I got this from Uncle Crappy. Basically, you get a letter and then list 10 things that start with that letter that you love. I had a hard time with it, so I modified it from things I love to things that are significant to me somehow. Happily, he didn’t assign me an X or Q, so here goes: W
1. Westminster College: This was my first college. I spent so much time looking at brochures and visiting campuses before deciding where to go. I knew I wanted to go somewhere with a campus – not in the middle of a city. I wanted a school with a good science program. I wanted someplace scenic. I wanted someplace that wasn’t all the way across the country, but not so close that my parent would be likely to drop in unexpectedly. I had it narrowed down to a couple of schools, but WC offered me an academic scholarship and my mind was made up. I loved it there.
It was everything I wanted – scenic, lots of things to do outdoors, a great biology & science program, with state of the art labs and equipment. It had a different type of semester system, with a J-term, which ran all of January, where you took one class that was either a trip, or an all-day hands on type thing. One year I took the physics of flight and learned to fly a plane. Awesome.
What my parents didn’t expect of this sleepy little Amish-town school was that it was party central. My first day of orientation, on my way to amoeba tag or giant twister or some other such nonsense, I met a long haired boy who said, “This is stupid, wanna get high instead?” And that, my friends was the beginning of the end. I lasted two years, had the very best and very worst times of my life, and eventually had to go. I don’t regret a minute of my time there and regret every minute of my time there. I have a whole, weird, unfinished feeling about the place that fills me with nostalgia.
2. Walt Disney World: Everyone who knows me knows I am a total freak for Disney. Not really Disney in general, but Walt Disney World. I’ve been lucky enough to visit a lot of different places in my life, and there are a lot more I’d still like to visit. But when it comes down to it – WDW is my favorite. Don’t get me wrong – comparing WDW to exotic locations like comparing apples to oranges and I can’t really say I’d rather go to WDW than say, Costa Rica or Tuscany or Hawaii, but overall – WDW is my favorite. As soon as I drive onto the property, I am happy. I love being completely immersed and away from the outside world. I want to go back right now.
3. Waterbury CT: This is the first Dead show I owned. 09/23/72. My friend Dave had about eleventy million taped shows and I wanted all of them. I bought a bunch of cassettes and told him to get taping. He had an extra copy of this one, so I got it right away and listened to it approximately twenty-thousand times before my roommate begged me to stop. It has quite a few of my favorite songs, which probably shows that I’m a Jerry girl. Though I had the hots for Bobby for years.
4. Water: I love to be in water. Pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, lakes, oceans – whatever. I am a much happier person in water. It soothes away my stress and worry and aches and pains. I can remember learning to swim at my aunt;s country club in Florida – in thse days, the prevailing method was to throw you in and basically wait for you to sink or swim. I can still see the 6ft sign going up and down in fro nof my face as I nearly drowned. But in the ended, I swam. And never stopped since. I was a diver with the swim team all through high school and part of college and I never minded showing up at 5:30 am for practice, because it meant I got to be in the water.
We had a pool for a couple of years and I was in it constantly. When we had to get rid of it to make room for the addition, I cried. I still maintain that someday we will get another. In fact, as soon as I win the powerball, I will be getting a convertible indoor/outdoor pool, so I can be in it all year long (I don’t know if there is such a thing, but with my hundreds of millions, I will make it happen). And it will have an attached Jacuzzi, so I can easily move from one to the other. And I may need to spring for scuba gear so I can escape underwater for long periods of time.
5. Wilderness: I’m a Civil War buff and this was the first battlefield I visited. We were on our way to The Battle of the Wilderness in Spotsylvania, Virginia was fought near the end of the Civil War – in May of 1864. It was the first battle in the Overland Campaign – the bloodiest campaign in American history and the beginning of the end of the Civil War. Lt General James Longstreet was wounded by his own men here. Almost 30,000 men, both Union and Confederate, were killed in this battle. Afterwards, a two week long battle picked up near the Spotsylvania courthouse. On the morning of May 12th, at a bend in the trenches, the close contact fighting got so bloody that the dead were stacked 5 deep and had to be moved to make room for the living. It was the longest sustained hand-to-hand fight of the entire war. At one point, the fighting was so intense that a 22-inch oak tree was shot clean through by musket fire. The stump is on display at the Smithsonian
6. White Nights: Most of you are younger than me and probably don’t remember Jim Jones and the tragedy in Jonestown, Guyana. I was 10 years old at the time and this was by far the scariest thing I had ever seen or heard. I simply did not understand the concept of suicide and it scared me shitless. Jim Jones was a crazy cult leader. He founded the People’s Temple in 1955. He started out as a champion for desegregation, but by the mid 1960s began to get a little crazy, believing that nuclear war was coming soon. In the early to mid 1970s he had gone pretty much batshit, and built a sanctuary – his socialist paradise – in Guyana, naming it after himself.
By the late 70s, accusations of physical, emotional ands sexual abuse began to emerge from former Temple members and U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan led a fact-finding mission to Guyana, along with a cameraman, reporters and relatives of temple members. After Ryan was attacked by a temple member with a knife, the group left, along with some defectors. But as they were boarding their plane at a nearby airstrip, Jones’ “guard” pulled up and started shooting. At the same time, one of the defectors pulled a gun and shot those who had already boarded the plane. Five people were killed and more were wounded.
Later that day, Jones led his followers in a mass suicide, serving them Kool-Aid laced with cyanide. 909 people died. 276 of them were children. Jones himself died of a gunshot wound to the head – it is unsure whether it was self-inflicted or if he instructed someone else to carry it out. There was an audio recording of the mass suicide which was played on the news and to this day, I can still hear his voice saying “mother, mother, mother please.” Just thinking about it gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes.
After the tragedy former Temple members said that mass suicide was often discussed, and even simulated, on a regular basis. On one such episode, members drank liquid that Jones told them was poison, apparently to test them. They called these trial runs “White Nights.”
7. Walt Whitman:
Beat! beat! drums! – blow! bugles! blow!
Through the windows – through doors – burst like a ruthless force,
Into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation,
Into the school where the scholar is studying;
Leave not the bridegroom quiet – no happiness must he have now with his bride,
Nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field or gathering his grain,
So fierce you whirr and pound you drums – so shrill you bugles blow.
Beat! beat! drums! – blow! bugles! blow!
Over the traffic of cities – over the rumble of wheels in the streets;
Are beds prepared for sleepers at night in the houses? No sleepers must sleep in those beds,
No bargainers’ bargains by day – no brokers or speculators – would they continue?
Would the talkers be talking? would the singer attempt to sing?
Would the lawyer rise in the court to state his case before the judge?
Then rattle quicker, heavier drums – you bugles wilder blow.
Beat! beat! drums! – blow! bugles! blow!
Make no parley – stop for no expostulation,
Mind not the timid – mind not the weeper or prayer,
Mind not the old man beseeching the young man,
Let not the child’s voice be heard, nor the mother’s entreaties,
Make even the trestles to shake the dead where they lie awaiting the hearses,
So strong you thump O terrible drums – so loud you bugles blow.
8. Tammy Wynette/Doc Watson: The first album and last (so far) albums I have bought.
In the 70s, I saw a TV ad for a Tammy Wynette album and I really wanted it. I think I liked it because I could spell d-i-v-o-r-c-e. I’m not sure I really even know what divorce was exactly, but I liked that I could spell it. I told me dad I wanted to spend my birthday money on it. He ordered it and I waited impatiently until it arrived in the mail. I still have it.
About a week ago, I bought Doc & Merle Watson’s Black Mountain Rag. One of these years, I’m gonna make it to Merlefest.
9. W: Here I am, eight years later, still wondering how this blathering idiot got to be president. Well, at least he made us all feel smart while he was fucking up the economy, the environment, education, and dicking around with innocent lives all over the world. Thanks for that, Dumbya.
10. Whine/Wine: What my kids do/How I deal with it.
you want to play? Let me know and I’ll hook you up with a letter (not X or Q, I promise)