Saturday, April 03, 2010

The day I was born

This is what Eleanor Roosevelt was pondering on the day I was born.  Oddly, not a single mention of my birth.  Oh well.  I admire her too much to begrudge her the oversight.

NEW YORK—I was much interested to read that the National Park Service will shortly be authorized to take over and administer two shrines in New York State—one, the birthplace of President Theodore Roosevelt on East 20th Street in New York City; and the other, Sagamore Hill on Long Island, which was built in 1884 and served as the summer White House during Theodore Roosevelt's Presidency.
Sagamore Hill, which President Roosevelt built and lived in for years, is well known and a good many people are attracted to visit this house which is so full of reminders of one of our most colorful Presidents.

I have always regretted, however, that more people did not know of the two houses on East 20th Street, which belonged to Theodore Roosevelt Sr., father of President Theodore Roosevelt, and his brother, James Roosevelt. It was in the senior Theodore Roosevelt's home on East 20th Street that this most interesting family lived and where most of the children were brought up. The home itself is very typical of the way of life of a comfortable merchant in the New York City of that day.

Later the two brothers built houses on 57th Street when that location was looked upon as really out in the country. And I remember a distant cousin and friend of the family who lived on Washington Square, Mrs. Weeks, who said, when her son Frederick told her he was going to a housewarming party in those 57th Street houses, that she hoped he was spending the night!

In my young days I always felt that Mrs. Weeks was our tie to the past, because she loved to tell the younger members of the family how in her youth she had danced with General Lafayette at a ball given for him in New York when he came back for a visit long after the Revolutionary War.

The Theodore Roosevelt house on East 20th Street is so easy to visit, and the James Roosevelt house next door has many things arranged in museum fashion of interest to young people.

If it is possible to make history live for our younger generation, I think visiting the houses where people they read about really lived is one of the best ways to create a vivid concept of the past.

Someone spoke to me the other day about the lack of comprehension so many young people have of even fairly recent history, and I think one of the reasons for this is because we do not often try to do the things that would make what they read seem closer and more dramatic than the events can possibly seem in the mere cold type of a book.

For instance, many of our young people have the opportunity to travel to Europe. Yet, I think very few of us ever think to suggest that on these travels—whether in Italy or France—they should visit the cemeteries where thousands of Americans who fell in World War I and World War II are buried. A number of the cemeteries are now supervised by American war veterans. I feel it is important that we do this when we can, or the upkeep of the cemeteries will seem of less importance to those who are in charge. And for the young it is important for them to realize how many of their own people gave their lives to preserve the freedoms of the present generation.

This leads me to one of the themes that I wish educators would give some thought to: How well are we succeeding in giving understanding to our young people of the real meaning of democracy?

It is true that we pledge allegiance to our flag, which is the symbol to remind us we believe in our form of government and our way of life. Democracy has little meaning unless it is a way of life to live day by day.

However, not long ago a teacher sent me a pledge that she wrote, and I think perhaps it might not be a bad idea if this pledge—or a better one if it can be found—were made a part of everyone's education. It was written by Mrs. Dorothy E. Sugar of Boulder, Colo., but I have a feeling that she would be glad if perhaps some great writer could embody the ideas in a way that would be even more dramatically and unforgettably expressed. The pledge follows:

A Pledge to Democracy

I know that just as a chain is as strong as its weakest link, democracy is as strong as its weakest individual. I believe in democracy and because democracy is not just a political system but a way of life, I know that I shall be strengthening democracy as I practice these beliefs in my daily life.

I believe in the dignity of man and the worth of each person; I will, therefore, build upon man's strengths rather than playing upon his weaknesses. I will encourage all things which will help individuals reach their greatest fulfillment, and I will protect the freedoms in order that each person may be free to reach his greatest potential. I accept the fallability of every person, including myself, and of any groups and so I shall respect government under law, and our system of separation of powers. I will abide by majority rule while protecting minority rights and I will safeguard the freedoms of speech, press and assembly so that where error exists it may be corrected.

I believe in searching for and in speaking the truth at all times for only through truth do we see reality and only as we see reality can we understand and solve our problems. I will safeguard the freedoms in order that we may continuously grow in the understanding of truth.

I believe in the use of reason rather than an emotional appeal in the passing of our ideas on to others and in the solving of our problems; I especially deplore the appeal to the emotions of hate, of fear and insecurity.
I believe in the responsibility not of an elite group but of all men and I will, therefore, learn as much as I can throughout my life so that I can meet my responsibilities. I will have faith that through the use of reason, truth and respect for the individual that others will act responsibility; and because our government is built at the base upon each citizen, I know that I can have an influence upon my government and will take responsible part in it.

I believe in the growth of man and the perfectability of the society in which we live. Although man will make mistakes, I believe that if each of us will assume personal responsibility for using methods in harmony with these beliefs of democracy, a better life can be achieved for all.
E.R.

(Copyright, 1962, by United Feature Syndicate, Inc.)

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Friday, April 02, 2010

Friday Randomness Sans Computer

I don't know how fully realized this week's randomness will be.  Most of the posts you have been readint the past couple of weeks were written before the computer crashed.  I will try to add to this as I can but my online time is extremely limited and focused--making some things a higher priority than others.  As I type this, there are posts scheduled through the next couple of days and a couple of others that will pop up but until I have a computer again, I'm not sure how interesting my randomness will be. 

Two interesting things about this blogger--if you scroll to her 29 March 2010 post you'll see some work she did in high school as she looks back on her artwork from an adult perspective.  Also, keep digging into the post just before that one and guess who took an imaginary trip to the beach . . . I hope she posts more images from her imaginary trip.  It still amuses me so!
http://northerngail.blogspot.com/

Someone shared this on google buzz and I had to pass it along because it is so interesting and even pretty although given how my daughter tends to fall up and down stairs I would imagine it is also potentially deadly.
http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2010/03/beautiful_staircase_railing_looks_l_1.html




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I shared this in my blog once before but it bears repeating. 

From The Collected Works of Sylvia Plath by (duh) Sylvia Plath. There are two poems in the collection which were written on 4 April 1962--my birthday. So here is one of the two poems.

An Appearance

The smile of iceboxes annihilates me.
Such blue currents in the veins of my loved one!
I hear her great heart purr.

From her lips ampersands and percent signs
Exit like kisses.
It is Monday in her mind: morals

Launder and present themselves
What am I to make of these contradictions?
I wear white cuffs, I bow.

Is this love then, this red material
Issuing from the steel needle that flies so blindingly?
It will make little dresses and coats,

It will cover a dynasty.
How her body opens and shuts--
A Swiss watch, jeweled in the hinges!

O heart, such disorganization!
The stars are flashing like terrible numerals.
ABC, her eyelids say.


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Thursday, April 01, 2010

April Fool's Day

Today is the anniversary of my being baptized, an event that now seems more foolish than anything else.  Especially in light of the fact that a few years later I would found out that I had already been baptized as an infant.  So if not foolish, at least ridiculously redundant.

Today is also the one year anniversary of the death of a friend's husband. She's moved on.  Life goes on.  It's all very strange.  But that death began a series of deaths for last year that still has me exhausted.

And, in keeping with my countdown to my birthday, a possibly innocent man was executed on my birthday.  In 2006 my convictions regarding the death penalty were put to the test and I came through it with my personal convictions still solidly in place.  I do not believe in the death penalty under any circumstances.  Hopefully, I won't have all of my personal convictions tested in such a manner.



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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

My Birthday Astrologically Speaking

And just for the fun of it . . .

From Wikipedia:

Aries (♈) (meaning "ram") is the first astrological sign in the Zodiac, named for the constellation of Aries, called "The Ram" in the Greek tradition, after the golden ram that rescued Phrixos, taking him to the land of Colchis.


In tropical astrology, this sign is no longer aligned with the constellation as a result of the precession of the equinoxes. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun is in Aries roughly from March 21 to April 19, by definition beginning at vernal equinox. Under the sidereal zodiac, it is currently there roughly from April 15 to May 15.

Individuals born when the Sun was in this sign are considered "Aries individuals" or "Arians".[2] In Western astrology, Aries is considered a "masculine", positive (extrovert) sign. It is also considered a fire sign, and is one of four cardinal signs.[3] Aries is ruled by the planet Mars. Being the first sign in the zodiac, Aries is associated with the astrological first house. Furthermore, Aries is known as the pioneer of the Zodiac, and therefore, Ariens like to be first.[4] The Sanskrit name of Aries in Hindu astrology is Meṣa.

More from Wikipedia:
Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius-- fire elements: The Fire signs exhibit righteousness. These people conform to the standard of moral law. They do what is right and are known for their sense of fair play. They are truthful, straight-forward, just, upright and virtuous in their dealings with other men. The Fire signs are the true warriors. They demonstrate courage, fortitude, zeal and pugnacity. They have the mental and moral strength that enables them to venture into unknown waters and to persevere and withstand danger. They seldom show fear and are confident in their actions. They have mettle, resolution, and tenacity. They can face danger or difficulty without flinching or retreating. They will fight for their principles and have a stubborn persistence that is unwilling to recognize defeat. They have grit, back bone, guts, and are willing to keep fighting under all odds. They are aggressive and thrive on challenge. The Fire signs are of a spiritual nature. They have a nature that gives them physical energy, strength and vital powers. Their essential characteristic qualities are liveliness, energy, ardor, enthusiasm, courage and action. They have a firm, courageous and assertive disposition which is their most characteristic quality. The emotional nature of the Fire sign is goal oriented. These people like to win or be the best in anything they pursue. Their aggressive nature makes them just one big ego. There is nothing more stimulating to them than to win, and there is nothing more depressing to their ego than to lose. They strive to be the center of attention and are at home when showing-off. They are straight-forward and have no reservations about hurting the feelings of others by their forthrightness. The main virtue of this sign is being just and right.

And now, I'm curious about Jyotisa because I was unaware that Hindu's also had astrological signs . . . although I was very aware that some consulting of the alignment of the stars for wedding dates occurred so I am not sure why I wouldn't have associated the latter with the possibility of a former.

I was born in the Year of the Tiger and am a water tiger.

寅 Tiger (Yang, 3rd Trine, Fixed Element Wood): Tiger years include 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998, 2010. The month of the Tiger is Feb 4 - Mar 5, and the hours of the Tiger are 3am - 5am.
Water: The water person is a good communicator and persuader, intuitive and sympathetic to others and good at conveying feelings and emotions. The direction associated with Water is North, and the season is winter, which makes it the fixed element for the animal signs Pig, Rat and Ox.

Still more from Wikipedia:

Water (Chinese: 水; pinyin: shuǐ), is the low point of the matter, or the matter's dying or hiding stage.[1] Water is the fifth one of Wu Xing.
Water is yin in character, its energy is downward and its motion is stillness and conserving. It is associated with the planet Mercury, the north, winter and cold, darkness, night and the colour black. It is also associated with the moon, which was believed to cause the dew to fall at night. It is also believed to govern the kidneys, ears and bones. The negative emotion associated with water is fear, while the positive emotion is calmness. Its Primal Spirit is represented by the Black Tortoise.
In Chinese Taoist thought, water is representative of intelligence and wisdom, flexibility, softness and pliancy; however, an over-abundance of the element is said to cause difficulty in choosing something and sticking to it. In the same way, Water can be fluid and weak, but can also wield great power when it floods and overwhelms the land. In the birth and nurturing cycle, water spawns wood, and is spawned by metal. In the conquest cycle, water overcomes fire, and in turn is overcome by earth.
Water also plays an important role in Chinese Astrology. In Chinese astrology water is included in the 10 heavenly stems (the five elements in their yin and yang forms), which combine with the 12 earthly branches (or Chinese signs of the zodiac), to form the 60 year cycle. Yang water years end in 2 (eg 1992), while Yin years end in 3 (eg 1993). Water governs the Chinese zodiac signs Pig, Rat and Ox.
Water usually represents wealth and money luck in Feng Shui, although it might differ in some subjective scenarios.
Black, White, Grey and Blue colors represent Water.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

This Is a Surprise

I found a blog where someone has transcribed and posted their mother's diary.  Here is what Carolyn wrote about her activities on my birthday.

Wednesday, April 4, 1962


Got up at 6:45.

Sunny but cool today - Straightened the house up this morning after breakfast. Sewed the buttons on my brown blouse. Midge called & was coming - I told her I had some errands to run so she asked to go along. I picked her up - went to Bayside & got buttons for my blue blouse & air mail envelopes. Went to the egg factory - came home & done a lot of trimming in front - Midge helped. We went to Vic's & ate lunch - then I took her home. Roger had just got here when I got home - he mowed the yard. I trimmed along the drive & walk - Billy took a nap - I wrote part of a letter to Hank while waiting for him to go to sleep. Roger left at 5:00 - gave Billy a bath after supper.

Cut out my housecoat.

No letter from Hank

To read more from Carolyn, click here.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

What Other People Were Watching on My Birthday

I say "other people" because 1) I was obviously doing something far more important on April 4, 1962 and 2) we didn't have a television.  But here are some of the shows people were watching:

TV Episodes First Televised on 4 April 1962


1. Ride a Wild Horse / Checkmate
2. An Echo of Honor / Hawaiian Eye
3. The Bad Old Days / The Dick Van Dyke Show
4. The Swamp Devil / Wagon Train
For the record, I would love to see that episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show.  No doubt I can find it on dvd.  Yay!





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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sing Along With Me

My birthday is one week from today so here are some songs from 1962.  Odds are, I'm the only one who knows any of these and the truth is I don't know all of them so we'll just have to hum-bluff our way through a few of these.

1962 Billboard's Top 20 Songs & Artist
Top 20 Hot Pop Songs

I Can't Stop Loving You- Ray Charles

Big Girls Don't Cry- The 4 Seasons

Sherry- The 4 Seasons

Roses Are Red (My Love)- Bobby Vinton

Peppermint twist - part 1- Joey Dee & The Starlighters

Telstar- The Tornadoes

Soldier Boy- The Shirelles

Hey! Baby- Bruce Channel

Duke of Earl- Gene Chandler

The Twist- Chubby Checker

Johnny Angel- Shelly Fabares

He's a Rebel- The Crystals

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do- Neil Sedaka

Monster Mash- Bobby "Boris" Pickett

Good Luck Charm- Elvis Presley

Sheila- Tommy Roe

Stranger On The Shore- Mr. Acker Bilk

The Stripper- David Rose

The Loco-Motion- Little Eva

Don't Break The Heart That Loves You- Connie Francis

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