Maya Angelou-A Legend Is Gone

 

Maya Angelou: Poet, novelist and actress

(CNN) — A literary voice revered globally for her poetic command and her commitment to civil rights has fallen silent.

Maya Angelou died at her home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on Wednesday, said her literary agent, Helen Brann.

The 86-year-old was a novelist, actress, professor, singer, dancer and activist. In 2010, President Barack Obama named her the recipient of the Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.

One of Angelou’s most praised books was “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.”The memoir bore witness to the brutality of a Jim Crow South, portraying racism in stark language. Readers learned of the life of Marguerite Ann Johnson (Angelou’s birth name) up to the age of 16: how she was abandoned by her parents and raped by her mother’s boyfriend. She was homeless and became a teen mother.

Its publication was both daring and historic given the era of its debut in 1969.

“All of the writers of my generation must honor the ground broken by Dr. Maya Angelou,” author Tayari Jones posted on her Facebook page Wednesday.

“She told a story that wasn’t allowed to be told,” Jones said. “Now, people tell all sorts of things in memoir, but when she told the truth, she challenged a taboo — not for shock value, but to heal us all.”

Black American novelist Julian Mayfield is said to have described the autobiography as “a work of art which eludes description.”

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was an international bestseller and nominated for a National Book Award in 1970. In six other autobiographical books she subsequently penned, Angelou revealed myriad interests and occupations of her life.

From being a drop-out to Dr. Angelou

Angelou spent her early years studying dance and drama in San Francisco but dropped out of school at age 14.

When she was 16, Angelou became San Francisco’s first female streetcar driver.

Angelou later returned to high school to get her diploma. She gave birth a few weeks after graduation. While the 17-year-old single mother waited tables to support her son, she developed a passion for music and dance, and toured Europe in the mid-1950s in the opera production “Porgy and Bess.”

In 1957, she recorded her first album, “Miss Calypso.”

In 1958, Angelou become a part of the Harlem Writers Guild in New York and played a queen in “The Blacks,” an off-Broadway production by French dramatist Jean Genet.

“I created myself,” Angelou once said. “I have taught myself so much.”

Affectionately referred to as Dr. Angelou, the professor never went to college. She has more than 30 honorary degrees and taught American studies for years at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem.

“Maya Angelou has been a towering figure — at Wake Forest and in American culture. She had a profound influence in civil rights and racial reconciliation,” Wake Forest University President Nathan O. Hatch said Wednesday. “We will miss profoundly her lyrical voice and always keen insights.”

Angelou spoke at least six languages and worked as a newspaper editor in Egypt and Ghana. It was during that time that she wrote “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” the first in a series of autobiographical books.

“I want to write so well that a person is 30 or 40 pages in a book of mine … before she realizes she’s reading,” Angelou said.

Poetry after childhood tragedy

Angelou was born April 4, 1928, in St. Louis. She grew up between St. Louis and the then-racially segregated town of Stamps, Arkansas.

The famous poet got into writing after a childhood tragedy that stunned her into silence for years. When she was 7, her mother’s boyfriend raped her. He was beaten to death by a mob after she testified against him.

“My 7-and-a-half-year-old logic deduced that my voice had killed him, so I stopped speaking for almost six years,” she said.

From the silence, a louder voice was born.

In her poem “Caged Bird,” Angelou wrote: “A free bird leaps/on the back of the wind/and floats downstream/till the current ends/and dips his wing/in the orange sun rays/and dares to claim the sky.

But a bird that stalks/down his narrow cage/can seldom see through/his bars of rage/his wings are clipped/and his feet are tied/so he opens his throat to sing.”

Surrounded by greats

Angelou’s list of friends is as impressive as her illustrious career. Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey referred to her as “sister friend.” She counted Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr., with whom she worked during the civil rights movement, among her friends. King was assassinated on her birthday.

In an interview with CNN in January 2009, just days before President Obama was inaugurated for his first term, she gave her thoughts about the United States’ election of its first black president.

“It was as if someone in the outer sphere said, ‘What can we do to really show how important Martin Luther King was?'”

Seeing Obama about to take office made her feel proud, she said.

“I’m excited. I’m hopeful. I’m talking all the time to people, and sometimes I’ve really said it so many times I wonder if I’m coming off like a piece of tape recording, but I’m very proud to be an American.

“In 30 or 40 years, (the election) will not be considered so incredibly important. … There will be other people in those next three or four decades who will run for the presidency — some women, some native American, some Spanish-speaking, some Asian. We’re about to grow up in this country.”

Obama remembered Angelou on Wednesday, saying she was “one of the brightest lights of our time — a brilliant writer, a fierce friend, and a truly phenomenal woman.”

He noted that she expressed her talents in many ways, but “above all, she was a storyteller” and “her greatest stories were true.”

The president said that his own mother was so inspired by Angelou that she named his sister Maya.

‘A long journey’

In CNN’s 2009 interview, Angelou spoke in the way that she came to be famous for, each sentence a crescendo of emotion, a call to everyone to act and to be better.

“Our country needs us all right now to stand up and be counted. We need to try to be great citizens. We are necessary in this country, and we need to give something — that is to say, go to a local hospital, go to the children’s ward and offer to the nurse in charge an hour twice a month that you can give them reading children’s stories or poetry,” she said. “And go to an old folks’ home and read the newspaper to somebody. Go to your church or your synagogue or your mosque, and say, ‘I’d like to be of service. I have one hour twice a month.’

“You’ll be surprised at how much better you will feel,” she said. “And good done anywhere is good done everywhere.”

Here is a piece that she wrote that I love:

I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life. I’ve learned that making a “living” is not the same thing as making a “life.” I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

 

Cokie Roberts and Founding Mothers

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We were lucky enough to have Cokie Roberts speak to us in Concord tonight about the role of women in the Revolutionary War. At the Concord Museum we currently have an exhibit entitled “The Shot Heard Round the World:April 19,1775″” so this tied into the exhibit perfectly. She was both humorous and extremely interesting as she led us through her investigation of the role women played behind the scenes. Cokie is the author of several books on this topic-“Founding Mothers-The Women Who Raised Our Nation” which looks at the patriotic and passionate women whose tireless pursuits on behalf of their families-and their country-proved just as crucial to the forging of the new nation as the rebellion that established it. “We Are Our Mother’s Daughters” examines the nature of woman’s roles throughout history as well.

Cokie Roberts is a very familiar voice to anyone who’s listened to NPR over the past three and a half decades. She worked as NPR’s congressional correspondent for ten years before she moved into TV and became co-anchor with Sam Donaldson of  ABC’s “This Week”.

Currently she is a political commentator for NPR’s Morning Edition and ABC News. In addition, in her latest book that is for children and came out earlier this year, Cokie examines how the wives, mothers and sisters of America’s founding fathers helped forge the nation.

It tells the story of some of America’s first first ladies, including Martha Washington, Abigail Adams and Dolly Madison, as well as patriots like Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a man and fought in the revolution. This children’s book is based on Founding Mothers based  but this is an illustrated children’s version. It’s called “Founding Mothers: Remembering the Ladies.”

-excerpts from Radio Boston

 

Play Ball!

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Yesterday a good friend(who is from Boston so most photos are Red Sox related!) went to the Baseball Exhibit at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley,CA and reported it was quite amazing. A treasure trove of the most rare baseball memorabilia, all one person’s personal collection. (Anonymous). There are a few different hand quilted wall hangings/bedspreads that are incredible… one of the pictures shown above has hundreds of “autographed baseballs”; the woman sent the cloth to all of the players for their signatures and then she embroidered over them in very fine thread. She hand appliquéd the portraits as well. I can’t begin to imagine how long it took!

One piece of trivia learned: in order to sign 19 year old George Ruth to his first contract, in Baltimore, the team manager had to adopt him. The other players starting referring to him as the manager’s “new babe”….hence the name!

The exhibit  opened on April 4th and will close on September 4th,2014.

The Great American House

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The book “The Great American House” by Gil Schafer III is quickly becoming our “bible” for building a new house. Gil makes houses look and feel like they have always been there and that is exactly what we are  all looking for building this house in Concord.

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Here is an article that was in Architectural Digest in June 2012 about the above house that really rang true for us.

If every house tells a story, then every architect is the author who sets the plot in motion. For a 400-acre working farm in New York’s bucolic Dutchess County, Gil Schafer has written a particularly captivating tale using a vocabulary of rugged fieldstone, painted clapboard, and weathered cedar shingles. Commissioned by a Manhattan couple with three children, all avid equestrians, the residence is an amalgam of styles that embodies a picturesque historical narrative. “My goal was to avoid a new-looking building in a bald field,” says Schafer, who is based in New York City. “Instead I tried to establish an organic sense of place, grown over time, by inventing a certain architectural mythology.”

The structure’s L shape unfolds sequentially, as if cobbled together by generations of prosperous owners. At one end of the building is a section that appears to date from the 18th century, calling to mind a once-freestanding granite farmhouse sprouting three modest dormers. Attached to this is a two-and-a-half-story Federal-style block graced with an expansive Greek Revival veranda—imagined evidence of an 1840s renovation—that takes a portion of the farmhouse into its embrace. Bookending the Federal-style segment is a small stone wing, which links to an elegant windowed passage (actually a glorified mudroom) that is connected, at a right angle, to a drive-through carriage barn clad in white clapboard. Of his inspired meldings Schafer observes, “It’s not quite higgledy-piggledy, but feels as if the carriage barn was added a century or so after the farmhouse was built.”

It is his imagination, grounded by a sensitivity to practical concerns, that has kept the clients, both financiers, in his thrall. “Gil balances aesthetics and functionality beautifully,” says the husband, who has enjoyed four Schafer-designed residences over the past seven years. “Working with him is an effortless continuum.”

After accepting this fifth project from his patrons, the architect considered siting the new dwelling in a variety of locations on the property, including some on hilltops and lowlands. The couple, however, was keen to make an existing pond the focal point, so Schafer opted for a plateau overlooking the water. Today a half-mile drive leads the way from a nondescript country road to the finished house, the pastoral approach rising sharply through a sun-dappled woodland and then opening onto a clearing with black-stained fences stretching in all directions. Winding past cornfields, a paddock, a barn, and that sparkling pond, the road finally reaches its destination: a 12,000-square-foot, six-bedroom manor set behind a gravel courtyard ringed by low stone walls and punctuated at its corners by a quartet of sycamore trees. (Garden designer Deborah Nevins, who frequently works with Schafer, developed the landscape plan.) A parterre with boxwood clipped into cloudlike mounds signals the main entrance; opposite the parterre, on the other side of the courtyard and facing the house, is an apple orchard. Nearby are a fenced cutting garden and a vegetable patch that spreads across a third of an acre. “We now grow 50 varieties of heirloom tomatoes and other organic produce,” the husband says, adding that Schafer is overseeing the development of a four-acre plantation of oak and hazelnut trees on the farm, for the cultivation of Burgundian truffles.

The house’s internal details are a tribute to Schafer’s neotraditionalist credo, each room and corridor contributing to a unifying sense of warmth and elegance, but with evocative twists. Stately enfilades, for instance, provide organized sight lines that belie the rambling façade. Solid-brass hardware, purposely left free of lacquer so the metal will develop a mottled patina, was used on all windows and doors, and even the woodwork was designed to appear venerable. “We sourced several 1820s Federal mantelpieces for the principal rooms,” the architect explains. “These determined the molding program.”

Entrusted with the decoration of the interiors, too, Schafer spiced the comfortable gentleman-farmer schemes with notes of worldly sophistication. In the formal dining room, sepia-tone scenic wallpaper portraying views of Moghul India makes an exotic backdrop for a gleaming Regency table. The quietly refined living room, accented by Gustavian chairs and jewel-hued fabrics, gets an unexpected jolt thanks to a large Walton Ford mixed-media work depicting a cassowary attacking an emu; the piece hangs above a sofa, precisely where an equestrian painting or a bosky landscape would customarily hold court. That outsize work of art might seem off-kilter to some visitors—especially in a space that otherwise exhibits all the attributes of traditional gracious country living—but in Schafer’s opinion, its curious subject lends just the right touch of personality. “I like a vernacular that feels slightly monkeyed with,” the architect asserts. “True authenticity is a lack of perfection.”

 

Getting Stoned??!

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THAT got your attention!

Back to the building of the house in Concord. One of the things that the client really wanted to think about was using stone on the house-especially the front elevation. We had seen a house that we loved done by architect Gil Schafer III in NY State. What became very clear as we googled,researched and discovered was that stone is not prevalent in Massachusetts. You see beautiful stone houses in Pennnsylvania,New York ,New Jersey and even some in Connecticut but definitely NOT in Massachusetts.Ironically, there IS one stone house here in Concord right on Lexington Road (pictured above) .It was built by Cyrus Pierce in 1850 but I am not certain how it came to be made of stone.

On a google search this is what came up in Massachusetts:

Stone’s Public House in Ashland(the fact that  it is called “The Stone House” might make you realize that it is rare!),Stone House Properties(Real Estate),Nason’s Stone House Farm Store in West Boxford(famous for “awesome chicken pies!”) and that is about it. There were a few new houses but they really looked new and that is not what we want. There were definitely no federal style farmhouses, and that is the way we are all leaning.

 

Beatrix Potter

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If you ever wondered how Beatrix Potter got the inspiration to draw such incredibly adorable animals in such beautiful, charming settings you need only go to the village Near Sawrey in the Lake District where she lived in a house called Hill Top Farm .

Born into a wealthy Unitarian family, Potter, along with her younger brother Walter Bertram (1872–1918), grew up with few friends outside her large extended family. Her parents were artistic, interested in nature and enjoyed the countryside. As children, Beatrix and Bertram had numerous small animals as pets which they observed closely and drew endlessly. Summer holidays were spent away from London, in Scotland and in the English Lake District where Beatrix developed a love of the natural world which was the subject of her painting from an early age.

She was educated by private governesses until she was 18. Her study of languages, literature, science and history was broad and she was an eager student. Her artistic talents were recognized early. She enjoyed private art lessons, and developed her own style, favouring watercolor. Along with her drawings of her animals, real and imagined, she illustrated insects, fossils, archaeological artefacts, and fungi. In the 1890s her mycological illustrations and research into the reproduction of fungus spores generated interest from the scientific establishment. Following some success illustrating cards and booklets, Potter wrote and illustrated The Tale of Peter Rabbit, publishing it first privately in 1901, and a year later as a small, three-colour illustrated book with Frederick Warne & Company.
With the proceeds from the books and a legacy from an aunt, Potter bought Hill Top Farm in Near Sawrey, a tiny village in the English Lake District near Windermere, in 1905. Over the following decades, she purchased additional farms to preserve the unique hill country landscape.

Potter published over 23 books: the best known are those written between 1902 and 1922. She died of pneumonia/heart disease on 22 December 1943 at her home in Near Sawrey at age 77, leaving almost all her property to the National Trust. She is credited with preserving much of the land that now comprises the Lake District National Park.

Great Advice!

I don’t usually blog/copy things like this but this one really touched me and seemed like great,sound advice from someone who has lived long enough to really understand life and all it has to offer-good and bad. Especially for a new year, it is good food for thought.
Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old, of the Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio .

“To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written.

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short – enjoy it.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but don’t worry, God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19.. It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’

27. Always choose life.

28. Forgive

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative of dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you need

42. The best is yet to come…

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.”

Concord Museum-Family Trees 2013

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We had a lot of fun making our snowman ornaments for our tree at the Concord Museum‘s Family Trees exhibit-5 of us did the book “Snowmen at Work” by  Caralyn and Mark Buehner. If you are in the area come visit! More information below:

Family Trees: A Celebration of
Children
s Literature 

November 27, 2013 – January 1, 2014

A love of books and reading is a lifelong treasure passed from adult to child, from generation to generation. Family Trees: A Celebration of Children’s Literature at the Concord Museum in historic Concord, Massachusetts gives Concord’s renowned literary tradition a creative twist.  During the holiday season, the Museum’s galleries are filled with 38 fanciful trees of all shapes and sizes, decorated with original ornaments inspired by acclaimed children’s storybooks and contemporary picture book favorites.

The exhibition’s focus on children’s literature makes Family Trees unique among the many holiday events in Greater Boston. Each tree serves as a canvas for the artistic creations of a dedicated team of volunteer decorators. Inspired by the storyline, the illustrations, the characters or setting of a particular book, the decorators let their imaginations take flight, much to the delight of visitors of all ages from all over New England.

Click here for the 2013 Family Trees booklist (PDF). All of the books featured in this year’s Family Trees can be purchased at the Museum Shop!

Proceeds from Family Trees, organized by the Museum’s Guild of Volunteers, benefit the Concord Museum’s education initiatives.

During this benefit event, admission is $15 adults, $10 seniors, $6 children (4–18); children under 4 and Members Free. Family Trees admission includes all of the Museum galleries and special exhibitions.

Using Music As A Teaching Tool For Kids

This is an article about my brother!! :

Using Music as a Teaching Tool for Kids“There may be no more powerful method of learning than through music, and no more important lessons for children than those that focus on character and social and emotional skills,” according to clinical psychologist and author Don MacMannis, Ph.D.

MacMannis is the clinical director of the Family Therapy Institute of Santa Barbara and a music director and songwriter for the PBS hit animated children’s series “Jay Jay the Jet Plane.”

He’s developed over 40 songs in a variety of genres that help kids with everything from being assertive to managing their feelings to respecting others to understanding responsibility. Both kids and adults provide the vocals, and lyrics are packed with positive, empowering messages.

 

For instance, the song “Go Away Bad Thoughts,” written in a country-western style, teaches kids that they don’t have to believe their negative thoughts. Here’s an excerpt:

So I walked outside to see if I could hide from my bad thoughts,

Then everything I tried, including when I cried, left me bad thoughts.

‘Cause all I was thinking was “poor poor me.”

Everything’s bad ’til there’s more for me.

He got all the luck, and here I am stuck with my bad thoughts, bad thoughts.

 

No need to get riled up instead of havin’ fun, and no need to dial up 911.

If you want to get those thoughts to end, yell out twice then yell it again…

 

Go away bad thoughts, go away bad thoughts,

Go away bad thoughts, go away.

 

Go away bad thoughts, get outta my head.

I want to have a good day instead.

So scram, get out, be gone, vamoose.

I’m takin’ over and I’m cookin’ your goose!

Research has found that these songs and accompanying activities have a positive effect on kids’ school performance, social relationships and conflict resolution.

Specifically, the study involved 320 first- and second-grade students from 16 classrooms in Santa Barbara and Goleta, Calif. schools. Kids were given a CD, and then received nine lessons using songs and activities from trained college students. The themes were:

  1. Friendship and Reaching Out
  2. Respect and Caring
  3. Celebrating Differences
  4. Expressing and Managing Feelings
  5. Communication and Conflict
  6. Positive Thinking
  7. Dealing with Fears
  8. Best Effort
  9. Manners and Review

To test the intervention’s efficacy, teachers completed the Behavioral and Emotional Screening System (BESS) for each child four times in one year along with other assessments about the classroom. The college students who taught the lessons, the school’s principal and the children’s parents all provided feedback as well.

Both first and second graders showed a variety of improvements, including “approaching peers, using effective tools with teasing and bullying, understanding and using the Golden Rule, resolving conflicts by talking out feelings, staying on task [and] having a positive attitude,” according to MacMannis. Second graders also “showed improvements with concentration and self-control.”

Music is a valuable teaching tool. It makes complex concepts more accessible and enjoyable. It facilitates language learning. Upbeat or uplifting music also may enhance cognitive abilities.

Music appears to light up various regions of the brain related to language, hearing and motor control, MacMannis said. When listening to songs we tend to compare new images with past memories, which involves the association cortex, he said. “And elements of musical surprise activate the cerebellum.”

Music also is highly pleasurable and sustains our attention. This is especially interesting because music has no biological value and shares no similarities with other pleasurable stimuli.

As authors of this study point out, “…there are no direct functional similarities between music and other pleasure-producing stimuli: it has no clearly established biological value (cf., food, love, and sex), no tangible basis (cf., pharmacological drugs and monetary rewards), and no known addictive properties (cf., gambling and nicotine). Despite this, music is consistently ranked amongst the top ten things that individuals find highly pleasurable, and it plays a ubiquitous and important role in most people’s lives.”

“Pleasurable experiences with songs involve brain circuitry associated with pleasure, reward, and emotion, such as the ventral striatum, midbrain, amygdala, orbitofrontal cortex, and ventral medial prefrontal cortex,” MacMannis said.

Music is a great way to engage your kids in powerful lessons, such as teaching them social and emotional skills. As a recent meta-anaylsis found, these skills help boost academic performance; improve problem-solving and decision-making; and reduce conduct problems and emotional distress.

Of course, these skills are pretty important for adulthood, too.

Further Reading

This excerpt features additional information on how music enhances learning.

Learn more about MacMannis’s powerful music for kids at hiswebsite. Sign up, and receive free learning activities and a free song every month. Also, check out his parenting blog on Psych Central, which is co-written with his wife Debra Manchester MacMannis, MSW, a psychotherapist and co-author of their book How’s Your Family Really Doing?

 

The History of Golf

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I am having so much fun learning how to play golf. I started taking lessons last year with a good friend and we have been really “at it” this summer as well. We are constantly amazed at all of the rules, etiquette and in general how to hit the ball where you want it to go!

I wanted to know some of the history and this is what I found:

The modern game of golf is generally considered to be a Scottish invention. A spokesman for the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, one of the oldest Scottish golf organisations, said “Stick and ball games have been around for many centuries, but golf as we know it today, played over 18 holes, clearly originated in Scotland.”The word golf, or in Scots gouf, is usually thought to be a Scots alteration of  Dutch”colf” or “colve” meaning “stick, “club“, “bat“, itself related to  *kulth- as found in Old Norse kolfr meaning “bell clapper”, and the German Kolben meaning “mace or club”.The Dutch term Kolven refers to a related sport.

The first documented mention of golf in Scotland appears in a 1457 Act of the Scottish Parliament, an edict issued by King James II of Scotland prohibiting the playing of the games of gowf and football as these were a distraction from archery practice for military purposes. Bans were again imposed in Acts of 1471 and 1491, with golf being described as “an unprofitable sport”. Mary,Queen of Scots was accused by her political enemies of playing golf after her second husband was murdered in 1567. It has been written that she had been playing “sports that were clearly unsuitable to women”. Golf was banned again by Parliament under King James IV of Scotland, but golf clubs and balls were bought for him in 1502 when he was visiting Perth, and on subsequent occasions when he was in St Andrews and Edinburgh.

The account book of  a lawyer  records that he played golf at Musselburgh Links on 2 March 1672, and this has been accepted as proving that The Old Links, Musselburgh, is the oldest playing golf course in the world. There is also a story that Mary, Queen of Scots, played there in 1567.

In April 2005, new evidence re-invigorated the debate concerning the origins of golf. Evidence unearthed by Prof. Ling Hongling of Lanzhou University suggests that a game similar to modern-day golf was played in China since Southern Dang Dynasty, 500 years before golf was first mentioned in Scotland.In this source, Dōngxuān Records  from the Song Dynasty (960–1279) describe a game called chuíwán and also includes drawings of the game. It was played with 10 clubs including a cuanbangpubang, and shaobang, which are comparable to a driver, two-wood, and three-wood. Clubs were inlaid with jade and gold, suggesting chuíwán was for the wealthy. Chinese archive includes references to a Southern Tang official who asked his daughter to dig holes as a target.Ling suggested chuíwán was exported to Europe and then Scotland by Mongolian travellers in the late Middle Ages.

– excerpts from Wikipedia