Posts Tagged ‘History’


[Molly G. Manning‘s] When Books Went to War is really a wonderful story, a little-known part of American history to be proud of & inspired by. repercussions long-lasting: made readers out of many soldiers who went on to college. it shows the best of the human spirit.

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will always fight being herded like others. fierce independence & power of convictions comes from somewhere. reading – and living! – history’s a part of it.

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Loving Kindness: Following through on decisions – another word for choice – is what forms history, both the abominable and the wondrous. And you know as a student of history that struggle is involved no matter what the outcome.

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reading about John Adams [David McCullough’s excellent biography]. struck by how Adams emphasized the importance of happiness and the right to it. it’s your right too, dear one. pursue it courageously.

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history is repeating, as it always does. seeing lack of knowledge – almost disdain for it – is sad & frustrating.

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just wrote letter to Anthony. legacy of love there despite his death. or maybe because of it. doesn’t matter why: that it’s there is important gift.

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Walking History

During the micro job I became aware of a woman named Nell Hayes, the longest-serving state employee in the history of Texas. Nell worked at the Secretary of State’s office for 68 years. Yes, 68. When she’d worked there 65 years, they named a conference room after her. It just so happens that I did the data entry work a few yards from this conference room.

I saw the small photo plaque on the wall of the room and got interested. Then I opened a closet and found shelves of other plaques, photos, mementos, certificates… All celebrating Nell, who died at age 90 in 2007.

So I’ve been interviewing people who knew her, because there’s a story worth telling, here.  Everyone I’ve talked to smiles at the mention of her name and speaks warmly about her. A couple of them have cried softly, telling me they still miss her. They’ve given me newspaper articles and press releases which have served to make me even more curious.

By all accounts including her own, she didn’t want to stop working because she’d be lonely. So she dressed “to the nines” every day and continued. She was still working a month before she died.

Nell married twice and outlived both husbands. There’s a photo of her at age 21, when she won the Miss Stamford of 1939 contest. She was lovely. She still looked great 65 years later when they took the plaque photo. That’s her in the photo above. Of course they named her the Yellow Rose of Texas.

The hardest part of being a member of the working poor is never having enough time. Well, or money, a whole different can o’ worms. But Nell’s is a story worth telling. I’m adding it to the list.

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Speaking of stories, I’ve posted Part 10 of Circuitous Route in Pages. I snuck Part 9 in a while back. Nearly there.

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