Monday, May 28, 2018

The movie “Chappaquiddick” brings back a vivid memory

I really didn't want to see “Chappaquiddick”. I grew up in Massachusetts and the Kennedy family and the tragedies that plagued them were a large part of my life. However I'm so glad I changed my mind. I thought the movie was very realistic and the producers rendered no judgements. They left that to the viewer.

Jason Clarke was very believable as Senator Kennedy but it was the magnificent portrayal by Bruce Dern of the 80 year old stroke victim Joe Kennedy that really took me back.

The year was 1943 and my father was working in the advertising agency in Boston that was handling the promotion material for young JFK's bid to become a Senator. His father Joe was footing the bill and proved to be a very demanding and unreasonable client. He had been the Ambassador to Britain in 1938 and despite leaving that post under a cloud he was still a powerful and very wealthy man who was ruthless in promoting his sons.

The day after JFK was elected as Senator my father came home with a long, slim box wrapped in gold paper and he threw it on the table. “This”, he said, “is what we get for spending hours listening to that bastard Joe Kennedy” and he opened the box to reveal a silk tie with a hand painted Kennedy crest on it.   My dad  was the last person in the world to be seen wearing a silk tie so I wasn’t surprised by his anger …but I can’t help wondering what that tie would be worth today !!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Forget the politicians …. Let Harry and Meghan take over !

I would not usually watch a royal wedding but I'm so glad I did. The racially mixed marriage of Harry and Meghan was a breath of fresh air and I loved the fact that her blackness was embraced and proudly displayed. Of course, in order for this to be possible, it needed the approval of the Queen and it was apparent that she'd given it.

As I watched the confusion and shock of many in the audience I thought of how many changes have occurred in my lifetime. I was 3 years old when Edward VIII abdicated in favor of marrying the American divorcee Wallace Simpson. Now it is 82 years later and a gutsy couple and an equally gutsy Queen with the power to make it happen are revising and updating history when it's needed most.

When the Reverend Curry so fervently declared ... “love is the answer” I imagined Trump reacting to those words. I can see him scratching his head and thinking (in the words of the Tina Turner song) What's love got to do with it? He, and all the politicians that wallow in the swamp with him are incapable of understanding a concept that is so pure and void of hatred and deception.

As Harry and Meghan take the high ground I can only hope that we who want a world filled with love for all will have the guts to follow their lead.

Friday, May 18, 2018

(1937) PENNY – A – RIDE

I've written about my grandfather, Harry Lee, quite a few times since I started my blog in 2006. He was an author with two published books … “More Day to Dawn” the story of Thoreau, “High Company” sketches of courage in WW I and a play about the life of St. Francis which had a very short Broadway run in 1928.

Papa Lee, as we called him, was a very dear man and we 5 Lee sisters adored him. We were his only grandchildren and he would spoil us royally whenever he got the chance. In 1937 his Christmas gift to our family was a handwritten book of poems he titled “Penny-a-ride.” It was filled with simple rhymes such as this:

                                               ONE RED APPLE

                                 When Grandma and my Aunt Jeanette
                                 Were just like we are … little girls
                                 There was a naughty boy would sneak
                                 Up close behind and pull their curls.

                                 And once he pulled my Grandma’s curls
                                 And ran off down the wagon track
                                 Where’s all the dust and then he turn
                                 And rolled a big red apple back.

                                 And when I asked her why he did and
                                 Where he did and when and how …
                                 My Grandma said, “Go ask him child,
                                 That naughty boy’s your Grandpa now.”

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Why ... do I BLOG ??

Hi Kathleen --- you wrote that you were thinking of starting a blog and asked, “How do you like blogging? What's the best thing about it? And the not-so-great. Any insight would be appreciated! “ So, here goes …
In 2006 I read an article in the AARP magazine explaining what a Blog was and how few seniors were taking advantage of this free venture. It really piqued my interest. In 1954 I'd graduated from B.U.'s School of Journalism and writing has always been a large part of my life. Now here I was, age 73, retired 4 years and with plenty of time to try out this blog thing. It's turned out to be a perfect fit for me.

I originally thought I would record as many memories as possible and compile them in book form for my three children. I did do that in the first year but then found that I was hooked. Each article that I wrote prompted me to remember more...a great taxing of the mind. Now it's 12 years later and I'm still enjoying this exhilarating memory experience.

Of course there are a few drawbacks but I feel these are easy to control. The big one, as most bloggers will agree, is “writer's block”. I think the best way to conquer this is to put some time between each post. I now post every 6th day and that works well for me. Also you can choose guide lines for your blog and I would highly recommend not allowing anonymous comments … that leaves you open to all sorts of garbage being posted as comments.

I am very thankful that we have such a wonderful (and FREE !) venue for our thoughts and hope you will give it a try. And finally, on top of everything else, it has given me a whole new family of cherished friends.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

A man of stature …

Although it will be no surprise to anyone that I am a Democrat I have to say that there is one Republican that I admire a lot … and that is John McCain. I have a strong feeling that when he ran for president in 2012 he might have won if he'd had a better running mate.

It was during that campaign that my respect for him grew even stronger. He was at a town hall gathering in Minnesota and the audience was asking him questions. It was apparent that the audience was strongly anti Obama and at one point a little old lady took the mike and called him “an Arab”. McCain took the microphone from her and said, in his quiet voice, “No, ma'am. He's a decent family man and a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues, and that's what this campaign is all about.”

Isn't that wonderful… said like a true statesman. I hate that his life is plagued now with such a serious illness but he seems to be taking that on with the same grace and courage that he's shown all his life.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

A nostalgic look back ...

In 2007 I posted a nostalgic article about my one and only enchanted evening spent at the famous
Totem Pole ballroom in Massachusetts.   I had fun re-living that night as I wrote about it, but I had no idea how many others would share their experiences with me.  In the eleven years since then I've received an amazing amount of comments and just yesterday I received this from Missy:  

Hello, I am too young to remember the Totem Pole but my friend who is 90yrs old told me so many wonderful stories. I googled but I am not able to find any pictures. Can someone help me out? I would love to frame it for him and his wife. 

I decided I'd put her challenge out to you ... the blogger world... to see if anyone can help her.  I am going to send you back to my original 2007 post and please take time to read all the comments.  The writers share, In heartfelt and poignant words, their recollections of a simpler time.  Missy's comment is at the end and you can contact her if you have any ideas for her. 

Just click here: