Posts Tagged "Writing"

Scent of a WW2 Love Letter

Posted by on Jan 28, 2016 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Mail and The U.S. Post Office, Navy, South Pacific, WW2, WW2 Letters, WW2 Love Letter, WWII Letter | 0 comments

Arline sent Morris scented letters during WW2. The collection is stored in a new cedar chest, smaller than the hope chest. I had the box made just for the letters. The hope chest always smelled so good when I would peek into it as a child. The new chest’s cedar scent is fresh, holy, pungent.

Cedar Chest for WW2 Love Letters

Cedar Chest for WW2 Love Letters

Arline as a teen had little money for things like perfume. I asked her a few years ago what perfume she wore. She didn’t remember much about perfume or her make-up. In her photos she doesn’t look made up at all. But Morris mentions her lipstick. She probably did use scented powder in the letters. How wonderful for any person serving overseas to get a scented letter. “Half way around the world” Mose wrote back.

Scented WW2 Love Letter

Scented WW2 Love Letter

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Mother’s Day Love Letter

Posted by on May 8, 2015 in 1920s and 1930s, All Blog Posts, Holiday, WW2 Love Letter | 0 comments

In memory of a day when people wrote each other letters, I wrote to my mother on Mother’s day and read her this letter.

Dear Mother Arline,

A favorite memory was that time in the 1970s when I was twelve. You gave me the book “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931).

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

I still have it. I was just reading a passage. When you gave me the book it was one of those pivotal moments. I still wonder the reason you chose to give me this particular sacred book. I remember you handing it to me.

Mom, I’m grateful you supported my spiritual quest in my early teenage years. Kahlil Gibran had a benefactress, Mary Elizabeth Haskell. That they were lovers in spirit.

Mary Elizabeth Haskell Kahlil Gibran's Benefactress

Mary Elizabeth Haskell
Kahlil Gibran’s Benefactress

Mary was ten years his senior and a school headmistress. She later married another man but continued to support Kahlil financially. When Gibran died at age 48 he willed the contents of his studio to Mary. There in his artist studio Mary discovered her letters to Kahlil spanning twenty-three years. She recognized their historical value and decided to save them. Excerpts of the over six hundred letters were published in “Beloved Prophet” in 1972.  I’ve got them on order.

The Prophet writes that Love injures us in all its ways so that we may find the secrets of our own heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life’s Heart. He must be talking about Divine Oneness at a point in time where God was moving out of fashion in favor of homogenized spirituality.

Martha the Prophetess writes: Love is all. Love is all good.  All good does not injure. It’s only humble human failings, not Love, that thresh, sift, grind and knead us as the prophet accused Love. It’s solely man’s inhumanity to man, the tyrant of a finite reality. Mortal love is at best a transitory reflection of Truth. Pain and sadness have no part in Love’s dance. True Love is Life’s unbreakable covenant, Love. True Love is Holy only.   

Mom, I love you today and everyday.

Loving You,

Martha

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Sailor who Never Went to Sea

Posted by on Feb 1, 2015 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Mail and The U.S. Post Office, Media, WW2, WW2 Letters, WW2 Love Letter, WWII Letter | 0 comments

Today is February 1st, 2015. I pull a WW2 love letter, the first one that matches the date, but 1943. Today lends itself to the fine the art of avoiding writing by reading sentimental old love letters.  This is how one writer spent her Super Bowl Sunday. Morris would be at the T.V. if he were here. But he’s now seventy-two years ago, the Morris who is at Bowdoin College in winter. His good friend has just been drafted, got a notice and is leaving. Morris is returning from the movie Casablanca and finds a sailor lying out in cold Maine snow:

Excerpt WW2 Love Letter

Sailor who Never Went to Sea. Image of WW2 Letter

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Christian Science at Bowdoin College

Posted by on Dec 4, 2014 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Bowdoin College, Christian Science, Holiday, Media, Portland Maine, WW2, WW2 Love Letter | 0 comments

Young people impress me. I hope if I ever visit Bowdoin College that it will be the best the trip of my life.

Bowdoin College Tea Cup

Chai Brew in Bowdoin China Teacup

I spent two years traversing history to meet my parents in the 40s. It started with 300 love letters from my dad to my mother. Arline had a fall soon after she gave me the letters. I nursed her  for two months over the 2012 winter holidays. Two years later I’m back on extended visit. My chai tea multi-cultural brew is delicious in old Bowdoin teacups.

Family history research dropped me at the door of Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910), founder of Christian Science. It started when my eye caught a first edition of her CONCORDANCE to MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS at a thrift store.

Concordance to Miscellaneous Writings

CONCORDANCE to MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS by Mary Baker Eddy

In Miscellaneous Writings (1883-1896), in Easter Services, there’s a sermon by a “former member of the Congregational Church”, a Bowdoin Graduate named Rev. D.A.Easton. “He left his old church…because he was not satisfied with a man-like God, but wanted to become a God-like man.” What Easton found in Christian Science surprised him.

Google is like a concordance. I googled Bowdoin and Christian Science. I got: “Student Lecture Series Debuts with Talks on Christian Science and Squirrel Diabetes”.   The 2013 article highlights “Food for Thought” lectures. The twice a month talks are presented as a fun study break “for students to talk about anything they want to”. The speaker on Christian Science, Alioto, refers to her faith as being in the category of Bowdoin “topics such as religion — ones that students tend to view as taboo or uncomfortable”. Her talk was titled “Go Away…I’m Healing”.

In other old news Bowdoin made headlines last year when it ousted a Christian Bible study group’s leaders, despite student protest. Chapel was mandatory at Bowdoin in Morris Densmore’s day, the 1940s. Important and serious talks were held there. The September Commencement of 1942 graduated sixteen “Accelerated Seniors” at Bowdoin. Three degrees were conferred in absentia for the men already in the service. That left only thirteen graduates in attendance. It was a small Commencement, first time in Bowdoin’s history the ceremony was moved to the chapel.

Critical thinking requires intelligence plus an open-mind. In an earlier blog I jotted about how WW2 was an attack on liberal arts and critical thinking. To understand Christian Science takes an open-mind.  In Christian Science the Bible is explained in mystical intelligent context.  C.S. is a good fit for Bowdoin.

At the Food for Talk debut students “flooded in”. No short thirst for knowledge there. The squirrel diabetes lecture was presented as comedy. But when Alioto shared about being a Christian Scientist, finally in her senior year, apparently sort of outing herself as a Christian to the community at large “Her anecdotes and reflections on life as a Christian Scientist on a college campus inspired a stream of questions from the audience, as well as a discussion about the presence of religion in the Bowdoin community.” Yea, a mid-course correction. She welcomed the “gifts” of intellectual curiosity.

Christian Science was no squirrel in 18th century New England. Here’s a link to a film about Mary Baker. I dismiss commentator views that C.S. was more applicable before modern medicine. In light of modern physics and my own experience as an RN and acupuncturist, C.S. Divine Mind fits better than ever our modern days. I ponder God. I sure am thankful for great minds like Mary’s, for her teachings, for my Bowdoin heritage and beautiful Bowdoin china.

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Jewish Americans, WW2 and UCSB

Posted by on Sep 25, 2014 in All Blog Posts, Media, WW2 | 0 comments

Morris mentions in a letter that a Jew has come on board his naval ship to help the fight. His ship, at least as far as Morris was concerned, was an American ship.

On the radio a few nights ago was a broadcast from UC Santa Barbara. A student was interviewing a teacher there named Prof. Robinson, who is a Jew, on a Jewish topic. Robinson mentioned a recent event; a Jewsish editor of a Jewish newspaper was fired for publishing an article by a Jewish American (his word order) journalist criticizing the occupation of the West Bank.

Robinson discussed his ordeal in 2009, a furious campaign that had been launched at UCSB to get him fired from the university. It all started because of a handout, a photo, included with his optional reading list for a class. The photo showed concentration camps in Warsaw Germany side by side with modern day Gaza in Palestine.

Prof. Robinson admits he enjoys jarring his students into critical thinking. A couple students, two out of eighty, decided the photo was offensive to Jews themselves and they dropped his class. It didn’t stop there. They took action, the sort of action students are encouraged to take these days. This one lead to Robinson beind branded a villain unfit to teach. He says he almost lost his job at UCSB. Like Carly Simon’s song about love break-ups “It happens everyday”.

Linked below is Robinson’s Truthout interview. He points out that at least on a college campus the democratic process can still prevail. Rah America.

Recently I heard a Jewish radio broadcaster protest, but indirectly, saying, “I didn’t say it!” -that 100 United States senators voted to continue funding Israel, thus the war that former Pres. Jimmy Carter calls apartheid in Palestine in his new book. 

Henry Ford explained that it’s up to the Jews to sort themselves out. If you’re one of the folks bothered by Henry Ford because you think he was anti-semetic, this may require some real critical thinking; don’t shoot the messenger.

If you’re a Jew and don’t like what’s going on in Israel but you can’t afford to lose a job or be barred from visiting Israel, can’t afford to go off the air or boycott materialism, maybe there’s something you can do. Perhaps you can simply do as Prof. Robinson does in this interview below, use the word order Jewish American.  PBS does in the 2008 series “The Jewish Americans”.

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