Tag Archive | People’s Climate March

Rhyme and reason

Busy-ness has kept The Lolly Diaries on the back burner for  a couple of weeks. I could pick back up with more from our trip to New York or the People’s Climate March itself, but instead I want to talk about rhyme and reason.

Much of what goes on in this crazy and volatile world I am helpless to understand, much less explain.

Beheadings? In the 21st century? Staggering. Heartbreakingly staggering. Religion run amok, of any persuasion, has historically caused great cruelty, but shouldn’t the world be past that by now?

The climate mess we’ve gotten ourselves into? Seems obvious we’ve passed the tipping point, but I remain hopeful we can slow down the pace of the tipping.

The reason we let it get to that point?

Greed. Ignorance, too, some of it willful, but greed over green has been the biggest problem in recent years. Living for the now with no care for the future of the earth and all its peoples doesn’t help, but neither does big money and people like the Koch brothers and their boy in Arkansas, Tom Cotton.

But we do what we can, raise a little hell about issues when we can and try to remain sane in a scary world. Everyone has to find his rhyme and reason to persevere.

Otherwise, giving up and giving in would be all too easy.

My primary R&R are my five little ones.

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The other day, out of the blue around dinner time, Jude asked quite seriously what happened to Grandpa Bill. I explained, in fairly technical detail, and his curiosity was satisfied. He was sad, but he’s also sad that he never met my real dad – which he also mentioned. Kids know more than we give them credit for many times.

We watched Mary Poppins with Jude last night. I caught myself off guard by crying during Jane and Michaels’ first song – that movie is so tied to my parents, who took Cathy and me to see it downtown 50  years ago. I played the kid’s version of the songs on the piano, and Daddy played the adult versions. He and Mother loved musicals.

Mr. Banks reminded me of Daddy, spending so much time at work and regretting it later. Sigh. Nostalgia rolled into grief makes the tears flow. We had the lights out, but the last time I teared up (there were a few), Jude did notice – “Hey, your eyes are watering,” is how he questioningly put it.

Speaking of movies, we just came in from Gone Girl. Very nicely done! I’d been waiting since reading the book sometime in 2013. I’d intended to talk some about books in this blog, but it had other ideas.

So that will have to wait. Maybe next time …

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Woodstock (OK, not Woodstock, but a really big, motivated crowd)

Tighter squeeze

We weren’t really heading to Woodstock, just the west side of Central Park from Columbus Circle to 86th Street and beyond, but before the day was over, we were nearly half a million strong.

The turnout at the People’s Climate March seemed to catch Manhattan – and maybe the world – off guard. The organizers had been touting a 100K+ turnout for the march. I read somewhere the next day (or saw it on the NYC news, perhaps) that the city police department had prepared for/anticipated 30,000 people.

The final count was 410,000, give or take a few.

My cousin Karen, 10 years younger and from the very small town of Danville, Ark., first noticed the people with the odd little camera/computer devices that measured the crowd. (Soon we noticed them at frequent intervals.) Just two small women from Arkansas in matching red T-shirts, we were easy to lose in that crowd, though Karen did get her photo taken by someone official-looking and I got video-interviewed close to the end of the march.

The young videographers had noticed the “For my five grandchildren” on the back of my T-shirt and wanted to talk to us. They seemed surprised that I actually live in Little Rock and we’d come so far.

Most people didn’t even recognize the Arkansas shape on the front of our shirts, guessing “Ohio!” and “Indiana!”

But let me go back to the beginning. We knew it was going to be crazy when Penn Station was overrun with people of all ages and in all kinds of T-shirts, holding all kinds of signs and wearing all sorts of backpacks gathered on the platform to await the oddly shortened (as in four or five cars) C trains. The first two trains that came along were so packed there was no chance of getting in.

A lovely and kind woman from Long Island named Billie, whom we’d met on the platform, began plotting other possible ways to get to the meeting place should we not make the next train, which, fortunately, we did, along with two other women from upstate New York whom we’d picked up in our little group. The doors opened and we leapt in. Crammed in. Mashed our way forward so the doors could close, leaving hundreds, if not thousands, of people waiting for the next train.

They eventually got there, though.

On the subway, an attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council told Billie, who was meeting that group, that they’d had word that closer to a half million people were expected. Don’t know where she got her info, but that was a much closer estimate.

Our marching group, mainly students and grandparents, it seemed – was between 66th and 72nd streets. We were at about 68th when we first arrived.

When we first got to our gathering place, the students, families, elders and women section – the second wave after indigenous peoples and climate disaster survivors – it was before 10 and not crazily crowded.

When we first got to our gathering place, the students, families, elders and women section – the second wave after indigenous peoples and climate disaster survivors – it was before 10 and not crazily crowded.

The crowd grew rapidly.

The crowd grew rapidly, as people just kept coming. And coming. And coming.

Chanting, singing, chatting – we had time for lots of activity as we awaited the march.

Chanting, singing, chatting – we had time for lots of activity as we awaited the march.

At 11:30, when the march was to begin, we were sardine-packed again and at a dead standstill. We thought the event was getting a late start. When you’re in the middle of a mass of people – and the phones go dead for an hour, and off and on all day from too many in service – you have no idea what’s going on before or behind you.

Just before starting to move, we were still chatting and crowding together.

Just before starting to move, we were still chatting and crowding together.

From watching video and reading reports later, we know now that the march did start on time, or close to it, but so many people were in front of us that our section didn’t start moving until a little after 12:30.

But all of a sudden, we moved a few feet! Then stopped. Then moved some more. Then stopped.

But all of a sudden, we moved a few feet! Then stopped. Then moved some more. Then stopped.

By the moment of silence at 12:58 – which was beautiful and eerily perfectly choreographed – we’d barely advanced at all.

But once we hit Columbus Circle, the movement was pretty steady, until later in the march when the police started stopping us at intersections to let traffic move. (Our cabbie the next day told us it took “one hour and 45 minutes to get through an intersection!” He wasn’t pleased, but he was impressed.)

Karen and I moved ahead every chance we got, but we never got out of our student and elder section. The mass of well-behaved, friendly humanity was a wonder to behold.

Karen and I moved ahead every chance we got, but we never got out of our student and elder section. The mass of well-behaved, friendly humanity was a wonder to behold.

There's the CNN building! We're getting somewhere.

There’s the CNN building! We’re getting somewhere.

We'd caught up to the Mom's Clean Air Force, a group from many states, by the Rockefeller Center.

We’d caught up to the Mom’s Clean Air Force, a group from many states, by the Rockefeller Center.

The first of several Jumbotrons showing the Manhattan march or activities all over the world seemed worth a photo.

The first of several Jumbotrons showing the Manhattan march or activities all over the world seemed worth a photo.

Eventually we got funneled into a smaller space, which hindered progress again.

Eventually we got funneled into a smaller space …

... which hindered progress again.

… which hindered progress again.

We kept seeing this attractive, very elderly lady, dressed entirely in purple, with purple nails and a purple streak in her hair. She was in a wheelchair, but she made it to the very end, holding her sign the whole way.

We kept seeing this attractive, very elderly lady, dressed entirely in purple, with purple nails and a purple streak in her hair. She was in a wheelchair, but she made it to the very end, holding her sign the whole way.

The squeeze really took hold at Times Square. My ears rang for two days from the sounds made by the masses.

The squeeze really took hold at Times Square. My ears rang for two days from the sounds made by the masses.

We got a text alert at 1:51 saying the initial count was 310,000. Way off the final total. I heard/read the last group to start came in six hours later. Karen and I reached the end of the march – at 34th Street and 11th Avenue – at 3:20, and the ending party had pretty much dissipated.

But at least we got to finish. Just after reaching the end, we got another text alert:

“The march is so big that we’re asking people to disperse just before they reach 11th Ave. and 42nd Street.”

We were beat and happy.

These old feet were made for walking, but they were tired – and my toes peeling – by the time it was all said and done.

These old feet were made for walking, but they were tired – and my toes peeling – by the time it was all said and done.

A few people still lingered and visited at the end, but most, like us, headed to the High Line or a watering hole.

A few people still lingered and visited at the end, but most, like us, headed to the High Line or a watering hole.

Police – and a token communist handing out newspapers – were the last people we passed on the official route.

Police – and a token communist handing out newspapers – were the last people we passed on the official route.

More about the trip to come later, but I had to get this out there for the record. We made lots of news outside Arkansas. Not so much here. But Karen and I know what happened, because we were part of history.

And lets hope it helps turn things around.

As one of my favorite signs of the day said, “There is not Planet B.”

Fly me to the moon

The third supermoon in a row, taken on Monday Sept. 8.

The third supermoon in a row, taken on Monday Sept. 8.

So, just like that, I’m 59, and my family and friends have flown me to the moon with love, attention and gifts. I’ve got so many people who can take me to Jupiter and Mars just by holding my hand that getting older is a treat.

I’ve got a  sweet husband, wonderful children, glorious grandkids and the best friends a semi-old girl could hope for. My mother keeps on ticking and next year, if all goes well, we go to Italy together for decade-changing birthdays.

I just got to see (and document photographically) three supermoons in a row.

The third consecutive supermoon on Sunday, Sept. 7 – the precautionary shot in case it was cloudy the next night.

The third consecutive supermoon on Sunday, Sept. 7 – the precautionary shot in case it was cloudy the next night.

My precious little ones give me a reason to look to the future.

Next weekend my cousin and I get to go to New York for the People’s Climate March, so I can at least tell my five little peppers that I tried, should things not turn around climate-wise.

I may be old, but I feel re-energized. Thank you, my darlings. You all know who you are.

My daughter and my Julia both got me Wonder Woman gifts, which made me feel just wonderful.

My daughter and my Julia both got me Wonder Woman gifts, which made me feel just – wonderful.

And here's more – I'm almost embarrassed by the abundance, and that's not even all. (Excuse John's mess on the table. He prefers it to his desk upstairs.)

And here’s more – I’m almost embarrassed by the abundance, and that’s not even all. (Excuse John’s mess on the table. He prefers it to his desk upstairs.)

Annabelle, like her cousin Jude, has inherited the art gene. That's a darn good flower for a 3-year-old, and the 'L

Annabelle, like her cousin Jude, has inherited the art gene. That’s a darn good flower for a 3-year-old, and the ‘L” is for “Lolly,” of course.

Moonlight serenade

The July 12 super moon shot with our Nikon D70, normal lens, no tripod, at about 9:30.

The July 12 super moon shot with our Nikon D70, normal lens, no tripod, at about 9:30.

The first of the three-months-in-a-row super moons gave us quite a moonlight serenade the other night, the same night a PBS show we’d recorded gave me a big surprise earlier in the evening.

John and I had recorded “The Disappearance of Glenn Miller” on History Detectives recently and decided to watch it rather than rent a movie. Cathy and I grew up on Glenn Miller – Daddy was a trombonist and piano player and Glenn Miller was his idol.

Miller died over the English Channel on Dec. 15, 1944, a World War II casualty, when Daddy was 11 years old, but Miller’s music was Daddy’s favorite to play on the trombone, which he did in a dance band.

Daddy was also a huge WWII buff, so I was wistfully but calmly watching and thinking how much I wished he could see the episode – a fascinating story, even if you’re not a Glenn Miller Orchestra fan. (Miller was at the height of his fame and popularity – and drawing in some serious bucks for the day – when he enlisted in 1942.)

Calmly until I wasn’t.

The show cut to footage of a 1940s black telephone ringing on a desk, and, bam – “Pennsylvania 6-5000” started playing in my head (click on the link if you don’t know the song). And I was sobbing. Wailing. For an awful few seconds until I gained my composure.

My father died in 1982.

It gets better, but you never know when you’ll be waylaid by loss.

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Oldest granddaughter gave me a surprise at lunch time the other day. She and her brother were sitting side by side at our bar eating lunch and I was between and behind them. Somehow the conversation turned to babies, and  THE question.

“How do babies get inside mommies’ tummies?”

OK, 3 years old, need-to-know basis – and I’ve done this before. I told her mommies have eggs inside them and when it’s time for a baby to come along, the eggs start growing into babies, until they’re ready to be born.

Sorry, guys, I left you out of this abbreviated version. That satisfied her. Except for one more question: “How do the eggs get in there?” I told her the mommies grow them. “Oh.”

Then we talked about how all living things start as eggs then turn into egg babies, then they “get born.” I explained that chickens actually hatch, which they found quite interesting, then the conversation drifted.

Later that afternoon, though, when baby bro woke up from his nap, the elder put it all together.

“Lukey was an eggbaby, then he turned into a baby, then he got born, then he was Lukey!”

Pretty much.

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Speaking of grandkids, they’re one of the main reasons I was hellbent and determined to go to New York in September for the People’s Climate March. My cousin Karen and I bought our airline tickets this morning. We’re almost 10 years apart in age and separated by a couple of hours of driving but close in other ways – and both of us were so influenced by our loving, liberal-minded grandmother that it makes perfect sense for us to do this together.

For the kiddos. And for Mama.