ‘exact moment’ someone is caught

in a ‘spell.’ I even like the idea of someone’s falling in love and

calling their first meeting, ‘magical.’

 

There have been many love songs, where there are descriptions

of the initial meeting, the spell being cast and the enchanted couple

finding this memorable. Details during the meeting come back and

are mentioned again and again, to children and others who like to

know ‘how it all began.’ It can include, “She bewitched me.”

 

“Strange Magic,” was a fantastic and beautiful animated children’s

film. Of course, there are many songs in it, including the Electric

Light Orchestra’s song, “Strange Magic.” There is a bright purple

bottle which contains a “love spell” from captured fairy, “Tinkerbell.”

It contains purple blossoms from the flowers on the edge of the

forest. They are ‘forbidden’ to be picked. Micah, my oldest daughter,

Carrie and I saw this on Sunday evening.

 

I was surprised at all the different songs that were included in the

children’s movie, all popular ones from the 70’s. George Lucas directed

this film. There were several adult couples holding hands and giggling

at the antics in the movie filled with elves, fairies, and evil grasshopper-

looking king of the “dark forest.”

 

 

Please share a name of a song and include the group or individual

who performs it.

 

Another use of the word ‘spell’ I heard at a quilting bee, one where

I was a guest and enjoyed watching the ladies working together.

One of the women asked me to ‘spell’ her on some of the stitches

and watched me, giving me suggestions and compliments on my

even stitches. Have you ever used the word, “spell” to take a turn?

 

One of my favorite uses of the word “spell” was in the classroom usage.

I enjoyed having “Spelling Bees,” while I was a young teacher. I would

buy candy bars and give them to the ‘top’ spellers. I also would give the

classroom popcorn for good behavior while participating in the ‘bee.’

 

Later, when I had a daughter who ‘hated’ spelling, since we think she

missed out on my ‘spelling gene,’ I realized this may not always have

been such a fun way to practice spelling. It is embarrassing to those

who are either shy or are not able to spell.  The only ‘comfort’ would

be that sometimes those who spell well, cannot do well in math.

 

This math knowledge skill my oldest daughter had inherited  from her

father, I tried to promote and encourage.The balancing out the ones

who could do math with the ones who could spell, still has a few who

are not successful in either case.

 

I would admit to my Language Arts classes, I ‘hated’ the game of

“Around the World,” when I was in school. This game played off

two students,  one who was standing and the other sitting at their

desk.

 

The teacher would ‘flash’ a problem and the other would have to

give the correct answer to be able to move around the classroom.

If unable to be quick with your response or give the wrong answer

and you would be ‘bested’ by another student, taking their seat.

I used ‘flash cards’ for spelling and math, along with ‘sight words,’

when I babysat all those years. I think practicing and keeping my

children and my ‘clients’ caught up during the summertime really

helps close the ‘gap’ while they are still enjoying recreation. I

always rewarded everyone or would just encourage clapping for

the right answer. Either way, I stopped giving ‘better’ prizes to the

ones who were successful.

 

This is now called in education, “intrinsic rewards.” They ‘know

inside themselves,’ they can do their tasks or skills. Being happy

you are successful will get you far in life, since not always are

there rewards. Teaching this lesson early is a good way to be

promoting self-worth, too.

 

I think all of us can relate to the idea of ‘dry spells,’ in our own

creative thoughts, whether we are producing books, music, art or

writing poetry to enchant our fellow bloggers.

 

In my periods of being ‘alone,’ and not dating anyone, I have been

known to be exasperated with my long, ‘dry spells’ without a man

in my life.

 

The weather usages of ‘dry spell’ and ‘rainy spells’ don’t excite me

but create important references for the weather man or woman.

They can tell us how many days in a row we have gone without any

rain or have had rain. Even though the definition ‘implies’ you can

use ‘spell’ with ‘any particular form of weather,’ I just cannot imagine

using it with snow.

 

When it comes to ‘dry spells’ you may wish to listen more closely to

the words in the America band song, “A Horse With No Rain.” I did

and it really is not ‘aimless’ at all, it has purpose to the song. I have

always loved it, but did not know it had depth and meaning to it.

 

Here is a serious “pause” in my blog:

“All of our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with you in New England

and hope you have electricity, warmth and food sources. We are very

concerned for this huge snowstorm you are weathering.”

 

Lastly, my grandkids knew how to ‘spell’ the name of their home state,

because their parents are Buckeye fans.

Let me hear the first two letters:

“O – H!”

always answered with,

“I – O!”

We play in the car, the “Give me a __” and it can go like this,

“Give me an ‘S’, then they will say the letter back to you, S!”

And we can keep on going until we spell “Skyler,” or we  may

start with a “D” and keep on going until they have chanted

the letters for “Daddy.”

Of course, if you are from another country or have not played

this shouting or chanting game, you finish with the letters and

say,

“What does that spell?”

Their reply is yelled, “______!”

I used to do this with my babysitting kids when they were all

in elementary school. It was a fun way to pass time while on a

short drive to gymnastics, the park or pool.

 

Don’t forget to let me know if you have a special song with

the word, ‘spell’ included.

Even though, “Some Enchanted Evening” (from the musical,

“South Pacific,” doesn’t mention specifically the word, “spell”

it describes what one is.)

Here are a few of the lyrics, listening to Frank Sinatra or Perry

Como singing this would make you smile and reflect on love.

Across a crowded room you will find a stranger, “you’ll see

her again and again.”

You may hear someone’s laugh and “the sound of her laughter

will sing in your dreams.”

The ending is just so sweet, I get tears in my eyes:

“Once you have found her, never let her go.”

 

Don’t forget to let me know of one of the ways, ‘spell’ may have

captured your interest or meant something to you. Sharing a

song or memory will make us all feel like the ‘spell’ worked!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Days of Remembrance

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For the week starting April 27, 2014 until May 4, 2014, the United

States has set aside time to remember the people who were killed,

survived and helped rescue the Jewish and other ethnic groups that

were affected during WWII time period.

We have designated this week as National Days of Remembrance of

those who were ‘martyrs’ and ‘heroes’ of the Holocaust.

On this evening of Sunday, April 27th, in respect to the 27th day

of Nisan on the Hebrew calendar, until the evening of Monday, Israelis

mark those moments in time, through prayers and thoughts of those in

the Holocaust. The term, “Yom HaShoah” is given for this period of

reflection. This was the time where protesting people were engaging in,

what is called, “The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.” If anyone is affiliated

with this, through family members and are more informed on this practice,

please feel free to add to the post, in the Comments’ Section. Thank you!

On January 27, 1945, troops entered a concentration camp in Germany,

where they found 11,700 prisoners. This camp with its gas chambers

and other horrors was called Auschwitz-Birkenau. Other camps, where

many people were tortured and killed, later surfaced and became known,

once the war in Europe ended.

In May, there will be a celebration of Victory in Europe, for WWII’s

ending. I have already made sure to include this day on my May Monthly

Calendar post. I cannot believe how time has flown and another month

has passed already!

My Grandmother Paula Haller Mattson came from Germany, immigrating

while a teenager. She denounced the behavior of Nazis and many times

denied her heritage, during the thirties and forties, since there was

more common knowledge here in the United States, even than in Germany,

at the time. She practiced English and did not sound “German” during

her adult life. She was a waitress at the Waldorf Astoria, where she

liked to say, “I waited on Kings and Queens, the Rothchild’s,

Vanderbilt’s and Presidents.” I believe she wanted to be part of our

country, assimilating more than her cousins, Elaine and Clara.

When I got married, my second and third cousins, came to my first

wedding. I noticed a distinctive difference in their accent, although

my Grandma had already passed away by then. Family was always important,

but becoming an American citizen, was equally special to my Grandma M.

The movie, “The Sound of Music,” told through the Von Trapp Family

Singers’ escape from Germany over the Alps’ story. This popular movie

depicted the foreboding atmosphere of the upcoming takeover and war.

More serious films, like “Schindler’s List,” which told about the

sympathy of other cultures towards the Jewish people are interesting

and deeply realistic.

Of course, reading history books, visiting the great Holocaust Museum in

Washington, D. C. and seeing documentaries will give you more accurate

pictures of the drastic takeover by Adolf Hitler of the German peoples

and troops.

When my brothers would watch Saturday morning movies, such as ones that

had John Wayne and others in them, my parents tried to discourage any

glorification of war, in their young minds. My Grandmother M. would get

angry when my brothers would play Americans against the Germans,

Cowboys versus the Indians and (from their cartoon views of “Rocky and

Bullwinkle”), somehow my brothers came up with the idea of American Spies

against the Russian Spies espionage ‘game.’ All of these were forbidden around

my grandparents’ house, along being within earshot of my parents’ house.

Being an English, World Literature and Spanish teacher, my Mom was pretty

strict in her use of language. One word we were not allowed to use often,

and it had to be very important to do so, was the word, “Hate.” She was

taught this by her mother, that most things in Life, can be expressed as

“not pleasant,” “dislike strongly,” or “prefer not to.” It is a great way

to raise children to be more open minded, whether it to be trying a new food,

learning about a different culture than one’s own or meeting unfamiliar

people. It is another way to show ‘remembrance’ and ‘respect’ to all

things, peoples and thoughts.

I like the way in “South Pacific,” the character played by John Kerr

sings, “You’ve Got to Be Carefully Taught.” This song is in reference

to prejudice is a learned experience, taught by the ones closest to the

children or young adults. Only after researching this song, did I find it was

considered very “controversial” and “downright inappropriate” for musical

stage productions.

Interestingly enough, it was also labeled, promoting “Communistic agenda!”

I am proud that the authors of the lyrics, Rodgers and Hammerstein, the

producers, directors and actors all said that they were ‘in it’ due to

the way it expresses these emotional viewpoints. I listened to this, along

with a lot of major musicals, in person, at theatres and on the stereo, where

my parents placed a stack of records to listen to, during relaxing, ‘television

restricted’ periods of weekends or ends of workdays.

Of course, I am going to be honest about this, teens learn ‘prejudices’

from their peers, even when you (as parents) have done your ‘darndest’ to

prevent them from this.

There have been people who are ‘brainwashed’ even as adults. Don’t think

my kids are, or ever were, “perfect!” Or that I didn’t have to ‘straighten

them out’ a few times!

Even professionals, pastors and teachers hold views that are bigoted and

close-minded. I had a family member who felt the Bible “said” the “Tribe

of Abraham,” meaning people with African heritage, were meant to be slaves.

I was appalled, argued when I was once involved in a holiday discussion,

home from college on Winter Break. My parents and brothers stood on my

side, basically telling the person to table the debate.

When the Viet Nam War or skirmishes began, my brothers were close

to Draft Age. My parents seriously (sorry, if this is going to bother

you), thought about relocating to Canada! Enrolling my brothers in

college, during this time may or may not have prevented draft, but

draft ended before they needed to be concerned with it, personally.

A song which includes, “How can people be so heartless? How can people

be so cruel?” was one of my favorite songs, sung by Three Dog Night.

It is called, “Easy to be Hard,” (1969).

We still have ‘enemies.’

We still have ‘hate.’

I hope you will take some moments in this next week, to reflect and

remember the Holocaust and other people who are continuing to be

scapegoats and persecuted in the world, sometimes with the governmental

support of a country.

Adding to this post, on Monday April 28, 2014.

Will you please keep those who endured the twisters in the states of

Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas, those who lost family members, and those

who are hospitalized in your remembrances and thoughts this week?

So far there have been 17 deaths in these three states. There was a

little four year old girl, who was swooped up, carried a distance

and had her legs crushed… I hope you will be including her in your

thoughts and prayers, too.

Another twister came through on Monday night into April 29th, 2014.

The states of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee had houses and

properties destroyed, along with unfortunately, 11 deaths.

All of these areas have had people volunteering to assist the people

who have had to leave their homes, along with sifting through the rubble,

looking for people.

Thanks for reading some more about this tragic weather situation!