Esteemed thinker: Anne Sullivan

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The alphabet is one of our most progressive inventions, a unique concept with such profound implications. The act of stringing together characters to create a word, which has the ability to change meaning by the mere manipulation of its placement in a row, is indeed extraordinary. The word “but” is a conjunction, however switch the letters and we get “tub”, a noun.  Then if we add a few letters we can have the word “cat” and with the addition of an “s”, placed before or after the word, we get two distinct words and two different definitions,  “cats” or “scat”. Put them together with a space between and we have a sentence “scat cat!”

One can all agree that the inventions of the 21st century certainly have improved our lives, but let us not forget those that came before us… the offering that has most likely contributed most universally, impacting and influencing effects on civilization to the greatest degree… the alphabet.

Today’s blog brings you the esteemed thinker: Anne Sullivan (1866anne sullivan-1836) (Born Johanna “Anne” Mansfield Sullivan Macy). An accomplished American educator, she is best known as the teacher and companion of Helen Keller. Anne was born in Feeding Hills, Massachusetts to Irish immigrants who came to the United States to escape the notorious potato famine.  Sullivan and her surviving siblings grew up in impoverished conditions, and struggled with health problems. Anne contracted an eye disease, trachoma, at the age of five and nearly caused her to lose her sight. Her mother suffered from tuberculosis and died when Anne was eight years old.

Left with an abusive father, she and her brother were sent to live at an almshouse for the poor, however after a short time the younger brother dies and Anne is left alone.  Wanting to get an education, she convinces a prominent group of inspectors of the almshouse to allow her to leave and she is sent to the Perkins Institution for the Blind. Having never attended school, she proves that she is intelligent and quick learner, tutoring other students at the school. After undergoing surgery, she regains some of her own vision back.

sign language

Overcoming her own disabilities, in 1887, Anne Sullivan accepts a positon of teaching six-year-old Helen Keller, who lost her sight and hearing after a severe illness at the age of 19 months. To prepare herself, Sullivan studies the case of a former Perkins student who was also blind, deaf, and mute who had been taught to communicate through the use of raised letters and manual language.

Under Sullivan’s tutelage, including her pioneering “touch teaching” techniques, the previously difficult and defiant Helen Keller flourishes, eventually graduating from college and becoming an international lecturer and activist. Sullivan, later dubbed “the miracle worker,” remained Keller’s interpreter and constant companion until the Sullivan’s death in 1936.

 

First image: Photograph of sculpture by Robert Indiana, 1970

 

Taking control

Like all readers, not all reading problems are alike. That means by defining which area(s) a reader needs “a boost in” can significantly improve reading understanding as well as self-esteem.

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First Aid for Readers is a self-help guide for those who are having difficulty when they read. It can be followed at home, in school, in the library, during teacher instruction, or in any activity involving reading. It is a first aid kit for readers presented in an easy to follow format.

So, if you know a reader…share the link!

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Esteemed thinker: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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MLK Memorial Sculpture

A prize is an honor that from the earliest stage of our remembrance we have yearned to receive. Some prizes are earned after long and arduous work and commitment, and then some prizes are received after very little work or accomplishments. A prize can be given and accepted as a token, or it can live out well beyond the life of the receiver. Some prizes are cherished and others prizes such as laughter and happiness are seldom acknowledged as such and rather taken for granted.

We find prizes are consumed such as candy which pours out from the innards of a “pinata” after it receives quite a beating and then tumbles down like hail and gathered in a frenzied scurry, while other prizes are worn like jewelry around the neck such as a medal earned by an athlete. Some are prizes are trophies to be displayed on the mantle and others are plaques that adorn the wall. Some prizes such as gold have been fought over, plundered for, and even annihilated others for its possession.

And then there is a prize rewarded to those who have accomplished the greatest of deeds, given to one who has dedicated his or her life for the betterment of others. It is a prize distinguished above the rest in hopes that we, humanity, can carry on the work of these individuals. Such a reward is honored and revered and ever so noble; the Nobel Peace Prize. It is a prize that is presented to one that *“shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.”

Peace… a most cherished prize for us all. Funny, something so valuable is basically a state of being, an idea, a solution, and ever so sensible….

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

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Today’s post is dedicated to a man who is synonymous with peace, the esteemed thinker: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968). Born in Atlanta, Georgia, Dr. King was a paramount figure in the twentieth-century and a pivotal force behind the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Dr. King’s noted idea of somebodiness gave black and poor people a new sense of worth and dignity. His philosophy of nonviolent action, and his approach for rational and non-destructive social change, awakened the conscience of the United States and redirected the nation’s priorities. His life was tragically cut short when in 1968, standing on his hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee, he was assassinated… To this day the nation continues to mourn his death and the loss of a truly great man.

I invite you now to take time out of your hectic day for the words of the illustrious Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Here is a portion selected from his 1964 Nobel Peace Prized acceptance speech….words of wisdom, indeed…

“I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the “isness” of man’s present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal “oughtness” that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…

I think Alfred Nobel would know what I mean when I say that I accept this award in the spirit of a curator of some precious heirloom which he holds in trust for its true owners – all those to whom beauty is truth and truth beauty – and in whose eyes the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold…”

 

* Quote from Alfred Nobel
First image: 1973 steel memorial sculpture by William Tarr

Calling all book clubs! Let me send you a copy!

Thank you book lovers for the wonderful response!

“Reviewers’ Choice 2015”: a selected Indie release favorite. “… the most beloved books among the best we’ve read.” – Foreword Reviews

An epic novel of substance and style, Orphan in America is a compelling fiction that follows three generations across vast distances and the impact of a dark and unfamiliar episode of America’s past; the Orphan Train.Orphan in America front cover_with badge

Book Clubs across the United States, would you like 1 free print copy ? At this time I have 7 novels to give-away to historical fiction book lovers. Perhaps your club would enjoy this “2014 Best Indie Book!” as your next reading club selection.

Here’s how: Send the name of your book group, along with a contact person and mailing address to: mrsavery@ hotmail.com. On the subject line write Book Club Entry.

The first 7 clubs to respond will be be notified by email and receive their complimentary copy shipped directly to them.

I apologize to my friends off the continental U.S. At this time the offer is via snail mail traveling just across from east to west coast and north and south on the mainland. 

However!!! For those book clubs anywhere on the globe, if you choose to read on a Kindle, it is available as an ebook. Kindle edition

Here is a preview of the print copy your club can read of Orphan in America!   Orphan in America

GOOD LUCK! I am honored that you care enough to respond. Thank you!

 

 

Esteemed thinker: Harold Arlen

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Perhaps one of the most enchanting forms that takes shape in nature is the rainbow; an arch of colors that will appear as if out of nowhere.  From behind a veil of grey clouds, after a dreary day, the rainbow brightens the slate sky like a flashy peacock unfanning its feathers. This kaleidoscopic ribbon stretches itself across the sky for all to see, and then, without much warning, fizzles away, leaving behind a wanting of more.

Today’s blog brings to you the esteemed thinker: Harold Arlen (1905, Buffalo NY- 1986 ) born Hymen Arluck, the son of an acclaimed synagogue cantor and became one of Americas greatest song writers and composers.  At the age of nine his mother bought him a piano, though slowly warming up to the instrument as a reluctant student of classical music. But his attitude soon changed when at the age of twelve he learned a ragtime piece. Suddenly he was inspired. Harold_Arlen_1960

He quit school at fifteen to play at movie houses and by twenty-one he had his first solo piano piece published, “Minor Gaff (Blues Fantasy).”

Arlen compositions were unique, longer than the 32-bar ditties his most composers of the time were writing. His songs had grand leaps from one note to another —often considered a challenge for singers — and traces of melancholy. In 1933, he was writing for Harlem’s most popular nightclub, and with lyricist Ted Koehler, produced a song that was exceptional, “Stormy Weather.”

In 1938, Arlen and lyricist Yip Harburg were working the film The Wizard of Oz. For 14 weeks — and $25,000 — they composed one amazing song after another; they called them “lemon drop songs.” IT was “Over the Rainbow” that became a sensation for the movie and Judy Garland at the start of her career.

Arlene had a most successful career, collaborating with the greatest of the Tin Pan Alley lyricists, including Johnny Mercer, Ted Koehler, Leo Robin, Ira Gershwin, Dorothy Fields and Truman Capote.

End of the year surprise

A wonderful way to end the year!

Orphan in America was one of the “2015 Reviewers’ Choice” selections of Indie releases this year. “… the most beloved books among the best we’ve read.” – Foreword Reviews

Orphan in America

foreword review

List of Titles!