Tag Archives: history

The familiar exotic

“Make the familiar exotic; the exotic familiar.”  — Bharati Mukherjee I’m pretty good at making the exotic familiar, or at least trying.  When Jeff and I travel, we tend to avoid the tourist routes and go to places where the locals are: public transportation, grocery stores, municipal libraries.  The more intriguing a city is, the more I am determined …

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It’s helpful to remember

“In times like these, it is helpful to remember that there have always been times like these.” — Paul Harvey Today’s post is dedicated to all of us who are FED UP with: 1. traffic, gas prices and ridiculous parking costs; 2. the hassles of air travel; 3. public bus or rail system problems; or …

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How we remember

“How we remember, what we remember and why we remember form the most personal map of our individuality.” — Christina Baldwin Among the countless ways my sister has blessed my life, one comes to mind often: she read to me and taught me to read.  Over fifty years later, I have wonderful memories of the …

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The one who thinks differently

“Freedom only for the supporters of the government, only for the members of one party – however numerous they may be – is no freedom at all. Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently. Not because of any fanatical concept of “justice” but because all that is instructive, wholesome and …

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Everybody can be great

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”— Martin Luther King, Jr. These beautiful words are being quoted more frequently …

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Primitive purity

Originally posted on Defeat Despair:
A cozy cabin room at a northern California bed and breakfast inn, 2003 “How has it come about that we use the highly emotive word ‘stagnation,’ with all its malodorous and malarial overtones, for what other ages would have called ‘permanence?’ Why does the word ‘primitive’ at once suggest to…

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Our due as humans

“Whereas 19th-century Americans perceived limits on how many people they could know, how much they should self-promote, how much excitement they should expect, 21st-century Americans are coming to expect that endless affirmation, unfettered anger, infinite cognitive power, unending entertainment, and constant companionship are our due as humans.”— Susan J. Matt This is one of those …

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Patience and perseverance

Dear Readers, As the Fourth of July holiday approaches, I find myself sorely in need of both patience and perseverance. This week has been filled with endless paperwork, logistical tangles and other oppressive tasks, and it feels increasingly difficult to muster the energy and enthusiasm to keep going. Here I am, once again re-blogging a …

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Count on flowers

“No matter how uncertain our world sometimes seems, we can count on flowers to appear each spring.” – Barbara Milo Ohrbach Longtime members of the Defeat Despair community will be familiar with Susan, whom I first met here and whose previous visits have inspired earlier posts. She spent some time with Matt and me this …

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To look forward

“I didn’t have particular baseball heroes in those days…I didn’t relate to baseball players, even though I played the game myself, because I knew I had nothing to look forward to. There was no hope for me to play in the big leagues back then because I was black.” — Hank Aaron Wow. Talk about defeating …

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A thousand tongues

“There is an air about it, resonant of joy and hope: it speaks with a thousand tongues to the heart: it waves its mighty shadow over the imagination…and points with prophetic fingers to the sky.” — William Hazlitt, describing Oxford This was my third visit to Oxford, but the first time I stayed more than three …

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To transform

“He had a way of using all that he read and experienced to transform the way that he lived. There was no such thing as purely academic knowledge for him…” — John Bremer As it happens, I’m taking a break from working hard on a “purely academic” paper on C. S. Lewis that’s due in …

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It harbors beauty

“History should be studied because it is essential to society, and because it harbors beauty.” – Peter N. Stearns Leaving aside for a moment the arguments that might arise from Stearns’ assertion that history is essential to society (I’m one who agrees that it is), I think most everyone will admit that history indeed harbors …

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The quickening pollen

“Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind.” ― James Russell Lowell If you suffer from seasonal allergies, the term “quickening pollen” might not sound like a good thing. But in the sense that Lowell intended it, the concept is quite exciting. Suppose you could somehow time travel to have …

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Webbed and sustained

“Liberty is as relevant to modern Americans as it was to the men and women of 1776. We live in a world webbed and sustained by the liberties they won at terrific cost in an agonizing eight-year ordeal.  The freedom to speak our minds, to worship in the churches of our faith, to vote for the …

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Free and undivided

“Let no vandalism of avarice or neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations, that we have forgotten, as a people, the cost of a free and undivided Republic.” — John A. Logan Union General Logan was an important leader in the movement to recognize Memorial Day (then known as …

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A pathological nostalgia

“I had a pathological nostalgia.  I grieved not only for my own rapidly receding childhood but also for the years, ‘the pasts,’ that I would never experience.  The past seemed as real to me as the present, as real as another country.  But unlike another country, its borders were closed…pictures felt like the next best …

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You’d think I knew

“The way I run this thing you’d think I knew something about it.” — Bugs Bunny Bugs Bunny is 75 years old today! No puns about gray hares, just heartfelt celebration for the laughs he has given us all these years.  Bugs had some very similar cartoon cousins who came before him, but the general consensus is …

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Don’t lose sight

“I only hope that we don’t lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.” — Walt Disney Walt Disney’s success is legendary, and the tough road he took to get there is well documented.  He died in 1966, soon after his 65th birthday, an age that sounds far too …

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The experience of a great people

“The flag of the United States has not been created by rhetorical sentences in declarations of independence and in bills of rights.  It has been created by the experience of a great people, and nothing is written upon it that has not been written by their life.  It is the embodiment, not of a sentiment, …

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Hopeful signs

“I’m looking for some hopeful signs — and something keeps telling me to look in your direction.” — Ashleigh Brilliant Today is my 800th published post, not counting the special posts linked above.  That number becomes more amazing to me the more I think about it.  Not only have I been writing that much, but …

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Silence sings

“The dead soldier’s silence sings our national anthem.”  — Aaron Kilbourn Today, on Memorial Day, I hope you will join me in listening.

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We are all storytellers

“We are all storytellers, photojournalists of lives that are rich with tears, bruises, tenderness, strangeness and humor.  There’s nothing wrong with shooting smiles and holidays and rituals, but life isn’t a marketing campaign.  More interesting stuff is going on.  That’s your job as a photographer – to shoot the world as it is.  Remember that …

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My garden of thoughts and dreams

“In my garden there is a large place for sentiment. My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful.” — Abram L. Urban This year, the Yorktown Garden Stroll was scheduled a month early, in April instead of May. …

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Little oases

“All that the historians give us are little oases in the desert of time, and we linger fondly in these, forgetting the vast tracks between one and another that were trodden by the weary generations of men.” — John Alfred Spender One of the most fascinating (and frustrating) aspects of visiting historic sites, especially ancient …

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