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Taking Back Free Play

I do feel sorry for children today who’re over-programmed from an early age. I believe in organized activities and loved girl scouts, band, art classes and all, but I was also able to imagine, play with friends with little supervision and roam the neighborhood To Kill a Mockingbird style.

Now kids can’t roam.

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Send a Beloved Child on a Journey

When I lived in Japan, I’d see very young children, some looking no more than 5 riding the train alone. It seemed like they were going to cram school or to a lesson. I admit I thought this was too young for children to be out alone, but after watching the video above and learning about the rationale, that the Japanese want to impart a sense of independence in their children and that after WWII parents couldn’t chauffeur their children to school, to rebuild quickly everyone had to work and pitch in. The kids pitched in by taking on the responsibility of getting themselves to school or accomplishing tasks outside the home.

Sepia Saturday

9 sept 2017

For this week’s prompt I found numerous photos of children playing. They live all over the world. It was a lot harder to find photos of girls playing. Most of the girls were depicted in drawings, not in photos.

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Children in New South Wales, Australia, 1924 Source: State Library of NSW

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Vietnamese children playing cards, 1904, Source: Univ of Washington

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Girls in Seattle, 1930, Source: Univ of Washington

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Boys in Albany, NY, 1910> Source: US National Archives

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Australian Girls, 1900. Source: Powerhouse Museum

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Madrid, Spain, 1908. Source: Geo. Eastman Museum

Poem of the Week

Among School Children

WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS

I

I walk through the long schoolroom questioning;
A kind old nun in a white hood replies;
The children learn to cipher and to sing,
To study reading-books and history,
To cut and sew, be neat in everything
In the best modern way—the children’s eyes
In momentary wonder stare upon
A sixty-year-old smiling public man.

II

I dream of a Ledaean body, bent
Above a sinking fire, a tale that she
Told of a harsh reproof, or trivial event
That changed some childish day to tragedy—
Told, and it seemed that our two natures blent
Into a sphere from youthful sympathy,
Or else, to alter Plato’s parable,
Into the yolk and white of the one shell.

III

v

And thinking of that fit of grief or rage
I look upon one child or t’other there
And wonder if she stood so at that age—
For even daughters of the swan can share
Something of every paddler’s heritage—
And had that colour upon cheek or hair,
And thereupon my heart is driven wild:
She stands before me as a living child.

IV

Her present image floats into the mind—
Did Quattrocento finger fashion it
Hollow of cheek as though it drank the wind
And took a mess of shadows for its meat?
And I though never of Ledaean kind
Had pretty plumage once—enough of that,
Better to smile on all that smile, and show
There is a comfortable kind of old scarecrow.

V

What youthful mother, a shape upon her lap
Honey of generation had betrayed,
And that must sleep, shriek, struggle to escape
As recollection or the drug decide,
Would think her son, did she but see that shape
With sixty or more winters on its head,
A compensation for the pang of his birth,
Or the uncertainty of his setting forth?

VI

Plato thought nature but a spume that plays
Upon a ghostly paradigm of things;
Solider Aristotle played the taws
Upon the bottom of a king of kings;
World-famous golden-thighed Pythagoras
Fingered upon a fiddle-stick or strings
What a star sang and careless Muses heard:
Old clothes upon old sticks to scare a bird.

VII

Both nuns and mothers worship images,
But those the candles light are not as those
That animate a mother’s reveries,
But keep a marble or a bronze repose.
And yet they too break hearts—O Presences
That passion, piety or affection knows,
And that all heavenly glory symbolise—
O self-born mockers of man’s enterprise;

VIII

Labour is blossoming or dancing where
The body is not bruised to pleasure soul,
Nor beauty born out of its own despair,
Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil.
O chestnut tree, great rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?

Sepia Saturday

Sepia Saturday Header

This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt shows multiple images of a baby. It’s the sort of wallet sized sheet of photos we’d order at school.

I thought I’d run with multiple births, not quite repetitious, but close in a fascinating way.

How’d you like to be the parent of  twins or triplets? Quadruplets (none shown) or quintuplets?

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Texas State Archives, “Tom & Cullen,” n.d.

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Nationaal Archief Nederlands, n.d.

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Dunda Museum & Archives, n.d.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Treat

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1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Follow The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements, and subscribe to our newsletter – we’ll highlight great posts.

Other great photos:

Ohayo/Good Morning

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In Ozu’s 1959 film Good Morning (Ohayo) two young brothers take a vow of silence when their parents refuse to buy them a television. Complications ensue when the neighbors and teachers read in all kinds of things into the silence. Gossip spreads and at one point the two boys run away. The youngest brother, who’s probably 6, is particularly cute. Anytime he leaves a house, he tells the woman of the house, “I love you” in English.

All in all, it’s a charming film that shows Japan on the brink of prosperity.

Downton Abbey, Season 5.2

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This week’s Downton Abbey events hummed along, but nothing earth shattering happened. Jimmy left the estate after being dismissed for a liaison with an aristocratic former employer who was visiting the Granthams/Crawleys.

Daisy started to study with Miss Bunting. Mrs Pattmore was kind enough to offer to pay for the lessons. I don’t like that Miss Bunting will be around the house regularly and I wasn’t all that impressed with her advice to think of “figures as your friends.” That hardly unlocks the secrets of mathematics.

An art historian, whom I think we all understand will make a play for Cora, arrived. He’s quite a bounder and talks with more familiarity than I think a first time visitor should.

The biggest event was a police officer came to question Carson and the others about the rapist cum servant who died. Mrs Hughes kept her theories to herself while worrying about what the witness told the police.

Thomas continues to lurk and plot, while also missing his pal Jimmy.

Edith still spends way too much time with her secret daughter in the village. Edith spends a lot more time visiting Marigold in the village than Mary does with George. She’s asked Papa for permission to help the child out. Someone’s sure to put two and two together.

Mary’s off for a week rendezvous with Lord Gillingham. Not much happened there. The show ended with their arrival at the hotel. I’m sure this will blow up in her face. I predict she’ll finally decide Charles is “the one” and this dalliance may cost her.

All in all, the characters made small changes probably so the story is set for more drama in episode 3.

The dresses were exceptional this week!

Sepia Saturday

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I loved the boy dressed up as a cowboy having roped the man (his father? an uncle? a neighbor?). So I decided to search for children dressed up in some way and I found the photo below of a group of kids dressed up for a mock wedding. It was taken in 1924 and has been saved by Florida Memory.

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eBook: Ragged Dick

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I’ve adapted the Horatio Alger, Jr. novel, Ragged Dick for English language learners. You can get it for just 99¢ on Amazon.com. The story’s got humor, history and adventure.

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