Mom, 40 years ago: taking care from far away

trudy.pearlsAfter my sister Leslie and I left my grandmother in Charlotte, NC with my parents and my sister Marcia in January 1975, I went back to Binghamton, NY and stayed in my grandmother’s house. She had a coal stove, and I had SEEN her operate it for years. But seeing and doing were two different things, and soon, the fire went out, and the pipes froze.

I was pretty depressed after the breakup of my marriage to the Okie, so I mostly watched television. I mean hours at a time. My grandma’s set got only one station, WNBF-TV, the CBS affiliate. So I watched the soap operas As the World Turns, The Edge of Night, Guiding Light, and Search for Tomorrow. Don’t remember watching any game shows except Match Game. Viewed the bulk of the CBS nighttime schedule, except perhaps the movies. And, heaven help me, I watched Continue reading

Remembering Francis Bellamy


From the Wikipedia:

The Pledge of Allegiance was written in August 1892 by Francis Bellamy (1855–1931), who was a Baptist minister, a Christian socialist, and the cousin of socialist utopian novelist Edward Bellamy (1850–1898). The original “Pledge of Allegiance” was published in the September 8 issue of the popular children’s magazine The Youth’s Companion as part of the National Public-School Celebration of Columbus Day, a celebration of the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the Americas.

Initially, it went like this: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Continue reading

40 Years Ago: The crooked student government elections

voteUnlike in high school, where I was reasonably popular (student government president, drama club, et al), I was rather uninvolved in college; getting married at 19 will do that. I didn’t hang out at the bars and drink; the age of consent was 18 then. I just went to class, and came home, did the grocery shopping and like chores, I would go bowling occasionally with guys I knew, primarily my fellow political science majors.

In the spring of 1974, a bunch of my poli sci acquaintances decided to run as a team with some other folks, who I’ll call the Party and Dance folks.They figured they would capture the beer crowd (the poli sci) and the pot folks (P and D). Continue reading

The past, education, happy, sad

paperrockNew York Erratic must be from New Jersey, she asks so many questions:

Are there any events in your life that you feel make good parables that you want to share one day with your daughter?

I was 51 when she was born, so there is a lot of my life to draw from. Huge parts of it she doesn’t know, significant events, and I’m not sure exactly when/if to tell her. Maybe if she asks. She DOES know about JEOPARDY!

I remember looking at photos of my mother with some guy she went out with before she dated my father, and initially, it was kind of weird, but hey, that was rather natural. When she would talk about it Continue reading

The Belgian Congo and Yugoslavia

During the Vietnam war, it was widely reported – I don’t remember if it was apocryphal or true – that most Americans could not find Vietnam on a map. Likewise, today’s students might be challenged to find Afghanistan or Iraq on the globe.

By contrast, I was a bit of a cartology fanatic when I was a child. My paternal grandfather, who lived upstairs, would give me maps from his National Geographic, which I would study at length. I still have some of them in the attic, BTW.

Unfortunately for my recall, the world kept changing. French West Africa and British East Africa became a slew of independent countries. What was once Belgian Congo became Zaire, but is now Continue reading

K is for Killing

My church, First Presbyterian Church in Albany, NY, is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year. The church donated some artifacts to the Albany Institute of History & Art, itself founded in 1791. The Institute has an exhibit, ongoing through April 17, showing some of the church history over the years.

Some of the church members included John Jay, eventually the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court; Alexander Hamilton, the first Secretary of the Treasury; and Aaron Burr, third Vice-President of United States, and the first NOT to go on to become President.

After Burr killed Hamilton in a duel in 1804, Continue reading

How come there’s no WHITE History Month?

Jaquandor, who continues to be western New York’s finest blogger, wrote, even before I asked him to Ask Roger Anything:
May I ask, what’s YOUR response to the question that ALWAYS gets asked in February? I’m referring, of course, to “How come there’s no WHITE History Month?” Anymore I just snort and say “That’s all the other ones. We just don’t announce it.” Problem with that response is, it doesn’t always get taken as the sarcasm it is.
He added:
I really hate hearing that question, with its pouty tone and its implication that racism is over and we need to just stop talking about it.

Let me tell you some of the things we talked about at my church in late January and February:
Continue reading

The First Step to Freedom

There was an exhibition, entitled The First Step to Freedom: Abraham Lincoln’s Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation that toured eight cities in New York State in the fall of 2012, the last of which was Albany, on November 9 and 10, at the New York State Museum. My family spent over 90 minutes in line to see the document for less than three minutes.

As this audio/visual presentation shows, the Emancipation Proclamation has been oversimplified.

It is NOT true, for instance, Continue reading

Book Review: 11/22/63, a novel by Stephen King

I had never read a Stephen King novel, but due to boredom, I ended up taking out from the library 11/22/63, an 800+ page tome. OK, it wasn’t JUST boredom, but also a near-obsession I have long had with the tragic events of that day, crystallized in my mind; my own long-running curiosity about the various conspiracy theories surrounding John F. Kennedy’s assassination; and what would happen if, somehow, the President had survived the attack. (I’m sure I’ll write more about that next year.)

When I checked out the book – allowed for only 14 days, instead of the usual 28, because it’s a recent purchase – the library clerk, who had read it, assured me that it wasn’t one of those King horror books.

Well, no and yes. This is a pretty straightforward narrative about a man and a portal to a very specific time and place in 1958. What I always disliked somewhat in some going-back-in-time stories is Continue reading