Thursday, February 28, 2013

Why does a rat cross the road?

A rat in Newtonville Square, dead in his tracks. . . .  Photo Credit: Marash Girl

Why does a rat cross the road?  To get to the other side, of course, but this Newtonville Rat never made it, probably because he forgot to cross in the crosswalk!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The truth will out . . .

Is it because Marash Girl has been "under the weather" too long that she is remembering her high school graduation where the honored guest speaker, Senator Leverett Saltonstall, lurching to the podium, began his talk to the seniors and their parents:
"Three quarts an hour ago . . ."

Marash Girl's father, Peter, never tired of telling that story!

And while we're on the subject, was it a slip of the tongue or deliberate when Marash Boy, confronting a particularly sticky problem, comforted Marash Girl by commenting, "One sip at a time." (One step at a time!)

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Better Door . . .

The children had been waiting for weeks  for their parents' return  from the Rain Forests of Ecuador -- And return their parents did, with hugs and kisses and armfuls of slides and videos.  Watching the video as intently as he could, Iffar stood directly in front of the screen in the living room, and Ama, in her effort to see the screen herself, without a second thought, called out, "You make a better door than a window."  She hadn't used that expression since she was Elina's age (Elina, who said, "That's really funny, Ama!"), when Marash Girl's brother would get so excited about what was on television that he would stand as close to the screen as possible. 

Asking Marash Boy if he had ever heard the expression, he replied without hesitation, "Yes, I first heard it when television came into everyone's living room!"

Monday, February 25, 2013

Eco-Tourism in the Rain Forests of Ecuador

Lorig swimming against the current in the Capahuari River.  (Capahuari means piranha in Achuar, the language of the locals . .  You'd think that would be reason enough not to go swimming in that river.) Photo Credit: Matt

The Pirannha that Matt caught (just look at those teeth!), which the cook fried up for dinner. 

Is that called turning the tables, or what?  Photo Credit:  Lorig

A caiman lurking in the reeds of the Capahuari River, Kapawi Lodge, Ecuador  . . .                        Photo Credit: Lorig

A Caiman of Ecuador in the Capahuari River. "Like all crocodilians, caimans eat a variety of fish, amphibians, turtles, birds and mammals   -- whatever creature happens to be unlucky enough to wander near them . . . "   Photo Credit:  Lorig

When Marash Girl expressed concern at her daughter's swimming in a river shared by pirannhas and caimans, she was told by her daughter, "The piranhas won't actually bite humans if they have enough other food.  And we were told that they have plenty of other food in the river."  Perhaps, but Marash Girl wonders what the caimans were thinking, and what her daughter was thinking that the caimans were thinking she was . . .

Sunday, February 24, 2013

You'll never appreciate your voice until you lose it . . .

A bad case of laryngitis has shut down Marash Girl for the day.  Have you ever tried to communicate in a house of 9 rooms with doors shut along corridors, and no voice to communicate with?  Or worse yet, to answer the telephone and not be able to communicate to the person on the other end of the line that they should talk because you cannot?  Welcome the world of the internet -- without it, what could Marash Girl be saying at this moment?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

A Great Series: Percy Jackson & The Olympians

Percy Jackson & The Olympians

This great series, meant for ages 8 to 13 (I'm 9 and I love the series)  is by Rick Riordan.  There are three books in the series.  My aunt, who of course is much older than me, read the first book (The Lightening Thief) and really liked it.

The first book in the series, The Lightning Thief, is about when Percy Jackson first discovers that he is a half blood, which means that one parent was a god (like Hercules, Posieden, Athena, or Zeus).  One of the first days he's at Camp Halfblood, he gets assigned a quest which some people don't get assigned at all.  First he has to get claimed by his god parent, which I am not revealing, because it's a big part of the story.

Throughout the series, Percy gets attacked by mortals and immortals, and monsters.  If I told you any more, I would have to give away the name of his god parent.  I hope you read this series which includes
  •  The Lightning Thief
  •  The Sea of Monsters
  • The Titan's Curse
  •  The Battle of the Labyrinth
  •  The Last Olympian
  • The Demigod Files
.  You'll love this series no matter what age you are.

Enila, Age 9

And if you love these books, you must read D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Mythology. Enila's aunt loved and read many times D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Mythology when she was 9.

While  commenting on books meant for pre-teens, Marash Girl remembers unforgettable comments from her children:  Enila's aunt:  "Why is it that books written for grown-ups are boring?"  Enila's uncle:  "Why are the 'classics' always so depressing?"

Would love to hear your comments on the subject, dear reader . . . .

Marash Girl, Ageless

Friday, February 22, 2013

Composting: Let Me Count the Ways

Composting?  We grew up with it.  Peter (Marash Girl's dad) grew vegetables in the garden in the back yard in Newtonville, Massachusetts. To replenish the soil in the garden, he would often add cow manure, but soon began vegetable composting.  He built a stone wall that created a closet in which to compost, the compost that came from the garden's leavings and would be returned, ultimately to the soil of the garden.  To hasten the process, Grandma Jennie (Marash Girl's mom) saved all of the vegetable peelings/leavings and put them through the blender (the precursor to today's food processor) before sending them out to be added to the compost "closet" and Grandpa Peter (Marash Girl's dad who was following the lead of his dad who had had a garden in that very back yard until the day he left this world for a better place) put all of the yard leavings -- branches, leaves and other items which would take too long to break down -- through a (very noisy) chipper which blew right into the compost "closet"; after each addition, he would add powdered lime.  After the leavings had broken down (a year or two later), Peter would shovel the new soil from the bottom of the pile in the closet (which was closed in on three sides only), and add that fresh soil to his garden.

And there was another system that Marash Boy's Uncle Yesayi used in Lee, Massachusetts, a system somewhat less work intensive, but a system that did work!  He hammered five  6 foot stakes into the ground in a circular pattern of about five feet in diameter, surrounded the stakes with chicken wire, and adding vegetable peelings and old plants from his garden to the fenced in area, each time adding leaves, powdered lime and some soil over the compost pile.  When the vegetable leavings on the bottom of the fenced in heap had turned to soil, he would simply lift the chicken wire slightly from one side and shovel out the fresh new soil on the bottom, adding it to his garden before planting that spring.

Another system (not as desirable to Marash Girl's way of thinking) was used by a friend in the Washington, DC area.  He dug a hole three feet deep the circumference of his old, no longer in use, out door garbage pail cover (we all have one of those in our back yards, right?), covered the hole with the garbage pail cover to avoid curious animal onlookers from interrupting the composting process, and added vegetable leavings from his kitchen under the garbage pail cover until the hole was filled, at which point he would remove the garbage pail cover to another site, cover that hole (now full of vegetable leavings) with soil and leave it to compost, beginning another hole in another spot in his back yard, moving the antique garbage pail cover to cover the new composting site.

Marash Girl herself was left two large black plastic cones as covers for compost piles in the back yard by previous renters in her house in Newton Corner  She has been using the cone system, throwing soil and leaves over the vegetable peelings she places under the cones, and adding water occasionally to hasten the composting process.  Trying to find powdered lime in the local garden centers was for naught; the stores sold only lime stone pebbles, but tried to sell some chemical to add to the compost, a chemical which for certain was "natural", but not the simple lime that Marash Girl had used, or seen used, all her life.

Finally there are new fangled, expensive, large and ugly, (usually green plastic) composting bins that one must turn after each addition and, before turning, add some purchased (all natural, of course) chemical to hasten the composting process.  Marash Girl, who had considered asking for one of these new fangled composters for Christmas, never received one (thank goodness), as she had the opportunity to experience the ugliness and unpleasantness of the process for two weeks during a visit in Takoma Park, Maryland.  Opening the cover and pushing all the partially decomposed vegetable leavings down in order to add the new vegetable leavings was unpleasant, to say the least. 

It was then that Marash Girl remembered her mother's blending the vegetable leavings before adding them to the back yard composting "closet".  Marash Girl will be sure to try that using her simple black composting cones as soon as she returns to her back yard in Newton Corner, Massachusetts.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Growing up in Brighton, Massachusetts

"When I grow up, I want to be a drunk!"
So Peter thought, having just survived the Armenian Genocide, and growing up in Brighton, Massachusetts, where the few happy faces he saw around him were those of the drunks hanging onto the lamp posts or sleeping in the foyers of the three decker houses in Brighton, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Finnish in Takoma Park

Around the corner from Forest Park (where, by the way, there was no forest to be seen), on Elm Avenue in Takoma Park, a resident shared a small piece of Takoma Park local history with Marash Girl.

My bungalow was built in 1929 by a man from Finland, she said . . . Finnish people settled in these parts.  Those little out-buildings in the back were Saunas.  The Finnish man who built this house first lived in the little building in the back while he was building this house; then, after this house was built, he moved into this house, and made the little back building into a sauna.  He first created a cement block factory in the yard, and used the cement blocks to build this house, and if you look, you'll see these cement blocks all over Takoma Park.

(Look, Marash Girl did, and see, she did! Decorative cast cement blocks at the base of many of the houses in the area, particularly in the neighborhood surrounding Forest Park.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Quetzaltenango in Takoma Park

Indigena with coconut and machete.

Marash Girl's Spanish came flooding back to her as she chatted with the young man selling coconuts at the Farmer's Market in Takoma Park, Maryland.  

"The milk in the coconut is delicious!  Here . . . try it  . . . and then I'll cut the husk off of the coconut for you. . . . Yes, I'm from Guatemala.  I'm Indigena from Quetzaltenango . . . my people still speak their ancient language -- as I do...I'm here to help my family have a better life, 
because in Guatemala, jobs are few, and pay is less."  

Marash Girl remembered her years of studying Spanish -- how she had chosen to go to Antigua, Guatemala, to study Spanish, as the Guatemalan people she had met here in the United States had been kind to her, kind enough to slow down when speaking Spanish with her, had encouraged her in her efforts as she stumbled through her newly learned language. . . and this young man was no different.  "You speak Spanish well," he said, smiling as Marash Girl happily spoke to him in a language she once loved.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Enila Prepares Breakfast

Enila shows off the breakfast she prepared.
Directions by Enila

Ingredients            1 bagel sliced sideways in half
                              2 strawberries, green leaves sliced off
                              cream cheese

1.  First, cut the bagel sideways in half.
2.  Next, toast the bagel halves.
3.  Next, spread the cream cheese on the flat side of the bagel halves.
4.  After that, slice the strawberries into small pieces.
5.  Then put strawberries put strawberries on bagel.
6.  Enjoy!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Promise of Spring: Takoma Park, MD

   Winter, 2013 -- Snowdrops and fallen pinecones keep company beneath the pine trees along Ethan Allen Avenue

Sunshine highlights the  promise of Spring among the leavings of Autumn.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pajama Day?

A Takoma Park elementary school touts Pajama Day as one of the funnest days of the year -- a day when all the kids get to wear their pajamas to school.  "It's fun to see what pajamas other kids wear," said one of the students.  Yet that very same student admitted that she felt funny going to the YMCA for her swimming lessons, still wearing her pajamas.  

The stuff of nightmares -- that's what wearing pajamas to school meant to Marash Boy and Marash Girl -- the horror of suddenly realizing that you are in school, surrounded by all your friends, but you have forgotten to get dressed -- you are still in your pajamas -- that was our nightmare, one that we had often enough to remember to this day -- one never shared with each other before this day, the day we learned that our grandchildren were to go to school in their pajamas!  A special treat, a fun day, a special event for them; still a nightmare for their grandparents.

Marash Girl smiles to think of what her own great aunts would shriek at the slightest mention of such goings on:  Abow!  Amot!  Inch khent pun mn e! Inch aboushoutioun eh asiga!

Friday, February 15, 2013

At a coffee shop in Takoma Park, Maryland

The little boy stood by her side, waiting for her to purchase his box of all natural apple juice and her cup of fair trade coffee.  Two years old,  his practiced hands  delighted in receiving his little box of apple juice.  Separating the (cellophane protected) prepackaged straw from the small box, he deftly removed the straw's cellophane covering, not so deftly dropped the straw on the rug in front of the check-out counter, and,  retrieving the straw from the ground,  started placing it into the tiny, yet unopened hole in the top of the apple juice box.  Observing this faux-pas, and before the little boy could begin to drink, Marash Girl called out to his mother:  "Your son dropped his straw on the ground."  "No problem," answered the mother, as she proudly glanced down at her son.
Marash Girl couldn't help wondering at this new method of childrearing . . was it the "2 second rule", or what?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Ever wonder what you are?

Next time you go to your local pizza shop, listen up!  At a Takoma Park, Maryland, celebratory gathering featuring pizza,  the organizer needed to take count as to exactly what kind of pizza he should be ordering and for how many . . .  He began:  "How many of you are vegan?"  A handful of children raised their hands.  He continued:  "How many are gluten free?"  A smaller group raised their hands.  "And you, young man?" the organizer asked, nodding to Iffar whose great-grandparents on one side survived the Armenian genocide, and on the other, the Irish potato famine . . . whose Armenian mother eats vegan and whose father eats meat and potatoes . . . And you, young man?  Without pause, 6 year old Iffar answered,

                   "I'm half Irish and half vegan!"

Happy Valentine's Day, Lorig!

Lorig's adventures always provided Marash Girl's family, friends and neighbors, with great stories -- from the time Lorig and her friend  Caroline Barth  spied a guy on Franklin Street in Newton Corner  carrying a rifle under his trench coat, to the time she faced off with Mrs. Nadeau, the elementary school principal.  (We'll save that story for later. . . )  To the time she (still in sixth grade) publicly challenged  Superintendent of Schools John Strand and Mayor Theodeore Mann with her original slogan, "We've Been Stranded!"  It's no wonder that she has led a life challenging the status quo, leading the fight for the good and the right, to this day working actively against the death penalty, working towards peace in every way every day as director and trainer in Maryland's statewide community mediation program, and "going to prison" every weekend to train inmates in "Alternatives to Violence" workshops. 

When Setti Warren was running for Mayor of Newton, an office he now holds, he loved to tell the tale of high school freshman Lorig making sure Warren's every step as President of the Senior Class was the way it should be.

Time to run for the House of Representatives, Lorig!  or better yet, follow your 5th grade words of wisdom:  "I don't want to be the President of the United States; I just want to be his advisor!"  

Happy Birthday, Lorig Djan!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Day at the Old Claflin School (Washington Park, Newtonville)

As Enila sits and creates Valentine cards,  (pink construction paper for the girls' cards, green construction paper for the boys, a card for every child in her class, ) Marash Girl remembers writing her name on the back of tiny pre-printed Valentine cards that her mother purchased in cellophane packets from the 5&10 in Newtonville Square. Little Marash Girl, after handing one to every child in her second grade class, hoped that Billy Guggenheimer wouldn't know that the card she was handing to him really meant what it said!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Newton Corner of Snow

Now that the streets are clear, though much narrower than before the blizzard, the corners of the streets here in Newton Corner are far from clear.  To approach a corner, one approaches danger -- there is no way to see around those corners, to see if vehicles are approaching as you try to maneuver your car around the piles of snow, 10 feet high, 10 feet wide, piles of snow on the corners of almost every side street in Newton Corner.  Perhaps Mother Nature will come up with a solution before Newton does, and develop a new variety of snow, especially for corners -- transparent snow! (Is that what we call ice?)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Blizzard of 2013: Brooklyn Heights

During the snowstorm and the after math, the cities of Boston and Newton instituted a ban on street parking which is still in effect.  Yesterday evening, Marash Girl learned from her friend Andrea, a long-time resident of Brooklyn Heights, that the powers that be in Brooklyn Heights, New York, responded very differently to the snowstorm.  Rather than a snow parking ban, the residents of Brooklyn Heights,  during this snow ermergency, are now allowed to park on both sides of the street rather than only one side.  Go figure!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Blizzard of 2013: Praying to the Snow Plow

It's always a problem in these parts.  After spending hours shoveling out following a snow storm,  you watch the city's snow plow (when it finally arrives) as it carelessly plows in the driveway you have just so painstakingly  cleared. That is, unless you happen to be on the street when the snow plow passes, and you happen to be lucky.  If you can catch the eye of the driver, and, bowing your head, you place your hands together in the attitude of prayer, you just may be fortunate enough to watch that snow plow widen the opening to your driveway, rather than block it full of snow again, or at the very least, watch as the snow plow carefully avoids plowing  the snow from the rest of the street right into the opening to your driveway.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Blizzard of 2013

We, the people of Massachusetts, were not disappointed, the storm did arrive,  the governor banned all cars from the roads (with a $500 fine and jail time for those who did not obey and were caught) and although only two feet of heavy snow fell as opposed to three, and certainly not with the intensity or depth of the blizzard of '78 (that story will have to wait for another blog), the storm had power, duration and depth.  

After many warnings from her children NOT to go out and shovel, Marash Girl, who, all her life, has been the first out shoveling, was about to head out yet again to attack the depths of the snow, when Marash Boy stopped her with an age-old saying from the Armenians of Marash, a saying that brought her to her senses:

Allah beni para ver, seni akil! (May God give me money,  you . . .  brains!)

Finally, she understood.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Awaiting the storm . . .

With bated breath we wait, as the news commentators warn us to stock up on non-perishable food, batteries, candles . . . the big one is about to arrive . . .  a snowstorm to equal the blizzard of '78.  All schools are cancelled, buses and trains as well.  Do we fear the storm, or do we look forward to experiencing the power of nature, a power we cannot control, a power to be reckoned with . . . Will we be disappointed if this storm never arrives?

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Hepisini deyesin, bazīsi olsun.  So called out Marash Boy's mother Azniv whenever she heard her son sneeze "hepchoo"!  Loosely translated, she was wishing him well: If you ask for it all, may you (at least) have some.

Born in Marash, she always maintained the Marashtsi's sense of ironic humor . . .

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"I don't chat!"

There she was, standing in line at the Newton City Hall, waiting to pay the water bill, behind her an old fellow, ahead of her an old fellow, and at the head of the line, a woman trying endlessly to explain her payment issues to the clerk behind the window.  The old fellow ahead of Marash Girl commented aloud, "Looks like it's going to be a long wait."  Thinking that this was a signal that the fellow wanted to converse rather than stand in line staring straight ahead, Marash Girl answered, "I guess we'll have to chat, then!"  "I don't chat," grumbled the old fellow.  "Not even if I tell you I've lived in Newton all my life, attended Newton schools, and came back here to raise my children?"  "That's enough," declared the old fellow, and that, as they say, was the end of that!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Old Howard, Scollay Square, Beyonce and the Super Bowl

Sunday night's Superbowl half-time entertainment brought to mind a favorite joke of Marash Girl's dad (though the circumstances under which the joke was told are lost in the mists of time):

Father to son, "Don't ever go to The Old Howard in Scollay Square".
Son to father, "Why not?"
Father to son, "You'll see things that you shouldn't be seeing."
As is wont to happen, the son goes to the Old Howard in Scollay Square, and as predicted, he saw something he shouldn't have seen. . .  His father!
"The Old Howard, Boston’s most famous (some would say notorious) theatre, opened in 1846 and evolved from legitimate theatre to vaudeville to burlesque and finally to striptease" so risque that it kept the Boston vice squad busy, and led to an indecency hearing which eventually shut down the Old Howard in 1953." [From the internet]
We might as well have been at the Old Howard on Sunday night, as the family gathered around the telly to watch the Super Bowl and [sandwiched in between the halves], supersex, but no vice squad appeared on the screen to shut down the lurid dance of Beyonce, Beyonce hailed by Tris McCall of The Star-Ledger as  "a beacon of femininity!"  

A beacon of raw (raunchy?) sexuality, perhaps, but certainly not femininity!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Tantiusques, Sturbridge Native American Nipmuc Lead Mine, Sturbridge, Massachusetts

Photo Credits: Marash Boy
A surprise phone call on a snow flurried Sunday morning sent Marash Boy and Marash Girl driving west on the Massachusetts Turnpike to Sturbridge, Massachusetts, to meet Karoun (of Karoun Yoga) for a walk in the woods, a walk in the woods that held surprises. . . an open abandoned lead mine, stalagmites and stalctites in the making, an uncrossable stream, and miles of walkable snow covered paths.
Open entrance to lead mine in Sturbridge, Massachusetts
Yawning entrance to second lead mine at Tantiusques
                    Icycles reach upward, stalagmites in the making, noted the geologist
                           on the walk, as water dripped down from the roof of the open mine.

The uncrossable stream . . .
From The Trustees of the Reservations:  "Follow a loop trail through quiet woodlands then visit the site of a former lead mine used by Native Americans and, later, European settlers.

About Tantiusques, Leadmine Road, Sturbridge, Massachusetts. Tantiusques (“tan-te-us-quays”) – a Nipmuc word meaning “to a black deposit between two hills” – was the center of one of New England's first mining operations.

A short loop trail leads through quiet woods; a spur trail passes through the Leadmine Wildlife Management Area and ends at the Robert Crowd Site. Visitors can view the foundations of the house and barn of the African-American and Native American man who worked at the mine in the 1850s.
The Nipmuc originally mined here for graphite to make ceremonial paints. In 1644, John Winthrop, Jr., son of the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, purchased the mine with hopes of extracting lead and iron. In the early 19th century, Captain Joseph Dixon and his son worked here before founding the J. D. Crucible Company of New Jersey, famous manufacturers of pencils.
Today, careful observers can see the mine cuts, ditches, and tailings piles made by the various mining operations. The mineshaft that tunnels into the face of the low ridge is the most recent of all the excavations, dating to 1902. Most of the mining at Tantiusques was of the open trench variety. The cut along the top of the ridge is the partially filled-in remainder of what was once a several thousand foot-long trench, 20 to 50 feet in depth and roughly 6 feet in width, which followed the vein of graphite."

Marash Girl wonders if the painting of faces by the Nipmuc using graphite based paints, and the leaching of the lead from the mines into the nearby lake, led to the early demise of many of the Nipmuc Native American Indians living near the mines.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Red Squirrels in Newton?

Marash Girl saw her first red squirrel yesterday as the sun rose on the line of evergreens between her house and her neighbors' in Newton Corner, Massachusetts. Marash Boy often spoke of having seen red squirrels in Wilbraham, but only rarely, and only deep in the forests on top of Wilbraham Mountain.  Marash Girl had never seen the red squirrel. Having lived in Newton most of her life, she had seen many a grey squirrel, grey squirrels that scavenged the yards and fruit trees of both her family home in Newtonville and her home in Newton Corner.  Yesterday morning was different.  Yesterday morning, a red squirrel was romping from one evergreen to the next, it's red coat alight in the rays of the rising sun.  Marash Girl was dazzled. Wanting to know more, Marash Girl learned that "the diet of these tree squirrels is specialized on the seeds of conifer cones." So that explains the reason that the red squirrel seemed so happy. But why had Marash Girl never seen a red squirrel before?  The red squirrel was too fast for Marash Girl to grab her camera, so here's an  image borrowed from the internet: 

 From WIkipedia:  The American red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) is one of three species of tree squirrel currently classified in the genus Tamiasclurus known as pine squirrels.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Gun Safety, Play Safety, cont'd

Not only squirt guns . . . Marash Girl used to love to play with cap guns.  Caps . . . do they still have those toy metal guns with long red strips of caps that go off with a loud crack when the trigger is pulled?  Or lacking a gun, Marash Girl would delight in using a rock to set off the caps on the cement patio beyond the back door of her home.  
When Marash Girl arrived at Day Junior High School, guns were no longer a toy, but a reality.  There were junior high school gangs in Newtonville and West Newton, gangs that would meet at night and threaten each other, the gang members wearing black leather jackets, sporting slick hair styles known as DA's ("duck's asses"), and carrying hidden guns, guns that had been brought back from the war by their fathers, uncles, and older brothers.  Members of the gang shared a home room with Marash Girl, and one of them, Mugsy M., would bring items he had stolen from the 5&10 and distribute the "loot" to his classmates in an effort, perhaps, to win their favor.  As it turned out that, unbeknownst to the school administration, the gang members, and some non-gang members, "carried" in school as well as out.  One morning in 8th grade, during first period, a shot rang out that was NOT heard round the world.  The shot rang out in a social studies classroom when Jerry V.'s hidden gun accidentally went off ("he didn't know the gun was loaded") while he was inspecting its intricacies, shooting off his own finger, and instantly killing the boy sitting in the seat in front of him.  The gun had been sitting behind Marash Girl in home room just  10 minutes earlier.

This deadly accident occurred, not last week or last year, but many years ago, at Day Junior High School in Newton, Massachusetts.  Wikipedia records the event as follows: March 31, 1954: Newton, Massachusetts John Frankenberger, 14, was accidentally shot to death in a classroom at Day Junior High School when a pistol being held by a classmate discharged.
There were no parent meetings, no counselors, no outrage, no effort at gathering the guns.  Only sorrow and  funeral services for the innocent dead boy (who was indeed an innocent "by sitter" and NOT a member of the gang), sorrow for the boy (also NOT a member of the gang) who, bored in class, happened to be inspecting his gun.  And life went on.  We all went to school the next day and the next and the next.  

How would a change in the gun laws have saved the innocent victim at Day Jr. High School?  How would a change in the gun laws prevent the young people today from carrying guns into the classroom?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Gun Safety, Play Safety

With all this talk about gun safety, Marash Girl ponders on the difficulty of raising children (much less adults) to think non-violently in a world where the news, the entertainment world, the digital world is rife with images of violence.   She remembers not allowing her children to have toy guns, or to watch television.     [Marash Girl must admit, however, that she loved squirt guns and never denied her children, or her grandchildren, the opportunity of squirting each other!] After moving into a neighborhood where there were other children, her children (and in her day she) would play with the neighbor children, and when they became unaware that their mother was looking, they used sticks or lacking sticks, their fingers as pretend guns for games of cowboys and Indians, cops and robbers, good guys and bad guys.  It was fun to be shot and play at dropping dead!

More tomorrow. . .