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Fiammetta got angry ​ 😠 at God

Fiammetta got angry ​ 😠 at God

​I happened to be home when Fiammetta Rubin stopped by the plant exchange we have outside our house to drop off a stick plant. She had labeled the plant with the caution that it is poisonous plant but can kill cancer. Easily engaged, she time traveled to when she was nine growing up in Italy on a farm, the villa of Pope Urban the 8th. She would wander about the rows of grapes and found pieces of frescoes and marble her German mother tantalizing explained were from the civilization of the Romans. And they made a fountain. Still innocent about war she imagined how if the approaching Allied forces' bombs rained down on her house, how much more interesting rubble there would be to dig through. At some point after being shuttled off to Rome in the middle of the night, she learned the truth about war and got angry at God. More you can learn in the autobiography she is writing. Watch video here.

Skeletons and butterflies

Skeletons and butterflies

​When a thunderstorm kept the J S Jenks kindergartners from visiting the Chestnut Hill Library for a program, the library came to them. Author Cynthia Kreilick read aloud in Spanish and English with the children from her book "Lucha y Lola," illustrated by her daughter Alyssa. The story, about travel and change, is inspired by the Calveras (skeleton depictions) associated with the Day of the Dead that Kreilick encountered on a family trip to Mexico. It concludes with the protagonists starting a butterfly kite-making business to draw attention to the plight of the endangered monarch butterfly population. The Kreilicks were featured in the Chestnut Hill Local in 2012 www.chestnuthilllocal.com/2012/11/26/mother-writes-daught...

Watch video here

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Grandson learns Yiddish

11 year old learns Yiddish

Your correspondent  was staying with an old Quaker friend in Maine and her 11 year old grandson came over one evening for an overnight visit.

 
The grandson had decided to learn Yiddish, the language spoken by the characters in Art Spiegelman's graphic Holocaust family memoir "Maus" after reading and becoming intrigued by the narrative. (Yiddish, an amalgam of German, Hebrew and Aramaic used  by the Jews of Eastern Europe and Russia since  before the 12th century  suffered a serious decline with the near extermination of its speakers during World War II.)
 
So I eagerly introduced the grandson to some choice Yiddish expressions I learned from my grandparents  and the next morning I wrote him a letter incorporating those words in context. I suggested he read the letter aloud to Grandmom for practice and they indulged me in letting me video them.
 
 
 

Weaving with fabric Harry Potter style

Melissa Maddonni Haims led kids in weaving the fence at the J.S Jenks School in Chestnut Hill  with colorful strips of fabric as part of the community’s annual Fall for the Arts Festival. Sections of the fence represent the colors of the Jenks School and also represent the Houses the of Hogwarts School for Wizardry. The Harry Potter festival descends on the Chestnut Hill neighborhood of Philadelphia the weekend of October 17th. Watch video here.


From Cuba to U.S in Operation "Pedro Pan"

While tying up bags of compost at the Henry Got Crops farm in Roxborough, Raisa Williams, a retired dean at Haverford College, recounted how she was one of fourteen thousand Cuban children brought to the United States in 1960 as part of “Operation Pedro Pan.”  Although her mother had been a staunch supporter of the Cuban revolution, things began to change. Amid rumors that she might not be able to stay in school unless she complied with a government requirement to be sent somewhere summer- long to perform community service, Williams’ parents opted for the 14 year old Raisa and her 11 year old sister, to come to the States through the Peter Pan program of Catholic Charities in conjunction with the U. S. State Department. Once here, the girls would be able to apply for visas for their parents.

What she thought would be a couple months separated from her parents, stretched out to two years.  For a young girl, this was an adventure and she was relatively content at a camp in Florida where she studied English and other subjects. But when it became overcrowded, she was transferred to an orphanage in Pottsville, PA.  “The orphanage was – an orphanage.”

And Cuba? “I love the place. The people have suffered enough. It’s no fun to be in a dictatorship for the last 50 years. You can’t talk. You can’t say anything. But when I was there in 2011, people were beginning to be very vocal about things.”

“Lo que me estrano de Cuba es sol, la calidad de la persona, el modo que son simpatico…la musica….” She hopes to live there again one day.

Watch video here.


Spotted: Princess Sofia the First

Princess Sofia the First was walking briskly down Germantown Avenue Sunday morning headed toward a birthday party. Haviva Goldman helped explain her purpled gowned daughter Annalena’s enchantment with the newish princess in the Disney empire. Watch video interview here.