Media

Love Letters goes to Maine, USA

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in All Blog Posts, Media, Photo | 0 comments

The last couple years I’ve nursed my mother, Arline, to fully recover her well being. We moved a few times. This included Arline going in and out of an assisted living place. She also had a short stay in a memory care facility. Lot’s of drama and decline in these places. Every senior who needs a nurse deserves a nurse. Lucky Arline.

I pulled Arline out of two places. Even the best are problematic. After dealing with a slimy back stabbing corporate mentality that works to drug seniors, I made a decision to rent a house for my mother and to hire and train private caregivers myself. She’s not on any medications other than CBD medical cannabis to help with relaxation and sleep. She lives a fairly normal life and that makes all the difference.

By pulling mom out of managed care and caring for her myself with good help, I got her life and mental health back. It’s not often a nurse gets this much satisfaction. Even so much health here we’re getting ready to fly to Love Letters, USA – Maine.

Today Arline’s usual charm with gentlemen got her ordained as a Junior Officer of the Santa Barbara CHP.  She’s got the sticker to prove it too.

Arline charms the Santa Barbara CHP

Arline charms Santa Barbara CHP photo by Mike Halford

Arline gets a send off from Santa Barbara fireman

Arline gets a send off from Santa Barbara fireman photo by Mike Halford

Read More

Calisthenics at Bowdoin College in WW2

Posted by on Jun 12, 2016 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Media, Navy, WW2 | 0 comments

When college coaches were sent to war, new athletic managers were recruited.

Newspaper Article on Bowdoin WW2

As teams coaches were sent to war, new athletic managers were recruited from slim pickings

In 1943 Bowdoin College boys were required to take rigorous calisthenics 5 hours a week.  It was normal for boys just out of high school to be weak in reading and writing. Ordinarily the college would greatly focus on upgrading writing and math skills, english, foreign language, history, debate, American literature and the classics.  But in 1943 best efforts at Bowdoin were strained by the war. Bowdoin’s tradition of liberal arts, Christian morality and preparing the intellect for a common good created great thinker leaders of democracy.

Young men like Mose were already heavily burdened with extra classes plus training for sports. Morris played baseball, football, tack, and basketball. Even though Mose wasn’t yet enlisted in the navy the cause of the war subjected Bowdoin fellows to a new curriculum that included extra physical ed classes to ready them for war.

Sportsmen aged 18-21 instantly dissolved from Bowdoin’s varsity teams. Freshmen like Mose were added on the fly. Mose loved to play ball. He must have still managed to have a good time.

Morris’s freshman year at Bowdoin in 1942-1943 was a critical time in American history. The college had to comply with the Army-Navy requirement to get the boys fit for war. No part of campus life remained untouched by war. This film shows an idea about the mentality of bootcamp style military calisthenics.

Read More

Love is a Star Spangled Banner

Posted by on Apr 24, 2016 in All Blog Posts, Media, Poetry, Vintage Style | 0 comments

Love is a Star Spangled Banner

 

Francis Scott Key was an American poet and lawyer who wrote the Star Spangled Banner. Check out videos below.

Francis-Scott Key 1948, 3 Cent Stamp

Francis-Scott Key 1948 Three Cent Stamp

My father’s love was like a high flying flag. So often these days I wonder what he’d have to say about things like our money system (he was a prominent banker) and the current presidential election. Would he vote for Donald Trump? The internet was just getting started when Morris passed away in 1999. The internet is what makes a Trump possible.

WW2 Flag from Mose's Ship

WW2 Flag from Mose’s Ship

The flag from Morris’s battleship is framed and in my brother’s home office.

I lived near my parents most of my adult years up to the point where Mose passed away in 1999. In my teens and twenties I had few concerns about world happenings or the stability of America. In my rather elite all-girl’s high school, Marlborough, the emphasis in the 1970s was as much about pop psychology as any significance of comparative religion, the history of the modern West, the Founding Fathers and American values in American history.
I learned to take great notes at Marlborough, but on the whole, my parent’s high school education and opportunities were superior to mine. That is until the war came.

I remember reading “Working Girls” in high school, a book to enlighten about the daily struggles of prostitutes. I read Malcolm X too for a social studies elective.  The most interesting science I found was beneath the surface of the school. It was the bond of brotherly institutions built by men like Walt Disney whose granddaughter was in my class. Notable, when a group of girls got caught shoplifting at Disneyland in my 8th grade, all of the offenders were expelled at the end of the year. That is except for one girl. One of the shoplifters wasn’t punished at all. She remained in my class and we graduated together. I always admired her beautiful long blond hair, short skirts and Mercedes coupe.

I have a fuller context for my liberal arts high school education now from this journey through my father’s love letters.

How I’d love to hear Morris’s thoughts today about our country. No doubt if he were alive today I’d find him where he so often was on a weekend afternoon, in front of a TV ball game and not wanting to be disturbed until the game was over. Our relational approaches were long standing habits, mine even more distanced than his. Like a flag flying high, I always knew in my heart that I was fully blessed with one man’s protection and love. But the battles of evil and ignorance were mine to fight alone in a tall New England tradition of purification through trial and error.

Below is short history lesson and a song I dedicate to my dad and to all Americans.

Read More

Writer Scores Victory Scrapbook 1943

Posted by on Jan 3, 2016 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, High School Years, Historical Portland, Media, Photo, Portland Maine, Vintage Style, WW2, WWII Letter | 0 comments

Writer Scores Victory Scrapbook 1943

I remember as a child my father coaching me to catch the ball. “Keep your eye on the ball,” he’d always say. I was fortunate to spend several days with my mother over Christmas. I was organizing her front closet and delved into another old trunk. I found a scrapbook. I’d seen it before. We all have. It needs care and preservation so I brought it home to look at. I’m sure glad I did.

My dad made it. It commemorates his sports life at Deering High and Bowdoin College during 1942-1943. It’s ironic because I’m the one person in my immediate family that didn’t become a jock. Not for lack of talent. In high school I excelled in ballet and modern dance. I was also an equestrian in high school. But I preferred the pleasure of riding my horse to the hassle of competitions. I won a ribbon here and there in sports, one for swimming, a couple with my horse. But I never followed baseball or football. And I went to an all girls high school so that put a damper on things…I wanted to be a cheerleader. But not for all-girl volleyball.

My two older brother’s were basketball jocks in high school. My cousin Pete Ladd (on Arline’s side, her sister Ruth’s son) pitched for the Milwakee Brewers in the 1982 World Series. Nothing is more thrilling than watching your cousin pitch on TV.

So here I am, a non-sportsperson writing about my dad’s sports life in high school and college. Thank goodness Dad made this extraordinary catalogue of newspaper clippings from important games and turning points during the war.

Newspaper clipping 1942

Densmore Celebrates Birthday Beats Blue in a Post Stadium Tilt.

How much help can a writer expect? It’s amazing to think that in those days being a high school sports star would get you regular press coverage in the local news. My parents were both featured in the local Portland newspaper at various times including Arline with the headline “The Deering Girls had a Hoop Season”. I never realized she was that serious a player.  It’s super to see my dad like a Titan god killing the competition in a “hurling duel”. Dad in a duel! He truly is a star.

And then it’s incredible to look at his selected clippings from that most historical year at Bowdoin including watching each athlete leave, alone or in groups, called away to service. There’s a clipping of Mrs Roosevelt from the speech she gave at Bowdoin. Eleanor declared that the war would make you a better citizen.

Newspaper Clipping 1942

Densmore Best in Hurling Duel

Eleanor Roosevelt Speaks to 1200 at Bowdoin College

Eleanor Roosevelt Speaks to 1200 at Bowdoin College

Read More

WW2 Joy of Peace! Armistice Day 2015

Posted by on Nov 11, 2015 in 1920s and 1930s, 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Holiday, Media, Photo, South Pacific, WW2 | 0 comments

Wishing all war veterans everywhere peace and joy today. Armistice Day on the 11th of November commemorates the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compiègne, France, for cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I. It took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of eleventh day of eleventh month” of 1918. The end of World War II in Asia occurred on August 14 and 15, 1945. On August 23, 1945 the last Japanese troops on Shumshu surrendered to Soviet forces. Here’s a happy clip from the trove.

Peace brings Mardi Gras spirit back to New Orleans Aug. 23, 1945

Peace brings Mardi Gras spirit back to New Orleans. Aug. 23, 1945

Read More

WW2 Inoculation Cartoon and Poem

Posted by on Nov 5, 2015 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Media, Medicine, Navy, Poetry, South Pacific, WW2 | 0 comments

In 1943 Morris was a freshman at Bowdoin College. Once enlisted in the U.S. Navy they gave him inoculations. It’s in a letter. Here’s a poem from the ship’s magazine. I don’t think this piece is about inoculation. It does demonstrate the idea of creating and treating sickness. Big sigh ahhh.

WW2 Inoculation Cartoon

WW2 Inoculation Cartoon & Poem

Read More