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Saturday, May 19, 2018

A long trip down memory lane

The minute RBG was released I was on the internet to find a showing in Akron or Cleveland. Of course it's in the art theaters on both ends of the freeway, but since no one in Cleveland save  Beth expressed interest, she came down for lunch and a matinee.

The film was screened in The Nightlight, a converted old warehouse in the absolute oldest section of Akron, on High Street. I idly took a picture of what I could see of the building across the street, the Sojourner Truth Building.

For anyone reading not old enough to know this piece of history, Sojourner Truth was an emancipated slave who was part of the abolitionist movement. Here on High Street, Akron, Ohio, Sojourner Truth gave her "Ain't I a Woman" speech in 1851, more or less under the point of the portico roof.

It's a picture I would normally have deleted, as not contributing to the advancement of the story. But I am a native of this city, and the Sojourner Truth story has always resonated with me. I'm leaving it today, because this story simply is the history that women know so well.

High Street is among the last of Akron's canal era warehousing to be converted. Market Street, Mill Street, Exchange Street, all those streets with the names of thriving business activities, are done and done and done. High Street is charming for the rough exterior left. That crossroad down there is Maiden Lane, and the covered construction is the conversion of the old streetcar barns to lofts.

We stopped for a coffee, and Beth texted Francis proof that his grandma might have been a hippie once.

Inside the theater I watched this diorama cross the screen several times before I took in the entire picture. I snapped it because that's our Goodyear blimp crossing there, over the Goodyear Airdock. The silver building is the old Akron Savings, where mom worked. I believe that's even High Street in front, and a Nightlight logo on the brick building.

If you're still here, this post actually has a point. If you enlarge the diorama, there is a woman looking straight back at me. I am looking at myself in 1980. There is a photo of me that I could overlay on that, and they will match.

RBG is a phenomenal movie/documentary. Some of it brought me to tears. I marched in those marches. I voted for those candidates. I worked for those hopes and causes. To have this record of Justice Ginsburg's achievements, and part in the progress, is priceless. A film not to be missed.

If you're still here, I'm not to the end. My last post was a dismal recitation of lost physical abilities, and mental. Lost meaning, in short. And one day later, another school shooting. I've quit Facebook; friends and not friends alike mocking us for causing it and waiting for it to happen again. That's how to add despair to despair.

I do have friends who said "I'll stand with you," and did. The three of us became forty, on the corner in below freezing weather, standing in solidarity with school students. 

After I post this I'll start a list of what I did and who I contacted for the March demonstration. The November elections are not just about reclaiming decency, it's also about turning the process over to the next generation, eighteen year old after eighteen year old.

Oh, yes. Laura stood over my shoulder until I'd ordered a Notorious R.B.G. tee for her.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

A week and a half, school’s out

I know that, but it still came as a surprise when Laura announced it. She’s in charge of much of her summer, but I need to follow up on my commitment to find a personal safety program I can approve of. I need to get a grip on driving regulations, too, though I think my personal rule of “teenagers can’t drive teenagers” will suffice.

I had a one year checkup this week on my hearing aids. The fancy little bits of electronics replacing the pair lost on the red bus. I found a one year check up on the rest of me of interest too, at least to me. It’s a recap of what I don’t have back, and never will.

A sense of self. The me who had something to contribute. I read everything; I remembered it. I made sense of it. Conversation! I talked about what I read. I knew what I intended to say, and said it.

A body in time and space. Don’t think you can cast off twenty five pounds and not miss it! I didn’t have it to throw away. It’s what holds up your skin. I think of our old friend Mary Jane. She spent a month in the hospital getting a pig valve in her heart, “but one morning I got out of bed, just for them to weigh me, and I was a head to foot wrinkle!” Yep, that’s how it works.

The deep trough through my skull. Hair still won’t grow in it.

A job. Still bitter about this loss. So much income, present and future. I like money. This was taken away by small minded and stupidly obstinate people. I need to let it go. I can’t. On the other hand, I no longer give a rat’s ass. Like all else, it is what it is.

Every day remains on the calendar, to be dealt with. I used to stay in bed until three in the afternoon, when school was letting out. Now I get up at eight in the morning, like I have something to do. Occasionally I do.

Spring is coming on. I could go for the mail, except I picked it up on the way back from breakfast with Lynn. I would like to go out every day for breakfast, but I don’t have enough friends. Most of them still work.

I need more friends. Too many of them died last fall, essentially at once. It’s damn hard to forge new relationships. There are strong words involved. “Forge,” for instance. Both parties need to put effort in. 

My friend Carol and I laughed about that a bit ago. She left winter behind, moving to South Carolina. She’s finding new friends hard to come by, too. “Acquaintances, yes. Friends? Well, it’s only been two years,” she says. “No one yet I would call in the middle of the night.” We laugh.

If only more loom parts would show up. I still can’t put on a warp!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

It’s been this bad

I read an NPR interview with Jon Mecham, whose book The Soul of America explores a country post 2016, its soul inclusive of Martin Luther King and the Ku Klux Klan. We are in a perilous moment now, but it has been far worse. The interview is brief, the synopsis is easy, and I lift much from the text to present it.

The interview begins with Andrew Johnson, immediate post Civil War President, who said African Americans were genetically incapable of self-government. “He was a bully. He was self-absorbed. He gave self-pitying speeches,” Mecham says, though, the story of American history is that we have, in fact, moved forward.

He walks us through the hills and valleys that trended up. Rutherford B. Hayes became President of the United States as part of a compromise that pulled the federal troops out of the South. Theodore Roosevelt, was engaged with the idea of a melting pot, the idea that immigration was a force for good.

Women’s suffrage happened under Woodrow Wilson. Franklin Roosevelt was told if he solved the Great Depression he would be known as a great president, if he failed, the worst. Roosevelt responded, if he failed, he’d be the last. Then there was the beginning of the Cold War, of four years of McCarthyism, under the senator from Wisconsin.

Lyndon Johnson, a white Southerner from a segregated state, decided he was going to create voting rights in this country and finish the work of Abraham Lincoln.  And now President Trump is an aberration in the journey up hills, down hills. 

“The choices we make now will echo for a long time”. The choices are as important as those after the Civil War, as those of the best presidents of the twentieth century, in deciding the people we will be in future.

So, it remains us, and the force of individual choices. That is, the force of all the ideas you threw out onto my mountain of suggestions. I have to tell you, I still would love to see a national shaming system. 

Bigots, racists, just plain idiots need to be deafened by “What Are You Thinking”. How about Paul Ryon, retiring at 48 with a full pension and trying to take food stamps from millions of children and poor families.

I came to that NPS interview through Jenn Hoffman's inspired blog, which I have often referenced and linked to. One suggestion she often concludes with is thanking elected representatives of either persuasion who have helped us move forward any given week. It's as simple as a thank you note or email.

I listened to Elizabeth Warren the other night, on one of her appearances on Steven Colbert. I do not remember what, but she was thanking the audience and America for an outpouring of thanks. "Don't ever think it doesn't matter that you write to us," she shouted above the tumult. It does count. Do it!

With my sister’s help, the loom room is pushed here, pulled there, looking better. Laura is on a two night Adventure Crew camp out at the Crawford Auto-Aviation Museum at University Circle in Cleveland. I have no idea what they are up to, and looking forward to hearing. And, we have tickets for the great RBG film, next weekend. There may be a full report.