Nestled between the Lakes Region and the White Mountains of New Hampshire, the Town of Sandwich is classic New England. Settlers began moving up from Boston in the 1760s and the town was incorporated in 1763. It was named in honor of John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich, said to be the inventor of the sandwich.
By 1830, Sandwich had grown to a population of 2700. During the 1800s, the town contained stores, churches, schools, carpenters, blacksmiths, and wheelwrights, with farms and mills in the surrounding area. Because the railroad never came to Sandwich and farming was difficult (New Hampshire is called “the Granite State” with good reason), the population declined after the Civil War. Sandwich, which includes part of Squam Lake within the town limits, began to be an attraction for visitors, summer residents and artists.
Take a tour with me through the Center Sandwich Historical District and surrounding areas.
The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen began in Sandwich as “Sandwich Home Industries” in 1920, and continues statewide today
Many old cemeteries in the area are a reminder that the population used to be much larger.
Many historic houses are now bed and breakfasts.
Granite is often used for utilitarian purposes – including signposts!
Many of the buildings in Center Sandwich are Federal and Greek Revival in style.
Sandwich is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Sandwich celebrated its sestercentennial in 2013.
Book sale at the Samuel Wentworth Library.
The Corner House Inn in the village center.
Signs show the businesses in the area.
Nature taking over!
Many families have long histories in the area.
But here’s my favorite sign. I wonder what it says?
This post is in response to the Weekly Photo Challenge: Signs. See more responses here.
Just over a year ago, my oldest son was infected with Lyme Disease. There were no telltale symptoms, no fever, no bullseye rash. We never even found the tick that bit him. Those nasty little Borrelia burgdorferi spirochetesjust went straight to his heart. He ended up in third degree heart block in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit. The bacterial infection caused swelling, which blocked the flow of blood. By the next afternoon, his heartbeat was at times as slow as 25-30 bpm; normal resting heart rate for boys his age is more like 80 bpm. The Lyme Disease also wreaked havoc with his heart’s conduction system. We found out later that the doctor had actually scheduled the operation to put a pacemaker in him. He was only thirteen at the time.
Hospitals are strange places, where time seems to lose its meaning. I was in hospital when each of my children was born, but the regular maternity ward is a very different place from the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit. I don’t ever recall a chaplain visiting me on the maternity floor. On the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit, with its beeping machines and profoundly sick babies and children, the chaplain visited at least once a day.
The first time I met her, the chaplain offered me a series of bookmarks and cards with sayings from a variety of religions – Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish. The last thing she pulled out of her bag was a a small, photocopied square of paper.
May I be at peace.
May my heart remain open.
May I awaken to the light of my own true nature.
May I be healed.
May I be a source of healing for all beings.
Say these blessings for yourself anytime you feel alone,
afraid or out of touch with the Light within.
May you be at peace.
May your heart remain open.
May you awaken to the light of your own true nature.
May you be healed.
May you be a source of healing for all beings.
Say these blessings for as many people as you wish.
If worried thoughts about loved ones occur during the day,
take a minute to send them a lovingkindness blessing
rather than a fearful thought.
From Buddhist Tradition
I’m not a Buddhist, but I repeated these words to myself that night as I lay on the hard, cramped cot in my son’s room. I closed my eyes and listened to his slow, sleepy breathing, the heart monitor’s low beep. I sent my son Lovingkindness blessings until I fell asleep.
By daybreak, my son had moved from third to first degree heartblock. Since he had been in an area where we knew there were ticks carrying Lyme, they had started him on IV antibiotics as soon as he got to the hospital. After 24 hours, the antibiotics had kicked in fully and the infection was retreating. (Last month, my son went back to the pediatric cardiologist for his final follow-up exam. She gave him an “A+” for his EKG and physical exam. There appears to be no permanent damage to his heart and no lasting symptoms of Lyme Disease.)
I can’t say that I believe my son’s improvement was related to the Lovingkindness meditation or to my other prayers, but I do know that, at a time when I was worried about him, it gave me great comfort to send him the Lovingkindness blessing. I put the photocopied scrap of paper with the Lovingkindness meditation in my laptop case. At some point, out of curiosity, I read a bit more about Metta. At the risk of oversimplifying an ancient religious practice, the Lovingkindness mediation generally is done in this way. You always begins with yourself. Next, you think of someone you love, then someone who you think about in a neutral way. Followed by the hardest one – someone with whom you are in conflict. The words of the meditation can be varied, but the words on the paper I was given capture the essence. The purpose of the meditation is because, as Buddha said,
“Hatred cannot coexist with loving-kindness,
and dissipates if supplanted with thoughts based on loving-kindness.”
I love the idea that, even in the face of great evil, you CAN do something. Don’t think you are small and helpless. You, as an individual, can control your thoughts. You can turn them, at least for a few moments, away from fear and towards something positive instead.
A few weeks ago, I was in New York and found myself downtown near the new National September 11 Memorial. I had half an hour before my next meeting, so I decided to check it out.
Like most who remember that day thirteen years ago, September 11 will always be for me a day marked by pain and shock and suffering. I don’t know what it is like to lose a loved one in a tragedy like the World Trade Center attack, but my son’s close call with Lyme disease gave me the smallest of inklings of what it is like to lose a loved one. And it definitely gave me a sense of what it is like to experience unexpected danger that falls from a seemingly clear blue sky. For me, September 11 is an annual reminder of the strident need we have for less violence and hatred in our world. And of how much we need more peace, more connection, more healing. More loving and more kindness.
I happened to have my laptop in my briefcase. That little scrap of photocopied paper was still there, in the pocket of my laptop case, where it had been since we left the hospital more than a year ago. I had never bothered to throw it away, but I had never taken it out either. Now, at the September 11 Memorial, I sat down in the shade of a newly planted tree and took it out.
Motorcycle taxis speed toward Douala, Cameroon’s major port and commercial center.
Just getting around can be an adventure in and of itself in many parts of the world. In Cameroon, the motorcycle taxis are used by many people to get around the city of Douala. Most motorcycle taxis carry two passengers, but a few times I saw three passengers. I took this photo from the back of a taxi speeding in the opposite direction. There were hundreds of motorcycle taxis heading into the city, so I just snapped a couple photos at random. I was shocked that this photo captured the scene as well as it did!
The Hotel Africa, built in a beach resort area north of Monrovia, was once a 5-star grand hotel. It was built to impress as the location of the 1979 Organisation of African Unity summit. (The pool was made in the shape of the African continent.) Just a few months after the Hotel Africa hosted the OAU, however, Liberia’s President William R. Tolbert, Jr. was overthrown by Samuel Doe. From 1979 to 2003, Liberia was engulfed in violent conflict too complicated to detail here.
Stories about the historic Hotel Africa abound; many of them parallel the violence that was happening in the country at large. For example, the hotel’s owner was kidnapped in 1990 by the rebel Independent National Patriotic Front of Liberia. They allegedly murdered him by throwing him off the fourth floor balcony.
By the time I visited the Hotel Africa in 2008, it had been bombed, burned, and stripped bare of everything that could possibly have a value.
Kono District, Sierra Leone
This is a photo of the remains of a building in the Kono district that was burned by the rebel Revolutionary United Front during the conflict in Sierra Leone. I’ve heard so many personal stories of escape and of loss that I assume this was once the private home of a family with means. But it could just as easily have been a government building.
The conflict in Sierra Leone left so many destroyed buildings. Not to mention lives.
In Monrovia, buildings destroyed in the conflict loom gloomily as people go about the process of rebuilding their lives in the midst of the rubble. This photo was taken at a gas station. Like many resourceful Liberians, they were also selling “pure and safe drinking water”. But the thing I like about this photo is this – if you look closely at the larger building above, you can see laundry hanging out to dry. Life springs up inexorably, like blades of grass in the spring.
In post-conflict West Africa, the abandoned buildings hold more than just memories.
We had just dropped off my old friend Erik and his unwieldy crew at the airport, when my daughter Eliza let out a dramatic sigh from the back of the minivan.
“It’s pretty much BORING without our cousins!”
Curious, I launched into a lengthy cross-examination to determine why she thought they were our blood relations. She went along with the questioning for a while, mumbling one syllable responses out of the corner of her mouth as she gazed morosely out the window at a long, undulating line of sunflowers. Some kind person, in the interest of beauty, had planted them along the highway. Now they were more than six feet tall, so large that you could almost see the Fibonacci sequences in their bright spirals. Even from a minivan with a six-year-old pouting in her booster seat in the back.
After several miles of this, Eliza suddenly sucked in air until her cheeks were full. She then blew it all out, frustration personified. I watched her in the rearview mirror as she put everything in her small, defiant being into these words:
“Because! I just FEEL like they are.”
How do you define family? Is it common ancestry? Shared experiences? Mutual commitment? Living in the same household? Common values? The people you know you can count on for support? The people you know you can get into a knock-down-drag-out fight with but they’ll still love you? People who you feel deeply connected to even though you rarely see them? All of the above? Or none of them at all?
The boys in the photo above are brothers I met at the Buduburam Refugee Settlement in Ghana. Their mother Kebbeh considers them her sons, although only the oldest is her biological son. The younger boy and his little brother (not pictured) are her neighbor’s sons. The neighbor had gone back to Liberia with the first wave of resettled refugees, with the promise to send for the boys after she got settled. They never heard from her again. Post-conflict Liberia was dangerous, so they fear the worst. But they really don’t know what happened to her. So Kebbeh is raising the boys as her own, feeding and caring for them, sending them to school. They are family.
When I was in Buduburam, I met a woman called Ma Fatu who ran a cook shop on the main thoroughfare of the camp where many of the refugee-owned businesses were. The street had no name, of course, but the Liberian refugees called it “Wall Street” because so many financial transactions were made there. Ma Fatu has a feisty personality. I think she would have been equally at home as the proprietor of a saloon in the Wild West or a grogshop in Regency England. She took a lot of pride in her cooking and in knowing her customers. She’d eye me critically as I tucked into my jollof rice and say, “I know what you white people like to eat.” Then, the next day, she would dish me up a heaping serving of jollof vermicelli.
I had noticed that there were several young people helping in the cook shop, washing dishes, waiting tables, whatever needed to be done. It was only on my second trip to Buduburam that someone told me that they were not actually her children. During the war in Liberia, her husband and her biological children – her entire family – had been killed. Over the years at Budububuram, she had taken in several young people who had also lost everyone. In the face of all this loss, Ma Fatu had created a new family. In a refugee camp – miles from home and without even the possibility of legal recognition – she had forged familial bonds of love and support.
Like every parent, I’ve got a stockpile of my kids’ drawings of our family – stick figures showing Mom and Dad, Brother and Sister. Sometimes Grandma and Grandpa and/or Cat and Hamster.
When you are young, the definition of family is very narrow and also very immediate. But as you get older, you develop deeper relationships with people who are not related by blood. In many ways, you create your own family of the people who give you what you need to flourish. Like the heliotropic sunflowers, you turn to the light, needing full sun to thrive. If you don’t, you wither away.
I’ve had this discussion about the definition of family with a number of my former asylum clients. Under U.S. immigration law, your family is defined as your spouse (only one – your first spouse), your children by birth or legal adoption, and your parents. Of course, many people in the world use a broader definition, with half-siblings, cousins, and children adopted without legal recognition counting as immediate family members.
One of my asylum clients once said to me,
“I feel so sorry for you Americans. Your families are so very small!”
I had never really thought about it that way before. But I could see her point.
Article 16(3) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that,
“The family is the natural and fundamental unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”
Back when the UDHR was adopted in 1948, it is doubtful that the drafters envisioned even biracial marriage, much less same-sex marriage and the multiple forms of family that exist today.
But the bigger point, I think, is that no matter how you define “marriage”, the push for the changes in the legal definition has happened because of thousands – maybe millions – of personal decisions by individuals to define their closest relationships as “family”. The reality is that there is a very human need to live in a family social structure – the natural and fundamental group unit of society. The law can better accommodate that reality but regardless of what the law says, people – like Kebbeh and Ma Fatu – will create their own families.
Maybe my young daughter is right. The true definition of family is a very personal one, self-defined by each of us. The definition of family maybe really IS the people who you feel like are your family.
So I think the real questions for each of us then become:
How do you define your family?
What does your family mean to you? and
Wouldn’t we all be better off if society and the State protected and supported all of our families?
You’ve heard ’em all before. Clichés are a popular form of expression used throughout the world. There are many sayings that are so overused that we barely even notice them anymore. I started to think about clichés recently because of The Loud Talking Salesman guy who works in the office next to mine. He seems to speak entirely in clichés. The wall must be thin, because all day long I hear him on the phone with clients telling them that “at the end of the day” “it’s a win-win situation” etc etc. (I’ve never met him, but if I ever do, I’ve already planned what I’m going to say: “Working hard?” To which he will most certainly reply, “Hardly working!”)
Once I started actually paying attention clichés, I noticed that we are not only constantly verbally but also visually blasted with them. Clichés are plastered all over the place, on everything from bumper stickers to throw pillows to Pintrest. Some clichés are silly or sappy or just plan wrong. But if you stop and think about it, some of them make a whole lot of sense.
Many clichés are, in fact, the moral equivalent of Tootsie Pops – they have a sweet, chewy truth at their center. Some of them are actually pithy, shorthand statements of deep wisdom. Some clichés embody true lessons about living an ethical, fulfilling, righteous and joyful life in community with other humans. In some ways, these clichés are shorthand for the life lessons that I am trying to teach my children so that they will grow up to be citizens of the world, fully empowered to exercise both their rights and their responsibilities.
So on the theory that“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice,” I decided to write down some of the clichés that I want my kids to actually remember and use when I’m no longer around to nag them.
“From those to whom much is given, much is expected.”
One of the most misquoted sayings of all time, I’ve seen this clichés attributed to everyone from Voltaire to Bill Gates’s mom. While John F. Kennedy did say, “For of those to whom much is given, much is required,” the saying actually comes from the Parable of the Faithful Servant (Luke 12:48) in the Bible. “To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked.”
The point for my children is this – you have been blessed with intelligence, a loving family, comfortable home, health and so much more. You each have different talents and strengths. It is your responsibility to use your gifts not just for your own benefit, but also to help others.
“You are what you eat.”
If you eat garbage, you feel like garbage. I’m serious – eat your fruits and veggies, kids!
“Think before you speak.”
Or send an email or post something through social media. Count to 10 in your mind before you open your mouth. Write it out, but wait until the morning to send that email. Hurtful words, once said, are hard to take back. Of course, the corollaries to this cliché are:
“If you can’t say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.”
“If you are thinking something nice about someone, go ahead and say it.”
OK, that last one is technically not a cliché since it is not overused. I count it as half cliché since I made it up myself when I was 18. I was a camp counselor and I lived in a cabin with another counselor that I didn’t get along with particularly well. But one day, when I was brushing my teeth, I heard her singing in the shower. She had a beautiful voice that I had never noticed. As I brushed my teeth, I remember thinking that I should just tell her. Why keep those nice thoughts to myself just because I we didn’t like each other? It was hard for me, but I did tell her. I was surprised how appreciative she was at the compliment. And while we never became friends, we did get along fine for the rest of the summer.
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Don’t just sit around wishing or waiting for things to change things. YOU can create change yourself through your own actions. (This quote is usually attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, although there is no reliable evidence that he actually said it. Gandhi did say “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.”)
It’s worth pointing out that Dr. Seuss wrote the same thing more directly in The Lorax: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
“Don’t Postpone Joy”
No, I don’t mean the “go ahead and buy those really expensive shoes to make yourself happy” kind of joy (although it is important to treat yourself somtimes. I mean the “Daddy quit his job and moved to Minneapolis to be with me” kind of joy. Because your Daddy did do that. He didn’t have a dramatic boombox scene like Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything, but it was the same kind of going after love and joy thing. (This reminds me to add Say Anything to my list of Movies I Want My Kids to See.)
And while we are on the subject:
‘Tis better to have loved and lost, Than never to have loved at all.
I know that this one is often up for debate, but I think it is true. Even if your heart ends up getting broken in the end, the experience of loving another is worth it. It is worth taking a risk.
“The best way out is always through.”
Robert Frost is credited with this one. Rather than avoiding a problem, it is always best to confront it directly. You can spend more energy fretting about it than it would take to just deal with it. In the long run, it is less painful to just do what you need to do to get through it.
“A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.”
I don’t have much to say about this one other than I believe it in, deep down in my bones. The same goes the the next one:
“Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.”
“Better late than never.”
It’s never to late to fix past wrongs. Remember Darth Vader and what happens at the end of Star Wars Episode VI? Redemption. But it is also never to late to go down a different path. Every day has the potential to be a fresh start. As George Eliot wrote, “It is never too late to be what you might have been.”
“Always look on the bright side of life.”
It’s been my experience that a positive attitude really does help you in life. Everyone gets down and has rough patches; that’s perfectly understandable. You don’t have to be cheerful all the time. But in the macro sense, try to be an optimist. It’s a worldview that will get your farther in the long run. As Sir Winston Churchill once said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. An optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
I’ve got more clichés I want my kids to live by, but I’d love to hear from others about clichés that hold important life lessons for them. I will end with, not a cliché, but a quote from A. A. Milne. Christopher Robin is talking to Winnie-the-Pooh and he says (in your mother’s voice):
When Nelson Mandela died last week, I was struck by the somewhat impersonal nature of the “continuous live” media coverage. In the United States, I heard interviews with reactions from world leaders, I saw billboards with quotes from Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou about what Mandela meant to them. We now, apparently, memorialize our greatest heroes in memes, soundbites on photos which we share and share again. But what I really wanted to know was this:
“What are the people of South Africa feeling right now? How are they mourning the loss of the father of their nation?”
As it turns out, my brother Jeremy is in Cape Town, South Africa. He started sending back photos of the makeshift memorials that were springing up around the city. Touching tributes, both large and small, that showed the genuine love and respect felt for this man. Jeremy is a professor of African history, so I asked him to share his thoughts about Nelson Mandela along with his photos.
The Meaning of Mandela
by Jeremy Prestholdt
I arrived in South Africa a few hours after Nelson Mandela’s passing. The nation had only just begun mourning, but the way in which the former president had touched the lives of all South Africans was plain. From Soweto to Sandton, Cape Town, and Qunu, the outpouring of grief and appreciation was unlike anything I’d seen. While I knew that Mandela was revered, the deep respect for him that I’ve witnessed over the past days suggests that he was far more than a popular leader: he personified the myriad aspirations of South Africans.
As a professor of African history I often tell Mandela’s story. For decades Mandela was vilified as a terrorist. After he traveled to Algeria for military training, many in South Africa called for his execution. Rather than hanging Mandela, the Apartheid government tried to make him irrelevant by condemning him to a life of hard labor. During his nearly three decades in prison he became an icon in the struggle against white minority rule in Africa.
Mandela’s release from prison in 1990 was a watershed in the fight against Apartheid. Yet, it was his adroitness in navigating the path to national freedom that cemented his place in the hearts of all South Africans. Unlike most political leaders, Mandela had an extraordinary ability to balance justice with reconciliation. By drawing on this skill he accomplished what many deemed impossible: he steered a deeply divided and unequal society towards peace and greater freedom. For this Mandela earned universal appreciation as well as the title Tata (father of the nation), a word now on everyone’s lips in South Africa. It’s this deep appreciation for the father of the nation that is so evident here.
Though I’ve recounted Mandela’s history many times, joining South Africans during this period of mourning and remembrance has made me rethink the conclusion to the story that I will tell in future. The new ending will not be Mandela’s presidency or his death. Rather, it will be a reflection on what Mandela means to us now. South Africans–and mourners around the world–have demonstrated that, perhaps more than any other figure of our time, Mandela represents our collective aspirations for freedom, justice, and equality. In this he is more than a South African icon. He is a global symbol of human possibility.
Civic Centre, Cape Town
Sign on a Woolworths in Cape Town
All photo credits to Jeremy Prestholdt
Thank you so much, Jeremy, for writing this guest post!
It’s a challenge to raise a daughter in a society that innundates us with countless hidden messages about how girls should look and act, who they should be. My daughter and I have been talking about this a lot lately, with the holiday marketing of “girls toys” and “boys toys” so in our faces. So I was pleasantly surprised this week when she found a women’s rights message hidden in Captain Underpants and The Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers.
This caught my 8 year-old daughter’s attention. She put down her Monster High doll, the one she just bought with money hard-earned from chores like scooping the cat’s litterbox.
“What’s a haiku?” she asked. Apparently, they hadn’t yet covered this in her third grade class.
“It’s a kind of short Japanese poem. It has three lines, with a total of only seventeen syllables. The first line is five syllables, the second is seven and the third is five.”
As she read my haikus, I said, “I wrote about you, but usually haikus are about nature.”
“Like about animals?”
“Sure. ‘Animals’ is three syllables, so you need two more for the first line. Then seven, then five.”
“Syllables, like beats in music?”
She didn’t even pause to think. She launched right in.
“Animals live in …”
“You’re doing it! You’re writing your very own haiku! Now seven syllables. Where do animals live?”
“Jungle, forest and…” She counted out the syllables on the five fingers of her right hand. Then two more on the fingers of her left hand. She had painted her fingernails in an alternating pattern with red and blue nail polish. Red, blue, red, blue, red, blue, red, blue, red blue.
“That’s great! Which one? Ocean or city?”
“You did it! You wrote your own haiku!”
She smiled – a small, proud smile – and then she picked up her doll again.
“That was really good. Let me write it down. Can you say it again?”
She shrugged, engrossed in brushing the doll’s hair.
“I forgot it already,” she said.
“But I’m your mom and I will always remember,” I thought.
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