A Great Big Lark

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Schedule

Across-the-street owls began hooting at 6:52 p.m. last night.

Letting Go

Today, I sent one of my essays out to seek its fortune.  The Howard County Tragedy, without its postscript, has been 'given' to Belmont, the house about which it was written.

I feel excited; I feel satisfied that it has gone where it needs to 'live', even if only in the digital and/or paper files of the current administrators of the estate.  Hopefully it will be shared, and others will be reminded of people who have lived and died, and momentous events which have taken place, in the space they now occupy.  Maybe they will experience the awareness of layers of time and events which can inhabit a geographic space.

On the other hand, I am experiencing that annoying feeling that it could have been more effectively written, that it should have had a better ending that brought it full-circle, that the reader will have questions which I didn't fully answer.  I will work on these things.  How do you know when a piece is finished?  How do you, or should you even, resist the urge to tweak and refine a piece of writing every single time you read it over?  I've printed out a copy of the submitted essay, and I'm going to start listing and tweaking and refining anew.  That way, on the off-chance that someone requests its use somewhere in the future, I may have the opportunity to add improvements.

Fare well, little essay.

10/14/15

Discipline

It continues to be a challenge to schedule time for writing, and to stick to that schedule.  I know that if I had the self-discipline to honor the commitments I make to myself, so many things in my life, not just writing, would go much more smoothly.

Growing up, I always had morning and evening routines.  These were fostered and encouraged in my house because, well, it's good parenting!  As soon as I had children of my own, my natural tendency to follow certain routines started to disintegrate as I became almost wholly focused on taking care of small children, and establishing routines around their needs.  My own needs, for food, rest, and things like showers came last.  When the children were older, and I returned to work, it became even more complicated, since they now had school needs and obligations to contend with, and I had to be somewhere else for a huge chunk of each day, performing a whole new set of duties in a timely and efficient way.  You would think that now, when both daughters are in their twenties and haven't even been fully resident at home since 2008, I would have been able to reestablish efficient routines for myself, but that has not been the case.

Somewhere along the line, in those days of raising small children, I necessarily had to take a new attitude about obligations and expectations in general.  I was diagnosed with clinical depression, which forced me to focus not only on my children's needs, but on my own physical and psychological  self-care.  Obligations to others and activities outside the home took their places at the end of the line, to be met or participated in when I was feeling 'up to it.'  It has turned out that the tendency toward depression is chronic, and will require treatment and consideration, most likely, for the rest of my life.  I tend to want to avoid social situations, but on another level I also crave social connection and company.  The tug and tension between these two feelings is something that is always present.

As a result of all of the above, I have become used to thinking of everything as being flexible and malleable, subject to the needs, whims and feelings of the moment.  (to be continued)

10/13/15

Dreams of My Grandparents

Bottles, seashells, artifacts on the beach.  Dark and dusty interiors.  Jumbled and neglected kitchen.  Desks and attic spaces full of old papers and household items.  A cold feeling in the back of my skull, and the shade of my grandfather or grandmother somewhere nearby.

3/14/16

Saga

We barely know it, but every day each one of us is fully engaged in steering the course of the universe. Or swept up in the tide of the universe. Or both.

4/26/16

Dreams

2/19/00

I woke up in the middle of the night and it was light out.  The sun was in the west.  It was very warm and flowers in the garden were sprouting and growing.

Went to the beach (ocean beach, not ours) to look for shells and rocks and stuff.  Instead found books scattered about.  Old books, sandy and some damp, all over the beach.  Browsed through like at a library.  Picked up Ernest Hemingway small green old with gold seashells on the front.

Dreamed that in the woods behind my parents' house there was a steep hill.  When you climbed to the top you were on Kent Street in Chestertown (the street with the pink & purple house.)  Oh, good, now we can walk to the library!

Pulling beech trees out of the ground.



1/14/98

Parked in old historic town - to tour some houses.  History of slavery and cruelty.
Back formal garden.  White flowers.  Torture re-enactment - large swinging crane-like structure.  I am afraid I'm going to get hit by it - "Only a fool would be here."
Back to the house.  Remember descending into lower floor of a side wing of the house, a pale blue room.  Haunted.  The Blue Boy room.  Very strong presence - I am afraid.  There's a door in this room and once you exit you cannot return.  I do not exit.  He is alive - "And who is this?"  Leo. Angelo.

Angelo is the father. Leo is the son - who always gets called by his father's name.

Gnat

The wayward gnat will soon discover that a candle is different than a lightbulb.

7/24

Monday, May 22, 2017

Notes from Leslie Marmon Silko's Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit

 It is remarkable to sense the presence of those long passed at the locations where their adventures took place.  Spirits range without boundaries of any sort, and spirits may be called back in any number of ways.  The method used in the calling also determines how the spirit manifests itself.  I think a spirit may or may not choose to remain at the site of its passing or death.  I think they might be in a number of places at the same time.  Storytelling can procure fleeting moments to experience who they were and how life felt long ago.  What I enjoyed most as a child was standing at the site of an incident recounted in one of the ancient stories that old Aunt Susie had told us as girls.  What excited me was listening to her tell us an old-time story and then realizing that I was familiar with a certain mesa or cave that figured as the central location of the story she was telling.

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Before the arrival of Christian missionaries, a man could dress as a woman and work with the women and even marry a man without any fanfare.  Likewise, a woman was free to dress like a man, to hunt and go to war with the men, and to marry a woman.  In the old Pueblo worldview, we are all a mixture of male and female, and this sexual identity is changing constantly.  Sexual inhibition did not begin until the Christian missionaries arrived.  For the old-time people, marriage was about teamwork and social relationships, not about sexual excitement.  In the days before the Puritans came, marriage did not mean an end to sex with people other than your spouse.  Women were just as likely as men to have a si’ash, or lover.

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All places and all beings of the earth are sacred.  It is dangerous to designate some places sacred when all are sacred.  Such compromises imply that there is a hierarchy of value, with some places and some living beings not as important as others.  No part of the earth is expendable; the earth is a whole that cannot be fragmented, as it has been by the destroyers’ mentality of the industrial age.  The greedy destroyers of life and bringers of suffering demand that sacred land be sacrificed so that a few designated sacred places may survive; but once any part is deemed expendable, others can easily be redefined to fit the category of expendable.

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…..These cowboys believed in action, not words, certainly not the printed word.
Hundreds of years before, proclamations, letters, and edicts came to the Americas from monarchs and popes admonishing the settlers to obey the laws.  In the Americas, the settlers were to reap the riches they all desired.  If you could not read the king’s or the pope’s edict, then you could not be held accountable.  If you were ignorant of the pope’s edict then you were blameless before God.  So illiteracy and the aversion to books that is found through the Americas descends from colonial times.  Ignorance was blissful and profitable.

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(On Photography)  The origin of waves or particles of light-energy that may give such a sinister cast to a photograph is as yet unexplained.  Fields of electromagnetic force affect light.  Crowds of human beings massed together emanate actual electricity.  Individual perceptions and behavior are altered.  Witnesses report feeling an “electricity” that binds and propels a mob as a single creature.  So the greed and violence of the last century in the United States are palpable; what we have done to one another and to the earth is registered in the very atmosphere and effect, even in the light.  “Murder, murder,” sighs the wind over the rocks in a remote Arizona canyon where they betrayed Geronimo.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Nehemiah Fitzgerald's Death

Nehemiah Fitzgerald is a 3rd great-uncle of mine who was born in Hampton, Virginia in 1841.  He was the oldest of 10 children.  He served in the Civil War with the Richmond Howitzers, finished his education, and left Virginia to seek opportunity elsewhere after the war.  His first stop was Louisiana, which he found "just as bad" as Virginia, so he took a ship to San Francisco in 1867.  He had teaching jobs in Chico and Rio Seco in 1868, Quincy and Live Oak in 1869, Cherokee Flat in 1870, and Gridley's Station in 1871 before arriving in Lake City in 1872, in what is now Modoc County, CA.  At some point, he bought sheep and established a homestead, before becoming the first county clerk of Modoc County in 1874, when he moved to Alturas (then Doris Bridge.)  He married Melissa Garrett, and continued to teach, raised sheep and cattle, and did some merchandizing.  The following letter was written by his daughter Phebe to his youngest sibling, Charles Fitzgerald (in Virginia), after his death.  I have the original letter, which I found in his sister Martha's family Bible (which is actually a salesman's sample Bible, and is full of family memorabilia.)


Alturas, Cal.
July 30 – 1905

Dear Uncle Charlie: -

No doubt ‘ere this you have received the card, announcing Bessie’s marriage and we little thought when it started on its way to you that it should so soon be followed by another telling not of a happy union but of a sad parting, but it is so.

Poor papa has gone from us and gone so suddenly that at times it seems it must be some terrible dream.  Bessie was married at noon, leaving for her new home at 4 o’clock, happy of course, but before night had come, all our joy had been turned to sorrow.

The heat had been extreme and papa had suffered from it, complaining of the weakness he felt – still all the week he had kept the store books holding the position for me.  He slept poorly Saturday night – because of the heat and excitement he felt over Bessie’s marriage – but Sunday, save a slight dizziness in the morning he seemed to feel as well as usual and thinking back now I can recall nothing unusual in his talk or manner – there being quite a number of people here.  He talked more than was his custom and largely of his ailments but that was his usual subject of conversation and to us it did not seem strange.

Shortly after five o’clock he ate a dish of ice cream, sat reading a while and then went out to do the evening chores, carried some water and went to the shed to get the grain for the chickens.  In a few moments Baby ran out there for something, saw him, was frightened and came running to me and said there was someone in the wood shed.  I tried to tell her it was some of our folks, for her not to be afraid to go and get what she wanted but she insisted she could not go alone; so I started with her and there I found papa lying cold in death as I knew the instant I saw him.  I ran to him, called him and tried to rouse him and then hurried to the house for help.  But papa was past all help before I reached him the first time.  Dr. said life had gone before he reached the ground, that it was instantaneous and without any suffering.  That is consolation for us and I hope will be for you.

Papa was not under the Dr’s care at the time but he had made a study of the disease and told us we should be prepared for this at any time – but you can know how we felt that it must be, if at all, sometime a long, long way off.  We never suspected the end was so near nor do I think he did tho’ he may have realized it more than we know.

The services were held here at home Monday at 4 o’clock – I wish you could have seen him then, it will always be a pleasant memory to me to know that all the careworn, tired looks pains and suffering had brought was gone and in its place was a faint smile and rest.

I will send you the papers, and try to write more fully another time.  I know you will share our grief with us and may it be lighter to you than it is for us.

Your loving niece

Phebe.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Democratic Messenger Newspaper Clippings 1915-1971 Snow Hill, MD

8/26/15  Mr. and Mrs. C.F. Chandler were summoned to Mappsville, VA this week by the critical illness of her father, Mr. Walsh.

9/15  Mr. and Mrs. C.F. Chandler have returned home from Virginia, where they were summoned by the illness of her father, Mr. William Walsh.  His death occurred on Wednesday of last week at his home in Mappsville, and funeral services were held on Thursday.  Mr. Walsh, who was seventy-four years old, was born in England.  He had been a resident of Accomac County for many years, and was one of the leading and influential men of the county.

11/18/15  Mrs. William Colona, of Newport News, and Miss Maggie Walsh, of Mappsville, have been the guests this week of their sister, Mrs. Carson F. Chandler, and family.

Mr. and Mrs. O.M. Chandler of the Peters farm, had as their guests last Saturday and Sunday, Mrs. N.W. Nock, Mr. and Mrs. J.M. Fosque, and son John Major Jr., of Onancock, Mr. and Mrs. W.N. Mason and son Morris, of Parksley, and Miss Margaret Walsh, of Mappsville, Mrs. W.E. Colona and little son, William, of New Port News, and Mr. and Mrs. C.F. Chandler and son, of Snow Hill.

2/27/15  Mrs. Charles Bloxom of Bloxom, VA. has been the guest this week of her sister, Mrs. Carson F. Chandler.  On Wednesday night several of the friends of Mr. and Mrs. Chandler assembled at their home to observe with them the second anniversary of their son, Master Carson F. Chandler, Jr.

8/21/15  Mr. and Mrs. William Colona of NewPort News and Mr. Thomas Chandler, of Baltimore, have been the guests this week of Mr. and Mrs. C.F. Chandler.  Mr. and Mrs. Chandler took their guests on a fishing trip Wednesday on the bay, and they came home with a string of thirty-five trout.  On Thursday Mr. and Mrs. Colona were summoned to Princess Anne by the death of his sister, Mrs. Morris.  Mr. Thomas Chandler left on Friday for a visit with his father at Bloxom.  He was accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Chandler, who will return Sunday.

2/16/16  Wanted At Once -- To contract with good mill man with mill to saw about 1,000,000 feet of pine timber.  C.F. and O.M. Chandler, Snow Hill.

1916  Mr. and Mrs. John Chandler, of Bloxom, Virginia, have moved to Snow Hill and....taken up their abode in the......residence on Washington Street.  Mr. and Mrs. Chandler are the parents of fellow townsman, Carson F. Chandler, Esq., and of Mr. Oscar Chandler, of Peters farm.  We welcome Mr. and Mrs. Chandler to Snow Hill.

5/13/16  Foxes' Den Near House / Mr. O.M. Chandler, Missing Poultry, Finds Den of Foxes Near His Door. It is not given to every one to have the denizens of the woods come within a few feet of their front door to rear their young, but such was the experience of Mr. O. M. Chandler, who lives on the Peters' farm, on the bay, a few miles from Snow Hill.
Mr. Chandler had frequently missed fowl from his barnyard and poultry house, a setting hen being sometimes taken, sometimes the eggs, and in some instances both hen and eggs would disappear.
At last, one afternoon about two weeks ago he discovered a red fox busily engaged in tearing to pieces and making a meal off of one of his big fat hens.  This gave him a clew to the disappearance of his poultry, and he called on Mr. George Smack, his neighbor, to assist him in hunting down the marauders.  Accordingly, Mr. Smack took his pack of hounds to Peters farm that afternoon.  The hounds easily found the trail, and followed it over devious and winding ways, until it was lost near the house.  They were put on the trail again and again, but on every occasion the dogs lost the trail at or near the same place.  Mr. Smack finally became convinced that the fox had a den somewhere near the barnyard.
A thorough search was made of the premises, with the view to discovering the den of the fox.  With characteristic cunning the foxes had used the ventilator of the old hot bed, crawling through it a distance of nearly 150 feet.  The ventilator, which was boxed, was so narrow that once inside it the fox scarcely had room to turn around, but would have to go forward, or back out.  The end of the ventilator nearest the house was closed, and here, at a distance of about 200 feet from his door, the foxes had burrowed in the ground, and were boldly rearing their young. feeding them on the fat of the land from Mr. Chandler's hen roosts, or from any vantage point they could effect a capture.
The female fox and three cubs were found in the den, and Mr. Smack has them in captivity.  The cubs are thought to be from four to six weeks old.

6/10/16  Between eighty and ninety acres, requiring 250 barrels of seed potatoes, is the acreage that Mr. O.M. Chandler has planted in early white potatoes on the Fairfield Farm..This is probably the largest planting in Worcester County.  Mr. Chandler used seventy five tons of fertilizer on his crop.  He has already mixed 200 pounds of Paris green, and an additional 100 pounds which he has ordered will scarcely meet his requirements for use in  spraying the vines.  Mr. Chandler reports the crop to be in fine condition with prospects good for a big yield.  He expects the tubers to be ready for marketing early in July.

9/16/16  Snow Hill fishermen have had some good sport this week fishing for trout in Sinepuxent Bay by moonlight.  On Wednesday night, messrs. O.M. Chandler, Carson Chandler, W.E. Colona, Walter Walsh and Dr. Riley caught 114 nice trout and they were not very well fixed for bait.  

9/20/16  Mr. Walter Walsh, of New York, who has been on a visit to his sister, Mrs. Chandler, returned home last Wednesday.  He had a thoroughly enjoyable trip.  Mr. Chandler took him around the county and he went a-fishin' several times with good success.

9/1/17  Mr. Carson F. Chandler has purchased a Willys-Knight seven passenger touring car and his brother, Mr. O.M. Chandler, of the Peters Farm, has purchased a seven passenger Oldsmobile.  The Willys-Knight was purchased through Mr. J.H. Perdue, representative of the Overland company, and the Oldsmobile from a Virginia agency,

2/15/19  Partnership Dissolution -- This is to give notice that the partnership heretofore existing between and among the undersigned, under the style and firm name of Gordy & Chandler has this day by mutual consent been dissolved, all the ..... of said partnership having been sold to the undersigned -- Carson F. Chandler -- who in turn has assumed the payments of all the debts and obligations of said partnership.  Given under our hands, this sixth day of February, nineteen hundred and nineteen.  John S. Gordy   Nathan H. Gordy  Levin C. Gordy  Carson F. Chandler.  Witness for all, G. Walter Mapp.

5/17/19  Mr. Carson Chandler decided very suddenly to advertise eight mules for sale, and by giving only one day's notice to the Messenger!  He sold them last Saturday at satisfactory prices, both to owner and purchaser.  C.F. Hill, the auctioneer, did the "crying" to perfection, as he always does.

6/14/19  Children's Day Observed in Snow Hill Churches -- Children's Day at Whatcoat M.E. Church -- Recitation, "The Bells of Summertide," Carson Chandler.