Conversation started November 29, 2014
Did you want to chat?
Conversation started November 29, 2014
Did you want to chat?
From my most recent post (thank you thank you thank you for your lovely notes of niceness [is that a word??]), a few of you know that I have a gift, which opinion stemmed from an actual doctor, a real life, medically trained, diploma receiving, intern with 1 1/2 hours of sleep a day for two years, Ear, Nose and Throat kinda doctor. His office was staffed completely with female nurses (it was the late 60's) with the crispy white caps bolted to their heads, blazing white dress uniforms, and premises so gleamingly sterile you might have an epileptic fit if you looked at his autoclave for too long.
The gift? I have hearing on par with a German Shepherd.
I had never given much thought to guns. I grew up on Army posts, and was around big guns: our house shook from the activity at the firing ranges. But if we had a gun in the house I never saw it. I asked Dad once way after I was grown and gone. He was vague about it; said his gun was stolen on his first tour in Viet Nam and he never replaced it. He was an armor officer; I don't know if he was required to carry a side arm, so don't know if he was misrepresenting this or not.
Our extended family were all hunters. When we visited them there were rifles in their homes. They didn't lock them up and were pretty casual about it. Much later we lost two family members by guns. An uncle on one side of the family shot himself on the stair of his house. He was a stroke victim. Suicide, or did he just fall on the stair? Then we lost a cousin on the other side. His was suicide. He left a note.
Below the fold is a narrative about a child and an angry uncle. It is real. It happened in the late 70s when I was teaching in rural Alabama. I changed names and left out identifying detail. It is a story. Can't generalize it to anyone else. But it was the beginning of my awareness of gun violence not being an inner city/criminal franchise. It was when I started taking guns in the home seriously.
One hundred and twenty-six years ago Anne Sullivan, forever to be remembered simply as Teacher, gave Helen Keller a voice. You remember the poignant scene immortalized in film with Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft, the look of wonder on Helen's face as she discovers that the movement of Teacher's fingers in her hand spelled water, followed by the frantic need to know the signs for everything in her world.
For most people the story ends there, the savage little girl was given the gift of speech by a rough immigrant orphan. But there is so much more to the story.
I will be 67 in May. When I retired in June I planned so that if I had no income I could go 15 months before I would be dipping in to prior savings. Because of consulting and the few months I spent teaching again, I actually would have been able to go even further before my wife's illness hit and I had to give up that job. And of course we will be looking at a chunk of medical bills not covered by insurance.
At this point we are reasonably confident she will be able to return to work fulltime relatively soon, and colleagues have donated enough leave that she will going forward probably be fully paid.
I however am a different story. It would be hard enough for me to find another teaching job with either of my two barriers - 1) my age; 2) how much I was previously making. Even though I am willing to work for far less that I made as an experienced teacher in a public setting, some school systems will not hire someone with more than ten years experience, independent schools are reluctant to hire someone who has not taught in an independent school - you get the picture.
Meanwhile, while I used to have superb computer skills, those are now obsolete. As for politics or government jobs, it would mean giving up my independent voice the moment I went to work for a political figure, and many friends have urged me not to do that, even as they understand that if I want to keep my independent voice and perspective I am limited in how much I might be able to make from my writing. Here I have been luckier than many, in that I have on occasion been paid to write for online sites - usually but not always on education.
So I face a bit of a conundrum.
Let me share some of my thinking below the cheese-doodle.
I have never been particularly graceful. Once or twice a year I have a spectacular fall. Not dizzy, not drop in blood pressure, just lose my balance and kerplop. Today I had the best worst fall ever. Right in the parking lot of Dollar General in Boyle, Mississippi, pop. 720. I was dripping blood down my brow so thought it might be a good idea to check in with some medical establishment. Problem is: where?
Yesterday, hundreds of moms, grandmoms, and others were in Washington DC to take part in Moms Take the Hill Day. The event was hosted by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America and offered opportunities to speak directly with legislators to urge them to sponsor, co-sponsor, and/or support common-sense policies to address gun violence in our country.
Four of us from North Carolina took part and spoke with five of our legislators whose offices accepted invitations to take meetings with us. We were joined by three South Carolinians, because all but one South Carolina legislator failed to respond to repeated attempts to schedule meetings with their constituents.
The seven of us -- Elizabeth, Bernardine, Ann, Maria del Pilar, Margaret, Lisa, and myself -- spoke with the staffs of five senators and representatives from North Carolina, and one representative who spoke with us himself. Moms Take the Hill efforts also were the subject of a Congressional press conference and were the audience for a presidential policy briefing.
Want to know how things went?
Follow the orange brick road!
After living in Virgina Beach for several years, my daughter, Miss WHo, decided to take a shot at living in NYC. For a farm girl like me, it sounded like moving to the moon. But she needed a little help, and that's what Mom's are for, so let's see how that move thing went....
Thank you rescuers, for two rescued diaries in a row. I am in a place where I see the value of stories. I watch Rachel clearly explain the facts about what is happening in our halls of power. I read brilliant exposes here and all over the web. And I keep thinking, why do so many of my friends and colleagues root for the other side? Bright, compassionate, kind, generous people. Why do they buy so much of what the right sells? It is because the right has a narrative. Watch Fox for as much as you can in the day. Try to get past the propaganda and hate long enough to see what their method is. They talk about people, not polices. We need to do both. Not abandon the hard hitting truth telling. Not avoid the complex policy debates. But add to all that human faces and human stories. Corporations are not people my friends, but neither are policies.
I have started a new group, Tell the Story. I invite those of you who have enjoyed my stories to follow the group or join it. And for those of you who have a story to tell please join my group. This is a place where policy meets people. Where people wrestle with daily life and the effects of our political system.
I will be posting regularly. Hope to see you there.
This is a personal narrative. I have a few points I want to make about what we, as a culture, as a country, as a people, have come to value. But mainly I want to tell you about a boy, a man, a life. I hope you will forgive this personal indulgence.
Warren Hill didn’t get executed tonight. Maybe we shouldn’t, they thought, with him being intellectually disabled and all. Not that he doesn’t deserve it; he brutally murdered his girlfriend then his cellmate. He needs killing. But not now. Not while President Carter and those busybodies across the pond are watching. He is a young man. We have time.
More beyond the orange marker: