I got a message from older bud Carolyn announcing her move to a critique group of writers, publishers and editors. She's working on her memoir right now and hoping to get it published. And today's blog post is all about Carolyn, in honor of her development as a writer, and in anticipation of her future as a published memoirist. Y'all can say you knew her before she got famous!
Nature's Gift from Fairmount Park
Deer Park. Fiji, Perrier, Aquafina, Dasini, Poland, Voss - when you hear the names of these popular brands, what comes to mind? Yes! Spring Water! Many of these famous brands claim to be pure as a mountain stream. The bottled water from these companies is not free and the money they make from selling their water products has created an industry worth millions (if not billions combined) of dollars.
Now, what if I told you that in the 1940's
an endless flow of uncontaminated, unadulterated, fresh running stream of pure, clear Spring Water was free to the public in Fairmount Park? That's right. Families would bring their own jugs (as many as they wanted) to the designated fountain. All people needed to do was turn on the spigot/faucet and fill their jugs until they overflowed. The Spring water was free. Imagine that!
Once a week my father would load the back of his car and trunk with as many jugs as possible. I cannot recall if people purchased the jugs at the local hardware store or not. Sometimes the neighbors would hand my father their jugs and ask him to fill them for them. I always accompanied my dad when he drove to Parkside Avenue to get water. I would help out by turning the spigot on and off when the jugs were full. I was very young and to me that job was a big deal.
I still see the fountain in the park where we got our "free water". I always look for it. However, if you didn't know what to look for, you would definitely miss it. The fountain is almost invisible, resting close to the curb and sitting in a small recess not too far from the street. The fountain's water supply was cut off of course, and it remains disguised surrounded by an abundance of greenery.
During the 1940's horse troughs were located in many spots throughout the city. They were filled with the same spring water and had a faucet on them as well. I remember that a horse trough stood directly across the street from where my family and I were living. I have not seen a remnant of any of any of the horse troughs, however, that does not mean that one or two may still be in existence hidden somewhere in the park.
Mother Nature and Fairmount Park gave (in abundance) free pristine water to everyone
in the community who needed drinking water. My personal opinion is that no bottled water in 2021 will be able to capture the clean pure taste of the spring water my family and I drank from the fountain at Fairmount Park in the 1940's. I said it. I believe it and that settles it!
If you wish to learn more: Google "Many Philadelphians Drank Spring Water From The Tap In Fairmount Park". (Facebook)
Google "Fairmount Park 1943 Spring Water."
The Value of Life
I just was reflecting today about how grateful I am to be alive. And during this pandemic I've had time to reflect on what life is about and what the purpose of life is. And how much I value life, and how precious it is to me and how fleeting it can be.
I reflect mostly on my mortality and the mortality of others and it is a glare in all of our lives. We realize how dangerous others can be with their lives. If you don't know the purpose of a thing you'll abuse it, and that's a quote from a pastor that I knew years ago. And I see so many people abusing their lives. I also see there's a tremendous amount of fear, a thread, maybe a cord, not a thread, but a cord a fear that is running through all of this nation and literally the world because of this pandemic.
Before this pandemic we used to think about if there was a death in the family or if we had a funeral to go to of a friend or a co-worker, we thought about those things, we thought about death when we attended those funerals. But when we left we went back to our lives and we didn't think about death that much. However, now with this pandemic we not only hear about it but we see it every single day. And then there are issues with murders, violence ending in death and suicides, sickness ending in death.
So every day I know myself, I think about my mortality as I am sure many others do. Death has never been more present or real in our lives now. I believe that the bizarre and erratic behavior of other people that we see on television, they're acting out of the fear of the unknown because they don't know what's coming. They don't know what's going to be. So, that fear has fueled a lot of bizarre and erratic behavior of the people that I've seen on tv.
Those that are congregating in clusters and not wearing masks and not wearing their gloves and just taking, it appears that they are taking everything in light of the pandemic in I remember very clearly seeing a young man say, “Well if I die, I die.” And I thought about the quote of one of our famous forefathers and one of the things he said was "Give me liberty or give me death.” So, when I hear people say “Well, my liberty is being taken from me because I have to wear a mask and I am an American.” And I thought about that quote, “give me liberty or give me death,” because many may end up in death. But they've chosen liberty. So I see this so much and some have put their heads in the sand and said, “There's nothing going on and I'm going to continue to do as I did before.” But nothing is the same anymore and it never will be. We have to embrace the fact that all the changes we're going through are going to be with us for quite some time and they are going to evolve into something I think perhaps even better especially with the technology. But with the fear of death, with the fear of dying, if we don't know why we're here what the purpose is for our lives, what we need to be doing to help others to strive to not be selfish as we are in this country, and that's my personal opinion, and be arrogant about it. It’s not gonna get us to wholeness, it’s not going to get us to unity. And I have gotten up everyday and been frustrated and I would not sleep because my concern for the people that have gone out and just behaved as if it were 2 years ago. It isn’t; those days are gone.
So we're living, the most important thing is to live in the real, to stay in the moment and understand this is real and we will get through it. but we have to be focused on what can we do to help other people live. So we're living in a very perilous time but what we decide to do, the decisions we make, will make a difference in other lives.
My back and shoulders sink into a relaxed position. The air around me is a soft whispering breeze that brushed the back of my neck, and I melted into a transformed mellow state. My breath exhaled from my lips. Then, I no longer feel the tightness in my chest from holding in my breath from nervousness. The trees are waving their leaves ever so quietly in a wispy dance. I watch them and appreciated their gracefulness. Huge, gliding puffy clouds, pregnant with sunshine and dazzling white light came down to kiss the scene. I said to myself, “I wish I could recreate this magnificent sight on canvas,” because the beauty of the sight was awe-inspiring. The sea was silent and calm; it looked like polished glass. The clouds floated across its surface in slow motion. The sea displayed tricolors of aquamarine, topaz, and lapis. My breath was no longer laboring and the rhythm of my chest almost came to a standstill. My senses gave me permission to be quiet, motionless, and peaceful. Then I whispered to myself, under my breath, “This is where Heaven meets Earth. This is tranquility.”
When I was a young kid, my father always took us to a place called League Island and it was so beautiful. And this is really what I was writing about, what I felt. I must’ve been about 10 years old, but I never forgot that beauty. So I did want to share it with everyone, and the whole purpose was to calm us down.
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And don't forget to maintain contact with the older buds in your life. If you can't be there in person, please call them, email them, or message them on social media. And if they're using teleconferencing or remote events for the first time, give them a call and help them set things up. Check in on them to see how well they're getting used to these programs. Buy them a computer or an internet package if they don't have one of their own. It's a human right, after all.
Curated by Caitlin Cieri