Jeanne Hewell-Chambers

& her barefoot heart

From the Book Shelf

StillFromIAccuseStill from the movie I, Accuse

Creation of the T4 program was not a spontaneous idea or an irrational impulse. It was the practical application of principles written and read about then widely discussed and debated in scientific and medical circles, and indeed in society in general for more than 50 years . . .

The nineteenth century was a time of great advances in the quality of life, the rise of democracy, the Industrial Revolution, improvement in the standard of living, optimism for the future, and the enthronement of science as The Key to unlock the mysteries of the universe. All these things (and more) contributed to a better and longer quality of life for all people, including those with special needs. Improvements in medicine – things like  anesthetics, germ theory, antisepsis – increased life expectancy. Safe water, indoor plumbing, central heating greatly improved the quality of lives. At the end of the century, the rise of orthopedics as a medical speciality increased mobility issues. Growth of charitable organizations spawned by the development of a concern for social welfare channeled food, money, and resources to those in need. Though they would certainly never be mistaken for a five-star hotel, hospitals, asylums, and schools were built to house and treat those with disabilities.

But all was not so rosy. Many books were published around this time, influential books that did much to undermine the improvements and goodness of the time.

Perhaps one of the pivotal tomes that fed the mindset that eventually created the T4 program was the publication in 1859 of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species.  Looking at the world through the lens of “natural selection” as Darwin called it or  “survival of the fittest,” as his follower Herbert Spencer, called it, significantly and severely altered society’s attitude towards those with special needs. Take Darwinian theory, add the Mendelian laws of heredity and genetics, and you have a convincing cocktail of thought that some saw as the way to understand any and all of nature – a way of thinking that would soon enough be applied to human society and the making of social policy.

In The Descent of Man, published in 1871, Darwin said, “We civilized men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of everyone to the last moment . . . Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man.”

Knowledge and insights provided by evolutionary theory and Mendelian law came together in the new field of eugenics in the early twentieth century. Eugenics, the cutting edge science of the time, was concerned with the study, evaluation, and ultimately the manipulation of human breeding practices. Eugenicists were determined to use their scientific findings to “make better” and “strengthen” the human race. Charles Davenport, a leader in the eugenic movement, explained eugenics as “the science of the improvement of the human race by a better breeding.”

Does this sound a bit arrogant to you, too?

For all their pretentiousness, the eugenicists and Darwinians made no distinctions within the ranks of the “unfit.” Crooks, prostitutes, the blind, the paralyzed, the mentally handicapped – all were products of “weak genes”; all were degenerates; all were flawed. In W. Duncan McKim’s book Heredity in Human Progress published in 1900, heredity is blamed for all sorts of things, including “insanity, idiocy, hysteria, epilepsy, alcoholism, drug addiction, imbecility, eccentricity, nervousness, diabetes, tuberculosis, cancer, deafness, blindness, deafness, color blindness, rheumatism.” Weak genes, wrote McKim, are the “fundamental cause of human wretchedness.”

Ernest Haeckel, a famed biologist and social scientist, published his book The Riddle of the Universe in 1899, a book that quickly became one of the most widely read science books of the time. More than 100,000 copies were sold in its first year of publication, and ten editions were published before 1919. By 1933, well over half a million copies had been sold. Haeckel held to the hereditary theory with great conviction. From his belief that  deformities and chronic and incurable diseases were passed down from generation to generation, Haeckel warned that prolonging lives did little more than put an unnecessary drain on the economy and a growing danger to the health of society. “The longer the diseased parents, with medical assistance, can drag on their sickly existence,” he wrote, “the more numerous are the descendants who will inherit incurable evils, and the greater will be the number of individuals again, and over the succeeding generations, thanks to that artificial ‘medical selection’ who will be infected by their parents’ lingering, hereditary disease.”  Haeckel didn’t shy away from putting forth what ought to be done. “We are not bound under all circumstances to maintain and prolong life even when it becomes utterly useless.” He went on to propose that a commission be wet up in Germany to determine which of the deformed, chronically insane, and diseased should be allowed to live and which should die. A “redemption from evil” he called it, and never one to put forth an incomplete idea, he suggested that death should be by means of a “quick and rapid poison.”

Haeckel and other authors were considered wise men by German society. Their books and their theories were not restricted to science or scholarly circles but embraced by society in general.

In Moral der Kraft, a  popular book published in 1920,  author Ernst Mann expressed his concern for the economic chaos that followed World War I. His solution? Mann called upon veterans of The Great War to perform one “last heroic deed” and kill themselves, thus sparing the state the burden of their pensions. “It’s not right to spend the millions of marks on the cripples, the diseased, and the incurable, when hundreds of thousands of the healthy blow their brains out because of the economic crisis,” he wrote. Mann’s book was a best seller when first published, and it sold quite well when republished in 1933.

The Permission to Destroy Life Unworthy of Life, a popular book published in 1920 and written by psychiatrist Alfred Hoche and lawyer Karl Binding – both professors of good reputation and considerable importance – presented a carefully reasoned argument that certain people should be exterminated for racially “hygienic” purposes. Physicians, they felt, should participate in health giving and death making. Death, the two authors believed, should be painless and expertly administered by a physician. The right to “grant death” was a natural extension of the responsibilities of physicians, they believed. Knowing what we know now, it will not surprise you to learn that Hitler read a good deal about eugenics prior to writing Mein Kampf. It may surprise you, however, to learn that Hitler allowed his name to be used in advertisements for Hoche’s books. On second thought, maybe not.

Textbooks used in Nazi classrooms encouraged the devaluation of disabled lives in subtle and not so subtle ways. This problem was found in Mathematics in the Service of National Political Education: “If the building of a lunatic asylum costs six million marks and it costs fifteen thousand marks to build each dwelling on a housing estate, how many of the latter could be built for the price of one asylum?” Another math problem asked how many marriage-allowance loans could be given to young couples for the amount of money the state spent to care for “the crippled, criminal, and insane.”

Ah, and there was a movie we should take note of that became popular about the time these books were published. (See the photo above.) I Accuse was the story of a young woman suffering from multiple sclerosis. Her husband – a doctor – engages in a little soul searching then kills his wife as a fellow physician softly plays the piano in the next room. So popular was this movie that it was often screened at gatherings of physicians  and at a Nazi Party meeting in 1935.

Considering the prevalent thought, popular books, and widespread discussions of the time, Is it any wonder that people with special needs and their families were stigmatized? Isn’t it real easy to see why they felt inferior, undesirable, and ashamed?  Does anyone find it surprising that those not deemed “perfect” were kept at home, hidden from view? These books, these theories, these discussions may have taken place in the days of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, but their effects and appeal (if you want to call it that) reached far and wide and held on for a long, long time.

This is why it’s imperative that we teach critical and independent thinking skills. Encourage questions. And model compassion. It’s the best thing we can do for future generations. It is a fine legacy.

~~~~~~~

Because I don’t want to wait till I’ve exhausted every avenue available to me, I am sharing my research now, in bits and pieces, not necessarily in chronological or logical order.

To stay in the know about what’s happening with The 70273 Project:
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Become a part of The 70273 Project and help us commemorate the 70,273 physically, mentally, and emotionally disabled people who were murdered as a result of the popular thinking of the time in a program called T4:
Make blocks.

What’s Behind the Design of the Quilt Blocks

LucyIlesHorner(blocks created by Lucy Iles Horner)

The Reich Committee for the Scientific Registration of Serious Hereditary and Congenital Diseases oversaw the preparation of a registration form designed to elicit the information it regarded useful in determining which persons were “worthy of help” and which were “useless lives” and thus candidates for “final medical assistance.”

Thousands of copies were printed and distributed to long-term hospitals, sanitariums, and asylums. A cover letter from Dr. Leonardo Conti, chancellor of sanitariums and nursing homes, directed attending physicians to complete the forms immediately and return by January 1, 1940. The purpose of the form was explained as “the necessity for a systematized economic plan for hospitals and nursing institutions.”

THE COVER LETTER

To the Head of the Hospital for Mental Cases,
Kanfbeuren,
Or his deputy in Kaufbeuren.

With regard to the necessity for a systemized economic plan for hospitals and nursing institutions, I request that you complete the attached registration forms immediately in accordance with the attached instruction leaflet and return them to me. If you yourself are not a doctor, the registration forms for the individual patients are to be completed by the supervising doctor. The completion of the questionnaire is, if possible, to be done on a typewriter. In the column “Diagnosis” I request a statement, as exact as possible, as well as a short description of the condition, if feasible.

In order to expedite the work, the registration forms for the individual patients can be dispatched here in several parts. The last consignment, however, must arrive in any case at this ministry at the latest by 1 January 1940. I reserve for myself the right, should occasion arise, to institute further official inquires on the spot, through my representative.

Per proxy: Dr. Conti

INSTRUCTIONAL LEAFLET

To be noted in completing questionnaire:

All patients are to be reported who –

1. Suffer from the following maladies and can only be employed on work of a mechanical character, such as sweeping, etc., at the institution:
Schizophrenia,
Epilepsy (if not organic, state war service injury or other cause),
Senile maladies,
Paralysis and other syphilitic disabilities refractory to therapy, Imbecility, however caused,
Encephalitis,
Huntington’s chorea and other chronic diseases of the nervous system; or

2. Have been continuously confined in institutions for at least five years, or

3. Are in custody as criminally insane, or

4. Are not Germany citizens or not of German or unrelated stock according to their records of race and nationally.

The separate questionnaires to be completed for each patient must be given consecutive numbers.
Answers should be typewritten if possible.
Latest date for return:

INSTRUCTIONS

Diagnosis should be as precise as possible. In the case of traumatically induced conditions, the nature of the trauma in question, e.g., war wounds or accidents at work, must be indicated.

Under the heading “exact description of employment” the work actually done by the patients in the institution is to be stated. If a patient’s work is described as “good” or “very good” reasons must be given why his release has not been considered. If patients on the higher categories of diet, etc., do no work, though they are physically capable of employment, the fact must be specially noted.

The names of patients brought to the institution from evacuation areas are to be followed by the letter (V).

If the number of Forms I sent herewith does not suffice, the additional number required should be demanded.

Forms are also to be completed for patients arriving at the institution after the latest date for return, in which case all such forms are to be sent in together exactly one month after the date in question, in every year.

[DOC 825.]

Registration Form 1
To be Typewritten
Current No.

Name of the institutions:

At:

Surname and Christian name of the patient:

At Birth:

Date of Birth:

Place:

District:

Later place of residence:

District:

Unmarried, married, widow, widower, divorced:

Religion:

Race:

Previous profession:

Nationality:

Army service when? 1914-18 or from 1/9/39

War injury (even if no connection with mental disorder): Yes/No

How does war injury show itself and of what does it consist?

Address of next of kin:

Regular visits and by whom (address):

Guardian or nurse (name, address):

Responsible for payment:

Since when in institution:

Whence and when handed over:

Since when ill:

If has been in other institutions, where and how long:

Twin? Yes/No

Blood relations of unsound mind:

Diagnosis:

Clinical description (previous history, course, condition: in any case ample data regarding mental conditions):

Very restless? Yes/No

Bedridden? Yes/No

Incurable physical illness? Yes/No

Schizophrenia: Fresh attack:

Final condition:

Good recovery:

Mental debility:
Weak
Imbecile
Idiot

Epilepsy: Psychological alteration:
Average frequency of the attacks:

Therapeutics (insulin, cardiazol, malaria, permanent result Salvarsan, etc., when?) Yes/No

Admitted by reason of par. 51, par. 42b German Penal Code, etc., through:

Crime:

Former punishable offenses:

Manner of employment (detailed description of work):

Permanent/temporary employment, independent worker? Yes/No

Value of work (if possible compared with average performance of healthy person)

This space to be left blank

Place

Date

Signature

~~~~~~~

The Aktion T4 was conjured, administered, and maintained by a small number of physicians. To prevent resistance, secrecy was of utmost importance, and the penalty for leaking information about Aktion T4 was death.

Military information was requested because leaders of Aktion T4 felt strongly that veterans should be exempt from the program . . .  not in appreciation for their military service, but because of their belief that military morale would plummet were word to ever get out that veterans who were disabled as a result of their military service were  murdered because of the loss of limbs or sanity. Turns out they were right to fear retaliation. When news that amputees and shell-shocked veterans of World War I were being murdered, Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel complained to Hitler, and in the way of the major furor that ensued, murders of veterans ceased.

It was unclear – especially at the time these forms were sent out – how the information requested on this form was to be used. A commonly heard rumor held that the state was looking for additional laborers and planned to take people from the institutions and put them to work. Based on this rumor, some physicians exaggerated the condition of their patients in hopes of avoiding work recruitment and instead keeping them in the institution that could provide the care they needed. What they actually did, as we now know, was seal the fate of their patients.

With information gleaned from these forms, the 10-15 assessing physicians ran what was little more than a kangaroo court. Without benefit of law or precedent, the assessing doctors decided who would live and who would die. Two red X’s at the bottom of a patient’s form was a sure and swift death sentence.

Notice anything missing from the process? Besides the elements of compassion and humanity, I mean. The assessing physicians did not solicit further information from the attending physicians, from loved ones, or from the patient. They were only required to read the forms and make an evaluation on what they read. Words on paper. That’s all that was required to determine who lives and who dies. It’s unthinkable, unfathomable, isn’t it?

The base of our quilt blocks is white (to represent the paper, the forms) bearing  two red X’s (representing the death sentence).

~~~~~~~

i’ve begun digging into research about the Aktion T4 – the euthanasia program through which the 70,273 physically, mentally, and emotionally disabled people we commemorate in The 70273 Program were murdered – and I’ve decided that I’m not willing to wait the eons it might very well take me to complete my research and pull it together in term paper form, so I’ll be sharing bits and pieces here on the blog as we go along, even as I continue to dig around for information in the background. (Who wants to read a term paper anyway, right?) I’ll categorize the information, and I’m sure some organizational structure will appear eventually. For now, though, bitesize bits and pieces.

Stay in the know:
Subscribe to the blog
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Become a part of The 70273 Project:
Make blocks

~~~~~~~

Information about the assessment form gleaned from transcripts from the Nuremberg trials

Week 18 In Review (June 13-19, 2016)

MotherMakesBlocks

We spent the week at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina with our daughter and my mother. Now my mother might look like she’s sleeping here, but she isn’t. She’s coaxing those arthritic hands into making more blocks for The 70273 Project.

mobilestudio

I set up my mobile studio and stitched up some more blocks, too, as we rode from the top of a mountain to the ocean and back.

As of this past Sunday night, I have 1,483 blocks in hand. Laurie Dunn did some math this past week, and she came up with the same answers I got when I did the math: were one person to stitch all the blocks, it would take 193 years. BUT. if 193 folks make a block a day for a year (or the equivalent – doesn’t have to be a block every day, just so long as you come up with 365), 193 people could have the 70,273 blocks completed in one year. Wouldn’t it be something to have all the blocks in hand by next Valentine’s Day – one year from when we launched? If you’re interested and willing to be one of The Mighty 193, let me know. I’m planning on taking a few seats in that tent, just doing the math to decide how many. We need a good name so we can make ourselves a pin or a badge or something. In the meantime, we’re still shooting to meet Kitty’s goal of 2,000 in hand by 7/4, so y’all keep stitching. Or, as Kitty says, Ready, Set, SEW!

The 70273 Project has received some very generous and gracious mentions this week. Do go read about us in Chloe Grice’s beautiful new blog.  And it wasn’t posted this past week, but I can’t remember if I told y’all about it or not, so I’m putting a link to Lori East’s second post about The 70273 Project right here. Lana Phillips, of the Creative Wellness blog, invited me over to pen a guest blog post. Says Lana, “I’m a Southern girl at heart who wants to build a community of people who believe they can change the world with words like “love” and “freedom” when they become more than words, but actions in our work and our daily lives.” So y’all know I felt right at home there. And Rose B. Fischer read it over at Lana’s place then shared the post in its entirety on her blog.

People are mentioning us on their Facebook timeline, tweeting us out, and helping in a bunch of different ways. Each week brings more subscribers, and the blocks keep coming in. The goodness just rains down on us, y’all. Till next week, thank y’all for being a part of The 70273 Project.

The Stanzas of Fatherhood

83OctTrainKippCarCar140 copy

From my daddy
(his granddaddy),
my son learned
that making space in his life to
pursue what captivates him
doesn’t make him selfish,
but instead makes him a better person
in every area of his life.
He learned resourcefulness, and
that it’s quite possible to make a good living
doing what you love.
He learned to honor the past.
contribute to your community,
the importance of family.
He learned roots.

AndyJimDec1998

From my father-in-law
(his paternal granddaddy)
my son learned perseverance, tenacity,
a can-do/will-do/just-you-watch-me attitude.
He learned that nothing – and I mean nothing –
can take you down unless you let it.

AJAK111978

From my husband
(his daddy),
my son learned loyalty,
fiscal responsibility,
logical thinking.
He learned to work hard enough
to have an impressive career,
but never so hard as to
miss out on family time and happenings.
He learned how to fix things,
how to plan for the future
how to treat women
– as well as other men – with respect.
He learned self-reliance and confidence.
He learned consideration for self and  others
and where to draw the line
to avoid abdication of self
which does nobody any good.
From his daddy,
my son learned humility, patience,
generosity and kindness.
He learned how to be a good husband
and a good dad.

KippCalderRay

My son, Kipp, is now a daddy himself,
and through him,
his son (my grandson),
will learn all the things
passed down through his
daddy’s male ancestors.
He will learn self reliance and kindness
confidence and loyalty
dependability and patience.
He will learn to tell the truth
even when it hurts,
(and, for purposes of entertaining,
how to lie convincingly).
(Wait – that might come from the maternal side of the table.)
He will learn love and curiosity
humor and responsibility
accountability and gratitude.
He will learn to
delight in the success of others
as much as he delights in his own.
He will learn how to make his family proud,
how to be a contributing member of society,
how to take good care of himself and others.
He will learn how to be A Good Man
and a Good Father.

AndyDCarCarKippThanksgiving1978 copy

This is what good fathers do, you know:
they take the best of their forefathers
and pass it on,
setting aside the inevitable not-so-good stuff
to leave it on the side of the road.
And in doing that, good fathers raise good men
who raise good men,
who raise good men,
making the world better
for men and women, boys and girls
for all of us.

ThreeGenerationsOfChambersGuys

Happy Father’s Day, y’all.

An Afternoon with Roxanne Lasky

RoxanneLaskyAndJHC2I’ve long admired and adored the work of Roxanne Lasky from afar. Knowing that she lives in the vicinity, a couple of days ago, as we barreled down the road headed to Hilton Head Island, I sent her a facebook message asking if there was a fabric store or quilt exhibit I needed to see while we are here. Her response? “You’re passing right by us. Stop by. Lorie McCown is here, and we have wine.”

RoxanneAndStuLaskysNellie

Now it didn’t work out for me to get over there in time to meet Lorie, but I did spent an hour and a half with Roxanne, her engineer Stu, and Miss Nellie at their beautiful home yesterday, and what a treat that was! I hadn’t been there 30 minutes when we were talking with ease about topics even the best of friends usually avoid – things like organized religion and spirituality. There are few things I enjoy more than meeting other cloth workers, seeing their studio, hearing their stories . . .

As far as art goes, Roxanne has done it all.

RoxanneLaskySculpture

She’s sculpted

RoxanneLaskyPainting2

and painted

RoxanneLaskyHookedrug

hooked rugs,
made traditional quilts,
owned a fabric store,
and done longarm quilting.

RoxanneLaskyHouse1

RoxanneLaskyHouse2

Honoring what beckons to her,
she found her way to houses

RoxanneLaskyJacketCloseup1

and art quilts.
Intuitive stitching, she calls it.

RoxanneLaskyJacket1

RoxanneLaskyAndHerJacket

Roxanne makes jackets
that showcase her intuitive stitching.

RoxanneLaskyTextileArtOverBed

This piece, that hangs in the bedroom,
is a collage of cloths she’s bundled,
rusted, and dyed, transforming
them all in one way or another.
She and Lori sometimes do collaborative pieces.
Their current collaboration is
on an indigo-dyed doily.
They’ve just begun,
and already it’s a sumptuous piece.

RoxanneLaskyTheOtherOz2

Roxanne is working on a series about
the erosion of memory
and in particular, Alzheimers.
In these pieces, Roxanne stitches
good memories of her mother
along with the sadness of remembering
her mother’s descent into Alzheimer’s
and her fear of developing Alzheimer’s herself.

RoxanneLaskyTheOtherOz1
Having grown up poor,
when her mother married
and found herself with enough pin money
that she no longer had to buy
somebody else’s cast-off shoes,
she indulged in her love of high heels.
New high heels.
This piece is called The Other Oz.
(Roxanne is as good at naming pieces
as she is at conjuring and stitching them.)
As you might imagine,
she finds it necessary to take
frequent breaks from the memory series,
stitching other, unrelated themes.

RoxanneLaskysTotems
This piece is her personal totem,
filled with things that
speak to her.
Things like
dresses, feathers, and birds.

A former special ed teacher and
an early contributor to The 70273 Project,
and, Roxanne recently met a fella who regaled her
with stories about his son
who has Down’s Syndrome and autism,
and she was so moved, she vows
to make a block dedicated to his son.

SunsetOverHiltonHead

After a morning of thrift store shopping
with The Engineer and my mother
(I’ll show and tell you more tomorrow)
and getting to call Roxanne Lasky “Sugar” to her face,,
the sun set on what I’d be hard pressed to call
anything but A Mighty Fine Day.

Hearting Orlando

Landscape4

On the lake,

Skiing

some folks ski

Tubing
some go tubing.

Beach

and some stay on the beach.

MotorboatSpeeding

Some like to go fast,
while others like to putter along the edge of the lake,
looking at docks and houses.

CigarBoat

Some folks have cigar boats

kayak

some prefer kayaks

Pontoon
some like pontoon boats,
booze barges, my mother-in-law called them.

Biscuit2

Some folks leave their pets at home,
while others bring their Corgis.

Waves2

On the lake,
we float over each other’s waves
and say not Dammit
but Wheee!

SparklingWater1
On the water,
we show consideration for each other
and obey certain rules of etiquette
to keep us all safe
while allowing us to enjoy the water
as we will,
each in our own way.

HeartCloud

For the life of me,
I don’t see why we can’t
live together on land
as we do on water.

Week 17 in Review (June 6-12, 2016)

project_badge

I’ve heard from people in 72 different countries now, and I have 1405 blocks in my possession. Thank y’all! Our Kitty Sorgen has set a goal of 2000 blocks in hand by July 4, so who’ll help us reach that goal? (Please leave a comment here or in the Facebook group.) I commit to make 100 blocks by June 26, 2016 – in 2 weeks – which is about the last date you can mail your blocks to be sure I receive them by July 4. Actually I need to receive them by July 3 because the post office is closed on July 4. Actually I need to receive them by July 2 because July 3 is a Sunday, and the post office is closed that day, too. How about this: please allow 7-10 days for your blocks to get to me.

It’s hard to know what to do.  I’m a woman who works best with slits and deadlines. Structure. That’s it: I like structure. But this is a Slow Project, a Meditative Project. Laying down those red X’s is a meaningful act that brings up thoughts and feelings from the depths of my soul. To rush that is to lose that.

And yet, if there’s no plan, no finish line, will I live long enough to see all 70,273 blocks?

If you have ideas or suggestions, do tell me.

70273Quilt

And . . . I received our first quilt on Friday! Here it is: Quilt 1 of The 70273 Project. It was pieced by Kitty Sorgen and quilted by MJ Kinman. As you can see, each block still bears its identification tag, and because of our comings and goings and the arrival and departure of guests, The Engineer and I won’t be able to make the label for another couple of weeks, and we can’t remove those identification tags until the label is made. Once that’s done, though, I’ll do a Great Reveal post, show you photos of the back, close-ups of the quilting, and list the Makers whose blocks are included. Isn’t it beautiful, y’all?

STICKY NOTE: NEW PROVENANCE FORMS

Oh, one more thing before I forget: some of y’all still haven’t returned your new provenance form. If you didn’t receive it in the mail, please let me know and I’ll resend OR download it here and send it back to me. And if it’s more convenience and if you’ll let me know before Sunday, 6/19 (I have a free trial that expires soon, and I can’t afford to pay for the service after that), I can email you one that’s ready for your electronic signature, so you can open, complete, sign, and return. I really need to get those back in asap, so thank y’all for getting them on back to me so we can continue our forward motion.

What I Found Inside Envelope 20

Block249LLunaAndMom3.5x6.5

Little Luna, I call her, and I adore her. She’s the teenage daughter of a woman I love – a woman I call Moonglow – and these are her blocks. Little Luna’s, I mean. She shopped for her fabric at thrift stores, and she texted me messages and photos throughout the morning, taking me shopping with her.  Here, in her own good words, is what she told me about making them . . .

Block250LLunaAndMom6.5x9.5

Sometimes we forget that terrible things are done. When my mom told me about this project, I immediately wanted to conribute. I believe in this, I believe that no one should die by 2 “x”s on a piece of paper. We all have a right to life, even the imperfect and the youngest among us can teach and give to the world. No one should be able to take that from us!

Block251LLunaAndMom6.5x9.5

What happened to these people was a monstrocity! The very fact that they just looked at a piece of paper and never looked in the eyes of the person they were sentencing to death shows their lack of humanity. I am infuriated by this. Someone thought “This child can not have a future. XX.”!!!

Block252LLunaAndMom6.5x9.5

I chose to cut up soft worn fabric from donated clothes. The fabric was part of someone’s story. The “X’s” could have been an unseen hand ending that tale. Thank you, Miss Jeanne, for letting me help, and for reminding the world that everyone has a story and needs to be seen and honored.

Little Luna

Block253LLunaAndMom6.5x9.5

 

Mail Call for The 70273 Project

TheEngineerFetchesMail2

Getting heavily-decorated mail tickles me,
The Engineer, and our local post mistresses.
Tickles a lot of other folks along the way, too,  I’m guessing.

GlendaWilliamsAustralia

A flock of beautiful blue birds
brought this package from Australia,
a box filled with – count them –  160 blocks.
Thank you, Glenda Williams!

EnvelopeJewelrySusanGetchell2a

EnvelopeJewelrySusanGetchell2b

Beautiful flowers adorn another envelope from Susan Getchell in Florida.

EnvelopeJewelryLeeDurbin

Lee Durbin sent another envelope of blocks,
this one decorated in patriotism, and it sparked
the idea to make five blocks a day over Memorial Day weekend
(which I did and well tell you about soon)
as a way of remembering and appreciating
those who died to prevent atrocities
like the one that murdered the 70273 people
we commemorate with The 70273 Project.

EnvelopeJewelryKittySorgen1

Just seeing Kitty Sorgen’s name on the return address label
makes me smile, so when I turn it over to see this,
it’s like getting a bonus.EnvelopeJewelryJohansen1cropped

Orderly, well-dressed felines
brought this envelope from Marie Johansen.

EnvelopeJewelryTinaDavis1

And this one from Tina Davis was just plain fun.
Included in her envelope was a piece of fabric
and a request for me to sign it
and become part of her signature quilt.

EnvelopeJewelrySusanGuild

Sometimes I open envelopes to find jewelry on the inside –
like this uplifting note from Susan Guild

EnvelopeJewelrySamanthaKendig

and this one from Samantha Kendig

EnvelopeJewelryMJKinman

and this exciting news from MJ Kinman.

EnvelopeJewelryPostcardDellaMonk1

Then there’s this creative postcard
from the talented one known as Della Monk.
It really doesn’t have any relation to The 70273 Project,
but it’s so much fun, there’s no way I could leave it out.

No matter how your blocks get to me,
I thank y’all for being part of
The 70273 Project
and making it such an enjoyable
and worthwhile endeavor.

Walking Diary

09June16RainbowTrout

The Engineer: Do you see the Rainbow Trout?

The Artist: Not yet, but would you just look at that heart and
that exclamation point sunning themselves right beside each other!

Then whoosh – in that snap of a moment,
I have my way into the piece I’m writing.
And I have my segue.

I declare: walking is as necessary to writing
as inhaling is to breathing.

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