A place where I can share interesting ideas and maybe get a few things off my chest

Archive for June, 2014

My Glass Is Three-Quarters Full

In front of the Oldsmar Library

In front of the Oldsmar Library

At lunch yesterday, my co-workers and I were talking about the state of our society and how everything is so much worse and so much scarier than in prior eras. (Our ages vary, and so the prior eras remembered vary, as well.)

I had to put forth that not only do I not think things are worse, but that they are actually better and improving exponentially. Our perception of sickness and evil in our society is greatly skewed by the 24-hour news cycles, the ubiquity of negative stories (often clickbait) across the entirety of the internet, catastrophized, mud-slinging and muckraking rhetoric between political factions, and human beings’ penchant for focusing on what is most threatening and fearsome.

The very fact that many of these things are in the news at all is, in and of itself, a sign of hope. Horrifying things that make the news cycles would often have not been considered newsworthy at all in prior centuries. A hundred years ago, women and children were considered chattel. A hundred years before that, many people were literally chattel. The first child abuse prosecution was done through animal abuse laws, as there were no laws in place protecting children from being beaten or starved by their supposed caregivers.

Cesar Chavez’ efforts helped empower U.S. farm workers.

The Civil Rights Movement empowered people of color.

The Feminist movement, growing out of the Civil Rights Movement, helped many women realize that subordination is not part of the natural order of things.

Until Candy Lightner got MADD, drunk driving was only considered to be somewhat foolish, and drunken wrecks were just considered accidents.

And those are all examples just from the 20th century in the United States.

So many areas of society are so much better in so many ways, I just don’t have time to go on because I have to get ready for work – my work in child welfare, a job that didn’t exist a century ago, and that, as a woman, I couldn’t have held anyway.

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Scans From A Shoebox

Have A Coke

I have know idea who this is; I just like the composition of the photo.

That’s the name of the folder open on my desktop. The photos aren’t in a shoebox now; they’re in a copy paper box, because the boot box they were in for as far back as I can remember finally deteriorated beyond the point of keeping anything contained. Aunt Helen, Mother’s older sister, had rows of photo albums with pictures of family and her trips to Europe neatly labeled in chronological order. We had a boot box that had originally held workboots that Dad had worn out and discarded before I was born.

I’ve been meaning to digitally scan these photos for years, and finally started a few days ago. Most of them are of family. Many are of people I don’t know and except for a couple, the only clues are notes I made in pencil on the backs of some of them over three decades ago. I would like to go through them with Mother and ask her about the people in them, but I’m afraid the exercise will be frustrating for both of us.

The photos of family members I recognize, I’m dividing into large envelopes to send to representative members of each family group. They may already have copies of these photos, but they might not, and maybe they can pencil in all the details and make interesting albums and give the pictures somewhere to live besides in a box in a closet.

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