Stephen Colbert took a few minutes, at the beginning of his June 19, 2013 program, share and remember his mother, Lorna, who died last week in her nineties. Well worth watching. The video is courtesy of Hulu via Upworthy.
Today my father, Rev. Elmo Pascale, sent me a blog post (written on his iPad) with 1956 memories describing how past Staten Island floods made people flee their homes and the relief efforts at his church. Looking at a map I believe he is referring to Midland Beach.
My Staten Island Years and the
Vulnerable Coastline Along the Lower Bay Area
In January, 1956, the New York State Congregational (Church) Conference journal, “Conference Trails,” published an article about my pastoring at the Oakwood Heights Community Church on Staten Island. The article included routine pictures and comments, save for one section that, in light of the current Hurricane Sandy storm, seems rather poignant.
The middle bay of New York City (Oakwood Beach, Staten Island), a short distance from our church was subject to severe flood conditions, and the article about my ministry explained how our Church, with the help of the Red Cross, provided beach residents with overnight retreats from storms and flood conditions. Continue reading
It’s Memorial Day Weekend 2012, when we remember men and women who fought and gave their lives, largely to maintain democracy and religious freedom. Each year, I think about my Uncle Sherman, although I think about him lots of other times too, because while he did not die fighting, he made an ultimate sacrifice — losing any quality of life after extreme shell shock suffered in World War II.
These days, as various groups tell people what to believe, how they should worship, who they should and shouldn’t love, and even for whom they should cast a vote, I remember Uncle Sherman, precisely because he went to fight Hitler’s evil world view and the Holocaust. He did this after learning about freedom of religion and persecution of the Jews — in Shelburne Sunday school in Terre Haute, Indiana. He went to war to fight hate.
Sherman had never met anyone of the Jewish faith, but he knew they had a right to live their lives, and were he alive today he would be very puzzled about the many people making hateful comments about Muslims. My uncle was a member of “the greatest generation,” today’s elder-elders who put themselves in grave danger and saw countless friends and family members die in at least one war. Continue reading
Bridges, highways, businesses, savings accounts, good schools, paid off mortgages, parks, protective regulations, Medicare, social security, you name it. Even foreign aid to build up countries that had been our enemies during World War II.
The generations that preceded us, and especially the greatest generation, had a finely tuned respect for public service. Civics was important to them, and they understood how building a government, whether national or local, encouraged participation and helped others. Did I mention a love of education?
They also believed in paying their way with taxes — none of this lowering taxes and increasing debt and not paying for wars. I’ve lost track of the number of times my parents and grandparents told my brother and me that “…taxes are a privilege in a democratic society… for all of us, not just our family.” These were not affluent people talking.
We adult children and those who have followed us have mistreated and trivialized the gifts that were given to us.
Great article in the Wall Street Journal about kids and grandparents and the ways they are communicating with one another. In her May 9, 2001 article, OMG! My Grandparents R My BFF!, reporter Molly Baker takes readers on a “magical mystery tour” highlighting the ways generations are interacting (and sometimes leaving out the generation in the middle). You can also read Jamie Carracher’s thoughts on the article over at his Aging Online blog.
I wrote about this digital family experience in Yes! Grandma is on Facebook. Below is an excerpt of a post about my daughter and her grandmother from last August.
Join Facebook? For three years I avoided the site. I knew that some of my friends from work, church, and other activities were joining, but I just did not feel like it was a fit. My daughter, then in graduate school, used the social networking site, and she occasionally suggested I get started with Facebook. Still I refrained.
I turned on the location part of the map program and then showed my father how look over maps of his neighborhood and town. Next we put in a few favorite places from the — Carnegie Hall in New York City, Branch Brook Park in New Jersey, Rochester, New York, Ocean Grove, New Jersey, a town where he went to college and more. We even visited the Library of Congress.
Each time I showed Dad how he could enlarge the map to a point that allowed him see actual neighborhoods and streets that he remembered. He was just delighted to connect with so many familiar places. As we played together, we probably looked up eight or ten locations where Dad had visited, lived, or worked. Now I know that we can also do this on Google Earth, which not only gets to the street but also to a picture of the actual house or building — but a year ago, pre-iPad — when I demonstrated Google Earth to my parents, it required way too many steps.