BOOM: Who Knew?

I’m going to turn 55 in a couple of days.  On August 1st for those of you who want to wish me a “happy birthday”.  Since I was born in 1960, I’m one of the Baby Boomer Generation…the 76 million babies born from 1946 – 1964.  As of last year, all of the Baby Boomers are now over the age of 50.


The Baby Boomer Generation is easy to remember because we were born after the end of World War II when the soldiers returned home and during a time when there was a great emphasis on the nuclear family.

In contrast, the next graph

Baby Boomers grew up amidst dramatic social change and indeed were an active part of it.  We were the first generation to grow up with televisions in our homes and we claim rock and roll as the music of our generation.  We were the first generation to have women work outside the home in large numbers and we were the first to fight for environmental causes and to ask for services such as recycling and alternative energy sources.

Baby Boomers

Thinking about my upcoming birthday and my Baby Boomer status, got me curious about the names of the other generations and exactly who they are.  Every generation has collective experiences as they age and therefore similar ideals and perspectives.

Grandpa and me (2)

My grandfather, Selmer Barrett, and me about 1985.  His brother, Alf, died in WW II.

After doing some research, I found that only the Baby Boomer Generation has been defined by our U.S. Census Bureau.  The other five generations who are still living have been defined primarily by writers and by the media.  Note that each source I checked had a slightly different timeline but here’s a basic and general rundown of all six generations:

  1. G. I. Generation or the Greatest Generation – Born 1901 to 1926.  This generation was so named by newsman, Tom Brokaw.  He named them because they fought for what was right and to protect people in other countries from the likes of Hitler and Mussolini.  This generation fought (and died) for our freedom in World War II.  They are also the generation who remembers life before airplanes, radios and TV.  As a group, they have tried to avoid debt and to save their money and buy with cash rather than credit.
  2. Mature or Silent Generation – Born 1927 to 1945. This generation grew up during the Great Depression and knew what it was like to do without and to have staples rationed.  They expected a hard life and were not loud as a group.  This generation grew up being frugal but had significant opportunities for jobs and education when World War II ended.  My parents are a part of this generation.
  3. Baby Boomer Generation – Born 1946 to 1964. In addition to the things I already wrote, Baby Boomers grew up in an era of the Civil Rights Movement and space exploration and were the first generation to have The Pill from the beginning of their sexual maturity.
  4. Generation X – Born 1965 to 1980. Sometimes called the “lost generation” this group was the first generation of kids exposed to widespread daycare and the effects of divorce.  This generation grew up with MTV and VH1. They have also been called the “latchkey kids” generation.  While this generation is known for being the most highly educated one, they are not as a whole, tuned into social issues.
  5. Generation Y or Millennials – Born 1981 to 2000. My own children are all Millennials.  This generation was shaped by the rise in technology and the world of social networks.  They are the first generation to grow up with Cable TV, video games, cell phones, computers and the internet, and are known for being incredibly sophisticated about technology.  They schedule everything and they see the world as a 24/7 place.  They want things fast.  Many in this generation watched the events of the morning of 9/11 play out on TVs at school.
  6. Generation Z or Boomlets – Born after 2001. This generation grew up after 9/11 when the security of our world changed for everyone.  They have never known a world without computers, cell phones, video games and airport security.  With the other generations aging and the population growing, Generation Z will have great career opportunities in the fields of healthcare and technology and science.

Five generations…my cousin, Marcia, with her daughter, grandson, mom, and our grandfather

Once my Baby Boomer self turns 55, I will apparently be a “senior” in some circles.  I even found a list of discounts for people who are 50 and over.  And who doesn’t like to save money!  Here’s just a sampling of some restaurant discounts:

Nederland Tx Senior Discount

Arby’s:  10% off food for those 55 and over.

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co:  10% off for AARP members.  (My younger husband is a member but I am not.)

Carrabba’s Italian Grill:  20% off on Wednesdays for AARP members.

Chick-Fil-A:  10% off or free small drink or coffee for those 55 and over.

Denny’s:  10% off for over 55, 20% off for AARP members.

Dunkin’ Donuts:  AARP members can receive a free donut with purchase of a large coffee.

Fuddrucker’s:  10% off any senior platter for 55 and over.

IHOP:  Discounts on senior menu items for 55 and over.

Jack in the Box:  Up to 20% off for 55 and over.

Kentucky Fried Chicken:  Free small drink with any meal for 55 and over.

Krispy Kreme:  10% off for 50 and over.

Long John Silver’s:  Various discounts for 55 and over.

McDonald’s:  Discounts on coffee every day for 55 and over.

Outback Steakhouse:  15% off meals Monday – Thursday for AARP members.

Papa John’s:  25% off for online orders if you are 55 or older.  Enter the code “AARP25” when placing order.

Steak ‘n Shake:  10% off every Monday and Tuesday for those 50 and older.

TCBY:  10% off for those 55 and over.

Whataburger:  Free drink with purchase of a meal for 55 and over.  Discounts may vary by location.

Senior Discounts

There are also grocery stores, drug stores, movie theaters, and apparel stores who give a senior discount one or more days a week.  For more information on discounts for those in the senior club, check out the website and click on the “senior discounts” tab.  More discounts for those over the age of 50 may be found at

What do I wish for on my 55th birthday this year?  I’d like to either see or talk on the phone with my millennial children.  And, I always do love flowers.



It Begs The Question?

Last Saturday afternoon, my husband and I had just walked out of the Kroger store on University Drive in Denton, Texas with several bags of groceries.  Among our purchases, were two student backpacks for the back to school backpack drive at our church…something we have contributed to for the past few years.

As my husband was putting our bags in the car, a middle-aged woman with a sign in her hand approached me.  Her sign asked for money.  She never said a word.  I can only assume she didn’t speak English.

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I simply said “no” and shook my head.  I don’t like begging.  She walked away and headed to another lady a few cars down.  That woman said “no” also.  I did see her score some money from the next person.

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In the past year, I’ve experienced this scenario a lot.  It happens all the time at the gas station, at the grocery stores, on the downtown Square in Denton, at various intersections in town, and in other store and restaurant parking lots.

But begging the Treasury for

In addition to individuals begging, fast food restaurants and grocery stores often want to know if I would like to donate money to their pet causes.  Every day in the mail my husband and I receive solicitations for our money or our unwanted clothes and household goods.  I’ve stopped answering my home phone because the only calls that come on that line are more people asking for money.

Am I the only one who is weary of constantly being approached for money?  It feels like no matter how much we give and how much we help, it’s never enough.  I’ve reached the point where I’m beginning to feel indifferent to all the begging because of the constant barrage of requests.

hand out Picture Quote #1

I think most of us want to help the less fortunate.  My husband and I are community volunteers and we give regularly to our church and to our chosen charities. But at what point does all this begging become harassment?

According to, the United States is the most generous country in the world.  The 2014 World Giving Index states that the United States is the only country to be ranked in the Top 10 for all three of the charitable giving behaviors:

  1. Helping a stranger
  2. Volunteering time
  3. Donating money

I wonder, do people give freely out of the goodness of their hearts, or do they give to simply quiet the noise of the begging for a few beats?

Map of USA with state names 2.

Begging has existed in every society since ancient times.  In earlier times, begging was practiced by those with physical handicaps who were unable to find a means of supporting themselves.  In today’s world, beggars may have a physical disability or they may suffer from mental illness or simply lack the skills for finding and working a job.

the beggar on 50k a year?

Begging also has some roots in religion. Many religions have prescribed begging as the only acceptable means of support for certain groups of people.  Buddhist monks and nuns traditionally live by begging for alms.  One reason given for this is that regular people can gain religious merit by giving them money, food and medicines.

In recent years, many communities have tried to enact anti-begging laws in this country.  Our United States Courts have repeatedly ruled that begging is a form of freedom of speech protected by our Constitution’s First Amendment.

Constitution 002

People in other countries feel differently and a number of countries such as Denmark, Greece, Hungary, The Phillipines, and England have made begging illegal.  Other countries such as France and Italy have enacted legislation and rules about how begging may and may not be conducted.

I first saw begging at the age of 16 when I traveled to Haiti on a mission trip through the United Methodist Church.  We were told to expect begging and that it would be okay to take along small toys to give to the children…the list said things like small dolls, Matchbox cars, jump ropes, Jacks, small rubber balls, marbles, hair ribbons and picture cards of Jesus.  We were told not to give money to adults or children.


At the time I was there in August of 1976, the average income in Haiti was $70 – $100 dollars per year and the largest occupation for Haitians was farming.  We were also told we would have the opportunity to barter for Haitian goods.  I really liked bartering and will never forget my mother’s face when I opened my suitcase after I returned home.  She looked at my suitcase full of wooden souvenirs and said, “Where are all your clothes?”

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Haiti was the first time I ever saw poverty up close.  It was the first time I knew that underdeveloped countries have a distinct smell to them.  It was the first time I ever saw people living in one room huts, washing their clothes in a river, and drying them on bushes in the sun.



Going to Haiti at the age of 16 shook my very foundation and opened my eyes to a bigger world than my small town Midwestern background had previously afforded me.  That experience was also the beginning of my love of writing because the first article I ever wrote for my high school newsmagazine was one about my experiences in Haiti.  Finally, those three weeks in Haiti were the beginning for me, of an altruistic spirit and a lifetime (almost 40 years so far) of giving and of community volunteer work.


I was still thinking about Saturday’s experience when we got to church on Sunday morning.  The topic of the sermon was “Do for Others.”  I couldn’t believe it.  Was God trying to tell me something?  Did I need to go back to the Kroger parking lot and find that woman with the sign?

After church, I was telling a group of friends about my experience and how conflicted I felt about it.  The general consensus was that those who beg are homeless and/or mentally ill.  I asked how others handle all the begging and I learned that the opinions are varied.

Some in my informal focus group said that they keep a couple dollars handy to give to those who ask for money.  Others will offer to buy food.  Someone told of a friend who makes up small gift bags with various items such as bottled water and a granola bar and a toothbrush.  One person hands out the address and phone number of local homeless shelters and soup kitchens.  Some have a strict policy of not giving anything.

This Is Called E-Begging

Our pastor walked up during the discussion and I asked for his thoughts on giving to beggars.  He said that each person must decide how they want to handle the beggars who approach them. He said he has been helping people for years but he usually will buy them food or a cup of coffee or perhaps a bus ticket.

He said the Christian thing to do is to help if we can, but that the helping shouldn’t undermine our responsibilities to our own families.  He also said it’s better to help in a long-term manner if possible.  He said that putting a temporary Band-Aid on a situation is just that…temporary.

My daughter has worked at a restaurant on the Square in Denton for the past year.  She said she has been approached by beggars many times and will usually give them some money.  One woman even came into the restaurant while she was working and asked her for cab fare.  She gave her $10.  She said she is a bit fearful of what they might do if she says “no”.

Anna at LSA

I have to admit, I’m still conflicted about the whole issue.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on being approached by those who feel the need to resort to begging and how you handle the situation?

Movie Theater Lets Cars Drive Right In

Whenever we travel from Texas to the Midwest, we pass by an old drive-in movie theater somewhere in Oklahoma.  It’s still operational and one of the roughly 350 operating drive-in theaters left in the United States today.

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It always makes me think of the drive-in theater I frequented as a child with my family.  It was in Elkhart, Indiana and was called the Starlite Drive-in.  I thought the name was magical and perfect, and it was the twin of the Moonlite Drive-in, just down the road in South Bend, Indiana.

The Starlite always played a double feature and sometimes there would be a cartoon too before the movies or during the intermission.  There was a concession stand with bathrooms, and a playground for the kiddies to play on while everyone waited for it to get dark enough for the movies to begin.

I remember one time as a child my parents let me go alone to the playground before the movie started but as it got dark, I couldn’t find my way back to our car.  Crying, I ran to the concession stand where they called my parents over the loud speaker to come and claim their lost daughter.

Starlight Drive-In Theatre

Does anyone remember the animated dancing food on the screen trying to get you to make a trip to the concession stand during the intermissions?  What’s not to like about dancing food on the big screen!

food & drive in movies.

My younger brother and I loved going to the Starlite.  When we were really small, we would wear our pajamas and spread out in the backseat of our dad’s car with our pillows and blankets.  We would munch on popcorn and drink root beer while we watched Charlton Heston as Moses part the waters of the Red Sea so the Hebrews could escape from Egypt in “The Ten Commandments.”  I always intended to stay awake during both movies but usually fell asleep and woke up as we pulled into the driveway at home.


When I was old enough to drive, I would sometimes take my brothers to the drive-in movies.  I also went on many dates to the Starlite as a teenager. They still had those old speakers that would fit on the car windows and the concession stand looked just as I remembered it as a kid.


In movies, there are sometimes scenes of people sneaking into drive-ins in the trunks of cars.  My husband says he might have participated in that behavior a time or two when he was a teenager.

Sadly, the Starlite was torn down 15 – 20 years ago and in its place now stands a Walmart Super Center, a BP gas station, and an apartment complex.

remember home town starlight

The first drive-in theaters were actually called “park-in” theaters.  A young man named Richard Hollingshead in Camden, New Jersey combined two of his interests…cars and movies…and came up with the idea of a drive-in movie theater.

Mr. Hollingshead received a patent on his idea in May of 1933 and opened his Park-In Theater less than a month later.  His initial investment in the business was $30,000 and he charged 25 cents per car plus 25 cents per person…with no group paying more than one dollar.  The outdoor screen was 40 feet by 50 feet and the Park-In’s first advertising slogan was:  “The whole family is welcome, regardless of how noisy the children are.”

The World's First Drive-in Theatre opened in Camden, New Jersey, on June 6, 1933.

There were 400 slots for cars and rather than having the individual in-car speakers, the Park-In Theater had three main speakers mounted next to the screen.  This was called “directional sound” and didn’t work so well for cars in the back rows.

After Mr. Hollingshead opened his “Park-In” in June of 1933, other drive-in theaters began opening all over the country.  The baby boom after World War II contributed to the popularity of the drive-in theaters as many young families would load up their cars and head to the drive-in theaters on weekend evenings.  During their heyday during the 1950s and 1960s, the number of drive-in theaters in the United States peaked at 5000.

The largest one was the All-Weather Drive-In of Copiague, New York.  The All-Weather had parking space for 2,500 cars, an indoor 1,200 seat viewing area, a children’s playground, a full service restaurant, and a shuttle train that took customers to and from their cars.

Johnny All Weather Drive-In

The two smallest drive-ins were the Harmony Drive-In of Harmony Pennsylvania and the Highway Drive-In of Bamberg, South Carolina, both with a limit of just 50 cars.

The 1973 George Lucas movie, American Graffiti, included scenes shot at a drive-in movie theater.  Some of the film’s stars were Ron Howard, Harrison Ford, Wolfman Jack, Richard Dreyfuss, Cindy Williams, Mackenzie Phillips, and Suzanne Somers.

Watch American Graffiti (1973)

Many drive-in movie theaters closed in the 1980s due to competition from cable TV, and VCRs and video rental stores.  Also during this time, many malls added movie theaters to their locations so that customers could both watch a movie and shop during the same outing.  While some drive-ins closed, others sold their land to commercial developers and by 1990, there were only 910 drive-ins left in the United States.

(Photo by Paul J.

In recent years, drive –in theaters have been making a comeback in our country and a whole new generation is discovering the fun!  Now, instead of individual speakers, movie goers are instructed to tune their car radios to a certain radio frequency/station to get the sound to their movies.  The new drive-ins feature not only multiple screens, but attractions like air conditioned restaurants, playgrounds, miniature golf, outdoor patio seating and beer gardens.  Double features are shown and tickets are $7.00 – $8.00 for adults, $6.00 for kids and admission is free for those three and under.

first drive-in theater,

Author’s note:  For those of you who live in North Texas, we currently have the Galaxy Drive-In in Ennis, Texas and the Coyote Drive-In in Fort Worth.  Opening this year is another Coyote Drive-In in Lewisville, Texas.  It will be the first drive-in theater in Denton County since the old Town and Country closed in the early 1980s.  The new drive-in theater in Lewisville will have five screens and spaces for 1500 cars.



Second Act

On the way home from our recent trip to the Midwest, we stopped in Mansfield, Missouri to see the farm home of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Many of us grew up reading her “Little House” books.

Photo by Jeff Hull, Corinth, Texas

At the urging of her adult daughter, Rose Wilder Lane, who was also a writer, Mrs. Wilder wrote the novels about her childhood in a settler family. Her first book, “Little House in the Big Woods” was published in 1932 when she was 65 years old.  Before she wrote her book series, she had previous careers as a teacher and a newspaper columnist.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

Image of Cover Art

We visited the 200 acre farm where Mrs. Wilder lived with her husband and daughter.  It’s called “Rocky Ridge Farm” and she wrote her books there in long hand on tablets while sitting in a wide-armed chair her husband, Almanzo, had built using wood from their land.  When we toured the farmhouse, I very badly wanted a picture of the chair where Mrs. Wilder wrote her books, but we were not allowed to take pictures inside the home.

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Mrs. Wilder’s nine volume book series has been read by millions of children around the world.  Since their initial publication in 1932, her books have been in print continuously and have been translated into 40 other languages.  Her first and smallest royalty check was for $500 from Harper in 1932.  Today, that would be equivalent to $8,640.

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“Life Begins at 40” is an old catchphrase I used to hear a lot.  It actually comes from a 1932 self-help book by Walter B. Pitkin.  It was written during a time when American life expectancy was around 60 years and was increasing very rapidly due to improvements in medicine and hygiene.  The book became the number one bestselling non-fiction book in the United States in 1933 and said basically that people could look forward to many fulfilling years of life after the age of 40 if one maintained a positive attitude.

Life begins at 40

Life begins at 40.

This sounds funny today when our average life expectancy is 80 years and many are living well into their 90’s.  But as people live longer and are empowered by greater life experiences, many over the ages of 40 and 50 are pursuing dreams and reinventing themselves.  When children leave the nest, older adults are discovering a renewed energy and creativity enabling them to pursue and achieve new goals.

I love to try new ideas

In the past five years, I’ve known a number of people (myself included) who have lost their jobs in their 40’s and 50’s…a time when many of us are paying mortgages, putting children through college, and saving for our retirement years.  It’s devastating to lose a job very suddenly for whatever reason, especially for those who have been with the same company for 20 or more years.

I wonder if sometimes these things happen because God is giving us a “kick in the pants” to find a new career that is better suited to our older selves?  When we get older, we gain a perspective and a wisdom that comes only with having lived a lot of years.  It’s hard to explain until one actually gets there, but it’s real.  Sometimes, we simply have to live long enough until we are prepared for our later purpose.

What is something new that YOU

According to our United States Constitution, a person must be at least 35 years old to be eligible to be president of our country.  The average age of our U.S. Presidents is 54 years old.  Our youngest elected president was Theodore Roosevelt at the age of 42 and our oldest president was Ronald Reagan, a former actor, who was 69 when he was elected.


Ronald Reagan

Here are a few more examples of people who like Laura Ingalls Wilder, tried something new after the age of 40 and made significant contributions to our world:

*Harlan David Sanders, known as Colonel Sanders who started the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants at the age of 65.

*Julia Child wrote her first cookbook at the age of 50.   After that she became a celebrity chef.

* Gary Heavin was 40 when he opened the first Curves fitness center in 1992. Curves became one of the fastest-growing franchises of the ’90s.

*Vera Wang became a fashion designer at age 40.  Before that, she was a figure skater and a journalist.

*Ray Kroc was in his late 50’s when he bought a small hamburger chain from the McDonald brothers in San Bernardino, California and turned it into a worldwide restaurant empire.

* Jack Cover invented the Taser gun and became a successful entrepreneur at age 50 after working as a nuclear physicist scientist for NASA.

* Momofuke Ando, a Japanese businessman, invented instant Ramen Noodles at the age of 48 with his company, Nissin Foods.  Over 100 million people per day eat these instant noodles.

* Soichiro Honda was 42 years old when he formed the Honda Motor Company in 1948. He attached a small engine to a bicycle and created the motorbike.  He then designed a small motorcycle and within 10 years, was the leading motorcycle manufacturer in the world.   After that, he started building cars and was inducted into the Automobile Hall of Fame at the age of 82.

* Benjamin Franklin was 46 when he did his famous kite/electricity experiment.  Between the ages of 47 and 49, he invented bifocals, the catheter and the Franklin stove.  He signed the Declaration of Independence at age 70 and the U.S. Constitution at age 77.

*Sandra Day O’Conner became the first female Supreme Court Justice in 1981 at the age of 51.  After serving on the Supreme Court she became the 23rd Chancellor at the College of William & Mary at age 75.

*Anna Mary Robertson Moses, (known as Grandma Moses) began her prolific painting career at age 78. In 2006, one of her paintings sold for $1.2 million.

*Sir Alexander Fleming, a British doctor and scientist specializing in studying bacteria, discovered penicillin at the age of 47.

* Peter Mark Roget was born in 1779. He was a British doctor know for publishing Roget’s Thesaurus at the age of 73.  His book has never been out of print since it was first published in 1852.

*Tim and Nina Zagat are the husband and wife team who created the popular dining surveys.  They were both lawyers in their 50’s when they left the corporate world to focus on their restaurant guide business which they sold in 2011 for $151 million.

*Edmond Hoyle was an Englishman and around the age of 70 when he began writing the rules for various card games in 1741.  The phrase, according to Hoyle, refers to his expertise on the subject of games.

If you are thinking about doing something new but you think you are too old to start over, forget that thought.  Do it.  The world is waiting for your second act!

to try something a little

What Makes A Hero?

Hero:  A person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

My heroes are people who did the right thing even when it was the difficult path.  It takes a lot of courage to stand up for what is honorable and just in the face of people who are telling you that you are wrong.  On our return trip from my book signing in Indiana two weeks ago, we stopped in Springfield, Illinois to pay homage to one of my heroes.

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Abraham Lincoln was my first hero.  He was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky but moved to Indiana when he was 7 years-old and lived there and worked on the family farm until he was 21.  He then moved to Illinois where he lived and worked as a lawyer and a member of the Illinois House of Representatives and the United States House of Representatives before he became President of the United States.

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In Indiana where I grew up, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th was a state holiday and we learned about him every year in school.  I admired many things about Abraham Lincoln.  He was a farm boy with very little education (estimates are that he had 12 months or less of formal schooling) but he loved to read and he read everything he could get his hands on.

He started with the Bible and Shakespeare and read incessantly his entire life.  This incredible self-education gave him an intellectual depth and power that was later revealed in his writings and speeches and in his decisions as president to take the moral high ground and do what was right even if it was unpopular.  That’s my idea of a hero!

Abraham Lincoln

When I was a teenager, I memorized Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address because I was so moved by the words of our 16th president.  It was delivered on November 19, 1863 in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.  Here is what he said that day:

“Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that “all men are created equal.”

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of it, as a final resting place for those who died here, that the nation might live. This we may, in all propriety do. But in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have hallowed it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here; while it can never forget what they did here.

It is rather for us the living, we here be dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

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President Lincoln hated slavery and tried to hold our country together while seeking to change it, during the divisiveness of the Civil War between the states.  He issued the Emancipation Proclamation in January of 1863 which was a statement of policy against slavery, and then he threw the power of his presidency behind the 13th Amendment two years later.  This amendment abolished all slavery in the United States and was passed by Congress in January of 1865.

Emancipation Proclamation

As we get ready to celebrate our country’s 239th year of freedom and independence from England’s rule, here are the words of the 13th Amendment which made freedom for all people the law of our land:

“Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

In Springfield, Illinois we saw the home on the corner of Eighth and Jackson Streets where Lincoln and his family lived until they moved to Washington.  Three of his four sons were born there and one, Edward Baker Lincoln, died while they lived there.

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President Lincoln died on April 15, 1865, just five days after the end of the Civil War.  It’s been 150 years since his death.  We visited Lincoln’s tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.  It is the second most visited cemetery in our country after Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D. C.

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Lincoln’s tomb sits alone on a hill in the center presiding over the entire cemetery.  It is the final resting place for President Lincoln, his wife, Mary, and three of their four sons.  (Lincoln’s oldest son, Robert is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.)  Lincoln’s tomb was designated one of the first National Historic Landmarks in 1960 and thousands of people visit each year.

Photo by Jeff Hull, Corinth, Texas

The monument above Lincoln’s tomb has a statue of him holding a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation.  In front of his tomb is a large bronze bust of Lincoln and it is a tradition for visitors to rub his nose for good luck.

Photo by Jeff Hull, Corinth, Texas

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There are actually two Lincoln tombs in Oak Ridge Cemetery.  The temporary receiving vault is down the hill from his final tomb and it was where his body was kept while the permanent tomb was designed and built.  The original mausoleum is open for viewing and many visitors have shown their admiration and appreciation by leaving Lincoln pennies on the floor in front of the spot where Lincoln’s body rested temporarily.  We too, left a penny when we visited.

Photo by Jeff Hull, Corinth, Texas

Here are some of my favorite Lincoln quotes:

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”

“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”

“Be sure you put your feet in the right place, then stand firm.”

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Author’s note:  There is also a distant connection in my family to the Lincoln family.  If you’ve read my book, you already know about it.  From The Button Box:

“My mother’s family lived in Springfield, Illinois for many years.  There was an old family story that a great aunt had worked as a seamstress for Mrs. Lincoln before Mr. Lincoln became president of the United States.  The button box, along with some very old, yellowed, handmade lace, had belonged to this aunt. Later, they were passed down through the family to my mother.

As we looked through the button box, my mother and I would touch the older buttons and wonder if some of them might have come from the dresses of Mrs. Lincoln.  One time, we even found a picture book about the Lincoln Family at the library, and spent hours with a magnifying glass and the button box looking to see if any of the buttons on her clothing matched those in our possession. We found one button that did, and that one was forever after called the “Lincoln Button.”

Lincoln 012

“Heroes are made by the paths they choose, not the powers they are graced with.” ― Brodi Ashton