“If I’m Ever Stranded I Hope It’s In A Bookstore”

I Love BooksMy whole life, I have been very interested in the potential held in things. I love beginnings, when all is possible and everything could be fantastic and nothing has stepped up to the plate to disappoint me. There is nothing I like more than feeling  the weight of a book in my hands and wondering what the story inside might be and if I’m ever stranded I hope it’s in a bookstore.  I feel an overwhelming excitement at the beginning of reading a book, and I  am sure that this love of pure possibility must be (along with how they smell) one of the reasons I adore newborn babies. I can‘t wait to see who they might turn out to be.

I can’t  wait to experience the emotions that will come to the surface. Will I laugh till I cry or will I cry till I laugh? Will I think about experiences I’ve shared with friends from my early school years? Will I be taken back to a time in my childhood when I was a happy and carefree sixth grader riding my bike down to school or to the beach. Will I feel like I just stepped into a Norman Rockwell painting ? Will I think about my first love, my wedding day or the birth of my children? Will I agree or disagree with the author? Will I be moved to make a change in my life, community or even globally because of what some one wrote in a book? Will I give up one or two hours of sleep for this book because it speaks to my heart and soul? Will I feel energized and motivated the next day? Will it seem as though the author knew me and I just know the book was just for me?

Every time I walk into a lovely used  book store  or browse through my local library I am full of excitement and anticipation and I can’t help but wonder what adventure will I be taken on while browsing through all those wonderful books?  Every now and then a movie comes along that resonates with us it maybe a romantic comedy, drama, religious, political or your favorite childhood movie but one thing that is guaranteed you’ll be thinking about possibilities.  One of my favorite movies is a 1940s movie called “The Shop Around The Corner “The Shop Around The Corner Kralik , puts a red carnation in his lapel and finally reveals to Miss Novak that he is in fact her mystery correspondent . . . her “dear friend” and the two kiss and embrace. While watching the movie you just think  they are perfect for each other but will they or wouldn’t they fall in love?  That’s the question!

In the 1981 film “Steel MagnoliasSteele Magnolias at her daughters funeral and  after the other mourner have left. M’Lynn  ( Sally Field) breaks down in hysterics in front of four of her best friends crying out in anger “WHY” and her friends are able to give support to her through love and humor. Later M’Lynn begins to accept her daughter’s death and focuses her energy on helping raise her grandson and life goes on.  Toward the end of  Steel Magnolias you might feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster ride full of sadness when M’Lynn is asking “WHY” and is expressing her anger that her daughter died. I always cry, cry, cry,  then I start feeling better as M’Lynn goes from asking “WHY” to loving and enjoying her grandson and I find myself returning to joy  and laughter as I watch her with her with family, friends and grandson enjoying an Easter Egg hunt.

In the 1998 movieYou’ve Got MailYou've Got Mail Joe, known as “Ny152”  mysteriously postponed meeting shop girl in the beginning of the movie and at the end of the movie they finally meet for the first time. Brinkley, Joe’s golden retriever, who is the topic of many e-mails is with him and Kathleen admits that she had wanted “NY152” to be Joe so badly, and the two kiss.  “Brinkley” Joes golden retriever steals the show and once again we are reminded anything is possible. Shop Girl forgives Ny152 for being part of the big business world that contributed to closing  her family  book store that she had inherited   from her mother . . .  there we have it a Hollywood ending . . .  they happily ever after.

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Happily Ever After Endings In Literature

 The greatest storytellers and dreamers have always held out hope for tomorrow and happily ever after endings that tell of that hope. For example this famous quote: “There’s No Place Like Home” from the Wizard of Oz

What follows is an inspiring collection of four classic novels that are known for their happily ever endings that leave us feeling happy and hopeful.

These writers are listed among the worlds best know authors and the novels are “The Wonderful World of Oz”, “A Christmas Carol”, “Little House In The Woods,” ” The Secret Garden”, and  “Heidi.”

When we read happily ever after stories we can’t help but read them with a smile. My mother use to read happily ever after stories to me with optimistic endings. It doesn’t matter how old I get when I reread these stories for a few hours I’m a young girl again and the smile returns as I think about Dorothy, Aunt Em and my mother whose name was Dorothy and I agree there’s no place like home. Whose heart wasn’t touched by when they first watched Dorothy and all her friends as they walked down the yellow brick road in the movie “The Wizard of Oz”?

 Maybe like me you had an Aunt that reminds you of Aunt Em because she use to hold you in her arms and cover your face with kisses like Dorothy’s Aunt Em did in “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” Don’t you just love the Aunt Em’s of the world? There’s nothing as comforting and satisfying as a happily ever ending. And if you are a book lover you enjoy curling up in a comfy chair with a heartwarming story where the last pages leave you feeling happy and hopeful. 

 As you open the pages from your best-loved authors once again you are reminded if only in life everything could work out to have a happy ending as it does in literature like in the novel ” The Wonderful World of Oz ” were the last words are; I’m so glad to be at home again!

Aunt Em had just come out of the house to water the cabbages when she looked up and saw Dorothy running toward her. “My darling child!” she cried, folding the little girl in her arms and covering her face with kisses. “Where in the world did you come from?” “From the Land of Oz,” said Dorothy gravely. ” And here is Toto too. And Oh,  Aunt Em! I’m so glad to be at home again!” ~  L. Frank Baum,  “The Wizard of Oz

What about the novel ” A Christmas Carol” it ends with Tiny Tim saying; God bless Us, Everyone! That’s a happy ending that leaves us feeling hopeful.

And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One! ~ Charles Dickens,  “A Christmas Carol.” Remember when Ebenezer Scrooge has his change of heart, renouncing his miserly ways and vowing to live a life of charity and compassion?

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did Not die, he was a second father.

 He became a good friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the old city knew, or any other good old city, town or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which knowing some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it was as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed; and that wa quite enough for him.

He had no further interactions with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed,  God Bless, Us Every One! ~ Charles Dickens,  “A Christmas Carol.”

 The novel “Little House in The Big Woods” written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She is also the author of “The Little House On The Perrier” series.

 Little House in The Big Woods is a happily ever after book and the ending words are; It can never be a long time ago!  Laura lay awake a little while, listening to Pa’s fiddle softly playing and to the lonely sound of the wind in the big woods, She looked at Pa sitting on the bench hearth, the fire-light gleaming on his brown hair and beard and glistening on the honey-brown fiddle.

 She looked at Ma, gently rocking and knitting. She thought to herself, “This is now.”

She was glad that the cosy house, and Pa and Ma and the fire-light and the music, were now. They could not be forgotten, she thought, because now is now. It can never be a long time ago. ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder.

 

 

In the novel ” The Secret Garden” written by Frances Hodgson Burnett the ending words are; his eyes full of laughter walked as strongly and steadily as any boy in Yorkshire… Master Colin! Look there,” he said,” if that’s curious. Look what’s comin’ across the grass.”

When Mrs. Medlock looked she threw up her hands and gave a little shriek and every  man and woman-servant within hearing bolted across the servants’ hall and stood looking through the window with their eyes almost starting out of their heads.

Across the lawn came the Master of Misselthwaite and he looked as many of them had never seen him. and by his side with his head up in the air and his eyes full of laughter walked as strongly and steadily as any boy in Yorkshire…   Master Colin!

 

 

Remember the novel “Heidi” by Johanna Spyri?  And how much there was to tell of all the events that had taken place that last summer, for they had not had many opportunities of meeting since then. 

And it was difficult to say which of the three looked the happiest at being together again, and at the recollection of all the wonderful things that had happened. Mother Brigitta’s face was perhaps the happiest of all, as now, with the help of “Heidi’s” explanation, she was able to understand for the first time the history of Peter’s weekly penny for life.

Then at last the grandmother spoke, “Heidi, read me one of the hymns! I feel I can do anything for the remainder of my life but thank the father in Heaven for all the mercies He has shown us!”

The Wizard of Oz,  A Christmas Carol,  Little House in The Big Woods, and Heidi and many other special books fill us with a warm glow every time we read them.  In the pages of Happy Ever After Stories book lovers will relive the pleasures of their favorite literary moments, and maybe even discover a few new favorites.  

The Authors we love tell very different stories in very different times and offer something for everyone.  They manage to offer hope and inspiration to their readers with their accomplished words and evocative illustrations that make us once again believe and treasure happy endings and leave us feeling hopeful. 

 The novel ” The Wonderful World of Oz” was first published in 1902. “A Christmas Story” was first published on December 19 in 1843. “Little House in The Big Woods” was  first published in 1932. “The Secret Garden” was first published in 1911 and The novel “Heidi” was first published in 1901.

A Lot Of Otters

Every now and then a children’s book comes along that sparks our imaginations and puts a smile on our faces and A Lot Of Otters is one of those books.

The other day my sister called me to tell me how much she enjoys swimming with her grandson who has autism.

She went on to tell me how much he enjoys watching the Otters in the Aquarium of the Pacific (it’s in Long Beach, California our home town) and she wondered if when she is swimming with him in their family pool was he pretending they were otters swimming and playing freely in the water like Otters do? As she was talking to me I started to  image the two of them laughing and playing in their pool together like otters do.

Later that day while I was shopping in Books A Million I came across a book called A Lot Of Otters. After browsing through it I decided to buy it because it reminded me of the story that my sister told about of Milo liking otters. It turns out that Milo swims like a fish and swimming is one of his favorite things to do and we are hoping that one day he will be able to tell us all about swimming like an Otter.

It’s called A Lot of Otters isn’t that a great name? It’s written by author Barbara Helen Berger and in 1997 this book was selected as best children’s book by The School Library Journal. It was also selected for The Prestigious Exhibition The Original Art 1997, Celebrating the Fine Art of Children’s Book Illustrations, sponged by Society of Illustrations, New York.

The Author’s Comments: When the toddler climbs into the cardboard box, the blue shadow under the box turns into water, and as he reads his book he sails away. From then on, everything takes place in this fantasy water, made with washes of blue to flow from page to page.

The sea otters are based on her careful observations (in two Aquariums, videos and books). So their activities show what sea otters actually do. The way they dive, the way they carry their food, the way they eat, groom, play. However they are playing with stars, and one otter is reading the toddler’s book from the moment he drops it (Oops) to the end.

She always likes to have some element in art which is never actually mentioned in the words. That is one of the things about a picture book that can be most magical and fun. In this case the toddler’s cardboard box and his book with its red cover are never mentioned, nor is the otter who keeps on reading the book whiles everything goes on around him.

 Take a look at the photo of the cover jacket for “A Lot of Otters.” After looking at it. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with otters? This photo sparks my imagination, and before I know it. I’m pretending that I’m reading a book, while sitting in a card box surrounded by friendly otters. Then I feel carefree like a child again. Honesty what could be more fun than children than pretending they are playing with Otters?  Stop reading this for a minute and pretend that you are swimming with a group of fun-loving otters like the ones in this book. Did you really stop?  Wasn’t that fun?

There is nothing more delightful than watching children while they are swimming except for swimming with them. I wonder if while children are frolicking in the water are they pretending to behave like otters too? They move so carefree the way Otters do? Don’t they?

This article is for Trish and Milo because they love to read and look at books about otters and swim together. It seems that Nana’s, Otters, and Swimming are a good combination for some children with autism at least it seems that way for Milo.

 Some children can tell their parents when they are pretending to be like otters while others can’t because they have autism regardless if a child can speak or not, books can be a powerful influence in a child’s life.

It feels good when our imaginations are sparked doesn’t it? Children and books about animals as their friends is magical regardless of what their challenges are. Just ask a grandparent and they’ll tell you all about their favorite childhood books that were full of friendly animal characters.

Children’s picture books date back to the seventeenth century, but they really came into their own in the nineteen-twenties. Children’s picture story books like “The Little Red Hen” and “Little Black Sambo ( which would not be considered politically correct today) but were popular in the good old days.

A Test of Love by St. Augustine…

 “A Test of Love” is a sermon once preached by St. Augustine where he proposed a kind of self test to see if we truly love God.

 Lets suppose God proposed to you a deal and said, “I will give you anything you want” and you can own the world.

Nothing will be impossible for you, nothing will be sin and nothing forbidden. You will never die, never have pain, never have anything you do not want and always have anything you want.

 Except for just one thing you will never see my face. Augustine closed with this question: Did a chill rise in your hearts when you heard the words you will never see my face? That chill is the most precious thing in you; that is the pure love of God.” What good is it for a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? I wonder…

Antiques and Keepsakes

The definition of antique varies from source to source, product to product, and year to year. The only known exceptions to the “100 year rule” would be cars. Since the definition of the term antique requires an item to be at least 100 years, or older, and the items in question must be in its original and unaltered condition to be an ‘antique’ if they are roughly 75 years old, or more (some cars can be registered as “classic” when  25 years old, such as muscle cars and luxury vehicles such as a ( Rolls-Royce and Bentley). Further, this is not n universally accepted concern, but rather a consideration made almost strictly by car collectors and enthusiasts.

In the United States, the 1930 Smoot-Hawley Act defined an antique as “works (except rugs and carpets made after the year 1700), collections in illustrations of the progress of the arts, works in bronze, marble,terra-cotta, Parian, pottery or porcelain, artistic antiquities and objects of ornamental character or educational value produced prior to the year 1830. 1830 was roughly the beginning of mass productions in the US and 100 years older than Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act. These definitions allow people to make a distinction between genuine antique pieces, vintage items, and collectible objects. The term antiquarian refers to a person interested in antiquities, or things of the past.

The definition of a keepsake is some object given by a person and retained in memory of something or someone; something kept for sentimental or nostalgic reasons. She gave him a lock of her hair as a keepsake of their time together. Historical specifically, a type of literary album popular in the nineteeth-century, containing scraps of poetry and pose, and engravings. Keepsakes can be called mementos, souvenir, and memorabilia retained in memory of something, someone or a special occasion. Life is full of keepsakes. Every person has them. Every person keeps them. We find them in closets, in scrapbooks, under beds, in attics and in garages. Keepsakes are forever.

 The other day I stopped in at an estate sale the house was bulging at the seams with antiques and keepsakes.  Everything from Vintage jewelry to first edition books signed by the authors. The owners also had beautifully crafted figurines inspired by artist Muriel Joseph George. It got me thinking. What is a keepsake? The thesaurus gives synonyms for keepsakes: mementos, memorial, remembrance, souvenir, symbol, token, trophy. But I’m not sure these words adequately describe a keepsake.

To me, a keepsake is something that when I look at it, my mind becomes flooded with the taste, smell, sound, and memory of an event. It’s something that I don’t have to write an explanation for in the scrapbook. When I glance at a program from a day at the “Ice Capades” all my sense’s come alive. Once again I can pretend that I’m a famous Ice Skater like the one’s in the Ice Capdes that day. Our keepsakes are like a life long friend, who reminds us of the all those special occasions we have experienced in life.

Chose Your Own Grandparenting Style

 The Power of Myths reminds me of the classic children’s storyLittle Red Riding Hood” it has almost all the main features of one stereotyped image of a grandparent.

Once upon a time, at the edge of a large forest there stood a tiny cottage almost hidden by the trees. In it a little girl lived with her mother. The little girl could often be seen in her hood and red  cape flitting among the tall trees. Her grandmother had made the hood and cape for her and because the little girl always wore them, she was called Little Red Ridding Hood.

Red Riding Hood’s grandmother is old and feeble, caring and gift-giving, and lives within convenient walking distance (wolves not with standing) of her granddaughter. There are probably some grandparents who fit this image. There are probably even more who wish they matched some parts of it. But in today’s world, many grandparents are neither old nor feeble.

They don’t eat chocolate cake or drink creamy milk especially when they’re sick. Their lives are not focused on their grandchildren but on their jobs, friends and social activities. Oh! We can’t forget that some of us can end up spending all day trying to figure out how to use our latest techie devices.

 Often they don’t live on the other side of the woods but on the other side of the country, on another continent, or at least somewhere where the winters are milder and the weather is sunnier. However grandparents are enjoying their beach cottages and mountain cabins. Aren’t they?

 One morning Little Red Riding Hood’s mother packed a basket full of homemade  goodies that included a chocolate cake, a jar of strawberry jam and a bottle of creamy milk. She told Little Red Ridding Hood to take this basket to your grandmother because she was sick in bed and this food will do her good and it will make her happy. I would’ve preferred a cup of tea and a piece of toast myself. 

My friends and I didn’t realize how powerful myths could be until we became a grandparents. We have discovered that when it comes to the topic of family life how surprised we were to see how many people are still clinging to idealized images from the past.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with having romantic and nostalgic ideas but if we walk around feeling that our lives are only second best because things were once better it can sap all our strength. And if we invest our energy trying to live the way we imagine people used to live we’re bound to be disappointed.

Grandparents are living longer that in the first half of the century, the grandparenting phase might last two or three decades or more.

 In short, grandparenting has developed as an independent role in the family cycle and often extends as long or longer than parenting.

Here are a few questions grandparents can ask themselves when choosing their grandparenting style.

What kinds of things to you enjoy doing? What special skills do you have?  How much time do you have available and how much do I want to spend grandparenting? What are your children’s and grandchildren’s needs? What religious and ethnic traditions do you want to pass on to your grandchildren? 

Keep in mind there is still no set definitions of what makes you a good grandparent any more that whats makes a good grandchild. The consensus about what makes us good grandparents makes it easier for each of us to reinvent grandparenting in own style and enjoy our roles.

Love

Love is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment.  Love is also a virtue representing all of human kindness,compassion, and affection; and the unselfish loyal, and benevolent concern for the good of another.  Love is central to many religions, as in the Christian phrase,”God is Love” or Agape in the canonical gospels. Love may also be described as actions towards others (or oneself) based on compassion, or as actions towards others based on affection.

In English, love refers to many different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from pleasure, “I loved that meal” to Love at first sight such as in “Romeo and Juliet”  Shakespeare’s most popular archetypal stories of young teenage lovers.

Then there is the love at first glance kind of love as described in the novel “Les Miserables”, by Victor Hugo,  between the characters Marius Pontmercy a student and Cosette falling in love after glancing into each others eyes for the first time and by the end of the novel married each other.

Then there’s interpersonal attraction I love my partner. “Love” may refer specifically to the passionate desire and intimacy of romantic love, to the sexual love of a spouse, to the emotional closeness of family love or the platonic love that defines friendship. 

In romantic relationships, “falling in Love” is mainly a Western tradition. It is used to describe the process of moving from a feeling of neutrality towards a person to one of love. The use of the  term “fall” implies that the process is in some way inevitable, uncontrollable, risky, irreversible, or that it puts the lover in a state of vulnerability, in the same way the word “Fall” is used in the phase “To Fall Ill” or “To Fall Into A Trap.”  The term is generally used to describe an (eventual) love that is strong, although not necessarily permanent.  Before we fall in love, we can see the other person as a bare branch; as we fall, we coat him or her with jeweled attractions about 80 percent of our own making.

There are many contributing factors when we ask ourselves Who and why that person?  A few factors that contribute strongly to falling in love include proximity, similarity, reciprocity, and attractiveness. Similarity would seem especially important: some would even claim that when we fall in love we fall into narcissistic identification. 

 Psychology research has shown two basis for love at first sight. The first is that the attractiveness of a person can be very quickly determined, with the average time in one study being 0.13 second. The second is that the first few minutes of a relationship have shown to be predictive of the relationship’s future success, more so than what two people have in common or whether they like each other. Family therapists maintain that the reason we’re attracted to someone at this very deep level is that basically they are like us in a psychological sense. Others suggest that the very act of falling in love set in motion old patterns of how we love.

Love at first sight is a common trope in Western literature, in which a person, character, or speaker feels romantic attraction for a stranger.The name Romeo, in popular culture, has become nearly synonymous with “Lover.” Romeo and Juliet, does indeed experience a love of such purity and passion, that he kills himself when he believes that the object of his love, Juliet died.  The power of Romeo’s love however, often obscures a clear vision of Romeo’s character, which is far more complex. Even Romeo’s relation to love is not so simple. Mean while Juliet’s first meeting with Romeo propels her full-force toward adulthood. All of this started with a glance. I wonder how many of us “love” at first glance? I wonder…