Last October as I kept cleaning the Georgia house garage I found many old things, toys, games, dishes, books, magazines, etc. I even wrote a post on it called "old magazines, old memories
..." Last December I was there again cleaning a bit more of the old stuff. Actually, I should call it "vintage," it does sound better. And by the way, the etymology of the word "vintage" is French. It was used as early as the 15th century meaning vendange
or wine harvest. Although now vintage also means something from an earlier generation. There were some old wine bottles in the garage but mostly just vintage
stuff. It was slow going as I would stop and look at the magazines.
Sometimes I came upon items long forgotten, that I did not know even existed anymore. I found some old paintings I had done as a teenager. My mother must have sent them to me ages ago and I put them in the garage instead of throwing them away, so should I keep them now?
Then I found the old, I mean vintage, items from the Jimmy Carter for President Campaign. That stopped me and I reminisced for a while. We had moved to Georgia in 1973 because of Jimmy Carter. I wrote about it briefly in my post Bird Drawings from Sir Peter Shepheard
in January 2011. As I said in that post my husband had finished his Master's Degree in Environmental Planning and spent a couple of summers working for his professor Ian McHarg's office as a river planner. My husband received three job offers, one from San Diego, California, one from Arizona and one from Georgia. He decided to take the offer made by Governor Jimmy Carter. The position had the lowest pay but the project sounded the most challenging. My husband was not materialistic, just interested in helping the environment, nature and the country. Of course I was not very pleased about moving to Georgia instead of going back to California or even to Paris where my father had offered to buy us an apartment. But we moved to Atlanta in 1973 and he started working at the GA Capitol. Below are two 1970s vintage postcards of Atlanta.
In the early 1970s the US Congress had funded a project for the US Corps of Engineers to build a dam at the Sprewell Bluff of the Flint River, 50 miles south of Atlanta. Jimmy Carter, Governor of Georgia at the time, did not approve of this project. The Flint River is one of only 40 rivers in the nation to flow more than 200 miles (320 km) unimpeded by dams or other man made systems. Gov. Carter needed a thorough technical study to back up his objections. My husband Jim had been hired to do this study. He assembled a team and worked tirelessly for several months, driving back and forth to the Flint River. His finished study was handed to Governor Carter who was able with it to veto the controversial dam. Governor Carter tore apart the Corps economic justification for the dam and accused them of ignoring the environment. The end of his 18-page letter said that he was opposed to the construction of unwarranted dams and other projects at public expense. And so the Flint River was able to run free and we stayed in Georgia. Below are photos of the Flint River and of the Flint River at Sprewell Bluff.
Not long ago on a Georgia boating site on the Web I read this: "Once threatened by a hydro-power dam, this section of the Flint has been preserved and once you've paddled it, you'll shout a big thank you to the many advocates who fought to save the Flint River in the 1970s.
" I smiled as I knew an advocate who worked long and hard to have the Flint River run wild and free. Now Sprewell Bluff has been made into a park called The Sprewell Bluff State Recreation Area.
It is a peaceful and natural area, with wildflowers (like the endangered spider lily,) wildlife and a regular stop for migratory songbirds. It really is one of the most scenic rivers of Georgia. It is popular with fishermen, hikers, kayakers and white water rafters.
When Governor Jimmy Carter decided to run for the office of President of the United States I offered to volunteer to help with the campaign. I was not a US citizen yet and did not belong to any political party but whether he was a democrat or a republican I was going to canvas for him. In the 1970s I was astounded that a governor would have refused a $133 million funded project ($775 million in 2020 money) because it would harm the environment, it was unheard of. I wrote to tell him. He answered and thanked me and I received several posters, buttons, tee-shirts, etc. There were some left in the garage (and his letter is somewhere in the house.)
After traveling to Alaska in the summer of 2009 I wrote a post on Denali National Park. In it I mentioned that President Carter in 1980 had again helped the environment. He had signed an act that added millions of acres to the US wilderness system (8 million to the national forests, 56 millions to wildlife refuge and 44 millions to national park.) You can read it here Alaska Trip - Denali National Park.
Later, as my husband and I were driving to Plains where Jimmy Carter lives, I printed a copy of my blog post and mailed it to him. He replied and thanked me. This is also somewhere in the GA house. This is why I am trying to sort everything carefully. We visited the farm in Plains where Jimmy Carter grew up and I took many photos for a future post.
I had been sad when President Carter had run for a second term and lost. He had lost mostly because the voters had punished him for having been unsuccessful in releasing the US hostages kept in Iran. On the Internet lately I read reports showing that Republican Candidate Ronald Reagan had colluded with the Ayatollah Khomeini (enemy of the US) to delay the release of the US hostages in Iran until after the presidential election. He had offered them weapons, parts and money (like later in the Iran-Contra affair?). That would explain why it was minutes after Ronald Reagan's presidential inauguration that the Iran hostages were released (how could he have negotiated that in several minutes from the podium? Before becoming president he had not been supposed to have contacts or have any dealings with a foreign government...)
I kept going through boxes of papers, studies, notepads, etc. Most needed to be thrown out. Then I came upon a pad hardly used. I threw away the first few pages, but the next page was a letter my husband had written to President Jimmy Carter around 1981. It had been in the garage for 39 years. What should I do? Throw it away? It had been meant for President Carter so once back in Nashville on December 28 I mailed it to him, explaining where I had found it. I wished him and his wife Rosalynn a Happy New Year and that was that. In February after returning from Georgia I was surprised to find a letter from President Carter in the mail. At first I thought it was an ad and was going to throw the letter away, but then I saw the seal. I was dumbfounded really that he would have answered me. It is below with part of my husband's letter. (Click on collage to enlarge.)
While traveling back and forth to Georgia I was also checking travel sites on the Internet. In the fall my daughter had suggested that for my birthday in March we needed to go on a week to 10-day trip somewhere nice. At first I refused because I needed to keep working on the house. She insisted saying that since my other daughter's wedding in California in 2016 I had not been anywhere. Because of being my husband's caregiver 24/7 until his death I could not step away. I researched several places - New Zealand, New Caledonia, Uruguay, Guadeloupe and Argentina, settling on Argentina. In January my daughter told me that we should not travel overseas. So I said why don't we go to Miami where I have never been. I was surprised when she said "may be" as she had insisted so much that we should travel.
In February my daughter said that we should forget a trip altogether. Why, I asked. She replied because of the novel coronavirus. But it's in China I said, and if it came to the US the CDC would take care of it for sure. She told me that the current CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta) is not our cousin Lyle's old CDC. In an earlier post, 10 Year Blog Anniversary
, I had mentioned that my husband's first cousin Lyle, now retired, had spent his career there as an epidemiology physician traveling and fighting diseases all over the planet. My daughter is also a physician and in addition has a Master's Degree in public health. In fact, in 2018 President Trump had ordered such drastic cuts to the global health section of the CDC that most of the staff had been laid off. He also closed the White House pandemic office (he needed to find the funds to build his great big beautiful wall.) The CDC new director is a Trump political appointee with little public health expertise. My daughter was worried that mistakes would be made and thought we were heading toward a national health crisis. I thought she exaggerated. Below is a photo of the entrance to the CDC and a photo of cousin Lyle (in center) being honored as the 2014 recipient of the Stephen B. Thacker Excellence Award.
In late February my son-in-law was driving to Atlanta. I rode with him and spent a week in the Georgia house. I was happy to go because in early March Bulloch Hall in Roswell was hosting its annual quilt show featuring 182 quilts this year. I was looking forward to attend the show. I texted my daughter that I was going to the show - "no, no, she replied, you can't go where there are crowds in a small house.
" I thought she was over protective but reluctantly I agreed and did not go. Then two days later the first known case of Covid-19 in Georgia, the new name for the novel coronavirus, happened in my town in Cobb County. Below is the 2020 quilt that was raffled at the show. I did attend the 2019 quilt show and will have a post on it.
Last fall in Georgia I had bought cleaning wipes, rubber gloves and masks to clean the dust and dirt in the garage, as pictured in the heading collage. I didn't know I would have to bring them back to Nashville for my own safety! Now that I have been isolated in my house for 15 days I have had time to research the history of Covid-19. I read many newspapers, mostly foreign (French, UK, Irish, Belgian, Swiss, etc.) to get neutral opinions. I also like to read actual quotes and watch news videos. China informed the World Health Organization in late December 2019 that a new coronavirus was spreading rapidly within and out of China. Taiwan being so close to China started emergency health measures immediately and as of today, March 31, 2020, counts only 322 cases and 5 deaths in a population of about 24 millions. Everyone has to wear a mask. Photo below of Taipei, Taiwan (courtesy ABC News.) I'd like to add that the CDC refused the WHO tests and made their own. They were faulty, couldn't be used and resulted in much delay.
The United States meanwhile has the worst virus outbreak in the world. As of today, March 31, 2020 there are 185,200 cases and 3,815 deaths. Last February President Trump refused to let Dr. Anthony Fauci speak publicly without approval or warn the public about the virus. Then he downplayed the virus and refused to have aggressive testing made "The President had made clear - the lower the number of coronavirus, the better for the president, the better for his potential re-election this fall.
" Many people heard him take no responsibility and early on say that the virus would be gone shortly "it will disappear, like a miracle.
" The Boston Globe wrote that the president has "blood on his hands
" because "much of the suffering and death coming was preventable.
" Now he is telling Vice President Mike Pence to shun certain states from Democratic governors that he does not like. This is a colossal failure in leadership that the American public is paying for. I saw an older woman on TV - her husband was in hospital in a coma in the ICU. She kept saying "but we watched Fox News and were told the virus was a liberal hoax to hurt our president ... that we could go out ... I don't understand...
" Fox News (that calls itself Fair and Balanced) is a scourge to the low information (low education and high religiosity) people who watch it. Fox News is not authorized to air in France or the UK. (It has been banned as propaganda media.) So instead of celebrating my birthday in Buenos Aires or Montevideo I was in my kitchen alone with my cat. But I made a New England dinner and a small French chocolate cake. Before I blew off the one candle I had found, my daughters and families sung Happy Birthday to me via our cell phones Face Time. We had waited for my son-in-law to come back from hospital (cautiously he does not come home any longer.) He is an anesthesiologist physician and very exposed. I am worried for him as he anesthetizes patients when tubes are placed into their lungs, when they are at their most contagious. He has very little protective supplies left. Still it was a nice birthday, in isolation ...