Posts Tagged ‘Standard-Examiner’

Mount Ben Lomond, which is Ogden's northern backdrop, always has a smiley face to cheer you up if you know where to look for it. From this angle it's pretty easy to see. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” — Albert Schweitzer

*Travels With Maggie

My week in Ogden was a busy one that enriched my life. It included a barbecue with Kim and her family, visits and lunches, , with other old friends, a baby shower for Kim’s daughter-in-law, visits to former haunts including the newspaper where I worked for 22 years, a drive up scenic Ogden Canyon beside the snow-melt-full Ogden River, and a memorial service for Kim’s grandmother, GG, who had adopted me into her family because mine was far away.

GG, which stands for Great Grandmother, had told everybody to celebrate her 99 years on this earth and not to mourn. Of course we mourned our loss, but we also obeyed her wishes and celebrated, too, including singing joyful songs and dancing.

I enjoyed my Ogden visit immensely, including the celebratory funeral.

Most of my 23 years as a journalist for the Standard-Examiner newspaper in Ogden was spent in a converted armory. This new building, located on former Defense Depot Ogden (now Business Depot Ogden) was built just a few years before I retired. As shown here, the building reflects the mountains off to the east. -- Photo by Pat Bean

When I drove by my small, old home on 20th Street, I was tickled to see that the tulips I had planted along my fence line were in full bloom. The new owners, however, had dug up the huge Rose of Sharon bush that had run beneath my bedroom windows. Sigh…. But the huge Elm in the backyard, which had actually been why I had bought the house, was still there.

I’ve left places many times in my life, and I find it interesting the things I forget and the things that become more dear. It’s like separating the chaff from the wheat. It’s something everyone needs to do occasionally, it’s just that moving away makes it easier to do.

Not only do you have an opportunity to get rid of useless stuff, which somehow accumulates in all the hidden storage spots in a house, but it’s good to separate yourself as much as possible from negative people who dampen your days.

Fortunately all the people I renewed acquaintances with while in Ogden were the kind who make others feel good about themselves. It was good to see every one of them again. It was also good to sit in the shadow of the Wasatch Mountains, which continues to hold a part of my soul.

It would be good also to go in search of new mountains and new friends, especially knowing that for this summer I would only be a couple of hours away. .

Day 20-26 of my journey, May 8-14

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Maya Angelou reading her poetry to the nation during Clinton's 1993 presidential inauguration. -- Photo courtesy of Wikipedia


“I always love to hear people laugh. I never trust people who don’t laugh … I also like people who love themselves. I don’t trust people who don’t love themselves.” — Maya Angelou

Travels With Maggie

I was asked this week, after I wrote about David Hasselhoff (Feb. 17th blog), who had been my favorite person to interview during my 37 years as a journalist. Without a second’s hesitation, I replied, “Maya Angelou.”

I had the honor of spending an hour with this earthy, acclaimed poet before she gave the 1997 “Familes Alive” address at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah. Amazingly, I found this very same speech online at http://tinyurl.com/63tg8eo I suggest, if you have time, that you read it.

Angelou had been 69 at the time, She stood six-feet tall and had an ample body that should have made her look grandmotherly. It didn’t. She oozed confidence, and sexuality in a way I had never seen before. I remember thinking back then that if this what age had in store for me, bring it on.

My first introduction to Maya Angelou came in the early 1970s when I read her "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."

A huge audience had come to hear Maya speak. I, for one, drank in every word she spoke. Here was a woman who had risen from suffering racial discrimination to reading her poetry before the nation during a presidential inauguration.

Her life is clear evidence for all of us that where we start out in life isn’t where we have to stay.

The newspaper story I wrote from my interview and Angelou’s speech stirred one angry letter, however.

I quoted Anglelou quoting a 1950s’ folk song that had a Black man saying: “The woman I love is fat and chocolate to the bone, and every time she shakes some skinny woman loses her home.” Angelou demonstrated the shaking, and said she loved to make people laugh. And everyone in the audience obliged her.

In response, the letter writer accused me of encouraging discrimination against “skinny women.” I suspected she was a woman who had never laughed at herself. How sad.

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