“Deep in my heart I miss him so today” from the sentimental song ” O mein Papa” seems the perfect line to hum on this 8th day of May; this day which would have been my father’s 98th birthday.
On May 8th someone in the family would have made him his favourite roast chicken dinner, just as he did for us on so many special occasions. And we would have drunk to his health with cider and champagne. My siblings and I may still do the latter, via Skype, but the family meal will have to wait until we gather again.
Although, today, my thoughts are mainly focused on my father, I am also thinking of other important events associated with 8 May, such as VE Day and World Red Cross Red Crescent Day.
For my father’s birthday in 2014 I wrote about the Red Cross and its significance in our lives. Read on if you would like to know more of that story.
“Today, 8 May, is the birthday of Henry Dunant , founder of the Red Cross and joint recipient of the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901.
Today, also, marks World Red Cross Red Crescent Day, which since 1948 has been celebrated internationally on Henry Dunant’s birthday.
Another celebration that takes place every year on 8 May is my father’s birthday. 🙂
Although the idea for the Red Cross arose in 1859 and was formalised in 1863, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies was only established in 1919, in the aftermath of World War 1. So the IFRC was almost as brand new as my father when he arrived into the world in 1920.
In the Christchurch Press, for the day of my father’s birth, there is an item which mentions the Red Cross Society in the US, providing hostess houses for the 3709 war brides of the American Expeditionary Force. The newspaper also has articles about ongoing peace and treaty negotiations and on war graves decisions, as well as the influenza outbreaks which were, once again, causing concern in New Zealand. In 1920 the world may have been nominally at peace but the First World War was still very much a presence in everyday lives. Yet there would, undoubtedly, have been an expectation that babies born after ‘the war to end all wars’ would live their lives in peace.
I am sure, my grandmother, holding her new-born baby, that day in May, did not imagine that a couple of decades hence her boy would be in uniform.
Nor would she imagine that, by the 1980s, her son would be working, in his post retirement years, for the Fiji Red Cross.
That’s the trouble with kids; you never know where they’ll end up or how they’ll turn out, but I think my grandmother would say she raised a good lad. 😉
Happy Birthday Dad. Happy Birthday Red Cross.
© silkannthreades "
If you link to the original post you will find comments from two bloggers who have since passed away. I miss them, too: Christine
and Catherine from Seeking Susan.
And for those of you who are interested in the military connections in this post, you may like to visit our wonderful New Zealand Online War Memorial Cenotaph where I have been putting together my father’s online memorial. My father served both in New Zealand and the Solomons. He was with radar Unit 53, Cape Astrolabe, on Malaita, one of the most isolated RNZAF detachments in the Pacific.
Have I read you dry? Join me in a toast to mein Papa. Cheers!
It’s a very modern saying
But a true and honest thought
That if you become a blogger
By your readers you’ll be taught
As a blogger I’ve been learning
You’ll forgive me if I boast
And I’ve now become an expert
On the subject I like most
Getting to know you ( from my every day work-horse desk)
Getting to know you
Getting to know all about you
Getting to like you
Getting to hope you like me ( when I sit at my best desk )
Getting to know you
Putting it my way (at my quiet space desk)
You are precisely
My cup of tea
Singing and Signing off from my desk,
With apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein and The King and I
At my desk, this spring day, I read these words
My Mother’s Other Life
Before we go out
to dinner or a movie,
after a long day…..
my mother would stop
in the middle of our rushing…
calmly, just a second,
sitting down on a black-cushioned,
straight-backed chair placed
beside the door solely
for that purpose: to rest
briefly, to deeply breathe in
and out until her heart
slowed down and her face
And I listen to them, too. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/podcasts/76392/my-mothers-other-life
Am I hearing my mother’s other life or my own other life?
Last night I finished reading Connon Girls ~ A Study of 20th Century New Zealand women at university, by Marie Peters.
Once that was my other life. I was a Connon Girl. Some fragments of my story are written within the text.
Do I miss my other life? Not really. It’s a good place to sit , for a while, but from my desk, this spring day, my life is present here ~ mostly.
For I am a mother, and for a mother there is always an other life. My daughter sings it.
Last week, I told a friend I would add joy to my next Advent post because it has been noticeably absent from my journey towards Christmas. Well, I searched for joy ~ I really did ~ but the closest I could get to it, for this fourth Sunday in Advent, was:
‘ Let there be light, let there be understanding,
let all the nations gather, let them be face to face.
Open our lips, open our minds to ponder,
open the door of concord opening into grace.’
The quote comes from a hymn for peace, written and composed in 1968 by two Canadians, Frances Wheeler Davis and Robert Fleming https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-let-there-be-light It is one of my favourite hymns to sing at any time of the year but it seems particularly appropriate for this Christmas season.
May you all be blessed with some measure of peace, hope, and joy, now and always.
And, in closing……
I would like to dedicate this post to Baquer Namazi and his family. Baquer Namazi was my husband’s colleague for many years. He was recently sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran. As he is 80 years old, and in poor health, this sentence is tantamount to life imprisonment. Bacquer’s former employer, UNICEF, has issued several statements about his plight, all of which I endorse.
Here is one of them.
UNICEF Statement on detention of Baquer Namazi
NEW YORK, 6 September 2016 – “It has now been over six months since Baquer Namazi, a respected former employee of UNICEF, was detained in Iran. His colleagues at UNICEF, and especially those who once worked with him, are deeply concerned about his health and well-being – as we stated on 3 March. Our concern has grown ever since.
“Mr. Namazi served at UNICEF as Representative for Somalia, Kenya and Egypt, among other positions. He worked tirelessly on behalf of the children in all those positions, often in highly difficult circumstances. He deserves a peaceful retirement.
“UNICEF does not engage in politics. We hope that Mr. Namazi will be treated as the humanitarian that he is, and that a humane perspective can be brought to his plight.
“Our thoughts remain with him and all his many friends and loved ones.”
The US State Department has also issued statements, one of which can be read here. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2016/10/263245.htm
And President-in-waiting, Donald Trump, has, of course, issued a tweet: “Well, Iran has done it again. Taken two of our people and asking for a fortune for their release. This doesn’t happen if I’m president!” (Note: I don’t know what fortune, Donald Trump, is talking about.)
Our family’s thoughts and love are with Baquer Namazi and his family. We hope that humanity and justice will prevail, and that a good man will be released.
“Let there be light, let there be understanding.”
Christmas is coming
The geese are getting fat,
Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat.
If you have no penny, a ha’penny will do,
If you have no ha’penny,
then God bless you. *
I am in the ‘God bless you’ category. How about you? 😉 But I am rich in blessings so the lack of pennies is really of no account ~ but, sigh, I would like that world trip.
The Christmas is Coming nursery rhyme/carol has several versions. * The one I give is my memory of the rhyme I sang as a child. For more information, you may like to read one account of its origins here https://treasuryislands.wordpress.com/2012/12/13/origins-christmas-is-coming/
Most of my readers will know about the earthquakes we experienced in Christchurch in 2010 and 2011 as well as the continuing aftershocks. The aftershocks are now minor and infrequent, yet the enormous impact of the initial earthquakes lives with us still. It is inescapable. It is omnipresent. The mark of the earthquakes is as good as branded upon us, seared into our being and into our land; indelible, ingrained, forever.
Yet our branding mark is no longer as raw and painful as it once was. There is healing. Healing which comes through significant milestones, like the recent opening of Helmores Lane Bridge; the only surviving 19th century timber bridge in Christchurch.
After 5 months of earthquake repairs, and restoration work, the bridge is once again open to pedestrians and cyclists, and sheep! http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/business/the-rebuild/83922014/christchurchs-oldest-timber-bridge-reopens-after-1-million-restoration
I didn’t attend the official opening, but the following day I visited the bridge for the simple pleasure of crossing it, and then standing midway to take in one of my favourite views in Christchurch.
This is what I saw. It was not what I heard.
I added a soundtrack to the video to drown out the earthquake reconstruction din which permeates the air almost everywhere in Christchurch.
The true soundtrack of our lives is an impromptu, improvised, unfinished symphony which I call “Earthquaked.” You can hear a bit of it in this next video ( and, happily, some birdsong, too.)
Unfortunately in my attempt to keep my video as short as possible, I edited out most of the noisiest noise. Hopefully, there’s enough left to give you an idea of “Earthquaked”, within the first 48 seconds; which is the average viewing time on my You Tube channel. 😉
p.s. Readers who are sharp-eyed grammarians will notice I have not placed an apostrophe in Helmores Lane. It is my natural inclination to do so, and the media articles, including one by the City Council, on the opening of the bridge certainly use an apostrophe. BUT it is my understanding that city councils in New Zealand do not usually use the apostrophe in street signage, and the New Zealand Geographic Board does not usually do so in place names. There are exceptions, of course. As far as I know Helmores Lane is not one of them. I am happy to be corrected on this apostrophe.