Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Gab Club 1930 -1999 New Haven, Connecticut and its suburbs

The Gab Club  1930-1999

My Mother co-founded a "girls club" n New Haven and environs called The Gab Club that met once a month for 55 years (69 in all after my mother's death). The same dozen girls met, served a fancy dessert on their best china and decked-out table  and gabbed for three hours on a Tuesday night every month at a different member's house.  Occasionally they added new members.  They raised their families, became grandmothers and widows  and divorcees,  shared their joys and sorrows,  and buried each other.


My parents, 50th anniversary photo
Seven years after my mother died, the "girls" insisted on putting on the reception for my father's funeral in his home.  There were only four "girls" left of the original dozen. My father had taken them out to a restaurant every New Year after my mother's death to honor their loyalty.  They returned the favor.


The parallels to this charming PBS piece "Tea Time" are amazing.


Saturday, September 19, 2015

* Hamden Keeps Its Promise to Miss Wilder

Letter to the Editor:

History preserved in Hamden


From 1974-76, I served on the mayor of Hamden’s Bicentennial Commission. When Hamden resident Thornton Wilder, author of the play “Our Town,” died in 1975, we arranged with his sister, Miss Isabel Wilder, to acquire the famed author’s desk and chair and significant books from his study, with the promise that we would preserve them in a reconstructed version of the author’s study.

That effort took longer than the Bicentennial Commission’s 1976 charge, so we became the “Reconstituted Bicentennial Commission” and after nine years and two more mayors we finally arranged with an architect to construct a portion of Wilder’s study in a nook in the lobby of the then new Miller Memorial Library building. It was dedicated in May 1985 with Miss Wilder attending, at age 85. She would live ten more years and endow a scholarship for an annual Thornton Wilder essay contest at the Miller Library for high school students.

Last November, the Miller Library announced a major renovation of its facility. In a world in which memorials come and go when renovations and building projects occur, I am pleased to discover that the renovation did not alter the Bicentennial Commission’s promise to Miss Wilder that if she donated her brother’s desk and memorabilia to the Town of Hamden, we would put it on permanent display.

Citizens can still view that memorial to America’s most honored writer (and Hamden resident), Thornton Wilder, in the lobby of Hamden’s Miller Memorial Library, diagonally across from the Hamden Town Hall on Dixwell Avenue. I trust that that memorial — and our promise to Miss Wilder — will long endure.

You can see the history of that project at http://wilder1985.blogspot.com.

Paul D. Keane
White River Junction, Vermont

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

* What's in a name?

Yale Alumni Magazine
Dear Editor:
Regarding your article  "Renewed debate over renaming Calhoun"  and also the concomitant debate on campus about abolishing the title "master" for residential college staff : If we are going to turn Yale into a giant Skinner Box for political correctness, where everyone gets zapped whenever they stray from the desired political effect, we may lose the mission of the Academy itself: the unfettered pursuit of truth.
Consider the following:
'Mister' is "a weakened form of master" to quote one etymological source.
"Woman" is etymologically derived from from "wif" plus "mon" or wife of man, making the term "women's liberation" an interesting and perhaps self cancelling proposition indeed

Jonathan Edwards, for whom another residential college is named, turned hell into a sadistic theme park for Protestants, unleashing untold suffering and pain into the dim consciousness of 17th and 18th century Christian parishioners.

Benjamin Silliman was the first to "fractionate petroleum" ( create gasoline, etc.) and as such is the unacknowledged Father of Global Warming.

Calhoun College is but the beginning. 

And what about Whitney Avenue which is contiguous to Yale ? Peabody Museum and several other Yale properties sit on it, including what was once a nuclear something-or-other at Whitney and Edwards, I believe. 

Whitney Avenue  leads to Eli Whitney's workshop at the base of Whitney Dam in Hamden. As you  recall, Whitney invented the cotton gin, production of which  acted like a massive injection of steroids into the evil economic practice of slavery, and has been called one of the causes of the Civil War. 

What are we to do with that little problem if we are going to play the purify the old blue campus name game? Cotton Gin Avenue anyone?

Maybe we need a theory not  just of separation of church and state in America, but  of politics and scholarship as well.

Paul D. Keane
M. Div. '80

Monday, September 14, 2015

* Amazing Grace

Sunday, September 13, 2015

*Sweet Vermont Lemon