Who She Was

As a tribute to my dear mother, I’ve been compiling certain documents in my possession that add depth to and understanding of her life. A separate section of this blog is titled Blood Type / West and under that heading, I’ve attached a couple related documents. (More documents will follow in time.)

In 2006, we celebrated Mom’s birthday with much more fanfare than usual. We threw a party, Hats Off For Ruthe, and as part of the celebration, I created a book about her life. Given she lived another 14 years, the book is somewhat dated as regards her children and grandchildren. Still, it’s a good record.

Another tab in the Blood Type / West sub-section offers some background information about the boarding school my Mom attended. It was an amazing place for a young girl who came from a modest background and was suddenly bereft (having lost her father) while her mother was thrust into the workforce.

A couple times, I had the privilege (with my Mom) to visit the location of this school (in Newtown Square, PA) which shuttered its doors to students in 1977. The buildings are still there, repurposed. We were able to enter the imposing administration building as well as the inviting stone cottages where students lived under the oversight of a dorm “mother.”

A previously coddled child myself, it was difficult for me to imagine my mother as a six-year-old being brought to this cottage and entrusted (by her own mother) into the care of strangers. It was (no doubt) a crucible for the development of strong character. She could have felt the bitter sting of abandonment; instead, she learned gratefulness for God’s unique provision. She also learned the value of self-reliance.

In large part, the person my mother became reflects the transformation of tragedy (the death of her father) into beauty, as she received an excellent education within a safe environment where multiple benefits (usually reserved for wealthy families) were available to her. Thanks to the generosity of an unknown philanthropist (who’d been dead 20 years when my mom was born), young fatherless girls received a wonderful start in life. Though I wasn’t one of those girls, I’m certainly a beneficiary of aforementioned philanthropy … and how thankful I am.

Been There, Done That

Stir-crazy yet? Some people have more tolerance than others, I know. Still, more and more people are expressing similar frustration:  how long must this go on?

As I read back through old posts, I was reminded we’ve been here before. Back in October 2014, it was Ebola, another virus of considerable risk. At that time, my concerns centered on my elderly mother as well as my mother-in-law who passed away in 2017. Right now it’s my mom (now in her 94th year) who remains foremost in my thoughts. Continue reading “Been There, Done That”

Imagine

In mid-March, a group of celebrities posted an online video singing their rendition of John Lennon’s classic song Imagine. The stated purpose was to “raise morale” as the Covid-19 pandemic spread across the globe. (Their effort was not well-received.)

In the midst of this situation, imagination isn’t our primary aim. Reality reminds us daily we’re smack-dab in a real-life global pandemic. Things changed overnight. People died and countless others have been hastily quarantined. We don’t have to imagine grocery shelves picked clean nor the bewilderingly low supply of items like toilet paper and paper towels.

With amazing prescience, Netflix released (on January 22, 2020) a 6-episode docu-series titled, Pandemic:  How to Prevent an Outbreak. Though I haven’t watched it yet (too soon), I’ll probably do so eventually. One reviewer called it “visually stunning” and “a great piece of storytelling.” The series features caregivers who work the front lines when crisis occurs.

Since the dawn of time, mankind has faced disasters, some caused by disease, famine or flood. However, if there’s anyone with personal experience in dire circumstances, the biblical record of God’s prophet, Elijah the Tishbite, lays it out perfectly in I Kings 17. Continue reading “Imagine”

The End of the World Has Arrived

If you’ve been stuck on a cruise ship in the mid-Atlantic (or alternatively, locked in video-game-quiescence), you may be blissfully unaware, so I’ll break it to you as gently as I’m able:

APRIL  IS  CANCELLED

Thanks to suspended schedules and cancelled seasons, sports fans may find their only social-distancing alternative is Tiddlywinks. Concert-goers don’t get a pass. Business owners won’t be conducting business as usual. Conferences? Nope. Spelling Bee? Nope. Any pretense of normalcy? Are you crazy?

No matter who you are and what your areas of interest, it’s safe to say the time has come to crawl back into the groundhog hole now and make yourself as comfortable as possible. We’re in this for the long haul.

It’s not a question of seeing one’s shadow. Despite the arrival of Spring-like weather assuring us of Winter’s end, it’s contrived. It’s a cruel fiction. The lush and exhilarating month of April is officially, unceremoniously cancelled. Continue reading “The End of the World Has Arrived”

Mad Indulgence

Imagine you’re standing in a gallery of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. As an ardent student of history, you’re transfixed by Benjamin West’s 1772 masterpiece The Treaty of Penn with the Indians (shown below). This work seemingly invites you to step into it, to hear the speakers and to witness the Quakers and Indians reach agreement.Benjamin_West_-_The_Treaty_of_Penn_with_the_Indians_-_WGA25555

Now … imagine it’s possible to virtually step into the painting! Your eyes dart to the left and the right, noticing what’s beyond the picture’s frame. In fact, you have a 360º virtual view of the scene! Are there boats on the river to the left? Are there buildings to the right? What else did the artist see (and choose to leave out) that your virtual tour permits you to view? Continue reading “Mad Indulgence”

Don’t Move Me, Bro!

When our five-year-old grandson is here for the day (as he was today), he’s always anxious for the male members of the family to show up at end of day. He looks forward to playing video games (XBOX) with our oldest grandson … and he can’t wait for my Beloved to arrive home so they can “drive” the big white truck (a Ford F150) together. The child hops onto his granddad’s lap and they motor around our 3+ acre lot. (The other grandchildren are equally thrilled when they’re given opportunity to get behind the wheel.)semi-truck-image1

If this little guy were allowed to drive a truck like the one pictured above, I think he’d be more than pleased to give it a try! He has been interested in vehicles since he was a baby. The other day he showed me one of his Matchbox cars, which I immediately identified as a fire truck (it was red, had a fireman insignia painted on the side) and he respectfully (but adamantly) corrected me:  “It’s actually a tanker truck.” (Yes, he uses the word actually.) Continue reading “Don’t Move Me, Bro!”

Eradication Meditations

The saga of my garden continues. A couple weeks ago, I posted about my concern that last year’s raspberry canes I pruned (drastically) back in February weren’t going to sprout new canes. There’s good news to report on that front! Not only have they sprouted nicely but they look to be thriving! I can’t tell you how excited I am to have a partial victory on this! See the picture below.2015-05-04 20.14.16When my Beloved announced over the weekend he was going to purchase tomato and green pepper seedlings and maybe a few other vegetables for planting, I was both surprised and goaded into action! Until now, he had more or less ceded the raised-bed garden space to my care … but I wasn’t going to refuse his sudden interest, no, no, no! So I knew I had to take immediate action! Continue reading “Eradication Meditations”

Not So Honest Abe

When the ads began airing for the second season of TURИ:  Washington’s Spies, I decided to take some time out for an American History diversion. Since I hadn’t watched the first season (which aired beginning in April 2014), I wanted to view those episodes first and I’m still going through them. I may not catch up until season two goes to Netflix.Turn-AMCThe series has received generally favorable reviews. Critics on the rotten tomatoes website were mixed, offering a 52% favorable though the audience score (82%) was more impressive. Those ratings have gone up now that season two is in progress.

Continue reading “Not So Honest Abe”

Mother, May I Mayday?

Mayday! Mayday! Mayday! Today is the first day of May. Having watched numerous television shows in my youth where the pilot or ship’s captain grabs up his microphone and utters those three words in hopes of rescue, every May 1st, I’m reminded of those dramatic scenes of video terror.MaydayLandPlaneOf course, I would never actually utter this standard distress call in real life (I’m neither pilot nor ship’s captain) … since making a false distress call is a federal offense. Continue reading “Mother, May I Mayday?”

Heroes Or Villains?

The trailer for the DC Comics superhero film, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is a hot item this weekend. Watch the trailer here. As a one-time fan of both Batman (the Christian Bale film series from 2005-forward) and Superman (the George Reeves television series of the 1950s), I’m not particularly enthusiastic about forthcoming productions. For me, I want my superheroes to remain the way I remember them.superman batmanThe upcoming film was originally set to release in 2014 and then was delayed to be released this year but was once again pushed back, this time until 2016. The delays are puzzling and the story line has been, so far as I can tell, kept under wraps but the title is intriguing. Are Batman and Superman going to participate in the ultimate challenge and meet face to face in the UFC Octagon? Continue reading “Heroes Or Villains?”