HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BIG SISTER   8 comments

You’ve seen my big brother and his wife as they were in their college yearbooks. Now, more richness for “My Father’s House,” I have my sister’s 1943 Connecticut College yearbook info. And this is a good day to have received it, because this is her birthday. (You do the math). Still a good looking woman.

Thanks to Andrew Lopez of the Charles E. Shain Library at Connecticut College for this selection from the 1943 Koine.

39th Review of Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses   8 comments

I’m excited to share with you the latest Amazon US review of Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses. Of course, I would love it if one of these days the book would catch on and I’d see something other than a flat line in the report of sales. But it’s good for the soul to know that someone else has appreciated it. And I certainly am made happy by Kerstin Volbrecht’s kind words.

“By Kerstin Volbrecht on March 26, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a beautiful book about love, friendship (a different manifestation of love), spiritual and personal growth, told by means of the story of Dara and Job. The book starts with Dara’s childhood in a nomad tribe, where she is raised with the values of respect, self-consciousness and the acknowledgement of the Other. The story is told as if one is reading a diary of her life, including her reflections about the occurring events and about how things just are.
Although I’m not inclined to the bible or any religion, I take the religious aspects as metaphors and lessons that are to learn.
The characters are described in a very profound manner, making it easy to get familiar with them and understand their reactions and thinking patterns. The way the book is written is very clear and precise.”

Go to amazon to see this review and all 38 previous.

Thanks, Mona

REMEMBERING HELEN DOYLE WHO WOULD BECOME MY BROTHER’S WIFE — 1940   8 comments

I am thrilled every time I get concrete data to enrich the writing of “My Father’s House.” Here’s more, starting with the graduation photo of Helen Doyle.

Helen graduated from Upsala college in 1940, as did my brother. If Harvey was a busy man on campus, Helen’s record certainly equaled his. Among other things, she was Campus Queen in her junior year, and she was also active in a number of organizations. So many that I’m taking the lazy way out and posting a copy taken from the yearbook. It’s not as legible as I would like, but then, the point is just to show how long the list was.

Notice that her plan was to go on the Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School. As best I can find from reading about it, the goal was to provide a dignified and profitable occupation for women who were discouraged at the time from going on to higher education. Some doctors even warned that too much education would shrink the uterus. It also led to the kind of jobs where women wore white gloves at work.

In later years it went through a number of changes, finally closing, I believe, in 2011. (Upsala closed its doors in 1995)

Thanks go to Lisa Huntsha, Archivist/Librarian, Swenson Swedish immigration Research Center, Augustana College, Rock Island, Il

Remembering my big brother – 1940   8 comments

Working on “My Father’s House” feels like writing another Ph.D. dissertation with all the research that goes into it daily. When I started, I thought it would be easy. After all, I’m a member of the family, so I should have the facts at hand.

The truth is, I came along eleven years after my brother Harvey and eight years after my sister Thelma, so I guess I can excuse myself for being unaware of lots to things.

By 1940, the year my brother graduated from Upsala, you’d think I’d have established some firm memories. The truth is, I’m living proof that memory is a fragile process of constant creation and revision. So, like a good Ph.D. candidate, I search out the facts wherever I can find them. What I’m posting here is an exciting discovery that came in yesterday from Lisa Huntsha (see citation below)

I guess there’s no good reason why any of my blog readers should find this interesting, but it does give a taste of the 1940s, just before life for people like my brother was shaken by the attack on Pearl Harbor.

And I would love to imagine that somewhere my big brother is watching and pleased with what I’m doing.

So here’s what they said about him in the yearbook, followed by an article in the school paper.

UPSALA COLLEGE, EAST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY

YEARBOOK 1940

***

C. HARVEY GUSTAFSON

187 Stafford Avenue, Forestville, Conn.

BACHELOR OF ARTS

Major: English                                                     Minor: German

Theta Epsilon

 

ACTIVITIES

Student Council 2, 3, 4, Treasurer 3, Vice-President 4; Class President 1, 3; Gazelle l; Upsalite l, 2, Christian Brotherhood 1.2; Footlight Club 1, 2, 3, 4, President 4; Symposium 3, 4, President 4; English Literary Society 3, 4, Secretary 4; Alpha Psi Omega3. 4; Blue Key 2, 3, 4; Glee Club I. 2; Gold U 3; President of Theta Epsilon 3, Zeus 4; Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges.

Many of us will remember Harvey as the collegian who always twirled his keys on a chain – somehow we were fascinated by his never once slipping or letting the keys fall. When we consider all the offices he held. although we can’t help admiring his capability and energy, we wonder how much dignity that hair cut lent to his offices. His record leads us to believe that he’ll make good in the world, and what we know of his personality confirms such an opinion. Goodluck. Harvey, in everything!

AND FROM THE UPSALA GAZETTE, MAY 16, 1940

Harvey “Gus” Gustafson is one of the most active men on the campus. He needs no introductory description; everyone knows him and he knows everyone else. For three years he was president of his class and the seat he now holds on the council has been his since his freshman year. He is Zeus of the Theta Epsilon fraternity, president of the Footlight Club, a member of Alpha Psi Omega, English Lit., Symposium, and many other student organizations. His activities speak for themselves; he is really a Big Gun.

With thanks to Lisa Huntsha, Archivist/Librarian

Swenson Swedish Immigration Research Center 

639 38th Street | Augustana College | Rock Island, IL

Iraq is grateful   9 comments

Latest news: President Trump has issued a new executive order limiting entry into the U.S. from six Muslim-majority countries. This time Iraq wasn’t included, and those with Visas and Green Cards are protected.

Clearly this is a relief after the broad sweep of the first order. So Iraq is grateful, as are the others with legitimate entry documents.

Is this an example of the little finger principle?

MAYBE HE’S CRAZY; MAYBE HE’S NOT   15 comments

There are those who like what the President is doing, and those who don’t. But whichever side one takes, arguing about his character or sanity is of only limited use. The problem is, such attacks on the person serve to lead us away from the issues.

Seeing behavior as the acting out of a crazy person diverts us from the behavior itself. Just one example. Wise manipulators know how to lead us into thinking something is acceptable by exposing us first to the unacceptable. So, the first executive order banning immigration led to chaos and – fortunately from my point of view – active resistance. The next one will seem calm and well considered – much “saner” by comparison — moving us in the direction of seeing the idea of the ban itself as closer to normal and acceptable.

And there you have an effective strategy. Like the fictional college letter home, the manipulator starts by exposing a series of terrible events so the request for more money – or whatever – at the end – seems like a minor issue.

Or there’s the horrible image that occurred to me halfway between sleep and waking this morning. The wielder of the knife aims for the wrist, ready to cut off the whole hand. Then changes course and cuts off the little finger instead. Now he’s not so evil as he seems – maybe even generous. Only a finger instead of the hand.

And little by little, the non-normal begins to seem normal.

Posted February 22, 2017 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

“FIGS & POMEGRANATES & SPECIAL CHEESES” MAKES IT TO INDIA   10 comments

The following is a conversation I just had via Twitter with a person who reviewed “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses.”  The end result is permission to include the review here on my blog.

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Mona: I’ve been reviewed on American Amazon and on British Amazon. I think this is the first time I’ve been reviewed on Indian (?) Amazon. Would it be OK with you if I posted your review on my blog where more people would see it? And am I right that it’s Indian? Thanks

Shraesta: You are right I’m an Indian. I’m honored if you post my review on your blog. Happy to have such an author. Loads and tonnes of love to you and your book.

shraesta

This review is from: Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses: A Love Story (Kindle Edition)

Main protagonist of the book Dara,just grabs my heart with her innocence, love,and attitude.This story captivates your hand and heart not allowing you to keep down your device.Every women must read story which plots about family,friendship,husband,children’s,in laws,society, maids who plays a vital role in one’s life.I just wanna thank the author M.G.Affinito for her style of writing and vivid descriptions.I could feel and see them in my mind’s eyes and appreciate the beauty.The banter between characters were neatly penned down. Just go grab the story and enjoy into the world of Figs&pomegranates&Special cheeses.Pure candid love story of a girl.”

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Aside from being pleased with this review and permission to repeat it here, I can’t help commenting on my admiration for people of different native languages who can read and enjoy in one not their own. Would that we Americans were so able.

And feel free to check out other reviews of “Figs & Pomegranates & Special Cheeses.”

American Reviews

British Reviews

Posted February 21, 2017 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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