Monday, June 29, 2009

Day 134/365 Four, Or Five, On the Floor

One thing you learn to appreciate when you homeschool (especially after 10 years of it), is a day off. Because the rest of the days are 24/7. No offense to my beloved daughter, and I'm pretty sure she feels the same way too, which is why she's off working at the museum's summer science camps, leaving me to revel in being childless for the day.

Reveling is what I did today while driving around running errands (I'm grownup now - reveling is not what it use to be, but it will have to do).

But it occurs to me I still enjoy doing exactly what I enjoyed doing years ago - driving on a hot summer day, with windows rolled down, and Zeppelin cranked up on the radio. Yes, it was a wasteful use of gasoline and contributed to global warming, and you can tell the eco-police I don't regret a minute of it, and will, in fact, do it again, every chance I get (which isn't often these days).

Today while I took the long road home I listened to (IMHO) the best driving song in the universe, Rock & Roll, courtesy of Led Zeppelin. This particular piece of music has sent me flying across more miles of road than I can remember and possibly not always within the posted speed limit.

But even before Zeppelin I was driving on little twisty, windy, unlit dirt roads up in the mountains -before I had a license - on account of my older cousin deciding I needed to learn to drive (me at age 13, in his souped-up car). Was he sweet or what - letting his baby cousin drive his precious Chevy SS? I remember when we started he kept saying "use the accelerator", and within an hour or so, started muttering: "you might wanna slow down just a tad".

When I actually got a license, we were living in Iowa. Iowa has to be the safest place in the world to learn to drive. Particularily if you're a teenager in the early 1970's. No matter what substance you've ingested, the only place to go is either on the road, or into a flat cornfield.

This is where I discovered my dad's 1968 Impala would easily go 123 mph. And just as easily blow out a tire at that speed. FWIW - 1968 Impala's just roll off to the shoulder when the front tire blows out, almost into the cornfield.

When I first started college it was in Louisiana, land of the elevated interstate with no median and nothing but swamp underneath. The first weekend I drove down to New Orleans, my roommate gave me one last piece of advice: Watch out for gators in the road, they'll pop your tires. And don't get out to move them.

Sometime around then ( my memories are justifiably hazy of this entire time period), I took a road trip out west - while driving across Texas I discovered every state has its little driving quirks. In Louisiana, driving with an open drink was almost part of the road manual. In Texas, everyone seemed to have a gun. I remember seeing a woman pull up next to me at a restaurant, open her door, and then toss her handgun back on the front seat after it clattered onto the pavement.

On this trip I just barely made it to L.A. - that last mountain range killed the compression in my VW Hatchback (my first car). I sold it to a friend, took the money and flew home to Minnesota.

Springtime in Minnesota. At least before global warming. I remained car-less because my dad thought I should save my money until I could pay cash for a vehicle. I went along with it until the winter of 1976 when I found myself stranded at a bus stop one night with too much snow for the buses to run and it was sub-sub-zero temps. I ended up walking almost two miles in -20 degree cold- since anyone else with any sense at all was at home.

The next morning, I got a ride to a car dealer (the first one I saw), and bought the first car I saw. None of this weighing decisions, comparing vehicles or checking Consumer Reports. Nope, I walked in and asked how much is that blue one, and I could pay $100 a month and what could they do. (I don't recommend this approach as a general rule).

I got so lucky. That little blue car was a Mazda GLC hatchback, the first year they were introduced to the States. And it really was a Great Little Car. My father was horrified I had gone into debt. Oh well.

No more waiting at bus stops late at night. No more frozen fingers. I loved that car. It never slid in the rain, never got stuck in the snow(not even in Minnesota), and once I drove through the West Virginia mountains in the middle of a flash flood. The GLC didn't blink once, just held the road and kept going. The dirt backroads up through Jefferson National Forest had ruts in it so deep they were almost up over the roof of the car (I am only slightly exaggerating), but the GLC ran down one side and up the other. And I couldn't count the times the needle was on empty and I sat explaining to the car that it just had to make it home on fumes - never, ever, once did it let me down.

This is the original ad for the car. That's not me. And my GLC was a deep royal blue.

Kinda like this one.

A number of years later, I got a corporate job with a company car, and figured I didn't need two cars. So I gave it to the then-current boyfriend, who didn't appreciate it and totaled it a couple months later. He immediately took the fast track to "ex" at that point.

Now I'm just driving reliable but not memorable cars (I am after all suppose to be a grownup at some point) - but occasionally - on days like today -with the help of Robert Plant and the Zeppelin, I have almost-flashbacks to my little GLC, and wonderful summer days.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 133/365 Can't Stop Till You Get Enough

Apologies to those of you who are Michael Jackson'd out - only one more.

And only because I was trying to gather up You Tube links for my DD, because she missed a VH1 show tonight of MJ videos.

I found my original all-time favorite MJ song - it's a remake of Smokey Robinson's 1960 Who's Lovin You - he wrote it for The Miracles, and it was such a hit eventually almost every Motown group recorded it. The song is an ex-lover's lament, mourning the loss of a relationship and remembering where it went wrong, and wondering who she's with now.

In 1960 Louisiana, Smokey Robinson records were only sold in "race" record stores, but the music itself was played on black radio stations, and some enterprising little white girls had transistor radios with dials that wandered all over the color divide. By 1963, most white record stores had added a store section (clearly labeled "race records") for R&B music. Then John Lennon got off the plane in NYC in February 1964, and told the reporters his favorite music was James Brown and the Shirelles. That sent all the kids scrambling towards the "race records". So I was in love with Smokey's version of Who's Lovin You from the start.

Then on October 14, 1969, Michael Jackson got his little 11-year-old hands on it, and it ended up being the B-side to their first single (I Want You Back), riding the charts straight to #1.

Michael's version sends shivers down my spine - I bet you can't listen to it just once:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 132/365 Shout Out To Mikki

The next few days will be veritable tsunami of Michael Jackson memories, videos, analysis, with all those folks popping out of the woodwork to be good friends a day too late, and all the "I knew it would happen" hindsight psychics.

I think this is where I'm suppose to insert my particular poignant Michael Jackson memory but truely, his name always reminds me of a friend of mine, who I have long since lost track of but can't stop thinking of this morning.

Back in the last weeks of December 1980, I was working in a camera store with a great group of people, including Mikki McNaughton -our long-suffering manager who we teased incessantly about pretty much everything (that is another post in itself).

Any Beatle fan knows what December 8 1980 was like for us.

I remember being at the bottom of a dark pit, absolutely in shock, frozen with grief. To the point where I ran very close to not making it through, nor caring if I did.

And Mikki was so very, very kind, even though she wasn't part of that whole Beatles generation.

I remember her telling me that she understood, because she'd feel the same way if it was Michael Jackson, that he was her Lennon. That he had always been there, and it seemed as if they'd grown up together - and she'd be devastated if it had been him.

So now it is him. And I know where she's at. Been there, done that, and 29 years later, it's something I still avoid thinking about, 'cause it still hurts.

Dear dear Mikki - wherever you are - let me know if there's anything I can do to make this easier for you.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day 131/365 Are You Sure?

Has it really been 27 years?

Are you sure?


In so many ways, this is just unbelievable.

Rest in Peace and Thank You for the memories.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Day 130/365 Hola from The Appalachian Trail

This is Dismal Falls, one of my most favorite places in the entire world. Dismal Falls is located in Bland County, Virginia, a few short miles from my family's homeplace since 1750.

Not too far away from the falls: the Appalachian Trail. In fact, the Falls are close enough to serve as a place for hikers to swim, camp-out, and relax. (In fact, our section of the Appalachian Trail was made famous in a true crime account: Murder on the Appalachian Trail. But that's another story.)

Both Dismal Falls and the Appalachian Trail are located in the Jefferson National Forest, in western Virginia.

Here is a map of the Appalachian Trail:

Virginia is located in the United States, in North America.

Here is a map of Argentina, located in South America:

Neither Dismal Falls, Jefferson National Forest, the Commonwealth of Virginia, nor the Appalachian Trail are located in Argentina.

I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Day 129/365 Do we still need the Voting Rights Act?

On Monday, The Supreme Court let the Voting Rights Act of 1965 stand, for the moment. As one of the most effective civil rights laws in history the Voting Rights Act prohibits any jurisdiction from establishing "voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure ... to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color."

Without going into all the arguments being made for and against, this decision reminded me of a thought I had in 2004, while working the Kerry-Edwards campaign here in our 90% Republican county. At the time, I wondered if the Voting Rights Act could be updated, to prohibit denying or abridging the right of *any* citizen of the United States to vote.


I've worked political campaigns since I was 12. (For those keeping track- this would mean I have 42 years of political campaign work experience. Yes, I am older than dirt).

I've knocked on doors and had conversations with people that would never, ever, in a million years, vote for the candidate I was supporting. I've passed out flyers and done hours of phoning to "get out the vote". I've been stopped by passerbys who saw the buttons I wore, or honked at the bumperstickers on the car. (I learned a long time ago, people rarely stop you to agree with you).

However, all of those experiences were "up north", in a largely Democratic state. Plus I went to a "tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, radical liberal college" and my political viewpoint was expected and pretty much encouraged.

The 2004 Kerry-Edwards campaign was the first presidential campaign I worked in the deep red state of Virginia. Not only was I looking forward to getting back into politics, but I had very deep convictions against the incumbent administration. The icing on the cake was being able to take my 14-year-old daughter to work her first campaign (and have it coincide with her homeschool government class).

It was hell.

I lost most of my respect for the Republicans of my county, and whatever "American" patriotic spirit they promote.

(I will add the disclaimer that this is not a straight case of "damn yankee moves south and hates locals". Both sides of my family are from two counties over, running seven generations deep, and my great-great grandfather fought under Stonewall Jackson. So I am a "card-carrying" southerner, just the hybrid model).

In 2004, the usual campaign sign-stealing and defacing was an every day occurrence (old political trick: smear vasoline on your signs -makes them messy and difficult to pull up, plus the spray paint just wipes right off).

But the setting fire to campaign signs (while attached to private homes) was a new twist, as was the copperhead snake left in an office and the glue injected into car locks.

For those wearing candidate buttons, it was never assumed you'd be allowed to do business in a store. If the manager was a Republican, it was very likely they'd ask you to leave. Never mind the looks from other shoppers, and the actual request at one point that one would remove their political button.

I'm comfortable saying that I slept very lightly during that campaign, and that I was grateful that we had five aggressive dogs. I also refrained from door-to-door work, and kept my daughter away from it.

And from time to time I wondered if somehow I had moved to a strange country, possibly some third-world banana republic.

Fast forward to 2008.

I guess even the other side had had enough. People fell all over themselves to peel off those other bumperstickers. Where before I could hardly blink without seeing one, they became very few and far between.

People stopped staring at our Obama stickers. And more than a few came up to say how they thought he just might be the one to vote for this time, and how disappointed they were in their previous choice. I thought maybe this time, things would be different.

The day after the election in November 2008, this county was very quiet. We, of course, were delighted with the results, but the silence otherwise was deafening. While I meant to rush out and get copies of the paper, it was 2 p.m. before I got to the store. I thought they'd be sold out. Instead, the entire stack was almost untouched. I bought 5 copies, and the clerk said I was the only one who had bought a paper that day.

Then just last week, our dentist told my daughter she couldn't possibly be Christian and sane and support President Obama.

I guess I wasn't completely surprised at the comment.

And I'm not surprised neither politics nor President Obama are rarely mentioned in conversation, whereas the predecessor was invoked constantly.

And frankly, I'm not surprised that when I'm driving back, late at night after my daughter's classes, that sometimes the hair on the back of my neck stands up, when headlights appear out of nowhere. Headlights that light up our bumper with the Obama sticker. Headlights that seem to drive a little too close.

I think, in some places, we still need the Voting Rights Act. Just for a little bit longer.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Day 128/365 Baseball Bats and Gasoline-Soaked Rags

June 21, 1964 - Bogue Chitto, 13 miles from Philadelphia, Mississippi.

I have such a faint memory of this event - just a memory of my dad standing in the doorway in the evening telling my mom: "They found those boys out in a dam."

I wondered "why would it matter if boys were playing at a dam? how could they be *in* a dam?"

Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman.

Poster children for the civil rights movement. Notice to white, northern, middle-class America that the civil rights movement had arrived at their front door, and it was claiming their children right along with those poor black southern children.

As a child, all the civil rights stuff was pretty removed from my existence, even living in Louisiana. The marches hadn't really arrived yet where I was, my classmates would not disappear from our newly integrated classrooms until the new school year started, and the few black people I came in contact with were people I adored (and people I had to listen to -Sunday School aides or maids that worked in my friends homes and ruled the kids with iron hands).

Being white and a child, I had the luxury of ignorance as well as not of having much at stake, no matter which way the struggle went.

Until the dam.

For some reason, finding out the boys from New York had been found right along with a black boy (and all three of them were just boys in their early twenties) from Mississippi brought it all home to me. In my little 8 year old mind I was certain someone would come at night, and I would end up buried under mounds of dirt. I had nightmares about it, dreaming of digging and not being able to breathe.

Thank god the actual details weren't released then: James Chaney was "savagely" beaten, both arms broken (one in two places),a crushed elbow, endured "pathological trauma" to his groin area, a broken jaw and a crushed right shoulder. He was shot once in the head. Both Schwerner and Goodman were were shot through the heart. The three were burned, and then buried with their car in the earthen dam.

But like I said - I was a little white child. I had nothing to worry about.

Not like the black children.

Or the Freedom Summer workers who actually came down south and joined in, all of them, black, white, Jewish, atheist, old, young.

Imagine how terrifying it was for them. Sitting there waiting for those boys to come back.

Knowing that there were people who hated them enough to actually kill them, burn them, and bury them in a dam.

"On the day of their disappearance, a Freedom Summer volunteer in Merdian, Miss., wrote a letter which concludes with the following:

"Still no word from the missing people. It must be 11 by now. No one has really said anything about the kinds of things that we're all thinking could have happened to them. The people who've been out looking just came back. Now we talk about the Klan. The FBI is trying to find some grounds to get into the case full strength. Wish they'd hurry up about it.

"Hot here, down to 95 now in the office, which is an improvement. Everyone now is very quiet, just sitting, and watching out of the darkened windows a little bit, watching the cars that circle. There's a couple of people standing around on the corner. One of them is a little kid who gets the license number of the circling cars.

"Besides that, there's nothing out there, just a kind of brightly lit street, with the electric wires crisscrossing in front of the window, and the darkness behind you when you sit in the window. Nothing to do but play ping pong or read and wait for the phone to ring. I've been reading "All Quiet on the Western Front." Somehow it's appropriate, or maybe not. We'll see . . ." *
*To order a copy of "Letters from Mississippi: Reports from Civil Rights Volunteers & Poetry 1964 Freedom Summer,visit

Two historical footnotes to this tragedy:

When the FBI dive teams were looking for the three civil rights workers,they found seven other bodies of black victims -people missing, but their disappearance was either not reported or ignored.

In 2000, evidence was given that the FBI had enlisted a member of the Mob, Gregory Scarpa, Sr., to help "jog" memories of where the bodies might be found. A member of the Colombo crime family, Scarpa told his girlfriend he had forced a Mississippi Klansman to reveal the whereabouts of the victims by placing a gun in his mouth.

To all of those nameless volunteers, who sat in those hot, dark offices,not knowing whether the next car would be full of nooses, angry men with baseball bats or guns, or jars of gasline with rags stuffed in them - I have no idea where that kind of courage comes from, but I am forever grateful for yours.

And for those of you who do not remember your history: what were all these volunteers doing in Mississippi, in that hot summer of 1964?

Voter registration.

Just trying to register Americans citizens to vote.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 127/365 Civil Rights Amidst Uncivil Unrest

Photograph by Cecil Stoughton Photograph courtesy of National Archives and Record Administration, LBJ Library #276-10-64

As someone who grew up in the South of the mid-1950's through to the mid-1960's, today marks a major anniversary.

On June 19, 1964, the United States Senate passed the Civil Rights Bill - but only after 83 days of filibuster by die-hard Republicans and some deep-south Democrats.

This piece of legislation that struck so much fear into the hearts of southern white folks simply states that every person must have equal access to public places and there would no longer be any discrimination in employment.

That's it.

But the effects were enormous:

No more segregated hotels, restaurants, buses, trains if they engaged in interstate commerce (think Holiday Inn, MacDonald's, Greyhound, Amtrak).

State and federal governments could no longer deny access to public facilities on grounds of race, religion, gender, or ethnicity. (Think sporting events, holiday events like firework displays, park facilities, public swimming beaches).

Barred any discrimination by any agency receiving federal funds (think colleges, universities or research facilities).

Prohibited discrimination by employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, as well as discrimination against an individual because of his or her association with another individual of a particular race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. An employer could no longer discriminate against a person because of his interracial association with another, such as by an interracial marriage.

And finally, this legislation authorized the U.S. Attorney General to file suits to enforce school desegregation, and encouraged him to do so as quickly as possible.

All this, with one stroke of a pen.

On July 2nd, Lyndon Baines Johnson (forever affectionately known as LBJ) sat down in front of Rev. Martin Luther King,Jr., and used several pens to sign the bill.

Although the Civil Rights bill had been conceived and pushed towards Congress by his predecessor, President Kennedy, LBJ did little to acknowledge that. Instead, in a somewhat
petty action, he handed a handful of pens to then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and told him to hand them out. Although Bobby Kennedy played a crucial part in the passage, LBJ mostly ignored him during the signing, and did not invite Kennedy up to the desk to stand with the group during signing.

Afterwards (in his own personal act of defiance), Bobby had one of the pens framed with a note that said "Pen used to sign President Kennedy's civil rights bill".

For his part, after the signing, LBJ said to a bystander: "We just handed away the South for the next 50 years."

He was right.

This would be the beginning of the Republican Party and religious fundamentalism sweeping the South, cancelling years of faithful Democrat voting.*

*Not in our Virginia family. My grandmother would "die and go to hell" before she'd vote for a Republican. She figured if civil rights was good enough for LBJ, it was good enough for her.**

**I have inherited a great many of my grandmother's genetic code, including the Democrat gene.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Day 126/365 Hippo Birdee To Ewe!


Say, while I've got you here, I've been meaning to ask you if you ever got that birthday cake I sent you in June 1967.

It was in a white box, and my BFF and I decided to make the frosting look like it was tie-dye? Like, with green, red, blue swirls.

It cost about $10 to send it to you, care of Capitol Records in London, England. We figured you were there, 'cause you'd want to be home for your birthday, you know, like with Jane Asher and all.

Hasn't turned up yet?


Well, I was just wondering, that's all.

Love ya anyways!

Beatles Forever

Monday, June 15, 2009

Day 125/365 Cherry Blossom Time

No matter how many books I buy (and list for sale), or read (and decide to add to my personal collection), there are always surprises: books I've never heard of, obscure editions of books I love, or books by authors that don't quite fit the norm.

This charming lady fits that last description. This is Miss Winifred Eaton (1875-1954). Or you may call her Onoto Watanna.

Along with her sister, she introduced the entire genre of Asian-American literature. Born in Canada, Winifred was one of sixteen children born to an English father and a Chinese mother who had been adopted by missonaries. Her eventful life included running away from home, working on a Chicago newspaper, falling in love with a married man, and becoming a well-known novelist.

In spite of her tendency to buck societal convention, her pen name is Japanese (Onoto Watanna), only because she feared the anti-Chinese discrimination sweeping America at that time, and thought it would be professional suicide to admit to her half-Chinese heritage.

As a result, her books are not only the very first example of Asian-American literature, but also the first to feature predominantly Japanese-American romance and the intricacies of bi-cultural relationships.

Each book has beautiful delicate artwork, providing yet another reason to collect these books.

One of the books has this frontiespiece photo of Winifred/Onoto.

The last odd twist to this story is the woman above, Edith Maude Eaton (1865-1914), Winifred's sister.

She was also one of those sixteen children, and Winifred's older sister. She also took up a successful career writing Asian-American literature, but for all her sensible appearance in the photo above, Edith was the one who threw convention to the winds: she embraced her Chinese heritage, and took the Chinese pen name of Sui Sin Far.

In the mid-1890s, Edith moved first to Jamaica (where she contracted malaria), then to Seattle and San Francisco. Never fully recovering from malaria, and suffering from rheumatism as well, she moved back to Canada and died there in 1914.

During her lifetime, she made a point of writing books that embraced a multi-cultural world, as well as bi-racial relationships, in a world that was not welcoming or understanding of either.

(For a comparison, the year that Edith Eaton died the investigations into the sinking of the Titanic were still being held, with all their class-oriented standards. The world was still reeling from the notion that perhaps people could not be divided into 1st class, 2nd class and steerage; the concept that an American woman would marry a Chinese man was way past their comprehension).

Still, Edith and Winifred wrote on. They were not only pioneering women with jobs, their own income, and their own adventures, but they introduced the entire genre of Asian-American literature, and refused to compromise while serving as a bridge between two very different cultures.

I give my right hand to the Occidentals and my left to the Orientals, hoping that between them they will not utterly destroy the insignificant "connecting link.""Leaves from the Mental Portfolio of an Eurasian" Mrs. Spring Fragrance and Other Stories (Edith Eaton)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Day 124/365 Book Lots (And Lots and Lots and Lots)

Another hot humid Virginia Saturday -and another round of book sales. Actually this time one book sale, and two church rummage sales where I bought all their books (just about).

This is where I like to find my paperbacks. After 10 years of selling all my books on ebay, during late 2008 I pulled all my single titles off (moved them to Amazon), and now I only sell boxed lots of specific authors or genres on ebay. (That green hardback, sitting on the edge, is about to be quarantined with dryer sheets and sealed shut in a zip lock bag -the title is: Thomas Jefferson American Tourist by Edward Dumbauld, 1946. It's a personal purchase, albeit a stinky, musty one).

I don't know about you, but when I find a good author, I want to read ALL their books. And I want to read them NOW. There's nothing I like better than finding out a good book is part of a series, and, better still, that the series has all been published, and I don't have to wait for the next installment.

Boxed lots are the perfect answer for impatient readers like myself. Like Sue Grafton and her alphabet mysteries (A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar, etc)? Look for my boxed lot on ebay (price includes shipping). If I don't have one up, email me, and I'll see what I do have. I lack the energy to have all of these sets sorted by author, photo'd, and listed at one time - there's approx 7,000 books out there - but there's a good chance I have the authors you're looking for.

Price-wise it can't be beat. Prices usually start around $13.99 and can go as high as $99.99 (includes shipping). A box of 100 large-print westerns for $99.99 (these are hardbacks and generally sell new for no less than $15.99 each - so buy them boxed and used -and save yourself $1500.

Currently, I've got a couple lots of 100 assorted mysteries listed at $69.99 - but the retail value is approximately $4.99 each minimum, so buying the boxed lot saves you around $430.00

All this financial figuring came about because on the way home it dawned on me I bought 230 books this morning, and the retail value would be approximately $1380 (I guessed an average new retail price of $6 each).

Holy cow.

Judging from the pictures, any fan of Lilian Jackson Braun (The Cat Who mystery series) will shortly be making out like a bandit, likewise Robert B. Parker mystery readers. Somewhere in here is a box of Tom Clancy, Elmore Leonard, Marian Babson, Richard North Patterson, James Lee Burke, Clive Cussler, Edna Buchanan, and of course, homeschool classics (just in time for stocking up for the coming school year, or summer reading).

Next week will be romance batching week.

I really have to watch the romance books - they breed like rabbits.

The Very Virile Viking, The Hunky Highlander, The Captivating Cowboy or The Panting Pirate - you can't leave any of them alone for a minute.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 123/365 Same Hate, Different Day

March 10, 1933.

Recognize these folks? Mom out shopping with her two daughters on a busy city street.

I have a habit of relating history to pertinent dates in my own family's history. It helps me put things in perspective and keep the timelines straight. On March 10, 1933, my mother is eleven days away from being born.

In other words, this could be my grandmother, out shopping with two of my aunts.

Summer, 1933.

My aunts use to wear these same little white undershirts - no air conditioning back then.

May 1940.

Another street scene, this time a more grown-up family holiday, a time when grownups and young adult children both wore hats.

In May 1940, my mom was finishing first grade, wearing these same heavy-duty leather shoes all day (but kicking them off at the back door before she went out to do chores-shoes were just for school).

Still don't recognize the girls? This photo of one at her writing desk should help.

And of course there's the famous one.

Particularily heart-wrenching this week.

I wonder if she had been allowed to live until today (her 80th birthday), if Anne Frank would "in spite of everything ... still believe that people are really good at heart".

'Cause I have to tell you - I'm not too sure anymore.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day 122/365 The Sale To End All Sales

One of the best things about being a bookseller is always having justification for stopping at yard sales, garage sales, estate sales, and of course, church rummage sales.

The Holy Grail of all church sales in our area is the annual Joyous Junque Sale, held on the first weekend in June, by Resurrection Catholic Church in Moneta Virginia.

So guess where we were this last weekend?

Short of a Beatles reunion or an early flight to Scotland, this sale is the only reason you'll find me getting up at 3:45 A.M. Before we left for the sale (all day affair), puppies had to go out/come in/eat/go out, then we made an early morning breakfast stop, met my mom half-way at 5:30, and ended up 5th in line at 5:45 A.M.

Sale didn't open until 7, and by then, the line stretched all the way around the church (approximately 3 blocks). Some people brought trailers, others drove vans (us, for instance), some brought trucks, or even two vehicles, many with out-of-state plates.

The first Joyous sale was held in 1986, but we just started going 8 or 9 years ago. I've bought French doors, a freezer, two couches, three easy chairs, one recliner, more than a few light fixtures, a cooktop, lots of wallpaper, dishes, stereo components (amplifiers, turntables), TV's, bookcases, dollhouses, cookware, baskets to dry herbs in, curtains, bedspreads,concrete stain, the paint on my kitchen walls (paprika) and at least a hundred boxes of books.

So what did we find this year?

Just the highlights:

Ice cube trays - for freezing fresh herbs in, making it very convenient to add them to soups and stews. My basil plants are almost ready for picking, chopping and freezing - so these appeared just in time.

Two huge pieces of carpeting - approximate size 9'x12' - just in time for cutting in strips for garden paths (the carpeting I've been using for the last 4 years has finally worn out). I lay it carpet side down, meaning no matter how much it rains, I still have a dry garden path .

One of two framed prints - this one is of a medieval square, with a half-finished cathedral behind it. No idea if its "famous", haven't had time to research it.

The second framed print - a Mary Cassett - HAD to get it after my earlier post about her. This one has my little redhead in it (of course) and is titled Young Mother Sewing (1900).
And the "icing on the cake" purchase: an electronic treadmill. Not a fancy one, or even a newish one (apologies for the blurry pic, no time to do another one since it's now dark and raining) - but for $25 I get to see how devoted I am to walking on a treadmill (versus ending up using it as a clothes hanger). And it folds. At the moment it's out on the carport, but the plan is for it to be part of my office.

You know: list a book, walk a bit....list a book, walk a bit.....list a book....(yeah, you know I bought a few boxes of books in addition to treadmills and paintings).

Wish me luck.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Day 121/365 Another Turn of the Screw

I had to search google *forever* to find a photo of a clock radio like the one I owned in June 1968. This one was cream colored, but mine was aqua blue, so forgive me the tinting. Late at night I would fall sleep listening to WLS in Chicago or KAAY in Little Rock, then right before I dropped off, I'd flip the dial back to KIOA 940 (the cool rock station in Ames,Iowa where we had recently moved).

My morning routine was to reach over half asleep and push the alarm peg in, and then listen to the Chickenman morning routine (I was 12, what did you expect?).

But on June 5, 1968, I woke up to one of those serious "special reports". During the Sixties a person could really get sick of hearing those. This one was one of the worst - Bobby Kennedy was in a L.A. hospital after being shot at one of his own campaign rallies, right after he won the California primary. I remember wondering why on earth his own campaign people would shoot him if he won.

Waking up a little more, it hit me. This was JFK all over again, 5 years later. Martin Luther King Jr., all over again, 2 months later.

Photo Credit: Bill Eppridge. The Life Picture Collection, copyright © Time, Inc.

Bobby was the first presidential candidate I ever worked for. Yes, at age twelve. And I had no shortage of friends who worked right alongside me. We knew his positions on issues, we knew what he stood for, and he was loved. We went door-to-door, we passed out flyers, we stuffed envelopes.

The photo above was taken when he was in Marion Iowa, a town not far from Ames.

Look at the raw hope on those faces.

The indestructibility of American optimism never ceases to amaze me.

I am left to wonder.....what if? What if a hero actually succeeded and led this country to "all it can be"?

Forty-one years later, here we are once again, armed with our trademark American optimism, and yet another round of raw hope.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day 120/365 The Voice of Reason

I haven't mentioned my political leanings since Inauguration Day, but I stayed up to watch President Obama's so-called "Speech to the Muslim World", and was once again so proud, and so impressed with our president.

It could easily be "Speech to the Whole World", making a reasoned call to all rational people to basically suck it up, acknowledge mistakes of the past, compromise on solutions, and get on with it. ALL people. On every side. In every religion. In every country.

Coincidentally, today is also the 20th anniversary of Tiananmen Square and those horrible videos of tanks and students. Hopefully some coverage of the President's speech made it through the Chinese filters.

In case you missed it, and would prefer to hear the speech itself, instead of various news anchors 'interpretation" and so-called explanations, here ya go (congratulations on choosing to go to the source for your information):

Courtesy of The White House:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Day 119/365 More Bookplates

Bookplate Update:

Sunday's post on bookplates paid off with an email from an actual bookplate collector.

Turns out he knows a whole lot more about the subject than I do, in addition to having a fascinating blog just for bookplates.

Go and visit -it's well worth the time - don't miss the link to Brandeis University Special Collections page, with the very first bookplate, ever. And there's even a bookplate with a "book-fetching piggy"!


Tell Lewis 365Moonshine sent ya!