Loss.

I don’t think losing a loved one every gets better. If anything it gets harder. Every year as I get older, I want my grandma more. There are obstacles that I don’t know how to handle, advice that I can only get from her. Every year I miss her more, and every year it’s harder to believe she’s actually gone. I think people who say time heals everything are ridiculous.

Learning From Change

For the past year, I have been asking my step-grandfather, or “Papa” as I call him, about what it was like when he was my age. I find it interesting seeing how the prices of items have changed, how clothes are different, etc. If my step-great-grandfather was still alive, I would have had many questions for him also, as he was born in the early 1900s. I find that firsthand accounts are usually easier to believe than an article about how life was decades ago. I chose my grandpa to be the subject because he has seen six decades of history, change, and growth. This essay covers the postwar period of the 1950s, through the Reagan Era, and into the millennium.

My grandfather, William Boarts, is 62 years old. Papa was born into a predominately German family, with just a touch of British and French. A great-grandmother belonged to the Champion family of France. She also happened to be a first or second cousin of Andrew Carnegie. I am envious that he has knowledge of his family going back for many generations. I do not know my parents, so my family history was not passed down through generations as Papa’s was. The Bortz[1] family immigrated from Germany prior to the American Revolution and settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. After the Revolution, the family moved to Armstrong County, Pennsylvania and homesteaded on land that was originally given to Benjamin Franklin by William Penn. The majority of Bortz family members were farmers, and Papa’s great-grandfather David was the local blacksmith. When reading about homesteading in a book, it is sometimes just words on a paper. Hearing how my grandpa’s family fought against the British and how life was in that time really gives history more meaning to me.

I suppose I have always been the most curious about the way politics have affected the country throughout history. When I think about the past sixty years in history, I think about the John F. Kennedy assassination, the Challenger explosion, the Beatles, the Bush and Clinton presidencies, and the Watergate scandal. I remember those as being things I have either heard or read about that happened in that period, but I can’t know as I wasn’t there. My grandfather was, and what he told me surprised me.

When I asked Papa about the notable historical events that had impact on him he listed the following: the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, the first man to walk on the moon in 1969, the Vietnam war in 1973, the fall of Communism and the reunification of Germany, and the terrorist attacks we now refer to as 9/11. Being that my entire childhood was full of sporting events, Papa noted the 1960 World Series in which the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the New York Yankees and the 2017 Stanley Cup Championship that was won by the Pittsburgh Penguins for the fifth time. I also asked him about notable movements that took places during his life. Here are his answers: the massive protests and sit-ins by college students during the Vietnam War, the Black Panthers who fought for civil rights using violence, the National Organization for Women who fought for women’s rights, and the Green Peace Group that brought attention to the climate and environmental issues on a global level.

When I heard about the movements during his life, it took me back to the things I read about in high school history classes, but never really made a personal connection to. I did not even realize that there were concerns about the climate. I thought the climate change issue was new. As it turns out, the subject was extremely relevant as liberalism grew in the 1960s. The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, the National Environmental Policy Act was put in place, as well as the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act (History.com). Now, when I think about those things, I picture them from the eyes of Papa, someone was there and experienced it all firsthand.

I have never been involved in politics, always staying on the sidelines, but I have realized that politics is not an area for the weak. Politics can be very cutthroat. My grandpa told me that it wasn’t always as bad as it is now. He grew up in a very Republican family. His earliest memory of politics occurred when he was in the third grade and John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Thinking back, he says that party became an irrelevant issue after JFK’s death. Americans came together to do what was best for the country and personal agendas were seen as selfish, self-serving, and unpatriotic. He talks about the 1970s in particular, as the decade in which he went to college and started his own business at the age of 21. He mentioned his love for the music. I came to the assumption that he has fond memories of the decade, which he referred to as “a simpler time.”

Another area of life that caught my interest was technology. My generation grew up with colored televisions, home phones, cell phones, computers, and fancy cars. With the rate at which technology has grown throughout the last ten years of my life alone, I had a pretty strong feeling things were much different for Papa. He grew up with black and white television until he was in high school, when his dad bought the family a color television. Out of all the inventions and technological growth throughout his life, I was very interested to see what had the greatest impact on his life. His answer was the personal computer, created in the mid-1970s. As microprocessors were developed and refined, e-mail and internet became used in many households. Personal computers eventually became an item found in nearly all households (History.com). Papa was around twenty-years-old and in college when this invention was introduced.

There were several other items on his list of notable inventions. In the 1950s and ‘60s, cars got very bad mileage, did not come with air conditioning, were very unreliable due to frequent mechanical issues, and had very few safety features. Therefore, the cars driven now are something that he appreciates. Papa is a fan of music, particularly classic rock and jazz, so the birth of electric guitars and music synthesizers made his list alongside the many inventions traced back to the space program. Lastly, the cell phone. My grandfather grew up with a “dial” phone that was part of a party line, where you never knew who was listening in. The cell phone revolutionized communications, making it possible to communicate with those hundreds of miles away at any time of the day without delay.

Interviewing my grandpa taught me the importance of knowing your history, of being involved and paying attention to what is happening. There is so much to be learned from those who came before me and I believe it is my generation’s responsibility to pass our history down to those who come after us. Seeing the changes that have occurred in politics, technology, and even entertainment can help us make better choices as to how we vote, or how we live. It can lead to the next generation becoming more involved in those places where others have been negligent.

 

 

Bibliography

History.com. Invention of the PC. 2011. Web page. 18 June 2017. <http://www.history.com/topics/inventions/invention-of-the-pc&gt;.

This webpage is a secondary source that focuses and the invention and development of the Personal Computer (PC.) This website is from a reliable organization and provides accurate and detailed information regarding the history of the personal computer. I used this source to add credibility to the information included in my essay about the PC.

—. THE 1970s. 2010. Web page. 18 June 2017. <http://www.history.com/topics/1970s&gt;.

This webpage is a secondary source that focuses on the history of the 1970s in America. I used this source for information on the climate and environmental issues that my grandfather mentioned to add credibility and extra information. I did not know that environmental issues were recognized 40+ years ago, so I also used this source to satisfy my own curiousity.

Boarts, William. Personal Interview. 14 June 2017.

This is a primary source, an interview I conducted via e-mail with my step-grandfather who became the subject of my essay. I asked him questions about his heritage, occupations, the way politics changed throughout the years, how he felt about women making their way into the professional world, and about notable historical events that occurred in his life. I did some research regarding the things he told me and used a large amount of the information in my essay, as the base of my reflective essay. A majority of the things he spoke about are relevant, not only historically, but also to the things I have been studying in class.

 

 

[1] Original spelling. It is not clear to me when Bortz became Boarts, or why.

Chaos

So, the past two weeks have been insane.

I had a miscarriage, a huge fight with my boyfriend who says I’ve been really rude and uncaring since it happened, my phone and computer screens both got cracked. So I had to buy a new phone, pay $400 for my computer screen to get fixed (it’s getting sent out Monday), and because of the computer, I’m cramming three weeks of coursework into 3 days before I send it to HP. Which is lovely. No pressure.

I received great news today, about a couple different things, including a job.

I’m posting to just to keep myself sane and update anyone who may be following along. I’ve been feeling really depressed lately and I think it’s because I haven’t been posting. I’m keeping everything bottled up rather than posting or talking to someone, which is really unlike me. Hopefully, things continue to get better over the next couple weeks as I don’t want to be feeling like shit on my birthday, the 21st.

I hope you all are having a great week and enjoy your weekend! If you’re a hockey fan like me, enjoy the Stanley Cup Finals and Let’s Go Pens!!!

Angel

I wrote about the ultrasound I had last Thursday. I was so aggravated because no one would tell me anything. They said I would have to wait for my doctor to tell me, which is standard protocol. A protocol that I think is really fucked up. And here is why.

At my ultrasound, they noticed that the baby was only measuring at 9 weeks, and I was 10 weeks that day. No biggie. Then the noticed there was no heart beat. But of course, they couldn’t tell me. So they just kept going on like everything was fine. These people went along with their day while me and my fiance were talking about baby stuff, knowing that the baby inside me was no longer alive. They knew that I was miscarrying and didn’t tell me because they weren’t allowed.

Today, I had my doctor’s appointment and that’s when they told me. Throughout the entire process, they took my weight and were talking about how I’ll probably gain most of my weight at the end. Knowing that I was reaching the end way too early, they told me that. They asked me normal check up questions, listening to me talk about the plans I had for myself and my family. They listened to me talk about my baby knowing that my baby was going to leave me soon. Then, before I could even process what they were saying, the told me I’d have to come in and either take medication, have surgery, or wait for it to naturally happen.

I know that this happens. I know that it’s not rare for something like this to happen to a woman early in pregnancy. But no one ever thinks that it’s going to happen to them. And those who assume that it won’t emotional effect the woman when it’s so early in the pregnancy, they’re so wrong. I love my baby. I don’t know why it happened, I don’t know if it’s something that I did or something that occurs naturally. I just wish the people who were involved were a bit more fucking sensitive about it.

The Great Bison Herds

One of my US History courses started today. Our first assignment is about the difference between the romantic heroic depiction of the US conquer of the West and the reality of the savage carnage that took place out there in the 19th century.

What made me really angry was thinking about the Sand Creek massacre in the Colorado territory in 1864. The leader of the tribe presented both a white flag and American flag, yet US forces killed more than 270 Indians, including children.

Then, because they were considered a “nuisance” and a way of handling the Indian “problem” the bison were killed off, which was happening anyway because of the transcontinental railroad that divided the plains, and herds, in two. It just seems all so ugly and evil and unnecessary. All because the United States government wanted to expand. Even if it didn’t happen then I’m sure it would have happened by now. The quest for land and wealth and power has been a part of this country since the beginning. It definitely wasn’t about freedom at this point, or at least not the freedom of anyone else. Hypocrites.

 

Please, feel free to comment. I’m not a history major nor do I consider myself to be highly knowledgeable in this area. I’d love to hear some other takes or facts from those more qualified than myself. I’m simply expressing my dislike for the way things took place.

Don’t Read If You Are “Sensitive”

Don’t Read If You Are “Sensitive”

“Riots”

A utopia is an imagined community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities. In Lois Lowry’s 1993 John Newbery Medal-winning novel, “The Giver,” the citizens feel no pain, they have no feelings. A dystopia is a utopia where things have gone wrong.

If the Bible is to be believed, the “Garden of Eden” was our utopia. When free will came into play, Eve gave Adam the fruit, and things went wrong. We live in a dystopia, things have gone wrong, a lot of things.

Today, on Facebook, I saw a video of an African American man talking about the Black Lives Matter “movement.” This man said that he would not stand up for the movement until they acknowledged the black on black violence that happens on a daily basis across the country. This man said that he would not stand with the protestors until someone could answer the question of why a little girl sitting on her dad’s lap was shot in the head in a drive-by shooting. A cop was not responsible for that shooting.

After seeing that video, I decided to do some research. I read some information on the Black Lives Matter website. I looked at the racial comparison between white and black arrests, and what those arrests were for. I read newspaper articles about the riots and shootings and assaults that have taken place under the “Black Lives Matter” name.

On the Black Lives Matter website, www.blacklivesmatter.com, you can find an article by Mary Hooks. In this article, Ms. Hooks tells the “siSTARS” to “avenge the sufferings of our ancestors,” tells the women to take with them “something sharp in ya’ boot” and “a handcuff key,” and finished the article with, “Now, go slay!” This is disturbing. On their site, at the bottom of any page, you can find the words: “Black Lives Matter is an online forum intended to build connections between Black people and our allies to fight anti-Black racism.” In my opinion, someone directing other people to go out prepared with something sharp and a handcuff key to “slay” and “avenge” doesn’t sound like fighting anti-Black racism. It sounds like going out with the intent to cause civil unrest in the community.

 

Black Lives Matter was founded in 2012 by Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrisse Cullors after Trayvon Martin’s alleged killer George Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder and Martin was placed on trial posthumously for his own killing. The group grew after Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old. Following the shooting in Missouri, busloads of journalism students, black activists, and Fruit of Islam members flocked to Ferguson to participate in rallies and protests, and attend speeches. On www.colorlines.com, there are photos of children holding “No Justice = No Peace” signs. The mission of these people was to turn a local movement into a national movement. My question is, did they want the movement to be one of social unrest and chaos that is leading to even more racism?

Black Lives Matter had an understandable, and even respectable reason for forming. Blacks are treated unfairly in several ways. One of these is unemployment rates. The unemployment rate, as of August 2016, for blacks, 8.1%, is almost double that of whites, 4.4%. Also, the rate for whites, Hispanics, and Asians appear to be going up monthly by 0.1%, 0.2%, and 0.1% respectively, while the unemployment rate for African Americans is on the decline, dropping 0.3% a month.  This is according to the Department of Numbers (Department of Numbers). The Labor Force Statistics unemployment rates chart from July of 2016 confirms these numbers, and also shows that from this time last year, unemployment rates have dropped for all ethnicities, but the most dramatic change was for African Americans. The unemployment rate has dropped from 9.6% to 8.3% for Blacks (Bureau of Labor Statistics). While this is still significantly more than any other race, it is still progress.

Another reason could be the rate of pay for those who are employed. However, that’s not what the majority of “Black Lives Matter” affiliated stories or events are protesting. The riots, and even the group itself, was started because of “police brutality.” I’m not in any way saying those police officers are perfect. I am not claiming that the system is not flawed. I am saying that Black Lives Matter is providing people who are angry, or who feel discriminated against, or who believe that all their suffering is caused by cops, with a so-called movement to hide behind.

The riots going on in Charlotte seem like a foreshadowing of what is to come. It’s a repeat of the riots that occurred in April 1968, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. For a week following the assassination, there were riots in 125 major cities. Like now, the riots occurred during a year of a presidential election and affected the outcome of that election. Spiro Agnew knew what the people wanted and told them he’d give it to them. Together, Agnew and Richard Nixon, who had previously avoided talk of civil rights, captured the people’s attention by playing into what they wanted the most, racial justice.

My point in bringing up the 1968 riots is to show that this unrest has been going on for decades, centuries even. The Civil War was started because of racial discrimination and injustice. Racism and the relevant issues have been around for centuries. This isn’t something that will disappear overnight. However, the riots in the streets of Charlotte and the chaos in other parts of the country are not going to make it better.

In my neighborhood, which is predominately African American, I am scared to walk down the road. This afternoon, I walked to the store and a car was following me in the parking lot. That right there should show you that I am frightened, that I believed some car was following me. In reality, they were looking for a parking spot. I walk down the street in this neighborhood, tense, while in fear that one of the cars passing me will have someone in it, who has a gun, and who believes that shooting me will support “Black Lives Matter.” In Florida, there has been graffiti saying “Kill White People.” (Silva) For some reason, several African Americans believe things will be made better for them if white people get killed also. They don’t see that acting like barbaric criminals will only make things worse. The Black Lives Matter website says that they are approaching this issue of racism with dignity. I do not see the dignity behind 6 teenagers, 2 of whom were white, jumping 7 white teenagers in the name of Black Lives Matter. If your issue is with police or with unemployment or whatever you claim it is now, why are you beating up teenagers who have done nothing to you? (Cleveland 19 Digital Team)

I could continue to go on with times when “Black Lives Matter” had nothing to do with police brutality or racial discrimination. If anything, people were being discriminated against by blacks for not being black. One such time would be when a Marine veteran in McDonald’s was robbed by a group of teenagers. (Hoilman) I could also tell you about a time when my sister was beaten up and told she wasn’t allowed to have an opinion on “Black Lives Matter” because she was a white female and doesn’t know what it’s like to be discriminated against.

I fully support equal rights for all races, including African-Americans. I do not support using a “movement” as a way to discriminate. I do not support beating up veterans who fought for the rights we have. Rights that include people of race being able to express their opinion of dissatisfaction with how they’re being treated. I do not support police brutality. I do not support the twisting of facts or leaving out key elements, like how more blacks die because of homicide from other blacks than by the hand of whites. Also, more police caused deaths are at the hand of black police officers than white cops. Sadly, I accept that the probability of this issue being resolved during my life is slim. However, I hope that my kids will not grow up in a world where things like this happen. The root of this problem is the segregating of one person from another in the first place. All lives matter, regardless of color or age or sexuality or religion. It is not up to one race to decide the other race is not worthy of living.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Bureau of Labor Statistics. 8 July 2016. 28 September 2016. <http://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cpsee_e16.htm&gt;.

Cleveland 19 Digital Team. Men chant ‘Black lives matter’ before viciously attacking white victims, police say. 22 August 2016. 28 September 2016. <http://www.cleveland19.com/story/32814897/men-chant-black-lives-matter-before-viciously-attacking-white-victims&gt;.

Department of Numbers. n.d. 28 September 2016. <http://www.deptofnumbers.com/unemployment/demographics/&gt;.

Hoilman, Carly. Marine Vet Says Group of Teens Harassed Him While He Was Eating — He Woke Up a Short Time Later and Pieced Things Together. 16 February 2016. 28 September 2016. <http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2016/02/16/marine-vet-says-group-of-teens-harassed-him-while-he-was-eating-he-woke-up-a-short-time-later-and-pieced-things-together/&gt;.

Hooks, Mary. #SayHerName. n.d. Web Article. 28 September 2016. <http://blacklivesmatter.com/sayhername-mary-hooks/&gt;.

Silva, Cristina. ‘Kill White People’ Black Lives Matter Graffiti In Florida Alarms Residents. 28 September 2016. 28 September 2016. <http://www.ibtimes.com/kill-white-people-black-lives-matter-graffiti-florida-alarms-residents-2423112&gt;.

Solomon, Akiba. http://www.colorlines.com. 5 September 2014. 28 September 2016. <http://www.colorlines.com/articles/get-bus-inside-black-life-matters-freedom-ride-ferguson&gt;.

 

 

I wrote this for my creative writing class also. It was in response to a prompt where I had to write about a newsworthy current event. It was written on 9/28/16

Hot Fudge Sundae and Hockey

Hot Fudge Sundae and Hockey

I don’t understand what is so delicious about hot fudge sundae poptarts, but I cannot stop eating them. I woke up this morning and the first thought I had was that I wanted a poptart. Not to mention the two packs I ate last night during the hockey game.

It was the Ottawa Senators and my Pittsburgh  Penguins, at home in Pittsburgh. I was aggravated as all get out because I turned the game on, channel NBC, and what was playing? Golf. That’s right. Golf was on. I went on my facebook and into my Penguins group and people were going insane. Anywho, 23 minutes later, NBC finally switches over to the hockey game. The Penguins pushed back puck drop to 7:30 so we didn’t miss a thing (:

Yet the entire time I was watching the game, all I wanted to do was eat. If it wasn’t those damn poptarts, it was the Ruffles or some of the veggies I have in the fridge. All I want to do is eat. Even know, I’m trying my hardest not to eat because I just ate breakfast. I don’t want to gain a lot of “fat” weight during the pregnancy. I was 113 at the beginning  (I’m a very small person, only 5’1) and I’m guessing at my appointment on Tuesday I’ll be up to 118 or so… I’m only 10 weeks so I shouldn’t really see any weight gain, but with the way I’m eating it’s unavoidable.