Archives For Gettysburg

Celebrity Interview

February 28, 2014 — 2 Comments

Hey, everybody! Just because it’s Friday, and just because everybody’s worn slick by Winter 2013-14 (and there’s more wintry weather in the forecast), and just because we like you guys…

Today’s post is a Celebrity Interview!

But who?

One of the royals, perhaps?

kate middleton

A star of stage or screen?

tom hanksanne hathaway

An outstanding professional athlete?

lebron james

Or maybe someone off the Billboard charts?

buble

Nope. None of the above.

We were fortunate enough to engage someone much more relevant to you, the faithful readership of Zero to Sixty in Five!

Today’s Celebrity Interview is with that Star of the PTA Stage, the Queen of Loveliness, the Slam Dunk Winner of the Oatmeal Brigade, and the “author” of the Author!

None other than…

[drum roll…]

Mary Anne!

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When we contacted the mother of Zero to Sixty’s Blogsmith in Residence regarding an interview, she graciously agreed to answer our questions. She wasn’t sure she’d remember all that much, but would give it her best shot. Any concern that she wouldn’t remember enough to provide a good interview was unfounded: she waxed eloquent on topics across a spectrum.

So, without further ado…

ZTSIF: It must have been a challenge to get a family of seven off to work and school. What was your typical morning routine?

Mary Anne: Well, you get up — when you don’t want to. (Laughs). I’ve never been a “it’s-fun-to-get-up” kind of person. But once my feet hit the floor, I was awake. I’m just glad I had kids before snooze buttons on alarm clocks!

Then I probably headed downstairs to make coffee and — this was before microwaves — get some water on the stove for a pot of oatmeal. Then I would begin waking kids. Some were easy to wake up, some weren’t. I remember you as being easy to wake, right?

ZTSIF: I think so. Until high school.

Mary Anne: The kids didn’t eat breakfast all at the same time because time in the bathroom was staggered. I can’t remember what I fixed on school days other than oatmeal. If I had eggs, I usually scrambled them. And toast. I served biscuits mostly at dinner. You know, the big deal was eating dinner together.

ZTSIF: How did you learn about school cancellations on snow days?

Mary Anne: I don’t really remember. Did we have any snow days? Do you remember any?

ZTSIF: No, not really.

Mary Anne: I’m not sure they cancelled school very often because of snow. You know, people didn’t just walk into their attached garages and get in a car and never have to walk in the snow. Everyone had galoshes and you were expected to get out in it and walk. But I’m thinking there must have been some snow days. We probably listened to the radio for cancellations.

ZTSIF: October 2013’s post “Crime and Punishment” makes a reference to the popular child rearing guide, Dr. Benjamin Spock’s “Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care”. What was your reaction to Dr. Spock’s advice? Did your pediatrician recommend the book?

Mary Anne: No, our doctor didn’t recommend it. I don’t think I ever read the whole book, probably only excerpts in magazines. But I didn’t like it. He didn’t believe in disciplining children, and I always believed children should be disciplined.

I always enjoyed being a mommy. There were just so many things to do with children. You could study dinosaurs together (even though I didn’t really like dinosaurs all that much) to help your child do well on a school project. Or you could turn an orange crate on its end and find enough empty food containers to set up a little grocery store. Or you could sit everyone around the table and give each of them a needle with a different color thread and have them sew “X”es on the toes of their socks so they could be sorted easily when the laundry was done. There was always something to do together. Remember the winter party decorations when we put the pipe cleaner figurines on top of the little mirror “lake” and sprinkled fake snow all around it on the table?

Years later, when I was working outside the home, it would always make me feel sad when I heard women come in to work and say, “I’m so glad it’s Monday so I can get away from the kids for a while.”

ZTSIF: Do you remember the incident with the Brach’s candy display and making a certain young shoplifter go back into the store and return the candies?

Mary Anne: Vaguely. I knew that it needed to be a lesson. I’m glad you learned from it. That’s not anything you want to fool around with.

ZTSIF: The post “The Porch, Then and Now” (October 2013) describes the front porch on your home in Indianapolis. Talk to us about front porches.

Mary Anne: Before air conditioning, people sat on their front porches. If you had a spare moment, you headed for the porch. You got to know your neighbors, you said hello to people who passed by — it was just friendlier.

It was air conditioning that made the difference — everybody went inside. People started using decks — more for picnics and parties, maybe. I think people probably did more relaxing on porches than they do now on decks.

ZTSIF: Tell us about the accident to the porch.

Mary Anne: Two young guys — high school age — completely lost control of their car and ran it right up into the yard and into the corner of the brick porch. Your dad and brothers were gone — together, I think. It was a spring or summer mid-afternoon and you had just been outside playing about a half hour earlier. You could have really been hurt, and I was maybe rattled for a couple of days, but not too long. Life goes on. Fear didn’t grip people like it does today.

ZTSIF: Zero to Sixty in Five has portrayed you as someone who loved dressing nicely and accessorizing. Do you remember the orange corduroy dress mentioned in “The Queen and the Groupie” (September 2013)?

Mary Anne: Yes. I liked it. I can’t remember where I got it — your dad might have bought it for me. I always felt sharp in it. Which is funny, because I don’t really like orange. Which makes me think your dad probably did get it. A few years later I went to apply for a job, and I wore it. For some reason a photo was taken, either before I got the job or after, and I’m wearing that dress in it. I could probably find that picture.

Your dad also bought me a black and white plaid taffeta hostess gown. It was really meant for a woman entertaining in finer surroundings than we had, but he always enjoyed me looking good. Even when I was in my 70’s, he’d look at catalogs and pick out pretty things for me. He really enjoyed doing it.

ZTSIF: What were your thoughts while washing, combing, curling, or braiding your daughter’s hair?

Mary Anne: I know the reasons I did it: I wanted you to look cute; plus you were an extension of me, and our family, and I wanted you to look nice. But what I was thinking about while I was doing it? (Laughs.) Probably what I was going to do next! Or wondering what your younger sister might be getting into while we were doing that! There was always a lot going on in a house with that many kids.

ZTSIF: Well, it’s been a delightful interview. The management and staff at Zero to Sixty in Five thanks you for your willingness to share your reminiscences with our readership and we wish you a very pleasant evening.

(G’night, Mom!)

Four score and seven years ago

September 25, 2013 — 1 Comment

We only took one big vacation when I was young; it was during the summer I was five years old. All five of us piled into the family car and headed toward the East Coast from Indianapolis. We drove through the Smoky Mountains, stopped in Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Appamatox, Virginia, toured Washington, D.C., and swam in the Atlantic. I recall having a wonderful time burying myself in the sand at the beach; I was impressed by how many stairs we climbed in the Washington Monument; and I was transfixed by the glassblowers at Jamestown. But the most profound moment of the entire trip happened in Pennsylvania.

My dad had always been a civil war buff and was well-read on the subject. He made sure our itinerary included a stop at Gettysburg National Military Park. I don’t remember whether it was on our way to the coast or the way back, and I have only a vague recollection of seeing the wonderful diorama in the visitors center. The part of the visit that is etched in my memory was on the battlefield itself.

My brothers and I, being kids, were scampering around and climbing on a cannon situated on Cemetery Ridge, the position from which the Union Army defended against Pickett’s Charge on July 3, 1863, the final day of the battle. I must have called out for my dad to “Watch this!” or otherwise engage in our frolicking. When I got no response, I looked over at him and saw an expression on his face I’d never seen before. His far away gaze was very unusual and his sober demeanor puzzling. I looked to my mom to get a bead on what was going on.

“Your dad’s thinking about what happened here a long time ago. Many soldiers died in a battle that happened right where we’re standing,” she related in hushed tones.

I wasn’t at all sure what the implications of all that might be. But, since children are keen observers and little chameleons, I matched my mood and behavior to the “big people,” who seemed very thoughtful and sort of sad. I immediately stopped horsing around and got quiet. I walked over and stood beside my dad, remaining very still. He put his hand on my shoulder and after a long silence, said softly, “This place is very important, honey. I want to honor those who fought and died here. When you grow up, remember this place.” (In retrospect, I realize he was viewing the site and meditating from a veteran’s perspective; he had fought in WWII.)

I stood beside him a while longer without a clue as to how a little kid like me could honor the fallen. I strained to imagine soldiers on the field that lay before my eyes, but couldn’t. And after a spell, I became mildly frustrated with my inability to “get it,” so I went to the car. In a little while, my parents joined us, and we drove off to make the next stop on our big trip.

Years later, as an adult, I would lobby my husband to make our first big vacation a trip to the East Coast. He agreed, and we headed out to see many of the same points I’d seen nearly twenty years earlier. This time, I would get a whole lot more out of the Smithsonian museums, and I would appreciate the historical significance of Appamatox, Williamsburg and Jamestown. But when we got to Gettysburg, it was a whole other story. I studied the battle in advance in order to more fully appreciate what we would see. The diorama at the visitors center absolutely sprang to life. But it was the driving tour of the battlefield that was most powerful.

When we got to Cemetery Ridge, we parked the car and walked over to read a placard next to a cannon. As I stood there, I thought about my dad. I suspect I experienced many of the feelings he had. There’s something rather sacrosanct about so many people — on both sides of the divide — being willing to shed their blood for principles, ideals, and causes they held dear. In the silence, Abraham Lincoln’s venerated address rang loudly in my ears. Every beautiful word. (Audio link, recited by Sam Waterston.)

Four score and seven years ago

our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation,

conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation

so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.

We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place

for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live.

It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground.

The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract.

The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here,

but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work

which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced.

It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us

—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion

to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion

—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain

—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom

—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

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