Tag Archives: Politics

Plymouth and Nearby Environs


When I was a girl, I always loved the stories about the Pilgrims and the early years of America. History was one of my favorite subjects, but there was something really special and American about the story of the people who left their home in search of religious freedom, came across the ocean in a crowded boat and made new lives for themselves and their families in a wilderness.

Three years ago, I accompanied Joe on a business trip to Massachusetts and was so excited to finally get to visit the place I had read about 40 years ago. And although I had plenty of time to explore the Plymouth area, unfortunately many of the sites are closed in December, but I visited what I could. One of my first stops was Pilgrim Hall, the museum established and built in 1824.

Pilgrim Hall - I call it the Politcally Correct Palace


After about 5 minutes I felt like I’d been slapped in the face and that the museum curators were trying to kick the wind out of me. There was no honor of the Pilgrims, no celebration of their experience. All of the plaques describing the paintings and artifacts sneeringly contradicted the traditional story. What was left was how awful all this intrusion was to the Indians and how noble they were.

It was politically correct to the Nth, nauseating degree. I couldn’t believe it. They kept emphasizing that all those stories we read before were false; of course that was before the enlightened ones starting writing the history books.

(A few years before that we’d been to the Smithsonian and I was absolutely shocked at how PC it was. The exhibit on World War II was overwhelmingly focused on the Japanese internment. What little space that was devoted to the American GI was negative. It described that everywhere our soldiers went, there was rape, venereal disease and unwanted, half-American children.)

(I had better cover myself here because I don’t have a lawyer on retainer – the following is my opinion. Liberals tend to be sensitive and lawsuit happy.)A rhetorical question:are the same jaded, hair-shirt-wearing, self-flagellating, over-educated nincompoops in charge of all the museums dedicated to the American experience?

Please, say it isn’t so.

View of the bay, Plymouth, Massachusetts


Plymouth, Massachusetts has an incredibly precious heritage. Is that what you’ll find on their webpage? No, you’ll find one of those boxes on the left that shouts: “No Place for Hate”. What does that mean? Do they actually believe that other American towns advocate the opposite? The only reference to their role in American history is the following from City of Plymouth official website which says: “Most Americans are familiar with the story of the pilgrims’ voyage across the Atlantic aboard the Mayflower, and their landing at Plymouth Rock. Today, Plymouth Rock is just one of the sites that tell the story of Plymouth. When you visit our Town, you will learn about more than the pilgrim voyage, you will learn about our diverse and unique community. ” (emphasis mine)

Even the unofficial town website doesn’t have any history, but they do have another one of those little boxes. They aren’t warning us about hate. It tells us about International Day of Climate Action! (exclamation mark theirs).

But there is hope! (exclamation mine) The following quotes are from an article from the Plymouth Guide titled Putting the Thanks back in Thanksgiving – New book embraces treasured Pilgrim saga.

Hooray for the Plymouth Guide.

A big double hooray for Jeremy Bangs.

Strangers and Pilgrims, the 928-page history of the Pilgrims by Jeremy Bangs, explores the religious and political foundations of the Pilgrims in England and Holland and finds historical basis for much of the treasured Pilgrim tradition.”

“Bangs, for instance, points to the false notion that the Pilgrims never referred to themselves as Pilgrims. While some have suggested the name was invented in the 19th century, Bangs said the title of his book, Strangers and Pilgrims, comes from a quotation published by Robert Cushman in 1622.”

“Bangs said he has no stake in how the story plays out, but admits he is amused to see so many of the original notions about the Pilgrims have proven to be more or less accurate.”

If I had it to do all over again, I’d still go through the exhibit, because it does contain the actual belongings of the Pilgrims which is incredible to me, but I’d ignore their little plaques signs and explanations.

Doll from Mayflower passage, 1620


The swords and furniture were interesting, but what I really was drawn to was a little doll, carried on the Mayflower by Mary Chilton. How in the world could something as fragile as that rag doll survive almost 400 years? I don’t know, but I’m so glad it did. I can’t find a photo of it, either on the Pilgrim Hall website or doing image searches. If anyone knows where there’s a picture of it, please let me know. I did a rough sketch and made a few notes, but it’s hard to tell anything about it. The description said it was made from wool, linen and cotton.

I wonder who made it. Mary? Her mother? In England or Holland? Maybe on the Mayflower itself.

As a lover of textiles, I consider it a real American treasure.

First Congregation Church - Middleboro, Massachusetts


In nearby Middleboro is the First Congregational Church

organized in 1694 by the children of the Mayflower Pilgrims.

Ceiling of First Congregation Church


The current structure was built in 1828.

Auditorium - First Congregational Church


Across the road is an old cemetery. Some thoughtful person had placed flags on the graves of U.S. military veterans.


This headstone marks the grave of a Revolutionary War soldier.

Cranberry bog - near Middlleboro Massachusetts,


This is what a cranberry bog looks like. I think they’re beautiful.

And incidentally, if it’s a can of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce that you open on Thanksgiving, you might be interested to know that O.S. is not a corporation – it’s an agricultural cooperative of the growers. If you ever find yourself in Middleboro or Lakeview, Massachusetts, give yourself a treat and go see the Ocean Spray headquarters. A winding drive, the little bridge over the stream with swans swimming on it and the white colonial style building, it is the nicest business office I’ve ever seen.

Here in our region we have Big Lot stores, and they’re pretty good, but I’ve never seen anything like Ocean State Job Lots. I could spend hours in that store. Just take an extra suitcase and a little extra cash is all I have to say. I bought everything from poppy seeds to gourmet snack items to dishes to stamp pads to tools and blenders in there – all at very good prices.

Going into Benny’s in Raynham, Massachusetts was like time travel for me. In 1950’s and 1960’s Tulsa, we had OTASCO stores (Oklahoma Tire and Suppy Company). Benny’s is so like them I could’ve believed I was a kid again. From the traditional looking shopping center and sign out front to the smell when I walked in the door, I felt like I was in a time warp and I enjoyed every minute of it. I actually did a lot of Christmas shopping there, too. If I lived in that area, Benny’s would be one of my regular stops.

Coming back around to the history of the region, the people of New England are so blessed to be surrounded by history everywhere;this region is absolutely rich with roots in our country’s founding and early days. I wish New Englanders viewed that as something to be treasured rather than something to be embarrassed about.

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Filed under 1950s, 1960's, America, Books, Childhood pastimes, Cooking, Current Events, Faith, Heros, History, Internet links, Local Shopping, Military, Shopping, Thanksgiving

November 16, 2009


Mamosa, my blogging friend over at Eyes on the Prize, just tagged me to name 10 random things about myself and pass it on to 10 others. The goal is for us to all get to know each other better.

Seems to me that I’m a rather transparent, simple person and that anyone who talks with me for a few minutes or reads some of my posts will probably be pretty familiar with me. But I’ll try.

1962 Barbie tennis
1. Vintage Barbie dolls, 1958-1964 are one of my favorite things. They bring back very pleasant memories just looking at them. Mine was a 1962 brunette bubble-cut (I call it the Jackie Kennedy hairstyle) which came with a red mailot bathing suit and black high heels. Alas, I no longer have mine, but a few years ago I paid way too much for a replacement original at a doll shop in Fort Worth. Playing with Barbies did not scar me or make me feel inadequate.

11-16-2009 I Remember Mama script
2. The Drama Department was one of two main things that kept me in high school (the other reason I stayed was that my brother had dropped out and my mother never got over it. I couldn’t do that to her.) Norma Davis was a wonderful, kind Christian teacher who really helped me by giving me a chance to blossom when I discovered my love of theater. Auditions can be really scary things and I chickened out at the door when I was a sophomore. But in my junior and senior years I got the lead in the class plays and won the Best Actress awards for both years. Over the years, I’ve only done a few community theater shows and one at the junior college, but just walking into a live theater gives me a rush. There’s nothing like walking around on a stage, either empty or a fully dressed set. The atmosphere, the smell, the magic. Ahhh.

https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/content/dam/property-images/en-us/gr/us/tx/galveston/18122/18122_exterior_view_1.jpg?crop=3000:2000;*,*&downsize=1800:*
3. Galveston is my favorite place in Texas. Of course the water is nicer in Corpus Christi and obviously it is touristy and I know that men in Italian suits (you know what I mean) used to do a lot of business there. But it’s tropical, affordable, historical (until the 1900 hurricane it was the largest city in Texas), beautiful, reachable (only 6 hours away by car) and fun. Not for me the luxury resorts in foreign places. Nothing beats staying at the Galvez Hotel (built in 1911), eating breakfast in the dining room (with beautifully appointed settings on starched, white table cloths), walking on the beach, feeding the seagulls, going to one of the many museums, eating seafood at Gaido’s, and mostly just driving along the seawall with the windows down.

4. With only a couple of exceptions, I have sewn my own curtains during our 36 years of marriage and also made a lot of clothes. But I have never put in a zipper and have a lot of trouble with sleeves and collars. Patterns need to be simple for me. It would be better if I would actually learn to sew better because I’ve always been hard to fit. I’m tall (about 5’10) and it’s not easy finding things that fit correctly.

5. I’m passionate about not being in social drinking situations. My father became an alcoholic when I was a young teenager and nothing good ever comes of drinking too much. Nothing. That said, I don’t think drinking alcohol is wrong or evil, but excess is and I know very few people who stop at one drink. Alcohol could be a real problem for me because I love the taste of champagne and Tecate beer, but I limit it to one or less and very rarely have any. For goodness sake, I’m 55 years old and can’t quit biting my fingernails – how good would I be at having to give up something really difficult?

6. My politics have come full circle, or at least my political affiliations have. The Watergate hearings were going strong when I registered to vote. My daddy and his family were yellow dog Democrats, in fact a good way for my dad to get mad and start cussing was for a Republican to be on television. But watching the hearings, I was absolutely appalled at the way the Democrats were acting – they were like witches dancing naked in the moonlight. So, I registered Republican. A few years later, I re-registered Democrat but always voted for who I thought was the best candidate and have never voted for a pro-abortion candidate. Unfortunately, Jimmy Carter was my selection in 1976, but I voted for Ronald Reagan both times. It was Bill Clinton who drove me back into the arms of the Republican party.

Carla Edens, Joe Hoag, EC graduation May 1972
7. Long straight hair and little or no make-up were the styles when I was young and it’s not been easy to leave that behind. For years I almost never wore any make-up, and now I only do when going to town, and not always then. But I no longer have the glow of youth (walking by a mirror or a plate glass window is like a Halloween scare); a little powder and mascara sure help polish me up. My hairstyling skills are almost as good as my sewing, and I don’t know what to do with my hair and I’m way too cheap to get it done often. Mostly I wear a pony-tail, about every year or 2 getting it cut into a short page boy… it’s probably time for my annual trip to Pro-Cuts.

8. Raised in the Southern Baptist Church,I became charismatic in my teens. I love the SBC but some things about it irritate me. The ‘moderates’ went way too far, but some of the conservatives have swung back too far (even more conservative than the Bible and that’s not right). It feels so familiar and at home when we attend one, but then I start to feel like I need to hide the scriptural things I believe, and that’s just not right. So, we don’t know what to do. We are between churches right now and I would so love to have a church home where we can worship, share, learn and fellowship.

9. I used to have a very good memory (my husband does not think this is a good thing). Maybe it was memorizing those scripts (by the time opening night rolls around, one usually knows not only their lines but everyone else’s as well). I can remember what I was wearing when, and sometimes what someone else was wearing and describe the outfits. Trivial Pursuit is one of my favorite games but I don’t get to play very often. I am a wealth of useless information (the Battle of Hastings was 1066; don’t ask why I remember this or what it has to do with anything). My memory is not as sharp as it used to be, and since my mother has Alzheimer’s, this concerns me a little.

10. Today’s my birthday. I share it with the state of Oklahoma. Mine in 1954, Oklahoma’s 1907.

I don’t know 10 other bloggers very well, but I will post here later the ones that I’m tagging. Some bloggers have Tag Free/Award Free Zones and I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable.

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Filed under 1, Faith, Family, Galveston, Oklahoma, Texas, Theater, Tulsa, Vintage Barbie

Books Read in September

October! How lovely that sounds in north Texas. That means it’s very unlikely that we’ll have any more 100 degree days until next May.

So, I’m thinking about what I’ve been reading and need to get it written down. Every January, I start a list of books I read during that year, but towards the end of summer I get very lax in keeping it up.

Do you think we can tell something about a person by what they read? Whenever we go to someone’s house, I’m always fascinated by what books are on their shelves, or better yet on their end-tables.

Non-Fiction
Farewell by Horton Foote Farewell Memoir of a Texas Childhood- Horton Foote
This is probably my favorite autobiography. The world was a different place in 1916 when Horton Foote was born. He is a master storyteller and reading this book reminded me of listening to my parents and aunts and uncles talk about their early years (they were a bit older than Mr. Foote). He paints a vivid picture of small town life in the early part of the 1900’s.
*Highly recommended.

The Reagan I KnewThe Reagan I Knew – William F. Buckley
One of the last books that Buckley wrote before his death last year, this is a personal look at Ronald Reagan through correspondence and reminiscences.
*Highly recommended.

Losing Mum and PupLosing Mum and Pup – Christopher Buckley
“They were not – with respect to every other set of loving, wonderful parents in the world – your typical mom and dad.” What an understatement. Christopher Buckley is not my cup of tea, but he writes a fascinating book about one of the most fascinating men of the 20th century. William F. Buckley was a singular man; I just didn’t realize before how singular he really was.
*Highly recommended.

Making an exit coverMaking an Exit – Elinor Fuchs
Publisher’s Weekly: “Fuchs celebrates the richness and folly of life and language in this loving and often funny tribute to her nonconformist mother, Lillian Kessler.” After her brilliant mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Elinor began recording their conversations (how I wish I had done the same). Her insight into the disease and how she coped with it was very helpful to me in dealing with my own mother. Nearly all the books I’ve seen on Alzheimer’s are much too clinical and not terribly helpful. This is not a self-help book, but it had that effect.
*Highly recommended.

MrsAstorRegretsMrs. Astor Regrets Meryl Gordon
Let me say right up front that I don’t like Brooke Astor or anyone else in this book, with the possible exception of her grandson, the photographer Alex Marshall. Not even the author. Especially the author and the subject. Snobbery fairly drips from the pages. If Mrs. Astor isn’t referring to Bill Clinton’s objects of desire as “trailer trash”, then Meryl Gordon is describing someone as not coming from a house with a rusted pick-up on blocks in the front yard. And who are these people? Brooke Astor’s second husband didn’t like her only child, Tony, so he was promptly shipped off to boarding school. After her second husband’s death, she was proposed to by Vincent Astor (he was still married) and she absolutely married him for his money. The rest of her life seemed to be a struggle to buy a good name and position for herself and give as little as she could to her family. She hated her daughter-in-law and condemned her as a gold-digger. The DIL had cheated on her husband (the local vicar) with Tony and they married after each getting a divorce. What hypocrites. The author’s sympathies clearly lie with Tony’s oldest son, Phillip who sued his father for guardianship of Mrs. Astor. Pretty mean stuff for someone so proud of being a buddhist. Gordon doesn’t even seem to consider that Phillip’s motives look mercenary.
*Not recommended unless you want an inside look the vanity and debauchery of the upper class.

Fiction

A Proper Pursuit A Proper Pursuit– Lynn Austin
Set in the Chicago area, 1893 this is a tale about a young woman learning that there’s more to the world than what she learned at finishing school. Austin humorously develops the character of Violet Hayes from a silly girl to a maturing woman. Set against the backdrop of The World’s Columbian Exposition (Chicago World’s Fair), as well as the impoverished life of immigrants, the author uses a good amount of history in the story. Her descriptions of the buildings at the fair prompted me to look up the photos on Flickr. It was amazing.
*Highly recommended as a well written, light Christian romance.

Still Reading

Green-Hell-coverGreen Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them – Steven Milloy
Very interesting. My husband follows his website on junk science. We’re reading this one aloud.

Against the Night Against the Night – Charles Colson
I found this one at the used book sale at the library. And I can’t write anything better about it than Larry Gott, who left this review on Amazon:
“5.0 out of 5 stars Most marked up book (next to the Bible), August 27, 2009
I have read this book twice, once when it came out in 1989, and once about 1998. I would mention that between the two readings, I lost my 1989 edition. However it was so marked up, it was hard to read the material for all the markings interposed. The 1998 copy I read mostly on an airplane (and marked it up again!).

In 1989, I thought it had the most substance of any ‘problem and solution’ book I had ever read. Colson was trying to be a ‘watchman on the wall’, and was warning us on what lay ahead if our nation, and the nation’s people (us), did not change our ways. The first half was diagnostic and prophetic (the problem), the second half was restorative and remedial (the solution).

By 1998, America, its people and its Christians were well down the road of what Colson was fearing. And now in 2009, we have arrived and have found ourselves in the middle of a giant mess. I’m going to reread it again, and see if the solutions might possibly still be valid. Highly recommended!”

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Filed under Aging, Alzheimer's, Books, Fiction, Politics

“Julie and Julia”

heavenlywood pulpitNora Ephron makes clever, entertaining movies like “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail.” She is undoubtedly talented, but could do even better if she worked within the parameters of the old studio system. We’d all be better off if she’d stick to what she does best: making a movie, not preaching. Guidelines by Jack Warner or Louis B. Mayer would’ve improved her movies.

Her current film is Julie and Julia, the interrelated stories of 2 very different women learning to cook. Properly Cook. The French Way. The first lady is, of course, Julia Childs, played by Meryl Streep. Amy Adams is Julie Powell, the modern blogger whose goal is to make all the recipes in Childs’ book in 365 days. The story is intriguing, the costumes and sets are lovely, accurate and true to the period. The acting is superb.

WRITING: The script is troubling. The language is embarrassingly coarse a couple of times. And not merely swearing. I never wanted to hear Julia Child describing male anatomy.

Julie Powell’s character development needed some fine tuning. Near the end, we’re told that she’s become almost impossible to live with. Why? Because she’s so self-absorbed? We knew that at the beginning, but it was supposed to be cute. Because she throws a tantrum on the kitchen floor like a 2 year-old? Another question left unexplained: why doesn’t Julia Child like Julie’s blog? Because of Julie’s foul language?

PERFORMERS: Everyone was wonderful, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that Meryl Streep was actually ridiculing Julia Child or at the very least, doing a parody. I’m still not sure.

I knew I’d seen them before: Julie (Amy Adams) was the fiancé in “Catch Me If You Can.” At least two others were in “You’ve Got Mail”: Julie’s husband, (Chris Messina) was the Fox bookstore clerk and Avis (actress Deborah Rush) was the lady stuck in the elevator with Tom Hanks. I had to check Stanley Tucci on imdb.com. He’s been in everything from “The Pelican Brief” to Kit Kitteredge. He’s great in this movie.

THE FOOD: Mostly gorgeous. The Beef Bourguignon looked wonderful, also the chocolate pie. On the other hand, I didn’t want a big screen tutorial on boning a duck or boiling lobsters. But that’s just French cooking.

CONTINUITY: Packages used to be prepared for shipping by wrapping boxes in brown paper; this is how Julia prepares her manuscript for the publisher. Lovely. A nice detail. Then the anachronism: her newly published book arrives in a manila envelope with a bubble wrap liner. That’s about 30 years wrong. I know. It’s a small thing, but everything else was so right with the era and this seemed really puzzling to me.

POLITICS: The biggest fly in the ointment is Ephron’s preachiness. In the special features menu on the “You’ve Got Mail” dvd, she talks about using movies as a pulpit (my term) for her opinions. She has such a livid hatred for Republicans that she gets in zinger after zinger against conservatives in this movie. On the occasion of Julie skipping work, her boss tells her something to the effect of “If I were a Republican, I’d fire you.” And is it even possible for Hollywood to make a movie set in the 1950’s without harping on Senator McCarthy?

So, does Nora Ephron want to be a great filmmaker or Michael Moore? She can’t be both.

Sometimes the best way to figure out how much I like a movie is to wait a few hours and think about the impressions that linger. In the theater, my husband and I were engrossed in the story, but upon leaving felt uncomfortable and a little irritated. Today I like “Julie and Julia” even less. Sad, because it had tremendous potential.

Ask me today how I feel about paying $25.00 (tickets and concession) to be repeatedly insulted.

(image of the pulpit from heavenlywood.com)

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