The audience is oohiing on this morning’s “View” while someone from Macy’s shows their spring collection. I am wondering if I were in my twenties again if I would be dumb enough to wear the shoes they are showing.
The shoes are huge wedges, including wedge sneakers, believe it or not, with studs on them …they look like goth dog collars gone wrong, and they look super dangerous. I hope that the fad passes quickly, because 40 years ago, when I worked at Punahou and was a permanent (three days a week) substitute in Barack Obama’s fifth grade class, I wore wedges like those and I cannot count on one hand how many times my ankle twisted and they brought me to the ground.
On one occasion at Punahou I tripped coming out of the administration office and fell flat on my faces, glasses flying. No one helped me, and it did not teach me not to wear wedge shoes, alas.
As you can see from the photo to the left, the wedge sneakers are not cheap — at least these aren’t. I couldn’t find a photo of the medieval looking silver pair shown on the view, but I am sure you can find them at Macy’s.
This weekend, a thoughtful essay by Jimmy Carter on the treatment of women by the world’s religions and his own difficult decision to leave his Southern Baptist faith made its way around facebook.
Carter wrote the essay under his title as an “elder” — part of a group called “The Elders,” formed in Johannesburg in 2007. The Elders is comprised of “independent global leaders working for peace and human rights.” Really familiar names include Carter, Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela. The Elders has a group of donors –an advisory board — that includes Richard Branson and Pam Omidyar, one of the founders of E-Bay. The Elders are supported by a small, but obviously polished and experienced team based in London.
Have you heard of The Elders? I had not. The Elders supported the Arab Awakening/Arab Spring. They are against Child Marriage, in support of women’s rights, and work for peace in the Korean Penisula, The Middle East and Burma. Tags on their website theelders.org include “activism and protest,” “conflict,” “education,” “Iran,” and “Cyprus” among others.
The Elders began as an idea between Peter Gabriel (flautist of rock band Genesis) and Nelson Mandela, based on the concept of the “village elders” who have traditionally been the keepers of wisdom in their cultures and communities. The Elders are independent of the pressures of elected office. They can open doors for people and speak out for causes that affect all of humanity. They are the voice of wisdom. They speak with moral authority.
Although I had not heard of the group, I have certainly heard of each of the members of The Elders and the impact their lives have made on our chaotic world. It is comforting to know that these men and women who have “walked the walk” are working together to move our world toward peace and respect for human rights.
It also reminds me that there are many, many individuals and groups working towards this goals, and that the path to hope is never hopeless.
When Mark lived in Sicamous, near Salmon Arm, in Canada he taught very young kids. Approaching Easter one year, he grew concerned that there was so much focus on bunnies and eggs, and hunting eggs and buying bunnies. He thought someone ought to tell them the story of Easter; the reason for the season.
So he began by talking about the painful walk down the Via Delarosa, Jesus carrying the cross he would be crucified on. Then, he told them about the nails, driven into his arms and legs.
Finally, he told them about the crown of thorns. The room was silent. Everyone was wondering when he would stop, and they could get back to eggs and bunnies. ”A crown of thorns,” he shouted. ” C’mon guys. What do you think would happen? They put a crown of thorns on his head and hammered the thorns into his skull. So what would happen?!”
Silence. Then from the back of the room a small voice “Brain damage?”
As you might recall, I met Mark when he was Ian’s fourth grade teacher. Known for misrepresenting facts, he told the kids he was 78 and Ian believed him. Ian liked to pin me down on the fact that Mark’s “real” name was Christopher, which turned out to be true. I have spent 23 years watching as he does not correct bank tellers, supermarket checkers, doctors and others who jump in and call him Chris. He is definitely not Chris.
A year later, we were living with the denizens of the Corn Dog Cafe, and Mark went to school one day feeling like he did not want to be himself. So he wasn’t. He told his students that he was “Mr. Hanington’s twin brother Brian” and that “Mr. Hanington was ill and he, Brian, would be teaching them.” Oh yes. ”And I am a practicing zudolite and today is a Zudolite Holy Day of Silence.”
He proceeded to write on the board and invite kids to write on the overhead projector (those days) if they had questions or answers to his. Where his brother Mark played classical music — mostly Carmina Burana — he, Brian, played punk rock. He could hear them whispering “his hair is darker than his brother’s.”
One little guy in the back — Nicky — destined to be as smart a smart aleck as MarkBrian, observed that Brian knew people’s names. So when they were walking to the library, he siddled up to MarkBrian and said ” I know I am not supposed to say anything, and I don’t want you to say anything, but your brother Mark? He’s an idiot.”
Almost forty years ago, I lived in Pusan, Korea. It is about as far south from the north as you can get. That being said, when I arrived, there had been an incident at the DMZ which few people I know remember, but it was a big deal. Soldiers from the North with an ax killed two American officers and the country was put on alert.
A brief description from Wikipedia:
The axe murder incident was the killing of two United States Army officers by North Korean soldiers on August 18, 1976, in the Joint Security Area (JSA) located in the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The U.S. officers had been part of a work party cutting down a tree in the JSA.
Three days later, the U.S. and South Korea launched Operation Paul Bunyan, an operation that combined a return to cut down the tree with a show of force to intimidate North Korea into backing down. North Korea then accepted responsibility for the earlier killings.
You have to give the Army credit for its naming operation. Operation Paul Bunyan indeed. The tree was being trimmed to clear the view plan to the North from the DMZ, and it is my understanding that the officers were killed because no orders could be given by anyone but an officer (on the face of it, it makes sense). At any rate, little happened until Operation Paul Bunyan was underway. The show of force involved parking large ships off North Korea’s shores.
Even down in Pusan, we were scared. Telephone poles had posters on them with fists that read “Kill communism.” We were frisked at every airport, and had to put the shades down on the (questionable) planes when we took off from Pusan and landed in Seoul. I worked for the American Red Cross and when we visited Korean Vietnam Vets in the hospital, they would greet us and say goodbye with a shout that translated to “Kill Communism immediately.”
Now that Kim Jun Un has shut down communications with South Korea, I can remember how unsettling it was to have a hostile neighbor on your border. A Korean friend thinks the young leader is just trying to get his people to believe in his might, but I worry that he may believe in it too — and all of this saber rattling may turn out not to be a joke. A few days ago, we sent two stealth bombers to drop inert munitions on an island parked off North Korea’s shores. Reminds me of cutting down the poplar tree.
Gloria. Circa 1955.
Gloria. Circa 2012.
Other than working for the American Red Cross in Korea for two years, Gloria Garvey has lived in Hawai`i since 1971. Her opinion and other writing has appeared in: The American Philatelist. Honolulu Weekly, The Honolulu Advertiser, The Honolulu Star Bulletin, The Star Advertiser, Hawai`i Reporter, Pacific Business News, Island Scene, The Design Management Journal.