Friday, August 18, 2017
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Clifford Berryman’s (April 2, 1869 – December 11, 1949) political cartoon of President Theodore Roosevelt’s bear hunting trip to Mississippi that gave the Teddy Bear its name. Was published in 1902 in The Washington Post (Photo credit: Wikipedia) My first, and all-time favorite, teddy bear was a tiny, six inch tall, stuffed panda bear. It was the kind that my mother was not allowed to wash, so my last memories of it were a dirty white and black toy that had almost all the plush worn off. I lost it under the motel bed where it had fallen on a family vacation when I was in elementary... (Read More ...)

At 20, I got pregnant, eloped, dropped out of school, and followed my husband to an Army post in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where he was in Officer Candidate School. It was 1968, near the height of the Vietnam War. Miniskirts were in. My boyfriend  told me the popular song, “Sunny,” reminded him of me. When I called my parents to tell them I’d gotten married, my Mom said, “So, I guess this means you’re pregnant, then.” My birthday’s in July. I spent the summer I turned 20 in Switzerland, studying French. My boyfriend picked me up in New York City when I returned and I realized... (Read More ...)

97 Years of Marriage in Two Rings We had five days to get married. I found out I was pregnant on Monday. He was scheduled to leave for boot camp on Friday, responding to a January 1 draft notice. He looked up the legal requirements for marriage in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia, from his apartment in Arlington, Virginia. I had just come up from my parents’ house in Georgia for a planned second semester at George Washington University to be near him. I moved my trip up after he got the draft notice, also suspecting by then that I might be pregnant. One local jurisdiction required... (Read More ...)

“It’s in the third or fourth drawer down on the right side of my Mom’s dresser,” I told my husband. I was recovering from surgery after breast cancer and needed a light wrap over the shirt with pockets on the inside that held my drains. I could not easily open drawers, so asked my husband for help. I had never worn the bed jacket, but I remembered exactly where it was. In fact, I had never seen my mother, who was rarely sick at all when I was growing up, wear it. But, I took in much of my mother’s furniture when she came to live with us for two years after her stroke. Her dresser, nearly... (Read More ...)

Español: Armadura de caballero en la armería del Alcázar de Segovia (España) (Photo credit: Wikipedia) I was sitting next to a guy at the bar mitzvah party for a friend’s son and we struck up a conversation. He had recently gotten remarried and was ruminating about his observations on women. “I understand that women like to be wooed and won,” he said. “But, I thought after you won them, the wooing part was over.” I don’t consider myself an expert on relations between men and women. I dated only a little in high school, not even enough to go to either my junior or senior prom. In... (Read More ...)

He introduced himself to me on the phone as “Dave.” singer, dancer, comedienne, and actress Carol Burnett, receiving a Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) But, I soon found out all his friends called him “Georgia.” He had lost his Southern accent by the time I met him three-and-a-half years after he arrived on that Michigan State campus. A natural ear for languages and years of singing let him drop his Southern drawl in favor of broadcast English, the non-accented English heard in the Midwest. But, his friends and fraternity brothers kept the reminder of his... (Read More ...)

A hot air balloon in flight at the Mid-Hudson Valley balloon festival along the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia) One of the best things about Robert E. Wells’ book, “Can You Count to a Googol?” is that he takes you through the build-up of numbers slowly. Both author and illustrator, he shows you a whimsical imagining of 1, inviting readers to see themselves with one banana balancing on their nose. By the time you get to 100 bananas balancing on 10 monkeys, you have slipped quietly into the understanding that adding zeros adds places in a number and multiplying... (Read More ...)

Groucho Marx famously said, “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.” Pink ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia) When I stood up in church recently, during the time when congregation members share their joys and sorrows, I told them, “I have Stage II breast cancer.” A short time later, a member stood up to tell me, “Carol, welcome to the club I know you didn’t want to join. There are many of us survivors here.” I’m in the “This isn’t fair,” phase of this journey. I have no risk factors that I can identify. I don’t smoke, have no cancer in my family,... (Read More ...)

Readers know the classic book for reading your grandchildren to sleep, “Goodnight, Moon.” A new classic has been introduced, “Can I Just Take a Nap?” A bowl of Cheerios (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Ron Rauss, architect, poet and first-time children’s book author, decided to enter a contest in 2010 that Cheerios hosts every year for new children’s book authors. He won, beating out more than 8,000 entries. Simon and Schuster published his book and General Mills, owner of Cheerios cereal, put a small, paperback version in three million boxes of Cheerios. Now, it’s out in hardback. Although... (Read More ...)

Great-great Uncle Walter Tuller signed up for Company C of the Ohio 5th Cavalry regiment on January 28, 1862. He survived the bloody battle of Shiloh, but was dead by August, of a sniper shot from a cornfield as his cavalry company pushed into Mississippi in General Grant’s Western campaign to take control of the Mississippi River in the Civil War, restricting the South’s ability to get supplies. Chromolithograph of the Battle of Shiloh, American Civil War (Photo credit: Wikipedia) My uncle, Don Notley, a geologist, never knew his father because my grandfather was banned from the family... (Read More ...)