Monthly Archives: October 2018

Searching for a Theme

Sometimes you write a blog without a theme.  It just becomes a jumble of ideas going east or west, north or south.  For today, I borrowed from Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Henry Gabriel.  Thoreau was obviously trying to get free of a potential romantic tryst when he wrote, “I confess that I am lacking a sense, perchance, in this respect,  I  derive no pleasure from talking with a young woman half an hour simply because she has regular features.”  Journal.  I do not really get the point because I spent hours trying to get my wife to talk to me for an equal amount of time and I greatly enjoyed the effort.   I also do  not believe that my wife has “regular features.”  So maybe there is something to his disfavor.

I  noticed on television that Wells Fargo is crediting itself with giving loans at the turn of the century, in the 1906 earthquake in San Francisco, without worrying about credit information, saying that they do it today.  I  have my doubts about that.  And Mr. Gabriel says, “As time passed, and the farmers of the frontier could not liquidate the mortgages on their holdings, they saw in the money lender a dangerous enemy.  “Wall Street” became in the 1880’s a name describing an ogre.”  (American Democratic Thought, Ralph Henry Gabriel, Yale University, The Ronald Press Company of New York).  Current farmers would probably agree with that statement.

I have been working on my book on the History of the Lowell, MA. School System.  I have some new entries.  They are, but are not complete, involving the period in the 1900’s from 1900 to 1930.  The school system was older then.  And the older system did not respond to changes in curriculum and direction as quickly as Theodore Edson’s School Committees did.  Here are some of the listed new changes.

These events happened during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt.  In 1900 they made the District Music Teacher permanent position at $1,200.00 per year for the entire district.  It was a large district so this was quite an accomplishment if the man could actually do the job.  It was also found that the Middlesex Village School, a school I toured as a college student, needed more rooms.    The school was torn down in the 1980’s.  They referred  this action to the Committee on Teachers to see if they could afford the upgrade.  It was deemed necessary by the district.

A student overflow went into the “jewel’ at the Varnum School in Centralville.  Lowell High School was too small for its student population and its 1893 building would be supplemented by building its 1922 building on that schedule.

The Committee on Teachers was  pretty busy.  It was given the power to take disciplinary action to deal with 262 cases of teacher tardinesses.  Going back a bit, on 2/24/96 School Committeeman Mulligan was late for the February meeting and they had to wait for him.  In the meantime, 200 Greek citizens and 30 French girls asked for the Massachusetts Evening School to be extended by one month.  The request does not say why but the request “could not be granted.”

On March 5, 1896, Mr. Greenhalge, who had given so much of himself to the school district, was honored as a School Committee member, State Representative, Mayor of the Strong Mayor type, Congressman, and Governor of the State of Massachusetts.  That made two members of the early class Governors of the State.  The other was the unpopular Benjamin Butler.  Mr. Greenhalge was remembered in the Minutes and a new school was named for him.  The School Committee sent a message to the family.   It said, “To the family of the deceased we extend our heartfelt sympathy.”  On 3/5/1896 they voted to attend the funeral as a School Committee.  It kind of resembles the passing of Mrs. Kathryn Stoklosa, who was warmly remembered at the time of her passing.

The Carney Medals were given to the people listed below:

James Bruce Gilman, Guy Henry Richardson, Horace Roswell Edwards, Sally Ardelle Burgess, Bertha Monroe Allen, and Olivia Catherine Mahoney.  All received the award which cited the efforts of the woman in the graduating class.  This was at a time when no woman could vote, or exercise what we might call “citizenship activities.”  The rules were laid down by the Donor of the Medal Fund.

The school district contained 13,419 children between five and fifteen years of age.  There were 3,048 students in the rest of the district, including the high school.  Two parents were in the Police Court for “failure to educate your children.”

In addition, the School Committee handled the U.S. Census  for 1900.  Dr. Kelley was Superintendent.  Fishers was reintroduced and accepted.

So, this is where the school department was coming from in 1900.  The schools were active, and new.  The jewels of the system included the Bartlett, Moody, Varnum, and Butler schools.  Next time we will discuss other schools built in this time period like the Aiken Avenue School.

Meanderings for 10/01/18

Sometimes I  believe that it is amazing how much I have changed over the years.  When I was eighteen I put into my lexicon, not knowing that Mark Twain had done the same, the idea that I once knew the answers to all of earth’s answers, but at my current age of sixty four I did not know the questions anymore.  That still holds true, evenmoreso because I continually learn more information and the questions are not so obvious.  I believed, at eighteen, that the United States had one language, that being English.  I did not pay attention to all of the other languages spoken in the United States.  Just a couple or a few of those were Spanish, French, Greek, Farsi, and the languages my direct ancestors spoke.  I know now that the English part is somewhat picayune.  Hordes of people, some who are immigrants, and some, like those from Puerto Rico (Teddy Roosevelt called it Porto Rico), were United States citizens.  It amazes me how unfavorably we view Hispanic American citizens,  after all, Desi Arnaz, Lucy’s husband, spoke with a marked accent.

Now, over the course of the past few years, I have had cancer.  One of the types I had was nonHodgekins Lymphoma, the type that incapacitated by brother-in-law, Paul Tsongas.  I have also had colon cancer, and skin cancer.   I have undergone an incredible amount of chemotherapy, surgery, and even spraying my skin with liquid nitrogen to remove the skin cancer.  That was the easiest one.  Discussing my health is not a movement to me.  It is just something that I have had.  It probably is not what is going to kill me, I give that to my tendency to use warfarin to maintain control of my body’s general capacity to make fatty deposits in my blood cells, giving rise to pulmonary embolisms, what my EMT son calls “widow-makers.”

I suffered from severe depression and other psychiatric diseases.  I do not belong to any society’s that juxtaposition myself to fit into groups that study my many mental diseases.  So  cannot complain that I am manic-depressive or bipolar.  I cannot complain even about my Parkinsons.  I have it but it is under control.   In the case of the cancer, it is just cancer.  I know about it and lend myself to the people who will extricate it from me, I hope.  In the case of the pulmonary embolisms, I have had five of them, and that is the scariest thing that is currently coursing through me.  You would rather not have it, but it is part of my make up and I have to learn to deal with it.  While you cannot complain, maybe this blog is my way of doing so.  If so, more power to me.

Overall, my life is very good.  A cancer that starts with the prefix “non” as in is not, cannot be good.  But I try to deal with it.  Paul died of its complications over twenty years ago, but not until he had served in the United States Congress, the U.S. Senate, and a run for the Presidency.  Paul missed so much.  He never saw the Red Sox win the World Series, and he never met his grandchildren.  He has three.  He would have loved them.  As part of my life being good, I try not to discuss my illnesses, but I finally wanted to discuss them.  Thus you have this piece of prose.

Anyway, life is unbelievable.  When I think back on my childhood, I cannot believe that I was born in Iowa in a small town, only to be living in a mid-size city now.  I would never have guessed that the U.S. Senate had a small subway connecting the various Senate buildings, or that the Security Guards learned the identity of the newly elected Senators immediately after their election.  But they do.  Or that I could get my brother-in-law to visit Dyersville, Iowa, the home of the “Field of Dreams.”  “Is this heaven?” asks an actor, “No it’s Iowa” states Kevin Costner.  “It seems like heaven.” the actor responds,  It was a neat thing,  getting Paul Tsongas to go to Iowa just to see the Field of Dreams.

So where am I going with this?  Well not far.  I have talked about some of my illnesses but left out the big ones.  That conversation would be boring and between God and I, I think.  I have five different diseases that could have killed my years ago, but I seldomly think of them.  They have no business in me.  I guess I am just meandering, hence the title.  I once had a lethal blood disease but beat it.  It could have easily killed me but for some God-known reason it did not.  After that one my wife told me I have an angel on my shoulder.  That may explain my luck.

I have heart disease with the inevitable “heart attack.”  Another heart disease that was supposed to kill me was cardiomyopathy.  That was supposed to render my heart  useless after five years,  I ignored that one too.  The heart attack was interesting in that my cardiovascular doctors met me in the hospital room and prescribed me an aspirin a day,  But not the 84 miligram one, the 300 plus miligram one.  They felt that one would provide more protection.

Well, I never know where my meanderings are going to place me.  I told more about myself than I ever thought I would.  Sorry for any inconvenience I might have caused.  See you next time.