NEW ENGLAND TUSKEGEE AIRMEN 2017 SCHOLARSHIP EVENT – SATURDAY 9/9

Thank you for your interest in attending and supporting the NE Tuskegee Airmen’s 2017 Scholarship Fundraising event!

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African-American military aviators in the United States Armed Forces. They are celebrated today as an inspiration to this country and many young people. To commemorate the achievements of the Tuskegee Airmen, World War II heroes, we developed the New England Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Program to inspire and motivate students to participate in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educational opportunities. The initiative provides scholarships to high school seniors and supports ongoing programs that will promote and encourage STEM careers, especially in aeronautics and aviation. Please consider joining us for this scholarship program and in celebrating the iconic and heroic accomplishments of the Tuskegee Airmen. Our scholarships benefit youths from high schools in the Boston area.

This event will be hosted in partnership with the Collings Foundation at its living history museum of antique airplanes, unique classic cars, and rare historical artifacts. Tour the Foundation grounds! The Collings Foundation is a unique living history private museum. It is a non-profit educational foundation with a focus on the creation of historical events, and the preservation and exhibition of rare historical artifacts.

Please join us for a day featuring:

  • Demonstration flights of an authentic PT-17 Stearman
  • Your opportunity to take a flight in the PT-17 Stearman
  • An Introduction of the 2017 Tuskegee Airmen Scholarship Award winner
  • Tour the many aircraft exhibited
  • Picture yourself in Classic cars such as the 1932 Duesenberg SJ
  • Touch a section of the “Berlin Wall”
  • Enjoy Food, Music, Fun and much more!

For anyone interested in making a donation, the address is:

New England Chapter / Tuskegee Airmen

327 North Road, Sudbury, MA  01776

Email is: Newengland.tai@gmail.com

Ticket registration can be found on the group’s Facebook web page:


https://www.eventbrite.com/e/new-england-tuskegee-airmen-2017-scholarship-event-tickets-35652312025

EVENTBRITE registration is located at:

https://netuskegeeairmen2017Scholarship.eventbrite.com

You can use cash at the entrance to the grounds – $25 adults; and $15 for students and youth.

CRESCENDO! PIANISSIMO! STACCATO!

CRESCENDO!


Well do I remember my days and years of piano lessons. Of arching fingers and the rising crescendo of sound in my baby grand, from the softest touch to the heartiest strike on the keys.

I still have some of the books from way back when I was a child, including all the markings on the books. My piano teacher had her own “system” of indicating exactly how I was to lift my fingers and hands from the keys to get just the right sound.

I had — still have — such small hands. It made playing “big” piano pieces difficult. Impossible, sometimes. I love big music, but mostly, I played a lot of Chopin, Mozart, Bach, and eventually Scott Joplin …

… because that was the music that best suited my abilities. Now that I can’t play, I listen. Hours of Beethoven, symphonies, concertos. Grieg. Mahler. All the grand music.

During the long years when I was playing, I almost forgot how much fun it is to simply listen. I do miss playing … but listening is good for my soul, even if I don’t make the music myself.

GOD MAY WORK IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS OR MAYBE NOT – BY TOM CURLEY

I’ve been watching the coverage of Hurricane Harvey and the unbelievable flooding it is causing. I can’t help but think that God really, REALLY hates Texas. I’m 66 years old and I’ve never seen a hurricane hit land, turn into a tropical storm, go back to sea, hit land again, go back to sea again, and hit land a third time.

The statistics are hard to wrap your head around. As I am writing this, the storm is still going strong and will be for maybe two or three more days. To date, this storm has dropped over 20 TRILLION GALLONS OF WATER ON TEXAS AND LOUISIANA!

Stop now and try to wrap your head around that number.  And it isn’t over yet. There will be more. Estimates are for over 25 TRILLION gallons when this is all over. The weather channel has had to add two more colors to their rain fall charts to adjust to these levels of rain fall.

We need more purple!

The endless scenes of people being rescued reminds me of an old, old joke. There is a great flood and a man who is a devout Christian is trapped on the roof of his house.  The local police come by in a canoe and shout out to him to jump off the roof onto the canoe.

“Jump in the canoe!”

He replies: “No, I am a man of God, and my God will protect me!” The police argue with him for a while but he will not relent. Eventually they give up and move on. They have other people to save.

A few hours later, the water is up to his thighs when the State Police come by in another canoe and they tell him to jump in. Again, he states, “No, I am a man of God, and my God will protect me!” After arguing with him for a while they give up and move on.

Another hour goes by and now the water is up to his waist. A Coast Guard Helicopter arrives over his house and a bullhorn shouts out, “We are lowering a basket. Climb in and you will be saved.

Again, he replies, “No, I am a man of God, and my God will protect me!” So, the helicopter leaves because they have other people to save.

Another hour goes by and the water sweeps the man away and he dies. Suddenly he is in heaven at the feet of God. And he is livid. He is furious. He shouts, “GOD! I was a man of faith! I believed in YOU! HOW COULD YOU HAVE FORSAKEN ME???!”

And God looks down at him for a second and says: “Forsaken you?? What the Hell are you talking about?? I sent you TWO CANOES AND A HELICOPTER!!!”

I’m not the first person to notice that what may turn out to be the worst storm in history is hitting an area where a lot of folks there don’t believe in climate change.

I used to do a stand-up comedy routine (shameless plug):

where I talked about working in the news.

My point was that the news was always the same. Every week, somewhere in the world, there was an earthquake, hurricane, tornado, or flood. And no matter where it happened, we would send a news crew to gather a poor family who had just lost all their worldly belongings, set them up in front of their recently destroyed mobile home and ask them THREE STUPID QUESTIONS.

The first was “How do you feel?”

The answer was never the one you would think …

“How do I feel? I just lost all my worldly belongings. How the hell do you think I feel? How do I feel? I feel great!!! I haven’t had this much fun since my last hemorrhoid operation!

The second was “Will you re-build?”

To this question the answer was always, “Oh yes, this is the third time in ten years we’ve been flooded out. We will rebuild.”

And the reporter would say “But why? You’ve been flooded out three times in ten years?”

And they would say “But this is Paradise! This is God’s country!”

And I would reply, “Don’t you think God is sending you a message??? GET THE FUCK OFF MY PROPERTY!! I’VE FLOODED YOU OUT THREE TIMES IN THE LAST TEN YEARS FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! CAN’T YOU IDIOTS TAKE A FRIGGING HINT???”

I’m telling these jokes because it helps me deal with the horror of what’s going on right now.

What’s happening in Texas now is horrific. Millions of people’s lives are being thrown into unimaginable chaos and despair. Global warming, global climate change is real. The NOAA and the weather channel label these storms as storms of the century, the floods are 100-year floods, 500-year floods. Harvey is being called a 1000-year flood. But it’s not. Hurricane Sandy was a Super Storm that was a 500-year event. And that was FIVE YEARS AGO!

Hurricane Harvey’s flooding is not a 1000-year event. It’s next year’s event. Maybe next month’s. The hurricane season isn’t over yet.


AND NOW — It’s a week later. Irma, the most powerful hurricane to ever be born in the Atlantic, is hustling towards Cuba … and probably, Florida … with 185 mph winds. After that … well … who knows, right? It looks like whatever parts of the U.S. aren’t underwater are on fire. 


Do you think that maybe God is, in fact, sending us a message?

PS: In case you’re curious, what was the Third Stupid Question?

“What did the tornado sound like?” And you all know the answer.“ It sounded just like a freight train going right through our living room.”

That’s a whole other blog.

WRONG OFFICE

I woke up this morning to the roll of thunder. Not one of those loud bangs that means it has struck nearby … or worse, struck the house. We have been hit by lightning three times to date, so I’m good with rolling thunder. It’s the violent crack the means we’ve been hit I worry about.

The dogs, on the other hand, are unhappy about any kind of thunder. Rolling or on target. They are also happier without rain. Something about the falling wet stuff puts their big black noses completely out of joint. Mind you, they are fine with cold, heat, and snow. Just not rain.

I needed to get the dogs out the door … and they weren’t going. I got one out, the next one came in. They ran in three directions at the same time and Duke went into a frenzy of fence leaping for no reason I could determine. And then, the clouds opened up and it really started to rain. Very hard.

We had a vet appointment for Duke that same afternoon. He needs a new rabies shot. I’m beginning to think tranquilizers wouldn’t be a bad choice either. I called the vet and agreed I’d call back at around 1:30 if the weather was still dicey.

The sun came out for about two minutes then promptly disappeared again leaving it as close to dark as it ever gets during the day. Another rumble of thunder. I called the number. I explained in detail why we could not make it today. The final point was that the only way we would get Duke into the car would be for Garry to carry and hoist him in — and Garry was not up to the lifting. So I asked for a new appointment.

“I think,” she said, “that you were trying to call your veterinarian.”

“This isn’t the vet?”

“No,” she said. “This is your doctor’s office.”

“Oh.” I thought about that for a minute. “It was nice of you to listen to the whole story.”

“No problem,” she said. “But you probably should call your vet.”

I called the vet. I double checked just to make sure it really was the vet this time. I made an appointment for next week. Same time. Same vet. Same place. Same dog.

I really appreciate that the manager at the doctor’s office listened to the entire spiel before suggesting I call the vet. It made my spiel to the vet much more efficient. Practice makes perfect.

MY GRANDMOTHER – THE EARLY YEARS – BY ELLIN CURLEY

My Grandmother, Sarah, grew up in Minsk, Russia. Her father was one of the very few Jews there who were allowed to do business with the Russian Gentiles. Therefore he was relatively well off. Grandma remembers her mother taking baths in milk. Her mother was an aloof, Grande Dame and was treated like a queen by her family.

In order to stay in the good graces of the Christian Russians he dealt with, her father adopted their pro-Czarist beliefs. My grandmother, from early on, was an active socialist and anti-Czarist. She often clashed with her father over politics. The tension with her dad came to a head when Grandma took her mother and sister to a socialist rally with her. The rally was a set-up and was raided by the Czar’s troops. The troops crashed through the crowd killing and beating as many people as they could. Grandma was saved by a dead body falling on her and hiding her from the troops.

Grandma and her family in Russia. She is the little girl in the front between her parents

Grandma and her family made it home safely. But her father was livid that Grandma had exposed his beloved wife and favorite daughter (grandma’s sister) to such danger. It was decided that Grandma should move to America, and take her younger brother, Abe, with her.

Grandma and Abe had first class tickets on the ship to America. But Abe lost the tickets and last minute steerage tickets had to be procured. Grandma was not happy with her hapless brother. When they arrived in New York City, they were taken in by relatives who lived in the tenements of the Lower East Side, the Jewish section of the city. They were penniless.

To earn money, Grandma worked in a sweatshop, similar to and down the street from the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory. That factory caught fire in 1911 and trapped and killed 146 garment workers, mostly young, immigrant women. It was the worst industrial disaster in city history. So many lives were lost because doors had been locked and exits blocked to keep workers from taking unauthorized breaks or stealing. The tragedy spurred the passage of safety laws for factories. It also spurred the birth of the labor movement and the creation of the International Ladies Garment Workers’ Union.

Sarah and her brother Abe

Grandma knew some of the girls who were killed in the fire. She became active in the pro-union movement. In later years, she would take my mother, even as a child, to union rallies and to speeches by socialist and union leaders.

Grandma met a first cousin of hers, named Abe, who had also recently immigrated from Russia. They were actually half first cousins because Grandma and Abe’s mothers shared a father but had different mothers. They married after a short courtship.

After my mom was born, Grandma took in sewing to make extra money until Grandpa could earn enough money to support the family. When my mom was still a young child, my grandfather, a hypochondriac, spent all the family money on fake cures and treatments. He also went to stay in special treatment “spas”, for long periods. During this time, Grandma took in boarders as well as sewing to make ends meet.

At one point she fell in love with a wonderful, socialist teacher who was boarding with her. But she refused to leave grandpa to go with this man. Her marriage to grandpa was adversarial and volatile. They had no interests in common and one was a socialist and the other was a Republican. Not a good relationship. But divorce was not acceptable in those days so grandma stayed.

When all their money ran out, Grandma and Mom had to move in with relatives. They had to go from one relative to another, sharing beds with different family members until Grandpa came back and started to make money again.

Grandma and Grandpa with my mom when she was about two

From that point on, Grandma was financially comfortable but never happy in her marriage. She was a devoted mother and grandmother. Her parents immigrated to America and settled in Stamford, CT. Her father became a respected rabbi and teacher there. Grandma was a devoted daughter as well till her parents’ deaths.

Grandma was also active in pro-Israel organizations and was a founder of the Women’s League For Israel. She was also on the board of many other Jewish charitable organizations.

Grandma was a huge influence in my life. She encouraged me to fight for justice, freedom and equality whenever and however I could. She never lost her passion for liberal causes and passed that on to me. Thank you, Grandma!