Sunday, October 19, 2008

Counting Down The Ancestors ~ 10/10 to 10/18

(From my LiveJournal)

[protected post] Today's Living Ancestor....

  • Oct. 10th, 2008 at 11:00 PM
Samhain, Hallowe'en
Went to Ellie's fourth birthday party tonight, at Emeliee's house. And I can't think of a better ancestor to honor today than my wonderful mom, Mary Duffy...Sitting in my daughter's livingroom and seeing all my daughters and all their kids and knowing this little lady was the reason we all happened...It doesn't get any better than this. I hope we have her around for a long long long time...
Here is beautiful mom. Ninety next year...this photo was taken last year....WOW....

[protected post] An Ancestor For Today....

  • Oct. 11th, 2008 at 10:34 PM
Samhain, Hallowe'en
A teacher this I will never forget. She was Soeur Marie Patrice, a Holy Cross Sister who taught me French at St. Mary of the Wasatch when I was in high school. She was a native Parisienne, and she was a tiny little woman with a huge heart who never spoke a cross word to anyone and always maintained perfect order in all her classes because she had the ability of seemingly effortless engagement of her students. My mother and I referred to her as "Ma Belle Chat" in a loving manner, because she had that feline self-possession that is so exquisitely elegant to watch. I was washing dishes by hand today, and I always sing at the top of my lungs when I am doing that, and since several French tunes came across my radar (Aupres de ma blonde, Dites-moi, La Marseillaise) and she did, too. Bon voyage, ma belle chat! Wherever you are, may your road be smooth....

[protected post] Ancestral Anomalies....

  • Oct. 12th, 2008 at 8:25 AM
Samhain, Hallowe'en
So, you have to take the whatever with the whatever, doncha? So today, we have a rather odd choice of ancestor...someone I am quite certain isn't related to me in any way whatsoever, except for a name. Today I am thinking about my Uncle Charles Duffy...ok. Yes, he's related to me. And he was someone I never got to know, strictly by circumstance, since he and his family lived in Saranac Lake NY and we only saw them on summer vacation, until we moved to Utah when I was nine, and then we never saw them again that I remember. So...why am I disclaiming a relationship with the brother of my father, since indubitably we were related? Well...I can't get inside his head. He shot himself, leaving a wife and four children, for no discernable reason that anyone could ever figure out. Of course, no suicide is really comprehensible to anyone left behind. And I have certainly felt bad enough over the years about a lot of other things about which I could do nothing. But I really don't understand what happened to Uncle Charlie, or how it affects me now. I know somehow it does. So I am going to give him my thoughts today and try to figure it out. For all he was, and for all he makes the family remember, we are grateful.

[protected post] Today's Ancestor Is....

  • Oct. 13th, 2008 at 6:42 PM
Samhain, Hallowe'en
Walter Duffy, my father's first cousin, who goes in the family by the name of Bud. As far as I know he is still alive, and he is writing and researching more genealogy than a person can possibly absorb in even a few sittings. It is, apparently, his obsession. And I am grateful for it. He has collated so much family information and lore that has become the basis of my own research...Just to say "thank you" to Bud, my great-uncle, in both senses of the word....

[protected post] A Cultural Ancestor....

  • Oct. 14th, 2008 at 11:25 PM
Samhain, Hallowe'en
JRR Tolkien, whose amazing world-building has inspired three generations of marvelous fantasy writers, linguists, and creators of art and music. I can't begin to explain the amazing influence this man has had on my own worldview, so suffice it to say I would be far narrower and less happy a person had I not encountered his wonderful writing and fallen under his arcane spell....John Ronald Ruel Tolkien....Mae govannen!! Elen sila lumenn omentilmo!!!

[protected post] And Today's Ancestor Is...

  • Oct. 15th, 2008 at 10:54 PM
Samhain, Hallowe'en
...Patrick Ball, another Celtic Harper who also happens to be a personal friend...Yes, he's been to my house. And he brought his harp, and he played for us, something he was just then working on...One of the most influential players of the "folk harp", the one who pioneered the break from pedal harp technique and fingering, who made Irish harp music accessible to people who had never heard a harp, one who brought back the role of the Celtic storyteller to modern times. Every time I play my harp, I think of him. Thank you, Patrick.

[protected post] And Yet Another Ancestor of Culture...

  • Oct. 16th, 2008 at 11:45 PM
Samhain, Hallowe'en
Amazing Dorothy Parker, inspiration of an entire generation of outspoken women, whose wit and ability for repartee is practically unmatched in modern history...I was reminded of her by [info]brigidsblest , who put several of my favorite quotes on her blog today. But it wasn't just her wit I's her life. She was a rogue in an era of non-conformity, and her founding of the Algonquin Round Table brought together such literary figures as Robert Benchley, Robert E. Sherwood, James Thurber, George S. Kaufman, Edna Ferber, Franklin P. Adams, and many others.

Regina Barreca wrote, in the introduction to Parker's Collected Stories, that "Parker's wit caricatures the self-deluded, the powerful, the autocratic, the vain, the sill, and the self important; it does not rely on men and small formulas, and it never ridicules the marginalized, the sideline or the outcast. When Parker goes for the jugular, its usually a vein with blueblood in it."

According to Barreca, many of the critics of her time painted her as having "sold out" and "wasted herself by writing about narrow topics." Nevertheless, her works paved the way for other realist writings by intellectuals, and other writers, which transformed American thought. As a woman before her time, she represented with her witty and satirical writings a select few women who became independently successful. This was a difficult accomplishment during this period that was moving away from Victorian ideals--a time when women were just beginning to see that women can have their individual identities separate from their male counterparts.

Throughout literary history, many people have written works which have added to the tradition of the American Jeremiad. Much of Dorothy Parker’s literature is a good example of the American Jeremiad which has revolutionized American culture and beliefs. Her work has had a tremendous influence on women’s history. There have been continuing arguments over our nation’s founding principles: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Parker’s ideas brought to life a profoundly realistic depiction of the rampant sexism and inconsistencies between those principles and the various social classes, races, and sexes in the life of America in the 1920s. She stated, referring to the renegades of the 1920s,

They come clean with the news that war is a horrible thing, that injustice still exists in many parts of the globe even to this day, that the very rich are apt to sit appreciably prettier than the very poor. Even the tenderer matters are not smeared over with romance for them. They have taken a calm look at this marriage thing and they are there to report that it is not always a life long trip to Niagara Falls. You will be barely able to stagger when the evening is over. In fact, once you have heard the boys settling things it will be no surprise to you if any day now one of them works it all out that there is nothing to this Santa Clause idea. (Parker, quoted in introduction to Dorothy Parker: Complete Stories, p.xi.)

Her voice is still heard in quotes that are used without attribution all over the world, because they just absolutely express the bon mot, the exact right way to say it. Here are a few of my favorites:

"The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity."

"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks."

"Heterosexuality is not normal, it's just common."

"That woman speaks eighteen languages, and can't say No in any of them."

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me, than a frontal lobotomy."

[protected post] And Today's Ancestor Is...

  • Oct. 17th, 2008 at 10:02 PM
Samhain, Hallowe'en
...Martin Fennelly, who with his brother Patrick (my great-great grandfather) and their sisters Margaret and Elanor moved from County Kilkenny to Connecticut in 1896. They started a guesthouse in Ansonia Connecticut, and apparently made money enough to buy a home and got pretty well established. Martin has come down through the family as the quintessence of a who took care of his sisters at the expense of his own happiness, apparently, until finally in his later years he married a younger woman, whose name we have not yet ascertained for sure although it might have been Elizabeth. They produced progeny, she being younger than he, and lived with his 2 spinster sisters to be sure they were "well-taken-care-of", since of course in those days a woman without a husband was at anyone's mercy. From him stemmed the "other Fennellys", the ones who didn't all move to New York, and created an enclave in Derby Connecticut which was home to lots of other displaced Irish folk. So hail Uncle Martin! You kept us together...

[protected post] Today's Ancestor Offering

  • Oct. 18th, 2008 at 9:02 PM
Samhain, Hallowe'en
Goes to another Cultural Ancestor, Susan Cooper. "The Dark Is Rising" is not only a wonderful series of books,. it is witchy in the extreme (for a set of books based on Xtian theology, it's amazing) and has become a centerpiece of our family and coven wheel of the year. Reading these books every year at the appropriate time (starting at Yule) used to be a family tradition. We need to start doing that again. In any case, I tip my Witch Hat (see previous entry) to Susan Cooper this year, and wish her well....and really, really wish she'd write something else.

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