Showing posts with label people. Show all posts
Showing posts with label people. Show all posts

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 winslowpress.com 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 winslowpress.com”, “to learn more about unions, go to winslowpress.com”,  “to learn more abut Christmas during the civil war, go to winslowpress.com”, “to learn more about the Dredge Scott Act, go to winslowpress.com”

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. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

An Awesome Smile Says It All




       Jenna and I took a bus out to Kearns Friday morning.  A member of my former ward had passed, and I wanted to attend the funeral.

       We have taken that route several times all summer long, but we had never had the driver that took us that morning.  She had a million dollar smile that was so sincere.  She greeted each passenger, as he/she was a personal friend. 

       I’ve had pleasant drivers before.  I’ve had many recognize me and assist with needs when I couldn’t find my pass or knowing exactly where to stop or even asking, “Which stop will you be getting off today”

       Most drivers are quite friendly – though there are the occasional passengers who will provoke.  The driver’s I have seen have dealt with the situation well, but there are some who are obviously bothered and let the human side shine perhaps more than it should.

       But this particular driver looked positive like nothing bad would interfere with her day and she would continue smiling no matter what.  She deserves to be acknowledged.  Thank you!

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Pantry Fairy Strikes Again


     When Roland and I lived in Kearns, we spent time volunteering at the pasta plant.  We once purchased a very large order while there.  A mammoth order actually – which was good, because it carried us through several years of hardship.

     I think it was just right after Christmas when we passed out the remaining pasta to our boys.  Within a week I found a huge box of food had been left at our door step.  No note.  No hint of who may have left it.

I didn’t know if the church was taking up a collection and Roland had given our address as a drop off – but it was on Sunday when I found it – meaning whoever dropped it off was a lot faster getting home from church than we were.  It was odd.  And so I actually started taking things out to sort them into groups.
    
It was an odd assortment really.  Bags of pasta.  A variety of canned goods.  A box of two pack muffins and some tasteless marshmallow twists.  I didn’t know if they were intended for us or if it was the wrong house or if the stuff was really any good.  It was though someone had raided their own pantry – oh, perhaps it was from one of our next door neighbors.  Because the box of muffins came with information given in Spanish, I thought perhaps it was our neighbor to the west who had cleaned out her pantry.

 

Neither neighbor said anything about the box.  I think it was only a month later when we were hit again.  Also on a Sunday.  We had survived the last food without getting sick.  But I still questioned the safety of the food, or who it was from.  When I found pudding from the bishops store house I figured it wasn’t from anybody on our street – unless it was from the couple on the corner but I really didn’t believe it was from them.  Oh, my word.

The most likely candidate I would have considered right away was Frank and Marie.  But they had moved out of our ward and are living in another county.  I think they’ve encountered more financial struggles than we have, actually. They had lived in a double-wide trailer when they first moved to West Valley.  Monthly payments became a burden and they moved from their double wide to a single.  When they moved they’d given us an assortment of food – much like what was in the box. 

When they moved a second time, it was just easier for them to part with their food than to pack it.  I don’t think we got all of it, but they did include us in the division of their storage.  Funny how I received a phone call as I was going through the storage.  It was Frank and Marie.  I asked if they had left the food.  They wanted to keep it anonymous.  They knew that we had had struggles.  They don’t know we actually seem to be out from under it now.  I don’t know if they found themselves in a similar situation.

Jenna and I were both home when the pantry fairy hit again.  This time it included Easter candy.  I’m certain that they had Jenna in mind – for they love her. Roland was certain that someone keeps leaving the goods at the wrong house.  I once again explained that I had talked to Frank and Marie and told him why I thought it was them.  How kind of them to willingly drive from Ogden to West Valley.  I sent them a note to thank the pantry fairy should they ever see him/her. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

One of Us Has to Wait in the Snow





What goes around comes around.  I thought about that when Alley’s mom offered not only to drive us to Jenna’s school, but pick her up as well.  When I was driving I had stopped to pick up Jorge and his mom whenever I would see them walking to church.  I was also willing to drive them to other destinations as needed. I’ve given rides to various people for various reasons.  I actually haven’t had a problem with it so I don’t know why I’m having such an issue at the receiving end. 

Alley’s mom is a really good driver – unfortunately not all drivers are that careful behind the wheel.  If she were to get in an accident because she was out shuttling Jenna and me around, I would be quite bothered by it.  But I didn’t want to discourage her or take away from her act of kindness.  The last time she picked Jenna up from school, her own children nearly beat her home.

Jenna, who usually considers herself late for school if she hasn’t crossed the playground at least 30 minutes before school starts, would rather take the bus than be to school fifteen minutes before we would normally board the bus.  But I’m not always thrilled with the idea of having to return to the bus stop to wait in the freezing cold either.  And so we made a compromise.


Alley’s brother normally takes the bus to the junior high but during the cold months and elements, their mom has been dropping him off and has offered to take Jenna the rest of the way to her school as Vantanna really isn’t that far from Dwight Jr. High.

But as I mentioned in this post Alley’s school let’s out only five or ten minutes after Jenna’s and though they return to the neighborhood by way of school bus, the timing is not always convenient from my point of view.  I think she needs to be home for their return – though I do appreciate her willingness and have accepted her offer – I still am having a hard time with it.

Jenna, who also likes to dawdle (which I have mentioned here and here and probably another number of places) has been good about crossing the field on time.  But I think she is more bothered about crossing the field immediately after school than she is at arriving early.  And so we made a compromise
.
We will ride with Alley’s mom in the morning and I will return for her by bus in the afternoon.  Roland hasn’t been coming home on time the last few nights and so I’m not worried about having his dinner ready (whenever I do, he’s late; whenever I don’t, he’s home on time – I can’t win)

I’m grateful to those people who serve others and assistance and genuine concern and kindness.
This morning I handed a card to Alley’s mom to thank her and let her know about the compromise between me and Jenna.  I am comfortable with it.  I hope that she is too.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Hodge-Podge of Family


Our future daughter-in-law has two brothers who are still living.  One lives in Texas where his wife is from.  The other lives in a posh neighborhood at the south and east end of the valley.

Yesterday we went to the posh neighborhood to meet Jeanie’s family and to have Thanksgiving dinner.  Biff had asked us to bring rice pudding – which to be honest with you - I have never had as part of a Thanksgiving dinner before.  Roland tried a new recipe (which was really very good by the way) and I found a container to put it in.

I must admit that I felt out of place offering this pathetic container as we entered their fancy kitchen and saw dozens of dishes that seemed to make the rice pudding even smaller – shrinking with each passing minute until I felt like what we had contributed to the meal had only a cup of runny rice.

 

Jenna played with boys (Jeanie's nephews) while Roland and I visited with various family members.  Not only was there family from Jeanie’s side of the family, but her sister-in-laws as well.  Half siblings, stepsiblings, in-laws, and in-laws of in-laws; we became known as Biff’s parents and sister.

I think Biff, Jeanie and her parents were the last to arrive at the house.  I really hit it off with Jeanie’s mom.  Sweet lady.  She reminded me a lot of Rochelle’s mom (Rochelle being my first daughter-in-law) and Roland said the same thing. Jeanie’s mother does seem to be in better health than both of my daughters-in-law's mothers.  She also seems to be in better health than Jeanie.  I don’t know why, but Jeanie always seems to have aged with each time I see her.

As usual I didn't have room for dessert.  And there were several to choose from. Fortunately Jeanie had made up an extra plate of pumpkin rolls for us to take home.  Her sister-in-law and I visited in front of the tree that never goes up before Thanksgiving, but it's new and was insentive to get her three children to clean the house.

Everybody was scattered.  I counted fourteen adults and four children.  Jenna was playing with Jeanie's niece just before we left.  I don't know that she was ready to go. We had both wanted to play games, but Roland didn't want us to overstay our welcome. 

We drove around some neighborhoods surrounding Jenna's schools to check out what houses were up for sale.  We didn't see a lot for Jenna was getting car sick.  Poor kid always seems to take ill during the Thanksgiving holiday.  After we returned home, Roland insisted that she go and lay down.  We finished the night with watching holiday movies. I finally had dessert.  It is so good.




Sunday, September 1, 2013

Thank you Debbie – I Feel a Great Kinship for You

       
            I AM THE PRIMARY CARRIER ON THE PHONE PLAN – ALWAYS HAVE BEEN.  SO WHY DOES T-MOBILE AND CONSUMER CELLULAR INSIST ON CALLING ROLAND’S PHONE?   Roland always seems to be passing the buck because “they won’t talk to me.”

            “Why won’t they talk to him?  He’s on the plan.”  I don’t know how many times I told T-Mobile that Roland “Does Have Authorization” I am so tired of being a third party between Roland and the company or Roland and the neighbor or worse – having him try to communicate with my brother-in-law through me and Kayla.  Give me a break!

            At least Consumer Cellular is human.  Even T-Mobiles “caller” is a machine that tells you to press this button and that one.  HEY – you called me.  I don’t have to accept – especially for a machine.

            Roland and I have been married almost twelve years now, and he still hasn’t seemed to figure out that I REALLY DON’T LIKE THE PHONE.  Just because he and my boys seem to be surgically implanted to their cell phones does not mean I even want to use mine.  I purchased it in case of an emergency.  Calling the cell phone provider (especially the former never-will-use-again provider) does not quality as an emergency.




            I’d much rather do things in person or through the Internet than over the phone.  The rep at costumer service said the same thing.  I didn’t get her full name, but I would gladly accept a friendship request from her were she to offer.  But I don’t know that I provided my maiden name with consumer cellular.  My married name is way too common.  She’d need them both to find me - provided she’d even be interested in having me as a friend.

            I asked her why she would be answering phones for a living if she truly loathes the phone as much as I do.  Some people, unfortunately, have to settle just to make ends meet.  Perhaps she took the job out of desperation.  She does at least get to type along with answering the phones. 




            Debbie made a marvelous impression.  She was very helpful and kind.  I really enjoyed talking with her and wish we could have had a more personal conversation.  I really would like to get to know her better.  I’ve really got nothing to go on accept for the name of the company for which she’s employed.  That doesn’t narrow it down.  I have no idea what state she’s in.


            Often when I try contacting Roland in Salt Lake City, I get connected to the Phoenix location.  Talk about frustrating.  Normally I just text his cell phone or e-mail him messages (I really don’t like to text either – having a full size keyboard makes it so much easier.)

           How great it would be if we didn't need phones anymore!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wesley Richards


Wesley walks
from yard to yard

collecting rocks

and sticks

and stores them

in the garage

of his parents’ house. 



Wesley is

their only child.



Wesley takes medication

for his ADHD.

It takes away

any appetite

that is necessary

for growth. 

Wesley is thin

like the twigs he finds. 



I think a heavy wind

could blow him away.



He and Jenna have

collected morning glories

and have thrown them

into the pool. 

But no worries –

they don’t plan to leave

them there.  They just

want to see how cool

they look floating

upon the water



When it is time for Wesley to go home,

Jenna invites herself to go with him  


                                                                            kfralc

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Let’s Override Bullying and Manipulation


It’s been a couple of months since I took Jenna and her friend to see The Mysterious Happy Life of Brown Bag by Greg Near. I honestly did not know what it was about – but it was playing at the library and gave us something to do for free.


It started out cute and funny.  Jaime, Trume and I all laughed.  Towards the end though, they both got bored with it and I don’t think they realized what had even taken place.  The one act play had taken me from laughter to tears in just a matter of seconds.  Brown Bag had been bullied because he was different.  He so desperately wished to have friends that he allowed them to manipulate him – even though he knew that because they were trying to hurt him, they really weren’t his friends.

After the play the cast members and writer and some others held a discussion panel.  Trume and Jenna both wanted to leave – which I understood.  It’s not a comfortable subject. But I thought it was important that we stay and get some feedback.

So many of the children (what little there are) that surround us are from broken homes and dysfunctional families and perhaps it’s just what they’ve learned from their own surrounding circumstances and upbringings.  I wouldn’t classify any of them as bullies (just yet anyway) though there are a few that have been able to manipulate Jenna.

Jenna had always been the leader when we lived in our first part.  Yes, she was a bit manipulative – but in a positive way.  She never tried to hurt her friends.  She never tried to seek pleasure by embarrassing another or enjoying watching others get into trouble or what have you.  She’s just always had a head full of great ideas and would strongly suggest that her friends play her games.  But they always had fun together.  There was never anything cruel about her domination.

Over here things are different.  She has somehow allowed herself to get sucked up into things that she hasn’t been comfortable doing – and I repeatedly tell her to stand up for herself and not to get sucked in.  A real friend wouldn’t allow a friend to feel uncomfortable.  I’ve used my own examples as well as referring to The Mysterious Happy Life of Brown Bag and repeatedly asking if she remembers what happened to him.

I used to worry about Tony, too.  Tony has always seemed socially awkward (actually, both two oldest boys have) and I was afraid he would fall in with the wrong crowd.  He is swayed so easily. Even as an adult I think he is easily manipulated. I’ve always wished that he would stand up for himself and not allow others to walk all over him.  But he has been walked on a lot.  

Jenna and I are over here to learn something.  I don’t know what it is.  Gratitude perhaps.  Because right now we are not very grateful.  I’m finally comfortable in my own ward, but not with the neighborhood.  Not with Jenna’s friends (or lack thereof)

 

I don’t deal well with bullying.  I am so upset with the results and the pain.  Manipulation needs to vanish.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

More Thoughts on Funerals



Before I entered my last post, I knew I wasn’t finished with what all went through my mind yesterday.  I don’t mean for these posts to sound morbid, but rather respectful.  There are many who may not understand why I view funerals the way I do.

I couldn’t have been more than three when I was first introduced to funerals.  It was someone from the ward.  We weren’t close but apparently I had inquired about going.  Mom didn’t even think I even had known whoever it was, but I had been told that mom had confronted with the neighbor across the street who suggested she take me because it wasn’t someone close and it would give me exposure without being a traumatic situation that perhaps I could experience if the situation was with someone close to me.

I’m guessing I must have been a lot more reverent than Jenna has ever been.  I don’t remember anything about the experience – nor do I recall going to grandpa’s funeral just a few months later – though I do remember his dying.

Jenna was only five and a half when we left our first house.  Before our move, I remember taking her to many funerals – and leaving before the program was over.  She was still in diapers when my Uncle Ned passed away.  We used to take walks to see him and Aunt Sarah.  She moved in with her daughter after he passed. She passed away a year later.  Jenna's disruptions kept me out in the foyer.  I missed most of both funerals.

Lydia played the organ and lived across the street.  Jenna loved her. We would visit with her every other week.  After Jenna learned the song “You Are My Sunshine” she would perform it for various people and decided she would perform it for Lydia.  We were on our way to Lydia’s house when we learned she’d been taken to the hospital. She never returned to her house.

I took Jenna to Lydia’s funeral.  Jenna was horrible!  I don’t think we were there for 20 minutes.  I didn't even stay in the foyer but went across the street and put Jenna to bed. So when Bill (my brother-in-law)’s first wife passed, I promised Jenna the world if she would be reverent.  I told her we could go to the park or the library or wherever she wished if she would please please please keep still.  She was so good. 

Of course I had attended the funeral more out of respect to Bill than I had for Annaleigh. I learned many things about Annaleigh that I hadn’t known before.  It was such a wonderful program that honored and celebrated her memory. After her funeral, I took Jenna to Arctic Circle because that is what she chose. She had been so good




I’ve been to funerals for both young and old. The youngest being three years old.  It was a few years before Jenna was born.  It had been a tragic accident – but the family dealt with it well. The funeral was admirable really.

It really was a great tribute and I could really feel the Spirit present and was in awe watching his family and greater awe listening to his mom talk over the podium at his funeral describing his last day. It really was an honor to have been a part of that and to actually walk away with a feeling of comfort.

The funerals I enjoy the most celebrate life.  We need to embrace the memories and treasure the time that we had together.