Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Helen Keller - Life After Radcliffe

Helen's formal education did not end with her B.A. from Radcliffe. She had many other published works, all of which were done with the assistance of her 'teacher,' Anne Sullivan. The include the following titles: The World I Live In; The Song of the Stone Wall; Out of the Dark; My Religion; Midstream--My Later Life; Peace at Eventide; Helen Keller in Scotland; Helen Keller's Journal; Let Us Have Faith; Teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy; and the Open Door.
Amazingly, Helen used a braille typewriter to prepare her manuscripts, then transferred them to a regular typewriter.
Helen received honorary doctoral degrees from Temple University, Harvard University, and the Universities of Glasgow, Scotland; Berlin, Germany; Delhi, India; and Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She was also an Honorary Fellow of the Educational Institute of Scotland.

Anne Sullivan Macy

Helen's political ideology became clear in the years following her graduation from Radcliffe. It was while she was enrolled that Anne Sullivan met John Macy, a prominent socialist of the times. Anne and John were married in 1905.  Helen lived with the Macys in Wrentham, Massachusetts. During the years with the Macys Helen was introduced to John's views on socialism. In 1909 she became a member of the Socialist Party of Massachusetts.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Beautiful Spring Saturday

I was out and about Saturday morning and stopped by a local garden center to browse.  What a gorgeous morning and what beautiful plants! It was a real feast for the senses!

Such beautiful tulips!  I love the color combinations.

Daffodils always seem to be nodding their heads as if in agreement with whatever you say!

In the greenhouse. I want some of each!
Hanging baskets--use your imagination!

Helen Keller Attends Radcliffe College

In 1896 Helen enrolled in the Cambridge School for Young Ladies, and in 1900 she became the the first deafblind person to ever be enrolled at an institution of higher learning, when she was accepted at Radcliffe College. In 1904 she received her B.A. cum laude.  All this time Anne Sullivan remained with Helen as her teacher and companion.

While at Radcliffe, Helen wrote The Story of My Life, in 1903. Today, her autobiography is available in more than 50 languages.

More to come...

Biographical Information: www.afb.org/

"College isn't the place to go for ideas." Helen Keller

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pretty Maids All In A Row

Since it's azalea season in Mobile, the 'Azalea City,' I can't ignore the most famous goodwill ambassadors for Mobile, the Azalea Trail Maids.

Once the Azalea Trail had been established for many decades, the city decided to enlist high school senior girls to represent Mobile at the height of azalea season.  The Azalea Trail Court originally consisted of only ten members. Its popularity grew so much that in the 1950's it was decided to expand membership in the court to all of Mobile County.  In fact, the America's Junior Miss Scholarship Program was formed as a direct outgrowth of the Azalea Trail Court.  Now the court consists of fifty high school seniors, who go through a rigorous series of interviews, tests, and essays as part of the competition.

The Azalea Trail Maids now represent the city of Mobile year-round.  For several years they have appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

One interesting fact about the Azalea Trail Court:  the Queen is the only member of the court to wear a pink dress. All of the other maids wear dresses in pastel colors of yellow, blue, lavender, green, and peach.

Time for Spring Planting!

Yesterday was the spring plant sale at Mobile Botanical Gardens.  I wasn't looking for plants, just azaleas in full bloom.  Unfortunately, most have not yet bloomed out. Guess I'll have to go back again. Darn.
Meanwhile,  I hope you enjoy these pictures.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy Trails to You!!!!

More specifically, the Azalea Trail, which was begun in 1929 as a project by the Mobile Junior Chamber of Commerce (now known as the Mobile Jaycees) and Mr. Sam Lackland. The idea was to plant azaleas, which grow abundantly in this area, alongside streets around the city. Residents enthusiastically complied and the "Azalea Trail" wound through many areas of the city. It was marked by a pink line that was painted along the side of the street.  It was a very BIG DEAL to have your house on the Azalea Trail.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Beauty of Azaleas

Having grown up in Mobile, I never really appreciated this lovely evergreen shrub until I moved away and returned home.  And even then, the azaleas were just something that you knew would be there for a few weeks in the spring. Until I started this blog, I never even looked closely at an azalea blossom.  I found some lovely photos from the Azalea Society of America. So while I am waiting for Mobile to burst into full bloom, here are some samples of this beautiful shrub, which is sometimes known as the "royalty of the garden."

Azaleas are in the genus rhododendron. There are differences between the two. One is in the number of stamens on the flowers--azaleas have five or six and most rhododendrons have ten. 

There are a couple of other differences between azaleas and rhododendrons. One difference is in the leaves.  Azalea leaves are thinner, softer, and more pointed than rhododendron leaves.
The underside of azalea leaves also have 'hairs' which are long, straight, and parallel to the leaf's surface.

Another difference is on the underside of the leaf. The underside of an azalea leaf, when magnified, is free from 'scales,' or lepidotes, whereas the rhododendron leaves are covered with them.

I lived in Virginia for several years, where the rhododendrons were plentiful. My recollection of them was in their size--their bushes were quite large, and had more greenery visible during the bloom season.

Photos: http://www.azaleas.org/

The Pride of Mobile

It's azalea season here in Mobile, also known as the Azalea City.  There is even an azalea named for Mobile.....The Pride of Mobile.  The blossoms are almost the color of watermelon. This picture doesn't really portray how lovely the flowers really are.

The azaleas are just now beginning to bud, probably due to the severe cold weather in January.  Sometimes if we have a mild winter, they will start blooming, and another hard freeze will come along and destroy the blossoms.

I'm really hoping for a beautiful azalea season this year. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Helen Keller Becomes Famous

She quickly learned the names for the water pump, trellis, and everything else on the way back to the house. When Helen wanted to know Anne's name, she spelled the word 't-e-a-c-h-e-r' on Helen's hand.  Soon after this remarkable turn of events, Anne began teaching Helen to read, first with raised letters and later with braille. She also taught Helen to write with regular and braille typewriters.

Michael Anagnos, the director of the Perkins Institution and Massachusetts Asylum for the Blind, heard about Helen's amazing progress. In promoting her by writing numerous articles, he said that "she is a phenomenon." The articles that he wrote generated much publicity, including pictures of her reading Shakespeare or stroking her dog.

As a result of her fame, Helen visited President Grover Cleveland at the White House.  She went back to live at the Perkins Institution, where Anne continued to teach her. In March of 1890 she met Mary Swift Lamson, who would try to teach her to speak over the course of the next year. Unfortunately, her vocal chords had never been properly trained so that her efforts at speech were unsuccessful at this stage of her life.  More to come ...

"Death is no more than passing from one room to another. But there's a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see." - Helen Keller (http://www.brainyquote.com/)

Biographical Information: www.rnib.org.uk/

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Daring Determined Day Lily Development -- FINITE!


Happy Spring!

To celebrate the arrival of spring, I took a walk around my back yard yesterday afternoon.

Don't you love my lop-sided birdfeeders? The squirrels have broken them so many times, they have been 'fixed' with wires used to hang pictures.

I absolutely splurged on some hanging baskets of nasturtium and bouganvillea.

Two of my kitty 'helpers' can be seen enjoying the garden.

Columbine corner.  The live oaks are shedding their leaves. They land in the bird bath as fast as I can scoop them out.

There are three black cats. The same one is not moving around to get in all of the pictures.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Beautiful Bradford Pears!

They are now in full bloom....it just can't be more beautiful than today.  This is the last post on these gorgeous trees.

The Daring Determined Day Lily Development!

My daughter surprised me Thursday night with these gorgeous day lilies!  Now comes the hard work. Next to the south side of my house is an area which contains several crepe myrtle trees and nothing else. I will show you the pictures shortly, although I am a little embarassed by the squalid look.

Every year cosmos reseed themselves and just take over this area. My daughter and I have a running debate about these. She says weed, I say cosmos.  Some grow over 6 feet tall. Between those and the evil weed (cobblers peg) I couldn't even walk there last summer.

So this year things are going to be different! First, though, the beds have to be cleaned out. So this is going to be a major project.

Day lilies are just about the best perennial in the world, for someone like me, who needs plants which basically tend to themselves.  Some of these babies already have buds; they are in three heights: 18", 24" and 28" and in shades of pink, red, and yellow.  I can envision this in my mind so hope to see this come to fruition in the next few days.  Stay tuned for progress reports....