Holiday Kindness

My parents were born in the early 20’s.  There were many times when I was growing up that the conversation would turn to The Depression and The Dirty Thirties.  My father grew up on a farm but only rarely did he talk about those experiences.

My city-living mother, on the other hand, would.  People lining up at soup kitchens, what it was like for her parents to clothe and feed three young girls, rationing food.  My grandfather was lucky because he was able to keep a part-time job and eventually was hired full-time when things got better.  They also didn’t lose their home.

My mother would sometimes talk about the pet rabbit the three girls had that disappeared one day.  Nothing was ever said other than “the rabbit escaped”.

It was years later that my mother realized what had probably happened.  The rabbit became supper so that the three young girls could have some meat with their meal, as meat on a regular basis had become a luxury.

There was no safety net for people if they became unemployed, sick or widowed.  People did what they could, took what jobs they could, all while trying to retain some dignity and hope for better times.  People would try to help where they could but most people were in similar situations.

I recently came across an article on the Smithsonian website by Ted Gup called “A Yuletide Gift of Kindness” about an ad placed in the newspaper in 1933.

It was then that a mysterious “B. Virdot” took out a tiny ad in the Canton Repository, offering to help the needy before Christmas. All he asked was that they write to him and tell him of their hardships. B. Virdot, he said, was not his real name, and no one would ever know his true identity. He pledged that those who wrote to him would also remain anonymous.

Mr. Virdot sent cheques to 150 families.   While it doesn’t seem like much, according to the article the $5.00 cheques that were sent out would be the equivalent of approximately $100.00 today.  That act of holiday kindness helped many families to be able to get various necessities and gifts for their loved ones.

Here’s the article and you can see the connection between Mr. Virdot and Mr. Gup.

And, in the spirit of the article, something I read a long time ago. I don’t know who said it, so I can’t give proper credit, but sometimes we forget we have all been on both sides of the fence.

Sometimes we give, and sometimes we are given to, and both are honourable things to do.

Thanksgiving 2010

As I’m typing this, the final preparations are being made for the U.S. Thanksgiving.  Parades, food and family are on the agenda for many people.

It’s also a time that people will take a few moments and think of what they are thankful for, and I’m no different.

In no particular order, here’s a short list of some things that I’m thankful are a part of my life.

  • Getting on disability.  It wasn’t easy and it took two times before I was approved, but getting the extra money each month has given me the chance to get the internet and to realize I’m truly not alone in my journey.  Having the internet has taken away some of the isolation, especially the mental isolation, and has helped me adjust to a new normal.
  • I live in a big, old house that was  turned into a rooming house.  It’s not the best of ways to live but we’re making the best of what, for many of us, is a lousy situation.  No one grows up thinking “I am going to live in a rooming house!” as part of their dream life.  Sometimes life doesn’t throw you a curve ball but many balls get thrown at you and there is no keeping up.  Again, making the best of a lousy situation.
  • There has always been a group of people in the house that I consider friends who I can hang out with, and on days when I feel like crap, will run an errand for me.  And vice versa since we are all dealing with health issues.  We have given each other money or bank cards and have been able to trust the person to get what we need.  We have made a little community for ourselves where we can help each other out, talk through problems and check in on each other.  They have truly kept me from the depths of depression.
  • Online shopping.  When walking a few blocks can be a nightmare, or an impossibility, being able to get anything online is a dream come true.
  • All the information, entertainment and craziness that is available online with a quick search.

Well, that’s my short list.    It’s time to settle down for the night and be thankful for the warm home, food in my fridge and clothes that take me from season to season.

I hope you have a safe holiday and I leave you with this quote:

Thanksgiving comes to us out of the prehistoric dimness, universal to all ages and all faiths.  At whatever straws we must grasp, there is always a time for gratitude and new beginnings.

~J. Robert Moskin


My First Blog and Post

Welcome!

This past year, for better or for worse, I have been doing some thinking and starting to make some mental adjustments.

I wanted to  put down into words, how I’ve been feeling and what I’m learning about myself now that I have to admit that I’m probably not going to get any better.  So, keeping that in mind, I decided to not get a book and journal about it but, since I’ve never had a blog, why not learn how to do one.

Good times, no?  Because nothing is better for the soul than to admit what is wrong and try to learn your lesson.

In public.

I’m not a writer, I’ll just be putting down thoughts, feelings and blogging about things that tickle my fancy and make me go “Ahhh” and be in awe.

Let the journey begin!