Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Susan gives a puppet show

Robert claps, floodlit
Originally uploaded by jhhymas
This is a real Memory Thread! Last week, with two of my brothers, John and David, I went to empty out the storage locker of family history items we had saved at the time of my mother's death several years ago. You can't keep paying storage fees forever. . .
As we drove to Provo, my brothers regaled me with storage stories from friends. There was the rat story, the mildew and damp story and the cockroach story. When we got there, none of these stories came true. Thank you Lockbox!
It took two pickup-loads to get the stuff to the temporary sorting zones at their nearby houses. In Salt Lake, we cut it by half and then we loaded it again and went to Kaysville. With the help of nieces, sisters-in-law we sorted, categorized and tossed for nearly the whole week. I have to say that one of the biggest hits was the love letters exchanged between my mother and father the year they were engaged--he was living in Schenectady (working for GE) and she was still in Arizona, working as Assistant Dean of Women at the University. The letters were tied into two brick-sized bundles, Mom's with a narrow pink ribbon and Dad's with a necktie. It looked as if they had been tied that way since 1934. My niece, Marilee, put them into page protectors and binders, and is working on getting them into the correct sequence. Most letters were in postmarked envelopes, but some of the postmarks were illegible and some letters were begun with "Sunday evening" and the like.
To be continued . . .

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Art and Literature; my phantom sketchbook

I love to give my grandchildren something to draw on and something to draw with! The easy and focused way they work on a drawing makes me think AGAIN that I need to use my sketchbook more. Just pick it up! I say . . .
I'd love to look through an actual sketchbook of all the sketches I was just about to draw. And now there is Twitter and Facebook, in case I thought of actually creating art or drafting some haiku.

Looking at Sketchblogs tonight, I found a sketcher thinking about getting a Kindle. So I wrote her a quick note, also shared below. You might call this: I love my Kindle, BUT . . .

I got the Kindle for Christmas six weeks before Kindle2 came out. I use it I lot, but miss: 1) color illustrations!!! in art books 1B) the section of pictures in a biography 2) using an index to check on something I read earlier in the book, or identify something 3) looking at the notes or sources AS I AM READING 4) photocopying a quotable page 5) just riffling through the book, and peeking forward or backward 6) the actual feel of paper 7) being able to pass on the book to someone I think will like it after reading.
I should mention that I read more than half non-fiction; Kindle works better for fiction, unless you want to look for a remembered passage.
I am crabby about the costs, many books I want to read cost MORE than $9.99, which seems too high already. I would like about a $5 price point for most items. There are LOTS of free classics available--I have read some great stuff just because I'd always meant to.
I don't like it for the newspaper, yet; reading news online is a MUCH better and richer experience.
The technology is not unproven--it really works and it is REALLY impressive fun to get a book instantly while someone is still recommending it to you!
Don't hang back! Unless you need the money for food. . .

Friday, June 05, 2009

Three ducks without a troubling thought and W.B. Yeats on Childhood

I might soon have to call this a weekly, not a daily blog. . . sigh. .
I have been reading and thinking a lot of posts, particularly about memory and childhood.
Many years ago, I picked up this copy of The Autobiography of William Butler Yeats. I don't think he put it together like this--it seems to have been assembled from various writings, perhaps after he died. This is from the first part called Reveries. I am wondering if this is anyone else's experience of childhood. I don't think I felt like this--but then I lived with kind parents, not distant grandparents. I would like to know what YOU, whoever you are, think about this:

"I can only remember my grandmother punishing me once. I was playing in the kitchen and a servant in horseplay pulled my shirt out of my trousers in front just as my grandmother came in, and I, accused of I knew not what childish indecency, was given my dinner in a room by myself. But I was always afraid of my uncles and aunts, and once the uncle who had taken the crowbar to the bully found me eating lunch which my grandmother had given me and reproved me for it and made me ashamed. We breakfasted at nine and dined at four and it was considered self-indulgent to eat anything between meals; and once an aunt told me that I had reined in my pony and struck it at the same moment that I might show it off as I rode through the town, and I, because I had been accused of what I thought a very dark crime, had a night of misery. Indeed I remember little of childhood but its pain. I have grown happier with every year of life as though gradually conquering something in myself, for certainly my miseries were not made by others, but were a part of my own mind."
From The Autobiography of William Butler Yeats, p. 5 in the edition I have.