Showing posts with label history. Show all posts
Showing posts with label history. Show all posts

Monday, October 19, 2015

Keeping the Tribe Alive

The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians is one of nine federally recognized Indian Tribal Governments in the state of Oregon. The Cow Creek Tribe has a rich history in southern Oregon that reflects hard work. The Tribal Government is responsible for establishing the policies and procedures for the administration of tribal programs, economic development ventures and other governmental business. 

Jenna attends youth center that is governed by the Cow Creek Tribe.  She is able to learn things of their culture and make great crafts.  She's made a terrarium and a rain stick, jewelry among some others.  She made this choker last Thursday. 

She was taught a tradition to give away the first one that is made.  She gave it to me.  I think it is gorgeous.

I am grateful for the opportunities that we have been given.

For more information about the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians, see this site.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Shelton-McMurphey-Johnson House, Eugene Oregon

       Today we decided to take a ride up to Eugene and look around.  Roland checked the net before we left so that we would have a specific destination. 

came out extremely small because it was taken with my cell phone

       The historical landmark sits upon a hill.  Many stairs lead to the house.  It reminded Jenna and I of a veggie tale's Sock Drawer in which one feature is a reinactment of the three stooges moving a piano

The initial look on their faces as they look up to see all those stairs
I couldn't find a picture that showed ALL the many stairs

watching larry do all of the work

       The history of the house and owners was interesting.  I took a lot of pictures - though the majority of artifacts were actually just condusive to the time period and not the house itself.  It was still very quite interesting. 
        The pictures are not in order of how I took them.  Different rooms, different floors - but as most all of the artifacts were donated to give a visualization to history, I don't suppose it matters

taken in the girls room

taken in the office - all three owners had dr. breadwinners.
 all three doctors died in this room.  I thought that was interesting.

the McMurphy family

was obviously not taken from the best angel

this came out darker than I expected.  Our guide said this room
would be equivalent to what we call a family room

not the original fireplace. But it looks authentic

part of the girls room

miniature in the attic part of the house.  Our guide said
 that it took eight years to create and ended up
costing more than the actual house that we toured

kitchen stove


Jenna nearing the top

may find a better picture off the internet. 

time period kitchen ware

       You can read more about its history here 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dear Mr. President

Winslow Press started the creation of a series called “Dear Mr. President” – I think a wonderful introduction.  I love the five books that were made.  I wish there was more.  I don’t know why it was discontinued – or so it seems.  Winslow Press doesn’t seem to offer publication later than 2002 (that I could see) and it doesn’t appear the site has been updated since May 2009.    Perhaps Winslow Press is one of many businesses that has had to file bankruptcy in the last decade and a half.

The three books I will focus on most are:

Though the Letters are fictionalized, information provided in the correspondence is based upon meticulous research.  I like how Winslow press refers reader to “learn more” though I personally did not find the useful, I like the concept of getting readers interest and encouraging research.

Presidents may have opened their mail at one time, but somewhere along the way the mail was handled by the secretary and now an entire team, I would imagine.  I don’t imagine the correspondence would have existed any other way but through our minds.

The poor coal miner wouldn’t have been able to send as many letters to Roosevelt as he did, as he would not have had the means for postage.  Nor would a slave have been able to correspond as they had even less means than did the coal miner.

All letters are start out with the twelve-year-old’s point of view.  Lettie has been taught by her mistress how to read and write.  Her mistress is the only child of a widower who most likely teaches Lettie out of boredom.  She encourages Lettie to write to Abraham Lincoln who responds. 

Knowing that the correspondence will put her in harms way should others learn that a slave has been taught to read and write. The letters are addressed to her mistress.  Correspondence allows the reader to understand the purpose of the Civil War and President Lincoln’s position and a thin view of what some slaves had to go through.

I think I found the miner story the most interesting.  To be certain that he received all of the young miner’s letters and weren’t open by his secretary, Pres. “Teddy” Roosevelt had the young miner address the letters to his son.  I do think I read a small error when Teddy expressed that Kermit was 13 in one letter and then 12 in the next. 

Besides reading about the conditions that the miners had to face, I enjoyed discovering trivial things that took place during Theodore Roosevelt’s reign.  He spoke with affection about all of the animals that belonged to his children – and baby-sitting the guinea pigs – which he really did do. 

And then there was Franklin D. Roosevelt who had some good ideas.  Some did not work out to his expectations.  His correspondence is with a girl of Italian decent.  She talks about different family members having to go on strike and about the hobos jumping freight lines.  That was interesting.

I also like how each of them use big words (which are capped and bolded) to describe things and use of contractions (which are underlined) to peak reader's interest not only in history, but grammar and vocabulary as well.

Winslow Press made it a point to caption each page with the words: “To learn more about specific mines, go to”, “to learn more about unions, go to”,  “to learn more abut Christmas during the civil war, go to”, “to learn more about the Dredge Scott Act, go to”

As previously mentioned, I actually didn’t find the winslowpress site at all useful, but I do like the idea of suggesting to readers to research mentioned subjects.  Wikipedia is always helpful for me, personally. 

Once the correspondence ends, there is a time line and brief history about said president.  A snapshot of a letter in his actual handwriting and then a letter the way it may have appeared by said 12 year- old.

Another interesting thing after the letters and time line is a synopsis of how the mail was delivered at that time and how much postage costs.  For more information on the post office it gives the Winslow site.  But there are so many sources that one can go to for more information.

The “Dear Mr. President” series is beautiful.  I think it needs to be continued. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Finding Another Piece of History

I read a book a while ago and started a post about author Jennifer Armstrong.  There is such amazing passion in her writing.  Well, I’ve only read three books thus far.  But I feel the need to post something – and yet haven’t felt inspired to write.  So here is a short post that was started eight months ago, but never really finished.

The first Jennifer Armstrong book that I read was The American Story which gives a brief summery to so many who contributed to American history.  I love her passion towards history and for accuracy.

Currently, most of the books I read are geared to children.  Every once in a while I will try one geared to the adults, but always come back to books that are geared to the youth.  There were two Armstrong books geared to adults that I checked out from the library.  One about the Mickey Mouse Club and one about the Mary Tyler Moore television show. 

Though I had not been raised with the Mickey Mouse club or had much interest in it, I did fine “Why? Because we still like you : an oral history of the Mickey Mouse Club” by Jennifer Armstrong very informative and well written.

I have always LOVED the Mary Tyler Moore Show (still do) but was hugely disappointed with “Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted : and all the brilliant minds who made The Mary Tyler Moore show a classic” – for me it read like a text book.  I had a hard time becoming a part of that text.  Needless to say, I did not finish that book. But I don't imagine it would be a subject geared to children for lack of interest.

The book that I had read in May last year is titled In My Hands which I briefly mention in this post 

Irena Gutowna is a citizen of Poland before World War II.  She has a desire to become a nun but is advised to try looking into nursing first. 

She leaves her family in a free part of Poland to study nursing in a German-controlled part of Poland.  She was seventeen and had a hands on experience as she learned.

The story takes us from being captured by Russians and interegated to escape to hiding Jewish people in the house of the major she works for in the German army.

Her story fascinates me along with the several pictures displayed half-way through the book.  The fact that they were taken and survived and were retrieved.  It’s not a historical fiction as I’m used to reading.  It’s biographical.  

 I consider this biography to be an awesome treasure!
Jennifer Armstrong writes, “If I have done justice to this story, I am grateful.  If I have not, it is because I have never had to face what Irene faced.” 

I think she did tremendous justice.  I look forward to reading more books.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Roosevelts had Secrets; not Cool Kids

            I love hearing Jenna sing.  Often I am surprised to hear her sing along with songs that I have never even heard before.  One of those is the catchy “Cool Kids” by Echosmith.  Here is just one video with lyrics.

            As we were walking to school yesterday, she was not only singing the song, but made comments as well – how she and her friend Paul wish they were “cool kids”.  She was spending her recess with Paul and another boy who recently ditched them for his sports and Paul actually has safety patrol duty and so Jenna often feels alone.  She does have friends at Vantanna.  I KNOW she has friends.

            It’s not like her first school when she really was among the more popular kids at her school – in fact still is popular at her first school – which is funny; she hasn’t attended that school for over five years now. 

Popularity is not necessarily the greatest thing.  I had told her that before we moved.  What a devastating blow it’s been to her since we moved to West Valley.  Though she continues to seek friends, she is often a loner.

            I too, was a loner at school.  There were times I wish I hadn’t been treated like I was invisible, but I didn’t necessarily wish to give up my individualism in order to fit in. I did suppose that being treated as though I didn’t exist was better than being bullied.  I have often wondered what it is that makes “cool kids” cool and why they have such a following.

            I reminded Jenna that school popularity (or lack thereof) does not necessarily define who you will turn out to be.  I told her that there are many celebrities and historical figures that had been mistreated who still came to make a name for themselves.  Often times the result has had a positive effect or influence on many others.  There are also a number of “popular” kids that don’t know how to face the adult world once school has ended.

            Currently I am involved in watching the PBS series: “Roosevelts/An Intimate History”  Both Theodore and Franklin were bullied and teased in their youth.  They were not well liked.  And look at what an influence they had on the country that they served.  

            Eleanor had quite a difficult childhood and was verbally abused by her mother and not well accepted by her mother-in-law who seemed to have this insecure hold upon her son – casting Eleanor to the shadows at best.  I believe that Eleanor Roosevelt is the most quoted of any other first lady in American history.

            They had hard lives.  They had many secrets.  They kept their private lives private – tried to anyway.  Theodore went on to be the youngest president (though JFK was not much older) that we’ve ever had.  FDR served more years than any other president.  Both made considerable accomplishments – and contributions.  Not that their lives were ever what some might view as “sunshine and roses” but they did touch many other lives in a positive way.  Not everyone – but many.

            I think it’s great when we can turn our hardships to someone’s advantage (if not our own) and create positive things or examples of overcoming and becoming.  I think it’s great when “cool kids” are positive and friendly and don’t exclude.  I hope that Jenna will grow and stay herself and still be accepted.  We each have talents that make us cool.  Even though others may not recognize the “coolness” I hope she recognizes it in herself.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Before Clue, There was Mr. Ree

         I dont know how old I was when Grandma showed us the game Mr. Ree.  I vaguely remember seeing the game.  I dont know if my cousins and I attempted to play it I think we did, but soon became bored with it.  We didnt really understand what we were supposed to do.

         As I have researched the Internet to learn if there were really any similarities between Mr. Ree and Clue,  Mr. Ree sounds like it may have been more challenging or fun to play but I could be wrong.  I just remember thinking the layout of the Mr. Ree board was similar to the mansion set for clue.

Of course there are different versions of each game changing design and pieces every decade or so for whatever reason. 

This is what I remember from my childhood:

Recently my son, Tony, and his wife gave me a new addition of clue which comes with two crime scenes.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Lions of Little Rock

I love Love LOVE this book.  I think it’s the best piece of historical fiction that I have read EVER . . .

Kristin Levine did a lot of research before writing this book found in the juvenile fiction.  Originally she thought she would do a story on the Little Rock Nine but as she was doing her research she learned about the WEC (Women’s Emergency Committee) and the STOP (Stop this Outrageous Purge) and the battle of Segregation/Integration and the closing of schools that followed the Little Rock Nine.

The author’s mother had left Little Rock in 1954 – three years before the nine were admitted to Central High.  She hadn’t had a first hand experience in the events explained in the story.

The story is told through the eyes of Marlee, a twelve – thirteen year old white girl who makes friends with Elizabeth – the new girl who is light enough to pass for white, but really she is what was then referred to as colored or Negro.  Today we say African American or black . . .

The junior highs in this story are opened, but all the high schools are closed.  Marlee attends junior high, but her sister attends high school. Judy (the sister), has a hard time with it as she would like to associate with her friends and perhaps get educated as well. 

Marlee also has a brother, David, who is away at college.  She loves her brother and sister dearly and misses David as he is at college and then misses Judy as she is sent away to live with her grandmother so that she is able to attend high school in another city.

Marlee is a math genius.  She loves numbers.  She’s not great with words however.  She hardly ever speaks.  Many of her peers just assume she’s mute.

Elizabeth (Liz) is quite outgoing and assists Marlee in overcoming her shyness.  They work on a project together and practice their parts.  Marlee’s greatest incentive is a “Magic Squares” math book which Liz uses for a reward.

But when it’s discovered that Liz is not white, both girls are forbidden to have any further contact with one another – which upsets Marlee’s world even further.  We are then introduced to WEC and STOP and the racial prejudices and the fears and taking a stand and “mixing races”

The title of the book has symbolic meaning. And there are questions at the end of the book.  Thought provoking questions.  And references to non-fiction material of events that occurred in Little Rock in the late 50’s and early 60’s. 

We’ve come a long way.  Unfortunately not everybody has been on board with the whole racial issue.  The Klu Klux Klan has thinned out tremendously, but there are still some active members.  I’d like to send each member of each group a pedigree of every member – prove to them that no one of them is pure. 
The whole racial thing has bothered me my entire life.  And Jenna yells at the top of her lungs, “What difference does it make?”

It shouldn’t make a difference.  And it’s sad that so many believed that it did – or still believe.  We are all children of God.  I don’t get the trials that so many have put themselves through due to skin differences.  How stupid!

I’m so grateful for those who have made a difference, who have carved a path to make it a little bit easier for those who followed.  I hope the prejudice dies and having a different skin, or religion, or favoring gender or a tattooed covered body doesn’t threaten anyone.  We’re all different.  And still, we’re all the same.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Another Book Review: Charlotte’s Rose

“Charlotte’s Rose” is written by A.E. Cannon – who’s evidently written a few children’s books. Charlotte’s Rose is a historical fiction and can be found in the juvenile fiction.

It is told in first person through the eyes of a girl named Charlotte Edwards who has left Wales to travel across the plains of the US territory with her father in order to end up in Ogden, Utah.  They take a boat from Europe to Boston and a train from Boston to Iowa city where they are given handcarts and a weight limit on all possessions.

Charlotte goes from being a girl to becoming a woman – not necessarily just physical change but in Spiritual and emotional growth as she travels across the plains with a newborn she didn’t realize would be so much work.  She learns about compassion, community and sacrifice. 

At the end of the book there is the author’s note and references. What impressed me the most is that so many of the facts are true. 

I also like the 15 questions that follow the author’s note.  They are pitched to the reader and remind me quite a bit of the questions that Jenna and I ask one another as we pull out questions from the Ungame or journal jars which I mention here and here.

I wish Jenna had been more interested in this book – and one day she will. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Being Grateful for Fleas

          On February 28, 1944 Corrie ten Boom was arrested along the rest of her family  for having broken the law. They had not turned in all of their bikes or radios.  They had not kept curfew.  They hid Jewish people.

          The entire family had been taken to Scheveningen prison in Holland.  Each member of the family was put into his or her own cell.  There was no contact between them – or even with the other prisoners. The cells were concrete with steel doors with a tiny slot in which food was inserted.  Their only contact was the voice of the gruff guards.

          And one day the guards didn’t come. In June 1944 Corrie and her sister Betsie were taken to Vught Concentration camp in Southern Netherlands.  For their uniforms, they were given paper thin dresses marked with X’s.  They were expected to perform heavy labor.  There was no communication among the prisoners and the guards were abusive. While at Vught, Betsie spent the majority of time in the infirmary due to failing health.

          As the war progressed, many prison camps were closed due to lack of funds.  In September of 1944 the ten Boom sisters ended up in their final prison camp.  Ravensbrück, located in northern Germany, was one of the last prisons to remain open. 

          Because so many other camps had closed, Ravensbrück was overcrowded with prisoners.  It was infested with lice and fleas.  The barracks reeked of urine.  But it was there they seemed to experience more freedoms had been deprived in the first two prisons.  That is, they were able to have face to face communication with the other prisoners and the guards didn’t seem to disturb them as much – especially in the barracks.

With their first night at Ravensbrück, Bestie offered a prayer of gratitude.  One of the things she said they ought to be thankful for was the fleas.  Corrie (as I, the reader) thought Betsie to be out of her mind.  And Corrie was certain that even God could not make her grateful for a flea. 

It isn’t until later in her biography that we learn that the guards didn’t bother the prisoners in the barracks because they didn’t want to be where the fleas were.

I have compared my trials to fleas.  I don’t enjoy having trials.  I love trials like I love fleas and poverty and hate and crime. I know that trials are necessary for growth, but you know, there are some times I would just like to take my hat off, toss it in the air and say, “Okay, enough already.  Please let me lay back long enough to understand what a breather really is.”

I try to express gratitude for things that I really am grateful for – my daughter, a stranger stopping to help change a flat, an answer to a question that has been on my mind, the unexpected chocolate chip cookies that my mouth so enjoys.  Little things.  Big things.  But not trials.

Yet how much better would my experience be if I could honestly say, “Thank you for the fleas” “Thank you for allowing the car to break down” “Thank you for yet another reminder from the IRS – this time a threat.  How joyful”

I realize that it is not the fault of God that my car would break down or run out of gas or what have you.  Actually, I’m very grateful that I have transportation and often thank my Heavenly Father for allowing me to get to and from destinations without having broken down.

            I recall teaching a primary lesson.  A boy in my class had lived in Oklahoma in April of 1995.  He related the following story about his primary teacher:

          She was on her way to work and was running late as it was.  Having to pull over on the freeway because of a bad car situation did not help matters.  One might not think of it as a blessing when it initially happened.  It was on April 19, 1995 when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed – the very building where she worked.  She was still stranded on the freeway when the bomb went off.

          I’d like to be more gracious in thanking God for trials – for my own personal set of fleas.  Unfortunately there seems to be little humility on my end.  My pathetic attempts to show gratitude come out more sarcastically.  I suppose there has been a very good reason for having my ears clogged and hurtful sinus infections.  I don’t know the reasons right now.  Perhaps I’ll never know.  But I can still offer gratitude for the current “fleas” in my life.  I think it would help me become closer to God.  I know it would.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tears in Heaven

          We hadn’t put up our outside lights for Christmas this year.  I meant to bring them out with all the other Christmas decorations.  I remember seeing them.  But they must have gotten lost in the shuffle.  Just as well.  There were a couple of days when the wind blew hard.  So hard that some actually lost their decorations – which is NOTHING compared to what was lost in Newtown Connecticut on December 14th.

          Sandy, for me, was a lot easier to deal with, as the disaster was a result of the elements – not some psycho on the loose with a gun.  If a gunman is going to just turn the gun on himself – why not just start there?  And it’s not like the world will ever KNOW what became of this individual who’d gone on a shooting spree to wipe out innocent children. 

Whatever reasons are given will be speculation – and even if we are given reasons that are sure knowledge, they can NEVER justify the tragedy.  It will never make it better.  It won’t bring peace or comfort that thousands will need.  It’s not something that can be overcome.

27 souls were lost that day – from earth.  But so many more were destroyed – many permanently.  It will take some decades to forgive, to heal, and to move on.  And some will remain bitter and do themselves more harm than the shooter did.  And that also is very tragic.

After I dropped Jenna off at school today, I bawled.  I’m still producing tears as I attempt to create this post that will never express the emotions that all too many of us have right now.

Twenty little angels never to be driven anywhere again.  Never to be dropped off or to wave good-bye to.  They have left their earthly bodies – but they still exist.  I have every ounce of faith that they have made it to the highest kingdom within heaven.  They are pure.  It will be they who will have to look out for their families – to help them move on.

I was saddened by this post and feel for the author who wishes it was the positive events that would put Newtown on the map.

It is my prayer that the residence of Newtown may find some kind of closure and return to the picturesque Norman Rockwell town that they were less than a week ago.  Don’t guess it will ever be that way.  May your angels protect you always.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

It Amazes Me What I Can Remember

          It’s been almost 40 years since Jill and her family moved out of my mom’s neighborhood.  They are the first family that I remember having moved.
          It’s only been in the last couple of months that I got in touch with Jill through facebook. She has since moved back to Utah. I told her about mom and made arrangements for us to visit.

          And so the other day Jill drove to mom’s house and we visited for a while.  She told me how she and mom had spent many a days visting at each other’s houses.  And made it known (for the first time) that her youngest had had a crush on me when we were younger.  Really?!  Because I had had a crush on him and wasn’t aware that he had felt the same way until Jill took us to lunch.
          I think the greatest thing was watching mom’s recognition when Jill first arrived – like nothing had changed.  But time has changed us all.  And mom didn’t remember doing lunch once we left the restaurant.

          This is a picture of the two kindergarten classes, the principal and the two kindergarten teachers.  It is the only colored class photo in my possession.  The rest are black and white squares.  But all the “class pictures” that I have are not just class but entire grade.  I like is that the picture included everyone in my grade – and not just the class I attended.

          I don’t know if mom wrote the names on the back of this particular photo.  I forgot to scan them in if she did.  But I actually do remember.  45 years.  53 faces.  And I seriously am able to put a name to 43 of them.  Not just first names, but last names as well. Give me some time and I can get at least 6 more.
          We had a lot of Lindas and a lot of (last name) Nelsons – though I’m sure each was spelled differently.  And I think Paul looks like a cut out.  But they didn’t crop and Photoshop and insert back then.  So probably not. 

          I’m a little embarrassed at not having recognized my neighbor from across the street – I don’t think it’s the best picture of him.  But I was able to pick him out because of the sweater.  5 boys in the family.  I think each of them wore it.  I think it might have even been passed on to the grandkids.  That would really be some super-strength fabric though. 

          I don’t know what happened to Mrs. Cannon.  I always wished that my teacher had been Mrs. Flinders.  But she did not finish out the year with us.  Nor did Miss Nelson who followed her.  No, my kindergarten year unfortunately ended with a Miss Wamsley – I’m quite certain it was Miss.  Can’t imagine any guy purposely marrying that old dragon. She was so bad that even the parents complained about her.

          I wish Jenna could experience the stability that seemed to exist in my own childhood.  I suppose I am able to put first and last names with so many of the faces is because I actually graduated high school with most of them.  Oh, there were the occasional moves – but not like today.

          When I was younger, I could step outside my house at any given time of the day, and there was always at least twelve other kids outside for me to play with.  Jenna doesn’t have that over here.  There are very few children in our neighborhood.  And there are only a few on the street who stay for more than four or five years.  I hope we will be able to move again – but because we want to – not because we have to.

          May I continue with this memory and not ever have to burden my kids with a memory disorder – because it’s rough.