Buffalos Nickel by Michelle W. Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?
1999 was the year many were frightened that computers wouldn’t be able to cope with the change to the year 2000.
The year began for me with sick leave. Shingles appeared on my face and head with an added ear infection, the day school was to start. Serendipitous, considering it could have come upon me in the holidays. Gardening appeased my headaches. Returning with fresh energy to school to bring some order to the art department I was dismayed to find I had Bell’s palsy. Half my face was paralysed, and I thought I’d had a stroke. The doctor recommended working through this as the more exercise the muscles had, the better my recuperation would be.
Speaking with a half paralysed tongue was not fun, but being in a special school, the children were all very understanding. Ignoring disability was part of the culture, where people appreciated one another for who they were, not for how they might look.
1999, my two older children were living away, one in Melbourne, the other overseas. Simon, the youngest, was nineteen, and had aspirations to join his sister in Melbourne. It was also the year that Christopher and I started corresponding. Chris had sent me an invitation to his exhibition opening in Melbourne, which I had to decline with a card for his birthday. There began a most amusing correspondence. Chris has a very vivid sense of fun, so I would rush to work early to open his e-mails. Computers had only just been provided at the school. Up until then reports were hand written. We also faxed each other at home, as this was cheaper than ringing.
Jokes were sent back and forth, and both workplaces, his and mine, were entertained with the daily installments. Chris was working at McClelland Gallery, doing the books, and living in the caretaker’s cottage. We both went to Tasmania for his mother’s eightieth birthday, and my mother cooked a special dinner for the occasion. Our lives had intertwined over the years, but my mother commented on Chris staying behind to help with the washing up, noticing his attentions.
Later in the year, Chris invited me to the opening of the extension to the gallery. I gladly accepted. He picked me up from the airport, visiting a Church of England nunnery on the way home, where he showed me a magnificent tapestry that he’d designed. The nuns were very proud to show off their tapestry and provided afternoon tea. Chris had cooked Coq au vin for dinner with potatoes in their jackets. This weekend changed our lives with Chris’s proposal that night.
Saturday we were busy digging and placing nameplates beside each sculpture in the grounds before the big event. Exciting times lay ahead. Everything fell into place as if it was all predestined.
Chris brought his two spaniels to stay for Christmas. We had Becky’s dog, Jimmy, staying with us while she was overseas, as well as our ancient cat, which died soon after. Apart from Jimmy jumping on Chris’s head in the middle of the night when there were fireworks and scaring the life out of him, the animals were as contented as the humans.
We were married the following year when my long service was due, to live happily ever after, with the true fairy tale ending.
Worth a read________________________
Apparently the White House referred to Christmas Trees as Holiday
Trees for the first time this year which pro mpted CBS presenter, Ben
Stein, to present this piece. I think it applies, just as much, to
many countries as it does to America .
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS
Sunday Morning Commentary.
I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it
does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful
lit up, bejewelled trees, Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I
don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are, Christmas
It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, ‘Merry Christmas’ to me. I
don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a
ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers
and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me
at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection
near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it’s just as
fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.
I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think
Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think
people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around,
period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an
explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I
don’t like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that
we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God? I
guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of
us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the
America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is
a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny,
it’s intended to get you thinking.
Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane
Clayson asked her ‘How could God let something like this happen?’
(regarding Hurricane Katrina).. Anne Graham gave an extremely p
rofound and insightful response. She said, ‘I believe God is deeply
saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God
to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out
of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly
backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His
protection if we demand He leave us alone?’
In light of recent events… terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.
I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare complained she didn’t
want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you
better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not
kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we
Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they
misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we
might damage their self-esteem. We said an expert should know what
he’s talking about. And we said okay.
Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why
they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to
kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it
out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.’
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the
world is ‘going to hell’. Funny how we believe what the newspapers
say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send ‘jokes’
through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start
sending messages regarding God or Jesus, people think twice about
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many
on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or
what they will think of you for sending it.
Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us
than what God thinks of us.
Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not, then just discard it….
no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process,
don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.
My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully,
A Mighty Girl
Happy 60th birthday to Ruby Bridges! As a six-year-old, Ruby Bridges famously became the first African American child to desegregate an all-white elementary school in the South. When the 1st grader walked to William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans on November 14, 1960 surrounded by a team of U.S. Marshals, she was met by a vicious mob shouting and throwing objects at her.
One of the federal marshals, Charles Burks, who served on her escort team, recalls Bridges’ courage in the face of such hatred: “For a little girl six years old going into a strange school with four strange deputy marshals, a place she had never been before, she showed a lot of courage. She never cried. She didn’t whimper. She just marched along like a little soldier. We were all very proud of her.”
Once Ruby entered the school, she discovered that it was devoid of children because they had all been removed by their parents due to her presence. The only teacher willing to have Ruby as a student was Barbara Henry, who had recently moved from Boston. Ruby was taught by herself for her first year at the school due to the white parents’ refusal to have their children share a classroom with a black child.
Despite daily harassment, which required the federal marshals to continue escorting her to school for months; threats towards her family; and her father’s job loss due to his family’s role in school integration, Ruby persisted in attending school. The following year, when she returned for second grade, the mobs were gone and more African American students joined her at the school. The pioneering school integration effort was a success due to Ruby Bridges’ inspiring courage, perseverance, and resilience.
If you’d like to share Ruby Bridge’s inspiring story with the children in your life, there are several excellent books about her story including the wonderful picture book “The Story Of Ruby Bridges” for ages 4 to 8 (http://www.amightygirl.com/the-story-of-ruby-bridges), the early chapter book “Ruby Bridges Goes to Story” for ages 5 to 8 (http://www.amightygirl.com/ruby-bridges-goes-to-school), and the highly recommended memoir that Ruby Bridges wrote for young readers 6 to 12 entitled “Through My Eyes” (http://www.amightygirl.com/through-my-eyes).
There is also an inspiring film about her story called “Ruby Bridges” for viewers 7 and up (http://www.amightygirl.com/ruby-bridges).
To give young readers more insight into the school integration struggle, Nobel Prize-winning author, Toni Morrison, has written an outstanding book, that’s filled with photos capturing the major desegregation events of the period, entitled “Remember: The Journey to School Integration” — for ages 9 and up — at http://www.amightygirl.com/remember
For more stories about the courageous girls and women of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, visit our special feature on “Top Mighty Girl Books on Civil Rights History” at http://www.amightygirl.com/mighty-girl-picks/civil-rights-history
For Mighty Girl stories for children and teens that explore racial discrimination and prejudice, visit http://www.amightygirl.com/books/social-issues/prejudice-discrimination?cat=71
If I ruled the world and had the power to change one law of nature it would be that everyone should be loved and be able to express love.
Yesterday, being Mother’s Day brought back memories of my Mother. I was lucky to have a kind and considerate mother. Love was not a subject mentioned, but she showed her love through her actions. Cooking, gardening, ironing, sewing clothes, all the things that we took for granted.
My Grandfather was against her becoming a nurse. Girls were not encouraged to go out into the world and seek a career. His eldest worked in his firm. Brenda, being second, stretched the limits. She managed to convince the country doctor to persuaded her father that she’d make a good nurse.
The Second World War came and Brenda, having completed her training, became an army nurse. This took her off to the Middle East, widening her horizons further. When she returned to Tasmania, she chose to marry my father. This put an end to her career. Married women were not allowed to work, though, this was soon to change.
Our tradition on Mother’s Day was to go to church wearing a white flower. Giving Mum breakfast in bed was what we endeavoured to achieve, though looking back it wasn’t appreciated! Crumbs in the bed…. She liked to be up and about. No gifts or cards were given.
It is strange how the whole Mother’s Day thing has blossomed and become a commercial event. I haven’t encouraged gift giving. I felt really happy to receive a phone call from each of my three children yesterday.
My eldest daughter told me of her six year old making and giving her a card. On it is said, ‘Happy Mother’s Day Mum, I love you because you make love.’ His father nearly fell off his chair! Fran understood what he meant, and we felt that was the most beautiful affirmation.
Of all the technologies that have gone extinct in your life- time, which do you miss the most?
Technology isn’t the highest factor in my ‘to miss’ list. In fact technology has changed our lives in many ways to our detriment, combined with many other social changes.
Firstly, a sense of community:
- Television seems to be responsible for much isolation.
- Losing touch with our neighbours/ community/ family.
- People being put away in old age homes can create isolation.
- Children in daycare are vulnerable to more illness.
- Closure of libraries in universities seems to me a retrograde step with computers replacing books.
- Texting has taken the place of conversation.
- Letter writing is becoming a thing of the past.
- People are losing the art of conversation.
- Technology has brought change and unemployment.
- Unemployment has brought lack of worth and self esteem, and can lead to crime.
- Young people expect to start with as many commodities as their parents had at the end of their lives.
On the positive side:
- Travel has brought acceptance of other cultures and ideas.
- Machines have decreased hard toil.
- New careers are needed to discover new medicines, for instance, what will replace penicillin?
- Creativity is needed to help create new and diverse work opportunities.
- Bring asylum seekers into our country and make them welcome.
- Human qualities need to be nurtured, rather than idolize machines.
- Technological changes will continue; hopefully not at the expense of human interaction and love for one another.
Such complex issues; there is no right and wrong.
How do you think we can make our society better?
Time is something we all talk about. Does it mean the same for each of us?
As a child it took an age for Christmas to arrive. Now the year seems shorter and I’m constantly preparing for the family to descend. Is it because I’m enjoying life more that it goes quicker?
My school years dragged. I hated school. I wonder now if it is the same for our young ones? They enjoy school so much more. Is the year going faster for them too? Is the world turning faster? It does feel like it. Perhaps my birthday tomorrow is making me think how time is diminishing…..