Category Archives: Children

Corrie’s Memories of Christmases Past

Corrie's Christmas Memories

Corrie Ten Boom Christmas story

Corrie Ten Boom Christmas story-1

Corrie Ten Boom Christmas story-2

Corrie ten Boom
was the youngest daughter of a Dutch watchmaker. She learned the trade, never married and worked alongside her aging father, Casper, in Haarlem.

The Christian faith of the ten Boom family was a living faith. Corrie’s sister, Betsie, never married due to poor health. Corrie herself was jilted when she was a young woman, and stayed single the rest of her life.

She and Betsie used their spare time teaching Sunday School and ministering God’s love to the mentally challenged.

A basic element of their love for Jesus was a love for his chosen people.

During World War II, the Nazis invaded their tiny country. When Holland’s Jews were being rounded up, murdered or sent away, the ten Booms created a special place in their home to hide them, at great peril to themselves.

Eventually all the members of the family were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Corrie’s sister Betsie and her 90 year-old father perished.

In spite of all the persecution and evil treatment she suffered, she was one of the best known examples of the Christian faith in the 20th century.

Miss ten Boom shared her story in “The Hiding Place“.

The excerpt above is from Corrie’ Christmas Memories, c. 1976, Fleming H. Revell.

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Filed under Authors, Books, Children, Christmas, Corrie ten Boom, Faith, History, Holocaust, Non-Fiction, World War II

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” Frederick Douglass

Usually the library is one of my favorite places to go and the first place I head for is the Used Books area. No set prices, just make a donation of whatever one thinks they’re worth.

So, today I was browsing through, finding several wonderful volumes when I saw a boy of about 13 approach his dad, who was also looking over the shelves. He’d found something he was really interested in, took it to him and read a couple of sentences aloud.

At first I thought I’d heard the man incorrectly. It sounded like “Oh, good. You can read.” But I thought surely not. I must’ve heard wrong.

The boy walked away and I continued to browse.

About 5 minutes later he was back, when I heard his father say: “Go away. You smell.”

Distinctly.

The boy’s reply: “I don’t smell”.

The man said it twice more, making no attempt to lower his voice.

Crushing, humiliating, public riducule.

Bullying – plain and simple.

I wanted so badly to do something.

What?

All I could think of was to smile at the boy just before he turned to walk away again.

I don’t think it would’ve gone well had I said something to the man, but I’d briefly considered it. That idea was rejected because it probably would’ve led to a scene.

But it really bothered me and I asked the Lord for help.

About that time a nice looking woman came and spoke to them; the man and boy went out to the foyer, she went over to the self-checkout.

I took a deep breath and walked over to her and asked if she was the boy’s mother. She said yes.

Then I asked her to be gentle with him because his father had just been rude to him in front of me, and I thought he might be feeling hurt.

Her face fell and she immediately said something to the effect of “my husband has issues”.

We talked for no more than a minute.

She seemed like a kind, gentle person. Approachable.

Her husband on the other hand clearly wasn’t approachable even to his son who so desperately wanted his dad to share his interests.

Now, most of the stories about this kind of thing usually feature Wal-Mart shoppers. Not these people. We were in an affluent town and they looked quite prosperous. In fact, he had the look of a professional man. Maybe an attorney. He certainly had the demeanor of some I’ve met in court.

May God bless and protect the woman and her children. Help her children to be strong and not dwarfed by meanness, to know their worth to their Heavenly Father, who loves them dearly.

And bring that man to the end of himself.

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Filed under Children, Vicissitudes of Life

Fun with Dick and Jane, part II, Animals

These pages are from the Basic Reader “Fun with Dick and Jane”, by William S. Gray and May Hill Arbuthnot. Illustrated by Eleanor Campbell and Keith Ward. Scott, Foresman and Company, 1946.

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Filed under 1940s, 1946, Antiques/Vintage, Books, Children, Children's, Ephemera, Vintage Textbooks

Fun with Dick and Jane, part I

Basic Readers 1946-47 Edition

These pages are from the Basic Reader “Fun with Dick and Jane”, by William S. Gray and May Hill Arbuthnot. Illustrated by Eleanor Campbell and Keith Ward. Scott, Foresman and Company, 1946.

As you can see, the book is well worn from lots of 6 year old hands. I can’t afford the really good copies (the last time I even saw one in an antique mall it was $90.00).

But that’s okay, I actually enjoy used books – the idea that this book was read and maybe loved before I acquired it is nice.

Dick and Jane stories were the staple of early reading in the 1930s – 1960s. Attractive, colorful illustrations and simple story lines – lovely Americana.

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Filed under 1940s, 1946, Antiques/Vintage, Books, Children, Children's, Ephemera

Vintage Valentine with a Horse

Though it’s not dated (I’ve never even seen a date on a vintage valentine), this one looks to be from the 1940s or early 50s, judging from the style of the little boy’s shirt.

I sincerely hope that Reed and Lucy grew up to have happy and fulfilled lives.

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Filed under 1940s, 1950s, Antiques/Vintage, Children, Ephemera, Valentine's Day

Paper Crop

What’s a Paper Crop?

Well, it’s sort of like a quilting bee, except that the medium is paper rather than fabric. Also, participants bring their individual projects (such as scrapbooks, handmade greeting cards, ATCs, altered books, etc.) and own supplies and then share a workroom.

My sister attends them frequently in Oklahoma, but I never have until a couple of weeks ago.

Patti (a friend of mine) took me to the … well, I’m not sure what it’s called in the Methodist Church; in a Baptist Church it would be a Deacons’ meeting… anyway, we went to ask permission to use their community room for a paper crop and they graciously approved.

Four showed up: Patti, her grandchildren and me.

In the ways of the world I guess that qualifies as a failed party, but I count it as a success. We had fun.

Because I wasn’t having to make coffee and do the demonstrations that we had planned or draw names for the door prizes, I had the time to help Patti with her project, and also show the children how to do some things. They were focused on their creations and had a good time.

And when guests at a party and the hostess all enjoy the event – that’s a success.

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Filed under Cards, Children, Crafts - Paper

Books Read, January 2011,

*Death of a Charming Man by M.C. Beaton. First published in 1994, this is Beaton’s 10th Hamish Macbeth mystery. The story centers around the effect of English newcomer, Peter Hynd on the small village of Drim in northern Scotland. Peter has a malicious streak and it becomes his downfall. Lochdubh police sergeant Macbeth warns Hynd to tread easily around the local Highlanders, but of course, he’s heedless.

The Hamish Macbeth series are cozy mysteries, though not quite as cozy as Agatha Christie’s books. Whose are? Grotesque descriptions are rare, along with bad language and sexual content. That being said, there was one section with a very un-cozy word.

Possibly it’s my imagination, but it seems that Beaton gets a little bored with the romantic relationship between Hamish and Priscilla Halburton-Smythe. Priscilla is not a sympathetic character; actually she’s fairly off-putting. Am I supposed to like her?

Hamish on the other hand, is someone I’d love to have as my local constable, despite his failings (mooching, laziness and all too often, a lack of loyalty).

Are there really policemen like him somewhere?

*Death in the Downs by Simon Brett
What’s the deal with so many current books? No happy marriages, affairs galore, no traditional religion, endorsements of New Age silliness.

Technically, this one is well written. The story moves along, clues are injected along with red herrings, it’s interesting and it ties up most of the loose ends.

On the other hand, it’s full of excessive drinking, mysticism and bad men. There is only one good/sympathetic man in the whole book.

I suppose Simon Brett really is a man, but he writes like a world-weary, jilted feminist who never met an alternative religion that he/she didn’t like.

It’s been a few years since I last read a Simon Brett mystery. The cynicism surprised me.

There are virtually no happy marriages in this book. Carole’s husband left her, one woman with an overbearing husband uses tranquilizers, another wife drinks, one couple is uncommunicative and then they part, and the “doctor” is a serial philanderer. Jude is not married but has an unpleasant relationship with her paramour, which we are thankfully spared the details. Parent/child relationships don’t fare much better.

And speaking of drinking … that’s practically all these characters do, besides intimidate, murder and commit mayhem and masochism. They are constantly drinking, not just at the pub but opening the second bottle of wine, etc.

New Age therapies are repeatedly defended- no matter how bizarre. At the end, we are treated to a discourse on the emptiness of traditional religion by the killer.

The writing is adept, the content leaves something to be desired. Come to think of it, Simon Brett seems more jaded than cynical. Perhaps he thinks he’s post-modern. Maybe he writes because his New Age healer prescribes it.

*Witness for the Prosecution by Agatha Christie. Years ago, Joe and I saw the movie with Marlene Dietrich and Tyrone Power, an excellent production. Since I’m always on the lookout for copies of Agatha Christie books, I bought a paperback copy and read it last week.

The first chapter told the whole story of the movie, so I thought there had been some Hollywood interference with the original and that there must be a lot more that had been pared down. The second chapter had a whole new cast of characters, but many books do that – using the first several chapters to introduce new settings, etc… By the beginning of the 3rd chapter, I realized that it was a book of short stories! I looked at the front and back covers and the flyleaf and nowhere did it say it was a book of short stories, so I felt a little less foolish.

The second odd thing about the book, was that the day I finished it, I watched a movie on Hulu titled “Love From a Stranger”. As it went on, I thought that it seemed very familiar. When the wife read the notation in her husband’s diary “9:00 p.m.”, I knew! It was the same story as “Philomel Cottage”, chapter 8 in Witness for the Prosecution. I checked the imdb page for the movie to see if they acknowledged Christie’s original story and indeed they did.

Now, it may seem that I was pretty stupid not to connect it before but lots of details had been changed. Christie wrote the book in 1924 and I think the tales are contemporary to that time; the movie is set in 1901. In the book the husband claims to be a photographer; in the movie he’s a scientist. Her sudden influx of money is explained by an inheritance in the book, and the film has her winning the pools (lottery). And there are many other things expanding the original story – so it wasn’t a clearcut case of simply not paying attention on my part.

I thought all that it was kind of a quirky co-incidence and it has absolutely no significance. Just an interesting interlude.

*Possessed: the Life of Joan Crawford, by Donald Spoto I can’t look or think of Joan Crawford without thinking Mommy Dearest, so when I saw this on the New Books shelf at the library I hesitated. But I was willing to consider that maybe that was a distorted view of her when I saw that Spoto claimed that she was misunderstood and had new archival information. Perhaps Christina was merely bitter after having been left out of the will.

But I will never know because I can’t get past the alternative lifestyle agenda of the author. He takes every opportunity to campaign for it and it’s tiring.

Hollywood history has long fascinated me, but I’ll have to satisfy my curiosity elsewhere.

Unfinished and NOT RECOMMENDED

The Blue Sapphire by D.E. Stevenson This was a re-read for me. Back in the mid-197s, Wal-Mart carried a lot of D.E. Stevenson reprints with new artwork on the covers and I bought several of them. The Blue Sapphire was originally published in 1963 but the cover on my book is straight out of the 1970s: her ruffled, loose dress, wedge sandals and long, flowing curls; his open necked shirt with the big collar and styled hair. When I read a book, I really like to picture the time setting in my mind – and the early 60s were not like the 70s, in any fashion.

Therefore, I see this as an opportunity to do an altered bookjacket.

The Blue Sapphire is a cozy romance and a quick read. It’s pleasant with likable characters, although I must say that I found Julie ( the female protagonist) a bit stuffy at times. Perhaps that makes it more believable.

(Dorothy Emily Peploe’s father was Robert Louis Stevenson’s cousin; she used her maiden name when she wrote, but the copyright is in her married name.)

RECOMMENDED

*Tides by V.M. Caldwell (Juvenile Fiction) The sequel to The Ocean Within targets 5th – 9th grade readers. It’s the continuing story of 12 year old Elizabeth who was adopted into the Sheridan family one year previously. All the Sheridan grandchildren spend each summer at their grandmother’s house on the ocean. Which ocean? We don’t know, but the clues are: the kids spot Vermont license tags on the journey there; it’s not Maine and there are pine trees right up to the beach. That’s a minor issue. However, the author doesn’t tell us why Elizabeth is afraid of the water, which is the main issue in the book. At the end, we are left to kind of …well… guess.

The writing is well crafted and held my interest. The subject matter is enjoyable – a house full of cousins, summertime, the beach, a town with a movie theater that shows W.C. Fields films. This is fun stuff to me. But the dark cloud is the intrusion of social issues – Elizabeth aids an environmentalist who’s trying to catch polluters.

Tides is a publication of Milkweed Editions, which is a non-profit publisher who “publishes with the intention of making a humane impact on society, in the belief that literature is a transformative art uniquely able to convey the essential experiences of the human heart and spirit”, according their note at the back of the book. At least they are upfront and bold in stating their goal.

My beef is that 10 year olds don’t need the weight of the world on their shoulders and how dare authors and publishers try to rob them of their childhood.

What they didn’t mind was inserting some gaia earth worship and a brief little ceremony for “mother ocean”. Perhaps they think they’re being ecumenical because they also devote very short passages to Judaism, Catholicism, as well as mentioning Hinduism, Buddhism and agnosticism. Talk about all-inclusive.

One very surprising element was the subject of spanking. Grandmother spanks. Everyone agrees that she’s fair about it, and there’s the agnostic mother’s disapproval of it, but I thought it was unusual aspect of a modern novel.

NOT RECOMMENDED for children.

The beach/family vacation storyline was much better done in The Secret of Cross Bone Hill by Wilson Gage.


*Theater Shoes
by Noel Streatfield (Juvenile Fiction) It was in the movie “You’ve Got Mail” that I first heard of the Shoe books. I didn’t know if they were real books, or just something fictionalized for that story. When I did an internet search (remember this was about 1998) the cupboard was bare.

Then when I looking over the Books for a Donation area at the library – there it was – Theater Shoes! I added it to my stack of purchases, brought it home and read it right away.

It’s a delightful episode in the continuing story of a Dancing/Theater school in London. This go-round was written in 1945 and concerns 3 children whose guardian grandfather dies. Since their mother is deceased and their father is missing in action with the British army, they have nowhere else to go but to a grandmother they’ve never met. Unbeknownst to them, their maternal relatives are all theater people and they are enrolled in Madame Fidolia’s Children’s Academy of Dancing and Stage Training, which to them is like falling down the rabbit hole.

This passage from`Chapter 14 describes how the war had changed the appearance of a first night theater audience: “The audience was exactly as Miriam had said it would be, and not a bit as Alice had described it. The women were in uniform or dark overcoats, and most of them had big boots with fur linings. The men were in uniform or exactly as they had come on from work. Nobody was dressed up. Aunt Lindsey was looking very nice in a black frock and fur coat, but only nice in the way that anybody might look in the afternoon.”

Even though it’s written for older children, Theater Shoes is a charming book which held my interest.

RECOMMENDED

*Night by Elie Wiesel This is a tough book to read, which I knew going in. It is the story of Wiesel and his Jewish family in the early days of World War II, their deportation to Auschwitz, then Buchenwald. At first there is his father, mother and sister. The mother and sister are separated from them, then his father is gone.

It’s the story of the price of survival.

It is a horrible and cruel book. One that we need to read every time we’re told that Israel is expendable.

The Gentile world turned it’s collective back on the Jews. They have no other place to go but Israel.

God bless his chosen people and the land He gave them.

RECOMMENDED for the strong

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