Reaney Days

Reaney Days

Friday, November 30, 2012

Deck the Halls...

Today staffers Patrick and Maggie decorated the Christmas tree in the children’s room. Strings of popcorn are part of the decorations each year. I assure you, we do not sit around stringing corn year after year but rather save it for reuse. Actually, the corn that we are now using is 25 years old! Yes, you read that correctly. Marta and some library friends strung it a quarter of a century ago in the fall of 1987.
Now, here is the secret to our Christmas corn. It was popped using a hot air popper, thus no oil to become rancid. Once popped, it was left to sit for a week and then strung with a needle and thread. If you try and string it fresh it will break. We store it in brown, paper grocery bags in a cool room. While the smell and taste have long since faded, I sampled it every year for the first 8 years until it started to taste like Styrofoam, it still looks lovely on the tree.
Stringing corn…..a wonderful way to spend an early winter’s night with family and friends.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Woman Behind A Thanksgiving Classic

The woman behind a Thanksgiving classic.

Lydia Maria Child, Wayland's famous author and abolit ionist, was born more than two hundred years ago, but it wasn't until much later that she was nominated by the Wayland Historical Society and inducted into The National Women's Hall of Fame, Seneca Falls, NY.  Child was inducted in ceremonies October 5,2002.
Child who is known for her work in the women's rights and antislavery movements and for her pioneering role in children's literature, was a Wayland resident for the last twenty-seven years of her life. Born Lydia Francis in Medford, Massachusetts in 1802, she adopted the middle name "Maria" and preferred it to "Lydia" all her life. She was educated in Medford public schools and spent a year in seminary, but it was her brother, the Rev. Convers Francis, a leading Transcendentalist, who was her most important educational influence.

Child's first book, Hobomok, a romantic novel that dealt with the then scandalous notion of an Indian warrior in love with a white woman, catapulted her to fame when she was just 22. Because the novel used Colonial-era historical material as background, it has been called New England's first historical novel. With the publication of Hobomok and the appearance a year later of The Rebels, Child became a literary sensation.
Child's successful literary career came to an abrupt end in 1833 when she published “An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans”, often cited as the first antislavery book. In it she reviewed the history of slavery. She insisted that slavery had an evil impact on both slave and slaveholder, and she outraged her Boston friends by describing Northerners' prejudice against blacks and the segregation that existed in Northern cities. As a result, subscriptions to Juvenile Miscellany were cancelled and Child was forced to resign as editor. Her readers stopped buying her books. The Boston Athenaeum trustees revoked her library privileges. Nevertheless, long before Harriet Beecher Stowe's “Uncle Tom's Cabin” was published, Child's book won many converts to the antislavery cause.
She married David L. Child, a young lawyer and editor for the Massachusetts Whig Journal. David was an idealistic young man, whose editorial opinions got him sued on more than one occasion and even jailed, and whose business schemes always seemed to turn out badly. A firm abolitionist and true believer in women's rights, he was proud of his wife's achievements and never limited her freedom to write or work, as many husbands of the period might have. But his reckless business ventures kept the couple continually in poverty and debt. Throughout most of their 46-year marriage, Maria was the major family breadwinner

In her two-volume work, “The History of the Conditions of Women in Various Ages and Nations”, Child considered the roles and cultural limitations of women from Biblical times through to her own era. She argued that in many different settings, women's influence had benefited these cultures morally and economically. Her book encouraged contemporary women, to widen their world and to work politically for Abolition. Hundreds of women followed her advice, collecting signatures on antislavery petitions-the first political action most of them had ever taken.
In a letter to Elizabeth Cady Stanton in 1866, Child outlined her arguments in favor of the vote for women, pointing out that women were taxed and women were prosecuted by laws which they could not take any part in making. In 1870 Child was a founding member of the Massachusetts Women's Suffrage AssociatioAs the Civil War drew to a close Child worked to help the former slaves make the transitions that would be necessary in their new life. Her contribution was “The Freedmen's Book”, a collection of readable materials-biographies of black leaders, stories of fugitive slaves and practical advice from the author. Published largely at her own expense, the book was priced cheaply so that the freedmen could afford it. All profits were plowed back into future editions. She worked to send teaching materials, books, etc. to the former slaves.
In 1853 the Childs moved to Wayland so that Maria could take care of her aged father. On his death the house on Old Sudbury Road was theirs and for the first time, after years of moving, the Childs had a home of their own. Lydia Maria Child formed warm friendships with a number of local residents: the Rev. Edmund Hamilton Sears, minister of the First Parish Church and author of the hymn, "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear",  and her little next door neighbor, Alfred Wayland Cutting, who grew-up to be Wayland’s well-known photographer.
She died on October 20, 1880. Wendall Holmes gave the eulogy in a simple service at her home. She was buried beside her husband at North Cemetery.
n. In her lifetime Child published more than fifty books, plus short stories, poems, articles for periodicals and newspapers.  So much of her writing was more suited to the tastes of her contemporaries than to today's readers that it is hard for us to grasp what a literary giant she was in her time. The North American Review, the leading literary periodical of the time, commented "We are not sure that many woman of our country could outrank Mrs. Child. Few female writers, if any, have done more or better things for our literature."
Child's prominence in the Boston literary scene won her  such friends as Edgar Allen Poe, Poet John Greenleaf Whittier, and Transcendentalist Bronson Allcott, indeed all of Louisa May Alcott's family. Ralph Waldo Emerson sent her complimentary tickets to his lectures. Editor Horace Greeley was so impressed with her “The Kansas Immigrants” that he interrupted a Charles Dickens serial story to publish it. Women Suffrage leaders Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott were among those she counted as friends.
Lydia Maria Child is probably best remembered today for the Thanksgiving children's poem, "Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandfather's House We Go".

Thank you to the Wayland Historical Society, Wayland, MA.

Thanksgiving Poem

Over the River and Through the Woods

Original title: A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day


1. Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather's house we go;
the horse knows the way to carry the sleigh
through the white and drifted snow.

2. Over the river, and through the wood,
to Grandfather's house away!
We would not stop for doll or top,
for 'tis Thanksgiving Day.

3. Over the river, and through the wood-
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
as over the ground we go.

4. Over the river, and through the wood.
with a clear blue winter sky,
The dogs do bark and the children hark,
as we go jingling by.

5. Over the river, and through the wood,
to have a first-rate play.
Hear the bells ring, "Ting a ling ding!"
Hurray for Thanksgiving Day!

6. Over the river, and through the wood-
no matter for winds that blow;
Or if we get the sleigh upset
into a bank of snow.

7. Over the river, and through the wood,
to see little John and Ann;
We will kiss them all, and play snowball
and stay as long as we can.

8. Over the river, and through the wood,
trot fast my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground like a hunting-hound!
For 'tis Thanksgiving Day.

9. Over the river, and through the wood
and straight through the barnyard gate.
We seem to go extremely slow-
it is so hard to wait!

10. Over the river, and through the wood-
Old Jowler hears our bells;
He shakes his paw with a loud bow-wow,
and thus the news he tells.

11. Over the river, and through the wood-
when Grandmother sees us come,
She will say, "O, dear, the children are here,
bring pie for everyone."

12. Over the river, and through the wood-
now Grandmother’s cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!



Saturday, November 10, 2012

Veterans Day

Veterans Day

From ancient Greece comes these words of the Statesman Pericles “I would have you day by day fix your eyes upon the greatness of your country until you become filled with the love of her; and when you are impressed by the spectacle of her glory, reflect that it has been acquired by men who knew their duty and had the courage to do it.”

In 1944, in describing the Normandy invasion, journalist Ernie Pyle wrote, “Darkness enveloped the whole American armada.  Not a pinpoint of light showed from those hundreds of ships as the surged on through the night toward their destiny, carrying across the ageless and indifferent sea tens of thousands of young men, fighting for….well, at least each other.”

In the wake of September 11th, 17 year old Ryan Smithson, a graduate of Columbia High School in East Greenbush joined the Army Reserve.  Two years later he deployed to Iraq as an Army Engineer.  In his book Ghosts of War, Smithson wrote “We’re a platoon full of simple GIs.  We’re not Airborne Rangers or Special Forces or even Infantry.  We’re Army reserve engineers and we have more invested in our lives outside than inside the military.  I am only one of these simple GIs and I am nothing special.  I am a copy of a copy of a copy.  I’m that vague, illegible, pink sheet on the very bottom of carbon paper stacks.  They will not make movies about me.  There will be no video games revolving around my involvement in the war.  When people write nonfiction books about the Iraq war, about the various battles and changes of command, I will not be in them.  My unit will not be mentioned. I am just a GI, nothing special; a kid doing my job.  I am one soldier and I stand in one squad in one platoon in one company during the battalion formation.  And we’re in this together.  Our wives and girlfriends are home.  Our moms and dads and siblings left behind.  All we have is one another.”

On this Veterans Day remember the sacrifice, service, duty and many times, injury and death, paid by the men and women, boys and girls, sons and daughters who we honor. As we go forward let’s envision a world which, grown weary with fighting, affirms the life of every human being and so moves beyond war.  Only fools would elect to forget the expensive a lessons of war and we are neither a community nor a nation of fools.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Christmas Box Books

Christmas Box Books
Would you and your family like to share some wonderful stories over the holidays?  If so, we invite you to sign up for Christmas Box Books.  Each box will come with an assortment of Christmas stories, recipes and simple craft projects.  The boxes will be ready the week of December 3rd and will not be due back until after the New Year.  Call the library at 518-568-7822 to reserve your box.

New Books Added!!

Adult Fiction
Julie Garwood
   Sweet Talk
Nelson DeMille
   The Panther
Patricia Cornwell
 Bone Bad
Bill O’Reilly
  Killing Kennedy
James Patterson
Michael Koryta
Mitch Albom
 The Time Keeper
Carolly Erickson
   Unfaithful Queen
Charles Robbins
  The Accomplice
Sandra Brown
   Low Pressure
Stuart Woods
 Severe Clear
James Patterson
Brad Thor
 Black List
John Grisham
 The Racketeer
Debbie Macomber
   Inn at Rose Harbor
Karen Kingsbury
The Bridge
Young Adult & Children’s
Harlan Coben
   Seconds Away
James Patterson
Hugh Brewster
            882 ½ Amazing Answers to Your Questions about the Titanic
Gordon Korman
 Collision Course
Bethany Roberts
    Double Trouble Groundhog Day
Jan Dobbins
    Driving My Tractor
Kazuno Kohara
  Here Comes Jack Frost
Laurie Calkhoven
     I Grew Up to Be President
Deanna F. Cook
            Kids’ Multicultural Cookbook:  Food and Fun From Around the World
David L. Harrison