“Somewhere I Have Never Traveled”

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When I began to write these entries, I did it to have a chance to speak the truth about the world around me. I didn’t have a central theme, such as cooking or pets or travel, but rather saw the site as an eclectic blend of faith, politics, family stories and reflections on daily life. This continues to be the way I am writing, just trying to stay truthful and encouraging, even in difficult times nationally.

What I had no way of knowing was that I would begin to be read by people around the world. This has brought deep joy into my life. While I have been in almost all of the United States, Canada and Northern Mexico, I have only traveled overseas twice, to Guam in 1973 and to England and France in 1974. There are vast expanses of the world I have never seen, and it is unlikely I ever will.

Instead, I have had the privilege of reading and being read by people in Africa, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, India, Singapore, and the Philippines. I have learned how to use Google Translate which does an adequate job of transforming Portuguese into English. At least I can get the general idea of the post. I have also hauled out maps to find locations I don’t recognize. I have set my weather app to check the temperature in Manila to keep up with one gardener since our growing seasons are so vastly different.

The title of this post is a line from e.e. cummings, the 20th century American poet. I definitely feel that this format has taken me to many places I would never have gone without it. Thanks everyone.

“Only Connect”

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My grandfather(second in from the left) had a group of colleagues from academe that he loved to visit with at his summer place in rural New York. I, too, loved the collegiality of the college where I worked for 25 years. I also treasured the influx of new freshmen every fall with their excitement, dread, talents and traumas. Each spring I delighted in the senior class going out into the “real world” with their excitement, dread, talents and traumas.

Since retirement, I don’t have a chance to be handed a new crop of interesting human beings each year. Instead, I deepen the relationships already in my life. Still, I have missed the serendipity that comes from those new people delivered, without effort on my part, into my life.

A surprise for me from blogging has been that I have begun to make connections with several very interesting and very diverse writers. They remind me of my students, most of whom were in their early twenties when they came to my college. They are full of excitement, dread, talents and traumas. I write the kinds of things I used to talk about in the classroom. An assortment of ideas with no central theme apart from “what is on my mind today–what’s on yours.” I get to comment on their posts without the pressure of correcting their spelling or grading their efforts!

Thanks everyone. E.M. Forster in his novel Howard’s End stresses we need “only connect.” It’s begun to happen for me in these pages.

 

Let’s Hear It For Technology

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Here I am writing with chalk on blackboard in 1953. Now I am “writing” on a keyboard on a computer about to “publish” my thoughts on a blog which will go out on the internet. There is not a single noun in the preceding sentence which I could have understood in 1953.  Well, maybe “thoughts.” I look very thoughtful here.

I was reminded of how swiftly things have changed when my seven year old grandson was examining a turntable.

“What is this thing? What do you put on it? How does it work? Do you pick up this lever(the arm) and put it down again? Does it go around?”

I tried to explain the whole thing to him. When I was done he remarked, “Boy, that’s some technology!”

 

Comments and Likes

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I have only been blogging since mid summer, but I am starting to notice the temptation to look for “likes” on my posts. They seem to hit my 10 year old self who gets tickled that someone likes her. Of course, who doesn’t want to be liked? The problem arises when I start to get suggestions from people about how to increase my “likes.” I have the opportunity to reconsider why I am writing at all in the public sphere.

I find comments very helpful. They seem to connect with the adult who began this process to share my thoughts. I also enjoy “likes” from people I have heard from previously or with whom I have traded comments on their posts.  I especially enjoy the several writers I follow and interact with each week. The process reminds me of my childhood pen pals. Just yesterday I found a new writer I particularly enjoy writing about issues of social justice.

Wanting to expand my pool of like minded writers, I tried searching for genealogy blogs, but my first hit was a picture of a naked woman writing about “the genealogy of an O,” so I haven’t tried that again!

I am trusting that over time I will slowly meet writers I enjoy and that we can accompany each other on our journeys. That is the reason I began this, not to be liked.