Monday, November 29, 2010

"Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty." Louisa May Alcott, b. 29 Nov. 1832

"Our ideals are our better selves." Amos Bronson Alcott, teacher, philosopher, improvident father to Louisa & her sisters, b. 29 Nov, 1799, on Gaetano Donizetti's 2nd birthday. Listen to what he'd grow up to write!

Do, if you have not, see or see again this splendid documentary about that invincible Louisa. Though I must say that my happiest associations with Miss Alcott are the movies made from her Little Women, particularly the most recent. I went to see it with my sister and my 4-year-old niece (soon to turn 20), who wore a red velvet party dress for the occasion and her white tights, black shiny shoes.
So, sure, it was on this day in 1922, when my dad was a baby, that Howard Carter & Co. entered the boy king's tomb. And today's the birthday of the great C. S. Lewis (1898) And Billy Strayhorn (1915), but man oh man oh man, what a grievous deathday this is. It's been 14 years now, since Cary Grant died, 19 since his very best co-star, Ralph Bellamy, passed away, and 29 since Natalie Wood drowned.
And, it was on this day in the deadly year, 1864, when Ms. Alcott turned 32, when President Lincoln had not 5 months to live that U.S. soldiers killed some 150 Cheyenne at Sand Creek, out in the Colorado Territory. As it happens, I wrote about the missionaries, Narcissa Whitman and her husband Marcus, those early travelers on the great Oregon Trail. Some years after they got to the end of it, their long culture clash came to an end, when they died on the foggy 29 Nov. 1847. It happened at their Mission. They were among those whom were killed by their Cayuse neighbors, who'd never seen the need for the Whitmans' professed faith, who were aghast at the white settlers pouring into their lands, at the deaths, day after day, from measles...
"....A rifle shot! Angry voices!
'Oh, the Indians!' Narcissa screamed, 'the Indians!' as the warriors ran outside..."
ah well. To paraphrase C.S.Lewis, birthday guy, history is not a tame lion.

1 comment:

  1. I've been enjoying your blog! My daughter is reading Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott, and enjoyed watching the clip from the documentary with me.

    We've enjoyed many of your books also. :)

    Hope your week is going well! - Kay