Miss Pym and a Friend

Miss Pym and a Friend

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Happy Birthday, Emily Dickinson! 186th!

For the Belle of Amherst, an announcement below.  Immediately following is one of my tributes to her, published in my book, Sappho, I Should have Listened: 

Displaying image002.jpg

Dickinson Meets Hemingway

My life had stood a
Loaded Gun,
And so I shot the elk.

And then I said,
"Let's have a Drink,"
And so I
Toast Myself.

See below (and attached-note: if you print from the attachment, the poem text is legal size 8 ½ x 14 inch paper) poems to be discussed at the Bettendorf Public Library Saturday 10 December at 2:00 p.m.  Birthday cake from Café' D'Marie.  Also the text of my article about the program that was in the 1 December Bettendorf News.  See some of you Saturday, I hope-Hedy

Celebrate the 186th
Birthday of
Emily Dickinson
December 10, 2016

[Emily Dickinson by Kat Hustedde]Led by Dr. Bea Jacobson, St. Ambrose University

2 p.m. in the Emily Dickinson Garden (weather permitting) for a short commemoration, then immediately retire to the Malmros Room for cake and discussion of
 Books, Reading & Shakespeare in Dickinson's Poetry

Numbering of the following poems is that used by R.W. Franklin in The Poems of Emily Dickinson 811.4 DI

F435 (1862)
Not in this World to see his face -
Sounds long - until I read the place
Where this - is said to be
But just the Primer - to a life -
Unopened - rare- Opon the Shelf -
Clasped yet - to Him - and me -

And yet - My Primer suits me so
I would not choose - a Book to know
Than that - be sweeter wise -
Might some one else - so learned - be -
And leave me - just my A - B - C-
Himself - could have the Skies -
F512 (1863)
Unto my Books - so good to turn -
Far ends of tired Days -
It half endears the Abstinence -
And Pain - is missed - in Praise.

As Flavors - cheer Retarded Guests
With Banquettings to be -
So Spices - stimulate the time
Till my small Library -

It may be Wilderness - without -
Far feet of failing Men -
But Holiday - excludes the night -
And it is Bells - within -

I thank these Kinsmen of the Shelf -
Their Countenances Kid
Enamor - in Prospective -
And satisfy - obtained -

F531 (1863)
We learned the Whole of Love -
The Alphabet - the Words -
A Chapter - then the mighty Book -
then - Revelation closed -

But in each Other's eyes
An Ignorance beheld -
Diviner than the Childhood's
And each to each, a Child -

Attempted to expound
What neither - understood -
Alas, that Wisdom is so large -
And Truth -so manifold!

F569 (1863)
A precious - mouldering pleasure - 'tis -
To meet an Antique Book -
In just the Dress his Century wore -
A privilege - I think -

His venerable Hand to take -
And warming in our own -
A passage back - or two - to make -
To Times when he - was young -

His quaint opinions - to inspect -
His thought to ascertain
On Themes concern our mutual mind -
The Literature of Man -

What interested Scholars - most -
What Competitions ran -
When Plato - was a Certainty -
And Sophocles - a Man -

When Sappho - was a living Girl -
And Beatrice wore
The Gown that Dante - deified -
Facts Centuries before

He traverses - familiar -
As One should come to Town -
And tell you all your Dreams - were true -
He lived - where Dreams were born -

His presence is enchantment -
You beg him not to go -
Old Volumes shake their Vellum Heads
And tantalize - just so-

F627 (1863)
I think I was enchanted
When first a somber Girl -
I read that Foreign Lady -
The Dark - felt beautiful -

And whether it was noon at night -
Or only Heaven - at noon -
For very Lunacy of Light
I had not power to tell -

The Bees - became as Butterflies -
The Butterflies - as Swans -
Approached - and spurned the narrow Grass -
And just the meanest Tunes

That Nature murmured to herself
To keep herself in Cheer -
I took for Giants - practicing
Titanic Opera -

The Days - to Mighty Metres stept -
The Homeliest - adorned
As if unto a Jubilee
'Twere suddenly confirmed -

I could not have defined the change -
Conversion of the Mind
Like Sanctifying in the Soul -
Is witnessed - not explained -

"Twas a Divine Insanity -
The Danger to be sane
Should I again experience -
'Tis Antidote to turn -

To Tmes of Solid Witchcraft -
Magicians be asleep -
But Magic - hath an element
Like Deity - to keep -

F700 (1863)
The Way I read a Letter's - this -
'Tis first - I lock the Door -
And push it with my fingers - next -
For transport it be sure -

And then I go the furthest off
To counteract a knock -
Then draw my little Letter forth
And slowly pick the lock -

Then - glancing narrow, at the Wall -
And narrow at the floor
For firm Conviction of a Mouse
Not exorcised before -

Peruse how infinite I am
To no one that You - know -
And sigh for lack of Heaven - but not
The Heaven God bestow -

F776 (1863)
Drama's Vitallest Expression is the Common Day
That arise and set about Us -
Other Tragedy

Perish in the Recitation -
This - the best enact
When the Audience is scattered
And the Boxes shut -

"Hamlet" to Himself were Hamlet -
Had not Shakespeare wrote -
Though the "Romeo" left no Record
of his Juliet,

It were infinite enacted
In the Human Heart -
Only Theatre recorded
Owner cannot shut -

F1247 (1872)
We like a Hairbreadth 'scape
It tingles in the Mind
Far after Act or Accident
Like paragraphs of Wind

If we had ventured less
The Breeze were not so fine
That reaches to our utmost Hair
It's Tentacles divine.

F1268 (1872)
A Word dropped careless on a Page
May consecrate an Eye
When folded in perpetual seam
The Wrinkled Author lie

Infection in the sentence breeds
We may inhale Despair
At distances of Centuries
From the Malaria-

F1286 (1873)
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry -
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll -
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul -

F1489  (1879)
A Route of Evanescence,
With a revolving Wheel -
A Resonance of Emerald
A Rush of Cochineal -
And every Blossom on the Bush
Adjusts it's tumbled Head -
The Mail from Tunis - probably,
An easy Morning's Ride -

It has been 400 years since the death of the great English playwright William Shakespeare.  The Bettendorf Public Library has done its part to commemorate Shakespeare by hosting two scholar-led book discussions of "Richard III".  This month we are adding a touch of Shakespeare to our biannual discussion of Emily Dickinson's poetry which will be led by Dickinson scholar, St. Ambrose University Professor Emeritus Bea Jacobson.
Jacobson earned her doctorate at the University of Iowa where she wrote a dissertation on Emily Dickinson.  At St Ambrose she specialized in early American literature, women's literature, and ethnic literature with a focus on global feminism.
Jacobson noted that Dickinson refers directly to Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet in "Drama's Vitallest Expression is the Common Day" (1863) with allusions to Shakespeare in two other poems that will be discussed.  The rest of the poems on the roster will focus on the beauty and power of books and reading.  The most famous one is undoubtedly "There is no Frigate like a Book" (1873). But there's also "Unto my Books - so good to turn - " (1863), "We learned the Whole of Love - " (1863), and "A Word dropped careless on a Page" (1872).
We have always discussed Dickinson on or around December 10, the date of her birth, and on or around May 15, the date of her death.  She was an avid gardener and was buried with a bouquet of violets and heliotrope in her hands. The Library's Emily Dickinson Garden was dedicated on May 15, 2004, with a lecture, Dickinson impersonator, music and food indicative of the 19th century, announcement of winners of a poetry contest, and a butterfly release.  The garden was researched, designed, and planted by Scott County Master Gardeners and other volunteers.  It contained heritage plants which Dickinson herself was likely to have had in her own garden.  Certainly, they were named in one or more of her poems.  Over the years, some of these plants have died out and some have moved around, but the Emily Dickinson Garden featuring the bronze bust of Dickinson sculpted by Kenn Brinson has become an interesting ever-changing feature of the Library grounds.
Sometimes the bust will be wearing rabbit ears or a Santa hat or the eyes will be stuffed with red crabapples giving her a rather weird gaze.  There is always something growing, blooming, or reseeding attracting bees in summer and birds in winter.  The discussion on Saturday, December 10, will start at 2:00 p.m. with a brief salute to Dickinson in the Garden, weather permitting.  Participants will proceed to the Malmros Room in the Library for discussion and dessert on ceramic plates embellished with phrases from Dickinson's poetry in calligraphy by librarian Hedy Hustedde and illustrations by her daughter Kat who teaches high school art in Mequon, Wisconsin.   Hardcopies of the poems to be discussed are available at the Library.  Those who find poetry inscrutable are especially invited to the discussion.  There will be cake.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Happy Birthday Louisa May Alcott

Happy 184th Birthday to the beloved author of so many wonderful books, certainly a Muse of Mine!!

Below is something I wrote on Alcott and dolls in her books; it is a brief excerpt from a longer MMLA paper; enjoy, and Happy Holidays!!

In his essay,  “A Philosophy of Toys”: Baudelaire writes that “ the whole of life exists” in a “great toy shop” and it is “far more highly sparkling and polished than real life.” Those who love films like Mr. "Magoriums Wonder Emporium "would probably agree with him.    Dolls and toys represent life in miniature, brought to a scale and level that children can understand.  A child’s life extends through the life of her toys, and her imagination animates them, as Andy’s does in the Toy Story Films. For a child, her dolls are her companions, portraits, actors in her plays, and scapegoats for her miseries.

"Little Women", 1868, one year after my Great-Grandmother and Laura Ingalls Wilder were born: Nowhere does the doll represent an extension of her owner than in Alcott’s "Little Women."  Since the book was written, there have been hundreds of doll representations made of the characters, in paper and 3-D form, in all media.  There are also many other works or art, both serious and kitschy, that immortalize them, as well as several films and TV series.

Alcott herself was 13 when Charlotte Brontë died, and was aware of "Jane Eyre."  There, Brontë writes of the importance of dolls as companions to children, and the orphan Jane only has her doll to comfort her in the desolation of the Reed house.

 The March girls do not have many toys, but they have their games, pastimes, and theatrical play. Beth is the only sister described as having dolls.  Thirteen year-old Beth March is the shyest of the four March girls.  She loves her pets, her six misfit dolls, and her music. Anne K. Phillips writes in “Toys, Games, and Play in Little Women” that given the family’s poor economic status, six dolls seem “ a surprisingly large number of toys”. Beth is a juvenile “Angel of the House,” and at thirteen, is her mother’s best companion.  She helps with household chores, but is still very much a child who cares for her sisters bedraggled, broken, and cast out dolls.

Beth often saves them from the trash or ragbag.  The following description describes the relationship Beth has with her dolls: "Beth was too bashful to go to school . . . She was s housewifely little creature . . . not lonely nor idle, for her little world was peopled with imaginary friends . . .There were six dolls to be taken up and dressed every morning, for Beth was a child still, . . . not one whole or handsome one among them; all were outcasts till Beth took them in; for when her sisters outgrew their idols, they passed to her . . . Beth cherished them all the more tenderly for that very reason, and set up a hospital for infirm dolls.  No pins were ever stuck into their cotton vitals; no harsh words or blows ere ever given them, no neglect ever saddened the heart to the most repulsive, but all were fed and clothed, nursed, and caressed, with the affection which never failed.  One forlorn fragment of dollanity had belonged to Jo; and, having led a tempestuous life, was left a wreck in the ragbag, from which dreary poorhouse it was rescued by Beth, and taken to her refuge."

 Alcott goes on to write that the poor doll has no top “to its head” and “both arms and legs were gone, she hid these deficiencies by folding it in a blanket, and devoting her best bed to this chronic invalid.  Beth lavishes more love on this doll than on the others, and brings it “bits of bouquets,” reads to it, takes it for walks, “hidden under her coat,” and sings it lullabies, kissing “its dirty face, and whispering tenderly,” I hope you’ll have a good night, my poor dear."  Significantly, this doll is named Joanna.  Later, when Beth is terminally ill, Jo will care  for her as tenderly as Beth cared for the bedraggled Joanna.  As Phillips observes, none of Beth’s play is “orchestrated by Marmee: Beth chooses this activity, and her dedication to the dolls is supported by her sisters” with Jo making sure there is a clear path, even in winter, so that Beth can take Joanna on her daily walks (408).  Doll play suits the nurturing Beth, who is, ironically the most motherly of all the sisters, though she will never experience motherhood herself.

Alcott herself tried at one point to support her family as a dolls dressmaker, reportedly chasing the neighbor’s chickens for feathers with which to decorate fancy doll hats (See review of McDonough’s "The Life of Louisa May Alcott."

Doll dressmakers were needed because by about 1870, little girls would have more dolls than their mother and aunts would have had.  Anne K. Phillips writes of the last part of "Little Women", that “Later in the novel, Meg’s children Daisy and Demi are depicted as having more plentiful and more diverse kinds of toys” including a cooking stove and a group of wooden bears. As families became more prosperous in the 1870s, the toy market grew and grew, and there were more store-bought toys available.  One sees the same effect in The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  In the early books, Laura’s doll is a corncob, later replaced by a rag doll her mother makes, who is named Charlotte.  Mary has a rag doll, and both girls make paper dolls.  They use the ragbag to dress their dolls and make others out of twigs and dolls’ teacups out of acorn caps.  Later, Nellie Olsen of a more prominent family has a china doll and an expensive wax doll, and Grace, Laura’s baby sister, has a china headed doll as well.

Of course, Beth also had three older sisters and Alcott is clear that her dolls are castoffs in derelict shape. Anne K. Phillips writes that according to Miram Formanek Brunell in "Made to Play House".  “Though the number of toys had increased since the colonial period, there were still few dolls around in the average middle-class household in the 1850s, a fact of doll demography that would change dramatically only after the Civil War."   Phillips also quotes Formanek-Brunell for the idea that Joanna ‘s torso-like state exemplifies Jo’s, and other girls’ aggression towards their toys. There is  also a doll burning in "Little Men". Actually, there were many doll parts and heads sold, as well as patterns in "Godey’s"  and other magazines for making dolls and dolls’ clothes.  Dickens, writing somewhat earlier, creates Jenny Wren because there were indeed many shops for making dolls and clothes, many run by women. Young girls led respectable lives making dolls, either in family businesses a la Kestner, or the wood doll artists of Thuringia, or in groups sheltered by doll makers like Jumeau and Bru in France. Cloth dolls and handmade dolls of  all types populated millions of households during the era Alcott wrote, even lower middle-class houses.

 See, Wendy Lavitt's, "American Folk Dolls", and Coleman’s, "The Encyclopedia of Dolls",

Volumes I and II.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Holocaust Education Committee


Authors, exhibits, Holocaust specialists and dramatic presentations are provided to schools, libraries, churches and other community venues through grants and collaboration with community groups.

Since 1993, Holocaust institutes and workshops have been offered to Quad City educators, students and community members.  Institutes are scheduled in the fall of odd-numbered years.

The Jeff Leibovitz Special Collection, housed at the Western Illinois University Quad City Campus in Moline, provides access to over a thousand resources, including sets of traveling curriculum cases focused on Making a Difference, Rescuers and Resisters, and Diaries and Memoirs. 

The Ida Kramer Children and the Holocaust Essay Contest and the Meyer and Frances Shnurman Holocaust Visual Arts Contest are open to students in grades 7-12.  Submissions are due annually on February 1.

Applications for the Rauch Foundation Teacher Scholarship, from $200 to $2,000, are due annually on April 1 or October 1 to support professional development.  The scholarship covers expenses for travel, housing, and/or registration for conferences, workshops or tours.
Youth, 18 years old or younger, interview, research, write and illustrate a 10-page book about a Holocaust survivor, liberator or rescuer.  
Promoting a higher awareness of the Holocaust as a unique historical event with universal implications for today

WEBSITE: www.hecqc.org

Friday, November 4, 2016

Dr. Disnarda Norniella, My Teacher, Boss, Mentor, Second Mom, As Excellent a Woman as you can Get

Dr. Disnarda V. Norniella

Dr. Disnarda V. Norniella
October 31, 1926 - August 13, 2016
Byron, GA- Dr. Disnarda V. Norniella, also known as "Desi" to those closest to her, transitioned into eternal life with God on Saturday, August 13, 2016. She was 89.
Disnarda was born in 1926 in Suluetas, Cuba to the late Francisco Valdés and Francisca Aurelia Perdomo de Valdés. She graduated from the University of Havana in Havana, Cuba earning a Ph. D. in education and an M.A. in comparative literature from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Norniella began her teaching career as a missionary teacher at the Presbyterian Day School in Encrucijada, Cuba. In 1961, she and her husband, Orlando, and their two children immigrated to the United States as Political Refugees. She taught at San Angelo College in San Angelo, Texas, Bennet College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois. Dr. Norniella retired in 1991 from Augustana College.
In addition to her parents, she is also preceded in death by her husband, Orlando Eladio Norniella; and brothers, Arnaldo B. Valdés and Chris Valdés. 
Those who are here to carry on her memory are: her children, Edith N. Norniella of Byron and son, Joaquin O. Norniella (Bonnie) of Kenosha, Wisconsin; grandchildren, Derrick Norniella of Kenosha, Wisconsin and Holly Norniella of Jacksonville, Florida; great-grandchildren, Briana Allen and Isabella Norniella; as well as eight nieces and nephews. 
The family will receive friends at McCullough Funeral Home in Warner Robins on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. A religious service will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 18, 2016 at Houston Lake Presbyterian Church in Kathleen. Following the service, Disnarda will be laid to rest in Parkway Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in memory of Disnarda Norniella to Houston Lake Presbyterian Church Building Fund, 101 O'Brien Drive, Kathleen, GA 31047.
Friends may go to www.mcculloughfh.com to sign an online registry for the family and to view the memorial video once it has been finalized. McCullough Funeral Home has the privilege of being entrusted with Dr. Norniella's arrangements.

View the online memorial for Dr. Disnarda V. Norniella

Funeral Home

McCullough Funeral Home
417 South Houston Lake Road Warner Robins, GA 31088
(478) 953-1478

Monday, October 31, 2016

Sunday, October 9, 2016