Friday, April 19, 2013

Lesson 227: Tornado

Sti bili to gledal, Slovenci?
You've been watching this, Slovenians?
We have ourselves a crisis situation in my country.

As I write Friday night, everything is still unfolding in Boston.  The city is under lock down as law enforcement searches for a man responsible for the detonation of bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon earlier this week.  It has been a sick, sad week.

Who knows what will have happened by the time you are sipping your coffee reading this post?  Eloise is sure of the fact that we will be afforded all the details, if we choose to watch (or read).  This tragedy has been receiving live coverage for most of the day today.  Some say that the coverage is too much; it gives too much attention to the wrongdoer and it may cause copycat acts.  True.  But freedom of speech and freedom of press are crucial to making this country strong.  Remember you always have the choice to step away.

Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking, don't you think?--The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Me and many like me, have moved through stages of grief this week.  We all do it, whether we realize it or not.  In 1969 Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book titled On Death and Dying.  In it she outlined what she believed to be a series of five emotional stages a person moves through when faced with an extreme (death, tragedy, terminal illness, divorce).  

Kubler-Ross hypothesized that everyone moves through these five stages, each at his own pace:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance
Eloise has determined that she is at stage 2--Anger.  I find myself getting mad often.  Mad at the evil.  Mad at the loss of innocent life.  Mad at the system.  That is why I chose Tornado as the song for my pictures from this week.  It's kind of an angry song by Little Big Town.  The song fits the mood at the Lamp Post perfectly.  Scroll to the bottom of this post to check it out.

Tornado also works well because my students and I are continuing to pick our way though the 1900 book version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum.  I've never read the book until this year, and it truly is a work of art.  

Fantasy is not Eloise's favorite of genres but there is so much more beneath the absurdity of Tin Men and Lollipop Guilds.  Weekend homework:  Google Wizard of Oz symbolism and see what pops up.  Frank Baum stated that the story was nothing more than a written form of a bedtime tale he told to his children, put into writing by the urging of his wife.  Most of the speculation of a larger, underlying story came after his death, therefore we can never be certain of Baum's true intent.  I do know that when you study every gifted writer, there is always a story that lies beneath.  Eloise loves looking for them.

My favorite quote from the book, which never made the movie, is about courage.  It reminds me of all the Bostonians this evening:

"You have plenty of courage, I am sure," answered Oz.  "All you need is confidence in yourself.  There is no living thing that isn't afraid when it faces danger.  The true courage is in facing danger when you are afraid, and that kind of courage you have in plenty."--The Wonderful World of Oz

Hang in there, Boston.  We're all with you.

Erie is a good jump from Massachusetts, and it sure isn't Kansas, but we did have some high winds today.

Grandpa's wind gauge he made was a-spinning. The warm south wind met up with a cold front sweeping across the Great Lakes; hence a 40 degree temperature drop in one day.  Snow is predicted for some areas tonight.

Grandpa's wind gauge is pretty accurate,
despite the fact that he welded together a broken fan,

and made center out of a discarded lid.

Eloise has been her own kind of tornado this week.
I'm spring cleaning.

Storage room gutted......

Storage room back together.

Drawers dumped.

The prize: Eloise has been removed from Clark School Library's Most Wanted List.
(It was in with the coloring books!)

"It is such an uncomfortable feeling to know one is a fool."  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Speaking of shoes--did you know the original slippers in the novel were silver, not ruby red?  Dorothy also wore a pink sunbonnet, too.

Eloise has been able to take her mind off of Boston from time to time, as I've got a mystery to solve.  Eloise has a secret admirer!  I had one in high school and it was fun figuring out the person's identity over two decades.  Now I have another.  A letter from Fionnula Flanigan of Orange Beach, Alabama showed up again this week---with an Erie postmark!

Last weekend I switched on the night light here at the Lamp Post and went to bed, thinking I had the mystery solved.  I even sent a package to the persons I thought responsible for sending me this fabulous new writer's notebook.  

Eloise and family were WRONG! Imagine my surprise when I received a letter this week.  It came in a handmade card.  The outside gives a few clues, 

...and the inside gives us a few more.

 Eloise was stumped, so I put her on the case.

That's my mother.  She lives next door to me.  Nothing gets past the woman.
I noticed your garage door was down....
I noticed that your upstairs light was on.....
I noticed your bike was gone from the garage.....
I noticed Sam has a bruise on his cheek.......

(Maybe I shouldn't have suggested she read The Noticer..)

Still Grandma comes in handy when there is a puzzle to solve.  She's got a mind for the complicated.  She's scrutinizing every detail and I wouldn't put it past her to dust for fingerprints.  I think they need Helen in Boston.  She's deduced the following:
  1. Fionnula knows my family, as she/he mentioned "Karen" (my sister's birth name), not "Kenyan" (my nickname for her)
  2. 217 (on the lamp post) is the number of which the writer of the rhyme speaks--house number?  birth date? dollars in your bank account?
  3. This person is a good writer, clever poet, a reader of books, and perhaps a LOST fan.
  4. Who uses the word "gaffe"?  If you speak to me regularly, it is sure to slip, and I'll hear it.  We are ALL listening for it.
  5. This person has my ticket at the moment, but I will find you, someday.  You can plan on that!
Thank you, Fionnula, Whoever You Are.  This has been really fun.  The challenge has shown me that I am not as smart as I think I am.  I struck out once already.  I do LOVE the excitement I feel trying to solve this mystery.  

So what is more important, Readers, brains or heart?  I think Frank Baum got it exactly right, and if we all would have read the book instead of just watching the movie, we would have learned this:

"Oh, I see;" said the Tin Woodman.  "But after all, brains are not the best things in the world."

"Have you any?" inquired the Scarecrow.

"No, my head is quite empty," answered the Woodman; "but once I had brains, and a heart also; so, having tried them both, I should much rather have a heart."

--L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

I very much agree, Mr. Baum.   I've proven that I'm lacking in the logic department, but I am long on love.  So because I have a little extra heart to give, tonight a piece of mine goes out to:  


One of you lucky Readers will be the recipient of Guess #2.  I'm mailing it to who I think Fionnula is on Saturday.  Let me know if I'm correct.

Love Always,


BookWoman said...

I knew Pete would be found!!! Yeah.... I love my white shoes....

Bonnie said...

I love a good mystery! Perhaps the clue in the card is pointing you back to your own Lesson 217? Could Fionnula's identity be revealed in your own words or pictures somewhere in that particular blog? Just a thought--enjoy the weekend! ~B.