Archive for the ‘“My Father’s House”’ Tag

WHY?   2 comments

I have the feeling I haven’t emphasized enough the importance of asking yourself, “WHY?” before writing that e-mail, or snail-mail, or making that phone call, or taking that action. Why are you doing it? What do you hope to accomplish? What are you asking of the other person?

It’s a little like the editing I’m doing with “My Father’s House.” With each sentence in each paragraph I ask myself that question. Why? Why that word? What am I hoping to convey? Why am I saying it that way? I try to make each paragraph one line shorter.

I’m doing it with each paragraph or section too. What purpose does it serve? Sometimes I’m not sure, so I tighten it up and leave it for when I’ve finished this editing go-round and other people will be willing to go through it. I’ll want them to mark the stuff they find boring, uninteresting, misleading, or superfluous. I will need the help of people who are willing to be honest with me.

But I can’t send out my plea for those consultants until I’ve done my darnedest to clarify it for myself.

My goal is to get 800 pages down to 500 or less. To get down to basics, I guess.

And that’s what I mean by “Why?” Why do it? What purpose does it serve? What do you hope for from the other person?

THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR   Leave a comment

I’m happy to say I have finally carved out time to dig into editing “My Father’s House.” Lots of pieces landing on the cutting room floor as I try to reduce 800 pages to more acceptable size. But it means I’m neglecting other things, like my blog Seminar. I know I left you with instructions on how not to reconcile, and I won’t really relax until I focus on the “¨How to…”

In the meantime, I want to share this piece from the Sojourner’s message of a few days ago.

“… Let us be quick to welcome and slow to judge. May our faith be accessible to all and our relationships a testament to [the] beloved community.”

 

 

Posted February 24, 2019 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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ANOTHER LEG ON THE JOURNEY TO MY NEW HOME   7 comments

Since I closed on the sale of my townhome on August 30th, I’ve had a wonderful time living first with my friend and neighbor Jean in the unit across the way, and then Dianne, two units down. Now it’s time to leave here and move in on my son for a few days before we take off for the South American cruise we arranged to help me kill time – and find food and shelter – for another segment of the journey to the Waters of Excelsior. I’ve seen my unit twice, now, the second time to request some modifications. I love my apartment — can hardly wait to move in. But I have to wait for my scheduled move-in day — December 3.

In the process, my life has become a rather disorganized – albeit pleasurable – mess. But I have managed to stay on top of “My Father’s House.” At the suggestion of MaryCarroll Moore in the course I took at Madeline Island, the 900 some pages are being divided into separate books. The first one, with the working title “My Father’s House: Book One – from Tursås, Sweden to Forestville/Bristol Connecticut,” is about 300 pages long. Now I’m looking for people – preferably who don’t know me – to review it before it gets another editing — and then, probably, another. If you have any suggestions, I’d appreciate hearing them, and I’m happy to attach a “Word” copy to someone who’d like to commit to the task/pleasure. This is the time when I need people to be honest in their comments.

A good thing about e-mail is that it follows pretty easily wherever I go. I can even get it sporadically when I’m at sea (literally as well as figuratively.)

My regret is that I haven’t eked out the time to fulfil my middle-of-the night intentions to blog about my hopes and fears for my country and my part in it. In a nutshell, I long for decisions based on hope, compassion, and love. I dread choices based on fear, isolation, and hate. In the sleepless hours I’ve read Olivia Hawker’s “The Ragged Edge of Night.” (I do recommend it.) It’s the story of ordinary German’s working to live, love, survive and thrive in the shattering results of Hitler’s fascism. As bombs drop in the nearby city, and personal destruction threatens, they frequently ask the question, “When could we have acted to stop it?’ I ask the same question now – “How can we stop it?”

Like the characters in the novel, I know I have to work at staying alive, happy, and productive to avoid the potential for inaction and despair as I can’t avoid exposure to political smear tactics. My father and his house saw many terrible periods in our history, but I am sure there wasn’t the desire to destroy those in the opposition even after victory has been won.

So, I wish healthy, productive, and satisfying survival and growth mechanisms for all of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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

BUYING HAPPINESS   8 comments

I’ve been absent for a long time from my blog — and you should see what a mess my study is — all because I’m totally focused on “My Father’s House.” But I love this article on six ways to buy happiness with your money and just wanted to share it. It’s long, so maybe you’ll want just to read the headings. It would still be worth it.

 

 

 

Posted October 5, 2016 by Mona Gustafson Affinito in Uncategorized

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