Papa's Pointa wannabe writer's opinions and observations.
In high school I did most of my writing in spiral notebooks. I have two of these notebooks, and the story is some medieval bullshit. At the time I was reading Beowulf and a playing a lot of Dungeons and Dragons. Go figure.
So, again I have my papers in front of me, and I look for the muse to inspire and the serotonin to engage.
Below is an assignment I had to do for one of my summer classes. I liked doing it and wanted to post it up on the ol’ world wide intraweb-
“Build a fantasy playlist. Using Windows Media Player or the Music app, browse through the Music Store or use the Search charm. Select songs of interest and use the Preview button to listen to samples of each song. Then decide which songs would make a playlist you would enjoy. Write about your playlist. Do the songs in your playlist have something in common? Write a list that includes at least six songs you would put together in a playlist.”
- Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd- a song that I first heard during a slide presentation about the ArizonaState Mental Hospital (all the Seniors had to complete a semester of community service and present their experience to the class). Hearing that song play while watching the eerie images of the often forgotten mentally ill and criminally insane fade in and out of view was very powerful.
- 2112 by Rush- a song that spans the entire first side of the album of the same name. It describes a dystopian world devoid of art and music until a young man finds a guitar once lost to the ages and brings it forward to the leaders of world. Fit into my world of fantasy games and books quite nicely. It rings of Ayn Rand’s “Anthem”. My current license plate is “21-XII”.
- She’s Got A Way by Billy Joel-was playing the first time I had a real date with a girl whist I was a high school lad.
- (You Gotta Walk) Don’t Look Back by Peter Tosh-the first reggae song I remember hearing. I first heard it when Peter was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live on December 16, 1978. My parents must have been out that night, and I’m glad they were. The rhythm was infectious, and when Mick Jagger came out and sang with him (like on the album), forget it, I was hooked!
- Wish You Here by Pink Floyd-a song that, like most songs of the Floyd, just lets me mind-fly anywhere I wanted. I could watch and listen to David Gilmour 24/7 I think.
- Back in Black by AC/DC-one of the first rock songs I learned to play on the guitar. It was a no-brainer to crank this one in my car when I had the top down. (I had a 1972 Chevrolet Impala convertible that needed a lot of work, and of course I started the restoration process by putting in a cassette player and bigger speakers. As seniors we were allowed to park our car in “TheEast Yard” (a paved area between the two classroom buildings and the gym—it is now a rolling and grassy area with trees and a fountain), and we would sit in our cars and play our tunes, eat our lunches, and discuss the latest D&D module, Angus Young’s on-stage antics, or the fact that we were still upset by John Bonham, aka The Beast, aka Bonzo, dying September 25, 1980 after ingesting approximately 40 shots of vodka. We were all set to see our first Led Zeppelin concert in 1981. It never happened, and it was the first “real” experience many of us had with the death of pop-figure that we truly admired.
The following is a letter my maternal grandmother wrote to her parents. I found it while doing genealogy research.
I share it because it is written with so much feeling, and contains history and experiences that I find extremely interesting.
To give a little reference to the time and people mentioned/involved:
Grandmother Churchill: Louisa Laurana Barrett (9/12/1838 – 10/19/1902)
Grandfather Churchill: Joseph W. Churchill (1/7/1837 – 3/21/1909)… his first wife was named Fannie Barrett and she lived from 3/4/1840 to 2/23/1860. Interesting she has the same last name as his second wife…
My great grandfather Cyrus Nelson Churchill (3/8/1868 – 8/13/1943)
My great grandmother Ida Jane (Hurtle) Churchill (8/31/1874 – 3/19/1936) she passed away on her daughter’s 42nd birthday
My grandmother Theresa May Churchill Hunter (3/19/1894 – June 1966) and grandma gave birth to her only daughter, my mother, exactly one month after her 44th birthday.
My mother Mary May Hunter (2/19/1939 – 2/27/2007)
I would like this to be a tribute to my dear Father & Mother, Nelson & Ida Churchill, both having passed on some years ago. To them I owe so much, the heritage of having been the loving parents they were, and I treasure my
memories of their devotion and care. They both attended the Newton Woods School near Volina and were childhood sweethearts while attending school.
In one of Mama’s books was inscribed “Nelson loves Ida”. My brother Lewis and I attended this same school for one term. I was too young at that time for any reasoning along this line, but in later years I have felt it a privilege to have followed their footsteps into that schoolroom. I remember the beautiful trees surrounding the school house and the winding peaceful road that lead to Grandfather’s house about a mile from the school.
Grandmother Churchill was a saintly woman and spared me neither time nor effort to give Lewis and I love and attention when we went to visit them.
Little loaves of bread and little pies and cakes were always something we knew were going to be made for us. I can still smell the aroma of salt rising bread and of apples drying in racks over the stove. When I was 8years old, Mama and Dad moved to Gladwin. They bought 80 acres of land in Clare County, wild land, not even a road by the place. They drove through in a covered wagon which took a week. I recall the preparations it took to get ready for that trip. Dad spent days getting the hoops and canvas on the wagon while Mama baked and cooked food to pack in boxes. Grandmother added her favorite peach jam so the children could have bread and jam to piece on.
Folks were so hospitable all the way up there. When stopping to inquire if we could “put up” in their yard for the night, nearly always we were invited to sleep in the house and share a meal with them.Many hardships were theirs as I recall, but we all were happy and Mama and Dad had courage and determination. Mama was a good helpmate, for she helped to clear the land and gave her moral support. I believe that through the years this generation has lost the strength and courage our forefathers had for I doubt I could have, or would have, endured as they did. Folks were so neighborly and helped one another so much. When barns were built, folks from several miles came and had a “bee”. Mama spent days cooking and baking, preparing for the “bee” when Dad built our barn.
There were no fences when we first got there, so Lewis and I had to tune in to our cow bell when we went, looking for our cows in the evening and often found that we had tuned in the wrong bell and had to start another search. Fear and distrust seemed to fly out the windows in those days for we lived by faith. I recall one incident that caused Mama some distress. We had gone to town a distance of 9 miles over rough roads, and muddy. Mama had washed the day before and the clothes were not dry so she left them on the line. When we got home that afternoon, all that was left on the line was shreds of clothes here and there. A drove of roving cattle had paid us a visit and had helped themselves to the clothes. This must have given Mama a feeling of dismay for we doubtless had little more than 2 outfits of clothing.
There was a stream that came down across the field from our house and every spring it overflowed it’s banks and we could hear the ripples as it hurried on its way. I remember how the yellow cowslips blossomed beneath the water so clear and beautiful. It seemed to inspire me even as a child. These childhood memories I cherish and I am very grateful that my children were privileged to know their grandparents and to have visited them. They now cherish their memory even as I do.
Theresa Churchill Hunter
David McCullough, Jr. gave a commencement speech last year to the graduating class of Wellesley High School.
It was perfect for out-of-context editing and sound bites for the “journalists” of the day–the ones who prefer to make “news” instead of report it, and they did so with gusto because the speech’s theme was “You’re Not Special.”
I highly recommend reading it, especially if you have kids who think they are better than everyone else, think they are entitled to something others are not, or if you as a parent have enabled them to think in that way.
Hey, I’m not condemning anyone’s kids or parenting style, I just think his speech provides a lot of opportunity for thought and reflection as to the condition of today’s youths.