Tag Archives: Winston Churchill

Pinterest

bum steer : False or misleading information; poor advice. For example, Gene felt his doctor had given him a bum steer, as he hadn’t lost any weight on the diet. [Slang; c. 1920]

My friend, Geneva, introduced me to Pinterest a few months ago and for goodness’ sake, I’ve certainly spent a huge amount of time there ever since.

You can click on the new sidebar button Follow Me on Pinterest and see where I’ve been spending my time instead of using it for blogging. It’s just under the Search box on the right.

One person referred to it as magazines to look at every day. For free. Lots of them. Lots and lots of them.

Here’s a short run-down on how it works:
1. If you’re interested in flowers or altered books or old barns or England or any of a zillion other things, just go to http://www.pinterest.com and type in your subject in the search bar. It will bring up photographs of whatever you typed.

2. You do not have to join in order to just view the photographs. If you want to save favorite photos that you find, then click on the red bar that says “Request an Invite”. They’ll send you an email with a confirmation and instructions on how to get started.

They give you the option of signing in with Facebook; I don’t because I think that Facebook is already far too intrusive and nosy.

3. When you find a photo that piques your interest, you click on their name to visit their Boards. Perhaps you’ll find even more common interests. Click “Follow” if you want to automatically see their new pins whenever you sign in.

4. Let’s say you’ve joined and set up your own boards and want to keep a photograph – you do this by clicking “Repin” and selecting one of your Boards to pin it to.

Here’s where the Bum Steer comes in.

I try to be very, very careful about what I Repin because there’s some bad stuff out there on the internet and it frightens me to think I might be steering someone into any of it.

That can happen because the pinned photos link back their origin.

For instance, go here to my Hats are a must! board. Then click on the photo that looks like this one:

It will take you to my blog post where the photo originated.

And most of the time, that’s okay.

However, I don’t want to steer someone to a site which will cause them to stumble; someplace that has pornography or Mormonism, or anti-Semitism or communism, or even self-destructive philosophy.

Beware: there are lots of pins that look Christian, but are not. Spiritual seduction is what they are.

When I first started, I wasn’t so careful. Then I began to consider how I’ll explain to Jesus how I’ve been the source of something which caused someone to fall into sin.

My goal isn’t to be totally bland and innocuous. I agree the Winston Churchill quote:

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”

There are people who hate me (and read this blog) because of the stand I’ve taken for protection of the innocent. They are definitely not innocent themselves and have chosen their own path. If they consider themselves to be my enemy, that’s their choice.

That’s another kind of offense entirely.

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Filed under Faith, Internet links, Vicissitudes of Life, Winston Churchill

Reading Material

As a quick look around our home will tell you, I love to read. Books, magazines, old letters, vintage catalogs (!), clipped articles, and yes, even cereal boxes. When I go to the antique mall or a garage sale, rarely do I buy anything that isn’t printed. Occasionally a pretty dish or a doll. Maybe a vintage article of clothing or old sewing supplies.


More often, my treasure sack contains various types of ephemera: old sewing patterns, a pattern catalog from the 1950s, a 16 Magazine from 1965, Needlecraft Magazine from 1932, a very well-worn elementary reader from the 1930s, a slim WWII volume: This is the Navy, a 1960 Montgomery Ward catalog, the little booklet/catalog that came with Barbie dolls in 1962, an old drama script, a handmade wedding album from the Depression, old high school and college yearbooks, cookbooks, paper dolls (!), school room ephemera (the seasonal cardboard cut-outs that teachers used to decorate their door with). Let’s pause and take a breath. (And yes, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition. It just didn’t sound right when I used “with which”.)

I just love the printed word.

However, not all printed words.

A few weeks ago Joe and I went to the Grapevine Public Library to see what offerings were in the Friends of the Library nook. These are items which have been donated to them, which they can’t keep and they will let you take them home for a donation to their funds.

One of the employees was re-stocking the shelves and I asked her if they had any donations which were too tattered to put out and that would go straight to the paper recycler. I explained that I like to do paper crafts and find it very difficult to tear up a book to use for projects (and I can never alter one that I liked). I explained the caveat that the books cannot be prurient, even for crafting. Can you just imagine a collaged piece from a Harold Robbins book?! Yikes!

(As a Fawlty Towers fan, I first typed Harold Robinson, then caught myself and corrected it. I think the Waldorf Salad episode was my favorite one.)

Anyway, she said that they had just received a large donation (I’m guessing several hundred books), most of which wouldn’t sell and that I could go into the office and look at them and see if there was anything I liked.


She showed me the Jalna series of books by Mazo de la Roche. The Jalna books were a popular series, the first of which was written in 1927. The lady told me that they would not sell.


Also there was the World War II collection by Winston Churchill, missing one volume.

On and on it went. I ended up with 41 books in my stack, knowing that only a few would end up as craft material. One slightly unpleasant aspect of all of it was the pricing. These were books without a price tag. Buyers are expected to come up with what they think is reasonable and fair. My general rule of thumb is a garage sale price. Magazines are a dime, children’s books and paperbacks a quarter and hardbacks .50 unless in very bad condition. But she wasn’t happy with my offer of $20.00.

Now, before you hit that comment link about how greedy I was, take a deep breath and remember that she considered all of these books unsaleable. They would get nothing for them when sent to the pulp mill. My choices were 39 hardbacks and 2 paperbacks (39 x .50 = $19.50 + .25 +.25 +$20.00). So, I offered her $25.00 and she accepted.

My plans are to read the Jalna series this summer, then perhaps start on the Churchill books this fall (they are huge – over 700 pages each; the usual goal of 1 book per week will collapse with those).

Many of the others are simply old novels. Maybe I’ll read them and then be willing to tear out the pages. But maybe not.


Three of them were old looking and when I read the titles I thought, “Surely I won’t mind tearing these up.”

Then we got them home and I really looked at them (I didn’t spend the time to look them over carefully while at the library).

One of belongs in a genealogy department because it’s an 1886 list of Illinois Civil War veterans, which includes their dates of service and promotions. Scratch this one from the scrap heap.


The next one is an 1898 volume called “The Lives of the Saints”. Even though we aren’t Catholic, a saint is a saint and my husband is particularly interested in St. Theresa of Avila, who is chapter one. Scratch this one from the scrap heap.


The last really old looking one was called the Illinois Blue Book, 1933-34. It was a state government book published in 1933. Alright! Here was one that I could use! A lot of cool looking photos of state officials and lists of government projects … and then right in the center is this gorgeous section of photos and drawings of the “Century of Progress Exposition 1833 – 1933, Held at Chicago, May 27 to Nov. 12, 1933”.

Argggghhhh!

And ebay? Ebay?? Someone save me from ebay. (However, I just got the bid on the most fantastic bundle of 1965 and 1967 Seventeen magazines. I’ll share the photos with you later.)

*Updated May 26, 2013

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Filed under 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960's, Altered Books, America, Books, Chicago, Cookbooks, Crafts, Crafts - Paper, Ephemera, Faith, Family, Fashion, Fiction, Grapevine, History, Humor, Internet links, Local Shopping, Sewing, Shopping, Texas, Vintage catalogs, Vintage Magazines, Winston Churchill, World War II

Mrs. Miniver, 1942

In the Anderson shelter

In the Anderson shelter

After the fall of France, England was struggling for survival under the relentless pounding by the Germans.  Tens of thousands of civilian lives and homes were lost. For over two years they alone fought the Nazis. Then we were attacked at Pearl Harbor by the Japanese. America was immediately thrust into a two-front war, with very little preparation.  President Roosevelt had to choose where to concentrate our first efforts and he chose to stand with England while we rebuilt our decimated Navy.  Americans didn’t understand that decision because the Pacific was where we’d been attacked.  He felt it was vitally important to have the support of the American people in giving England much needed help.

This is the story of a family, of a little boy who takes his cat into the air raid shelter (of course, the cat looks calmer than anyone else), of the difficulty of a changing society, of romance. Of the importance of roses and those beloved cats. It is cozy, humorous and suspenseful. Most of all, it is the story of perseverance, courage and faith that sustains us in treacherous times.

Miniver home after a bombing raid

Miniver home after a bombing raid

Mrs. Miniver was used as the tool to illustrate to the American people just how rough the war had been on ordinary English citizens.  And it worked.  Winston Churchill was very pleased by the reaction to both the book and the movie.  He’s quoted by Bernard Wasserstein as saying that they did as much good as “six divisions of war effort”.

There’s been a lot of criticism of Mrs. Miniver for being war propaganda.  And I suppose it was, but still, it was accurate; actually maybe it wasn’t accurate enough.  William Wyler, the director, joined the U.S. Army after the filming was completed and was overseas when he won the Oscar. He later said that he had been too soft in his portrayal of war.  It seems hypocritical to me that modern critics ignore the blatant, agenda driven, anti-American bias in current films but point an accusing finger at patriotic movies.  The fight  was for the survival of the free world. And we should remember that it was made during the war. No one knew what the outcome would be but William Wyler was very clear about what we were fighting for.

A few of the reviews by the English complain about it being an unrealistic American view of them.  If anyone from the UK reads this, I’d appreciate a comment from them concerning inaccuracies.  I know it’s quite different from their modern culture, but things have changed.  How truthfully does it portray the 1940’s?  Also, the fake English accents have been  pointed out.  Well, yes.  I’m sure the British are sensitive about that.  I know that when I watch British productions like Fawlty Towers or Foyle’s War or Agatha Christie stories, I’m sensitive to not only how we are portrayed but also by the flat accents they employ when imitating us (they usually use British actors with fake American accents). Can you spot the Americans in Mrs. Miniver?  There are only 3 in the 15 credited roles; 11 are from the United Kingdom, (mostly England), and 1 from Vienna.  See * at bottom of page

Tea on the terrace

Tea on the terrace

I simply love this movie.

Sometimes after reading a story or watching a movie that I’ve really enjoyed, I want to know more about the story or the characters.  And often, whichever one I read or see afterward is disappointing.  But not Mrs. Miniver.

The movie is only based on the characters Jan Struther wrote about; originally the stories were printed in the Times (London), then compiled in novel form in 1939.  The book is simply a collection of vignettes about the Miniver family.  Almost no events are transferred from the book but still the book and the movie fit together hand in glove.  The screenwriters stayed very true to Struther’s tone and characters. More often than not, Hollywood has ruined original stories or at least twisted them out of all recognition.  But not here.  I feel that they took good material and improved it.  Jan Struther was not Kay Miniver; she might have been someone I wouldn’t have liked. After reading about her life, I can say I probably wouldn’t have.  But she was a good writer.

All of the actors are wonderful, especially … no, if I start naming all the good ones, I’d just end up listing the cast.

Wilcoxon Speech

Wilcoxon Speech

Some of the most memorable scenes:  reading Alice in Wonderland aloud to the children in the Anderson shelter, tea on the terrace, when Kay hears his boat returning after Dunkirk.  Possibly the very best is the last one: in the church Vin goes to stand beside Lady Beldon. And the vicar’s sermon.  Incredibly stirring.

From imdb “The vicar’s speech near the end was reportedly re-written by William Wyler and Henry Wilcoxon the night before it was shot. It was translated into various languages and air-dropped in leaflets over German-occupied territory, was broadcast over the Voice of America, and reprinted in Time and Look magazines at Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s request. This speech has come to be known as The Wilcoxon Speech, in tribute to actor Henry Wilcoxon’s stirring delivery of it.” The enemy was recognized and survival required resistance. The sermon reflects Winston Churchill’s embracing words. Here is a  short clip; this one is more complete.

Twelve Academy Award nominations, 6 wins.

Best Picture
Best Director – William Wyler
Best Actress – Greer Garson
Best Supporting Actress – Teresa Wright
Best Cinematography – Joseph Ruttenberg
Best Screenplay -George Froeschel, Claudine West, Arthur Wimperis & James Hilton (novels:  Random Harvest, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Lost Horizon)


Where I’ve Seen Them

Greer Garson – Good-bye , Mr. Chips, Pride and Prejudice
Walter Pidgeon – Meet Me in St. Louis, Forbidden Planet
Teresa Wright – Shadow of a Doubt, The Best Years of Our Lives
Dame May Whitty – The Lady Vanishes, White Cliffs of Dover, Suspicion
Richard Ney – Midnight Lace
Henry Wilcoxon – The Ten Commandments, The Big Valley
Reginald Owen – Mary Poppins (Admiral Boom)
Henry Travers – Dark Victory, Shadow of a Doubt, It’s a Wonderful Life
Brenda Forbes – Blithe Spirit
Helmut Dantine – Casablanca (the young newlywed who loses at gambling).  Although Austrian, he was really playing against type.  He had been involved in the resistance and was arrested.  His family  secured his release and sent him to the U.S.

Very highly recommended.

If your library doesn’t have a copy, you can watch it on youtube. There was a sequel, The Miniver Story, filmed in 1950 with both Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon, but I’ve not seen it (That’s what I’m doing tomorrow). This link has foreign sub-titles. Perhaps you can find one that doesn’t. If I do, I’ll update this post.

Please check back if you’re interested in this subject. I plan on writing more about this compelling period of history.

*The Americans are Teresa Wright, Richard Ney and Christopher Severn.

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Filed under 1940s, Battle of Britain, History, Movies