Purple Passages: Secrets of Grimke House, Charleston

“Heidi, would you mind stopping by 329 East Bay Street before we leave town?”

We were on our way out of Charleston during our recent road trip, and my niece Heidi graciously agreed to stop her SUV long enough for me to catch a snapshot of the Grimké House basking in the bright morning sun. Its open arms-double staircase once welcomed visitors with a hospitable hug. (Until recently it housed attorneys’ offices, so you can draw your own conclusion about its more recent history!)

Grimke House_Charleston_mod

This house was made famous by Sue Monk Kidd’s book of historical fiction The Invention of Wings. Here is an excerpt from my review:

“ . . . the novelist creates parallel stories representing two strata of early nineteenth-century America, alternating chapters with the voices of two engaging characters: the aristocratic Sarah Grimké and the hand-maid (creative name for slave) assigned to her, Hetty Handful Grimké. Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten-year-old Handful. Over the next thirty-five years, both strive for a life of their own ‘bucking the constraints of cultural attitudes toward women and slavery, which Sarah and her sister openly challenged.'”

All the purple passages quotes today are pulled from the pages of The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd’s historical fiction about the Grimké family:

 

The Weather

“I slipped through the back door into the soft gloom, into the terror and thrill of defiance. The sky had gone cobalt. Wind was coursing in hard from the harbor.” (50)

(We experienced a Charleston, SC storm downtown as we entered this city May 7, 2015)

 

Mosquitoes

Mother Mary had ordered “the mosquito netting out of storage and affixed above the beds in anticipation of the blood-sucking season, but having no such protection, the slaves were already scratching and clawing their skin. They rubbed themselves with lard and molasses to draw out the itch and trailed its eau de cologne through the house.” (56)

(Disparity between the races no longer noticeable in Charleston today, at least to tourists. )

Wall-hanging on sale in Charleston on Market Street
Wall-hanging on sale in Charleston on Market Street

 

Despair

“My breath clutched at my ribs like grabbing hands. I closed my eyes, tired of the sorry world.” (280)

 

Missing Someone

Sarah’s unrequited love: “Nina was speaking now, her face turned up to Theodore’s, and I thought suddenly, involuntarily of Israel and a tiny grief came over me. Every time it happened, it was like coming upon an empty room I didn’t know was there, and stepping in, I would be pierced by it, by the ghost of the one who once filled it up. I didn’t stumble into this place much anymore, but when I did, it hollowed out little pieces of my chest.” (281)

 

Yearning for a better world

[Lucretia] “leaned toward me. ‘Life is arranged against us, Sarah. And it’s brutally worse for Handful and her mother and sister. We’re all yearning for a wedge of sky, aren’t we? I suspect God plants these yearnings in us so we’ll at least try and change the course of things. We must try, that’s all.’” (275)

 

The Pineapple: the universal symbol of hospitality seen everywhere in Charleston's interiors and exteriors
The Pineapple: the international symbol of hospitality seen frequently in Charleston’s interiors and exteriors. Daughter Crista purchased a pair of these.

 We must try, that’s all!

Share your words: your thought, a quote or story adds to the conversation. It’s always nice to meet you here!

Coming next: Jenna’s Rainbow Cake: A Pot of Gold?

Purple Passages with a Pop of Pink, March 2015 edition

SPRING

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?

“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine . . .  ~  Frances Hodgson Burnett, author of The Secret Garden

Tulip magnolia tree in our neighborhood just about to bloom in Florida, early February
Tulip magnolia tree in our neighborhood just about to hit full bloom in Florida, early February   ~  Sunshine, no rain in sight

[in Just-] a poem by e. e. cummings, (his name usually shown in lower case letters) who is known for odd spacing and made-up words like “mud-luscious” and “puddle-wonderful” so evocative of the squooshiness that follows the winter thaw. This British poet clumped together some of the names and other words he uses, just like mud on your shoes in springtime. Remember all that? Here are the first nine lines.

spring          when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles          far          and wee

and eddieandbill come

running from marbles and

piracies and it’s
spring

when the world is puddle-wonderful

 

ENERGY

The only thing that keeps a man going is energy. And what is energy but liking life?   Louis Auchincloss, A World of Profit

MIRACLES

C.S. Lewis wrote, “Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”

MITTENS

The wee Longenecker girls wore mittens because it was cold in Pennsylvania until near the end of March. These are the mittens I remember my sisters Janice wearing. Jean probably inherited them when her hands grew big enough. Somehow I recall a string of woven yarn attaching the mittens under the coat so the little girls wouldn’t lose their mittens. Mittens actually do keep little hands warmer than gloves would – body heat from all four fingers and thumb is trapped inside the glove just like this. . .

PinkMittens

. . . which reminds me of the Mother Goose nursery rhyme about the Three Little Kittens. You can probably hear the sing-song sound of the phrases as you read this tale.

KittenMittensScreenShot

In the verses which follow, the kittens put on their mittens, then get them dirty, are scolded by their mother, inducing them to wash their mittens, even hanging them out to dry. In the final verse, Mother Cat compliments her kitties while teaching them a lesson in scavenging for their dinner:

“What, washed your mittens, then you’re good kittens,
But I smell a rat close by.”
“Meow, meow, meow,
We smell a rat close by.”

Your turn! This is a free-for-all post. Add your thoughts or quotes on spring, energy, miracles, mittens – or something else.
Coming next: Grandmother Kayaks Solo from Maine to Guatemala. Why?

Purple Passages with a Weather Forecast

To my friends both in the northern and southern hemisphere, some thoughts about the weather. All quotations from BrainyQuotes.

Sometimes I wish I was the weather, you’d bring me up in conversation forever. And when it rained, I’d be the talk of the day.  —  John Mayer

 

I like the cold weather. It means you get work done.   — Noam Chomsky

 

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.    — Anthony J. D’Angelo

 

Scarves, mittens, and hats are a great way to express your personality in the cold weather.   — Brad Goreski

 

Where's my hat? Freezing temps on Chincoteague Island, VA
Where’s my hat? Freezing temps on Chincoteague Island, VA                              Chic Dumps? Best guess: Chicken and Dumplings

 

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.

— Anton Chekhov

 

 

For there is no friend like a sister / In calm or stormy weather; / To cheer one on the tedious way, / To fetch one if one goes astray, / To lift one if one totters down,/ To strengthen whilst one stands.   –– Christina Rossetti

(from “Goblin Market”)

 

 

A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often – just to save it from drying out completely.       — Pam Brown

 

 

The forecast: Spring will come!

Paperwhites

Paperwhites from the narcissus family, with their “delicate color and sweet, musky fragrance,” a forecast of spring to come.

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.    Genesis 8:22  KJV

 


I’m guessing you agree with some quotes more than others. One or two you may completely disagree with. 

Can you add another one? We’ll be listening . . .

 

Coming next: Wanda: Boring in Beige or Beautiful in Blue?

Purple Passages and Feet in the Creek

Dreams

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.

– Langston Hughes in Dreams

 

Dreams always come in a size too big so we can grow into them. – Josie Bisset

 

. . . if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

– Henry David Thoreau in Walden Pond

 

Grandparents

“But grandparents, imbued with a different sense of time, create a narrative arc across generations. If parents are the forward momentum of a child’s llife, we become the curators of traditions.”    –  Ellen Goodman/Washington Post Writers Group quoted in the Florida Times Union.

“Our echoes roll from soul to soul and grow forever and forever.”  – Alfred, Lord Tennyson in The Splendour Falls on Castle Walls from The Princess

 

Psalm 78: 2-4

2 I will open my mouth with a parable;

I will utter hidden things, things from of old—

3 things we have heard and known,

things our ancestors have told us.

4 We will not hide them from their descendants;

we will tell the next generation

the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,

his power, and the wonders he has done.

New International Version

 

Being Special, Unique

There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.   – C. S. Lewis

While we have the gift of life, it seems to me the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die – whether it is our spirit, our creativity or our glorious uniqueness.    – Gilda Radner

Conventional is not for me. I like things that are uniquely Flo. I like being different.          – Florence Griffith Joyner, Olympic track and field star

 

Deep Summer

Heat Wave: “Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”    – Sam Keen

Summer afternoon, summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.     – Henry James

My dad at the Grandpa Martin farm
My dad Ray Longenecker at the Grandpa Martin farm,  circa 1920

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.

– Anton Chekhov

 

Your turn!

Did any of these quotes feel like an “Aha” moment for you? Will you add one?

Coming next: “I’m All Ears” with a Cliff & Marian tiff

Purple Passages with a Camel

via Google Images
via Google Images

Birthdays 

The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.    – Madeleine l’Engle

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.    – Aldous Huxley

There are years that ask questions and years that answer.    – Zora Neal Hurston

It takes a long time to grow young.    – Pablo Picasso

Friendship

Throughout our lives, friends enclose us like pairs of parentheses. They shift our boundaries, crater our terrain. They fume through the creaks of our tentative houses, and parts of them always remain . . . .

–  Beth Kephart, memoirist and National Book Award nominee.

Friendship is the source of the greatest pleasures, and without friends even the most agreeable pursuits become tedious.  – St. Thomas Aquinas

Friends are a reflection of the issues we are working on. – Melody Beattie

Be Yourself

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!    – Dr. Seuss

Do not free a camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel.   – Gilbert K. Chesterton

Camel w cigar_4x3_300

Humor

Some of us suffer from a debilitating mental disorder called irony deficiency. Seeing a doctor won’t help, but seeing a paradox will.”   – Swami Beyondananda

Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.   – Bill Keane, comic strip creator “The Family Circus”

GiftBag

And a Question:

Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?    – T. S. Eliot

Your answer: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ !

 

I look forward to your response and to your musings on anything else that strikes your fancy. While you’re at it, why not add a quote too. The humor section could use some beefing up.    🙂

Thank you.

Purple Passages with a June Bride

Creativity

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.       ―  Maya Angelou

MayaAngelou2

[Hear her read her valiant poem “Still I Rise” here.]

Creativity is intelligence having fun.     ― Albert Einstein

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

           Galatians 6: 4-5  The Message

 

Giving and Health

Dr. Stephen Post conducted a survey at forty-four major universities that revealed that giving protects your overall health twice as much as an aspirin protects your heart against disease. Why Good Things Happen to Good People (7)

Original art: C. Joel Beaman
Relief print: C. Joel Beaman

 

Being Young in Heart

Another belief of mine is that everyone else my age is an adult whereas I am merely in disguise.”  ― Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye

 

June Brides & Marriage

Wedding of Ruth Longenecker and John Weaver, 1950s
Wedding of Ruth Arlene Longenecker and John Weaver, Bossler’s Mennonite Church, 1950s Bride carries white Bible with lacy handkerchief Groom wears plain (frock) coat

 

Marriage is more like an airplane than a rock.

You have to commit the thing to flight, and then it creaks and groans, and keeping it airborne depends entirely on altitude attitude. Working at it, though, we can fly forever.             ― Michael Grant in the San Diego Union

 

The Educated Mind & an Opposing Viewpoint

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

― Aristotle, Metaphysics

 

Life’s Irritations

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.      ―  Psychiatrist Carl Jung

 

Memory and Time

Remembering is so basic and vital a part of staying alive that it takes on the strength of an instinct of survival, and acquires the power of art. Remembering is done through the blood, it is a bequeathment, it takes account of what happened before a man is born . . . . It is a physical absorption through the living body, it is a spiritual heritage. It is also a life’s work.      ― Eudora Welty in                her book On Writing in which she quotes Faulkner (103).

In fiction, time can throb like a pulse, tick like a bomb, beat like the waves of a rising tide again the shore; it can be made as the whisper of attrition, or come to an end with the explosion of a gun  (98).

Memory is deceptive because it is colored by today’s events. ― Albert Einstein

Memory. . . is the diary that we all carry about with us.  ― Oscar Wilde
 *  *  *
Add more color to June’s Purple Passages!
Reply with your own quote. Or respond to one above. 

grapes

I promised an answer to the puzzling question from the last post.

BrokenPianoBenLeg

How did this happen? Here is our best guess:

Our children, now in their forties, were in their late teens when Cliff and I decided to leave them at home alone while we took a short weekend trip. One of the children was very mature and responsible (or so we thought), so we felt safe to leave. When we returned home, pictures on the walls were askew, there was evidence of under-age drinking, and one leg on the piano bench had obviously been broken off but bandaged up with rough, brown U-Haul tape. Our kids’ explanation then was that they had a small party but more came, uninvited, when word spread that there were no parents at home. Yes, the cliché fits here exactly: “When the cat’s away . . . !”

At the time of the first break, Cliff repaired the leg with a wooden dowel, which has lasted until a few weeks ago. Then Mr. Repairman had to reinforce the leg with a sturdier steel dowel. The END. (We hope!)

Coming next:  Hats Off to Dad

HatsOffGift

 

 

 

 

Purple Passages: A Dragon with a Gift, April 2014

LILACS

LILACS

April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots and spring rain.

T. S. Eliot The Waste-Land

 

When Lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d

And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,

I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with every-returning spring.

Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,

Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,

And thought of him I love.

 

Walt Whitman, elegy commemorating the death of Lincoln, 1865

 

EASTER

Easter is very important to me, it’s a second chance.  ―  Reba McEntire

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.    ― Pope John Paul II

 

LAUGHTER

Laughter is the shock absorber that eases the blows of life.    (Unknown)

Laughter is a tranquilizer with no side effects.  ―  Arnold H. Glasgow

 

WORK

Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else. ―  J. M. Barrie

When you can’t figure out what to do, it’s time for a nap.    ― Mason Cooley

 

CHALLENGE

Challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth. Dragon and Gift_final_shade+color_crop_5x5_300

Tame the dragon and the gift is yours.

Noela Evans, on persevering through problems, endurance

Shakespeare says it another way, but with a toad:  Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head. 

READING

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are. ― Mason Cooley

One rainy Sunday when I was in the third grade, I picked up a book to look at the pictures and discovered that even though I did not want to, I was reading. I have been a reader ever since.   ― Beverly Cleary

Marian Reading_14mos._2x4_300 THE  FUTURE

The best thing about the future is it comes one day at a time.  ― Abraham Lincoln

 *   *   *

Do you believe a challenge is a dragon with a gift in its mouth? A story about this that comes to mind . . . ?

What category can you add a quote to? 

What other topics would you like to see in this monthly feature, Purple Passages?

Coming next: Mennonite Flashback III: Rabbits and Rings

Purple Passages with a Fish & a Kiss

Purple Passages with a Fish & a Kiss, March 2014 Edition

Winter

Winter lies too long in country towns; hangs on until it is stale and shabby, old and sullen.     Willa Cather, My Antonia

If winter comes, can spring be far behind?     Percy Bysshe Shelley “Ode to the West Wind”

Gardens

Bougainvillea in my Garden
Bougainvillea in my Garden

The garden is one of the two great metaphors for humanity. The other, of course, is the river.      Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird

Grief

In God’s garden of grace, even a broken tree can bring forth fruit . . . . The greater the grief the fewer the words.         Pastor Rick Warren on The View: Friday, Dec. 7, 2013

The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost.    G. K. Chesterton

When a loved one becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure. Author Unknown   (viewed on Kathy Pooler’s website, January 27, 2014)

Einstein

bestEinsteinFishQuote

(Quote on education attributed to Einstein but disputed by some sources.)

KissingEinstein

 SUCCESS and HAPPINESS

Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing you will be successful.         Dr. Albert Schweitzer  (Quoted in Daily Devotional: The Word for You Today, Dec. 2013–Feb. 2014.)

Question Mark w border1_1x1_300

Dear Reader: You may have noticed I have included only one garden quote today.

Can you add a quote or a thought about gardening or beauty?

Can you add any other quote to the themes this month?

 

Facebook: http://www.facebook/marian.beaman/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/martabeaman

Purple Passages with Pictures, January 2014 edition

VISIONS and DREAMS for 2014

courtesy Google Images
courtesy Google Images

A man must have dreams–memory dreams of the past and eager dreams of the future. I never want to stop reaching for new goals. – Maurice Chevalier

Then the Lord answered me and said: “Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it.        Habakkuk 2:2   New King James Version (NKJV)

Between your dream‘s inspiration and its manifestation, there’s going to be a lot of perspiration.     Daily Devotional: The Word for you Today, January 2, 2014 entry

A [wo]man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.  John Barrymore

MEMORY

Yesterday is today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.  Kahlil Gibran

Memory is the script of the soul.  Aristototle

Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our [grand]children. Charles R. Swindoll

rosesAzaleas

God gave us memory so we might have roses in December, (January, February  . . )

From my JOURNALS 1996-1998

Gratitude is the heart’s memory.  French proverb

Puttering is creating a fresh interior landscape.   Sarah Ban Breathnach in Simple Abundance

Women share with men the need for personal success, even the taste for power, and no longer are we willing to satisfy those needs through the achievements of surrogates, whether husbands, children or merely role models.       Elizabeth Dole

On Music:

“The auditory nerve is very closely connected to the limbic system so that sound (i.e. music) does not have to go through the cortex of the brain but goes directly to the heart, the senses.”     unknown source  (noted April 9, 1998)

MusicFeelings

Rhythm in music imprints language on the brain in a way pure auditory words will not. Slower tempo in classical music develops a framework for learning to occur. NPR report on “The Mozart Effect” (1998)

Moobeams

What Makes a Moonbeam Audible for you?

Feel free to comment also on any of the categories about: visions, dreams, memory, music, or something else. I will always reply!

Still time to vote for my story in Sonia Marsh’s My Gutsy Story Contest. Thank you, thank you to all who have already voted. You make a difference!

To Vote:  http://soniamarsh.com/2014/01/vote-for-your-favorite-december-2013-my-gutsy-story.html

To Read: http://soniamarsh.com/2013/12/rising-above-the-pettiness-to-focus-on-the-positive-by-marian-beaman.html

Sm.pleaseVote

Voting closes at 12:00 midnight PST, Wednesday, January 15, 2014.

Purple Passages: December 2013 edition

7Purple Passages_Banner_new margin_8x4_300

HOPE

Hope is a thing with feathers that perches in the soul.  Emily Dickinson

HopeFeathers

Hope is like a road in the country. There never was a road, but when many people traveled it, it came into existence.    Lyn Yutang

Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.     Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate.       G. K. Chesterton

There is always hope when people are forced to listen to both sides.   John
Stuart Mill

CHANGE

Change means something good is coming, — even if I don’t yet understand all it will mean.   Joe Sherer, Missionary Messenger, November 2011

Until God opens the next door, praise him in the hallway.   Orebela Gbenga

PROGRESS

You’ll be amazed how much distance you can cover taking [life] in increments. Little things add up; inches turn to miles, We string together our efforts like so many pearls, and before long . . . you have a whole string!”

PearlsModified

Staying the Course  by B. J Gallagher quoted in Wednesday, October 12, 2013 entry in Daily Devotional: The Word for You Today

DISTANCE

Distance lends enchantment to the view,” explaining why events of our youth are enveloped in such a rosy cloud.    Laura Ingalls Wilder,  Little House in the Ozarks

Travel helps one see “how [American] ways look from a distance.”  Molly Hughes, A London Family   (1870-1900)

 STRESS-BUSTER

“. . . concentrate on breathing to quell the mind’s restless forays into the past and future.”  Geoffrey Cowley, “Stress-Busters: What Works” Newsweek, June 14, 1999.

Quiet zone low light, deep breaths . . . ah!
Quiet zone, low light, deep breaths . . . ah!

Try to let go of being in a state of readiness.  Yoga instructor, October 2, 1999.

NIGHT-CAP

Have courage in the great sorrows of life, and patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.       Victor Hugo

‘Tis the Season:

from It’s a Wonderful Life. Clarence the Angel leaves a reminder for George Bailey: “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.”

Add a quote or respond to one you’ve just read. I look forward to your comments! And I will always reply.

Below is the link to my entry in the Gutsy Story Contest now in progress on the website of awarding-winning memoirist Sonia Marsh:

My Gutsy Story: Rising Above the Pettiness to Focus on the Positive

GoldDomes_1818