The blog archives , from previous blogs, are located at the end of the row of pictures on the left. The date posted beneath each picture corresponds with a date in the archives.
September 3, 2014
I’m ending this blog about life quilts with a story about a man named Jimmy. If judged by the world’s standards, I suppose one would call Jimmy a failure. He never had a real job, just an odd job now and then. He had no family, never married. He had no (more…)
August 9, 2014
Emily Morgan’s life quilt was stitched with threads of healing and service to others. Dubbed the Angel of the Yukon, she was inducted into the Alaska Hall of Fame for her heroic efforts when in 1925 she helped stop a diphtheria epidemic in Nome and the surrounding villages. Born on a farm in Butler (more…)
July 11, 2014
The stitching on Edith Eva Eger’s life’s quilt began at birth as all of our quilts do, but in 1944, at age sixteen, when her life was interrupted by imprisonment in Auschwitz, a German concentration camp, a place of misery, death, and horror for the Jews and others deemed unworthy of dignity and life, the stitches in her life quilt became deeper, finer, and more intricate. It was on that day, loaded in a cattle car on the train bound for that place of horrors, that she took to heart her mother’s words. As they traveled toward the camp, her mother would not survive, her mother's words became her mantra. “Everything can be taken away from a human being except what we put in your heads.” Always afterwards when asked how she got through all of it, Egers simply said, ”I created my own world and never let the Nazis get into my head. If I survived that day, the next I might be free.” (more…)
May 20, 2014
I remember a story a pastor in our church told as an example of those who cannot see good in hardly anything versus those who see good in nearly everything. The story, he told, was about a King who treasured the beauty of the earth, and who wanted to know what kind of flowers grew in his kingdom. So he sent out two men to take note of every flower that grew on the land belonging to him. Eventually the men returned and reported to the king. “Here’s my list, Your majesty," one of them said, holding out a very short list indeed. "You only have a few flowers in your kingdom, but you sure have a lot of weeds." The other guy, holding a really, really long list, suddenly looked decidedly uncomfortable and acted as if he’d like to drop through the floor. Head hanging, he could barely meet the king’s eyes when the king, looking quite dejected himself, turned to him and said, “Well, and what did you find?” “Your Majesty," the man began, “I’m so sorry. They were all so pretty, I thought they were all flowers.” The totally optimistic person is hard to find. Mankind, it seems, has an almost automatically critical nature. It’s easier for us to find fault, to see many more weeds than flowers. (more…)
April 22, 2014
Today, I am beginning a series of blogs that will last several months. Each blog will be a continuation of the last, like stitching peices of cloth together to make blocks and then the blocks stitched together to make a quilt.
There is a theatre production called “The Quilters” about the lives of some women living on the great plains of the Midwest. In the opening scene, the women have gathered to work on a quilt, and the talk among them is how their quilts are like their lives. How the “pieces of their lives” are linked together to make a whole. The many pieces become blocks and the many blocks become a completed quilt.
In one scene, Sarah, one of the women says, “You can’t always change things. Sometimes you don’t have no control. You’re just given so much to work with in a life, and you have to do the best you can with what you’ve got. Your materials is passed on to you, or is all you can afford to buy. That’s just what is given to you. But the way you put them together is your business, and that determines your fate. You can put them in any order you like.” (more…)
March 17, 2014
This is an excerpt from the July 1943 issue of Mass Transportation magazine. (I edited the article slightly for brevity.) This was written for male supervisors of women in the work force during World War II. I can only add this succinct saying—never mind that it came from a Virginia Slims cigarette commercial. :-) "We’ve come a long way, baby.” Isn’t it funny, the ideas we so often accept as examples of sane and rational thinking? Racial equality was/ is just one example of “funny” thinking, and politics? No other words needed here for that one.
11 Tips on Getting More Efficiency Out of Women Employees
There’s no longer any question whether transit companies should hire women for jobs formerly held by men. The draft and manpower shortage has settled that point. The important things now are to select the most efficient women available and how to use them to the best advantage. (more…)
January 10, 2014
In Max McCoy’s book, I, Quantrill, he writes about an affair Quantrill had with a young woman who’s skin was the color of a robin’s egg, her lips purple, her hair red. She tells him it’s a natural condition and that she is Hyacinth Fugate, from the Fugates of Troublesome Creek, who have naturally blue skin.
As you may recall, William Quantrill fancied himself a savior of the South’s way of life and during the War Between the States, raided the farms and homes and towns of northern sympathizers, murdering the men and all boys big enough to shoot a gun. A little digging and it becomes apparent that his “noble” actions for the South, are really excuses to murder and plunder. At one time, he’d entice slaves to leave their masters and while they were at it, take along Master’s horses and mules. Then he’d turn the slaves in and keep the horses and mules. Perhaps William Quantrill is best known for his raid on Lawrence, Kansas on August 21, 1863. He and some three hundred men rode into the town that morning and in a few hours, killed approximately 150 men and a few boys, burned many homes and businesses, and stole everything not nailed down. They departed as they came, leaving behind homeless, destitute, and grieving women and children.
Interesting that his raids would carry Quantrill to meet Hyacinth whose dream was to have a pale-skinned child. I wonder if Quantrill left her one. (more…)
November 13, 2013
On Sunday, November 3, 2013, my daily paper reported this remarkable story of a pod of Orca whales accompanying a Washington State ferryboat carrying ancient artifacts belonging to the Suquamish tribe to a new museum. On this day as the ferry crossed Puget Sound, in view of downtown Seattle, a pod of about three dozen Ocra whales, aka killer whales, suddenly began swimming alongside. One observer said, “They were happily splashing around, flipping their tails in the water. We believe they were welcoming the artifacts home.”
The ancient artifacts, dug up by archeologists in the 1950s, came from the winter village of the Suquamish Chief Sealth, aka Chief Seattle. The 500 artifacts included tools, decorative items, and small pieces of bone and rock that dated back 2,000 years.
It was an exciting and emotional experience and resulted in much speculation. Some wondered aloud if the whales somehow knew… had perhaps picked up a mental energy… And some, I’m sure, wondered if their ancestors, maybe even Chief Seattle, himself, moved among them that day and might even had orchestrated the Orca escort.
An Australian shepherd mix, he had survived a miserable, brutal, abused, and frightening puppy hood and was about a year old when our daughter and her family found him at the kennels and adopted him along with a bouncy black cocker mix, naming them Spencer and Max. (more…)
October 3, 2013
This month I am featuring Carmen Peone who is the author of three young adult novels about a native American girl. Her books are: Change of Heart, Heart of Courage, and Heart of Passion They are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Visit her website at http://carmenpeone.com or Carmen Peone
Carmen has lived in Northeast Washington, on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation since 1988. She had worked with a Tribal Elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes Language and various cultural traditions. She has owned and trained her horses for thirteen years and has competed in local Extreme Challenge Competitions for three years. She lives with her husband Joe. They have four grown sons and six grandchildren. With a degree in psychology, the thought of writing never entered her mind, until she married her husband and they moved to the reservation after college. She came to love the people and their heritage and wanted to create a legacy for her sons. Carmen also works in the Inchelium School K-12 as a coordinator for the after school program: Rez Stop.
August 15, 2013
My husband, Ron, said he never stole watermelons, just went along with the kids who did. He stands by that assertion saying, in the face of my doubt, “I was the designated driver.”
I don’t know, but I think, the get-away driver in a stickup is as guilty as the one holding the gun. I know he’s right there afterwards, wanting his share of the loot. And I imagine Ron had just as much red juice dripping off his chin as the others.
So tell me, I said, about those irresistible watermelon patches in your day. Those places where you didn’t steal any watermelons.
So he tells me about one summer night when a bunch of them were squeezed into an old jalopy one of the kids had (seatbelts hadn’t been invented yet) and they were out riding around, no particular destination in mind, until they came to a fenced field of watermelons and someone said, “Lets go get some watermelons.”
“No sooner said than done, I expect,” I said.
He nodded. “Yeah. They all scrambled out, crawled under the fence, and scurried like rats through that field, thumping melons ‘til they got a good ripe one. Then back to the car and me, the designated driver, watermelons clutched in their arms. Two of our gang were still missing when we heard the shotgun blast and we looked at each other, big-eyed and scared. The hair on my head stood straight up.”
“Yeah, you did have hair once,” I said.
He ignored my comment and went on, “Then here came one of the missing two, running flat out. He zipped under that fence and into the car, gasping out some words it took us a moment to understand. We’d noticed right away that he wasn’t carrying a watermelon and we wondered about that. We learned later he dropped it when the shotgun went off and the other kid with him went down like… like… Well, like he’d been shot. Which was what we finally got out of him when he calmed down enough to spit it out. Well, by the time he got it out so we could understand him, here came the other kid, running just as fast and skimming under that wire fence and into the jalopy. No watermelon in his arms either. The other kid said, ‘I thought you were shot! The gun went off and you went down and, and…’ ‘I tripped, you dummy!’ the other kid said.”
Later those kids, including my future husband, found out that the man had discovered that his shotgun fired several times in the air kept his melon field pretty well clear of two-legged nighttime raiders.
Although there was one young man who lived in a town just east of here who for which two-legged did not apply. When still a young boy, he lost a leg and became quite adept at using crutches. One summer Saturday he was hanging out in town when a man approached him and said, “I know you were in my melon patch last night and don’t deny it.”
“Well, yeah, I was,” said the boy. “But how did you know?
“You left some unusual tracks. Two holes and a foot print…two holes and a footprint…”
This story so tickled the man’s son and daughters that they included it in his obituary.
If you have a watermelon story to share, I would love it if you’d leave it in the comment section. (more…)