Monthly Archives: July, 2016

Dorothy and Delyte

“The Dorothy Morris Garden is where the Morris’s backyard used to be” according the Southern Illinois University’s newspaper The Daily Egyptian.  The Morris’s house was where the University Museum, located in Faner, now is.  “Dorothy removed the maroon veil from the sign which read Dorothy Morris Gardens.  As she looked beyond the Gardens she recalled what her backyard used to look like,” The Daily Egyptian goes on to tell us.  This was October 1998 and I was one of the fifty people present at the dedication.

IMG_3237This stone and gate are remnants of a wall and gate around the Morris’ Home.

IMG_3239IMG_3238IMG_3244Here are pictures of additional stone wall from the Morris time.

IMG_3251IMG_3253I can remember the morning of the dedication so vividly.  Mrs. Morris was stately and regal..with a kindness and softness about her that was compelling.  My friend, Chancellor Jo Ann Argersinger along with President Ted Sanders were there.  I thought about how much promise Chancellor Argersinger had…much in the same vein as Dorothy Morris and her husband Delyte.


The greatest days of our beloved University were during the twenty-three year leadership, 1948-1971, of Dorothy and Delyte Morris.  Above you see the annual tradition of Watermelon Feast…that the Morris personally hosted for the entire Campus Community.

When I began as a Building Service Worker I in October of 1978 many of my older custodial colleagues remembered fondly the Morris Years!  They spoke often how that both Dorothy and Delyte rode their bicycles around Campus in the evenings and how they knew their names…the custodians.  They felt that they were as important to the success of SIU as anyone associated with it.  They felt like family.

Chancellor Argersinger made us feel that way…for her short time as our leader.



Beautiful Southern Illinois University

After working at Southern Illinois University for over thirty-two years, I still cannot get enough of the profound beauty of the place!  I subsequently walk the Campus four of five days a week and receive spiritual empirical enrichment each time I am there.

IMG_3148IMG_3165IMG_3154IMG_3172The lovely classical architecture of the Old Campus is like nothing you will see in Illinois.

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Or the commemorative statues of Delyte Morris and his wife Dorothy who with their combined efforts built the Southern Illinois University of today.

IMG_2736IMG_3209IMG_3210IMG_3179IMG_3190IMG_2883IMG_3169IMG_2863It is a supreme joy to have such a beautiful academic facility so close.  Indeed when people from all walks of life move to Carbondale from much larger and more urbane settings…they never leave!

The slower life style coupled with the Arts and academic enrichment of a major university is a compelling combination…for a relaxed…peaceful…diverse and interesting existence.


Hanging Harps

This past Sunday Pastor Janice delivered a lovely sermon based on Psalm 137. “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.  We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.  For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.  How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”  Psalm 137: 1-4   KJV

The scripture is referring to the removal of the Israelites from their native land by their cruel enemies.

I wonder how often the oppressed peoples of our Earth feel just as the Israelites felt so many years ago?  How did our African American brothers and sisters feel when our ancestors took them by force from their bondage and chains…to a new land for slavery and degradation?

What of the Syrian people who are fleeing their country under the combined threat of Assad and ISIS?  As they seek refuge and shelter and food…a friendly…peaceful…kind human… to help them in their extreme suffering.

What of our Policemen and Policewomen?  How do they feel when their colleagues are being murdered in Dallas and Baton Rouge, and all, many of them want to do is provide for the Public Safety…and return home to their family’s and live their life…and worship their God?

How do we all feel when the potential is great that the focus of our Country…The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave…may be changing dramatically?

Are all of the inclusive loving and caring…’opportunity for all’ tenets…now realigned to a pragmatic doctrine that excludes many groups of people on the basis of the color of their skin or their religion or their gender?

Often I have heard individuals say that they want to take their country back!  While this statement appears to be a worthy cause…what are they wanting to take their country back to?

statue of liberty construction

During World War II our soldiers fought valiantly for our country!  My wife’s uncle Merle is buried at Fort Bliss.  After visiting his grave we walked throughout the cemetery of uniform white grave stones.  Proudly engraved on the hallowed stone monuments are the; Muslim Crescent and Star, the Jewish Star of David, and the Christian Cross…among others.  All of these brave heroes of our Land…did not hang their harps on the willow trees!


Emma Lazarus famous poem is ‘graven on a tablet on a pedestal’ on which the Statue of Liberty stands.

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,  With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, who’s flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles.  From her beacon-hand Glows world wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air bridged harbor that twin cities frame.  ‘Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!’  cries she With silent lips.  ‘Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled massed yearning to  breathe free, The Wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”





Pandora’s Jar–On the Occasion that You Find Yourself in Despair

Another thought provoking blog from my friend.


Dear Lily June,

Right now, the world seems to be a very dark place indeed. If you look at just the largest acts of terror and murder in the Westernized world lately–the Pulse nightclub shooting of 49 members of the LGBT community in Orlando, Florida; the seemingly race-driven killings of individuals in the Black community by police officers and the seemingly retaliatory killings of police officers in Dallas, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; the driving of a truck into a crowd of innocents in Nice, France that resulted in the deaths of at least 84–you might find yourself, like your mother, largely overwhelmed. And this is nothing compared to the bloodshed and tension that has been unfolding in places throughout the Middle East for centuries.

I sat on our balcony yesterday with your father and asked him, in a pit of depression and despair, what right we had to bring you into a world…

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Letter from Nice

Please read my friend Margo’s post regarding the tragedy in Nice.

Margo Lestz - The Curious Rambler

Rose 02Dear Readers,

Today’s post is a letter to let you all know that I am fine and to thank you for your concern, and your thoughts and prayers. Jeff was away, and I went to the July 14 fireworks display with some friends. About three minutes before the truck came barreling through the crowd I was walking along the same route, thinking what a wonderful evening it had been and how nice to be in a happy, family atmosphere.

Then I turned down the street where I live, which is just off the Promenade. It’s a pedestrian street lined with restaurants and tables spilling into the street. It’s a main passageway for people going to the Promenade and is always packed after an event. So we were shoulder to shoulder, moving along very slowly. I hadn’t been on my street more than three minutes when people behind me began to…

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Thursday afternoon shortly after 4:00 pm Mary Jane and I were watching CNN when Breaking News flashed on the television screen that there had been a large refrigeration truck drive through a massive group of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France.  The nineteen ton white truck sped down the Promenade des Anglais swerving to the left and right in order to strike and run over and kill as many of the people, who were returning from the fireworks show, as possible.

We were fear stricken as our dear friends Margo and Jeff live in Nice!  We immediately began to email and text them both and were so relieved to hear that Margo was just ahead of the massacre and had been able, along with many others, to run into one of the restaurants for safe shelter.  She was shaken by the incident but safe!

Jeff was in the United Kingdom working with his business at the time of the heinous act…but rushed to be by Margo’s side as quickly as possible.

Two years ago this past June we were with Margo and Jeff in Nice.  Nice is a lovely, peaceful, friendly city.  We walked along the Promenade des Anglais at least once a day for the week that we were there.


I thought of the sweet people in the Hat Store where Mary Jane and I both purchased a hat.  I thought of the lovely people that we met in the various restaurants that we ate in.  The great group of authors that we met at a meeting that Margo invited us to…they were so kind…and caring.


It makes a difference when you have actually been to a geographical location that later experiences tragedy.

Across our planet we have a growing affinity with violence.  It is thought by many that, “The only way to fight fire is with fire.”

Certainly the swiftest prosecution of murderers and those who support terrorism is necessary and appropriate.  But there has to be a deeper answer for the Cancer that is growing across the Globe.

I wonder if we all work to create more love and understanding with those who are demonized and set apart…and disenfranchised…can we make a difference in our generation?



There is no rationale or reasoning that will cause me to understand how anyone can cavalierly murder innocent people, including children.  The dramatic turn to bloodshed has frozen societies…politics…and religions into a grudging acceptance of what until recently was beyond imagination.  I think we must all ask God for answers…and work to promote healing among those we come in contact with.

“An eye for an eye will make the world blind.”



An Unusual Comment For Unusual Times

I am politically an Independent.  In the 1980s I voted for Ronald Reagan.  I also voted for George H. W.  Bush.  At the time I thought they were both wonderful!

Over three separate interviews this past week Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has voiced her views regarding the presumptive Republican Nominee for President of the United States.  In an interview with the New York Times the Justice said, “I can’t imagine what the country would be-with Donald Trump as our President.”  In an interview with the Associated Press Justice Ginsburg stated when asked about a possible Trump victory, “I don’t want to think about that possibility, but if it should be, then everything is up for grabs.”  In an interview with CNN on Monday she said, Trump was, “A faker who has no consistency about him.”

Justice Ginsburg has been almost universally condemned for what is considered an inappropriate comment coming from a sitting member of the highest court in the land.  Condemnations range from, how can she be viewed as impartial when and if a case comes before the Supreme Court regarding a Trump Presidency to her casting a cloud over the entire Court.

Presumptive Republican Nominee Donald Trump responded by tweet on Twitter, “Justice Ginsburg of the United States Supreme Court has embarrassed us all by making very dumb political statements about me.  Her mind is shot-resign!”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the daughter of Russian/Jewish immigrants.

I watched the CNN Town hall with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.  On more than one occasion during the hour event Speaker Ryan was asked how he could support Donald Trump who has demonstrated extremely candid misogynistic, racist, xenophobic statements and opinions?  The Speaker replied that it was a binary decision and thus he could accept Trump rather than Clinton.  That is probably the appropriate stand for the Republican Speaker of the House to take as he is the Chairman of the Republican National Convention that begins on Monday…but what about the excluding of the entire Muslim faith and people from the United States?  What about  referring to Mexicans as rapist?  Is it apparently more political expedient to disregard fifty-one percent of the residents of the United States and to turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to the most egregious demeaning comments about women…so we can win an election?  Is it now acceptable to make fun of disabled people?  What about being slow to disavow and nonplus about the Ku Klux Klan?

Republican questioners in the Town Hall audience looked like “deer caught in the headlights” when the Speaker of the House of Representatives basically informed them that he was able to look over all of their concerns…just to place a Republican in the White House.

What comes after the election?  What shall we be willing to accept?

statue of liberty constructionIMG_2218

Unraveling, Part II–On the Occasion of Being a Failure as a Teacher

A profound post from my friend! Please read.


*TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains a link to a graphic image of a brutally murdered boy named Emmett Till. Because his mother asked that his body be buried in an open casket so that all could see what had been done to her child, I am honoring her wishes again and sharing his image. I will clearly indicate in the text the moment where this image appears. If you cannot look, do not click the link. I have looked at this image only a few times in my life, but I will never be able to forget what I’ve seen.*


Dear Lily June,

As a teacher, I would talk to my students about ethos. It’s a more complex concept than this, but essentially, it refers to the credibility of a speaker. Some voices have more connection to a topic at hand, and thus are more able to accurately convey an…

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Unraveling, Part I–On the Occassion of More Murders in America

Please read my friend’s thought provoking blog.


Dear Lily June,

Imagine you are born in a very cold place. In this place, there are many groups of people, and you belong to a group called the Sames. (There are also the Differents, the Others, the Exotics, etc.) Because you are a Same, when you are born, you are given a magical sweater, one which protects you from all the elements. Here’s the catch, though: This sweater is invisible to every one who wears it. Only those not wearing it–the Differents, the Others, the Exotics, etc.–can actually see the sweater. If you’re thinking really hard about it, you can feel how it’s keeping you warm, but like I said, it’s mostly, to you, entirely invisible. It’s easy to forget you’re even wearing it.

One day a Different walks up to you with a look of horror and disgust. “That sweater,” the Different says, not mincing words, “is cruel.”

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Please enjoy this great Jonathon Brooks Blog!


Who inspires you? It could be a favorite writer, the best teacher you’ve ever had, your mom, your dad, a beloved great uncle, Jesus or all sorts of others whose hearts are in the right place. I could name many people throughout my lifetime who have helped, inspired, me in a multitude of ways.

I won’t make a list of all of their names, but I’d like to give a thank-you to every writer I’ve ever read for their inspiration in my life. Falling in love with reading at the age of 19 helped save my life. Video game heroes as a boy never did this for me. They were and our heroes in their game worlds. In the story of my real life I needed real heroes to save my days.

Two of the first writers works I ever read because I wanted to read for knowledge and fun…

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