July 27, 2011

THE HELP BRINGS BACK PAINFUL MEMORIES

    
THE HELP by author Kathleen Stockett tells the story of a group of black maids working for white families before the term Civil Rights was ever born. Before the race riots. On the cusp of when the southern part of our country erupted into a period of hate that spread across the nation.
As I moved into the story of the complicated lives of these women, I could taste their joy and smell their fear emanating from the pages. I felt their heartbeats. Their unease became mine. At times, I felt the need to look over my shoulder.
This book is much more than fiction. It’s the many faceted tale of what really went on in the South. It was a time when black children were turned away from white schools, while their black mothers were at the homes of those white children baking bread for their supper and rocking their little sisters and brothers.
At the time, I was growing up in West Virginia, sitting happily in the safety of my living room watching bandstand with Dick Clark.
Until the news started breaking in on my shows, telling stories of unfathomable events - only then did I sit up and take notice. Blacks were being stopped from crossing a certain barrier while white people stood on the other side with clubs and rocks. I watched in horror as black men and women were dragged through the streets, screaming and crying, as policemen hit them with nightsticks. Protecting territory meant for white folk only: public schools, public pools, public libraries, public restrooms. Public? Not really.
These whites were not just politicians but included the rich and poor. The common thought was that “they” controlled the South. They demanded two lists of rules. One for whites. One for blacks.
I realized early on, I had nothing in common with these white people except the color of my skin.
Reading this book brought back those memories and drove home the fact that we humans can survive terrible adversity if we can keep hope alive. And those women, did they ever have hope!
I will not soon forget THE HELP. The story made me determined to be a better person. To help make the world a better place, to give a kind word, a helping hand, be more accepting of the differences in our world today.
I must thank Kathleen Stockett for letting the words of Miss Skeeter, Aibileen, Minny and the other characters pour from her veins onto the page for us to share.

I know this essay doesn’t come anywhere near being a proper review of this many layered novel. This is simply what I felt about it.

July 9, 2011

My Favorite Essay by Gladys Taber

BUTTERNUT WISDOM

From an essay by Gladys Taber
Family Circle  - September 1982

    I sat in the sun the other day while the dogs dug up the lawn and thought about work. I wasn’t working. I was just thinking about it. I have found that when I cannot possibly accomplish everything I am supposed to and feel an unbearable pressure---as all homemakers must---if I just stop, life goes better.
    I get a good book, make some spiced tea and sit down on my own corner of the sofa or in my favorite lawn chair. I let life settle in around me, and that is the only way I can express it. After 20 minutes or half an hour, I go back to the mechanics of living.  AND at days end I am just as far along as if I had not stopped to think.

Another of her thoughts: time for thinking is a gift one can give only to one’s self.


Hope you enjoy reading this as much as I have over the years. When I've had it with my life some days -  I have only to sit down with a glass of sweet tea and think of this essay and things kind of "right" themselves.

July blessings to you!
Barb

July 1, 2011

Moving Forward and Moving Backward!

Why is it that some days we move forward and some backward?

As for me, I believe  it's because I don't have a plan. Or I haven't  this summer.

The days are flitting past  like fireflies in the night, their illusive lights blinking, "Come - follow me."

And there I am running behind them - an imaginary Mason jar stretched out in my hand trying to catch each one.  "Come back sunny days," I call, "so that I might use you as I planned all last winter when I lived beneath my cozy couch blanket."

This was to be the summer that I got things done. Great things! The summer of accomplishments!

I was going to rework one of my novels and make it into, well, into something other than what it is.

I was going to finish some short stories that had been languishing in the desk drawer.

I was going to get a natural tan, not too much, but just enough to not look sickly.

I was going to sit on the quilt my grandmother made in the shade of the big tree in our backyard and READ READ READ.

I was going to stretch out on that quilt and watch the sun make various leaf patterns on the blue sky, as a soft breeze swept through.

I was going to dream. Daydream like  when I was a kid.

I was going to. I was going to. I was going to - move forward. And, maybe, some days I have.

But there have been more days that I haven't.

Some days I've just stood still.

Some days I've stood and watered the plants on the deck and watched the bug action in the soil. Watched how the plants absorb the liquid and watched how they come back to life.
I've spent more time with R than I'd planned due to some medical issues. We've laughed more. And watched more movies.

Moving forward and backward. And,  sometimes  not moving at all.

Maybe that's what this particular summer was meant for. Perhaps it was  meant to have its own agenda.

For it surely has.

On my way to accomplishing what I thought I needed to,  perhaps,  I've accomplished some things unseen. Illusive,  like the firefly. And it will unfold its truth to me as gently as the butterfly unfolds her wings. Slowly, maybe swiftly. But in her own time.

How's your summer going? Good bad or indifferent?
I'd like to hear from you. Always! Blessings!