Marion Witte

February 17, 2014

Wellness – Part 1 – What Did you Say Was Wrong?

Filed under: Wellness — Marion Witte @ 12:10 am

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Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary. 

Oops – I think that beginning has already been taken.

In November, I was diagnosed with cancer in my left breast.  Yes – me folks.

It takes a while for an announcement like that to sink in, especially when you’ve been told by everyone performing the multiple mammograms and the needle biopsies that there is nothing to worry about.  Then you get “that call” from your doctor, the unfortunate person who has to deliver the blow, with the accompanying apology of “I’m sorry, but it turned out to be cancer.”

The first few days after receiving this news are filled with an assortment of emotions and thoughts – including denial, fear and anger. Throughout angst-filled days and sleepless nights, one tries to absorb all of this, as you wait for the first (of many) doctor’s appointments to come.  Your mind runs wild with possibilities, none of them very favorable.  You think about what you did to cause this.  Was it the food I ate?  Living an unhealthy lifestyle?  Some random gene run amuck? A pathetic cry for attention? Or maybe karma? Yeah, that must be it, Marion. Payback for something I did wrong in a prior lifetime.

You sort through all these possibilities, and in the end, decide that the “why” really doesn’t matter at this stage of the game. You are facing a significant challenge, and it’s time to take charge, get informed and make some rational decisions.

It is a natural progression to take the step that the medical profession hates – you get on the internet.  And after reading what’s online, if you weren’t scared before, you’re convinced it’s time to get your medical power of attorney in place. The web is a wonderful place to obtain information, as long as you temper your search by challenging what you are reading for its authenticity.  I chose to believe, or not believe, the information presented based on the idea that “if it makes sense to me, then it’s right for me.”

I came to learn throughout this process, which I am writing about in this blog series, that we have given away too much power to the disease – and the word – cancer.  Many people speak about it in terms of “how long do I have to live.” Diagnoses of heart disease, diabetes and other debilitating diseases are rendered every day, yet none bear the stigma or fear that cancer does.  I would like to be a part of changing that perception.

And somewhere in the midst of all of this, I asked that question we all ask – why me?  I would talk to God at night (or whoever it is up there listening).  I asked him why it was me that had to go through this, when I had already been through so much in my lifetime. When I was done feeling sorry for myself, I quieted my mind, and I waited.  Then from someplace, either inside or outside of my head, I heard these words.

And why not you, Marion?

I was in no frame of mind for one of these esoteric, spiritual communications from somebody I couldn’t see, and whose existence I now questioned.  Ironically, that message was delivered to me the day after the surgeon I met with said he needed to go in and cut out the tumor in my left breast. Based on what I heard from the Master of the Universe and my surgeon, I had a lot to think about.

So I did what was right for me at the time. I put God’s message on hold (at least for the time being) and I ignored the doctor. Instead of going in for surgery, I decided to go on my dream vacation – Australia and New Zealand.  Yes, I needed to go to the Middle Earth where the Hobbits lived.  Those little guys always died of old age – not cancer.  I wanted to find out what their secret was!

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October 14, 2013

The Tea Cups

Filed under: Book Stuff — Marion Witte @ 1:57 am

It was with more than a little trepidation that I slid into the front seat of my brother’s truck for the ride from my hotel to my mother’s house. I was in Fargo, North Dakota as part of a ten-day adventure to visit family and friends in the Midwest, and my daughter Angela was accompanying me on my journey back to my homeland. One of the goals of this trip was to say hello to my mother, or at least knock on her door in an attempt to find out if she was interested in talking to me. We had not spoken for eight years, and during that time I had published a book about my life and my childhood experiences on the farm on which I was raised. I assumed that she was not happy about the contents of my memoir, and so I expected that she may not answer the door, or perhaps she would slam it in my face. I had braced myself emotionally and mentally for either of those outcomes. What I had not prepared myself for were the events that would actually unfold.

My brother Frank also lives in Fargo, and he graciously offered to assist me in making the connection with my mother, by placing a telephone call to her to confirm that she was home. He asked my mother if he could stop over to take a look at something on her car, and I heard him tell her to make sure she was up and dressed. He said nothing to mom about me being in town.

My brother picked up my daughter and I at our hotel, and we made the short trip to my mother’s house. When we arrived, I exited his truck and stood in the driveway by the vehicle’s open door. My brother walked up to our mother’s front door and knocked on it. I saw it swing open, yet I did not immediately see my mother, as she remained inside. I heard him say to her “You won’t believe what the cat has drug in!” My mother stepped out, looked over at the truck, and then at me. A look of anguish came over her face, and I saw she was, to put it mildly, shocked. She hesitated for a moment, and then she proceeded down the sidewalk.

As the contorted look on her face started to gradually fade away, I focused more clearly on the 86-year-old woman walking towards me. I was struck at how much weight she had lost since I had last seen her, and the degree to which her face had aged. On the other hand, she was maneuvering quite well down the sidewalk towards me, so I was confused that this woman, with her life experiences now literally etched on her face, had maintained her physical health. This was all a bit disconcerting to me, and I was trying to take it all in as she approached the truck.

She stood directly in front of me, looking me squarely in eyes, making no further movement. I took the initiative to make the first move, and I reached over and put my arms around her and hugged her. Then I said something that I do not ever remember saying to her – “I love you, Mom.” She reacted to neither the hug nor my words, and I released my hold.

At that moment, Angela got out of the truck, and my mother went over to her, and gave her a hug. Obviously still flustered, she said “Well, I guess we should go inside.”

We all proceeded to enter her small condominium and Angela and I took our seats on the couch and she sat in her recliner. My brother then surprised me by saying, “You know, I have some errands to do, so I will pick you up in a couple of hours.” I was stunned at his words, and at first I was a little miffed. Then I reminded myself that it was me that wanted this experience, and I settled into our visit, leaving myself open to whatever was about to occur.

My mother was very talkative, and much of the conversation revolved around her life and what she was doing. She brought me up to date on what was happening with the relatives, her friends and the church. She spoke to Angela, and I paid attention as they engaged in conversation. For my part, I listened to my mother, and I answered any questions she posed to me. Our conversation was cordial and light, and we did not talk about the past, nor was any mention made of my book.

My mother stated that she was getting her affairs in order, and I commented that it was always good to have things set up the way you want them to be. I could tell from her comments that she has reached a point in life where she is divesting herself of her personal possessions. She offered me a box of old photographs that she had collected over the years, and I accepted them as graciously as I could, and said I would go through them when I got back to California. She asked Angela to pick out some teacups and saucers from her collection in the dining room china cabinet, as a remembrance of her. Angela chose two that appealed to her, and my mother was delighted when my daughter told her she was going to put them beside the vases she received from her other grandmother.

Then my mother asked me to pick out two sets of cups and saucers for myself. Almost instantly, the little three-year old girl still inside of me started to tell me she did not want anything from this person! So, in an attempt to appease that child-like part of myself, I declined the tea cups and gave my mother the excuse that they were fragile, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to get them back home safely on the plane. I watched my mother’s lighthearted expression change when I made that comment. At that moment, a piece of advice that I am accustomed to giving others came into my consciousness, and it immediately altered my thinking and the mood. I heard my mind silently speaking to me as it said “It is better to make the choice to be kind, instead of always needing to be right.” My mother was offering me a gift, and if I was going to walk my talk, I needed to take the higher road of gratitude and acceptance.

I selected two sets of pastel cups and saucers, each decorated with the variety of a flower that you would find in a Midwest garden. As I held them up to look more closely at each one, I noticed how delicate they were. I also chuckled to myself as I wondered how long it had been, since the age of Starbucks and Coffee Bean, that anyone had used a saucer. I thought about the hundreds of cups of coffee they held and the various people who had enjoyed the porcelain decorations. As I examined them, I realized that they had held their beauty, even when most people would no longer consider them useful. A lot like we treat people, I thought!

My brother returned, two hours later, and suggested we all go out to dinner (they call it supper in the Midwest!). My mother was delighted to be asked, so we journeyed off to their favorite barbecue rib place, where I ate way too much food!

We drove back to my mother’s condo to drop her off after dinner, and I got out of the truck to walk her up the pathway, and make sure she got the front door unlocked and opened. As she was about to go in, I wrapped my arms around her and once again said “No matter what happened, I love you Mom.” She was silent, although she hugged me back.

And then, as I was walking down the sidewalk towards my brother’s truck, I heard my Mother’s voice calling out after me. “Marion,” she said, “This was a great day.”

For a split second, I thought about responding, yet my instincts told me to stay silent, for everything that needed to be said has been said. I turned around, smiled and waved goodbye.

I sat in silence in the front seat of the truck as my brother drove us to the hotel, and I pondered what has just transpired. I thought about my mother and her last comment. Before this trip, I was pretty sure my mother was wrong about anything of importance. My thinking was altered during this visit, as I now knew she was right about at least one thing.

Indeed, it was a great day!

 

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August 15, 2013

The New Gang Culture – This is Not “West Side Story”

Filed under: Society — Marion Witte @ 1:44 pm

Say No to GangsOddly, I have been exposed to what seems like more than my fair share of gang violence.

I recently sat through eight days of the jury selection process pertaining to the trial of a known member of the largest Hispanic gang in Oxnard, California.  He allegedly robbed and killed a local businessman in cold blood as he exited a bank in Oxnard.  The victim was carrying a satchel of cash that he was transporting to his check-cashing facility.  I was glad I was not chosen for the panel, although I am sure I would have been dismissed had I been called up for questioning and relayed the following information.

When I lived in the Coachella Valley in California, two of my closest friends were robbed at gun point by members of a Hispanic gang in Indio, California.  My friends were brothers, and they were exiting their check-cashing facility, located in their meat and produce store, with $100,000 in cash that they were transporting to another of their stores.  The thieves were lying in wait in the parking lot.  After turning over the satchel to the robbers, one of my friends was shot repeatedly in the chest, and his younger brother was shot in the back as he attempted to flee.  The gang community closed ranks around its members, and provided alibis for the shooters.  Ironically, both of my friends were also Hispanic.

Five years after the horrific trauma my friends endured, I was mugged and robbed  by four gang members in Palm Desert, California, in the parking lot of a Michael’s store.  One of the robbers was lying in wait under my car, and he attacked me as I approached my vehicle.  The police said I was lucky I did not resist, as they knew which gang was responsible for the crime, and they informed me that the members were armed and violent. None of the perpetrators in either of these events were ever apprehended or prosecuted.

When I moved to California’s Coachella Valley in 1985, gangs had little presence in that community. Today, three of the eight cities in the valley have gang injunctions imposed within their city limits – Desert Hot Springs, Cathedral City and Indio.  These are similar to the gang injunction granted to the city of Oxnard, California in 2004, and to several other cities in the State of California.

Unless you have had some direct or indirect experiences with gang violence, many people believe it is an “internal problem” that affects only certain areas or certain communities. To the contrary, gang violence affects all of us.

This information was compiled by the National Gang Intelligence Center of the FBI:

1. Approximately 1.4 million gang members were criminally active in the United States as of April 2011.  The number of identified gangs in the U.S. is over 33,000.

2. The numbers compiled in 2011 represents a 40% increase from two years prior (2009) when the gang population was estimated at 1.0 million members

3. Gangs are responsible for an average of 48% of the violent crimes in the United States, and up to 90% of such crimes in several large cities.

4. Gangs are increasingly engaging in human trafficking, prostitution, counterfeiting, identity theft and mortgage fraud, in addition to their core activities of drug trafficking, robbery and violent assaults.

5. The best estimates of the ethnic breakdown of these gangs is approximately 49% Hispanic/Latino, 34% African American, 10% Caucasian, 6% Asian and 1% other ethnicities.

This rise of the gang population in this country is nothing less than an epidemic.  The illegal activities of these gangs are not confined solely to the neighborhoods in which they live, since they engage in violence and crimes far beyond the walls of their communities.

Evil prevails when good men and women do nothing, and nothing changes unless we accept that there is a problem.  An honest, open and frank national dialogue is long overdue about what we can do to address the threat that gangs pose to the societal, emotional and spiritual health of our country.

Pierce Morgan of CNN has become the self-appointed voice for the gun-control debate in this country.  Perhaps he would consider taking on the topic of the effects of the gang activity in this country.  The sheer magnitude of the destruction inflicted upon our society by gang activities makes the issue of gun control seems like child’s play.

Sadly, gangs are an issue we must contend with in our changing world – and lest we get confused about what gangs are involved with and what they look like, the current gang culture bears no resemblance to that portrayed in West Side Story!

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June 26, 2013

The Power of Two Simple Words – “Thank You”

Filed under: Travels — Marion Witte @ 8:02 pm

Lesson #4I am starting out each of my travel blogs with the same statement: You learn a lot about others when you travel – and mostly things about yourself.

I received a beautiful thank you card today from someone whom I helped out during my recent travels.  It started me thinking about the concepts of appreciation and gratitude, and my perception of a change in our societal behavior during the last decade with regards to those qualities.

By way of background, I like to think of myself as a generous person.  I share this information, not to toot my own horn, but to give you a better understanding of me and my life’s purpose.  I worked long and hard at my career during my entire adult life, and I am blessed to be able to share the rewards of those endeavors.

I feel fortunate to get the opportunity to help people who come across my path, those need a little “helping hand.” I am also lucky to have the time and talents needed to be able to assist people with their projects.  I am happy to help someone get their business started or tax filings completed, or support them in an endeavor of which they are passionate.

Having spent my entire adult life in the world of money, I understand about the economic, energetic and spiritual basis of “giving.”  Gifts are given without the anticipation of anything being received in return, and there is no expectation as to how the gift will be used.

On the other hand, my personal belief is that a thank-you does not fall into either of those criteria.  It is an acknowledgment and an expression of appreciation.  And it also represents a simple act of courtesy.  There is probably no more irritating situation during the process of giving than needing to contact a person to make sure the gift you sent arrived, after never having heard from them.

I readily admit it – I am one of the dinosaurs on the planet, as I continue to make out handwritten thank-you notes.  I know, I am old-fashioned.  I still believe there is something inherently special about taking the time to write a note and put it in the snail-mail box.  If I don’t have a thank you card on hand, I will at least drop an email to someone to thank them and show my appreciation.

I was surprised on my recent travels, upon giving gifts to several young people, that they did not offer a word of verbal appreciation at the time.  That struck me as odd, and foreign to that way I was brought up. I started to wonder why it seems, at least to me, that people have become less appreciative of gifts they receive or, at a minimum, why they believe it is acceptable to not exhibit some level of courtesy to the giver.  The following questions started to come to mind:

– Has gratitude been replaced with entitlement?

– Has narcissism taken over where good manners used to be?

– Are we not teaching children good manners, politeness and courtesy?

Maybe it’s none of the above.  Maybe “it is what it is.”  And maybe I am going to vomit if I hear that term one more time.  Even though something “is the way it is,” does that make it an acceptable way of being in the world, or a contribution to a more loving and kind planet.

Luckily, my faith in humanity was at least somewhat restored when I read the beautiful notes I did receive (including yours Kaila Kaden, Bev Lovas and Christie Groskreutz).  The authors I assist are some of the most appreciative recipients (Grace Peterson and Mary Nally to name a few).  I can feel their gratitude when I receive even a short note or text – and for me it completes the cycle of giving.

And where does all pondering leave me:

– Do I have a clearer understanding of the world’s changing societal behavior – yes.

– Do I now expect an acknowledgment or thank-you from everyone I help – sadly, I will not.

– Will I continue to give graciously to those who I can help – indeed, I will.

I have also questioned if there were times when I myself did not acknowledge a gift properly, or exhibit appropriate appreciation.  “Probably” was my honest answer.  So to anyone who was hurt or offended by my lack of courtesy – I apologize, and I will work to do better in the future.

For that is all any of us can do, right?

 

 

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June 22, 2013

Monsanto, Halliburton – And a Bunch of Dead Indians

Filed under: Travels — Marion Witte @ 5:10 pm

Lesson #3I am starting out each of my travel blogs with the same statement:  You learn a lot about others when you travel – and mostly things about yourself.

I was born and raised on the prairies of North Dakota, so let me give you a little history lesson about my state.  The information I am relaying in this blog was not taught to me in the elementary school, high school or university that I attended.  I discovered it myself after doing research on my own as an adult. The reader is free to do the same.

During 1873-1883 the United States government, in coordination with commercial hide-hunting companies, promoted the slaughter of the American buffalo, including those in the Dakota Territory.  The bison was a primary source of sustenance for the Great Plains Indian tribes.

The decimation of the buffalo was part of a deliberate, and successful, effort to starve the Plains Indians into submission. Many high-ranking U.S. officials were explicit about their intentions. In 1873, Secretary of the Interior Columbus Delano declared “The civilization of the Indian is impossible while the buffalo remains upon the plains.”  Two years later, General Philip Sheridan told a joint session of Congress that buffalo hunters had done more to settle what he called “the vexed Indian question” than the entire U.S. army. Sheridan urged the politicians to continue to support the hunters.  “For the sake of lasting peace,” he said, “let them kill, skin and sell until the buffaloes are exterminated.”

By 1884, the bison population in the United States was basically extinct.  Although the exact extent of the carnage cannot be determined, it has been estimated that the population of 30 to 50 million buffalo was reduced to less than 1,000. This is one of the worst, and perhaps the most under-reported, animal slaughters by humans ever undertaken on our planet.

And, as planned, the systemic annihilation of the Native Americans of the Plains was almost complete.

Mission accomplished.

As this dark past has come to be revealed, shame has been brought on to my home state, and on to our country.  My hope is that we can atone for our past actions, or our complacency about it, by agreeing to do better in the future.  A recent trip back “home” after being away for years has made me question whether we have kept that promise. Only time will tell.

North Dakota is in the midst of an economic boom.  Shale-based oil is being drilled in Williston using the process of fracking, which is drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to reach the oil reserves. The state is now the second largest producer of a non-renewable energy source in the United States.  Corn is one of the primary commodities raised, and the agricultural community is recording record-high profits.  This activity has generated surpluses for the State’s coffers, and reduced the unemployment rate to one of the lowest in the country.

On the reverse side, there always seems to be consequences to any type of economic windfall.  These are some of the observations I made during my recent visit:

– Large quantities of the most fertile farmland in the United States have been sold to non-farming investors, with the concurrent elimination of many of the family-run farming operations in the state.

– Corn is now a major commodity crop, due to the profitability it affords the farmers.  There is a growing demand for corn by the food industry, as high-fructose corn syrup is used in many of our food products.

– Monsanto Corporation, a biotechnology giant, has created a monopoly in the agricultural seed industry by using tactics to drive small farmers out of business, and to force growers to use its genetically modified seeds. Corn grown using Monsanto Corporation seeds is now labeled as a “genetically modified plant.”  (Note: This corporation has been banned from doing business in a growing number of countries around the world).

– The state’s oil resources have been turned over to out-of-state oil producers, drilling contractors and engineering firms, including corporations such as Halliburton (who is at least partly responsible for the Gulf Coast oil spill).

– There is a potential for the pollution of the environment and the poisoning of our water supply because of the chemical leakage that happens during the process of fracking.

The activities in this list are no different than those happening in other farming and oil-shale fields around this country, and probably around the world.

Sadly, as of today, no governmental agency or environmental organization has been able to assess the long-term effects of the 600 chemicals used in the fracking process, and their introduction into the ground water supply.  Even proponents of the fracking process are unable to provide complete assurance that we are engaging in safe practices, and that the health of future generations will not be detrimentally affected.

And although there is major controversy and a growing concern among the public about the use of GMOs (genetically modified organisms), these products continue to be included in our food source.

We do not know how all of the actions we are engaging in today will affect our children, our grand-children and even our great-grandchildren.  If we find out twenty (or even a hundred) years from now that we made some “bad” decisions today, the effects of the killing of the buffalo in the 1880’s may seem like child’s play in comparison.

What is occurring in North Dakota is not exclusive to that state.  It is a cautionary tale for all of us in this country, and around the world.

 

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April 20, 2013

How To Create Fear-Driven Events

Filed under: Thoughts — Marion Witte @ 12:36 am

— Layer the following ingredients:

– A large dose of fear
– Anger fueled by misunderstanding
– Vitriolic dialogue spewed by the cable news networks
– A huge helping of bigotry
– Several pinches of prejudice
– A healthy portion of ignorance
– More anger and more fear, to taste

— Toss the above ingredients

–Sprinkle more fear on top layer

— Place the above mixture on a fire built from righteous indignation

— Allow the media to fuel the flames with inflammatory rhetoric

— Wait for explosion to happen

— Be shocked when it occurs!

Only known antidote to this poisonous concoction is equal portions of LOVE, COMPASSION and UNDERSTANDING

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April 4, 2013

Are You Smarter Than an Eighth Grader – From 1895?

Filed under: Society — Marion Witte @ 12:32 am

 

I remember my father telling me, with some embarrassment, that he had completed only eight years of elementary school. In the Midwest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was actually the exception for students to go on to high school after completing elementary school, as teenagers needed to be available to work full time on the family farm. Completing elementary school was therefore the culmination of the formal education for many students. Recently, I ran across some fascinating information, and it totally changed my perception of what it meant to have an eighth grade education over one hundred years ago.

This is the eighth grade final examination from 1895 in Salina, Kansas. It was taken from the original document on file at the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library in Salina, and reprinted by the Salina Journal.

EXAMINATION GRADUATION QUESTIONS OF SALINE COUNTY, KANSAS
April 13, 1895

J.W. Armstrong, County Superintendent.

Examinations at Salina, New Cambria, Gypsum City, Assaria, Falun, Bavaria, and District No. 74 (in Glendale Twp.)

Grammar (Time, one hour)

1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.
3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.
4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of do, lie, lay and run.
5. Define Case, Illustrate each Case.
6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.
7-10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

Arithmetic (Time, 1.25 hours)

1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long, and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 lbs., what is it worth at 50 cts. per bu, deducting 1050 lbs. for tare?
4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
5. Find cost of 6720 lbs. coal at $6.00 per ton.
6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $.20 per inch?
8. Find bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?
10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. History (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.
2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865?

Orthography (Time, one hour)

1. What is meant by the following: Alphabet, phonetic orthography, etymology, syllabication?
2. What are elementary sounds? How classified?
3. What are the following, and give examples of each: Trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, linguals?
4. Give four substitutes for caret ‘u’.
5. Give two rules for spelling words with final ‘e’. Name two exceptions under each rule.
6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: Bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, super.
8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: Card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
9. Use the following correctly in sentences, Cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

Geography (Time, one hour)

1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
4. Describe the mountains of N.A.
5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
7. Name all the republics of Europe and give capital of each.
8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give inclination of the earth.

Health (Time, 45 minutes)

1. Where are the saliva, gastric juice, and bile secreted? What is the use of each in digestion?
2. How does nutrition reach the circulation?
3. What is the function of the liver? Of the kidneys?
4. How would you stop the flow of blood from an artery in the case of laceration?
5. Give some general directions that you think would be beneficial to preserve the human body in a state of health.

A researcher has posted the answers to the examination, if you are interested. Answers to 1895 examination.

There are “myth-busters” who believe the exam questions were much too difficult for an eighth grader, and that it must have been written for older students. In spite of this, the existence of the examination has been proven, and the Smokey Valley Genealogical Society and Library of Salina stands behind the records in its files.

Whatever the exact details are of this matter, I offer this posting as something for us all to ponder, as we think about what students were expected to comprehend about their world so long ago, and what we expect of them today.

In the interest of full disclosure – I would have failed this exam miserably!

Marion

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March 23, 2013

My Newest Hero – A Man Before His Time!

Filed under: Thoughts — Marion Witte @ 12:27 am

The great masters who walked this planet often delivered their messages well before the world was ready to receive them. I think one of them was Buckminster Fuller, also known as Bucky.

Thank you, Mr. Fuller, for the advice you gave us, which remains so relevant today.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” — Buckminster Fuller

“There are three kinds of people in the world — those who are asleep, those who are stirring, and those who are awake. If you try to wake up the sleeping person, he will just mumble and go back to sleep. If you wake up the stirring person, he will wake up just long enough to curse you and then go back to sleep. Instead of trying to wake them up, if you come across someone who is asleep or stirring, what you should do is fluff their pillow, tuck them in, and kiss them on the forehead. The important joy for those who are awake is to seek each other out, connect with others who are awake, talk, sing and celebrate together. This will create a groundswell of awareness. As this groundswell increases and spreads out, it will awaken the stirring and will begin to stir those who are still sleeping.” — Buckminster Fuller

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April 28, 2012

A Note from Mary Pat

Filed under: Book Stuff — Marion Witte @ 1:35 pm

Reading Little Madhouse on the Prairie was like taking a journey through my own life. There were pieces that were a bit different than my life and yet I felt connected, so connected in fact that I felt the need to contact the author directly and convey the message to her. Her book gave me ideas on how I might move forward in healing my own traumas and bring light and love to the parts inside that have been hurting for many years. For the first time in a long time I feel as though I have the opportunity to feel whole again.

If Marion can do it, so can I!

Mary Pat

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March 17, 2012

A Note from “Rosie from California”

Filed under: Book Stuff — Marion Witte @ 2:31 pm

I have been away from my website the past month, dealing with a variety of personal issues. What a treat it was to return to my blog and find the following message posted, which the author agreed to share.

“First of all, thank you for writing your book, second for coming to our class at Oxnard College, and lastly, thank you for opening up and sharing your testimony with all of us. I read your book and loved it. I was leery and hesitant in reading it because of my own similar past experiences, but I am glad I got the courage to read it.

It brought me so much pain but yet so much validation and truth and release, all at the same time. I too had an alcoholic father and a very abusive mother. But oh how I loved her so. I was the oldest of six and had to help raise my siblings and mother too. She was very ill but yet still worked very hard to support all six of us by herself. I was born in the 50’s so you understand the parenting rituals of the parents back then. I am almost 60 years old and I am going to Oxnard College and taking courses of Alcohol and Drug Addictions, which have helped me so much, as well as your book. Thank God for my teachers there and for you, to help me finally see the truth, and myself, and most of all my mother and father and the reasoning behind their neglect and abuse. I thought I had overcome and survived it all when I never drank or did drugs or was like my mother. But I am finding out 50 years later that I am somewhat like my mother and I did not really overcome my issues. I just learned to hide them very well. And from time to time there are triggers and I find myself crying and feeling depressed. So because of you and my teachers, I am finding myself and getting help so that I can someday help others, just like you. Thank You, Marion…God Bless and much love… Rosie from California.”

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