Sunday Seven – Elizabeth Regina

Today I heard a speech by Queen Elizabeth on TV – she was speaking to her nation to remain united and resolute in the face of the current epidemic.  What was startling for me about the speech was that she referred to a speech she and her sister gave in 1940 – that was 80 years ago!! I can’t imagine that there is any other world leader, part or present, that can say that. That got me thinking about all the brilliant, funny, and poignant things she may have said over the course of these years, and I decided that I would find some of the ones I liked and make that my Sunday Seven for this week.

  • We know, every one of us that in the end all will be well; for God will care for us and give us victory and peace. And when peace comes, remember it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world a better and happier place (Radio address to the children of the Commonwealth on Oct 13, 1940).
  • It has been women who have breathed gentleness and care into the hard progress of humankind.
  • The upward course of a nation’s history is due in the long run to the soundness of heart of its average men and women.
  • I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.
  • Work is the rent you pay for the room you occupy on earth.
  • It’s all to do with the training: you can do a lot if you’re properly trained.
  • True patriotism, doesn’t exclude an understanding of the patriotism of others.
  • In remembering the appalling suffering of war on both sides, we recognize how precious is the peace we have built in Europe since 1945.
..my strength and my stay..
  • He has, quite simply, been my strength and my stay all these years, and I and his whole family, and this, and many other countries, owe him a debt greater than he would ever claim or we shall ever know. (About her husband Prince Philip).

Contactless Delivery – in Medieval England

Many comparisons are being made nowadays of the current pandemic to Spanish flu in the early 1900s and the bubonic plague in the 1500s. Then, as now, the quickest way to stop the spread of the disease was through voluntary and enforced quarantines and keeping a safe distance from others. In towns across England one such reminder, of the social distancing that occurred, remains to this day.

Sitting unnoticed beside main roads, or near the outskirts of many towns all across England are stones that tell a story of the plague. These Plague Stones were hollowed out from the middle, filled with vinegar, and placed at the edge of town. Farmers were terrified to bring goods to market because of the plague, as a result of which there were severe food shortages in the towns. 

People from the town left coins in the vinegar and retreated a safe distance (one would assume of 6 feet or more) away from the stone. Farmers then came to the stone, picked up the – now sanitized with vinegar – coin from the hollow and left their farm produce, eggs, bread, etc. by the stone for the person standing a safe distance away.

And that was how Plague Stones played their part in stopping the spread of the plague the 1500s – they were the contactless delivery of today.

These Plague Stones teach us the importance of social distancing in fighting any pandemic. And more importantly, they teach us the value of knowing our History and learning from it – knowing how our ancestors got through the plague will teach us how to get through our current crisis. (Images courtesy of UK town travel websites – exploreperinth.org.uk etc).

Counting the people – since 1790

After Independence, it was important for Congress to know the total population of the fledgling nation, and know where its people lived.  It was one of the first things that the new Congress instructed the government to do, and they wanted it done every 10 years (which continues to this day).This information was needed to form a representative government and to make the states pay their fair share of the Independence war bill.

And so on August 2, 1790 – the first census day  – the brave counters – also known as enumerators – rode out on horseback to find the people of this country and count them for the first census.

The census listed the head of household and counted 1) The number of free white males age 16 and over (to get a handle on the number of men available for military service) 2) The number of free white females  and all other free persons & 3) Number of slaves

There was supposed to be a form for recording the answers, but most often the Marshals had to provide whatever paper they could find to record the information. The census of 1790 took 18 months to complete, and counted 3.9 million people.

Census 1790 – Newburyport, MA

Counting the People

What started in 1790 continues to this day in America. Today, April 2, 2020 is the 24th Census day, and the first that can be filled online.

Sunday Seven – For All My Teachers

I am dedicating today’s Sunday Seven – with some teacher quotes I found on Instagram – to all my teachers. We have gone from classrooms to online learning without skipping a beat – and I can just imagine the herculean effort this has required on all your parts. Hats off to all of you – you are amazing!!

  • Parents saying they’re now “teachers” is like saying you’re a carpenter after putting together IKEA furniture.
  • I hope the phrase “just a teacher” disappears after all of this. Teachers are rock stars.
  • Dear Educators, Together my wife & I have four college degrees and 40 years’ experience working with children. We have three elementary-school kids, two jobs, two computers, an old iPad, and slow internet. We. Are. Still. Overwhelmed. A Parent.
  • After a week of “Home School”…the teachers have been lying to me all these years. THEY ARE NOT A PLEASURE TO HAVE IN CLASS. A Parent.
  • Don’t ask school leaders and teachers if they are happy to “have time off.” No, we are not happy and our hearts ache for our students. We want to be at school. We want to see our kids. We want to meet their needs. We want our normal back. A Teacher.
  • Been homeschooling a 6-year old and 8-year old for one hour an 11 minutes. Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week. A Parent.
  • Shout out to all of the amazing teachers doing everything they can to continue teaching during the quarantine. You are heroes. Ellen DeGeneres.
  • AND MY FAVORITE:  My professor is 74 and he isn’t confident using Zoom so he’s prerecorded the rest of our classes. Today, I watched the first one. He has a Pinocchio doll in the front row because he isn’t comfortable teaching to an empty room. I’m social distancing for this man and this man only. @macho_montana

Dutch Auction

My classes are online so like all students I’m home all day and listen to tidbits of what’s being said on TV.  Last week I heard the word “Dutch Auction” on CNBC, and I was intrigued by the inclusion of the word Dutch – and researching this took me down quite an interesting path of discovery. Consider the number of additional words that have the “Dutch” qualification: Dutch treat, Double Dutch, to go Dutch, Flying Dutchman are some of the more common ones.

A Dutch Auction, unlike a regular auction, is one in which the auctioneer starts the auction at a high price, and the prices come down instead of going.  This was the kind of auction first used in the tulip markets in the Netherlands – hence Dutch Auction

In a disorganized, fresh flower market, where time was of the essence, the auctioneers wanted the trading to be quick. They would start the auction at an artificially high price, which they would bring down in increments until they got their first bid – at which time the auction would end – and the flowers would be sold at that bid price. This form of auction is more beneficial to sellers (than buyers) because they could get higher prices than in a regular auction.

Dutch Auctions are most often used nowadays by the US Government when selling Treasury Bills and Notes – that’s probably what they were discussing on CNBC when I heard the term !!

What about the other words?  Many of these have an equally interesting origin. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Dutch and the English were the two great seafaring empires -competing with each other for control over maritime routes and colonies – waging as many as three wars over 20 years. One can imagine that the English sailors would have found numerous ways to insult their Dutch counterparts by qualifying all cowardly, low class actions as Dutch. And this was exactly how a number of these words entered the English dictionary.

Going Dutch, which now means to split a bill at a restaurant, would have started as a reference to Dutch frugality or stinginess.  Similarly, Dutch Party is when everyone brings a dish to the host’s house, and a Dutch treat is even worse – when you get invited out to a restaurant for a treat and a bill is sprung upon you at the last minute.

Double Dutch is another interesting term for a jump rope game which has origins in New York which had a lot of Dutch immigrants. It also means nonsense or something that makes no sense to the listener, as in “it’s all double Dutch to me” – because the English generally found the Dutch language incomprehensible. 

Sometimes Dutch and Deutsch are confused – which is why Pennsylvania Dutch are called that instead of Pennsylvania Deutsch.

Sunday Seven – Persian New Year

I was supposed to go to a Persian friend’s New Year part but that was cancelled. The Persian New Year or Nowruz is on March 20th.  Every year Nowruz coincides with the arrival of spring – it is a celebration of the links between humans and nature.  In honor of the Persian New Year I decided to do quotes by Persian poets for this week’s Sunday Seven.

Whatever is produced in haste, goes hastily to waste. Saadi Shirazi (1210 – 1291).

Have patience, all things are difficult before they become easy. Saadi Shirazi.

Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself. Rumi (1207 – 1273).

Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion. Rumi.

Raise you words, not voice. It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder. Rumi.

Live life as if everything is rigged in your favor. Rumi.

I died a lot to love a little with you. Yaghma Golrrouee

Your heart and my heart are very, very old friends. Hafiz (1315 -1390)

Ever since happiness heard your name, it has been running through the streets trying to find you. Hafiz.

It does not matter where I am. The sky is always mine. Sohrab Sepehri (1928 – 1980).