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Vintage Postcard: Holiday Greetings

Vintage Holiday Greeting Card c. 1920

Welcome to Rita Bay’s month of Holiday Celebrations. The whole blog has been refurbished with a holiday decor to celebrate the December Holidays.  Each day guests will be treated to century-old vintage  holiday postcards (from my packrat family’s stash), classic pics, and other treats that scream Christmas.  But, as always, there’ll be loads of info you won’t find any other place. Guests bloggers will take you into the past–ancient Scotland, Medieval England, and Regency Britain–to celebrate Christmas. Test recipes from the kitchens of the past (a centuries-old Spice Cake to die for) and the present (a decadent guilt-free, low-carb dessert). Finally, we’ll look at Christmas in its historical context.

Besides the Christian celebrations, we’ll check out ancient pagan celebrations that predate Christmas, like the Romans’ Saturnalia and the Celtic Winter Solstice. Then, we’ll move to more modern, non-religious holidays like Kwanza, Boxing Day, and Festivus. Visit Rita Bay’s Blog each day to see what’s happening.

Tomorrow, Advent & the Advent Wreath    Rita Bay

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A Wonderful Woman

 

Dorothea Dix

Dorothy Dix was poor. Her father did not know how to make a living. Her mother did not know how to bring up her children. The father moved from place to place. Some­times he printed little tracts to do good. But he let his own children grow up poor and wretched. Dorothy wanted to learn. She wanted to become a teacher. She wanted to get money to send her little brothers to school.

Dorothy was a girl of strong will and temper. When she was twelve years old, she left her wretched home. She went to her grandmother. Her grandmother Dix lived in a large house in Boston. She sent Dorothy to school. Dorothy learned fast. But she wanted to make money. She wanted to help her brothers. When she was fourteen, she taught a school. She tried to make herself look like a woman. She made her dresses longer.

She soon went back to her grandmother. She went to school again. Then she taught school. She soon had a school in her grandmother’s house. It was a very good school. Many girls were sent to her school.

Miss Dix was often ill. But when she was well enough, she worked away. She was able to send her brothers to school until they grew up. Besides helping her brothers, she wanted to help other poor children. She started a school for poor children in her grandmother’s barn. After a while she left off teaching. She was not well. She had made all the money she needed. But she was not idle. She went one day to teach some poor women in an almshouse. Then she went to see the place where the crazy people were kept. These insane people had no fire in the coldest weather.

Miss Dix tried to get the managers to put up a stove in the room. But they would not do it. Then she went to the court. She told the judge about it. The judge said that the insane people ought to have a fire. He made the managers put up a stove in the place where they were kept. Then Miss Dix went to other towns. She wanted to see how the insane people were treated. Some of them were shut up in dark, damp cells. One young man was chained up with an iron collar about his neck.

Miss Dix got new laws made about the insane. She persuaded the States to build large houses for keeping the insane. She spent most of her life at this work. The Civil War broke out. There were many sick and wounded soldiers to be taken care of. All of the nurses in the hospitals were put under Miss Dix. She worked at this as long as the war lasted. Then she spent the rest of her life doing all that she could for insane people.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, Louisa May Alcott       Rita Bay

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Boston’s First Governor

BEFORE the white people came, there were no houses in this country but the little huts of the Indians. The Indian houses were made of bark, or mats, or skins, spread over poles.

Gov John Winthrop

Some people came to one part of the country. Others started settlements in other place. When more people came, some of these settlements grew into towns. The woods were cut down. Farms were planted. Roads were made. But it took many years for the country to fill with people.

The first white people that came to live in the woods where Boston is now, settled there a long time ago. They had a governor over them. He was a good man, and did much for the people. His name was John Winthrop.

The first thing the people had to do was to cut down the trees. After that they could plant corn. But at first they could not raise anything to eat. They had brought flour and oatmeal fromEng­land. But they found that it was not enough to last till they could raise corn on their new ground.Winthropsent a ship to get more food for them. The ship was gone a long time. The people ate up all their food. They were hungry. They went to the seashore, and found clams and mussels. They were glad to get these to eat.

Governor Winthrop

At last they set a day for everybody to fast and pray for food. The governor had a little flour left. Nearly all of this was made into bread, and put into the oven to bake. He did not know when he would get any more. Soon after this a poor man came along. His flour was all gone. His bread had all been eaten up. His family was hungry. The governor gave the poor man the very last flour that he had in the barrel. Just then a ship was seen. It sailed up’ toward Boston. It was loaded with food for all the people. The time for the fast day came. But there was now plenty of food. The fast day was turned into a thanks-giving day.

One day a man sent a very cross letter to Gov­ernor Winthrop. Winthrop sent it back to him. He said, ” I cannot keep a letter that might make me angry.” Then the man that had written the cross letter wrote to Winthrop, “By conquering yourself, you have conquered me.”

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, The Birdman   Rita Bay

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Colonel Clark Conquers Kaskaskia

Col George Rogers Clark

AT the time of the Revolution there were but few people living on the north side of the Ohio River. But there were many Indians there. These Indians killed a great many white people inKen­tucky. The Indians were sent by British officers to do this killing. There was a British fort at Vin­cennes in what is now Indiana. There was another British fort or post at Kaskaskia in what is now the State of Illinois.

George Rogers Clark was an American colonel. He wanted to stop the murder of the settlers by the Indians. He thought that he could do it by taking the British posts. He had three hundred men. They went down the Ohio River in boats. They landed near the mouth of the Ohio River. Then they marched a hundred and thirty miles to Kaskaskia. Kaskaskia was far away from the Americans.

Fort Kaskaskia

The people there did not think that the Americans would come so far to attack them. When Clark got there, they were all asleep. He marched in and took the town before they waked up. The people living in Kaskaskia were French. By treating them well, Clark made them all friendly to the Americans.

When the British at Vincennes heard that Clark had taken Kaskaskia, they thought that they would take it back again. But it was winter. All the streams were full of water. They could not march till spring. Then they would gather the Indians to help them, and take Clark and his men.

But Clark thought that he would not wait to be taken. He thought that he would just go and take the British. If he could manage to get to Vin­cennes in the winter, he would not be expected. Clark started with a hundred and seventy men. The country was nearly all covered with water. The men were in the wet almost all the time. Clark had hard work to keep his men cheerful. He did everything he could to amuse them.

They had to wade through deep rivers. The water was icy cold. But Clark made a joke of it. He kept them laughing whenever he could. At one place the men refused to go through the freezing water. Clark could not persuade them to cross the river. He called to him a tall soldier. He was the very tallest man in Clark’s little army. Clark said to him, “Take the little drummer boy on your shoulders.” The little drummer was soon seated high on the shoulders of the tall man. ” Now go ahead!” said Clark. The soldier marched into the water. The little drummer beat a march on his drum. Clark cried out, “Forward!” Then he plunged into the water after the tall soldier. All the men went in after him. They were soon safe on the other side.

At another river the little drummer was floated over on the top of his drum. At last the men drew near to Vincennes. They could hear the morning and evening gun in the British fort. But the worst of the way was yet to pass. The Wabash River had risen over its banks. The water was five miles wide. The men marched from one high ground to another through the cold water. They caught an Indian with a canoe. In this they got across the main river. But there was more water to cross. The men were so hungry that some of them fell down in the water. They had to be carried out.

Clark’s men got frightened at last, and then they had no heart to go any farther. But Clark re­membered what the Indians did when they went to war. He took a little gunpowder in his hand. He poured water on it. Then he rubbed it on his face. It made his face black. With his face blackened like an Indian’s, he gave an Indian war-whoop. The men followed him again.

The men were tired and hungry. But they soon reached dry ground. They were now in sight of the fort. Clark marched his little army round and round in such a way as to make it seem that he had many men with him. He wrote a fierce letter to the British commander. He behaved like a general with a large army. After some fighting, the British commander gave up. Clark’s little army took the British fort. This brave action saved to our country the land that lies between the Ohio River and the Lakes. It stopped the sending of Indians to kill the settlers in the West.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, A Long Journey   Rita Bay

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Thomas Jefferson: The Patriot

The following is a century-old story from a children’s reader.

Thomas Jefferson

THOMAS JEFFERSON was one of the great men of the Revolution. He was not a soldier. He was not a great speaker. But he was a great thinker. And he was a great writer. He wrote a paper that was the very beginning of the United States. It was a paper that said that we would be free from England, and be a country by ourselves. We call that paper the Decla­ration of Independence.

When he was a boy, Jefferson was fond of playing. But when he was tired of play, he took up a book. It pleased him to learn things. From the time when he was a boy he never sat down to rest without a book.

At school he learned what other boys did. But the difference between him and most other boys was this: he did not stop with knowing just what the other boys knew. Most boys want to learn what other boys learn. Most girls would like to know what their schoolmates know. But Jefferson wanted to know a great deal more.

As a young man, Jefferson knew Latin and Greek. He also knew French and Spanish and Italian. He did not talk to show off what he knew. He tried to learn what other people knew. When he talked to a wagon maker, he asked him about such things as a wagon maker knows most about. He would sometimes ask how a wagon maker would go to work to make a wheel.

When Jefferson talked to a learned man, he asked him about those things that this man knew most about. When he talked with Indians, he got them to tell him about their language. That is the way he came to know so much about so many things. Whenever anybody told him anything worth while, he wrote it down as soon as he could.

One day Jefferson was traveling. He went on horseback. That was a common way of traveling at that time. He stopped at a country tavern. At this tavern he talked with a stranger who was staying there.

After a while Jefferson rode away. Then the stranger said to the landlord, “Who is that man? He knew so much about law, that I was sure he was a lawyer. But when we talked about medicine, he knew so much about that, that I thought he must be a doctor. And after a while he seemed to know so much about religion, that I was sure he was a min­ister. Who is he? ”

The stranger was very much surprised to hear that the man he had talked with was Jefferson. Jefferson was a very polite man. In the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson wrote these words : “All men are created equal.” He also said that the poor man had the same right as the rich man to live, and to be free, and to try to make himself happy.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, Men on a Mission     Rita Bay

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The Swamp Fox

The picture above is the famous 1876 Courier & Ives print of White’s painting of The Sweet Potato Dinner. The painting commemorated the meeting between Marion and a British officer to negotiate a prisoner exchange. The meal offered the officer was a sweet potato dinner – that was all they had to eat.  General Marion was a hero of the Revolutionary War. His unconventional tactics earned him the name “Swamp Fox.”

General Francis Marion

General Marion was one of the best fighters in the Revolution. He was a homely little man. He was also a very good man. Another general said, “Marion is good all over.” The American army had been beaten in South Carolina. Marion was sent there to keep the British from taking the whole country. Marion got together a little army. His men had nothing but rough clothes to wear. They had no guns but the old ones they had used to shoot wild ducks and deer with.Marion’s men wanted swords. There were no swords to be had. But Marion sent men to take the long saws out of the saw mills. These were taken to blacksmiths. The blacksmiths cut the saws into pieces. These pieces they hammered out into long, sharp swords.

Marion had not so many men as the British. He had no cannon. He could not build forts. He could not stay long in one place, for fear the British should come with a strong army and take him. He and his men hid in the dark woods. Sometimes he changed his hiding place suddenly. Even his own friends had hard work to find him.

From the dark woods he would come out sud­denly. He would attack some party of British soldiers. When the battle was over, he would go back to the woods again. When the British sent a strong army to catch him, he could not be found. But soon he would be fighting the British in some new place. He was always playing hide and seek. The British called him the Swamp Fox. That was because he was so hard to catch. They could not conquer the country until they could catch Marion. And they never could catch the Swamp Fox.

At one time Marion came out of the woods to take a little British fort. This fort was on the top of a high mound. It was one of the mounds built a long time ago by the Indians. Marion put his men all round the fort, so that the men in the fort could not get out to get water. He thought that they would have to give up. But the men in the fort dug a well inside the fort. Then Marion had to think of another plan.

Marion’s men went to the woods and cut down stout poles. They got a great many poles. When night came, they laid a row of poles along-side one another on the ground. Then they laid another row across these. Then they laid another row on top of the last ones, and across the other way again. They laid a great many rows of poles one on top of another. They crossed them this way and that. As Marion’s Tower. The night went on, the pile grew higher. Still they handed poles top of the pile. Before morning came, they had built a kind of tower. It was higher than the Indian mound.  As soon as it was light, the men on Marion’s tower began to shoot. The British looked out. They saw a great tower with men on it. The men could shoot down into the fort. The British could not stand it. They had to give up. They were taken prisoners.

SOURCE:  Stories of Great Americans for Little Americans                                                      By Samuel Eggleston                                                                                                           American Book Co  1893                                                                                                       Digitized by Google                                                                                                                 Available for free download from Google Books

Tomorrow, Another Hero    Rita Bay

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The Future of US Space Flight

President Obama Telephones Space Crew

According to space.com, President Obama on a call to the astronauts of the final Atlantis flight in July stressed that the retirement of the space shuttle program, “ushers in an exciting new era.”  He challenged NASA to create new systems and technologies that will allow the agency to push beyond low-Earth orbit, and one day send humans to Mars.  He also praised the future of commercial spaceflight, with competition fueling who will be the first private firm to launch American astronauts back to the station from home soil. The future–public or private? Confusing!

Last October President Obama signed the NASA Authorization Act of 2010 which effectively brought the Constellation program to an end. The Constellation Program was a human spaceflight program within NASA, the space agency of  the United States. The Constellation Program was being developed to send astronauts first to the International Space Station, then to the Moon, and afterward to Mars and other destinations beyond. 

According to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a FOX News article, his “foremost” mission as the head of America’s space exploration agency is to improve relations with the Muslim world.  Though international diplomacy would seem well outside NASA’s orbit, Bolden said in an interview with Al Jazeera that strengthening those ties was among the top tasks President Obama assigned him. He said better interaction with the Muslim world would ultimately advance space travel. 

Charles Bolden“. . . before I became the NASA administrator — he (President Obama) charged me with three things. One was he wanted me to help re-inspire children to want to get into science and math, he wanted me to expand our international relationships, and third, and perhaps foremost, he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science … and math and engineering,”.  Furthermore, Bolden said the United Statesis not going to travel beyond low-Earth orbit on its own and that no country is going to make it to Mars without international help. (Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/07/05/nasa-chief-frontier-better-relations-muslims/#ixzz1WBxoZjYn)

After Atlantis arrived home, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden issued the following statement: This final shuttle flight marks the end of an era, but today, we recommit ourselves to continuing human spaceflight and taking the necessary and difficult steps to ensure America’s leadership in human spaceflight for years to come. I want to send American astronauts where we’ve never been before by focusing our resources on exploration and innovation, while leveraging private sector support to take Americans to the International Space Station in low Earth orbit. With the bold path President Obama and Congress have set us on, we will continue the grand tradition of exploration.”

In a CNN interview, Bolden emphasized exploring opportunities for employment for those 7,000 NASA workers facing unemployment:  “I’d like to talk to people from Silicon Valley to get them to come here.  This is an incredibly rich area of the country and I think people are missing a bet here. They’re missing out on the most talented work force in the world. I have people here who can do anything.”

Tomorrow, The Astronauts Speak     Rita Bay

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The Hubble Telescope

The Hubble Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a telescope that was carried into orbit in 1990 and placed in low Earth orbit. Hubble’s orbit outside the distortion of Earth’s atmosphere allows it to take extremely sharp images with almost no background light.  It is a permanent resident of space, set up and maintained by astronauts.

The HST was initially funded in the 1970s, built by NASA and operated by the Space Telescope Science Institute. It has an 8 ft. aperture which can observe from the near ultraviolet, visible, to near infrared. The Hubble has helped to resolve some long-standing problems in astronomy, as well as turning up results that have required new theories to explain them. Hubble can perform high-resolution observations of any part of the night sky, and on objects that are extremely faint. It is scheduled to be replaced by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in 2018.

Tomorrow, The Last Flight: the US Space Shuttle Fleet Retired    Rita Bay

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High Tech Space Tech

High Tech Swim Suit

Although the US Space program accounts for less than 1% of the US budget, it provides many benefits related to the exploration of a new frontier and technologies that improve our lives. For every dollar the U.S. spends on Research and Development in the US Space Program, it gets back $7 back in corporate and personal income taxes from increased jobs and economic growth. Even more jobs are created by other companies applying NASA technology in non-space related areas.

Cell Phone Camera

    Consumer benefits of NASA work include cordless power tools and appliances, home smoke detectors, advances in home insulation, radiation barriers, ion filtering clean water systems.  Other spin-offs include: scratch resistant lenses, high-density batteries, trash compactors, shock-absorbing helmets, home security systems, composite golf clubs, smoke detectors, flat panel televisions, freeze-dried technology, sports bras, hang gliders, quartz crystal timing equipment, and more.    

High Tech Walker

    Medical benefits from NASA technology include improved digital mammograms from Hubble technology;  advanced eye screening, ultrasound scanners, MRIs, cataract surgery tools, arteriosclerosis detection, automatic insulin pump, and a portable x-ray.

     Computer technology advances from NASA include virtual reality systems, microcomputers, advanced keyboards, laser surveying, compact discs, database management systems, specialized aircraft controls, and much more.

     Environmental benefits from NASA technology include advances in the utilization of solar energy; efficient forest management through a satellite scanning system that monitors and maps forestation; improved monitoring of oil spills, water pollution, and air pollution; monitoring, mapping the growth of cities, flood control and more. Other spin-offs include environmental control sensors, energy-saving air conditioning systems, air purification systems, sewage treatment systems, pollution control and measuring devices, a whale identification method, and an earthquake prediction system.

Tomorrow,  The Hubble Telescope     Rita Bay

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The Challenger Disaster

The Challenger Crew

On January 28, 1986, the Space Shuttle Challenger launched with astronauts Michael Smith, Dick Scobee, Judith Resnik, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Gregory Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. The press coverage for the flight and launch was extensive because teacher Christa McAuliffe was the first teacher of the Teacher in Space Project to travel into space.

 

The Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight at 11:38 EST at 48,000 feet.  The Shuttle disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, resulting in the deaths of its seven crew members.  The right solid rocket booster (SRB) O-ring seal (which was not certified to function at the frigid 18 degrees of the launch day) failed at liftoff, allowing pressurized hot gas from within the solid rocket motor to escape outside and come into contact with and caused the failure of the adjacent SRB attachment hardware and the external fuel tank.  Aerodynamic forces of 20 Gs promptly broke up the orbiter.

Challenger Breaks Apart

The shuttle had no escape system and the astronauts did not survive the 200 mph impact of the crew compartment with the ocean surface. The crew compartment and many other vehicle fragments were recovered from the ocean floor.  The final report concluded that the cause of death of the astronauts could not be determined.  Their deaths plunged the nation into mourning.  President Reagan consoled the nation when he spoke soon after the incident.

Tomorrow, President Reagan Consoles a Nation   Rita Bay

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