Saturday, May 09, 2009

Hearts and flowers - updated

The Mother's Day Proclamation of Julia Ward Howe (1870)

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise, all women who have hearts,
Whether our baptism be of water or of tears!
Say firmly:
"We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience.
We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country
To allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."
From the bosom of the devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own.
It says: "Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice."
Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.
As men have often forsaken the plough and the anvil at the summons of war,
Let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.
Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.
Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means
Whereby the great human family can live in peace,
Each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesar,
But of God.
In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask
That a general congress of women without limit of nationality
May be appointed and held at someplace deemed most convenient
And at the earliest period consistent with its objects,
To promote the alliance of the different nationalities,
The amicable settlement of international questions,
The great and general interests of peace.
Then there is the story of Anna Jarvis:
Anna Jarvis was born in the tiny town of Webster in Taylor County, West Virginia. She was the daughter of Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis. The family moved to nearby Grafton, West Virginia in her childhood.

On May 12, 1907, two years after her mother's death, she held a memorial to her mother and thereafter embarked upon a campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday. She succeeded in making this nationally recognized in 1914. The International Mother's Day Shrine was established in Grafton to commemorate her accomplishment.

By the 1920s, Anna Jarvis had become soured on the commercialization of the holiday. She incorporated herself as the Mother’s Day International Association, claimed copyright on the second Sunday of May, and was once arrested for disturbing the peace. She and her sister Ellsinore spent their family inheritance campaigning against the holiday. Both died in poverty. Jarvis, says her New York Times obituary, became embittered because too many people sent their mothers a printed greeting card. As she said, "A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment!"

Anna Marie Jarvis never married and had no children. She died in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and is buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.
Having cleared the decks at least somewhat of temptations to treacle....

I want to thank my birth mother, whoever and wherever she may be, for bringing me into this world. (If you should chance to read this, blessings upon you!)

I want to thank Hallie Safford Strid who was working as a nurse's aide in St. Agnes Hospital, Fresno, and who took me home on Mother's Day 1946 - the only mother I have known.

I want to honor Anne and Lois, my ex's mom and stepmom who also loved me and whom I love.

I rejoice in Mary of Nazareth, Mother of Jesus and Mother of believers, and in Dame Julian, who has been a spiritual mother to me as well.

A final touch (and thanks to Susan Russell who introduced me to this):

PS: A shout out to my den mom, Doris, in Oakland!

Happy Mother's Day, y'all!

--the BB

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