A Drawing, Two Books and a Song

The Blandings boys all discussed Martin Luther King, Jr. at school last week.  The youngest, who is in Kindergarten, brought home this drawing.  I paused for a moment to be grateful that he had not said, “I have a dream…that all people have candy,” or PSPs or something like that.  He might have been coached.  Still, when I asked him who King was he had a clear idea and explained to me that a long time ago some people didn’t get the same things as others, couldn’t go the same places, and that “that wasn’t fair.”  “Martin Luther King,” he told me, “talked about it.”

I recently finished re-reading To Kill a Mockingbird.  If I could hand my boys a book that would guide them to develop into the type of men I’d hope for them to be, this might be it.  Published in 1960.  Not a long time ago.  In my lifetime people have moved from learning racism at their fathers’ knees to learning about it at school.  A history lesson.  Some have.  Hopefully most have.  Certainly we have made enough progress to elect an African American president and that is something that should give us pause.  
I asked my youngest what the Xs were in his drawing.  Thanks to his brothers he is a master at drawing guns and tanks and the like so I was surprised he hadn’t used those to represent war.  He explained that the building itself is war and his marks are “x-ing” it out.  He’s learned this method of ridding oneself of scary things from Harold, who is handy with his purple crayon.  In one of the Harold tales he takes care of a scary witch, a demon of his own creation, by x-ing her out.  We should all be armed with purple crayons.
And, to finish up this bit of rambling today, one of my favorite songs from James Taylor.  I love James Taylor as I tend to run to fret and bother; he soothes my soul.  So, let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King.
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20 thoughts on “A Drawing, Two Books and a Song

  1. I love James Taylor, this is a beautiful video and a beautiful post. Here’s to more understanding and gentler times.

  2. This is not an attack on you -this is a reality check:

    I love your blog and your wonderful, realistic postings about your life.

    I love James Taylor and his music and his hopes and dreams.

    However – would he be that caring if he didn’t know how he was going to buy groceries tomorrow.

    I am one of your regular readers and for the first time I will post anon. And I will do this because I am embarrassed. I want to read about furniture and paintings but the reality is: I barely made the payment for my food for two weeks…….I haven’t paid for my heat for the month …..I haven’t worked since ’06 and I can’t find a job.

    I love that these entertainers are so empathetic …..but do
    they truly , as millionaires, understand what some of us are going through?

    This is truly not aimed at you …..I just want all your readers to try to understand what many of us are going through right now – this is our reality.

  3. My favorite comment also came from my youngest, my daughter, when she was in kindergarten.

    “We learned about Martin today.”

    “Who is Martin?”

    “You know mom, Martin the King.”

    “What did you learn about him.”

    “That he learned in a dream that everyone should have all of the same things.”

    so love Martin the King…

    And recently we watched To Kill a Mockingbird as family movie night. Brothers #1 and #2 were both reading it for school and it will always be one of my favorites. Fantastic lesson.

  4. Your boys are a dream and you have a book or even a song in your fingertips. Share it please with the world. I have a dream for you!
    My boys read “To Kill a Mocking-Bird” this year. I too loved that book and the movie.

  5. Mrs B

    Last night I could not keep the tears from filling my eyes
    while watching dateline and their coverage of the coming inauguration.
    We are so blessed to have raised our children without prejudice.
    I know how much society has changed in my lifetime !!

    You and I can be proud of our children.
    and hopefully, this is just the beginning of the
    ‘Change that is coming to America’.


  6. Anon – I am so sorry. I am so sorry that you are in this position. While we are still managing heat and groceries I want you to know things are very lean and very stressful here as well. I was just telling Courtney Barnes the other day that it has been difficult to post as many of the lovely things from artists and craftspeople and designers are quite dear; popping them up on the screen seems insensitive and flip. The responsibility here is mine. The song is old and I think we should leave Mr. Taylor out of it. We can’t blame the haves for having, but we can work and pray for a system and structure that will allow us to care for ourselves. The words to the song are striking, I think. “There are ties between us, all men and women.” We are in this together, you and I, and I do not mean this in a figurative sense. Hang on by your fingernails. I have hope that change is coming.

  7. Having recently been laid off for 3 months, finding work at a reduced salary, I am very grateful to have a job (with future opportunties) I still have my art business, and occasional market research projects. I guess we all do what we must! Martin Luther King made it possible for all races to work side by side and a better world for all.

  8. GOD is the only one that can CHANGE our world, because change begins in the HEARTS of men. Martin Luther King BELIEVED that as he was a strong man of FAITH. He knew that God had called him to a task and that is where he received his strength to carry it out. And when that TASK was completed GOD called his child Martin Luther King home to GLORY to live with him forever. And I am sure if MLK could come back today and speak that would be his testimony, because he was a strong man because of his faith in the Lord. What a legacy MLK has left for ALL of as BELIEVERS to STAY the COURSE and TRUST the GOD who made us and LOVES us. What a great man of GOD he was and what a SERVANT of the LORD!!
    Thanks for this wonderful post Mrs. B and for reminding us that because of MLK and his DREAM we are all reminded that our SOULS are ONE color and we are to “love our neighbors as ourselves” and live by the GOLDEN RULE toward ALL!

    Anon, I am so sorry for your plight and hope and pray that you will find relief soon. My heart goes out to you and the countless others who are suffering.

    My prayers are also with President-elect Obama as he takes the Oath of Office tomorrow. May he also feel the hand of God guiding him as MLK did! I am behind him all the way!!! Prayers for the precious Obama family too ….GOD SPEED!

  9. To Anon,

    I’m sorry you’re in this position. It sounds worse than mine, and I haven’t been very happy about mine either.

    To Mrs. B. and Anon,

    I like to read about beautiful handmade things even when I can’t afford them. I feel that art is one of the things we can afford, at least to look at, to raise our thoughts above worrying about the groceries, or in my case, the heating bill, or for others the wars. The poorest simplest cultures and the wealthiest all share a love of and need for beauty, adornment, decoration.

    Finally, to Mrs. B,

    Frame that picture!

  10. What a wonderful post. I love his drawing! My children share the actual birthday with MLK so I feel especially proud today. The dream is so close and so much closer now. This is a wonderful time for us and our children.

  11. Your beautiful post brought tears to my eyes. It reminded me of my own children growing up and the pure innocence of those days. They are young adults now and I can honestly say they are 100% “color blind” and have friends of all religious denominations and sexual orientation. This came not only from the wonderful Mr. King, but also from my parents and their example of compassion and generosity, which in turn was passed on to me. Schools can play an important roll, books and movies like To Kill a Mockingbird, but as my “Granny” always said – “charity begins at home” and that includes not only giving but also charity of spirit and of the heart. I am filled with joy for our country – even in these hard times because of what will happen tomorrow! In addition, what can happen in our children and grandchildren’s future. We are making progress in social matters, even if it takes a generation at a time.

  12. The reason that I love to read blogs and, especially yours Mrs. B, is that you give us a glimpse of a person and a family behind your beautifully crafted words and your insightful ideas on design issues. I think that blogging has helped us become a village of people who know and care about each other while sharing information and opinions. I am so grateful to have your blog to read and to learn from your experiences and I just want to say thank you to you and to your other readers for their comments–you inspire me with your stories and I feel a kinship with a world beyond my blessed world here in Washington DC. Thank you especially to Anon. and to all of you and God bless the Obama family.

  13. What a truly lovely post…again. Love the music you provided as well. Yes, these are hard times, but don’t feel bad about your postings of beautiful rooms and beautiful things. We may not be able to have them in our own homes, but looking at them on your blog is a wonderful way to share the beauty in the world, nonetheless. I think that’s a big part of the change that is coming to our country starting tomorrow – the chance to hope that these hard times will be a thing of the past one day soon, and when better times do come, they will be better for ALL of us, not just a few. The “Call to Service” today was a good start. I don’t have much time and certainly don’t have much money, but I’m aching to DO SOMETHING! Tomorrow will be a beautiful day for all of us.
    p.s Your children are precious and it seems like you appreciate that fact.

  14. I understand the feelings expressed by Anon. It was a heart-wrenching read and I understand such resentment. Growing up poor, I experience much the same feelings when receiving solicitations for money from the DNC when Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein who lives in a $16 mil mansion in Pacific Heights in San Francisco. Puleeze.

    On the other hand Mrs. Blandings, I was so moved by your boys and tribute to Martin Luther King, I copied it and sent it to six friends — two of whom have been almost housebound for years with husbands who are ill, and one who is recovering from surgery herself. In some small way, I want each of them to understand they are still a part of this world, people still care about them, and think of them always. Your little story became a lovely enclosure in handmade cards. Thank you.

  15. To Anon and Mrs. B.

    I have wondered why about six months ago I stopped reading interior design magazines, why I am three months behind reading Vanity Fair which has just never happened, -ever-. I have stopped dreaming and rearranging my house. I have stopped feeling creative. It’s hard to look at beautiful things I once would not have thought twice about buying or attempting to reproduce. The times are different now. I feel different now. Many have it harder than I do but hard is all relative to what you know. So many people are afraid now, have lost too much not by their doing and can not for the life of them see the end of the tunnel or find their steady balance. We -are- in this together. Each of us has a duty to do what we can to fix our collective world. So, Anon, some might have more than you have, less worries than you have, but we are all on the same team, aiming for the same goal. We will help you and you will help us get there. In the meantime, there is dreaming to do, things to wish for, hope for, strive for. And Mrs. B, you provide all the ingredients for all of that with the lovely things you remind us are out there when in here looks bland and gray.

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