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Cholera Again and other Government Inefficiencies

In 1892 the Lowell Sun newspaper discussed the cholera problem.  They mistakenly thought that cholera was a virus, not a bacterial infection.  They reported that there were cases of cholera in the medical journals of the day, and that one case had been removed to the hospital.  They used that information to state that “This is considered to be a direct admission that the case is one of genuine cholera.” (Sun, September 20,  1892)  If they did not think that it was a genuine case, I guess they would have stated that fact.

Progress, says one man I admire, “moves at the speed of government.”  That is not lightening speed.  It is not even turtle speed.  It is virtually a ‘stuck in the mud’ speed.  Cholera would eventually kill many in Lowell who drank directly from the Merrimack and Concord Rivers.  Water was not processed then.  It is now.  The people, who carried no live illness that could be transmitted to another, drank whatever was in the water of the Merrimack.  This was at a time when the mill water was mixed with cloth dyes and transferred to the main current of the river.  In Lowell, the threat of cholera resulted in the realization that you would be drinking feces and urine with your water.  Police from the state were sent upstream from Lowell to the New Hampshire border and the discovered and shut down a welding operation which allowed employees to urinate into the direct flow of the Merrimack River.  Yes, they could culminate in adding their feces to the river water.  The doctors at Lowell General were given to warning people about drinking the water, and it was eventually purified, but it took some time before that happened.

I was enjoying a brief history of the Electoral College system in a book today.   I recently wanted to test my hypothesis that we knew what the Founding Fathers wanted in the Constitution because James Madison took prolific notes on the formation of the Constitution.  To find out what Madison thought, we only needed to read his notes on the forming of the document.  It worked.  I read a book entitled “Miracle in Philadelphia, the Formation of the U.S. Constitution.”   I recently finished the book.  There was a great deal of drudgery, and a great deal of knowledge in that original document.  If it had been up to some states like my own, Massachusetts, we would never have had a Constitution.  But, fortunately, little Delaware saw the handwriting on the wall and became the first state to join the Union.  The other states came in as soon as their legislatures allowed.  It was not a pretty sight, but it worked and the document was published, heckled, and pored over.  So, when I think of that man’s admonition, “It moves at the speed of government,” I have a better understanding as to how much speed he is referring to, and how fast or slow it progresses.

Government can move fairly quickly.  In his book, “Political Man,” Seymour Martin Lipset says “When a nation faces a crisis-major changes in its social, economic, or political system or in its international position-the electorate as a whole takes a greater interest in politics.” (Political Man,  The Social Bases of Politics).  Between 1876 and 1906 in France, the universities charted the course of voting trends to see if there was in fact a stronger current working its way towards progress.  They felt that there was.

In “The History of the American People,” Anthony Scott noted that the Emancipation Proclamation fulfilled its goal.  It kept the Europeans out of the war and allowed the Union to prevail.  Specifically, it stated that “From now on the Civil War was a war to end slavery.”  (The History of the American People)  “So great was the feeling of Europe against slavery that no European government, least of all the British, would dare help the South.” (ibid.)  Lincoln managed to keep the lions at bay by making the war about slavery, when he had looked upon it as being about the fate of the Union.  Slavery, Lincoln learned, was a much more strong pull on the fiber of the republic.  “The cost of the Civil War amounted to three billion dollars” according to Topics in American History” by Milton Jay Belasco.  Workers at this time made approximately $200.00 to $300.00 per year.  Three Billion dollars was a great deal of money.

So, in its fight against Cholera, in its formation of the Constitution, in the Emancipation Proclamation, and in its recognition of the cost of waging the most ferocious war in our history, all types of flexibility was practiced to make our government work.  It does work, however slowly.

This is an election year, meaning that this is one of the years that an election was dictated to happen by the Founders of the Constitution.  Our number of voters is seldomly higher that twenty-five percent.  In  the early days of communist Russia, it was noted by the Soviet government that the best Constitution in the world was in Russia.  Women were part and parcel of the people recognized as being involved in the government.  Slavery did not exist.  The rich had run out of space.  In short, it seemed to be a marvelous document.  But, there was one line to it that made it susceptible to criticism.  That was the last line of the document, which stated that only members of the Communist Party could be covered by the Constitution.   The other seventy-five percent were not covered and not allowed to vote.  They had to be members of the Communist Party to enjoy the freedoms of the document.  That meant that, automatically, twenty-five percent could vote.  That was all.

The United States, which claimed that close to one hundred percent of the union could vote, lost track of one small detail.  That was that of the voters, one hundred percent could vote, but only fifty percent of the population was registered.  Fifty percent could vote.  In addition, it was noticed that of those fifty percent, less than one quarter of the population, voted in any given election.   So, it was noted, the voting population of Americans was the same as the voting population of Russia.  But, take it a step further.  Less than 25% actually voted, making the level of participation in the American governmental system less than the total number of Russians who could vote in the Communist system.  Often, the voter turnout in the United States is down to fifteen to twenty percent of the population.  Democracy, the Greeks in Athens had learned in a short one hundred years, was a very challenging system.  It was hard to be democratic.  Especially in an election system.

That is my observation for today.  We do not vote, and if we do not vote, we have no right to complain.  So let’s get those people who have given up voting out to the polls once again.  Let us try to get those people who are not even registered, well, registered.

Somewhere in the future I will tell you about the closest vote that took place for statehood in the United States.  It is a clear indication of how important it is to get one vote.  See you then.

 

 

The Snowstorm of the New Year – 2018

I am a bit too busy.  Three television shows yesterday, and an aborted radio slot tonight.  Thank you, Sam Poulten.  Two days ago, the Lowell City Council and the Lowell School Committee held their bi-annual feast in celebration of the newer and not-so-new members.  The temperature on Tuesday was -4 or -5 degrees.   My dishwasher froze up, and I could not do dishes with a dishwasher until this morning when the temperature came up to 27 degrees.  The freeze matched the great freeze of 1917 for days that it lasted for, I believe the television said that it was of a significant duration, six or seven days long, matching 1917.  I know that my descriptive use of  English is a little labored, but hopefully you get the idea.

I met with two Congressional candidates thusfar, first Bopha Malone and Rufus Gifford.  Both are friends, Bopha has been a friend for many years, while Rufus is a newer friend.  Either would do well.  I noticed that I have 309,937 contacts on my blog’s list of the number of people who answered your blog.   Pretty nice for a guy from Iowa.

I am a little worried about my daughter today, because of the 13 to 18 inch snowfall.  Her car died last night.  It has to be repaired.  And my son is going out tonight to snowblow driveways and sidewalks.  So I am a little worried about him too.   There are supposed to be heavy winds and snowdrifts, so I hope that I left him with plenty of insulation.

Cars continue to vex me.  They work at their behest, not mine.  His truck is new to him.  Hopefully it holds up.  But again, motors vex me.  Hopefully, after  some TLC, they will all work.  My son takes care of me.  Actually my wife, my sons, and my daughter watch out for me.  My grandson makes me laugh, as does my grand-daughter.  There is nothing like grandchildren.  But, back to my son, he does my walk, my leaves, and all of the things that a bad heart keeps from you.  So I have no complaints.

The television shows are doing well.  I like getting up early for CityLife, which broadcasts from six in the morning until eight in the morning.  It wakes me up, and I cannot tell you I am scintillating  at that time of the morning.     I hope I am not  boring.

I was watching the weather on television and there is a great deal of flooding going on.  Houses in Gloucester are, in some stories, showing three feet of flooding in their living and dining rooms.  Schools are out again for tomorrow.  We are just hunkering down.  My father wrote a book entitled “We Muddled Through,” about growing up in the Great Depression.  It is an entertaining book.  And that is exactly what we are doing today, we are must muddling through.  This might be a long winter, if I had to bet based on today, I would say it will be.  Even my brother and his wife in South Carolina got hit by snow today.  And my little sister living in Florida saw sheets of ice on driveways and some streets. Some people don’t believe in climactic change.  I do.

A Victorian Christmas

A number of years ago, one of my student’s fathers bought a wealth of photographs from the 1800’s.  When we reviewed them, we found pictures from a Victorian Christmas at an English home.  We also found pictures of old trains, decorations, and a picture of the original Middlesex Canal.  It was quite a Yard Sale find.   I was surprised to find a Victorian Christmas decorated house.  Instead of Christmas trees, which the Anglican Church apparently did not take to, there were pine garlands wrapped around the fireplace.  The garlands were all around the rooms of the house,  but there was no tree.  The Germans brought over the Christmas tree.  The Germans and the English were not really talking at the time, and a Christmas tree was against the mores of the time.

Dickens wrote a Christmas book back in 1852.  I have a copy.  There are many mentions of Christmas but the quote I liked was about New Year’s Day.  It ran like this;

“The Year was old that day…The New Year, the New Year.  Everywhere the New Year!  The Old Year was already looked upon as dead; and its effects were selling cheap, like some drowned mariner’s aboard ship.  Its patterns were Last Year’s, and going at a sacrifice, before its breath was gone.  Its treasures were mere dirt, besides the riches of its unborn successor.”  (Stories for Christmas by Charles Dickens)  It is kind of interesting that Dickens was enamored with the New Year more than Christmas.  In this “Christmas Story,”  Christmas is not even mentioned.  Interesting.

This is the time period when some of our favorite Christmas songs were composed.   One horse open sleighs were the proper way to get around.  Now there was a problem with excrement from the horses but the City Fathers anticipated this problem.  They hired young boys to pick up horse manuer off of the cobblestones and even the snow.  “Silent Night” was written at about this time.  It was a guitar song, like some of Billy Joel’s songs.  It was a good guitar song, written for a guitar when the church organ was not usable.

Mistletoe was a big thing.  Young couples in love were supposed to find the mistletoe and kiss under it.  Everybody could see who was a couple.  That is basically early Christmas’s.  There were presents, often homemade.  There were books on how to make everything from wooden trains to small towns and cities.  Christmas was a time of intensive work in the workroom.  Women knitted or sewed, men worked with wood.  The results were deeply appreciated.  I remember when my parents made all of us toys out of everyday items.  My mother sewed small octopuses made out of yarn.  I loved mine.  It had eyes and a mouth.  I talked to it.

I have a great deal to talk about in my favorite school system, Lowell, Massachusetts.  I would first like to thank the 309,014 people who have responded to my blog.  That is quite a number.  Thanks to all of you.  I will try to get back to some of you, but I cannot get back to all of you so I am using this as my opportunity to acknowledge your many kind notes.

The Lowell School Department was started in 1826, when Lowell was incorporated as a town.  It continued on through the start of the Incorporation of the city in 1836.  In that time the great experiment, education of the mill girls on their own time, necessitated the start of a high school, which was formally founded in 1834 and built on Merrimack Street.  For some reason the start and location of the high school was stated to happen in 1831.  School Meeting Minutes of the School Committee stated that it was 1834 which was the start of the high school, and that it was not founded in 1831 on Middlesex Street, but in 1834 on Merrimack Street.  The legal document here was the act of the School Committee which started the high school.  That happened in 1834.  The new high school was ready for an August deadline.

So that is that.  Looking over some of my notes, I notice that the schools were the pride of many of the citizens of Lowell.  We were the first, probably in this country, to establish a night school program.  That was done so the average mill girl could attend school at night and learn to read and write.  That catapaulted the students to write.  Lucy Larcom was an example but certainly not the only one.  She is the one, however, we made a downtown park in her name.

Lowell was known for its water power.  The Merrimack River followed its own pathway until the canals and dam were built around 1826.  They were based on the brilliance of Frances (his friends called him Frank) Cabot Lowell.  He wanted the people working at the mills to have a good life.  He instituted a church for the girls to attend, and a downtown in which they shopped.   There were close ties between the mill owners and southern plantation owners.

One mistake, if you were looking at it from Kirk Boott’s perspective, was the hiring of the Reverend Theodore Edson as the pastor for what became the girl’s church.  They were mandated to go to church on Sunday, and that would be the only day that they could meet their boyfriends after church services.  There were parks for the girls, and schools as well.  Theodore Edson was closely tied to the schools, becoming the Chairman of the School Committee in 1826 and taking it upon himself to reach out to all of the girls in his domain.  For this he incurred the wrath of Mr. Boott.  The two remained enemies for years.

The other mill owners were not quite as stringent as Boott.  The Merrimack Mills, part of which were owned by the Lowell family, started the first school in the mills.  Lowell High School was always open to either girls or boys.  It was always integrated, with some free African Americans in the school.  The Lew family would barber and clothe African Americans running from slavery.  The better they looked, it was thought, the better their chances of settling in the North.  Linus Childs was the Manager of a mill.  He raised enough money to buy a slave known as Mr. Nathaniel Booth, back.

Interestingly, Preston Brooks, a southern Congressman, beat Senator Charles Sumner almost to death with his cane.  Mr. Sumner came back to his Senate seat but never was the force he was before the beating.

The city of Lowell was not as adverse to the issue of slavery as most of the North.  Slavery, it appeared, kept many of the mills in cotton, which they needed every day.  Lincoln did well in Lowell, but did not get one Electoral Vote from the South.

Lowell was a major cog in the path to freedom for many blacks.  People in Lowell had Underground Railroad leanings, but were very effective in assisting one another.  So the railroad, as it was called, was very effective.

Lowell was not as conservative on the slavery question, as people seemed to be.  Despite the fact that in the 1830’s they came out in droves to cheer for President Andrew Jackson, a slaveholder, they maintained a strong feeling on slavery and its need to be curtailed, right through the 1860’s.   Men by the hundreds, or maybe even the thousands, signed up to be the first volunteers active in the army as a result of state secession.  The 6th. regiment was based in Lowell, and the first two soldiers to die in that bloody war were members of a Massachusetts infantry unit, Ladd and Whitney, whose graves were dug outside of what eventually became Lowell City Hall.  They are still there.

Well, I did not get into much education today.  Suffice it to say that Lowell did its part in the Civil War, with over 700 dead and their names etched in stone in the Memorial Library.

Andrew Jackson’s Battle Against the Native Americans

Hymn Before Action

(by: Rudyard Kipling)

                                  The earth is full of anger,

                                   The seas are dark with wrath;

                                    The Nations in Their Harness

                                      Go up against our path!

                                      Ere yet we loose the legions-

                                       Ere yet we draw the blade,

                                       Jehovah of the Thunders,

                                        Lord God of Battles, aid!…

                                         Lord, grant us strength to die!

     This poem was written in 1896, when war was thought to be honorable and necessary.  Rudyard Kipling also wrote a poem to honor the machine gun, because it made the business of colonizing that much easier.  I do not list the verses to that poem because it is so vicious.

     Before we get into Andrew Jackson and his battles against the Native Americans, we should point out one historical discrepancy.  Many have heard of the Battle of Hastings in the early Middle Ages.  In it, King Harold the Saxon is killed by an arrow through his head, which is listed in history as being launched by the hands of King William the Conquerer, who shot the arrow in the 1100’s.  The Saxon people are part of the group that invaded England in the 500’s AD.  Over the 500 years of their occupation, they merged with the Anglo’s and succeeded in taking over the nation, which was, under King Arthur, believed to be formed when the eighteen kingships of the Knights of the Round Table, were decimated in battle.

     Enter the Plantagenet era.  The Plantagenet line was a line of kings who emanated from the loins of King William the Ist.  It was a family that was to rule England for five hundred years.  Where am I going with this.  Well, about ten years ago they found the remains of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king, who was defeated in the War of the Roses, by Henry Tudor, the bastard son of the sitting Plantagenet king.  Henry Tudor fought against Richard, if my memory serves me correctly, and killed him.  He then made himself the King of England.  He declared the Tudors to be the Kings of England.

     Here is my problem.   In order to identify the remains of King Richard III, it was necessary to do a DNA test by finding a member of the royal line of the Plantagenets.  The Windsors, who currently occupy the throne, had to find a direct descendant of William the Conqueror, and they were not it.  The man they found was a direct descendant of the Plantagenets, and as such, in my opinion, is the rightful King of England.  His line is directly connected to Richard III.  The Windsor’s have no direct line to the rightful Kind of England, William the Conqueror.

     I just thought some of you might find that fact to be interesting.

Andrew Jackson and his Treatment of Native Americans

     The current president likes to compare his presidency to that of Andrew Jackson and there are parallels.  Both spoke directly to the people, both thought that they were speaking for the people.  Both had a low account of their poorer people, and both were probably, in history, the lowest ranked presidents in History.  Andrew Jackson debunked the Bank of the United States because he felt that it was too powerful, much like Mr. Trump and his protection of the wealthy.  Mr. Jackson felt that President of the Bank of the United State, Mr. Nicholas Biddle, had too much say over the banking processes of the federal government.  He was fired.

     What Jackson replaced the bank with, was a slew of smaller banks, including National Banks, which were empowered to make their own national bank currency.  There the comparison ends.  We have no real idea where Mr. Trump is taking us.  President Jackson was very clear in his stated goals.  Most of his term was dedicated to furthering the manifest destiny of the United States.  He wanted to move the Native Americans and found room for them in the  Southwest.  Now, early Eastern nations, and they were not tribes, they were nations.  They should have been treated as such.  Instead they were treated like non-citizens.  They had no rights.  Jackson just moved them west, leading the Cherokees to travel their “Trail of Tears.”  That is how great the deaths were in the forced march out of the Cherokee nation in the Eastern United States.  Jackson’s actions killed thousands.

     Conversely, the Creek nation in Florida and southern Georgia was wiped out by Jackson militarily.  He attacked the Creek towns and villages in force.  From November 1813 to March 1814, he had nine separate battles with the Creek people,  and many of the dead Creeks were women and children.  Native American towns were burned to the ground and hundreds of Creeks were killed.  “The end came at the battle of Horseshoe Bend on the Tallapoosa River.” (History of the American People)  On March 27, 1814, he fought the Battle of the Tallapoosa River, where he killed, or had killed, over one thousand men, women, and children of the Creek nation.  The Mississippi Valley was finally open to American trade.  But the cost was too high.

     As a result of his victory, he became the head of the American Army in New Orleans.  In New Orleans he successfully turned back the British invasion by utilizing the cover of a dried canal and using the muskets like they were automatic rifles.  As each soldier readied his musket to fire on the British, he stepped off of the dirt mound in the canal, readied his rifle, and fired when it became his time to fire into the British wall of soldiers.  His commanders even told the soldiers to fire at the part of the British uniform that crossed the chest.  With such an easy target, he was able to have his men severely kill almost every soldier.

      It was a battle fought after the cessation of the war, but it was a decisive victory.  The Americans took the ground by doing what they learned to do in the Battle of Concord, Massachusetts.  They fought from behind trees, the canal bed, and a brick house in the middle of the battlefield.  The victory eventually made the simply dressed General President of the United States.  As President, he invited on Inaugural Day, the common man to the White House, much to the chagrin of the people who used the White House as their place of employment.  He fired most of them over time, and had the positions filled with friends or friends of friends.

     As President, and this is why he is considered a great one, he oversaw the hiring of people that he knew, but who were not tested, as his administration.  He used patronage to its greatest level.  He worked with President of Texas, Samuel Houston, to solidify the desires of certain Texans, including President Houston, to make Texas a state.  Texas became a state by one vote, the vote of the Indiana Senator to the United States Senate.  The effort quickly became a movement to include the southwestern states and California as the Manifest Destiny of the United States.  What that meant is that the United States, without caring about the Native Americans in its way, was to occupy the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans.  It was a popular move at the time, and the first cross country railroad was built under the eyes of Abraham Lincoln.

     By taking the banks and turning small banks into banks that could do everything, including printing money, he destabilized the banking system to the point that Woodrow Wilson had to start the Federal Reserve System to make the economy solid once again.  He was a brilliant general, a far-reaching President, but his administration was filled with holes.  That is why I do not share the view that he was a great President.

Reporting Versus Reviewing

I like to say that CityLife does not just report the news, it also makes the news.  As an example, I use George Anthes’ statement that we need a City Architect, while I agree with him.  But, I often say to George that we are not reporting a news item, we are trying to change the structure of the city administration.  That is not reporting news, that is making the news.  It is a very sensitive area.  The Lowell Sun on Sunday, the twenty-second of October, did the same thing.  There is no doubt that the Lowell Sun does this type of thing, headlines often are not what we would like to have them be, instead they are goals that the reporter tries to acheive.  Someone at the newspaper makes a decision to headline a story and it is not worthy of a certain type of exposure.  In that case, the news organization “makes the news,” and does not just report it.

In my opinion, that is what happened in the Sunday Sun on October 22, 2017.  The Sun did put it on the front page, but saved the largest title for an innocuous story about whether or not students from the high school are attending after-school programs in the various programs that are available to them.  The main headline in the Sun was pushing an aspect of support for the Cawley option.  It read, “LHS Near Services, but Usage Not Great.”  Then the article is about the number of students who do not go to after-school programs available to them.  This is a direct swipe at a major point that the Downtown group makes, the swipe being that downtown is not necessarily used by a great many students from the high school.

In reality, it is probable that no students would take the time to go to those after-school programs if the high school was outside the perimeters of the downtown.  It would just be too much trouble to go back downtown to attend a program offered after school hours.  The Sun contradicts itself when it says “There appears to be at least dozens of students who walk after school to programs at places like the Lowell Community Health Center or the Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Greater Lowell.”  The Sun then goes on to say that that is “a small number in relation to the school’s student body…but a significant number to the agencies that provide them services.”

You cannot have it both ways, Lowell Sun, dozens of students is a significant  number.  Even the Superintendent of the Lowell National Park is quoted as saying, “If you’re just across the street, it’s a quick transit.”  Obviously Cawley would not be across the street.  It would be about two miles away.  That is a significant walk.  Especially in bad weather.

As I said, a real tragic thing happened in Lowell that  same edition, and it should have been the main story.  Instead, the Sun made a main story out of “Easy downtown access, but survey indicates no clear flood of students.”  Surveys are easy to make up,  I use to audit and come to conclusions for Wang all of the time.  I have completed hundreds of surveys.  They  are just pieces of paper that carry virtually no weight.  In my opinion, the Lowell Sun wanted to find survey results that echoed the premise that students were not attending after-school programs at various provider’s locations.

So, they did.  I could write a directly opposite survey result by talking to the students who attended these after-school programs.  It would be a valid survey and I could conclude that many students visited the National Park or the Boys and Girls Club, or some other place.  I could conclude that students were attending those after-school programs in droves.  And they are, it just was not published in the Sun.  Because, and this is just speculation, the Sun has come out for the Cawley option.  They want to win and they will do what they can to do that.  Isn’t politics fun?

Interesting Historical Educational Facts – Lowell, Massachusetts

I found these historical facts among some of my papers on my desk.   You do not want to go searching on my desk.   Heaven knows what will emanate from the stacks of papers.

In an early carnival, in 1911, there was the “Golden Balloon” ride, where you would ride in a balloon and look over the terrain below.  It was a very popular ride.  The Mayor even would sing “Up in a Balloon Boys.”  There are no records of harrowing adventures or people hanging on the outside of the balloon.  It was a very safe ride.

At about the same time, the Lowell schools were finally built.  The jewels were the new High School consisting of one well-built building with the capability, in what became known as “Coburn Hall,”   of holding up to 1,000 students in the hall under the eye of one solitary teacher sitting on a perch above the students.  They sat at tables throughout the hall.  When I went to Lowell High School, Coburn Hall was still there.  My father knocked it down by replacing it with six normal sized schoolrooms.

Outside the high school, the plan was for President Taft to tour the first automobile racetrack and start the festivities attached to the holding of the first automobile race of its size.  That was in 1911.  The high school was already filled to capacity and in a decade, the larger old building, referred to as the 1922 Building, would hold students in relative comfort for the next eighty years.  In 1983 a new building would be built across the canal, over the Locks and Canals Corporation’s claimed “air-space.”  That building is at the center of the current controversy on the building of a new high school.

In 1893, successive buildings were added to the Lowell School system.  The Bartlett, Moody, Butler, Pawtucket Memorial, and smaller schools would be described as the jewels in the throne.  Around this time, Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes said that the First Amendment did not mean you had the right to yell ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater.  He also said you could take all of the medicines in the United States, put them on a ship, sail it as far as it could go, sink it, and not be any the worse for the lack of medicine in the country.  There is no information on what Lowell’s patent medicine industry had to say about this.

Most medicine, he pointed out, was alcohol.  Medicine was to become very popular during the exercise called Prohibition.  That was because of its alcoholic content.

At the time, an injunction against auto racing would not pass muster.  Drivers got ready for Lowell’s answer to what would become the Indianapolis, Indiana’s “Indy 500.”    Meanwhile, in education, in Lowell at the time, the Directors of the Greek community opened a Greek school.  Teachers were at the Greek School and would be taught in Greek and English.

On the racing circuit, Al Poole ran the oval in eighteen minutes  and twenty-eight seconds.  We know that the mills closed for the race, it is assumed that the schools did too.  There is no verification for that, though.

Students were not overlooked by the race officials.  In 1911, there were no licenses apparently because the race officials put aside a new car for a lucky boy or girl.  It is unknown who won the drawing, or which lucky boy or girl walked away with the prize.  But, he or she could legally drive it home.

On an earlier note, the Irish School, which was opened by the early Lowell School Committee, was closed because all of the Irish distrusted the English and Americans so much that they refused to enroll their children in a Protestant-oriented school of the city’s making.  They went to Catholic Schools.  There was a test of basic skills which was to be coordinated by publishing the times it was to be held in the “papers of the time.”  Each of the above examinations would take place at two o:clock.  Ten Primary Schools were included.  The unfortunate Irish School was still funded at the amount of eighty dollars per year, which it was not to exceed.       Around the year 1834, long before the Lowell Auto Race, Lowell High School was to occupy a spot on Merrimack Street at the Concert Hall, which was rebuilt to hold the students from the high school.  The School Committee paid $95.00, a princely sum, to Mark Rogers to make desks and seats for the students.  It was largely because of the expense of making seats and desks, that students were soon acquainted with the fact that education was seen as a feeder system for the mills and their projects.  Now, meaning today, in education, it is believed that the reason for such regimentation was to keep the students ready for the discipline and rigor of millwork.

The high school was not omitted.  William Dauncey was to be “admitted to (give) examinations for admission to the high school.”  The seventh grader, at this time, was old enough to be a school teacher so she or he did not need a high school education.  The mills put so much time into this effort that it was noted that the Hamilton Corporation had three primary schools, with paid teachers.  To give you a better sense as to how much the aforementioned money amount of $95.00 was, the man who was hired by the Hamilton Corporation to sweep and clean  the stoves in the school received fifty cents per week. (School Committee Minutes)

There was a proposed rhetoric to be used in the high school.  The city was growing and had seventeen schools organized by twenty eight instructors.  A comparision was made to Charlestown, which had 9,000 inhabitants, with 1581 students; compared to Lowell’s 2,300 students who were supported by the schools.

The School Committee of 1834, was determined to be ready to open the high school on the 25th. of August.  A “Committee of Two (to) be appointed to make the necessary inquiries respecting a Master for the High School.”  They “recommended to the Committee some suitable power for the appointment.”  (of the Master of the High School).  The Committee recommended that Members Austin and Barnaby “be a committee to ascertain what suitable room can be obtained for the use of the high school.” (Committee Minutes)  They settled on someone and voted that the salary of the Master of the High School be “One thousand dollars.”  (July 23, 1834).

They also voted that “Mr. William Hale of Millbury be the Master of the High School.”   Rent of the Concert Hall was decided on being $120.00 per annum.  They further decided that Messrs. Barnaby and Austin be a committee to prepare the hall for the use of the high school.

“The town voted to choose a general superintending School Committee to consist of seven and that Theodore Edson, James Barnaby, John W. Graves, Joshua Merrill, Eliphalet Case, and Samuel F Hueun, and William Austin were elected to fill”… “the vacancy on the Board.”  Samuel A. Coburn was the Town Clerk, and Theodore Edson, pastor of St. Anne’s downtown was the Chairman of the School Committee.

Around the same time, at the Third Grammar School, they elected Mr. Isaac Whittier  as Assistant Master.  No salary was given.  At the North Grammar School Mr. James Bean was voted in as “Assistant Master to fill  the term of Mr. Healey.”

In a remarkable move, they voted for a woman as “Assistant Master also at the North Grammar School.”  The South Grammar School had a woman as Assistant too.  Her name was Mrs. Marsha B. Daves.

Not all of the schools were ready by the end of August.  They voted that Mr. Austin “be a committee to provide a stove for the Third Grammar School room.  Make the necessary arrangements for its commencement.”  (School Committee Minutes)

The purpose of this exercise was to put into some perspective the lives of the average person of the time.  I started with the 1911 race because those notes were more in depth than those related to 1834, although, as you have seen, the 1834 notes were very voluminous.  So I could have reversed it a bit, but I wanted to show the school department as it existed in 1834.  Hopefully, I did that adequately.   The race information was recently discussed on a television show called “Lowell Remembers.”

This document is Copyrighted by James A. Peters.  No aggrandizement will be tolerated.

Cawley Site Makes No Cents

Cawley Site Makes No Cents

I spent twelve years working as an auditor and accountant.  I took accounting courses at UMASS-Lowell, as well as Suffolk University.   I do not talk about it because I loved teaching, but did not care for my previous work.  But I think I can use my experiences to make a simple statement about the Cawley site.  It makes no sense.

We have a useful building for a high school.  The 1922 building by itself is worth millions of dollars if used as an academic building.  The 1893 building further accents the argument.  It is in very good structural shape, and is a useful academic building.  The problem is that we are, if we choose another site to build on, throwing out the baby with the bath water.  Now, that saying comes from an old Pioneer custom, hot water on the Plains was hard to come by, so the first bath went to the head of the household.  After he was done, the second bath went to the mother.  As the water slowly cooled down the third bath went to the oldest child, and that continued until the water was so dirty that the baby was the last one washed in it.  It was easy to lose the baby in the muddy water.  He or she was the last one to use the by then, muddy water.  Losing the baby in the bathwater was a real possibility.  Thus the saying.

The baby in the high school argument is the 1980 building, it is perfectly useful but not currently in great shape.  That will come if we choose the right option.   It  will end up empty if we choose the Cawley option.  The 1922 building is the mother using the father’s dirty water.  She has to be utilized or the bath was a waste.  Finally, there is the 1893 building.  It can handle students but gets closed down while being perfectly useful in its handling of students.  The Freshman Academy is just out there.  Nobody wants to move it but it cannot, with the Cawley option, stay in the educational loop.  Each building can be used, we have just given up on them.  I know more about the history of those buildings than most people.  There is no logical reason to throw them out.  They are useful and pragmatic.

We are asking too much of the Cawley building.  It cannot do all of the things the current high school can do.  It will be too small and we are going to have to put in multi-millions of dollars to make it useful.  As is, it is too small for a swimming pool.  We have to be prepared for the building failing.  Millions are going to be spent to keep the aging building, and it will be aging in just a few short years.  It will not be new for long, because the constancy of  being like the 1980 building is great.  Leaky roofs are probably being factored in by the earliest architects. The Cawley will have problems from the beginning.  John McDonough  has a bunch of sheets on which are the need for maintenance of every school, including the newest ones, and the list is massive.  The Cawley building will be old before its time.  That is not being pessimistic, that is being realistic.

We have a full campus at the existing high school.  If you placed an educational value on the current high school, it would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  Let’s say 250 million dollars.  If you add the 336 million dollars offered by the state, we could have one heck of a building adding those two sites together and keeping the Freshman Academy where it is.  The minimal value would be 586 million dollars.  We would have a new high school for slightly over a half a billion dollars.  That means that the new building, which will cost approximately 336 million dollars, will be one heck of a building.

As I said, I was an auditor at Wang.  I once, working by myself for a day, found one million dollars for the corporation in maintenance costs which were not being billed.  That is one million dollars per year.  If Wang was still in business, and simply had that one audit intact, times twenty years since the inception of the audit, Wang would have an extra 20 million dollars.  We have some City Councilors who pride themselves on being able to add and subtract.  They should spend a lot of time adding and subtracting the cost of having Cawley as the high school.  I think that they would  be as surprised as I  was when I decided to determine the cost of not using the current buildings.  It is very sobering.

That is just my take on it.   I am using life experiences to come up with my arguments.  But they are good experiences.

The Advent of Lowell’s High School in 1834

Meeting on 3/10/1834

Present:   Theodore Edson, Pastor and School Committee

President

Messr’s. Barnaby, Graves, Merrill, Case, Haven

and Austin

The School Committee voted for Mr. James M.

Graves as Secretary

The School Committee’s business ended with the vote for Miss Esther Lew’s as the Instructress at the Lawrence Primary School in Lowell.  Edson and Austin were given the task of being “a  committee to  make the necessary arrangements.”  Clearly this group was bent on controlling education in early Lowell.  “The town voted to choose a general superintending School Committee to consist of seven (men) and Theodore Edson, James Barnaby, John W. Graves, Joshua Merrill, Eliphalet Case, and Samuel F. Haven were chosen on Tuesday the 4th. day of March.  William Austin was elected to fill the vacancy on the board.”  Samuel A. Coburn, Town Clerk.

In this important meeting, they “Voted that a third grammar school be established, (and) they “adjourned to meet in the Selectman’s Room on Monday next at 2 o:clock. ”  They bought books on 3/17/1834.   Third Grammar School elected Mr. D. Healey Master and Mr. James Whittier as Assistant Master.  At the North Grammar School they elected Mr. James Bean as the Assistant Master to fill out Mr. Healey’s term.

In important news, they appointed “Miss Abigail B.M. Barnaby Assistant for the North Grammar School.”  There were many female teachers in the One Room Schoolhouses of  Lowell, but this was the first female administrator in the town.  It was not yet a city.  They also appointed Miss Mary Sawyer as Assistant for the South Grammar School.”  Finally, they appointed Miss Martha B. Davis as the Second Assistant for the South Grammar School.  Two female appointees for the same school.  In that day, a woman could not be married and serve as a school teacher, much less an administrator.  That was because a married woman was believed to be in danger of getting pregnant and the school district did not want to explain pregnancy to the general public, especially the children.

They agreed to meet “tomorrow morning.”

At that meeting, they appointed “Mr. Austin as the Committee to Provide a Stove for the Third Grammar School room.”   He was supposed to “Make the necessary arrangements for its commencement.”

“They voted that the third Grammar School commence on Wednesday March 24, 1834 at the North Grammar School House.”  They also “voted to proceed to the election of teachers for the Primary Schools.”  Those schools consisted of the “Irish, Suffolk, Swamp Locks, the Baptist Meeting House, Central Street, Hamilton,  Power District, Chapel Hill.” schools.

They also voted at that meeting that the Committee proceed to the appointment of the salaries for the several Instructors.”  A School Master made $600.00 per year, while Assistants made $350.00 per year, female teachers made $175.00 per year, while the mysterious Writing Master made an elegant $400.00 per year.

They appointed Mr. Edson to supervise the North Grammar School, Pound District, and the Merrimack Primary Schools.”  Others were also appointed, while Belvidere  exercised its influence by getting two new schools (Primary) in its geographic area and having their charter state that graduates of the Primary Schools in Belvidere could attend the Grammar and High Schools but they had to make the High School in the Concert Hall on Merrimack Street.

Speaking of high schools, Lowell did not have one at this time.  The Committee was destined to make up for that oversight.  “Resolved as the sense of the Committee that it be expedient to establish a high school according to the laws of the Commonwealth and we will establish such school as soon as practicable.  Adjourned to Friday, April 11th. at  2 o:clock.  It had been a busy meeting and Belvidere got its two schools.

“Voted that Messr’s. Edson and Barnaby be a committee to receive of instructors in the High School.”

In the meeting on 4/14/1834 they fired Mr. Bean and replaced him with Joseph L.J. Crane.  They found that coal for the entire district for the last winter had cost $29.53.  They had to order blinds for the school houses.  Invoices for paying for the teachers salaries were paid for $35 teachers.  The town was growing.

They voted to “suspend the Irish School.”   That occurred on 8/3/1834 and was probably partially due to the insistence by Irish parents that their children attend Catholic schools.

They appointed Mr. Egan as subcommittee of the high school.  They started, in 1834, centralized testing and “That the Secretary publish the time of examinations in the Papers of the Town.”  Then they adjourned.

When they met again they stated that “Each of the above examinations will take place at 2 o:clock PM.”  There were ten Primary Schools  examinations.  The Irish School was back but it was relegated to hold its rent stipend to $80.00 per year and not to exceed that amount.  They voted that the High School room in Concert Hall on Merrimack Street “be used for no other purpose than for the High School.”  They even paid a carpenter named Mark Rogers for desks and seats at the high school.  The high school was not lightly dealth with.  “William D Dauncey be admitted to (give) examinations for admission to the high school.”   Custodians at the high school were paid fifty cents per week  “for sweeping and cleaning the stoves in the high school.”  In curriculum, “Approved rhetoric and review be used in the high school.”

The high school would become a major educational magnet in certain circles.  It was noted by the board that there were seventeen schools requiring twenty eight instructors.  In comparision Charlestown had 9,400 inhabitants wheras Lowell had 14,000 inhabitants.  Charlestown had 1,581 students to Lowell’s 2,300 students.

Lowell petitioned in early 1834 with the state to certify their new high school which was located in the Concert Hall on Merrimack Street.  Massive work was done to the Concert Hall to make it into a high school.  At one point the School Committee was forced to admit that “The High School had been closed since January last for lack of funds…to open the High School as soon as they should be able to save money enough to carry it through the year.”  {John W. Graves – Secretary Lowell School Committee, July 23, 1834}.

Again, you can check my conclusions by taking out the School Committee Minutes from 1834 to 1838.  It is available in the Memorial Library Research Room.  In my opinion, and based on my readings, the High School did not exist until 1834.  There was a three year high school educational program  which might have explained a graduation late in 1834.  All you needed at the time to be a teacher was a 7th. grade education.  A High School education was frosting on the cake.  A college education was unheard of at the time.  Even lawyers were not required to go to college.  They  just studied under other lawyers.  Thus, we have come a long way.

Cawley Site Makes No Cents

I spent twelve years working as an auditor and accountant.  I took accounting courses at UMASS-Lowell, as well as Suffolk University.   I do not talk about it because I loved teaching, but did not care for my previous work.  But I think I can use my experiences to make a simple statement about the Cawley site.  It makes no sense.

We have a useful building for a high school.  The 1922 building by itself is worth millions of dollars if used as an academic building.  The 1893 building further accents the argument.  It is in very good structural shape, and is a useful academic building.  The problem is that we are, if we choose another site to build on, throwing out the baby with the bath water.  Now, that saying comes from an old Pioneer custom, hot water on the Plains was hard to come by, so the first bath went to the head of the household.  After he was done, the second bath went to the mother.  As the water slowly cooled down the third bath went to the oldest child, and that continued until the water was so dirty that the baby was the last one washed in it.  It was easy to lose the baby in the muddy water.  He or she was the last one to use the by then, muddy water.  Losing the baby in the bathwater was a real possibility.  Thus the saying.

The baby in the high school argument is the 1980 building, it is perfectly useful but not currently in great shape.  That will come if we choose the right option.   It  will end up empty if we choose the Cawley option.  The 1922 building is the mother using the father’s dirty water.  She has to be utilized or the bath was a waste.  Finally, there is the 1893 building.  It can handle students but gets closed down while being perfectly useful in its handling of students.  The Freshman Academy is just out there.  Nobody wants to move it but it cannot, with the Cawley option, stay in the educational loop.  Each building can be used, we have just given up on them.  I know more about the history of those buildings than most people.  There is no logical reason to throw them out.  They are useful and pragmatic.

We are asking too much of the Cawley building.  It cannot do all of the things the current high school can do.  It will be too small and we are going to have to put in multi-millions of dollars to make it useful.  As is, it is too small for a swimming pool.  We have to be prepared for the building failing.  Millions are going to be spent to keep the aging building, and it will be aging in just a few short years.  It will not be new for long, because the constancy of  being like the 1980 building is great.  Leaky roofs are probably being factored in by the earliest architects. The Cawley will have problems from the beginning.  John McDonough  has a bunch of sheets on which are the need for maintenance of every school, including the newest ones, and the list is massive.  The Cawley building will be old before its time.  That is not being pessimistic, that is being realistic.

We have a full campus at the existing high school.  If you placed an educational value on the current high school, it would be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.  Let’s say 250 million dollars.  If you add the 336 million dollars offered by the state, we could have one heck of a building adding those two sites together and keeping the Freshman Academy where it is.  The minimal value would be 586 million dollars.  We would have a new high school for slightly over a half a billion dollars.  That means that the new building, which will cost approximately 336 million dollars, will be one heck of a building.

As I said, I was an auditor at Wang.  I once, working by myself for a day, found one million dollars for the corporation in maintenance costs which were not being billed.  That is one million dollars per year.  If Wang was still in business, and simply had that one audit intact, times twenty years since the inception of the audit, Wang would have an extra 20 million dollars.  We have some City Councilors who pride themselves on being able to add and subtract.  They should spend a lot of time adding and subtracting the cost of having Cawley as the high school.  I think that they would  be as surprised as I  was when I decided to determine the cost of not using the current buildings.  It is very sobering.

That is just my take on it.   I am using life experiences to come up with my arguments.  But they are good experiences.

I Am Tired of the President at This Time

I have had it with Donald Trump.  Charlottesville was my final spot.  “The many…” outdistanced the few.  Pence got it right the next day when he said that the United States was too grand for neo-Nazis, and racists.  Trump said no such thing.  According to his book, Konrad, Heiden stated that Hitler realized he was speaking to “The Aryans and anti-Semites of France.” {Der Furhrer” by Konrad Heiden, published by Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston  in 1944.}  At some point this President has realized how important to his political future are those who espouse facism.  His reluctance to condemn an act that was horrific was hopefully based on the idea that the act was vile and murderous, but it says an awful lot about where this man is emanating from, and how far he will go to maintain his power base.

A year ago, I got the chance to watch Trump in action at a rally in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts.  Our camera was there capturing Trump as he worked a crowd estimated at four thousand for one and  one-half hours.  Much of what he said was repetitive, to the point that my editor threw out an hour of his recording.  When I irately asked why he left so much on the edit room floor, he told me that he was just leaving that recording that was a repetitive statement by Trump.  In other words, my editor took it upon himself to leave an hour’s worth of Trumpisms on the floor.  What was Trump calling for at that time?  A wall in America paid for by the Mexicans.  He did not ask the Mexicans if they would pay for it.  He just assumed that they would.  He wanted to beef up our defensive strategy and that played well in a town that had had losses to defense contracts.  He said anything he could to get the largely blue-collar audience to cheer for him.  By sixty minutes, I was also pretty tired of the repetition.

I think the thing that people do not understand is how frightening the Russian hacking, if it in fact took place, was to the voting patterns in the United States.  No one would argue that Hilary Clinton was hurt by her own mistakes.  But, if there was collusion with the Russians and Trump knew about it, and we have no proof currently that he did know about it, he should be impeached.

Mr. Trump has a nasty habit of speaking down to his audiences.  The press, when he disagrees with it, which is a daily occurence, is guilty of spreading “fake news.”  But he speaks at a fourth or fifth grade level.  We are trying to “Make America Great Again,” but great for who?  I think the United States of America is pretty great presently.  We have a nation that states that natural-born Americans are equal to anyone else in the country in multiple ways.  Ways that are sometimes off of the spectrum.  I did not believe the Republican Party was able to do it but they have succeeded in separating White from other ethnic groups.  Two-thirds of America’s white men voted for Donald Trump.  Over one half of the white American women voted for Donald Trump.  How that could happen with that tape on the bus is well beyond me.

I have a sticker with a picture of former First Lady, Hilary Clinton which has two words on it which show how misguided she was in her effort.  That saying is “Madame President.”  Just a little premature, wouldn’t you say?  Hilary Clinton lost this one because of plenty of mistakes.  Included in those mistakes was the assumption that she would win, and kissing off the battle-ground states of Michigan and Ohio.  Another mistake  was not allowing her strong Democratic foe, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, to speak to his supporters at the convention.  He could have delivered a marvelous speech ending with his promise to support Hilary Clinton.  His people would have brought their incredible skills and practices to the election.  How do I know that?  Well, I am Senator Paul Tsongas’ brother-in-law and in 1992, I was asked to speak at various functions, and at the end, when we had clearly lost, Bill Clinton called Paul Tsongas to tell him that he would not have him  speak to his supporters at the convention.  Paul played hard-ball and told Clinton that he would be activating his delegates to vote for Tsongas  on the first vote.  They would force Clinton to win on the second vote, a major embarassment.

That would have placed Clinton in the unenviable spot of being the presidential candidate who could not control his delegates.  He quickly changed his mind and allowed Paul to speak to his many delegates.  Niki stood at his side as he spoke.  I watched on television.  Paul was a better man than Clinton, I believe.

So, Hilary Clinton made the mistake her husband did not make.  She shut out Bernie Sanders.  That was her major mistake.  Her other major mistake was not taking on James Comey, the FBI Director who shot her campaign through the chest and nobody was there to demand the man’s resignation.  Obama should have done that, but the assumption was that Trump could not win and the shot was not mortal.  It was mortal.

Those are just my opinions on the mistakes of Hilary Clinton.  I have a card in my wallet that I keep just to maintain my composure.  It says, “2016 Presidential Leader” with a picture of a smiling Hilary Clinton.  That is obviously not how it worked itself out.    Too much was assumed.

“Fake News” is now in our lexicon.  We say it.  It was started by Mr. Trump to excuse poor press releases.  He even coaxed, apparently, the American people to overlook bad press.  He wanted, it is said, loyalty.  As a Democrat, I refuse to be loyal to a man who denies the maxim of fairness.  He was said to have stated that the Boy Scouts of America praised him in some way.  The Boy Scouts denied it.  He was said to have stated that the Mexican President gave him credit for some act.  The Mexican President said that the conversation never took place.  In this case I believe the Mexican.  In most cases, I would believe the American, but the Boy Scouts are supposed to be sworn to telling the truth.

I believe that Mr. Trump is  sorry that he won.  Why does he keep on sending out “tweets” when his top five advisors have left him?  Why use “tweets” anyway?  Is it the Trump equivalent of FDR’s “Fireplace Chats,” given every Saturday morning on the radio?  I believe it might be in that genre.

I do not believe that this man thinks that beating up his own party supporters is a good idea.  But he seems to do it, especially to John McCain.  The two are not friends.  But, if I was not a Democrat I would be voting for Mr. McCain when he ran for President.  A man with his track record and time spent in the Hanoi Hilton, deserves respect and quiet admiration for his contributions.  The fact that Trump is attacking him as he is ill is not even American.  My mother and father taught me to respect those who are ill.

My father used to take me to the Veteran’s Hospital in the city next to ours.  There I saw Veterans in wheelchairs and guerneys brought to morning Mass.  The image of those WWII and Korean veterans still is etched in my mind.

Well, I have pretty much said what was on my mind.  I am scared for this country.  We are at a crossroads, and we have to live by the Constitution and its Amendments.  It is very difficult to get an Amendment through, so we should not be afraid of Amendments.  Obamacare is no longer and I am taking lethal medication for five ailments.  My drug prices are on the rise, thanks to Donald Trump who obviously had no idea how to fix Obamacare.  But blame it on the Democrats and the media.  The visceral, or deeply embedded, sensations will overtake you.  I do not watch CNN, or WNBC.  I come to my conclusions on their own.  I am very bothered by this President, and I remember having high hopes for him.  His conservation stance is enough to rattle me.  His other stances will apparently not pass the Congress.  We have a lame duck President who could serve eight years.  It is scary.