Friday, May 1, 2015

Editor's Corner

May 2015

"Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is?" -- Frank Scully.

A brave quote for your editor who admits change has always been a frightening prospect, yet one she has often found herself amidst. The best changes however are those concerned with growth: personal, financial, family relationships, etc. The positive changes for her recently are of the latter category: family. A new great grandchild (Emma Jaine) and a new great-great grandchild (Hunter Lane) joined us in April. Joy and more joy!

The prospect of warmer weather has apparently roused our authors into renewing their writing skills and we have some interesting results thereof.

Nancy Park's "Mind, Body & Spirit Connection" discusses her amazing gift of mediumship in a forthright and understandable manner, encouraging others to recognize their own gifts. Judith Kroll aka Featherwind's column "On Trek" discloses her intense viewpoint in protecting life, wherever it occurs, focusing on birds this month.

Melinda Cohenour, your editor's youngest sister, begins her column with this issue, "Genealogy Unraveled." She has contributed several intriguing articles for this ezine previously, derived from her extensive research in genealogical records both national and from Europe, and is a respected member of the Find A Grave research community on Ancestry. Her tales are never dull and through the years she has discovered links to many different family lines. Perhaps we are kin?

Adrea Heisler, Leo's first grand daughter, returns with another of her easy to do recipes, in "Cookin' With Andrea." Thomas F. O'Neill ("Introspective") speaks of China's out-sourcing to take advantage of more economical bases of labor. Mattie Lennon ("Irish Eyes") returns to a reflective mood, but with him, a joke is always right around the corner.

John I. Blair's column "Always Looking - People Who Made A Difference IXX" features William Batchelder Greene, a mathmatician who advanced the process of 'mutual banking,' some level of which is now employed by anyone shopping online. Blair's single poem, a poignant verse, is "I Do Not Dare."

Phillip Hennessy's poetic work sometimes comes in short bursts of insight. Some of those brief verses are presented together in "Dream Wisps" and "Reflections of Reality," along with the selection, "A Lifetime of Faith."

Bud Lemire's two poems "Universal Transalator" and "RyKrisp" should bring a smile. The inspiration for the latter, was once a staple in this home. Bruce Clifford's two poems are "All I Ever Wanted to Do" and "I Can't Slow Down."

Jeremiah Raber, one of the Amish young people who allowed their "Breaking Amish" to be filmed on TLC network, shared a few of his songs with us before. This poem is called "Devil Kin." The new Season may include some appearances by him as well.

Rebecca Morris' serial "The Adventures of Ollie Dare" continues with Chapter 2 "A Better World" this issue. Good thoughts for your little ones.

Mark Crocker who recently entertained us with the Lexi serial, returns with his "Rabbo Book Five," presenting chapter one: "New Endings."

Kudos to Mike Craner for his expertise and patience that allows this little ezine to continue its mission of encouraging writers, experienced and beginners, and to promote reading. TV has done a lot to discourage reading as a pastime, but we are holding fast.

See you in June!

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.
This issue appears in the ezine at and also in the blog with the capability of adding comments at the latter.

Always Looking – People Who Made A Difference IXX

William Batchelder Greene

         William Batchelder Greene (1819-1878) was a prominent figure among the Massachusetts idealists during the middle of the nineteenth century. He was the son of the Democratic journalist and Boston postmaster Nathaniel Greene. Educated at the U.S. Military Academy, Class of 1839, Greene did not graduate due to ill health. Despite not graduating, he was commissioned in July, 1839, as Second Lieutenant, Seventh U.S. Infantry. After serving in the second Seminole War, he resigned in November 1841.

         Subsequently, Greene was connected with the Brook Farm movement, after which he studied theology at Harvard Divinity School, graduating in 1845. He served as pastor at a Unitarian church in Brookfield, Massachusetts, and was a member of the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention of 1853. Later he left the ministry and went to Paris until the Civil War began. He immediately returned to Massachusetts because, although a Democrat, he was a strong abolitionist. He was commissioned and mustered as Colonel of the Fourteenth Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry on July 5, 1861. This regiment was ordered to the defenses around Washington. In January 2, 1862, the regiment was changed to heavy artillery. Greene resigned his commission in October, 1862, to continue his travels and writings.

         Greene is best known for the works Mutual Banking, which proposed an interest-free banking system, and Transcendentalism, a critique of the New England philosophical school. In 1850 and 1851, he had organized citizens of Brookfield, Warren, and Ware, Massachusetts to petition the state's General Court for a charter to establish a mutual bank, which was denied. Similar attempts by the New England Labor Reform League in the 1870s met with similar results. Greene's mutualist banking ideas resembled those of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon as well as the "land banks" of the colonial period.

         Greene had an important influence on Benjamin Tucker, the editor of the anarchist journal Liberty. According to James J. Martin, in Men Against the State, Greene did not become a "full-fledged anarchist" until the last decade of his life, but his writings show that he had as early as 1850 articulated a Christian mutualism, drawing heavily on the writings of Proudhon's sometimes-antagonist Pierre Leroux.
“The existing organization of credit is the daughter of hard money, begotten upon it incestuously by that insufficiency of circulating medium which results from laws making specie the sole legal tender. The immediate consequences of confused credit are want of confidence, loss of time, commercial frauds, fruitless and repeated applications for payment, complicated with irregular and ruinous expanses. The ultimate consequences are compositions, bad debts, expensive accommodation-loans, lawsuits, insolvency, bankruptcy, separation of classes, hostility, hunger, extravagance, distress, riots, civil war, and, finally, revolution. The natural consequences of mutual banking are, first of all, the creation of order, and the definitive establishment of due organization in the social body, and, ultimately, the cure of all the evils. which flow from the present incoherence and disruption in the relations of production and commerce.” (The Radical Deficiency of the Existing Circulating Medium 1857).

         Greene was also a fine mathematician, and was versed in Hebrew literature and in Hebrew and Egyptian antiquities. Around the end of 1876 he went to England and was still there when he died a year and a half later. His remains were transported to Boston, to be buried at Forest Hills, Roxbury (Jamaica Plain).
Compiled and Adapted by John I. Blair from several sources including: 
William Batchelder Greene 
Mutual Banking
Find a Grave

Mass. Soldiers..., 5: 557; History of the First Regiment of Heavy Artillery... by Alfred Seelye Roe (1917), pp. 87, 333-34.

Blair adds this personal note: Greene is connected with a “bad” word – anarchism – but his basic ideas were directed at what he hoped would be doing good for common people; and he never advocated the violence that became associated with later anarchists like Kropotkin and Bakunin. I think he was appalled by it.

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Below:William Batchelder Greene,
pic by e3b0071d186c44b530cf78bce1eabe2d-pearlsquare-1


Genealogy Unraveled

      For those of you who may have explored one or two of my prior articles concerning various lines in my family tree, you may be familiar with the fact that my interest in genealogy arose as a result of my Grandmother Carrie Bullard Joslin’s lifelong enthusiasm for “meeting our ancestors.” Grandmother Joslin was wont to recite family lineages and groups often, enhancing the recitation by one or two colorful stories relating to a family member. For a young girl, the lists of innumerable names became confusing as I made my first attempts at figuring out Who, exactly, was Who? How did those names fit into my life? As my childish inquiries were made, Grandmother Joslin would say, “Well, Melindy Ellen. You see, you come from a long line of folks with lots of names, like Bullard and Joslin, Davenport and Young, Hopper and Godwin. Then, to make things interesting, we must not forget the Russells and the Gambles, the Buzzards and the Brownings – Oh! And we must NOT forget the Moucks and the Muskrats!” So many times I heard those family names recited that – to this day – the names stick in my head.

      Now, my father’s mom also knew her family lore. She was just not so involved in naming the names, making the lists, visiting the cemeteries, penning the pals. Her tidbits of family lines came more often as an outburst or a caution: “Do not forget, you descend from Baron von Hempleman of Germany! Young ladies of that line do not…(wear holes in their new dress, sully their fine white lace on their new apron, wear their Church gloves outside to ride the “horse” in Grandpa’s old salt cedar where his last jockey’s saddle hung).” Or, “That Carrie! She thinks she’s such a much! Prancin’ that bustle in the ole James movie! Why, I was COUSINS to the boys!” (It should be known that Grandmother Joslin was an extra in the Jesse James movie filmed in their hometown of Pineville, Missouri, and did indeed toss her bustle with the best of the ladies!)

      Those two lines alone sent me on decades long searches to investigate and prove the alleged relationships, especially the Baron von Hempleman line. For Grandmother pronounced the surname as she had heard it pronounced, undoubtedly by her father Lew Wallace Alexander, and it bore little resemblance to the proper spelling given herein. It sounded more like Hoppelman or Hauptman or something similar but research into those names came to dead ends. It was not until I found a cache of records kept by Grandmother that included some birth, death and marriage certificates that I began to branch out and research the line of her father. As I searched further and further back beyond even the Revolutionary War, I came upon the Baron von Hempleman name finally along with a romantic story that one day I will attempt to relate here. For George and Adam Hempleman, brothers of the Baron, sailed to America before the Revolutionary War, along with Marguerite Duffy. Marguerite was a commoner and Baron von Hempleman apparently was indisposed to permit his son, George, to wed her. Thus, the brothers gave up their titles and lands and came as indentured servants to America. The three were separated upon arrival as each traveled to their place of service. The brothers would both fight for America’s Independence and not see one another again until late in life.

      The Jesse James movie line from Grandmother Nora Alexander Carroll King gave me fits. Then, one late night of research in Phoenix bore fruit. I had located records documenting my great-grandmother Flutie Creek’s father and mother. Absolom Creek wed Martha Ann Wade in Liberty, Clay County, Missouri. As I did further searches for Absolom I came upon the name of his father, Jacob Haudenscheldt Creek, who had wed Virginia Lee Younger. As I sleepily continued my research, all of a sudden my tired brain began to fire off little peals of hints: Liberty…Clay County…Younger…what does that mean? Oh, my! Could it be? The Youngers of Clay County infamy? Well, yes it could be and was. Turns out my father’s side of the family had some fascinating tales to tell as well.

      More recently, the Moucks and the Muskrats of Grandma Joslin’s litany came to mind. My wonderful uncle Dr. Edgar H. Burks, Jr. is a spry, alert, humorous, 94 year old who has led an exciting life. He and my aunt, Linnie Jane Joslin Burks were missionaries to Nigeria, Africa, for many years before retiring to Springfield, Missouri. A few years ago, Aunt Linnie Jane went to her Heavenly rewards. At her funeral were many family members and friends, including the Moucks and the Muskrats. Uncle Edgar’s mother was Mary Louisa Mouck and her younger sister, Elva May Mouck wed Jacob “Jake” Claude Muskrat of the Cherokee tribe. The Mouck sisters were raised in the Indian Territory before it was admitted to the Union as the State of Oklahoma November 16, 1907.

      This year I finally decided to see exactly how the Muskrat Cherokees fit into our tree. In the course of documenting their family history I found one extremely wonderful Cherokee woman, Ruth Margaret Muskrat Bronson. Her life’s story is one worthy of an entire column devoted to her achievements, alone. Additionally, I found some of those coincidental occurrences that make genealogical research so intriguing. The threads of those stories weave a fine tale that stretches from the wilds of old Virginia in the early 1700’s to the fight for Independence in the State of Texas, from the shores of the Tennessee rivers to the land of the Red Man, Oklahoma. That will be a fine fabric to present in a later column, as well.

      One discovers as the trek into the past proceeds, the paths of our ancestors are diverse and filled with exciting adventures, mundane records of everyday events, and some rare finds which are increasingly within reach as the Internet spurs a greater library of original documents available to the inquisitive genealogist. In the months to come, I hope to prepare columns featuring some of these colorful, romantic, infamous or courageous ancestors. Those whose stories warrant further exploration and may bring a smile to the face of the reader.

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Mind, Body, & Spirit Connection

Nancy's Mind Ramblings ~ Tuning in to "Synchronicity"~the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection

The Amazing Gift of Mediumship

       I think it began long before I realized it. The 'seeking' of knowledge beyond what I was taught, somehow an awareness of there being so much more. I had what may be called 'visions'. Clear movies that ran in my mind's eye, complete with color, sound and vivid details, always with a complete sense of this being something I felt undeniably had happened. Life has a way of interrupting though and your days get filled with what's on the list of things to do and time slips away. Looking back now, I see the wisdom in how slowly spirit does the work, allowing the awareness to unravel in little bits. Each life's journey a chosen path that comes in increments, allowing for the present journey to be fulfilled, but in the background, a sense of that something more.

       Each event that unfolds in our lifetime, brings with it a lesson, an opportunity. That mindset is not something that is easily accepted, in fact, often totally dismissed. That's their journey. It has been my experience that we always have the choice once we've worked it through, to try to grow from the experience. Seeds. My seeds led me to continue to search for answers,I became a book hound, famished to fill and understand this sense of something more.

       And so, my search began more in earnest when my Mother passed. I found a website that was for those who were grieving, to share and heal from the experience. Unable to resign myself to her being gone, I visited the cemetery each day, sitting and talking to her. One day, while sitting there, feeling bereft and completely alone, I clearly heard her say "You don't have to come here to talk to me, I'm everywhere you go". I had no doubt I had heard my Mother. While driving to work shortly after, on the highway one day, I was in a very bad accident, suddenly catapulted up onto the guardrail, I again clearly heard her voice, "God didn't want you today".

       Her presence in my life, and my ability to hear her clearly, somehow, was something I could not deny.

       I was drawn to a website that was for those who were grieving, to share and heal from the experience. Over the years, I was privileged to hear so many people share the depth of their grief, the anger, the fear as they struggled to incorporate this loss into the fabric of their life. And so it was that while speaking with others who were grieving, I became more and more aware of thoughts, "messages", things that were coming to me as I was talking to them. Movies that ran, but with details of their life. Names were called, pieces of information would flow repeatedly.

      At first I didn't realize or understand what it was spirit wanted from me. It took me quite some time before I could venture to pose questions to them, gently entering their grief, and finding more and more that once the "connection" was made even more information would flood in. I would see the movie running in my mind's eye - it could be that I was taken to a place of their childhood, where spirit would remind them of something only they would know. A loved one's name would be called, familiar connections numerated. Specific details of that person's life would flow which were of course unbeknownst to me.

       Over time I began to venture to share my thoughts, carefully posing respectful questions, sharing the details of the "movie" that would be running, only for them, in my mind's eye. Over and over confirmations came, people found comfort in the memories I could share with them, their memories, poignant, loving messages to let them know that they are fine, that life goes on and that regardless of being 'in spirit', they saw each moment in their life, guided them with love and prayers and most importantly, that "Life" continues after the death of the physical body.

       "Life", consciousness, continues after the death of the body. I believe it breathes on the tether of love. Our loved ones await only the invitation, the openness to the dream, the sign we see over and over, a song, a feather, something that instantly allows us to know they are near. All life is energy, and energy cannot be destroyed, it only changes form - and so it is that spirit remains, by their soul choice, of course, near.

       I have been very blessed to have been able to share this journey with so many and I am very grateful for this gift. I personally believe we all have this ability, greater or lesser. I have come to know that we are more than the physical body, that we are loved beyond measure, guided always and that when the body tires, and we release this journey and return home, our soul, the essence of who we really are, will remain complete. The story of this lifetime embossed upon it. We will then join all our loved ones once again.

       Look for the signs. Be open to the dreams. Talk out loud to your loved ones, just as if they were there, and they will be.



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Irish Eyes

A Nose That Knows

"Those who in quarrels interpose
Must oft wipe a bloody nose"
-- John Gay.

       With all due respect to Mr Gay one doesn’t have to indulge in pugnacious behaviour to get an injured snout. My mugshot at the top of the page is slightly out of date. I have now less hair and more jowls and I’m wearing spectacles full time. But one thing hasn’t changed; my olfactory organ still has a Grecian bend.
A battered beak is synonymous with toughness.
I wasn’t ever tough.

      Some sports have an intimate relationship with the power of the broken nose. I have absolutely no interest in any sport. I didn’t acquire my nasal fracture through walking into a wall, falling down, or being hit accidently. No. It happened in Blessington more than fifty years ago when a civic-minded man, named Sean Tyrrell, head-butted me on the grounds that I had been using un- parliamentary language in the company of females. I didn’t wish the man any harm but I’d be a total eejit to forget the incident.

      When I’m asked “what happened your hooter?” I don’t have as interesting a story as the man who walked into the doctors surgery with a broken nose, black eye, and a dislocated jaw. Doctor asks "Jesus Christ, what the f* happened to you?"
    "I sneezed", replied the man.
    "A sneeze?! How can you get a disfigured face by a simple sneeze?" asks the doctor.
    The man replies "Turns out a simple sneeze while hiding naked in the neighbour’s wife's closet when her husband comes home early from boxing practice can do that to you."

      There have been many famous broken noses down the centuries. Michelangelo met his own Sean Tyrrell in the person of a young man named Torrigiano, who was jealous of Michelangelo’s talent and taunted him. When Michelangelo answered, Torrigiano punched him in the face and left him with a permanently misshapen broken nose.

      I have it on good authority that Leo DiCaprio didn’t break Daniel Day Lewis’s nose when filming Gangs of New York. It would appear that my fellow (honoury) Wicklow man acquired the crooked nose when he head-butted a sandbag or something similar.

      I have, over the years, been at the receiving end of comments about the shape of my most prominent facial feature but to date nobody has quoted “A nose, kind sir! Sure, Mother Nature, With all her freaks, ne'er formed this feature. If such were mine, I'd try and trade it, And swear the gods had never made it,” for my benefit.

      Crissy Milaggo has this to say: “Human beings are curious, observant, and compelled to communicate with one another about their surroundings: all things that make for rude commentary, which is a skill that many human beings seem to pride themselves in honing. For those of us with ~distinct~ features, this commentary is normally geared to pointing out the obvious. It is obvious that my nose is crooked, that I broke it juuuuust a teensy bit, in such a way that it did not demand correction.”

      One commentator said of Sarah Jessica Parker that she “ . . . just looks better in certain angles than others.”

      When asked the cause of my misshapen proboscis I could, of course always say that a calf’s head collided with me, that I walked into a door or that it was a deformity from stage two congenital syphilis. Any of the above would be a lie. Besides I wouldn’t want to deprive Sean Tyrrell of the kudos of his handywork.

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Below: The Honourary Wicklow man, Daniel Day Lewis

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