Tuesday, May 14, 2013

* Dedication

So ends The Anti- Yale.

In Memoriam: JPA

He was a Toscanini of the telephone and a Zeus of the xerox machine. He used both incessantly to build networks, like a spider builds a web.
And to the same end: To ensnare.

But this ensnaring was a moral act.   He was the most effective agent of change I ever met.  He would descend upon an explosive situation ---  the aftermath of the shootings at Jackson State and Kent State; the occupation at Wounded Knee; the protests at the national conventions at Miami Beach; the Iran Hostage Crisis - - - and simply start to build a network to ensnare the volatile forces of change so they could be slowed down, examined and dealt with calmly rather than impulsively, and given a chance to create rather than destroy.

He was my model for ministry.  And indeed he wrote a recommendation for me when I entered his alma mater, Yale Divinity School. He shattered the stereotype of  ministry as an Edwardian drawing room activity conducted over coffee on plush carpets and under steeples.

His was the ministry of healing, and sometimes it was necessary to hurt in order to heal: Hurt oneself (satyagraha in Gandhi's term) and others (with the truth).

Sometimes ministry was a cauterizing process - - - burn the wound to oust the infection.  His own wounds accumulated over the years of weeks at a time with no rest and  one or two hours of sleep a night.  I know this first hand from working with him in Ohio and Florida in the midst of his activities at Kent State, the Miami Conventions of 1972, and Wounded Knee.

When he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in the throws of his terminal illness, I thought the Prize too big for him.  Not that he didn't deserve it; but that his temperament was really geared to the rewards of the non-material world.

He stayed at my home when he was awarded Yale Divinity School's Distinguished Service Award by his classmates on the 25th anniversary of their graduation.  After the ceremony he returned to my apartment and said, "I want to show you something."  And he pulled out of his suit pocket a folded piece of paper.  I unfolded it and discovered a simple typewritten page with words to the effect:









He was as proud of that piece of paper as if it had been a solid gold plaque.  We didn't have to say anything to each other: We understood immediately that the rewards of the world we had chosen  were rewards of the human heart.

Of whom do I speak thusly: The Reverend John P. Adams, a man whose name is etched on my heart and the hearts of innumerable others.

Paul D. Keane 
M. Div. '80

NB: This piece was prepared  for a planned biography of the late John P. Adams, to be written by David M. Boerner, Associate Editor of the Akron Beacon Journal, April, 1984.

Update, 2013: That biography is being completed by Lawrence Dowler, retired archivist at Harvard University and former Director of Manuscripts and Archives at Yale Universty's Sterling Memorial Library.

* Finis

"I was born to join in love, not hate ---that is my nature."

Sophocles, Antigone

Monday, May 13, 2013

* Jeaniegray and the Magical World of Mount Carmel

Jeaniegray graduated from the Yale School of Art 
long before the present 
Yale Art and Architecture Building 
was designed.


* An Offer to Yale University's Manuscripts and Archives Division of Sterling Memorial Library

Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University

Christine Weideman, Head, Manuscripts and Archives,
Sterling Memorial Library
Yale University

Lawrence Dowler,  Archivist Emeritus
Harvard University

Dear Christine and Larry,

I have a collection of papers belonging to Yale University matriculant J. Walter Bassett of Mount Carmel, one of the founders of the Sleeping Giant Association, which saved Sleeping Giant from development.

I offered them to Quinnipiac University Archives a couple of years ago and they declined them, referring me instead to the Miller Memorial Library in Hamden, which I know something about since I obtained the Thornton Wilder study furniture for them while on the Mayor’s Bicentennial Commission from 1975-1985.   http://wilder1985.blogspot.com/

They are not a research institution.

I want these papers in a research institution.

Since my papers are in the Kent State Collection  at Yale which Christine oversees and which you, Larry, helped me create when you had Christine’s position before your move to Harvard, I wonder if they might find a home in my collection at Yale?

You can view the work I have been doing on them at these two links



Paul D. Keane,
M.A., M.Div., M.Ed.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

* The Mount Carmel Petition My Mother Refused to Sign

Robert H. and Barbara W. Keane
50th Wedding Anniversary, 1984

The Land of the Sleeping Giant

My parents lived in Mt. Carmel for forty years of their fifty-one year marriage.

 My mother’s great aunt, Lyda Wilbur, had owned Wilbur’s Hardware Store (later known as Kimler’s Hardware Store) in Centerville near the Hamden Town Hall and when she died she left my mother a small –very small—inheritance. It was big enough though to put a down-payment on the house where I was a baby  in Mt. Carmel near Legion Field.

The inheritance got my parents out of the New Haven ghetto, Star Street to be exact, where both of them had lived in poverty.  My father had graduated from Hillhouse High School and attended one year of college at the University of Alabama on the insurance money he received when his mother, getting off a trolley in West Haven, was hit and run and killed  by a drunk driver. His  much older brothers (there was no father in the picture) had told him he had no right to use the money to go to college. They were too poor for pretensions like that.

My mother had never completed high school.  

My father’s first job during the Depression was as a Good Humor man, selling ice cream from a three wheeled bicycle with a freezer contraption.

By 1960 my father had worked himself up to Executive Director of Labor Relations at Landers, Frary, and Clarke in New Britain.

That job and the munificent salary of  $12,500 a year enabled them to move to a new house.  They bought a lot in Yankee Mount Carmel's  fashionable West Woods on Still Hill Road and built what was then considered a “modern” house, an 8-room, split level, for the enormous sum of $ 25,000.

It was woods on both sides at first and then someone bought and cleared the lot above them (it was a hill, after all) and built another split level.  

And so we had neighbors.  A year later the neighbors sold their split-level to the Assistant Superintendent of Schools in New Haven and his family, Kenneth R. Redmonds.

The Redmonds were African Americans, or, as was the polite term back then, Blacks.

This was 1961 or 1962 and many folks had trouble understanding that all men are created equal.

My mother, who came from poverty, and had educated herself (she always had a book at her side in the living room) was not one of them. She knew about inequality.

One night the doorbell rang and my mother opened what was then considered the stylishly fashionable double door to the entry hall in our split level.  My father avoided most social interactions such as answering the door and phone.  He was a man of deep silences and piercing intellect (a “Philadelphia lawyer” as the expression goes) but chit-chat was not part of his repertoire.
RHK at 70

My mother on the other hand knew just what to say on all occasions and never consciously offended a person in her life. She worked as Assistant Registrar of Vital Statistics in the Hamden Town Hall and literally typed every birth and death certificate in the Town, as well as every dog and fishing license. 

By the time she retired she knew everyone in town, living or dead, fishing or barking.

It was a neighbor at the door  with a petition which expressed many neighbors' displeasure at having to share the neighborhood with a Black family. Would my mother like to sign?

My mother was sorry but she would not like to sign. 

The doors closed softly but firmly. The neighbor had never got over the threshold, double doors or not.

A few weeks later the Redmonds moved in. 

My mother did what she always did for new neighbors---made a casserole and brought it over personally to welcome them to the neighborhood, an old Yankee custom.

Over the next 23 years my mother would wave to the Redmonds, and they to my mother (my father was invisible)  and they would shout through the trees about the weather and how the kids were doing and about the seasons and such.  It was good Yankee neighborliness—friendliness without intrusiveness.

Fast forward 23 years to 1985.

 My mother then 73  and my father then 71  go on vacation to the West Coast.  My mother winds up stranded in an intensive care unit for 118-days fully conscious but unable to get off the life-support machinery.  My father is stranded in a motel for the entire 4 months.  My parents home has been empty except for a house sitter who came to feed the dogs and a friend who cleaned the house weekly.

When my mother died and my father returned to an empty house, Mrs. Redmonds, who had never before stepped foot in our home, brought down a casserole, completing the twenty-three year cycle of neighborliness.

My father would live there seven more years. When he died at 78, Mrs. Redmonds called to tell me that  my father  and she, long a widow, had exchanged hellos all those seven years from their separate driveways. 

She’d kept an eye on him. 

In my father’s library jammed with books I found a slight volume on his desk after he died.

Its title? 

How to Talk to People.

This is how it was in my Mother’s Mount Carmel in the 1900's.

Error: 1934, not 1938
Note:  I do not know how to pluralize "Redmonds" without it looking awkward and pretentiously academic, so I am pluralizing it incorrectly for eyes' sake.

* Happy Mother's Day, Mrs. Jacobs

* O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again, as first I knew you in the timeless valley . . . (Thomas Wolfe)

(Link) The Sleeping Giant in Mount Carmel, Connecticut, shadows the Mount Carmel Burying Ground

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

* Stabat mater dolorosa: A letter to my Mother, Mother's Day, 2013

Barbara Ward Keane 1911-1985

link to New Haven Register article 5/8/13

My mother, Barbara Ward Keane, around 1934 at age 23.
She was so poor.  during The Depression,  that she did not have a suitable dress for this photo and the photographer draped his black  camera throw around her shoulders as a substitute.

Dear Mother,

You have been dead now almost thirty years.

Over the last few days I have received hate mail which says I am tarnishing your grave and your memory, that I am hiding behind your skirts for my own purposes.

I might have lost my confidence after such  words were it not for our longtime family friend, Joe Jensen, who called me from Connecticut immediately that he heard about your grave to tell me that he was sure you'd be right there supporting me in what I'm doing.

And then there is Dean Adams, the retired Chaplain of Yale, who you knew when he was at the Divinity School, who emailed me "good for you"  after reading in the newspaper about my offer to the Tsarnaev family of the cemetery plot next to yours.

Both of these friends were your friends too: One for thirty years, one briefly.   There are so few left now, still alive, who knew you when . . .

There are those too who have been silent these last few days and some who have sought to distance themselves from you and from the controversy your grave suddenly symbolizes.

That would not surprise you,  I am sure.

Some say your tombstone will be vandalized and the cemetery will become a shrine to a terrorist.

I say----and I think you would too ---- that it could become a shrine not of hatred but of peace---peace between two great world families.

It could become a shrine where one mother, now dead,  accepts with untroubled heart, the lost and publicly despised son of another mother, a mother who is isolated thousands of miles away, broken hearted, and in anguish. 

Stabat mater dolorosa (the grieving mother stood weeping).

This is an image not for one select mother in one select religion, but for all mothers everywhere  in all religions.

Especially at this moment.

I will be thinking of you and all mothers in the days ahead.

Your loving son,


* An Offer to the Mayor of Hamden

Mayor Jackson
Mt. Carmel Burying Ground
One of the  rather blunt emails I received  yesterday made this suggestion:

"In lieu of offering space to an unwelcome terrorist, don't you think far more generous & meaningful gesture would have been to donate that space as the resting place of a fallen US soldier whose family cannot afford a decent burial? "

If the New Haven Register editorial (see previous post) is correct and the Tsarnaev funeral director has declined my offer, I will be happy to donate the two or three remaining plots I own to the Mayor of Hamden's office to be used now or in the future for U.S. soldiers who have died in the service of our country and cannot afford a plot of their own.

I was born in Hamden, molded by its public schools ( HHS '63) and served on the (link) Mayor's Bicentennial Commission from 1975 - 1985.

I offer Mayor Jackson this gift to the Town of Hamden if my previous offer is declined.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

* New Haven Register Editorial 5/7/13

My mother, Barbara Ward Keane, 
with my little brother, Chris, 1948

EDITORIAL: Offer of gravesite for Boston bomber followed Christian teaching

Paul Douglas Keane did the right thing in offering his plot in Hamden’s Mount Carmel Burying Ground to bury the remains of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the accused Boston Marathon bombers.

In doing so, he was following Christian teaching that all people are made in the image of God and deserve to be treated with dignity, even in death.

Keane, a graduate of Yale Divinity School, said he was speaking up “for the pariah, for the leper, for the hated person — and for the family in despair.” On his blog, The Anti-Yale, he wrote that he was making the offer in memory of his mother, who taught him to “love thine enemy.”

He was referring to Jesus’ words in the Gospel of Matthew: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
This is not one of those easy sayings. Tsarnaev’s actions should be condemned and, if he had lived, he should have faced prosecution, as his brother will. There is no justification for killing and injuring people who were out to cheer on the runners in the marathon.

But for the Christian, each person’s essential humanity, as a child of God, does not change. It’s the same belief that led some churches to ring their bells 28 times for the Newtown slayings, including Adam Lanza, even though he murdered 27 people.

No matter how horrible his actions, Tsarnaev’s body deserves to be buried with respect.

As a commenter on our website pointed out, there were no protests about burying the assassins of President John F. Kennedy or the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Serial killer Michael Ross is buried in Fairfield County, despite murdering eight women.

It would have been better, however, if Keane had made his offer privately, instead of posting it on his blog. He said he wanted to inspire Christians and Americans to self-reflection, but the grave would likely be a target of vandals, causing unnecessary worry to the families of those buried nearby.

It is that concern that lies behind the Worcester, Mass., funeral director’s decision to decline Keane’s offer, and those of many others, in favor of a rural gravesite that would be less likely to be disturbed. He plans to announce the location today. The press conference is unnecessary, although it will be impossible to keep the location secret.

But let his remains lie in obscurity, without bringing more publicity to a man who sought to be remembered for intentionally killing and maiming others.

Monday, May 6, 2013

* Just the Medicine the Dog Ordered

Dr. Dog

Nemo D. Keane, ESQ., M.D. (Medicine Dog)


"Doctor of Woof-ology"

The cognitive challenges of many residents in a nursing home make "breaking the ice" an awkward and oftentimes fruitless effort.

Enter Nemo, the Medicine Dog.  

My Basset Hound (Nemo) and I have been visiting the same local nursing home every Thursday morning for the past several months since we began YANA. We missed only one Thursday when the flu had shut down a wing of the home.

Our mission is to greet as many of the 57 residents as is possible.  Nemo manages to break the ice and engage those with severe cognitive and communication challenges, where I alone would simply be a stranger in their midst trying awkwardly to communicate.

Nemo doesn't need to explain why he's there: he just wags his tail and nuzzles up to be petted. And the residents doesn't have to try to engage him in conversation, although often many do manage to utter a phrase of pleasure or delight.

Our visit to all three wings and the cafeteria usually takes an hour, from (9:45 to 11:00 AM). Sometimes we go into individual rooms; many times we meet folks in the hallways or in the cafeteria at "coffee hour" which begins at 9:30.

This particular nursing home has an amazing feature: On a sunny day, the place is flooded with sunlight through windows on all four sides  of the building at once (is this even possible  ? ! ), almost as if the world is trying to invade the place with its own big smile.

Nemo has been a godsend to me in this effort.  I'm afraid I would not have been able to break through the social and cognitive barriers without Dr. Dog at my side.

Anyone who has a dog and would like to join the Medicine Dog team, should contact me at YANA (You Are Not Alone)

* An Offer to the Tsarnaev Family

Barbara Ward Keane 1911 - 1985

I offer the plot next to my mother (above photo) in the Mt. Carmel Burying Ground in Mt. Carmel, Connecticut to the Tsarnaev family, gratis.

I am willing to donate a burial plot next to my mother in Mt. Carmel Burying Ground to the Tsarnaev family if they cannot obtain a plot. The only condition is that I do it in memory of my mother who taught Sunday School at the Mt. Carmel Congregational Church for twenty years and taught me to"love thine enemy."

I own the plot.  No one can refuse me access.

Paul D. Keane
Master of Divinity '80
M.A., M.Ed.

(and this time I intentionally invoke my Yale Divinity School degree)

The Mount Carmel Congregational Church (Founded 1757) . My mother taught Sunday School and led the Junior Choir at this church for decades. I taught Sunday School there when I was sixteen.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

* From Neighborliness to Narcissism: the World of "Textelation"


In a word painting similar to American Gothic, guest writer, Ron Richo, encapsulates an American transformation over the last half century in three vivid images of closing off .


" In my lifetime America turned its back on the world when it exchanged the front porch for the backyard patio.

Now it has closed its eyes and ears to [the world] with cell phones and earphones.

Nothing will change this but it is very hard to see.

I did coin a new word out of all this though.

When you see someone on the subway or on the street reacting to a text with a smile, I call that ' textelation.' "

Ron Richo
May 5, 2013

Friday, May 3, 2013

* From Holy Hill

What I admire most about Yale is its commitment to free speech and free inquiry.  Hence, the Divinity School's own internal organ, SPECTRUM, posted this blurb about The-Anti-Yale.

See page 23

* Get thee to a nunnery, Yale Daily News !


SPECTRUM, Spring, 2013

Nun-Coverage at Yale Daily News?

I prodded the Yale Daily News three times (once in a published letter to the editor) to dig deeply into this story which has had international coverage.  I even mused publicly that the Daily News' failure to do so cannot possibly be anything other than a secular blindness to the role religion still plays in society, either that or simply youthful inexperience with the world. At least the Divinity School's own house organ, SPECTRUM (link above) got it right: The controversy put Yale Divinity School on the global map in 2012.

I blush for the  Yale Daily News in this matter, for I have admired the maturity of its work in other stories of national import over the last four years from a horrible Yale murder to a courageous Yale "coming out".

Let us hope their tepid coverage here is truly youthful inexperience and not latent secular bias.

Paul D. Keane,

M.Div. '80
M.A., M.Ed.