Saturday, March 26, 2011

Memorial Service about Japan and the Earthquake

At ten o'clock on Saturday there was a memorial service at Tacoma's Thea's Park in honor of Japan and the Earthquake victims. Mayor Strickland spoke remembering Tacoma's sister cities and past-mayor Baarsma also spoke, remembering the previous sister city Kokura. Geese rose from the water and flew along in the sky. The priest who explained that the chanting would be a sutra reminded the audience that we live with nature. While the priests chanted a sutra, from time to time there was a chime as a priest struck a small metal gong that rested on one hand. And while the priests chanted the sutra a large dog went into the water after a large stick. He came to the stick and he turned and swam back and the stick was thrown again and then again. She threw a rock in to where the stick landed again and again. The water is always very cold. I walked back along Schuster Parkway past a growing huge dandelion plant and the beginnings of horsetails.

Proctor Market First Day

From The Urban Dictionary on the internet - A common exclamation when in or around hillbilly infested areas. Doesn't necessarily need to be used when in a canoe; merely a warning to the other non-hillbillies in the vicinity - Paddle Faster, I hear Banjos! I got shallots and pears at the first day of the weekly Proctor Market and the bass fiddle and banjo music reminded me of a t-shirt I saw - A dog and second animal were in a canoe and one dog says, Paddle faster, I hear banjos! It did sure help to look it up on the internet. The weekly market has more booths than the Winter Proctor Market.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Holocaust Conference at Pacific Lutheran University 2011

The Holocaust Conference at PLU in 2002 was attended by about 30 Holocaust scholars and the intellectual energy of their youth had a lot of dynamism. According to the News Tribune article the it was a 4-day event with a focus on early anti-Semitic teachings of European churches – it was nine years ago, I filed the article and managed to retrieve it last year for the 2010 Conference.

According to my notes from 2002, the history of the question of Semitism in Europe was considered in depth. Part of Catholic anti-semitism challenged Jews to translate Talmud passages of love for one another which existed like flowers - only a few in a neglected garden. The inference was that Jews were treated with contempt because they showed contempt for others. This was the idea of anti-goyism - the Jewish hatred of non-Jews, that Jews were hostiel against the Christian nation.

Some cricisms of protestant anti-Semitism entered focused on the belief that Jews were condemned because they did not choose Christ over Barrabas.

There is contrast to the present Holocaust Conference style, in 2010 and in 2011 the emphasis has been on the tragedies of genocide in today's world, Ruwanda, and on of teachers of youth, there to learn more about extending knowledge about these serious topics in the early years of school. Carl Wilkins presented, along with students from Charles Wright Academy.

One direct history paper presentation on Saturday was about the Kindertransport – it reflected both traditional history and the teaching interest of the conference.

Back in 2002, during one busy question and answer session I stood and asked about a theme - the rescue of 7,500 Danish Jews taken to Sweden in small boats – a scholar had pointed out that it was better for the rescued people if they looked Jewish because they were afraid. If they looked Jewish the boat owners were sure of their identity.

I wondered by who and when it was determined that someone looked Jewish. The exact strategy of placing people on the boats was so unclear to me.

In 2005 a novel about the Holocaust helped me understand this part of history better. The author's name was Kevin Haworth, The Discontinuity of Small Things, about Denmark in World War Two. The book used a lot of imagery to clearly describe Denmark at that time.

Most of the Saturday events were devoted to art and the holocaust. Poetry After Auschitz was a respectful meditation on the use of words after such a terrible idea.

Friday rain poured down, Saturday the sun was so pleasant.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Song Performed at the 1934 Concert Can Be Heard On the Internet

A song heard at the 1934 concert can be heard on the internet.
With audio you enter Och gladjen den dansar (With Joy We Go Dancing)
to locate the site with the album cover illustration -
(The song is the same as Men liljorna de vaxa opp om varen, folk music collected and arranged by Otto Anderson.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

An Article From Sunday August 26, 1934

An interesting article from Sunday, August 26, 1934, tells of the Labor Day Weekend concert planned by Order of Runeberg at the Scottish Rites Cathedral. The program for the event lists a banquet after the Sunday Concert at First Lutheran Church.

(In this photo of the Scottish Rites Cathedral Building, which still stands, the spires of Stadium High School appear in the far distance.)


Order of Runeberg Singing Society Will Meet Here Saturday and Sunday

Next Saturday morning at 9 o'clock, the 10th annual convention of the Order of Runeberg Singing Society will open with registration of the singers and visitors at the Scottish Rite cathedral. The entire morning and most of the afternoon will be spent in rehearsal of the combined choruses. The women of the Tacoma Order of Runeberg have charge of the luncheon to be served for the singers at the Valhalla Temple.

At 9 o'clock Saturday evening the Scottish Rite cathedral will be the scene of the grand ball. Scandinavian dances will be featured, and musci will be furnished by the Gord Orchestra. Mayor Smitley will be present and will give a short address.

The concert, which begins at 3 o'clock on Saturday afternoon, will also be held at the Scottish Rite cathedral, and it promises to be one of the most outstanding concerts ever given by the grand chorus. Guest artists for the occasion will be Miss Viola Wasterlain, will-known Tacoma violinist; Victor Wickstrom, baritone, of Olympia, and Mrs. Gene Wallin-Sundsten, soprano, of Seattle. Mrs. Sunsten is an accomplished soloist and is very popular among the Runeberg singers. Besides being a member of the Seattle chorus, she has also been soloist at a number of the conventions. The grand chorus will sing one group of American selections, but the majority of the program will be a Swedish. Prof. John Sundsten of Seattle is the present director of the grand chorus. Prof. Sundsten has been associated with the Runberg Singing society for many years, having served as the accompanist at most of the conventions. Last year he was chosen by the society as grand director, and he has proven to be a most able and sympathetic leader. One group of Swedish numbers at the concert will be directed by the honorary past-director, Martin Carlson of Tacoma. Mr. Carlson was director of the grand chorus and the Tacoma chorus from the origin of the society in 1924 until last year, when he resigned on account of ill health.

(Accompanying baritone Victor Wickstrom was Linnea Gord at the piano - Kors Spindeln by Sibelius, and De Tva Grenadörerna by Schubert)

Starting out the program was Modersmålets Sång (Hagfors), Men Liljorna de Växa (Otto Anderson), and March ur Finlands Namn (A. Von Kothen)

1934, Summertime and the Runeberg Chorus

Summertime, 1934, the Runeberg Chorus at Spanaway Park.
Linnea Gord, piano accompanist, in the striped dress to the right of the photo, became the chorus director.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

More About Books at Twelve-Ten for March - TINKERS, by Paul Harding

On International Women's Day, several from Books at Twelve-Ten snacked on Girl Scout Cookies and discussed Tinkers, by Paul Harding.

Tinkers tells of three generations - grand-father, son and grandson - focused in the hallucinatory memories of grandson George in the final days of his life. While the story necessarily drifts, the "generations" structure provides an anchor, and the image-rich language describes the natural world of New England in the nineteen-twenties.

One of the group mentioned that the title repeats in the hand-work lives of the men. The earliest paragraphs explain that George built the house where he lies in the rented hospital bed. Many such carpentry achievements must exist in towns in America.

The group discussed eugenics and the State Mental Hospital George's father, Howard, might have entered when he had epileptic seizures – instead of entering the hospital, Howard left his family. The story emphasizes the relationship of and the distance between these fathers and sons.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Suitcases Exhibit and Books at 12:10

Yesterday, Thursday, before a visit to Special Collections I saw the Suitcases Exhibit at the Undergraduate Library.

Books at 12:10 will discuss Tinkers by Paul Harding on Tuesday. A turning point in the story happens because a 1920's brochure for a Maine State Mental Institution appears on a bureau. Because of concerns for children in a family, a medical practitioner has informed a wife about the Mental Institution. A character, who has epileptic seizures, intuits that his wife plans to place him in an institution, so he takes his tinker's cart past their house, takes the road south and does not return.

One aspect of psychiatric care importantly involves the fact that diagnosis and commitment often has had something to do with the safety or convenience of others. In The Medicalization of Everyday Life, Thomas Szasz quotes Karl Wernicke (1848-1905), German Neuropathologist - "The medical treatment of patients began with the infringement of their personal freedom..."

The theme of the Suitcases exhibit is the infringement of personal freedoms of individual people committed to a state hospital in New York. To me it seemed very moving. It was easy to look at the exhibit because pertinant details - length of stay and date of commitment, along with dates of birth and death - were placed in a consistent format with portraits, one could compare the stories, each on its own large presentation board.

I wish to link to an article which appeared in yesterday's University of Washington Daily about the exhibit, Unspeakable Discourse: A Series of Lectures and Films Examines Flaws in Mental-Health System, by Hayat Norime.

In our human experience we do not doubt that mental illness and mental health exist. It is definitely possible for individuals to be in a percieved world that bears little resemblance to the perceptions of people around them. Definitions and ways of evaluating this fact have changed. When I reached Tacoma later in the afternoon and was at the branch library, I found a January 2011 Wired magazine with an article about changes over the years in mental health evaluation.