Monday, November 27, 2017

Española Elementary, me, 1960-65

I'm so glad I found these while I had a scanner and a website. First I put them on Facebook at "Española, do you remember when?" but that's a closed group. Then I put them on my webpage. I'm hoping people who are in the photos, or their kids or grandkids might find them. Click one to go to some notes and names, and when you get there if you click the image twice, you can zoom in on people.






Friday, November 17, 2017

David Bowie's kindness

Because David Bowie wrote me a long, sweet letter when I was a teen and he was barely an adult, others have sent me David-Bowie stories and art, but this one is worth saving and sharing. I had seen it once before, but this time I thought I should put it in a safe place and connect it with the letter.

I responded:
That combined with the letter her wrote me make a really nice picture of what kind of guy he was.

Alex Polikowsky:
Yes. I thought the story is plausible because of the letter he wrote you!

And it really paints a picture of who he was. It was heartwarming, like the letter.

The story is on Neil Gaman's Tumblr blog, here, from October 5, 2017, but I will quote it, in case it gets lost.
My friend told me a story he hadn’t told anyone for years. When he used to tell it years ago people would laugh and say, ‘Who’d believe that? How can that be true? That’s daft.’ So he didn’t tell it again for ages. But for some reason, last night, he knew it would be just the kind of story I would love.

When he was a kid, he said, they didn’t use the word autism, they just said ‘shy’, or ‘isn’t very good at being around strangers or lots of people.’ But that’s what he was, and is, and he doesn’t mind telling anyone. It’s just a matter of fact with him, and sometimes it makes him sound a little and act different, but that’s okay.

Anyway, when he was a kid it was the middle of the 1980s and they were still saying ‘shy’ or ‘withdrawn’ rather than ‘autistic’. He went to London with his mother to see a special screening of a new film he really loved. He must have won a competition or something, I think. Some of the details he can’t quite remember, but he thinks it must have been London they went to, and the film…! Well, the film is one of my all-time favourites, too. It’s a dark, mysterious fantasy movie. Every single frame is crammed with puppets and goblins. There are silly songs and a goblin king who wears clingy silver tights and who kidnaps a baby and this is what kickstarts the whole adventure.

It was ‘Labyrinth’, of course, and the star was David Bowie, and he was there to meet the children who had come to see this special screening.

‘I met David Bowie once,’ was the thing that my friend said, that caught my attention.

‘You did? When was this?’ I was amazed, and surprised, too, at the casual way he brought this revelation out. Almost anyone else I know would have told the tale a million times already.

He seemed surprised I would want to know, and he told me the whole thing, all out of order, and I eked the details out of him.

He told the story as if it was he’d been on an adventure back then, and he wasn’t quite allowed to tell the story. Like there was a pact, or a magic spell surrounding it. As if something profound and peculiar would occur if he broke the confidence.

It was thirty years ago and all us kids who’d loved Labyrinth then, and who still love it now, are all middle-aged. Saddest of all, the Goblin King is dead. Does the magic still exist?

I asked him what happened on his adventure.

‘I was withdrawn, more withdrawn than the other kids. We all got a signed poster. Because I was so shy, they put me in a separate room, to one side, and so I got to meet him alone. He’d heard I was shy and it was his idea. He spent thirty minutes with me.

‘He gave me this mask. This one. Look.

‘He said: ‘This is an invisible mask, you see?

‘He took it off his own face and looked around like he was scared and uncomfortable all of a sudden. He passed me his invisible mask. ‘Put it on,’ he told me. ‘It’s magic.’

‘And so I did.

‘Then he told me, ‘I always feel afraid, just the same as you. But I wear this mask every single day. And it doesn’t take the fear away, but it makes it feel a bit better. I feel brave enough then to face the whole world and all the people. And now you will, too.

‘I sat there in his magic mask, looking through the eyes at David Bowie and it was true, I did feel better.

‘Then I watched as he made another magic mask. He spun it out of thin air, out of nothing at all. He finished it and smiled and then he put it on. And he looked so relieved and pleased. He smiled at me.

‘'Now we’ve both got invisible masks. We can both see through them perfectly well and no one would know we’re even wearing them,’ he said.

‘So, I felt incredibly comfortable. It was the first time I felt safe in my whole life.

‘It was magic. He was a wizard. He was a goblin king, grinning at me.

‘I still keep the mask, of course. This is it, now. Look.’

I kept asking my friend questions, amazed by his story. I loved it and wanted all the details. How many other kids? Did they have puppets from the film there, as well? What was David Bowie wearing? I imagined him in his lilac suit from Live Aid. Or maybe he was dressed as the Goblin King in lacy ruffles and cobwebs and glitter.

What was the last thing he said to you, when you had to say goodbye?

‘David Bowie said, ‘I’m always afraid as well. But this is how you can feel brave in the world.’ And then it was over. I’ve never forgotten it. And years later I cried when I heard he had passed.’

My friend was surprised I was delighted by this tale.

‘The normal reaction is: that’s just a stupid story. Fancy believing in an invisible mask.’

But I do. I really believe in it.

And it’s the best story I’ve heard all year.

from Neil Gaman's Tumblr blog

Here's the 1967 letter I received that complements this story in revealing a thoughtful kindness in the man:

You can read more about that letter here: David Bowie Letter: Images, Notes and Follow-up

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Calvert Reserve (band, Española, late 60's)

I've had this photo since the 1960's but only scanned it lately.

Those shown are Earl Salazar, Matthew Chacon, Leonard Maestas, Sweetie Garcia (Oliver Garcia), and Joseph Garcia.
Later, Frankie Saiz was the drummer.

Earl is (again, or has been more than once) Governor of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. His mom was of that Pueblo (San Juan Pueblo, at the time) and his dad was Hispanic; they lived just across the river. His mom had beaded a guitar strap for him with a star and a duck to represent his Indian name. Earl was one of the photographers for the annual, so it might have been take with his camera, but I don't know who to credit for this, if not Earl. Norman Rhee, the other possibility, didn't take it.

Matthew became an attorney and inherited his dad's office and client base. He is now deceased.
Matthew's younger brother, Michael Chacon, was head of another band called The Bitter End. Both bands played regularly at shows and dances at various venues and schools in several town around. Michael's band also included Jimmy Powers, Jimmy Green and Robert (Bubba) Torrez.

Joe Garcia is still making music in California.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Up with People

I wasn't a member of Up With People, but a school friend was—Jon Tsosie. His sister, Betty, had been, too, and they toured once and stayed on Mackinac Island in Michigan. Jon told me it was the most beautiful place he had ever seen and he wanted to go back and live there.

Years later, I met (and later married) Keith Dodd, who had been in a local Sing-Out group in Alamogordo. They went on a road trip once to a gathering, convention, or something. He wasn't in a touring group of Up With People, but it seemed all to be the same thing, somehow, musically and as to focus and intention.

The other day in a moment of curiosity, I looked up to see whether the group was related to the Mormon Church. That would not have surprised me, because Jon's involvement started when he lived in in Utah—I don't remember now which suburb of SLC, and he and Betty were recruited as Native American cast members. There were other Indian kids, too.
Jon, middle of five; Betty not appearing in this photo.

By the time I knew Jon after he had moved to Santa Clara (where his mom had grown up), the Up With People participation had come and gone (maybe partly because he was not in Utah anymore—I didn't think to ask more).

It wasn't Mormon, but there was a religious seed, according to this article:
The Hidden Story Of The Up With People Singers. From that article:
Up With People emerged from the controversial religious movement Moral Re-Armament (MRA)—a cult-like organization that preached honesty, purity, unselfishness and love—so it’s no surprise that the groups bore more than a passing similarity. In fact, Up With People founder J. Blanton Belk was heir apparent to Peter D. Howard, a British journalist who succeeded Frank Buchman as MRA’s leader in 1961. But Belk broke away to incorporate Up With People as a non-profit after President Dwight Eisenhower urged him to distance himself from the dreary image of MRA.

Whatever started it, both Jon and Keith really liked the songs they learned, and they got to travel because of it, too.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Horizontal layers

I noticed after the fact that I've taken photos with horizontal layers, and would like to collect or at least cross-reference them. If I"ve shared them before, I couldn't find them, so if you know this to be a re-run, let me know where you remember seeing them, please!

My house, front, 2013:

From the parking lot of the Shelburne Museum in Vermont:

Toward the west from Alcalde, New Mexico.

Stripes in my compost piles. It's not my only repeating-pattern photo, but it's one of them, I see, in retrospect. I did not put that barrel there, but it matches the three layers of compost, too! (Click it to go to its original blogpost.)

Back yard, taken for the shadow of the icicles. Nice shadows! And then the reflection of the icicles, and shadows on the curtain inside. Deep.

Added in July 2022 (Notes are here):

(click to enlarge)

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Favorite photos of Holly

Holly has been the subject of some photos I really love.

Someone straightened the ground on that one for me, so that more-level image might surface. It was taken at the Rio Grande Zoo. It probably is somewhat a hill, because the manmade lake is to the left, there, but is probably bit more level in real life.

Outside the karate dojo on Louisina Blvd SE. It's fuzzy, but still I love it. Probably it was from a disposable camera.

Riding the Cumbres and Toltec railroad, August 5, 2015.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

My best photos

There are half a dozen photos or so I'm really proud I took. Finally (in April 2017) I've collected them all in one place. I you click the image, you might get a bigger one, and more information (or one of those):

One was a wagon that was up by itself on a hill in Shakespeare, New Mexico, when Marty and I went on a road trip to look at ghost towns in [what year? 2004, 2005?].

It was my desktop when I answered a trivia survey, and I described it as "A sheepherder's wagon, with a kitchen in back like a chuckwagon—a photo I took when Marty and I went to ghost towns in southwestern New Mexico. This wagon is in Shakespeare. Behind us were buildings."

My favoritee: Chariot of carousel at Hollycombe Steam-in-the-Country Museum and Steam Fair (they have various names; I combined them all). It's printed on canvas and in the den at my house.

Roof line and houses behind, in Stroud, June 2011:

Bird flying off a Chevron sign at sunup in Arizona the morning before Marty's wedding—printed out on a wide canvas, and in our front room. It's on my website. This was a bird messing up my photo, I thought, until I looked. I took another without the irritating bird, but of course the "mistake" turned out to be the good one. You can click it to go to a copy you can zoom in on.

Airplane over a gargoyle:

Why am I wishy-washy about finding one plae and putting them all there? It's a mystery. If I at least put them all in this blog and label them favorite photos, maybe I can find them and stop saying they're not all in one place. Wah wah wah. Found the last one; brought the others.)

I came back to add Amanda's Cat Simon, in Pilar. Click it for more context:

Unexpected Details in photos

Friday, February 24, 2017

Kirby, a grown man, married

This happened in October, but I'm moving this photo here because things on Facebook are washed away in the flood of words and images.

Marty was married first, of our children. Holly is still single.

Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Anniversary of my Korean Drama interest

My favorites, in order



Secret Garden

Warrior Baek Dong Soo

My Love from Another Star

Personal Taste

I also liked:

Kill Me, Heal me
It's Okay, That's Love
Answer Me, 1988

"February 8, 2015, a Sunday, I started watching faith. All day Monday, I watched that show. Keith brought me food. I finished it Tuesday, February 10."

My notes are here, and now that time has passed, I wish I had left clues to myself of which I would recommend, or watch again, but I think if I recommend my very favorites, people who try them can find their own way into other dramas. Sometimes by genre, sometimes by following one actor or writer or director. Sometimes by recommendations from the friends you will find if you start watching them.

The dramas are generally 15 to 24 episodes. Most are 20, probably. I've watched 75 of them.

I don't recommend these to people with young children or busy jobs, because they can draw you in and hold you, but with my kids grown, it has been a very interesting new hobby which has led to learning I never would have expected. I have no interest in Korean food, and I don't want to go there to visit, but still there are connections to things I had known before, and things I'm glad to know now, about culture, religion, language, laws and literature. There are ways in which their cultural expectations are like ours, and ways in which they're as foreign as foreign can be.

Most shows begin with a rough incident or situation, which will be overcome or smoothed over as the story progresses. Most begin with irritating characters, so there can be growth and redemption. Often there's an underlying mystery about the childhood of one character or another that isn't revealed until several episodes in, and the solving of that becomes part of the plot and of the interactions.

Unlike a two-hour movie, a twenty-hour story can give you depth of character and time to think, as novels can. The writing and acting are better than I'm used to from American and British TV and movies.


I didn't publish this on the day it should've been scheduled. This poor blog! I did post on the korean drama discussion, and on facebook, and I forgot my own once-most-favorite blog. I back-dated it. :-)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The worst thing about homeschooling

The worst thing about homeschooling is being associated with fundamental Christian homeschoolers.

A few dozen times over 25 years the years someone has tried to pressure me by saying that I should support ALL homeschoolers equally, or that I should use my influence to promote all homeschooling methods and philosophies.

I have never done so, and never will. I will tell a couple of stories, but first will link a post by someone who was homeschooled, revealing some truths about the HSLDA. Some who read it already knew these things. Others might be surprised, or amused.

I Was Trained for the Culture Wars in Home School, Awaiting Someone Like Mike Pence as a Messiah, Kieryn Darkwater on January 26, 2017

At dinner in restaurants, friends have sometimes asked a question about homeschooling that shows their assumption that we were doing something, anything, like fundamentalist Christian homeschoolers were. My plate, on the table, was pointed out to represent school. The sale, or a fork or something, is set on one side, and I'd say "Christian homeschoolers think school doesn't control kids well, and gives them too much information." On the other side of the school/plate, I would say "Some people think school controls kids too much, and doesn't give them enough information. We're on the far other side of the school. We're not doing the same thing at all."

People have criticized me for "only" caring about unschooling and not promoting their more conservative projects or ideas in my discussions or on my blog or whatever, but I still don't promote them, and I haven't. I've irritated a lot of people who can't tell the difference between learning philosophies and political movements.

A couple of times I have said this, but haven't put it in public before, so here it is. Not only have I not wanted to support Christian homeschooling, with their dishonesty and creationism and revisionist history, I have said that I would rather they be prevented from doing what they're doing, even if it had meant having my own kids in school. They are stealing their children's chance to learn about the world, and to meet people who aren't of their own very narrow beliefs. And that's not so broad as "fundamentalist Christianity." There are MANY subgroups, and there are families that didn't let their children be in playgroups with other kids because of some slight difference in dogma. Anyone who doubts that should look up "statement of faith homeschool groups" and "legalism in Christianity."

To find a samples, I searched for "legalism Christian homeschooling" and here are a couple of interesting things:

Found Legalism in Homeschooling Methods, October 2016
I feel like the homeschooling community is coming to grips with the long-held misconception that homeschooling our children is the ticket for all of us to get to heaven. If homeschooling were the answer, why would we need Jesus?

Submission or Doormat Legalism?
There is dangerous trend in several homeschool movements that focus on obedience to man-made rules instead of God’s rules. Legalism is essentially opposed to grace.

Biblical submission teachings are distorted to the point that family life centers around the father of the home rather than on Jesus Christ.

The webpage of Patrick Henry College, founded by the same person who runs the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, is a good read. Read about Libery University after that, if you're still in the mood.
What Makes PHC Different

Patrick Henry College ("for Christ and for Liberty") was founded in 2000 with a vision to restore America by educating the best and brightest Christian students to take their place as future leaders of the nation and its culture. Its Mission is to prepare Christian men and women who will lead our nation and shape our culture with timeless biblical values and fidelity to the spirit of the American Founding.

What we do as unschoolers is more like public school than it is like fundamentalist Christian home schooling (they like two words better than one). What they do is more like public school than it is like radical unschooling. It's worth knowing something about their intentions.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

"God is officially a grandmother"

Holly wrote something sweet on Twitter:

I saw an amazement in the sky yesterday afternoon - the sun had a baby!

Then she added: "God is officially a grandmother."

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

A guy calls me a closed-minded educator and an idiot

I got e-mail from someone wanting me to promote something vague:

I want to share my "learning that excites, learning that sticks" absolute radical unschool program. It was 30 years in the making, but it is like no other as far as how much it is loved by students.

I have been wanting to connect with the unschooling movement, so any information you could send would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
David Hamilton
I've removed the e-mail and phone number, but left the website.

At the same time he had applied to join Radical Unschooling Discussion on facebook, but one of the other moderators flicked it away without me even getting there to say "same guy, different name." He used a made-up name and had a page promoting something vague, but I hadn't known that yet.

I looked at his site and searched for more, finding one youtube video that he had uploaded but hadn't made, nor had he credited. So I responded, by e-mail:
From: Sandra Dodd
Subject: Re: Hello
Date: January 2, 2017 at 9:17:11 PM MST
To: David B Hamilton...

-=-I want to share my "learning that excites, learning that sticks" absolute radical unschool program. It was 30 years in the making, but it is like no other as far as how much it is loved by students.-=-

Please don’t use the term “radical unschooling” about anything that involves the term “students.”
I looked at your site, and it does seem you only used the term because you were writing to me. I hope you’re not using it more widely.

Best wishes, if your project was 30 years in the making. I can’t find any more than the one website you sent, and a video on YouTube that you didn’t credit to the owners.

I’ve been unschooling for 25 years, and so you’re five years beyond me, somehow. Please don’t use the term for lessons for students, though.

Sandra Dodd

His response:

Typical response of a closed minded educator. Only can see the negative. Unfortunate. My presentations are loved by students. Your loss.
And, I don’t need your permission to use the term “radical unschooling”! Ha! Like I need your permission? You are an idiot.

So if he's contacting other unschoolers, don't feel guilty about ignoring him.