I did not have a stuffed animal. When I was really small, I had a—and yes, I know this is now politically incorrect, and should be, but back then it was the way it was—I had a nigger baby doll, that I loved to pieces. She and our Boston Terrier whose name I have forgotten were my friends, and I would talk to them and play with them all day until my brother was old enough to play with. We also called Brazil nuts Nigger Toes. I did not have any idea these names were wrong or offensive, it was just what they were called. I didn’t know the correct name for the nuts until I was much older. You have to remember that I am old, and grew up in a very different world than today’s. Remember The Walton’s? It was kind of like that. Without the sawmill. My dad worked in the steel mill. Colorado Fuel and Iron. That and Colorado State Hospital were where the jobs in my town were. We held the Colorado State Fair every year, too. That was fun. Rodeos, and I don’t mean ro-DAY-o. RO-dee-o. That’s how you say it. RO-dee-o. Cowboys. Clowns. Cotton candy. Picnics on the grass. It really was a different time.
This all makes me wonder if changing the words that were written back then to reflect current mores is right or wrong. It was what things were called at that particular, unenlightened time. It’s part of who we were and how we thought and spoke. I don’t think it’s the same thing as monuments to the Civil War, but I wonder if removing monuments to scientists and others who have done good work but also were racists is good or bad. Do we negate their accomplishments because of their misguided attitudes? Do we stop listening to Kanye West because he’s a jerk? Did we stop watching Mel Gibson movies because he’s a racist? (Well, I did.) We are always a conundrum, it seems. If that’s the correct word. A puzzle. A mix of good and bad. Some of us, of course, are just letting the bad rule them, but I have no power over them. Racism is wrong, but I don’t think in the context of my life, those words had the intent behind them. They were just the words in use in my life at the time. Little Black Sambo was my favorite book when I was very young. The lion? turned into butter. I liked butter, although we mostly had ewwww oleo. Poor people couldn’t afford real butter. Once I could, I never bought margarine again. Still haven’t, to this day. Anyway, I think Sambo is banned now.
Should we change the words in books, like Agatha Christie’s, to reflect our time instead of hers? I wouldn’t want that, because that’s how it was at that time, and reading her books gives you an insight into how people thought and behaved back then. It doesn’t make them correct, it just gives us a window into life at that time. It’s how we learn. When I first read her books, it just all washed right over me. It wasn’t until I had some life experience and then read them again that I could see the prejudice and racism, and remember feeling glad that we weren’t like that any more.
Of course, I now realize how very, very wrong I was about that. We are exactly the same, even worse sometimes. All that ‘enlightenment’ was just covering up what people really felt, how people really are. It’s very unsettling. And depressing. I thought we had come so far as a species, and I was just so damn wrong.
On another note, we had several days of gray, wind, and rain from Hurricane Jose, although the actual Hurricane missed us. Whew!. It was glorious if you like wind and rain, which I do, but the gray or the illness, and I’m not sure which or both, got me feeling really tired and with more pain. I don’t do well with too many gray days in a row, I seem to have SAD to some extent, although it was much worse when I lived farther north. February in New Hampshire was just gray. Period. Anyway, the sun came back, I am better, but still feeling like what is the point to it all. Yesterday was the first sunny and beautiful day. I woke energized and wanting to do something. Got dressed for going out (usually I just live in my indoor clothes, teeshirts and cotton trousers. Then there was the realization that there was no place to go and no one to go there with anyway. Being alone is hard. Especially when you are feeling relatively functional. I am letting my normal body clock take over, no alarms or anything. So I am up til who knows when, and getting up at 11 or noon, when my body says, ‘get up now’. I like being able to just listen to my body, but I wish it wanted to get up at 7 or 8 am. But no. It has a mind of it’s own. Ha ha.
Luna has morphed into the sweetest, most loving and affectionate cat you could imagine. She rubs her face on my face, she walks me to the kitchen in the morning for ‘the FOOD, lady’, she sits on me, sleeps on me, she is just the best little kitty ever. I am so glad I took the risk with her. It’s just over two weeks, and she’s as comfortable as if she’d lived here her entire life. Pictures:
What’s not to love. I still call her Gertrude quite often. I still miss Gertrude. Heck, I still miss Simon, and he’s been gone for years. But Lunabuna makes me happy, and I think she is happy and content, too. It’s a good thing. 🙂
And it’s AUTUMN. My favorite time of the year.
Autumn in Boston, by Marie Jamieson
Luna looks lovely. A bit like my daughter’s cat. People keep thinking she’s a Russian blue. Maybe Luna has a bit of that in her?
The history stuff is tough. Maybe keep some of the monuments at least, but put a plague on them explaining the context. And have different ways of remembering important people. Ones that aren’t set in stone, like a party or festival.
Toys, I had quite a few. My teddybear was the main one and I still have him. I had to leave him behind when we left Germany and I was very sad (even though I was 13!). When I went back for a visit at 19 or 20, I found that my grandmother had kept him, so I stuffed him into my suitcase and he came back to Australia with me. He doesn’t growl anymore when you turn him upside down, but he’s a proper made-in-Germany bear and still in really good shape.
I kind of thought she was Burmese, as she looks a lot like the picture in my cat book. Vet thinks it’s wishful thinking, which is silly because I don’t care what she is. But I’ve never seen a cat with her face shape before. She really is an interesting and interesting-looking cat.
I’m not against keeping monuments, just the Civil War one, because it seems they are honoring those who were trying to keep slavery as a going concern. I’ve read that even Robert E Lee did not advocate monuments to the war. Here’s a quote: “In a 1866 letter to fellow Confederate Gen. Thomas L. Rosser, Lee wrote, “As regards the erection of such a monument as is contemplated, my conviction is, that however grateful it would be to the feelings of the South, the attempt … would have the effect of … continuing, if not adding to, the difficulties under which the Southern people labour.” I don’t know. I’ve kind of just given up on any hope for humanity. We seem to be such a lot of idiots.
We had toys. Not a lot, and when I was very young, our toys were mainly things you could find outdoors to play with. I lived with my grandparents before I started school, and in their back yard by the barn were some old bricks. We would smash these up and make brick pies instead of mud pies, or stack them to make various things. We would rake leaves into diagrams of houses, things like that. The only ‘toy’ that I had and kept as an adult, was a little blue music box I got for Christmas one year. It played Rhapsody in Blue, by George Gershwin. It had a lid that you removed to find a small shallow dish-shape to keep earrings or whatever in, and that’s when the music played, too. I remember showing it to my grandfather, who backed away thinking something was going to jump out at him. It was pretty funny. I’m glad you got your teddy bear back. Things like that matter.