Tag Archives: history

A vast university

“The whole of Paris is a vast university of Art, Literature and Music… it is worth anyone’s while to dally here for years. Paris is a seminar, a post-graduate course in everything.”  — James Thurber People who love Paris and didn’t love school might not agree with Thurber, but I connected with his description immediately.  …

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The articulate audible voice

“In books lies the soul of the whole Past Time: the articulate audible voice of the Past, when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream.” — Thomas Carlyle There’s at least one realm where the past, present and future really do co-exist, and that is in the world of …

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Where there is no danger

“What kind of man would live where there is no danger? I don’t believe in taking foolish chances. But nothing can be accomplished by not taking a chance at all.” — Charles Lindbergh On this day in 1918, the U. S. Postal Service issued its first airmail stamp.  The price was 24 cents, equal to …

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The way you see

“Your past is important because it brought you to where you are, but as important as your past is, it is not nearly as important as the way you see your future.” ― Tony Campolo Some of us are fascinated with history, seeing many lessons in the past, and finding much to like there.  Others …

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The last best hope

“The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation…We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth.” —Abraham Lincoln First time visitors to Washington DC often notice that the various monuments located near the mall appear much closer to each other …

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Very valuable

“What a pity that I didn’t keep my childhood – it would be very valuable now.” — Ashleigh Brilliant One year ago today, I wrote about the April birthday shared by my father and my brother.  I had forgotten that my father’s father, who died when I was a baby, had almost had the same birthday.  …

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A nation that does not know

“In the words of a very famous dead person, ‘A nation that does not know its history is doomed to do poorly on the Scholastic Aptitude Test.’…We constantly see surveys that reveal this ignorance, especially among our high school students, 78 percent of whom, in a recent nationwide multiple-choice test, identified Abraham Lincoln as ‘a …

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On my farm

“I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.” ― George Washington Washington didn’t just say those words, he lived them.  At the close of the American Revolution, and again at the end of his presidency, he willingly set aside his power and returned to Mount Vernon.  Strolling the grounds of …

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Rivers are roads

“Rivers are roads that move.” — Blaise Pascal I’ve always been fascinated by maps; I could literally sit and study them for hours.  One of the first things I noticed as a child, when I would look at maps, is how the cities of America seemed to cluster along rivers and coasts.  There’s a logical …

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To look forward

We interrupt these regularly scheduled repeat postings to bring you a tribute I published here back in 2017. Rest in peace, Mr. Aaron. Unlike so many tarnished sports heroes, your legacy will always shine. We will always remember you. “I didn’t have particular baseball heroes in those days…I didn’t relate to baseball players, even though …

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Time and culture

“You’ve got to marinate your head, in that time and culture. You’ve got to become them.” ― David McCullough I think one of the best and quickest ways to defeat despair is to read a bit of history and contemplate what life used to be like.  I’ve found that nonfiction often seems best for this, …

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Success is stumbling

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” ― Winston Churchill One of my favorite places in California is the haunting Donner Memorial State Park near Truckee.  It’s beautiful country, but there’s an eerie stillness that lingers in memory of the tragic history of the Donner Party, for whom the park …

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So much happiness

“He went to the church, and walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and fro, and patted the children on the head, and questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens of homes, and up to the windows, and found that everything could yield him pleasure. He had never dreamed that any …

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Share to the full

“Let the children have their night of fun and laughter. Let the gifts of Father Christmas delight their play. Let us grown-ups share to the full in their unstinted pleasures before we turn again to the stern task and the formidable years that lie before us…” — Winston Churchill, in his Christmas Eve message of …

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Despite overwhelming odds

“We salute the veterans and survivors of Pearl Harbor who inspire us still.  Despite overwhelming odds, they fought back heroically, inspiring our nation and putting us on the path to victory.  They are members of that Greatest Generation who overcame the Depression, crossed oceans and stormed the beaches to defeat fascism, and turned adversaries into …

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The last thing you expect

“The last thing you expect or want in life is often the first thing to take you on your journey to life.”  – Timothy Shriver Not long before he died, John Lennon wrote a song that popularized (although it did not originate) a much-quoted truth: “Life is what happens to you while you’re making other …

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I am glad

“Let others praise ancient times; I am glad I was born in these.” – Ovid There’s a lot to think about in this brief quote.  For one thing, isn’t it amusing to realize that Ovid lived in comparatively modern times, at least as he saw it?  Terms such as “ancient” and “modern” are relative, aren’t …

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A graveyard can teach you

“Spending time in a graveyard can teach you a lot about living. When I stopped at each grave I swear I could almost hear the silent stories of perfect strangers. Their tombs like silent philosophies of all the ways a life can be lived.” — Simone Nacerima Graveyards are a common motif at this time …

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History that teaches

“The march of Providence is so slow and our desires so impatient; the work of progress so immense and our means of aiding it so feeble; the life of humanity is so long, that of the individual so brief, that we often see only the ebb of the advancing wave and are thus discouraged. It …

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If you look

“If you look at an illuminated manuscript, even today, it just blows your mind.  For them, without all the clutter and inputs that we have, it must have been even more extraordinary.”  — Geraldine Brooks I started reading aloud to our sons when they were babies, and kept it up nightly until they were in …

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Stories to tell

“With thousands of years of human habitation, this land surely has stories to tell.  The trees rustle with whispers of those who have come and gone.” — from a display at the Visitor’s Center at Fort Raleigh National Historic Site Recently Jeff and I visited beautiful Roanoke Island, North Carolina, the site of the mysterious “Lost …

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The greater part

“I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.  We carry the seeds of the one or the other about with us in our …

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They knew things

“We know some things they didn’t know in the past, but they knew things that we’ve forgotten.” — Ashleigh Brilliant Here’s something to ponder: if you were to time-travel and suddenly swap places with a person of your age, gender and ability who lived two or more centuries ago, which of you would have a harder …

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Exquisitely dependent

“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology.” ― Carl Sagan I plead guilty to that!  Or maybe not. On my list of things I find fascinating, my impulse would be to place “science and technology” near the bottom.  Actually, though, I’ve …

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Stand quietly before them

“We should comport ourselves with the masterpieces of art as with exalted personages– stand quietly before them and wait till they speak to us.” — Arthur Schopenhauer Whenever I visit an art gallery or museum, especially a large one such as my favorite, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, I’m torn between wanting to rush through and see …

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