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Thursday, January 27, 2011

The History of the Hot School Lunch Grit City Style

Tacomans, did you know that in 1914 Franklin and Lowell Elementary Schools became the first schools to offer hot lunches? Each school's PTA provided the lunches. And did you know that just two years later, PTAs had established lunchrooms in most local schools. 

 Look how far the lunchroom has come since 1914!
To learn more fascinating Tacoma school and PTA history, join the 100th year celebration of Tacoma's PTA on February 17th. Get the details right HERE.

I Didn't Sleep At All Last Night

Should I choose to be glad, sad, or mad? My quiet night appeared to be welcoming me Wednesday evening after I had moved miraculosly through a demanding day as a hospital chaplain St. Joseph's Hospital in Tacoma and an emotionally uplifting evening with adults who are considering joining the Catholic Church at St. Leo's Catholic Church in Tacoma.
At the hospital I listened to, prayed with, teased, and encouraged patients to recognize that God loves each one of them. At the church I did the same. Same message, different folks and different situations.

Came home, fumbled around my rooms for a while and finally got back to reading Walter Mosley's wonderful novel, The Right MistakeI started reading the novel (269 pages the day before). The love story I read filled me with great joy... the hero's relationship with the heroine (Socrates meets Luna, Socrates loses Luna...) left me so very thankful that Walter Mosley could so quickly help me fall head over heels in love with the two characters, be moved up and down and around by the various ways the characters in the story treated my two loved ones, and by Mr. Mosley's wonderful way of saying, "And then... 'Come on now!' The story gets better... and then, and then, and then")

There I was last weary Wednesday evening... and I did put the book down at 11 pm, slept for an hour, and then tossed and turned for fifteen minutes, gave up, and went back to the book.
And Mr. Walter Mosley played me like I was a yo-yo. Now up, now down, now round and round... hoping the best for Socrates and Luna, while sadly suspecting that the final news would be bad news.

Book finished... and I tossed and turned, ruminating and being further illuminated until three thirty in the morning. I think I slept till six... I shall never know...

But I am back on Walter Mosley's block seriously and I ain't gonna be leaving for a long time.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Paul Robeson... A Person Who Changed Me Forever

When I get up every morning, I get out of bed, go to my comfortable chair in my study room, pick up my friend, Daryl Grigsby's wonderful book IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS, which contains "Inspirational Reflections on Black History for Every Day of the Year." Inspiring? It gets my blood warmed up and moving through my brain in very healthy ways!!
Sunday, January 23. I was delighted to see that the human being Mr. Grigsby focused on Sunday was Paul Robeson.I never met Mr. Robeson. I discovered him in

My intellectual world had fallen apart following the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, and at the ripe old age of twenty-nine I was working through some very tough questions: who am I, why am I here, what should I do with my life. Put another way, I needed help to understand how I could honestly chose to be a loving human being when Dr. King, who chose to be a loving servant of others, had been cruelly murdered.

I walked downtown to the Berkeley Public Library, started thumbing my way through the record collection there, saw this record with a picture of Paul Robeson on the front cover, and (thank God) took that record home, and, for the next seven days, played it over and over again.

Mr. Robeson touched my soul... calming me, enlightening me, encouraging me, and my very long journey where I was choosing to become a Black man, who thought deeply, spoke sincerely, and loved loyally, began.

Let me present a few lines from Grigsby' work: "Robeson astonished viewers with his talent. Yet it was his deep love for humanity, his unquenchable search for justice and his lifetime fight for human solidarity that set him apart."

On my dying day I shall still be trying to become a thoughtful, sincere, and loyal human being. But this wonderful man, Paul Robeson, took my hand and set me on the right path.

Please enjoy Mr. Paul Robeson's wonderful rendition, of the Freedom spiritual: Go Down Moses... "Go down, Moses, way down to Egypt land. Tell old Pharoah to let mey people go."

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gritty Tacoma Fashion

The best t-shirt in town, sold at Sonya's Clothing to Live In in the Old Bridge Neighborhood of Tacoma.
The shirts are available in multiple styles and colors. My fave right now? I picked up a hot pink cami that I wear as a night shirt! 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tacoma PTA Offers Firsts in Tacoma History

Here is a photo from the early days of Tacoma schools and just one of the many efforts of Tacoma PTA. Here is one of the first health screenings offered at schools back in the 1920's: 

Learn about this and much more at the 100th year birthday party for Tacoma PTA on February 17th. Details? Easy! Just click HERE and mark your calendars! 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Upcoming Family Activity At Seattle's Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience Links A Bit Of History With Active Imaginations

Above: New Year's "Nengajo" created by Mizu Sugimura, copyright 2011.

While New Year's parties in most Puget Sound basin households have come and gone, there's still time to prepare for the advent of the Asian lunar calendar which welcomes in "2011 -The Year of the Rabbit" on February 3. Families and guests visiting Seattle's Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience on Saturday, January 15 can join in the celebration by making traditional Japanese "nengajo" or New Year's postcard greetings from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. in the Community Hall.

The free family oriented art activity will be led by Federal Way artist Mizu Sugimura, a third-generation American of Japanese descent whose grandparents exchanged nengajo with relatives they left behind in their native land after immigrating to the United States shortly after the advent of the 20th century.

In days of yore Sugimura shares, correspondence with family living beyond the Pacific Ocean was at most sporadic. In some cases, no messages were ever received. Also, many immigrants who were for the most part often single men with no families of their own, independent and hungry for jobs moved often leaving no forwarding addresses to the consternation of parents and siblings hungry for news.

The annual exchange of New Years greetings by postcard begun in the first years of postal service in Japan, was a perfect reminder for "immigrant workers to send not only their good wishes at the dawn of a new year" but communicate as well a second more important message: "I am still alive."

Sugimura likens these early postcards as kind of a pioneer era form of Twitter, an observation which may tickle the creative imagination of audiences who have been heretofore unable to make the study of family history or any history ring familiar with their younger family offspring.

She also hopes to share yet another idea with her audiences in this era of cost-cutting, downsizing and economic reduction that: "Ideas are free." The Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience is located at 719 South King Street in the heart of Seattle's International District. For more information including hours and directions click here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Beginning

I looked at my watch Monday evening. "8 o'clock," I said, "my ride has been waiting for fifteen minutes." I gave one of the facillitators a goodbye hug, and quickly headed for the front door. Ride was there, and, ten minutes later, I was home.

Why late? I had been moved by the last session of our Journey to Freedom Group.
We had a chance to share our plan for continuing to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually. Then we got feedback...affirmations and words of encouragement. We laughed and cried and ate had tasty tidbits and prayer. Each person in the group has a special place with me.

The feedback I received was very, very helpful. I had expected that I would be sad to see our eight week sessions end.

Our two facillitators (one man, one woman) were wonderful.
our book, Journey To Freedom insightful.

And I knew that, with the support of people in the group I would continue to become a serene and loving person.

Here's a New Year's Gift for you I would suggest: contact one of the Pierce County Y's... found out when the next group sessions using Scott Reall's Journey for Freedom will begin. (A Men's support group at the Morgan Family Y using that book will be starting at the Y in a few weeks.)

Other groups using Scott Reall's books will be available also... all focusing on people helping each other to become happier and healthier human beings.

I really enjoyed my group. I am sure there are many enjoyable moments waiting for you, my friends, at the YMCA.