Dreams Into Stories

Like most people, I assume, I have had many night-time dreams which seemed so real that I awoke with strong impressions. It has been my thought that, if I could hold them in memory long enough, I could write them into stories.

Then, I remember “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber, written in 1939. No, I am not nearly that old, but the book was around in my high school years when I checked the book out from the school library.

It was first collected in his book My World and Welcome to It (Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1942).

It has later reprinted in James Thurber: Writings and Drawings (The Library of America, 1996, ISBN 1-883011-22-1),

It is one of the most anthologized short stories in American literature.

The story is considered one of Thurber’s “acknowledged masterpieces”.

It was made into a 1947 movie of the same name.  Danny Kaye played the title role

Like many books turned into movies, the movie is very different from the original story. In a 2013 film, it is very different from the original.

The name Walter Mitty  appears as “Mittyesqu”, in the English language. It refers to an ineffectual person who spends more time in heroic daydreams escaping the real world. Another definition is one who intentionally pretends he is something he isn’t.

So, could a writer take night-time dreams and turn them into a story? Could they possibly succeed as well and Mitty’s works?

Here goes:

I have no idea what created this dream. I do not remember any discussion in my high school language arts classroom that fed my imagination. Perhaps there was something in the news about someone held captive south of the border. However….

I found myself in Mexico south of the Arizona border. I didn’t speak the Spanish language which did nothing to increase my feelings of safety. In fact, I was hiding, on the run, sneaking into abandoned buildings. I ran through dark alleys, worrying about voices that meant danger.

Suddenly, of course, one of my students appeared around a corner. He spoke Spanish, of course. With pieces missing in my dream, he rescued me from the bad guys and I awoke.

Dreams into stories, anyone?

MyraSaidIt

Theodore Roosevelt

I just finished a very thick book by Edmund Morris. It is a 940 page biography The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. I tried to give up on it and stop reading many times, but the book kept beckoning me back. He had such a compelling story, I simply kept returning and reading more, until I reached the end. I am glad I did.

I learned a lot about the man and the early history of the United States. I had forgotten all I read about the Rough Riders in high school history so long ago. I didn’t remember his involvement with helping Cuba gain their freedom from Spain. Roosevelt led them in the battle with decisions that were not easy.

It is too bad they were given freedom and then gave it away. Look at Cuba’s condition now.

Roosevelt was a prolific reader and writer.

His health as a child was very poor but determination did a lot to change that. He loved everything about the natural world and history and more. His love of the outdoors led him to make crazy investments in a ranch and cattle. He struggled through all kinds of weather and financial upheavals. He was a real cowboy. He was also a hunter of all kinds of game, small to big. He hired a guide to escort him. The outdoor life is surely what rescued his health.

He loved a woman who had no interest in him. Like everything else he went after, he refused to give up. Eventually, he won her heart. He lost Alice in the birth of their only child, a daughter. He was heart-broken, but his drive kept him moving ahead. He left baby Lee  in the care of Bamie, his 30year old unmarried sister.

Roosevelt went into near-seclusion. His heartbreak included the loss of his mother. He put their memories in the back of his mind and refused to talk about them.

Eventually, he reunited his friendship with Edith and that led to a second marriage. That nearly caused another broken heart, that of his sister Bamie. He and his new wife claimed his daughter.

In politics as a young man, he drove everyone crazy. He was very forceful and commanded attention every time he opened his mouth. His personality grated on everyone’s nerves. He was either loved or hated, with no middle ground. He knew what he wanted and he expected to get it. He had no tolerance for dishonesty and wasn’t afraid to stand up for what he believed in.

He became the vice president to McKinley without choosing to do so. He wanted to remain the Governor of New York.  He did dream of being the US president, some day.

That someday came much sooner than he expected. His formal services as VP lasted exactly four days, from March 4th to March 8th, 1901. The senate adjourned until December and Roosevelt left town for the summer.

On Friday September 9, 1901, McKinley attended a luncheon of the Vermont Fish and Game League on Isle La Motte in Lake Champlain.

The president was shot! By Sept 10th. he seemed to he recovering completely.

Vice-President left that afternoon for a short vacation in the Adirondacks with his family waiting at a mountain cabin. All appeared to be well until……

Friday 13, 1901, at 1:25 PM, as Roosevelt sat eating sandwiched when he saw a ranger approaching, running with a yellow telegram in his hand. Instinctively, he “knew what message the man was bringing.”

 

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So, what is it about Friday the 13th?  Was it an unlucky day for both President McKinley and the Vice-president?  Was it a lucky day for Roosevelt because he got his dream, just a few years early.

Was it a lucky or unlucky day for the United States? I suppose it depends upon what the American citizens. Those who disliked either one would have their opinions and those who liked either one would have a differing opinion, as so it goes down through the history of the country. Look at the battle we have had in recent and now in the continuing years.

It’s All About Attitude

 

I met a lady yesterday. She is the same lady I met 20 years ago.  But, she’s not the same lady I met 20 years ago.

I hope I have your attention.

I’ll call her Susie-Q because that sounds like a cheerful, happy, upbeat kind of lady, which she is.  That’s not because she has no challenges, no worries, no troubles.

Her lot in life would be enough to put many people into depression, deep depression, but not Susie-Q. Let me tell you about her and the many things that she will not let control her attitude.

She probably would not read this post because she is not able to read the second sentence without forgetting the first sentence. This means she cannot enjoy reading as a way to get though her difficult days.

Visiting can be a challenge because there is a speaking issue. Her thoughts do not match her spoken words. They are a phrase apart. She often wonders what she just said.

She cannot do stitchery because her left hand cannot grip a hoop. She cannot sit up straight without being propped.

She does not take herself shopping because her left hand cannot grip a steering wheel. And, her left less-mobile leg would interfere with putting her right her foot on a brake to stop at red lights and stop signs. And, she could not even climb into a vehicle.

She didn’t need to shop for an Easter dress, because she couldn’t get dressed up to go to church anyway.

The dress doesn’t matter. She cannot remember any of the clothes hanging in her closet so they all look new to her. Wouldn’t most husbands wish for that forgetfulness in their wives? Susie-Q can just go shopping in her closet.

Susie-Q is stuck in a 12ft x 12ft room, assisted-living facility, with the TV for company, where she expects to be always. She can manipulate her body to get into the wheelchair at her bedside and wheel down to a large, theater-size room filled with recliners to join other people in similar situations and watch TV with them.

She is younger than the whole group because her troubles hit her at a much younger age. She has teenage children. They have teenage grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Her husband, an alcoholic, played some really mean tricks  which left her destitute and separated her from the children and caused them to blame her many months for things that did not exist. I will not describe this in detail. I’ll leave this to your imagination. No, he did not beat her up physically. He did not even directly verbally abuse her. But she has no support from him in her current ordeal.

Now, I suppose you want to know what else put her into this situation.

First, she has a heart condition which forces her to be careful of everything. Stress can be an issue.

Second, the biggie, was at least one massive stroke. It destroyed the muscles in her left side which twisted her spine. Her spine now presses on all her internal organs. Her left arm and leg are mainly limp.  Simply put, this caused all the things described above except her x-husbands choices. He did those things because he is addicted to alcohol, which is another story.

Back to Susie-Q. During the hour my husband and I visited with her, she said not one complaining word. There was no “Oh, woe with me” comments. There was even no criticism of her, now former husband. It was just a ‘this is how it was’ statements of fact.

She had no frown on her face. She was all smiles and tiny laughter. She spoke words of gratitude. Gratitude for her blessings in the form of helping friends who rescued her when she collapsed from the stroke. Gratitude for a case worker she finally got after dozens of phone calls to different government offices asking for help. Gratitude for the lovely assisted living facility she now calls home. She chuckled about the tiny resident dog who protects her and others. (She described many undesirable facilities she saw during her work as a nurse.) Gratitude for love from her family and Heavenly Father. Gratitude for peace given her though prayer.

Susie-Q said she could not undo what has happened, but she “can choose to be happy, to have joy”.

I thought we went there to cheer her up. She didn’t need that. We left uplifted by a lovely lady. What more needs to be said?

As for this story, Myra Said It

Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

I recently began reading The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris. I am amazed by how interesting it is. There are 780 pages which include an epilogue. I took a peek at the last line of the epilogue and it made me want to read every word in those 780 pages, if I had not already decided that.

I do not remember any school history book telling me about his marvelous mind, education and multiple health challenges. I’ve learned much and I have only reached chapter two.

He is described as a man unconcerned with the constitution, but I find that hard to believe so far. It will be interesting to see how the biographer backs up that statement. He came from a patriotic family.

This biography begins with his ancestors, parents, siblings. It leads the reader to understand the makings of this man.

He supported the cause of the North during the Civil War even though his wife was from the South and led their children to support the southern cause.

He was responsible for a congressional bill which encouraged soldiers to send most of their paychecks home to their families.

Included are 140 more pages filled with acknowledgements , bibliography, notes, and index. Those pages will get cursory attention.

I posted this on Goodreads History because I want more people to know about this great book, a Pulitzer Prize winner, published back in 2001.

If I pass this book on to other readers, it will be with the requirement that it is returned to me. I consider it to be a keeper.

I suggest interested folks search Amazon and eBay for a copy.

Blizzard

And I am not talking about tasty treat.

It’s all about a weather blizzard and what to do if you are stuck in one. Watch the weather forecast and when you are warned heavy snow and high winds, it is hibernation time, not travelling time. You should have a tank of gas, though, because emergencies do not wait for sunshine.

And, for goodness sakes, don’t lose your keys or lock them inside your vehicle or house with you on the outside. My husband, the locksmith, is out right now on a rescue mission. In a blizzard. You guessed it. This topic entered my mind because I am hibernating.

So what will you do while you hibernate?

First, get prepared, of course. You knew that. It’s time to stock up on crackers and cheese, soup, water and juice, chips and salsa. cans of fruit with pop tops. sandwich fixings. Think easy to prepare.

Do you have a manual can opener? Supplies for the grill? Aluminum foil? Paper plates, etc.?

Books, oh yeah.  And magazines. Flashlights in case the power goes off. Plenty of blankets to cozy-up in.

Fabric scraps for a project, maybe one that uses finger sewing.

Is the iPhone charged. It’s a good time to visit with family and friends without feeling guilty.

My clock just reminded me to add battery powered clock and……a radio to my post. It reminded me what time it is. It has been dark for so many hours I lost track of the time. That explains why my eyes are crying for sleep.

I hope you’ll be ready when a blizzard comes to your house.

Have you heard the story about the new hired hand?

A man appeared at the farmer’s door to inquire about possible work. The farmer told him he did need a handy man who could help with repairs on the barn, fences, etc. and a man who could tend the animals. He asked the man, “why should I hire you”?

The answer was, “I can sleep when the wind blows.”

The farmer was puzzled by that response, but decided to give the man a try. He gave him a bunk in a separate section of the barn, fed him supper and said goodnight.

For a few days, the hired hand worked about the farm and the farmer was pleased.

In the middle of the night the wind became fierce and rattled the windows. Unexpected rain poured down. The farmer grabbed his hat and coat and dashed out into the storm and ran to the hired man’s door yelling, “Wake up. The cows need to be bought inside.”

The hired hand casually reassured the boss all was well. “I told you I could sleep when the wind blows. I watched the forecast and the cows are already inside the barn.”

Goodnight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illuminata by Marianne Williamson

Thoughts, Prayers, Rites of Passage
 A five star book.  Read how I came to this conclusion.
  I’m not into what is considered metaphysics and spirituality and the author is a well-known lecturer on those topics. Also, this book is describes as a compilation of contemporary prayers and medications. I’m also not into prayers to memorize in place of creating personal prayers as the time and need dictates.
First of all, the title reminded me too much of a similar word “Illuminati” referring to a global elite society that is either in control of the world or is seeking to take control.
 My husband saw this book and bought it for me, bookworm that I am! So, I decided I should give the book a chance. Instead of reading the prayers as prayers, I read them as poetry, expressing thoughts and dreams and wishes.
 I especially appreciate the one on page 95-96 because, whatever our circumstances, we all  feel a need sometimes to evaluate and start over. This one expresses this sentiment. She wrote verses that describe a person who feels a burden too big to carry. It includes a do-it-yourself for recognizing regrets and failures done and not done and the turning of one’s life over to God. Then there is the desire to improve those weaknesses.
  The prayers that I read as poems could encourage a reader to apply the words to personal needs and to turn to our Father in Heaven more often.
  I like what she said, “Read my prayers or someone else’s. By all means, create your own.” I can handle that. I encourage others in this time of turmoil to consider that. If someone decides to read this book, perhaps it might lead more people to do that.
 There are religious viewpoints that I do not share, but that is ok. I was able to appreciate the points that I can accept.
After my negative impressions were erased, I can recommend the reading of this book.

Marathon – to be continued

 

via Daily Prompt: Marathon

This is a perfect word to describe the race I run every day between employment, house and family, and writing, never mind having time to read a book just for fun. And, exercise is a challenge, such a challenge that it is easy to put on the back burner.

Imagine trying to exercise while you stir oatmeal cooking on the stove. I think I will turn this handy word – marathon into a to-be-continued story.  Here goes:

Mom’s Marathon

  Mom dragged herself out of bed at the sound of the birdsong alarm that failed to bring a cheerful greeting for the day. The to-do list prepared the previous night would fill the day, with left-overs. Bummer! Half-asleep she made her way to the bathroom for a quick face wash and nasty mouth recovery.

Why did her daily marathon always begin an hour earlier than those sleepyheads snoring in their rooms? What would happen if she ignored that birdcall and let her night last another hour? She decided that list could wait since it wouldn’t get finished anyway. Dare she really do it?

Smothering a silly giggle, she made up her mind. She put a sticky note on the refrigerator, “Mom’s sleeping in, the rest is up to you”.

She gulped down a refreshing drink of water from the refrigerator dispenser and tip-toed back to the bedroom. Thank goodness for twin beds; this would be easier. She crawled under the covers and tucked in her ears. With a sigh and a smile, she closed her eyes and fell fast asleep.

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It’s your turn?  What happened next? Send your ideas about what you think should happen next and I will turn it into the next segment.

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Marthon – continued.    Part two

While all was quiet in the house, except for the soothing sounds from the cuckoo clock, tick tock, in the living room, and the mantle clock, tick tick tick, in the family room Mr. Sandman came and gently touched the cheek of Mother. And the years passed by in a flash!

Mother sat in her rocking chair, rocking back and forth. She watched the hands on the mantle clock and the time seemed to creep slowly. She and Grandpa were waiting for the children and grand-children to arrive to share Thanksgiving feast. This year Grandma did not have to cook anything. The girls were taking care of that. It had not been easy to convince her that she could take it easy. Her To-Do list had been gently removed from her hand when Grandpa reminded her the children had been taught well and she could leave the dinner preparations in the younger generation’s capable hands.

Finally, the kitchen door opened and a rush of air blew in with all the family racing to be first with a hug for Grandma. After the hugs and kisses the older grandkids returned to their vehicles and hauled in the goodies. In minutes, quick as a flash, the table and counters were covered with aromatic foods, enough to feed an army.

What was that, bakery labels on the desserts, store labels on the dressing and salad cartons? Humm.  Well, at least the turkey appeared to be in a roasting pan. Grandma was dying for answers to the questions rushing around in her head. She looked at Grandpa, but he seemed not to notice anything strange. She would have to wait – no sense in disturbing the excitement. Everyone was talking at once.

The table was extended and set with the China. Lovely napkins and real silverware were quickly in place. Holiday glasses were filled with water. All was ready. Dinner was served.

The chatter stopped when the blessing was said. Everyone was content, grateful for such delicious food, but most of all, just for being together.

Left-overs were covered or placed in take-home boxes or placed in the refrigerator for Grandpa and Grandma. Everyone’s help made short work of the task.

The satisfied cousins moaned their way with stuffed tummies,but recharged for playing games on the back deck.

Now it was time for the older bunch to relax in the family room. The conversation gave Grandma the answers she had waited for for hours, it seemed. A few of the younger kids had wandered back inside while they waited for a turn with the fooz ball game. Ellie started telling Grandma about all the fun they had planning the meal and about the games and activities their family had enjoyed during their break from school.

Hmmm, Grandma thought” No cooking!? I see.” Ellie’s Mother noticed Grandma’s puzzled expression and quickly added, “We decided that our families would rather enjoy the kids’ vacation time doing things besides exhausting ourselves in the kitchen. We divided the menu and each of our families took an item and went to the store together to make their purchases. The children helped decide what to buy for their assignment.”

“That left us time to go to the park, the movies and just play games in the back yard.”

“That explains it, Grandma said. “But what about the turkey?” Ellie responded, “Dad took it to the church and it got roasted in a hole in the ground! Don’t you think that was smart, Grandma?” Someone called her to take a turn with fooz ball, so out the door she went.

Marie, Ellie’s Mom and Grandma’s oldest child, began talking about memories of when she and her brother and sister were that age.  “Mom, I’ll never forget the day you slept in. The family woke up with no smells of breakfast cooking. There was this little note on the refrigerator door. Dad read it and announced, “Well kids, I guess breakfast is up to us.”

“Since we had to hurry really quick,  someone grabbed the milk. Someone grabbed the boxes of cold cereal. Someone else brought bowls and spoons to the table. Someone made toast. We ate in a hurry and even cleaned up our mess so you wouldn’t have to do it. But we left out the cereal and a bowl and spoon for you on the table.”

“Jay sneaked quietly in your room and in the dim light ‘stole’ your to-do list. He knew where to find it! He said, “I hated those lists. You never had ‘spend time with kids’ on them.”

“Look at the clock,” someone yelled. The door opened and closed each time someone left, Dad to his car, Jean to the bus and Marie and Jay down the sidewalk.

Mother rolled over in bed and rubbed her nose and then her eyes as she tried to focus on the clock.

In the kitchen, she noticed one bowl, one spoon and boxes of opened cereal on the table.  Not a dirty anything was in site, but there was still a note on the refrigerator. It had more than her words on it. It said, “We love you Mom. Get some rest. BTW: look at your To-do list.” In Jay’s left-handed writing were added the words, “Take time for kids.”

Then, Mother was fully awake! She remembered that dream. It was more than a dream.

It was truly a ‘wake-up’ call!

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I am afraid I a guilty of creating a multitude of To-Do lists. It is a habit, or an addiction! But I must say, the items on my lists have changed over the years to include more IMPORTANT things.

This second portion , “part two” was the inspiration of Z. M. Jensen in which she referenced the Christmas Carol as a corresponding thought.

What next, readers?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Native American Female Doctor

This is a good book: interesting, simply written. It contains no fluff and unneeded description, just straightforward writing about a remarkable selfless lady of the Omaha Tribe in Omaha NE. It is very educational but clearly written. A youth could learn from her story. As Omaha Tribe Historian, Dennis Hastings stated, “It needs no embellishments”.
 She was the first Native American woman to graduate from medical school. I expected to read about racial challenges, but there were none.  Instead she had total acceptance and support from many white people. She made many friends who helped her experience the social ways of white people. She took what she learned to improve the lifestyles of her own people, which were not always accepted by them
 One interesting college experience describes her experience watching surgery. All the women students were in a balcony position with the male students in a circle below. This was apparently a “protection” for the ladies where expected to faint during the procedure if they got too close to the demonstration. That was rather silly since they had had weeks of experience working with bodies. Immediately after the first cut on the cadaver there was a thud on the floor. It was a male student who fainted and had to be carried out on a stretcher.
 After graduation from medical school she immediately returned home to become the only doctor for her people. They loved her and preferred to use her help over that of the government assigned white doctor whom they saw as uncaring.
She ruined her own health in her efforts to help her people with their health issues as she traveled across the reservation to tend the sick in extreme weather conditions for very long days. She had to temporarily give up her work until she had help from two other doctors.
There are many black and white pictures which add information. My copy of the book is in large-print which assists a reader with weak vision.

Family History

Family history is also called genealogy. There is one big difference between them. Family history is genealogy plus stories which makes the project much more interesting. Genealogy is basically names, dates, and places. Information is usually recorded on family group sheets and pedigree charts. Wikipedia has a good article on the subject. FamilySearch.org is a great resource for information. There are many others as well.

According to USA Today, genealogy is the second most popular hobby in the United States. I don’t know what I expected the second to be, but they said it is gardening. That puts genealogy as the second most visited category on the internet. Imagine that. Has it become an empty nesters hobby? Perhaps empty nesters also enjoy gardening even if only for flowers.

I prefer family history which makes those ancestors of mine “live” in my heart. Part of the information often ignored in the past concerns financial circumstances. Have you noticed employment information? Property ownership/value or rental? Education level? Have you searched for deeds? What about burial records?

I have also begun investigating what was happening in the world around them during their day

I invite my visitors to visit my website myralarsen.com and read an article I posted on this topic. I do not wish to summarize it here and it will be much better if those interested will read it there.

In case you do not have time to visit today, I wrote some about my search for cousins who are also descendants of my great-grandfather Shadaway. Make a note to visit this week.

Therefore, I have a family history challenge for my visitors, try it – you’ll like it. Like my posts and share. We just might make it the number one hobby in the U.S. Spread the word.

BTW: I am trying to keep up with my other goals of posting on my website every Saturday and my blog every Monday. Maybe I got that backwards. However, this time, one was late and one is early! Oh well, at least they are both accomplished. How are you doing?