“If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”-Kipling
When my son was Bar Mitzvahed in 1998, at the end of my speech, I read this poem to the congregation. In addition, I think I assisted one of my children in research on a paper on Rudyard Kipling and got to know him very well, the good and the bad. Now that my son is living in India, revisiting Kipling seems just right. Kipling was born in Bombay (now Mumbai) and loved it as a child, but his parents sent him back to England for his education and due to their feeling of superiority over the citizens of India. Kipling, “for Indians, the man praised by George Orwell as “a good bad poet” remains a divisive figure.”–Andrew Walker, BBC Today, 2/19/2010
Kipling was born today in Bombay in 1865. As a child, he loved India and hated to leave it when his parents sent him back to England for his education. His parents did not go back with him so you can imagine the trauma this caused on a little boy! There has been talk of turning Kipling’s home in Mumbai into a museum, but I don’t think that has happened yet. According to The Rudyard Kipling Society of Australia, “Rudyard’s colonialist reputation remains controversial for post-colonial writers in India and elsewhere. Orwell called Kipling as a “prophet of British imperialism”, a man so devoted to duty, service and empire that his writing was bound to be full of prejudice, racism and an absolute belief in Britain’s military correctness.”
I know I’ve read some very good biographies on Kipling and it was a complicated childhood that evolved into a complicated life as a writer and a family man. His poem, “IF,” has been appreciated by millions since it was first written in 1895.”–John Gray
As a young adult and classroom teacher, Madame C.J. Walker always fascinated me and was truly someone I admired and shared my admiration with my students. Her hair products changed the hair industry and she was the first African American millionairess. What a magical moment for African American women when their hair needs were addressed and they could find products made just for them! Her life story is very interesting and I would read any biography that came out on her and also on her daughter, her only child, A’Lelia Walker who conducted salons during the Harlem Renaissance. Oh to be a fly on the wall during those sessions!!! I would recommend a book I read about 11 years ago written by Madame C.J. Walker’s great, great-grandaughter, A’Lelia Walker Bundles: On Her Own Ground.
“I really hope that they look at the totality of [Madam Walker’s] life, that it was great that she became a millionaire, but for me, what is really significant and memorable is that she used her wealth and her influence to make a difference: as a woman who advocated economic independence for African-American women, as a philantropist who gave the largest gift to the NAACP they had ever received on their anti-lynching campaign, a patron of the arts.”–A’Lelia Bundles on her great, great-grandmother, Madame C.J. Walker
Madame C.J. Walker was born today in 1867.
“My Heart is Like a Singing Bird.”-Christina Rossetti
Didn’t you just love that poem as a child? I know I did and I shared it with hundreds of students throughout my career. It’s a great poem to memorize, learn English, visualize, act out, read aloud, use for choral speaking, illustrate…Uh-oh, there’s the teacher in me!
Italian-British poet, Christina Rossetti was born today in 1830 in London. She came from such a creative family of artists, professors, writers, critics. Her poetry wasn’t limited to poems for children; she wrote about love, death, pain (she suffered from neuralgia and Graves Disease and died from breast cancer) and other topics. “Almost every poem leaves on the mind a sense of satisfaction, of rightness and fitness; we are not led to think of art, but we notice, almost unconsciously, the way in which every word fits into its place, as if it could not possibly have been used otherwise.”–Arthur Symons
Her older brother, Dante Gabriel was an artist; her dad was a poet; her mom and sister were very religious and Christina joined them in their charity work, especially after her dearly beloved dad died. “Christina’s works were largely forgotten, until their rediscovery in the late 20 th century. She is now lauded as one of the greatest poets of the Victorian age.”–Literary Worlds: Illumination of the Mind
Remember by Christina Rossetti
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”–Eckhart Tolle
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! I sat down at the computer with my morning coffee (for which I am thankful for) and just jotted down a few things I feel so grateful for. Here they are:
Thankful to hear my husband’s gentle snore as I rise another Thanksgiving morn.
Thankful for children who for years have been out the door; getting good educations, leading independent lives yet staying close to their grams.
Thankful that this life we’ve put together still stands; this life built on our unity and respect for each other.
Thankful that I had a solid career with a pension that enabled me to retire.
Thankful that I had a job that supported my creativity and gave me the opportunity to touch many, many lives for the better.
Thankful that I am, in my own way, still touching lives.
Thankful that I had parents and grandparents who were my biggest fans.
Thankful that my mom will be 90 next week and lives so close to us.
Thankful that I am still curious and still love learning and reading.
Thankful that I do not know boredom.
Thankful that I can sit still, read, take pleasure in the moment.
Thankful that I can still touch my toes, exercise and stretch my mind.
Thankful that my children have been given roots to do with what they may.
Thankful for family near and far and memories of get -togethers where love abounded.
There is so much gratitude in my heart and much to be Thankful for…
Thankful my husband and I are in good health and can take care of my mom.
Thankful for THIS life, OUR life!
That’s it for now, Folks. Please enjoy a lovely Thanksgiving Day and know that I am thinking of you and your families!
The public library is my 2nd home, always has been, even as a child growing up in Brooklyn. I realize the internet has taken its place in the hearts and minds of many individuals, but it’s still so nice to enter a library. I love seeing people in the library sitting at the computers, browsing the shelves, lining up by the Reference Desk for inquiries. I love to see that…but it’s rare. Our libraries are underused by generations growing up where information is a click away. When my daughter was 3, she proudly walked into our library like a little prize fighter and asked for a library card. She got it since she could write her first and last name. The library was a special place that I frequented with my own 2 children; scheduled trips to with my students and visited several times a week as a teacher to pore over books and select just the right ones for my students. Now I research books that I think my nearly 90 year old mom will like, order them through the library and just pick them up when they arrive. My mom was a reader and as a child I was a voracious reader and so was my daughter. Educators, psychologists, researchers have written that if parents model reading, their children will read. Really? My son didn’t like to read OR write, so I read to him and I also asked him questions and he dictated his answers for me to write down. I have such lovely memories when we would lie down and share books, I would read, he would read. He didn’t really become a reader until he was close to finishing his B.A. in of all things: ENGLISH!!!! Then he immediately went onto an MA in Teaching Adolescents English Language Arts, so you never know the direction your children will take. The fact that mom was a teacher and a guidance counselor and I was a teacher made us very proud my son was following in our footsteps. Now he reads a lot, probably on his ipad. He left NYC teaching to teach in India and loves it.
The public library is an important resource in every community and I just wish more people would frequent it. Just go in, read the daily newspapers, say good morning to the people working behind the Circulation Desk, show your appreciation that there IS a library in your community.
“Without words, without writing and without books there would be no history, there could be no concept of humanity.”-Hermann Hesse
I must’ve been around 12 when I read Siddhartha (first published 1922, I had the New Directions publication from 1951) for the first time. Probably read it after my mom and/or brother did, it was like that in my house…no matter the age, I read what they read. After that I read Steppenwolf, but don’t think I’ve read his other works. Hesse won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1946 and you can read his bio in his own words here.
Hermann Hesse was born July 2nd, 1877 in Germany. How coincidental of me discovering that it is his birthday today and that his maternal grandfather was an “indologist,” scholar in all things pertaining to India; remember, I mentioned my son is leaving soon to teach and live in India for 2 years!!!!! I also learned a new word, “indologist!” Both Hesse’s parents did some missionary work in India as well.
“Throughout his life, Hermann Hesse was a seeker. This is reflected not only in his outstanding literary works, which in 1946 won him the Nobel Prize, but also in his resume. In his home town of Calw, where he was born on July 2, 1877, he spent his youth in the bosom of his family – formative years that found their way into many of his books. Maulbronn, Tübingen and Basel were among the other places Hesse lived. In 1904, he moved to an old farmhouse in Gaienhofen on Lake Constance to embark on a career as a freelance writer. In 1911, he made a journey to India, and moved to Switzerland a short time later, living first in Berne and later in Montagnola (Tessin), where he entered his most prolific period as a writer, and where he also died in 1962. The task of overcoming personal crises is one of the defining elements of Hesse’s work, though other issues such as religion and politics also feature prominently.”– http://www.hermann-hesse.de/en/biography