Mary Beth Writes

This was a really good part of today. When my daughter was putting the baby down for his nap, Len and I read storybooks to our 3-year old granddaughter before her nap. Literally, she was sitting on her little bed in Chicagoland while holding mommy’s phone.  I read; Len moved the phone around carefully to show the illustrations. 

We read Katharine Goes to Nursery School, The Mixed-Up Chameleon, and Millions of Cats. When our daughter came into the room – she asked with a lot of humor in her voice, “Was that Katharine Goes to Nursery School?”   It’s been more than 30 years since we read it to her; she recognized it while she was rocking the baby in the other room. 

The clincher line in the book is: “Oh Katharine, you are learning so much in nursery school!” Every couple of months one of us will learn a new skill and the other remarks, “Oh Leonard, you are learning so much at Drupal Midcamp.” Etc.

Classic literature never leaves your soul…

Yesterday I wrote about Night Herons. Franc sent this today.

This triptych is called “Silent Transformation of the Night Heron into Saturday Night Dance with Chaos” by Allen Schaubel, an artist in Kenosha.

I am more anxious today. I noticed on Twitter this morning that there are many new tweets lamenting the loss of friends, aunts, uncles, co-workers. Some of these deaths are due to other causes and the people are sorrowing that they are attending funerals via internet.  One of my friends lost a lifelong friend just last week –she and her husband attended the incredibly small funeral via skype. The woman who passed had lived a long and generous life yet there were about 10 people actually at the funeral. Our new normal.

People are beginning to note the folks in their lives who are ill at home, are hospitalized, are passing away with coronavirus. For many it is no longer coming. It’s here.

Yet I keep thinking of this. In the first century after Europeans landed in the “New World” – 90% of all indigenous people of north, central, and south America died of European diseases. Nine out of ten.

There are only nine people in my immediate family.

The mind boggles and the heart weeps.

Kathleen called this morning; she’s been talking with her kids and grandkids about “the first time it felt as if everything was out of control.”  She said for her it was the Cuban Missile Crisis. I said I’d been talking with various others of our general age who said exactly the same.

I was in 4th grade. My parents kept talking to each other in quiet tones. We had the evening news on during dinner which was unprecedented. I did and didn’t understand our nation was in crisis. I remember walking around the corner from the dining room into the kitchen, when I began to cry. I tucked my face into a dishtowel because that’s how tall I was then. I started weeping and shaking.  My mom saw me, hugged me, and asked what was going on. I told her I was so scared. I don’t remember her answer but to this day I remember her hug.

Kathleen was in college; she remembers being in the school's chapel seriously wondering if she would see her parents again.

We have all been through a few of these moments. The Cuban Missile Crisis. The Kennedy assassination. The deaths of MLK and Robert Kennedy and Malcom X.  When the college students were killed at Kent State. 9/11.

We know we will come through this. We also know we won’t come through it as exactly the same nation or the same people we were even a few weeks ago.

if we are going to change, let’s try for kinder.

When was the first time you felt as if the world was going out of control?  



M.B. That would be 9/11 when alone except for a bunch of little dogs I first saw it happening on tv and called you because I knew you were home and I needed to reach out to a fellow human being... I remember to this day being on the phone ( land lines then ) for hours with you and staring at the television as it unfolded in front of our eyes... Some times we commented and sometimes we just watched together in complete silence sharing in amazment how horrible we can be as a race to each other... I agree that hopefully we come out of this shared experience kinder and more loving of each other... Keep safe everyone...

The Kennedy assassination. Most recent, Trump election.
Mary Beth's picture

Yeah. Waking up at 3AM election night/morning.. seeing that. We knew it would not be good but who saw this coming.

Trump's election rocked my soul to the very core. So much of what I believed about my country disappeared that day. Patricia

Rest In Peace, Dee For me, it was the Kennedy Assassination. I was 9. I remember the wind howling and there was literally nothing else on tv.

Beautiful message. I especially loved the story of your reading the Katharine book! So sweet. Yes, let’s try for kinder. It is already happening. They call it a virus that is spreading faster that the cv.

January 1960 I turned 8 the previous month. A man missing one hand bought all our furniture. Boxes were shipped to the USA from our home in Denmark. I do remember, due to photos, our final Christmas in the house my parents had built.

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Quarantine Diary #66, 5/24/2020 Zoom Birthday

This week we Zoom-celebrated (zoom-abrated?) the first birthday of our grandson. This was a very different kind of party in our family which ALWAYS celebrates kid’s birthdays. We always have over a few too many friends and relatives. We always have a mound of presents the kids doesn’t actually need. We always have appetizers and pizza, an activity for kids, and a cake. We always sing Happy Birthday too slowly while the kid stares at the candles.

Quarantine Diary #65 – 5/22/2020 Shontay & Irresistible Iridescence

Science Daily website reports this scientific discovery. Bats have an unusual mammal response to viruses they encounter; they don’t get sick to fight the virus like the rest of us mammals do. Instead they act as a kind of long-term host for viruses. A bat is a repository of the viruses it has encountered in its batty life.

Quarantine Diary #64, 5/20/2020 Twenties & Assets

First of all, tonight at 8:20 the time will be 20:20 on 20/2020. If you have kids, or if you are your own odd duck, I think that would be a good time to celebrate. When our kids were young we celebrated New Year’s Eve by piling, on a table on a tablecloth, a crazy stack of metal cookie sheets, muffin tins, bread pans, and bowls. When midnight struck they would try to pull the tablecloth out from under the stack, everything would teeter and then tumble with a terrific crash and the cats would run and it was satisfying.

New Photo & Old Column About Spring

The photo is from this morning and is for you, Michol! This dam on the Fox River is alive with rushing water.

Quarantine Diary #63 - 5/18/2020 Flooding, It's changing now

We had three inches of rain here yesterday. This is what the Fox River by Riverwalk condominiums looks like today.

While I was walking along here, an older woman (says me, ahem…) was standing on her sidewalk with her nervous beagle, looking at the over-its-banks river.

Quarantine Diary #62, 5/16/2020 - Invisible Crisis, Spring

Little Women Again: Louisa May Alcott volunteered as a nurse during the Civil War. She intended to serve three months but after several weeks she became deathly ill with typhoid pneumonia and went home. Typhoid was treated at that time with a medication made with mercury. She survived typhoid but would deal the rest of her life with an autoimmune disease possibly triggered by the mercury.  

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