I just heard the news that Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed. The “Notorious RBG” was a strong and courageous woman. She served all people. My heart breaks because she was a role model for so many women my age. She made America a better place. We were so lucky to have her. God bless her. My condolences to her family and the thousands of women that emulated her.
Remember “Women belong where decisions are being made.”
After watching such terrifying images of the destruction caused by the fires on the west coast of the USA, I tried to put myself in the place of the victims and simply start shaking at the thought. It saddened me so much to hear about the number of deaths including a young child. I believe that climate change is the ultimate culprit for these calamities.
I wonder if we will be able to reverse the damage so far. Three states are suffering from the fires and who knows how many people will end up with serious respiratory illnesses in the weeks to come. Louisiana is soon facing yet another possible hurricane. Puerto Rico has to deal with the sand storms that come from the Sahara. You have to see it to believe that so much soot can accumulate within just a few days. The island has also experienced several earthquakes as have so many other places.
We can only hope that science will figure out what needs to be done. We know what we can do to help the situation. During the pandemic shut down, many cities were observing how the environment seemed cleaner. Obviously, there were less cars on the roads and therefore less pollution. It simply makes sense the more we work together the better the results. Sometimes it takes something like a pandemic to help us see reality.
Racial tensions augmented during these last few months. All races came together to stand up for racial justice. I recently reread a copy of James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time. I had underlined these quotes so many years ago when I first read his work and which still resonates today.
“Life is tragic simply because the earth turns and the sun inexorably rises and sets, and one day, for each of us, the sun will go down for the last, last time. Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, the only fact we have. It seems to me that one ought to rejoice in the fact of death–ought to decide, indeed, to earn one’s death by confronting with passion the conundrum of life. One is responsible for life: It is the small beacon in that terrifying darkness from which we come and to which we shall return.”
“And if the word integration means anything, this is what it means: that we, with love, shall force our brothers to see themselves as they are, to cease fleeing from reality and begin to change it.”
― James Baldwin
Life only happens once. And for those who believe we reincarnate it still happens one life at a time and within a specific time. I hope and believe that we can make life better for each other when we decide to accept that each of us is deserving of a good life, a healthy existence, a peaceful coexistence. I still hope that we awaken to the essence of our oneness. Are you ready?
So many school children will begin a new year via Zoom and other platforms. No hugs, no high fives, and no notes passed around the classroom. The teachers will be in charge as usual and parents will need to monitor for the most part.
I taught all levels including graduate students and I cannot imagine what this beginning of the school year will be like for youngsters just starting their education. My 5 year-old granddaughter will not be able to use her brand new unicorn design soup thermos for a while. That made her sad.
She received a basket full of workbooks, handouts, and curriculum guidelines and schedules. She was also lucky to receive an HP laptop for her to use during the virtual classroom meetings. As a grandparent I was so looking forward to walking her to school, taking her picture in front of the classroom door and waiting for her to get back to fill me in on all the details about her first day. I had to put on a happy face for her and try not to show my disappointment. But I suppose that for all kindergarteners this may be a way of school life for a while. It may be the new normal and we the grandparents will have to deal with it. (I hope not.)
I remember my mother narrating my first day of school. She told me I walked right in and did not even look back to say goodbye. Her eyes would always tear up a little because for her I had started a whole new experience without her by my side. In comparison my daughter has accepted this new way of learning. She did a great job at home schooling towards the end of last school term. But it was pre-school and most moms are the teachers at that point.
My granddaughter will wear her new dress and use her new pencils and crayons. But she will not put her new jacket and Frozen themed lunch box in the cubby hole labeled with her name. These little things may seem trivial within the bigger scheme of things but to me they made that first day so special. I remember my daughter’s first day. She rode the school bus labeled the red rabbit. We followed the bus in our car and watched as she got off with the help of the bus aide. She came back home so excited because she made a friend named Maya. The teacher pinned a note on her sweater that said, “We all had a beautiful day”.
I hope COVID-19 will fade away soon and that the infections and deaths will diminish significantly. All we can do is continue to be vigilant of the signs of COVID-19. We must continue to follow the guidelines and know that we are not home free yet.
I want to wish all children a wonderful school year be it in-person, or on-line or both. Most of all I wish for them to remain healthy along with their parents, teachers and school personnel. God bless you and God bless America.
Some Quotes to Ponder
“You’re off to great to great places. Today is your first day! Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way!
“Wisdom begins in wonder.” -Socrates
“My number one goal at the end of the first day is not that they know the rules and consequences. It’s that they’re excited to be part of the class. That they run home to their parents and say, “Oh my gosh. I have the best teacher. I have this awesome class. It’s going to be great.” -Unknown
One years ago the 19th amendment empowered women with the right to vote. 2020 so far been a memorable year; it will definitely be remembered for many negatives but there are some positives we need to embrace.
My grandmother was barely 22 years old when the 19th came about. The incumbent president at the time was Woodrow Wilson, a leader of the Progressive Movement; he was the 28th President of the United States (1913-1921).
Warren G. Harding, a Republican, who won by a landslide victory in 1920, taking every state outside the South and dominating the popular vote. He became the 29th president.
I wish she were here to tell me who she voted for at the time and if she actually did get to vote. My great-grandmother was never able to vote. She had passed by the time the 19th had been enforced.
Today, we the women of this great country do have the right to vote and it is so important that we do so on November 3, 2020. We must do everything in our power to get out there and exercise our right to vote and not be fearful. Our vote will count and will be counted fairly. We must believe that our elections will not be tampered with. Our doubts began with the knowledge that foreign entities may try to sway people one way or another via social media. Reliable security sources have made clear interference of that kind will not happen again. So we cannot allow fear, and misinformation to come from any source.
Of course, I may be a tad bias but I believe women are intelligent, forceful and determined to make the world right for their offspring and loved ones in general. You could not intimidate my mother or grandmother. They kept informed. They read fervently and spoke up when they knew something was dramatically wrong. I know that many women are made of the same stuff.
I watched Michelle Obama speak at the National Democratic (unconventional) Convention which was done virtually because of the pandemic we are all struggling with these days. She was eloquent as usual but also spoke from her non-political heart. I heard the sincerity of a mother and patriot who loves her country. It was a love like this that fueled the Suffrage Movement. As my grandmother would say they had “fuego” (fire) in their hearts and clarity in their minds.
We must honor those women by doing what needs to be done. I know I will honor my great grandmother and all those before her who could not voice their opinion or check off a ballot box.
There is too much at stake. There is too much to accomplish. We have come a long way but so much more needs to be done to get the job done better. It is up to us. Who else can do three jobs at once? Who else has the know how to read people and know what is best for their children? The answer is We the Women of these United States of America. God bless America!
“Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.”
“The words above, thought to be the motto, are chiseled in gray granite over the entrance to the New York City Post Office on 8th Avenue and come from Book 8, Paragraph 98, of The Persian Wars by Herodotus.”
This is the motto or slogan and indeed the promise from the United States Postal Servicethat I counted on for so many years. During summer vacations I counted on their promise to deliver promptly the letters I’d write to my friends who went away to camp or to stay with their grandparents. I would be away part of the summer to visit my grandmother. I’d wait by the door for the mail carrier, (then called postman) to bring me letters from my dad who could not take off from work to be with us. Later, I’d wait for letters from my friends serving abroad during the Vietnam war. I couldn’t wait to get the pictures they would take especially of the celebrities showcased in the Bob Hope tours with the USO. Then, there was waiting for the acceptance letters from the dream college I had applied to. And of course, (I have kept them all until now) there were the love letters my husband would write to me with an occasional poem dedicated to me or to our love.
I am sure all of you can relate to these moments that were made possible because we had a reliable source. Namely the postal service. We could count on the promise that no matter what the mail would arrive. Of course, there were delays at times and return to sender mail even though you had written the correct address on the envelope. We have all had some of those experiences.
There has been so much to digest these days and nothing is as important as the devastation caused by this deadly and highly contagious virus that has invaded our country. But the possible threat proposed against our postal system is something we have to stop. Our democracy depends on our postal service. I do not understand how we can allow defunding or privatization of this precious service. The essential workers of this institution have been diligent to get us our medicines and other goods during the stay home mandate.
I remember one of my teachers introducing us to pen pal writing. I had a few pen pals that continued writing to me way beyond the elementary school years. The teacher wrote the postal service slogan on the board. She told us how important it was to have a postal service and explained the many ways that it helped people to stay connected.
I continue to write letters . Yes, I to friends and family even though it has kind of become a lost art and old fashion. I use email and text messaging but there is nothing like writing to a letter to a friend or family member and receiving one from them as well. My grand daughter started writing me letters during the pandemic. These letters made my day. They are my greatest treasure. She enclosed drawings and would tell us how much she missed us.
I know that this may sound over sentimental but a promise is a promise is what I believe firmly. The following is another inscription that sums it all:
Messenger of Sympathy and Love Servant of Parted Friends Consoler of the Lonely Bond of the Scattered Family Enlarger of the Common Life Carrier of News and Knowledge Instrument of Trade and Industry Promoter of Mutual Acquaintance Of Peace and of Goodwill Among Men and Nations.
Please do your part in helping to save our postal service. No matter what your political affiliation or philosophy, I am sure that you will want to think about what the threats being made implicate. Remember many people now rely on the postal service to survive. We must protect the legendary promise that was made to all of us, we the people. All it takes is a postcard or letter to your senator or congressman or woman to insist that they do something to fund the USPS.
The USPS traces its roots to 1775 during the Second Continental Congress, when Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first postmaster general. … It was elevated to a cabinet-level department in 1872, and was transformed by the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 into the United States Postal Service as an independent agency.
In 1774, the British fired Franklin from his postmaster job because of his revolutionary activities. However, the following year, he was appointed postmaster general of the United Colonies by the Continental Congress. Franklin held the job until late in 1776, when he was sent to France as a diplomat. He left a vastly improved mail system, with routes from Florida to Maine and regular service between the colonies and Britain.
President George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood, a former Massachusetts congressman, as the first postmaster general of the American nation under the new U.S. constitution in 1789. At the time, there were approximately 75 post offices in the country.
‘When historians pick up their pens to write the story of the 21st century, let them say that it was your generation who laid down the heavy burdens of hate at last and that peace finally triumphed over violence, aggression and war. So I say to you, walk with the wind, brothers and sisters, and let the spirit of peace and the power of everlasting love be your guide.” – Late Congressman John R. Lewis
I finally read the entire OpEd written by John Lewis shortly before his death. It brought back Dr. Martin l. King’s last prophetic speech where he said, “I have seen the promise land; I may not get there with you but I want you to know we as a people will get to the promise land.”
We cannot let the words of these two great men be erased from our history and most importantly from our collective conscience. We need to make sure that their dreams live on. We must exercise our right to vote and to make sure our country is under the leadership of intelligent, truthful and empathetic men and women.
I pray that COVID 19 does not continue to kill so many vulnerable Americans. I pray that I see the change in my lifetime. I pray that I can be a part of the change. We have 86 days to think about what is at stake. It is time to think big like one of my wonderful teachers used to say. He would challenge us everyday with this: “let me see how shrewd you are.” This continues to resonate in my mind.
Of course I just had to write a poem about it. Here it is.
Let me see how shrewd you are,
he’d ask us every morning.
We all knew he expected
from all of us to be
the best that we could be.
He wanted us to see
from all different perspectives.
He’d write a quote on the board
and made us think real hard
His methods some would say were a little avant-garde
When I am a little stressed I look for quotes that help me make sense of things. My sixth grade teacher and my dad instilled this practice in me. Mrs. McCann was always quoting someone. She would say that the person she was quoting said it the best. My dad on the other hand would clip quotes from newspapers and magazines and post them on a small bulletin board for us to read. He also wrote down his favorite quotes and sayings in journals and notebooks.
I looked in my old journals and in numerous books I have with collections of quotes.
Here are some I found that resonate with me today. Who or what comes to mind when you read some of these quotes. I would love to hear from you.
“The only interesting answers are those which destroy the questions.” – Susan Sontag
“It wasn’t raining when Noah built the ark.” – Howard Huff
“Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.” – Eric Hoffer
“Remember always give your best. Never get discouraged. Never be petty. Always remember others may hate you. But those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself” — Richard Nixon
“What probably distorts everything in life is that one is convinced that one is speaking the truth because one says what one thinks.” – Sacha Guitry
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”– Maya Angelou
Power is poison. Its effect on Presidents had always been tragic. Henry Adams
“If you are honest, truthful, and transparent, people trust you. If people trust you, you have no grounds for fear, suspicion or jealousy.”– Dalai Lama
“I not only use all the brains I have but all I can borrow” — Woodrow Wilson
Presidents are not only the country’s principal policy chief, shaping the nation’s domestic and foreign agendas, but also the most visible example of our values- RobertDallek
“When Irish Eyes are Smiling sure it’s like a morn in spring In the lilt of Irish laughter you can hear the angels sing when Irish hearts are happy all the world seems bright and gay but when Irish eyes are smiling sure they’ll steal your heart away“
This post is dedicated to many of my fellow bloggers. I used the titles of their blogs to inspire my poem. My wish is to thank my fellow bloggers for their comments and support throughout my tenure here at WordPress. I hope no one is offended if I did not include them this time around. Once again thank you all for your support as I celebrate 8 years at Poemattic.wordpress.com. Happy Blogging!!
Yesterday was a historic day and no matter what side you take, we are obligated to go back and seek the wisdom and even the not so smart doings in our history. It is said that history repeats itself. It is also said that it takes many lives to learn our lessons well.
I am encouraged to look for the teachings of all great leaders but also of the horrible ones. We must read with careful analysis and be able to make intelligent inferences. In the end it boils down to one very important concept: To thyself be true and the truth will prevail.
God bless America!
“From the outset, Hamilton feared an unholy trinity of traits in a future president — ambition, avarice and vanity,” – Federalist Papers
“How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!” ― Thomas Jefferson
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”Amendment I,
– The U.S. Constitution
“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” Thomas Jefferson
“Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” -Thomas Jefferson
I wanted to thank my fellow bloggers for their interesting and thought provoking ideas that inspire me everyday. A special thanks to all those who faithfully follow Poemattic. Thank for your continued support.
Thanksgiving day was very quiet; unlike other years when our children, grandchildren, and other family members gather for a traditional dinner. I was sad we would not have the family together but it gave me the opportunity to gather my thoughts about what giving thanks signifies.
So I wrote a few poems to share with you and chose this one for today even though it is belated.
Why Give Thanks
Why give thanks today more than any other day?
Who really knows?
I remember pictures in an old school history book
where depicted were Native Americans and the New Americans feasting
together in peace and harmony.
I want to believe that was how is was in truth,
Could it have been a photo opportunity though?
You know, like a Hallmark TV commercial,
It is all about what it is suppose to be about.
But the truth is today many of us are split;
separated by biases and “alternative facts”,
conspiracy theories, and oh yes, by the enemy
of the people. Do we know who they are?
We are not suppose to believe what we see or what we hear anymore.
Do I give thanks for that?
I witnessed homelessness at its worst the other day;
and on a cable channel
someone was flaunting a home that had 10 bathrooms.
Do I give thanks for that undeniable truth?
So few have so much and too many have nothing.
Another senseless shooting in New Orleans just yesterday, very sad
and by the way,
A little girl went missing again taken from right in front of her mother;
Do I give thanks for that?
My thanks are desperately waiting
for us to sincerely unite
So many of us do understand the urgency
for purposeful and mindful conversations
about the issues that really matter.
But every time I watch the news or open up a newspaper
it is mostly about negative stuff, crazy stuff, and unbelievable stuff
stuff you cannot make up kind of stuff.
Senseless mass shootings, climate change, and government corruption,
Do I give thanks for that?
Pardon me if I sound pessimistic today of all days