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January 6–The Insurrection and Helen Keller

I watched, as did you, in disbelief as a mob of thugs scaled walls, overpowered police, smashed glass, smashed heads, and stormed into our nation’s capitol. They tromped across Statuary Hall, brandishing their flagpoles as weapons. It was much later, after order was being restored, that I thought about the statues and wondered if they had been harmed. I remembered the day one statue was … Continue reading January 6–The Insurrection and Helen Keller

An Elephant, Stag and Rambling about Research

  By Jennie Helderman In 1810 a man in Huntsville, Alabama, sold tickets to see an elephant. I have a copy of the flyer advertising the event. Now I happen to know that in 1810 Huntsville was the western frontier. Very few people lived there, and travel was hard. So how did an elephant get to Huntsville? And how could the man keep the elephant … Continue reading An Elephant, Stag and Rambling about Research

Looking For—My Senior Malady

  Everything in its place—and it still gets lost. Somebody, most often me, is always misplacing something. It’s like a senior moment but with things, and it’s getting worse. If it’s not my glasses, it’s the car keys, or my credit card, or the door key. Or any combination, or something else. What’s lost usually turns up, but I may be using up my luck. … Continue reading Looking For—My Senior Malady

sale sign


For the second time, I’ve been blocked—booted out, no explanation, all my posts dumped into oblivion, and no recourse or appeal. Not from all of Facebook this time but from a benign nostalgic group called Forgotten Alabama that posted photos of abandoned houses and stores, old signs, things that had seen better days. I didn’t see any rules so after observing for a few weeks, … Continue reading BLOCKED AGAIN!


I Knew Her As Mother

The picture is of Kathleen Russell of Walnut Grove, Alabama, from the 1931 Glomerata of Auburn University. You might have known her as Kathleen Miller, married to Ed Miller of Gadsden, Alabama. I knew her as Mother. She died on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, died in her sleep at age ninety-two, which is why I’m thinking about her in the holiday season. I hesitate to … Continue reading I Knew Her As Mother

Friends by the Numbers, or Number One Friends

Does anyone remember autograph books? The little albums young girls used to collect signatures of their friends, probably during junior high school? Or, did your school tradition include signing yearbooks? Maybe we didn’t admit it at the time, but the more signatures, the more friends you had, the the more popular you were, so there was a little game or contest underneath the surface. I … Continue reading Friends by the Numbers, or Number One Friends

The Face of Courage–Kaitlin Roig at Sandy Hook

    Reindeer on rooftops, dreidels and candles, the magic and miracles— these are the things of December, the traditions we treasure, the peace on earth and goodwill among men in our songs. Not the unfathomable horror of December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary. The shooting that day at Sandy Hook  wrenched the heart of our nation. It haunts us still. Yet within that … Continue reading The Face of Courage–Kaitlin Roig at Sandy Hook

Prevent Deadly Selfies: Government Posts Warnings

Twice as many people have died this year shooting selfies than in attacks by sharks. The score to date is 12 to 6. Twelve people have leaned too far out windows or dangled over precipices or strutted in front of trains or something else daring and stupid, just to document their faces against a dangerous background. Sharks killed six people. Sharks are predators. They attack … Continue reading Prevent Deadly Selfies: Government Posts Warnings

On Being Blocked by Facebook

  Hell’s Canyon, where the Snake River cuts its path past boulders and mountains along the Oregon-Idaho border, is deeper, longer and more remote than the Grand Canyon, according to my trail guide. She ought to know—her family rode in a covered wagon on the Oregon Trail and homesteaded in the 1800s. We stood under the fire tower at Hat Point in Oregon, keenly aware … Continue reading On Being Blocked by Facebook