Friday, August 17, 2018
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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 ...)

I was in my 50s before I realized that the nature of swearing had changed. Miley Cyrus at Kids’ Inaugural (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Young women in the office were doing it. And, they were calling each other, affectionately, a term that I’ve always considered one of the worst insults for women, starting with a “B.” I supposed that swearing for women in their 20s was a way to show that they could talk just like men. Indeed, a young woman journalist asserted, a couple of years ago, that swearing was how she reassured her military compatriots, when she was embedded, that they didn’t have... (Read More ...)

I was an adult before I realized my mother, and, of course, I, had a low affect. Livingstone’s Fruit Bat (Photo credit: charliejb) She rarely showed emotions. While this was probably cultural – our family came from English, Scottish, Northern Irish, Scandinavian and German stock – it is likely also personality. This meant it was hard for me to even figure out I had emotions, never mind what they were, a training job my husband had to pick up.  But, when I was growing up, it had its advantages. Namely, very little spooked my Mom. I was in second grade, seven years old, when I... (Read More ...)

George Orwell’s real name was Eric Arthur Blair. George Orwell, 1984. This self-made image is based on a picture that appears in an old acreditation for the BNUJ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) His stark book, 1984, was published on June 8 1949, when I was almost two years old. 1984 and his other memorable book, Animal Farm, together, have sold more copies than those by any other 20th century author. The English language now includes words and phrases from his writing: Cold War Big Brother Thought police Doublethink Thoughtcrime. 1984 so starkly described the depths an over-reaching government could... (Read More ...)

On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court reversed a ruling by the District Court of Kansas and case law that stretched back to 1896. Plessy v Ferguson, that 1896 ruling, held that as long as facilities were equal, in that case, railroad cars, the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which guaranteed equal protection under the law, was not being violated. Article in the Daily Picayune, New Orleans, announcing the arrest of (Homer) Adolphe Plessy for violation of railway racial segregation law. The case would go to the US Supreme Court as Plessy v. Ferguson. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Brown... (Read More ...)

Though hoops go back to fifth century Greece as toys and are used in Native American dance, it was Spud Melin’s trip to Australia, where he’d seen exercise hoops, that launched the modern hula hoop craze. A hula hoop contingent in the 2007 Summer Solstice Parade, Fremont Fair, Seattle, Washington marched the route while “hula hooping”; they deliberately had an oversupply of hula hoops, and continually urged people in the viewing crowd to join them. Many did, at least briefly, including this child. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Melin gave some hoops to children to see what they’d do... (Read More ...)

George W. Bush and Kimberly Oliver, the 2006 national teacher of the year. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) May 7 is National Teacher Day. Who were your favorite teachers and how did they change your life? What made your teacher good at their job? When I was in third grade, I remember turning in a test paper by walking up to the front of the room and putting it down on top of everyone else’s papers. But, as I was setting my paper down, I noticed, and started reading, the test that had just been turned in by someone else. I guess, even at that early age, I had a proofreader’s eye. The test paper I... (Read More ...)

My mother was an organizer. A man and a woman performing a modern dance. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Daughter of a single Mom who was widowed early, with two young children, my Mom was able to go to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor where her Mom was principal of the in-hospital school for children with long-term illnesses. She lived at home and walked the two miles to school, defying the school administration officials who would not allow her to take physical education because they said she wasn’t strong enough. But, she could not afford to join a sorority. Still, she didn’t want to miss... (Read More ...)

English: View of the northern side of the railroad bridge by Quaker Oats in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (Photo credit: Wikipedia) How did you pick your profession? Did you ever think about what you wanted to be when you grew up? Did you know, as my older son did, at the age of 13? Or, as my younger son did, when you were a Senior in high school? Did you just happen on to your profession or did you choose it? Was it a family tradition or new with you? My mother thought I could be the next Betty Crocker, for Amana, an appliance company near our home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She encouraged me to be a writer... (Read More ...)

How did your Mom tell you she loved you? Soft-Boiled eggs (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Yesterday, April 14,  would have been my mother’s 96th birthday. She died 10 years ago, 2 ½ years after a stroke that so debilitated her, it took 24 hours before she could crawl to her front door, prop it open and wait for a neighbor to find her. She never lived alone again. She must not have had much warning that a stroke was coming on. We found the cereal bowl that she had dropped on the floor. But, I can just see her deciding, “Well, if I stay here, I will die here. I must crawl to the door to get help.” A... (Read More ...)