Posts Tagged "Writing"

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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The Mending Wall

Posted by on Jul 1, 2014 in All Blog Posts, Poetry, Vintage Style | 0 comments

Selecting photos for Arline’s 90th Birthday “This is Your life” movie
I found this snapshot of me, my brothers, and our dog, Thor.
In 1967 our family dog, Thor, was poisoned and killed by a neighbor.
My father didn’t fence our yard. Thor wandered to other homes near ours.
Reflecting, I thought “Good Fences make Good Neighbors” from a poem by Robert Frost.

Densmore Family Photo 1960s

1960s Martha and Thor

Robert Frost was a contemporary of Poet and Oxford scholar
Robert Peter Tristram Coffin. Professor R.P.T.C. was
Morris’s english teacher at Bowdoin College in 1943.

“The Mending Wall” by Robert Frost

SOMETHING there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
He is all pine and I am apple-orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbors.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbors? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down!” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there,
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbors.”

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Easter Bunny Leaves Love Letter

Posted by on Apr 20, 2014 in 1940s Life, All Blog Posts, Holiday, Mail and The U.S. Post Office, Media, Navy, Portland Maine, Vintage Style, WW2, WW2 Letters, WW2 Love Letter, WWII Letter | 2 comments

Easter falls on the 1st Sunday following the 1st full moon after the spring equinox, between 3/22 and 4/25. Copy that?

I went to church with Arline last week. I used to go, and was once a Christian. I walked out of the church when a substitute minister started preaching against abortion from the pulpit. It was too much. But I loved the service last week, the organ, the choir, the people greeting each other saying “Peace be with you.”

In 1945, Easter was April 1st. This year it’s tomorrow, the 20th. I pulled one of my father’s letters from April 20th 1945. Morris had been stationed in the South Pacific 5 months. He was engaged to Arline. They did it in letters. He sent the news of their engagement to his parents in a telegram. Arline had been at his folks home for dinner. In the letter Mose asks, “What were your first feelings when they read the telegram?” Awesome! Then he details his future pay as a lieutenant.

let4:20:45:crop

Morris’s memorial service was April 1st, 1999. I remember him every April Fools Day. He had a dry sense of humor. He had a way with puns. At the memorial service his brother Henry said, “Morris was the last of the good guys.”

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