Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Playing the Hand We were Dealt in the Bucket

Today we are celebrating --50 years  we have been married.


I remember that cold November day. We had  both been  teaching, and  we had been told in no uncertain terms  by my mother not to come for Thanksgiving if we were not married,

She did not want us to continue "Living in sin."

Actually we had already  gone to City Hall a few times  and gotten a marriage license at City Hall. But   we let each license expire.  I was too  close to the disaster of my first marriage.

I COULD NOT BEAR A SECOND FAILURE AND DIVORCE.

So we went down to City Hall one more time  dressed in our everyday teaching clothes. When we got there and filled out the form, the clerk said, "The Judge is still here; you could get married today."


I guess he had noticed the  other lapsed licenses.  


We have no witnesses I answered.

"Oh, I can be a witness and my receptionist  would also be happy to oblige."


So he herded us into the inner office and introduced us to the  Judge,

"We have no ring,"  I protested weakly.

The justice reached down and took the ring off a cigar.  "This will do until you get another."


With all my excuses shot down, we stood there and  made our marriage vows and signed the form that  he presented.

We were given the official Marriage Certificate and we ran out into the now dark and  drizzling night,


A couple of days later I  brought that document to my mother's house  to guarantee that we were not denied our Thanksgiving feast.

That strange marriage lasted these 50 years,

Well they say the first fifty years are the hardest.

So we hope for smooth sailing now into the sunset.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

DARK TIMES IN THE BUCKET

 TUNING UP TO SING AGAIN IN THE BUCKET


Been back about a week after spending more time in hospital and rehab.  And believe me it is not a good time to be in either  place during this pandemic


 IT WAS A VERY LONELY EXPERIENCE. 

EVERYONE HAS TO ISOLATE FOR 14 DAYS. ALSO NO ROOM MATE AND WHEN NURSES COME IN OR  A CNA THEY  MUST GOWN UP AND PUT ON VISORS AND MASKS AND GLOVES. THEY DO EVERYTHING AS QUICKLY  AS POSSIBLE..

Draw blood or take vitals and leave. NO VISITORS!



But enough about me--- I Never like it when my blog takes a negative turn,

I hope after one more time in December  going to the hospital  I will be better and the Blog will recover too.


Then I came upon this poem.  That even --maybe especially-- in the DARK TIMES we must still sing.

excerpts from “Will There Be Singing”


Juliana Spahr

^
During these days,


I would wake up and my head would hurt 


and then I would realize that in my dream 


I had said to myself that I should write some poetry.


But my dreams never explained to me why.

 
Or how.


How to sing in these dark times?


It is true that I have been with poetry for a long time. 


Since I was a teenager.


Those loves of many years and our bodies changing

 together.


And yet also the deepening of this love. Despite.


That day with the breeze in the bar


And we said together, there needs to be some pleasure in 

the world


And next, poetry is the what is left of life.


And we pledged, more singing.


And we referenced by saying,


In the dark times. Will there also be singing?

 
Yes, there will also be singing. About the dark times.





SO I am back and so is the Blog--still 

singing.


Thursday, October 15, 2020

MY EARLY TEACHING CAREER

GLADLY TEACH AND GLADLY LEARN.

That was what they said about me in my school yearbook in 1960 when I finished high school at Saint Xavier'sAcademy in Providence.

But the teaching had begun early.

My mother came home from her work at Darlington  Fabrics talking about  a workmate who was a German War bride. She had a son and he could not read.   My mother told her that I was an excellent reader and had started to read when I was four.  So the  German mother  asked if I could come and try to help her son. 

 I went to her house as directed and there I met her son. I was nine years old.


I don't recall much about our meetings except that the house was immaculate and her kitchen floor was shining.  She had  a lot of large deep arm chairs and I would sit in one with her son and teach him the sounds that the letters make and then combine them to make words.


After several lessons, the boy was reading.  When  his mother heard him read,  she rushed over with a large Bible and  pointed to a Psalm and very slowly the boy  sounded the  words.
She was so happy she wept and she gave me 10 dollars for all  my work.

I had expected nothing.


I don't know why, but instead of taking that ten home and giving it to my mother, I went downtown to the Roger Williams Savings and opened my first bank account.

I was impressed with the bank book and when I went home I showed it to my mother with great pride.

She reacted in a way that I could never anticipate -- she took the bank book and threw it across the room!

"Here I am" she said, "a middle aged mother of three and I have never had the  courage to walk into a bank and open a savings account. How could she do this?  That is her Black Protestant Yankee Jenckes soul coming through. OMIGOD. What will she do next?"

Good  question and one that I never had an answer for - I still don't.


My teaching career did not stop with that setback.  As summer loomed, I decided to open a school from Nine  to Noon in a garage across the street from our tenement.  I think, if memory serves--and miraculously it still does-- it belonged to the Mc Cormack's on Englewood Avenue.  I asked if I could use it and offered to sweep it out and clean it.    Used some of the old broken chairs and   boxes as  student seats.  There was a small table and I used that as a desk.  I opened the little school and I  charged  a nickel for reading and a dime  for math. Students came with their  money and I  put the coins in a little piggy bank.

There were about  ten or fewer students but they did seem to be learning  and their  parents sent them each day with their  nickels and dimes.

I was exhausted by noon each day--but I knew that I had found  my calling. I had gotten the connection between teaching and  money. It would support my life!

ALL MY LIFE GLADLY WOULD I TEACH AND GLADLY LEARN.



Thursday, October 8, 2020

CRAWLIN' BACK TO THE BUCKET

 THAT'S ALL SHE WROTE,

WELL NOT QUITE.


I am home after a month at Brigham Hospital two surgeries and  some time at Hebrew Rehab--the best place to be .

Maybe I came back too soon.  But on hospital and rehab  TV s I watched the Celtics collapse and now I am awaiting the surgical removal of the HEAT. All seems to be once more back in the capable hands of LeBron.

I notice now that people who talk about him now--his friends--call him just Bron.  Can I call him Bron?

I usually take Bron's advice. And last night the  word from the sports cast people was that Bron said--


WE MUST LEARN FROM PAST MISTAKES. 


THAT WILL BE MY GUIDING MANTRA  FOR A CHANGE   

LEARN FROM THEM DON'T JUST REPEAT THEM.


LET'S  SEE HOW THAT WORKS FOR ME.

STAY TUNED.











thaT IS ALLi CAN  WRITR RIGHT NOW. haN GWITHME FRIENDS.

Monday, August 24, 2020

CELTICS SWEEP

 I regret that I lost faith in the Celtics for a few moments.
MEA CULPA, MEA CULPA, MEA MAXIMA CULPA.
May the BASKETBALL GODS  forgive me.


 With the help of Kemba Walker they  put on a display of  great basketball that allowed them to sweep the series with the Philadelphia  opponents.

What a difference a player like KEMBA  brings. He has everything that Kyrie lacked, and he really clicks with the other team members. Also  I am thrilled to see Marcus  Smart spur the team on and make the  great defensive moves when they are needed.


One of the things I learned was that the team  had spent sometime in China with Kemba playing with them as part of the USA team. They clicked and I imagine that facilitated both the trade and the  happy result of that trade.


Believe it or not this is the first time that Kemba has advanced in the playoffs. So he is glad to be on a team that wants to win. And the team has not had a player like Kemba who now is being compared to such Celtic legends as Cousy and Mc Hale. 


I hope that they don't get too overconfident.  I think that they may be facing the  talented Toronto Raptors next.

PLAY ON


Wednesday, August 5, 2020

SIMPLE THINGS IN THE BUCKET--- TOO HOT TO BLOG?


Just wanted  to tell you that I have not succumbed to the COVID or the heat--but I  sometimes feel as if I am on the brink.

ENOUGH  ALREADY!!  

PANDEMIC
has gone on too long and even the return of my beloved Celtics has been a little less than glorious.   They cannot seem to find enough intensity to carry them through all  four quarters.


I have certainly been grateful for the races at Saratoga  and have gotten through many afternoons and evenings with Maggie and those wonderful,well-spoken touts that tell me so much.

So those are the best events.

Surely we have comeback to SIMPLE THINGS.
Poet, author, and farmer Wendell Berry is a shining example of humility and simple living. He’s made it his life’s concern to commit to one beloved plot of land in Kentucky. He says everything he’s learned has been through his faithfulness to that commitment. He reminds me of St. Francis of Assisi in that he loves nature deeply and takes the Gospel seriously. Berry writes of the profound pleasure that can come from simple things—if we can attune ourselves to them:
  It is impossible not to notice how little the proponents of the ideal of competition have to say about honesty, which is the fundamental economic virtue, and how very little they have to say about community, compassion, and mutual help. . . . 

For human beings, affection is the

 ultimate motive, because the force

 that powers us, as [John] Ruskin 

[1819–1900] also said, is not “steam, 

magnetism, or gravitation,” but “a 

Soul.”. . . [1]
Is it possible to look beyond this all-consuming “rush” of winning and losing to the possibility of countrysides, a nation of countrysides, in which use is not synonymous with defeat? It is. But in order to do so we must consider our pleasures. . . . [There are] pleasures that are free or without a permanent cost. . . . These are the pleasures that we take in our own lives, our own wakefulness in this world, and in the company of other people and other creatures—pleasures innate in the Creation and in our own good work. It is in these pleasures that we possess the likeness to God that is spoken of in Genesis. [God looked upon all that God had created and saw that it was very good (Genesis 1:31).] . . .
The passage suggests . . . that our truest and profoundest religious experience may be the simple, unasking pleasure in the existence of other creatures that is possible to humans. It suggests that God’s pleasure in all things must be respected by us in our use of things. . . . It suggests too that we have an obligation to preserve God’s pleasure in all things. . . . 
Where is our comfort but in the free,

 uninvolved, finally mysterious

 beauty and grace of this world that

we did not make, that has no price? 

Where is our sanity but there? 

Where is our pleasure but in 

working and resting kindly in the 

presence of this world?

Saturday, July 18, 2020

NOT SUCH GREAT RECKONINGS IN LITTLE ROOMS

This morning I was happy to see the full dress rehearsal of the seven plays that the BLUE COW GROUP  is presenting as their part in the Providence Fringe Festival.


The Director Daniel Lee White polished our work and ----WHOA!!!-----

Stop the PRESSES  I am watching the meet at Saratoga as I write this and am amazed that the winner of the race I am watching is named OAK HILL.

 Anyone who knows me in Rhode Island knows that I am  much involved in  the management of a great Historical Civil War Cemetery  called OAK HILL.  My father's people are buried there  dating back to the first ancestor who established  a mill in Woonsocket JOB JENCKES.


If I had not spent much of my life avoiding the sad fate of  my dear father who "FOLLOWED THE  HORSES"  I would have had a big bet on that horse.

Well now back to the on line ZOOM presentation of the BLUE COW GROUP.


The first performance is  MONDAY JULY 20 at 6pm EDST

The second performance is WEDNESDAY JULY 29 EDST  at 9pm.


A Play’s the Thing
Presented by The Blue Cow Group
FRINGE PVD 2020
Showtimes:
Monday, July 20, at 6 p.m.
Wednesday, July 29, at 9 p.m.
​Stream via
The Plays
Directed by Daniel Lee White
Sonnet: “To Our Wonderful Audience” by Norma Jenckes
Player—Jane Bird
Two Ladies Doth Protest by Kay Ellen Bullard
Sara—Becky Minard
Gwen—Carole Collins
Ghosted by Martha Douglas-Osmundson
Sadie Wyatt - Sarah Reed
Maya Lee - Lee Rush
Clementine DeVere - Pamela Gill
The Apparel Oft Proclaims the Man by Norma Jenckes
Allen—W. Richard Johnson
Beth—Kayla Ribeiro
Dale—Mike Daniels
Hand Off by Monica Staaf
Alice—Mary Paolino
Melanie—Kate Fitzgerald
All the World’s a Stage by Elaine Brousseau
(with original songs by Paula Elser Clare)
Julie—Amy W. Thompson
Paula—Paula Elser Clare
Open Seating by Susan Buttrick
Forest—Christopher Ferreira
Lilac—Ava Rigelhaupt
Betsy—Chantell Marie Arraial
At the Stage Door by Jayne Hannah
Olivia—Nova Drewes
Mom—Carol Drewes
Clementine DeVere—Pamela Gill

These performances are all free on Zoom and open to all.

Of course, there is an opportunity to donate.  But  do what you can, you are all most welcome.

SO matter where you are in the world you can use your computer to see these shows.

I was pleased with the wonderful performances that the Director has gotten from a group of 17
talented actors.

ZOOM THEATER looks like a new medium to me and it is thrilling to see how  live theater performance can translate to those limitations.