Archive for History

Winding Ivy

Posted in Beauty, Gratitude, History, Nature, Nostalgia, Poetry, Spirituality, Wisdom with tags , , , , , , , on August 18, 2014 by TaijituMartini

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Yesterday I found myself standing in front of an impressive piece of history in a quaint little Ontario town.
Built in 1927, it was the last school built before the Great Depression, and was abandoned in 2004 when they officially closed its doors.
Ten years of natural growth had turned this copper-adorned Gothic stone building into a wonderland of bursting colours, smothered in sunshine, standing majestically on a hill- but now sadly left to lead its solitary existence. Images of eager young children piling into their respective seperate entrances filled my thoughts-to think that boys and girls were actually made to enter the school on opposite sides-such useless irrational dogmas dominating Christian thought at the time.

Have we really evolved as a civilization since 1927? We’ve made some good progress but segregation still rears its ugly head in so many forms,and humans still continue to label things they don’t understand to try and soothe their own fears and insecurities.
If only people could exist together as peacefully as the winding ivy.
Seventy-seven years of academic history. Eighty-seven years old.
Imagine all that happened within those walls.
History- a true magic.

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O Captain My Captain

Posted in Activist, Beauty, Faith, Gratitude, History, Humour, LGBT Community, Love, Nostalgia, Passion, Poetry, Spirituality, Wisdom, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2014 by TaijituMartini

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“You’re only given one little spark of madness. You musn’t lose it.”
-Robin Williams

So true My Captain. Can I call you that? I hope you don’t mind. I never knew you, but I always felt like I did.
I felt connected to you. Perhaps it was your small stature. I happen to be wee myself. Maybe it was your contagious laughter, your great comedic timing, your humble views on life and love. Whatever it was that connected us in this vast Universe-you enriched my life. Thank-you for that.
Your heart was big My Captain. I felt that-and I’m not the only one. It seems whoever knew you loved you.
A special soul you were.
As John Keating in Dead Poets Society you opened my eyes to the possibility of looking at life from a different perspective. Stand on your desk and shout out your mantra to the world. Booya Keating. That’s the way to do it. Life’s too short for bullshit.
You encouraged me to “carpe diem”, a motto I have leaned on throughout my adult life.
Your performance as Parry in The Fisher King swept me away to another world and turned me into a two hour human waterfall. What a movie.
Armand in The Birdcage- another classic. Showcasing LGBTQ diversity before it was cool to do it, just your style, brave and true.
One Hour Photo. You were lonely. Did you feel a similar pain? I’m sorry if you did. No one should ever feel truly alone.
Many of the characters you played over the years seemed to echo your soul. I grew up watching you, and went to see your stand-up show in person. What a night that was. Just try and tell those jokes again the next day. As if. Pure comedic genius. One of a kind. No one did it like you did. No one ever will.
Intelligent, compassionate, sharp, strong, generous, and kind. I’m not the only one who thinks so. I’m just one of millions. What a legacy.
I will miss your gift of seamless improv, your humble generosity, your ridiculous repertoire of crazy voices, your versatile talent as a top notch performer, your honest and giving nature, and most of all your unique capability to move this world with your exhuberant madness.
My Captain, I wish you the eternal peace you couldn’t find in life.
Wherever you may be, may your magical spark forever ring free.

Precious Time

Posted in Gratitude, Spirituality with tags , , , , , on November 23, 2013 by TaijituMartini

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~We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch.~

John F. Kennedy

May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963

Chief Seattle

Posted in History, Nature, Protector, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , on November 12, 2013 by TaijituMartini

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The only known photograph of Chief Seattle,

taken by photographer E.M Sammis, a year before his death in 1866.

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The Eleventh Hour

Posted in Gratitude, History, Love, Nostalgia with tags , , , on November 11, 2013 by TaijituMartini
The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
11-11-11
1918.
The time when hostilities formally ended, and the Armistice was signed between Germany and the Allies, ending World War 1. 
Today- a deep connection to family members who served, a great admiration for all those who fought, those that lived, and to the thousands that selflessly gave their lives so generations after them could live.
Thank-you.
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From The Conservator, Brampton, Ontario, 1918.

The Man In Black

Posted in History, Humour, Spirituality with tags , , , , on September 22, 2013 by TaijituMartini

Ph: Don Hunstein February 1959

I’ve lived 38 years. That’ll produce some mind-blowing moments.

This is the story of one of those moments, and I only found out just how mind-blowing when I discovered who the Man in Black really was.  I had a moment in time with the Man in Black himself,  Johnny Cash.

When I was five years old I went on vacation to Jamaica with my parents. Christmas 1980, and a beautiful rental house hanging over the ocean just outside of Montego Bay. The pictures are breathtaking. We were bumping around cruising in a open jeep. This part of the memory is crisp and clear, seared in my brain like a grilled cheese in a hot panini press. The jeep was mighty uncomfortable, the sun was beaming down, the road was dusty and hot, and we were whipping along at a fast clip through a lush plantation. My tanned dad was driving, having a blast and loving every minute, free as a bird in the tropical sun.

A little boy with a huge grin suddenly appeared, running beside the jeep, trying to catch us. He couldn’t have been much older than I was. My dad slowly pulled over to the side. The little boy ran up to his side of the jeep, bubbly and energized, “ Hi-Hi-Do you want to see Johnny Cash?” He could hardly breathe from all the running, and his excitement oozed from every one of his little pores. “Follow me follow me!! “ he yelled and ran up ahead of us, wildly flailing his arms to direct us. I remember it vividly. My mother wasn’t digging the situation at all, and was definitely paranoid.  “Sure, we’ll follow him and then we’ll get swarmed by a gang around the corner and killed… “

I guess my dad must have been feeling brave that day and listened to his intuition. He didn’t listen to my mother this time, put the car in drive and off we went. We followed the little boy up a few winding dirt roads and around some corners, and came to a sort of clearing in the plantation. It wasn’t the same as the dense plants we’d been travelling through, here there was a breathtaking view  and enough room to walk among the rows of plants. It was as if our experience in that very moment suddenly allowed us some breathing room.

The little boy said, “Wait here”, and ran up ahead along one of the paths and disappeared. You could see the worry on my mothers face. She thought we were all going to get attacked and killed in the bush. Could very well have been the case-but thankfully not that day.

What happened next instead would be much less traumatic than a triple homicide, and makes for a much better story.

Within minutes we saw a man slowly us approaching through the bush. He had a black cowboy hat on, and when he approached he whipped it off with a big smile, and bowed his sweaty head a little with a gesture of respect.

“How y’all doing folks, I’m Johnny Cash” he said, and on went the hat again.

A big brimmed, country-loving, tough guy number hat.  The rest of my memory is fuzzy. That’s all my brain retained. I know the Man In Black stood there for awhile, happily chatting with my parents, and I remember a few bursts of his laughter, but considering I was five at the time-finding trouble in a plantation bush was much more exciting that a friendly stranger in a black hat called Johnny.

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The exact hat he was wearing that day

Turns out Johnny’s home, Cinammon Hill, was a plantation house built by Samuel Barrett, who ran a large sugar plantation there in the mid 1700’s. According to what I’ve heard, the place has quite the history of slavery and torture. Not good. Johnny on the other hand was always very generous with anyone who worked with him there and enjoyed giving when it came to helping many of his Jamaican neighbours. I liked his energy that day, I remember that. He had a glow. When I became an adult and found out more about him, I liked what I read. I especially appreciated the fact that he was always an advocate for Native Americans, which was expressed in his songs and on his album ” Bitter Tears, Ballads of the American Indian.” He cared about his fellow man. Bravo Johnny.

One Christmas Eve he was celebrating Christmas at Cinammon Hill, when armed robbers burst through the door and robbed him of everything, all the presents under the tree, and even the turkey cooking in the oven.  He was extremely upset over the attack, understandably, and packed up and left. It’s said that he didn’t return for many, many years after that.

I hear he finally went back and made his peace with Jamaica and Cinammon Hill just before his death in 2003. He died September 12, 2003, just three short months after June. True love never dies.

It just gets postponed for a while.

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A Cabinet of Curiosities

Posted in History, Humour, Nostalgia, Spirituality with tags , , , , , , , on July 30, 2013 by TaijituMartini

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The world is full of astounding things. Look around. My latest discovery of the Leopard Moth reminded me of something that would have definitely secured a spot in a Cabinet of Curiosity.

Generally known as the precursors to museums, Wunderkammer (wonder rooms) or Cabinets of Curiosities as they were later called, would be best described as a collection of extraordinary finds, often a symbolic collection of all things unexplained. The 16th Century Renaissance in Europe was ultimately a time of human exploration and scientific discovery. Collectors, artists, patrons, scientists, alchemists, all attempting to try and categorize things and make sense of the world. Cabinets of Curiosities were an ecclectic assortment of all things they deemed bizarre, foreign antiquities from Asia, archeological finds, relics, strange animals and items of natural history, unexplained phenomena, art, and ethnological discoveries pertaining to various cultural groups.

The WunderWeird in all its glory.

Doing a little digging I discovered the area where I found my Leopard Moth was also called The Gold Coast. It’s the site of over 200 shipwrecks, and the resting place of many a lost treasure. If I’d known that, maybe I’d have swam a little further offshore… I’m always up for a good treasure hunt. Ancient galleons and gold coins, hell yeah. Ironically, I did end up doing a scavenger hunt while I was there. No hidden treasures, but my Leopard Moth was my find for the “strange thing you’ve never seen before” picture. I won that one. Thanks WunderMoth.

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Turns out ship travel on the Great Lakes was at an all time high in the 1860’s, and trade runs from Buffalo to Detroit often ended in the area. They would often try to head towards the land in rough storms, many shipwrecked as a result. Some of the deeper waters here revealed a mystery schooner with both masts still standing underwater, and a tug with a  wheel house intact. Exploring a wreck is such an eery feeling. I’ve been scuba diving to a few cool ones, and let me tell you, they’re intense. You just have to be careful not to snag your equipment on sharp corners or get caught in any tight spaces,  you don’t want to end up in the same resting place.

Todays random agenda: Historic quantum connections, cabinets of curiosities, scavenger hunts, shipwrecks, gold coins, leopard moths, and bizarro finds. Such is life. Who can possibly concentrate  with all this exciting stuff going on?  Speaking of ships, a shipmate of mine, well, my apologies, let’s give him his due ranking, he’s actually The Captain of the Dimwits, would definitely back me up on this one. Take a Wunderwander over to his blog sometime. http://thedimwitdiary.com. He’s a character and a half. His brain is all over the place too, up and down and all around. Boring is out people or haven’t you heard?

Life is a crazy roller-coaster ride-get with the program.

What’s in your Cabinet of Curiosities? Might be interesting to see what you WordWunders pull out of your Wunderclosets.

Do you have documentation of something Wunderfully Wacky? Ahoy Mateys! This could be the start of some very interesting conversation. If you send me an address link to your photo(s) in the comments it looks like I can then go in and change them  into pictures from there.

That’s enough use of the word Wunder for one day. Your turn. Bring it on.