Saturday, May 24, 2008
Sailor Jack and his Dog "Bingo"
Frederick William Rueckheim started the business around 1871. He brought his brother, Louis, in as a partner and started the firm of F.W. Rueckheim & Bro.
In 1896, the first lot of Cracker Jack was produced. It was named by an enthusiastic sampler who remarked, "That's a Cracker Jack!"
H.G. Eckstein developed the "waxed sealed package" for freshness in 1899.
In 1902, the company was re-organized; Rueckheim Bros. and Eckstein.
Prizes were inserted in every box in 1912.
In 1914, a plant was opened in Brooklyn, NY.
Sailor Jack and his dog, Bingo, were added to boxes in 1918.
In 1922, the company was named The Cracker Jack Co.
In 1943 and 1944, the company was honored for its war effort.
Borden purchased the company in 1964.
Frito-Lay is the current owner of Cracker Jack.
The deeper into Helen’s life we look, the deeper her personality appears. She was certainly a very determined woman; the first deafblind woman ever to graduate from university, she also became renowned worldwide as a champion of social justice, a talented public speaker, and an inspiration to millions around the globe.
It isn’t only that Helen was able to overcome the barriers of being blind and deaf in a time when they were much greater disadvantages than they are now; her intelligence and perception speak to many people, blind or sighted, deaf or hearing, regardless of boundaries. Here are just some of the many insightful quotations that pepper her speeches and writing.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.
When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature... Life is either a daring adventure or nothing."
I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.
There is no king who has not had a slave among his ancestors, and no slave who has not had a king among his.
We can do anything we want to do if we stick to it long enough.
Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.
The highest result of education is tolerance.
It is not possible for civilization to flow backwards while there is youth in the world. Youth may be headstrong, but it will advance it allotted length.
When Helen Keller was made blind and deaf through fever at the age of nineteen months, the prospects for her seemed anything but rosy. Born in 1880, at a time when blind/deaf people were likely to be consigned to the poor house or asylum, she went on to live a fuller and more adventurous life than many before or since.
Robbed by illness of two of her senses, she used the others to try and fully experience and learn about the world she lived in. As a child, she had invented a vocabulary of around sixty signs to communicate with those around her. She learned to do certain tasks around the house, and to identify people by feeling their clothes and faces.
Nevertheless, the difficulties of communicating meant that often Helen could be a rather riotous child and prone to tantrums. She would through things around, and even locked her mother in the pantry. Perhaps even in this we see the kind of fighting spirit that characterized much of Helen’s life!
It’s not hard to imagine that Helen’s behavior, born of frustration with the limits placed on her life, was frustrating for her parents too; eventually they decided to hire a private tutor-cum-governess to assist with her education and upbringing. For Helen, this was a world-changing day, and one she was later to describe as "the most important day in all my life".
Anne Sullivan, 21 years old and a recent graduate of Perkins Institute for the Blind in Boston, was that woman. Herself visually impaired, Sullivan had earned the reputation of being a rebellious pupil. To the extent that she shared this common ground with Helen, she was perhaps the ideal woman for the task. She became not only a teacher to Helen, but a friend and companion to her until she (Anne) died.
While she set herself the task of changing Helen’s behavior, this was only to be the first of Helen’s many steps on a life-long journey.
She began to teach her the manual alphabet, spelling individual letters into her hand for Helen to feel. Although she learned the shapes, she did not yet realize the link between these shapes and words, or the ideas the words represented.
This changed one day during a walk to the well. Anne spelled the letters W-A-T-E-R on to Helen’s hand, and then pumped water on it. With some repetition, her pupil realized that the letters were a way of referring to the liquid. For most people, the concept of names is so obvious as to almost believe it’s knowledge we have at birth. Yet to Helen, the idea that every object had a name was a complete revelation. She ran around the house feeling everything and eager to learn its name. Speaking of the change that this discovery wrought in Helen, Anne Sullivan said:
"Helen got up this morning like a radiant fairy. She has flitted from object to object, asking the name of everything and kissing me for very gladness. Last night when I got into bed, she stole into my arms of her own accord and kissed me for the first time, and I thought my heart would burst, so full was it of joy."
This shows something of the depth of the relationship which was to develop between the two women. Anne encouraged conversation which was interesting to Helen, and used sentences rather than single words. Her reasoning was that, as with hearing children, language is learned through observation and copying the way those around us communicate. In this way, Helen began to learn the nuances of language.
Despite being blind and deaf it was clear that Helen had a remarkable gift for communication. She learned to read and write Braille, and to read lips by feeling the shapes and vibrations formed by people’s mouths as they speak. This form of lip-reading (Tadoma) is one that is very difficult, and few people ever manage to do successfully.
It became clear that Helen needed better learning facilities if she was to reach her potential, and she was enrolled in Perkins Institute for the blind. This was Anne Sullivan’s old school, and a world-famous institution for the education of blind children. Anne went through school with her, interpreting and transcribing books into Braille for her.
Helen learned to write around this time, and did so prolifically, even learning phrases of Latin, German and French which she incorporated. At 9, she begun to learn to speak. Although it was difficult, her determination was such that practicing and improving her speech far into adulthood.
In 1904 she graduated from Radcliffe College, disproving those who said that she couldn’t hope to compete with sighted and hearing students. In fact, her determination and uncanny memory made her an excellent scholar. While at college, she wrote “The Story of My Life”, the editor of which (John Albert Macy) went on to marry Anne Sullivan.
In 1914, Anne’s health was failing, and Polly Thompson was hired to help Helen with housekeeping. She became Helen’s friend and companion until she died in 1960.
Helen starred in a silent movie about her own life in 1919. It wasn’t successful, but it paved the way for a four-year vaudeville tour. After the 1921 founding of the American Federation for the Blind, Helen traveled, wrote and spoke extensively in her role as spokeswoman.
In a world of injustice and poverty, where women the disabled and the working class were effectively disenfranchised, Helen railed against the inequality she found. A woman of deep personal religious convictions, a suffragette and a socialist, she fought against inequality and the abject poverty which even today makes millions blind the world over, through diseases which are entirely preventable.
Through her work, Helen drew attention to the people who had often been overlooked. She became almost a household name by the time she died at the age of 88. Asked by a journalist which American presidents she had met, she replied that she didn’t know how many, but she’d met every one since Grover Cleveland! After her death, the Helen Keller International was founded to fight the scourge of blindness in the developing world.
Helen Keller wasn’t the only disabled person who succeeded in living life to the full. Many more have since, and will no doubt continue to. She was, however, a giant inspiration for millions the world over; millions who are deaf, blind, both, or neither. Helen’s success would have been impossible without the cooperation of others like Anne Sullivan, and stands as a reminder that only through cooperation and dogged determination combined can any human being live a life which is worthy of the name.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Most all these girls' dresses were made from flour sacks.
BY COLLEEN B. HUBERT
IN THAT LONG AGO TIME WHEN THINGS WERE SAVED,
WHEN ROADS WERE GRAVELED AND BARRELS WERE STAVED,
WHEN WORN-OUT CLOTHING WAS USED AS RAGS,
AND THERE WERE NO PLASTIC WRAP OR BAGS,
AND THE WELL AND THE PUMP WERE WAY OUT BACK,
A VERSITILE ITEM, WAS THE FLOUR SACK.
PILLSBURY'S BEST, MOTHER'S AND GOLD MEDAL, TOO
STAMPED THEIR NAMES PROUDLY IN PURPLE AND BLUE.
THE STRING SEWN ON TOP WAS PULLED AND KEPT;
THE FLOUR EMPTIED AND SPILLS WERE SWEPT.
THE BAG WAS FOLDED AND STORED IN A SACK
THAT DURABLE, PRACTICAL FLOUR SACK.
THE SACK COULD BE FILLED WITH FEATHERS AND DOWN,FOR A PILLOW, OR T'WOULD MAKE A NICE SLEEPING GOWN.
IT COULD CARRY A BOOK AND BE A SCHOOL BAG,
OR BECOME A MAIL SACK SLUNG OVER A NAG.
IT MADE A VERY CONVENIENT PACK,
THAT ADAPTABLE, COTTON FLOUR SACK.
BLEACHED AND SEWN, IT WAS DUTIFULLY WORN
AS BIBS, DIAPERS, OR KERCHIEF ADORNED.
IT WAS MADE INTO SKIRTS, BLOUSES AND SLIPS.
AND MOM BRAIDED RUGS FROM ONE HUNDRED STRIPS
SHE MADE RUFFLED CURTAINS FOR THE HOUSE OR SHACK,
FROM THAT HUMBLE BUT TREASURED FLOUR SACK!
AS A STRAINER FOR MILK OR APPLE JUICE,
TO WAVE MEN IN, IT WAS A VERY GOOD USE,
AS A SLING FOR A SPRAINED WRIST OR A BREAK,
TO HELP MOTHER ROLL UP A JELLY CAKE,
AS A WINDOW SHADE OR TO STUFF A CRACK,
WE USED A STURDY, COMMON FLOUR SACK!
AS DISH TOWELS, EMBROIDERED OR NOT,
THEY COVERED UP DOUGH, HELPED PASS PANS SO HOT,
TIED UP DISHES FOR NEIGHBORS IN NEED,
AND FOR MEN OUT IN THE FIELD TO SEED.
THEY DRIED DISHES FROM PAN, NOT RACK
THAT ABSORBENT, HANDY FLOUR SACK!
WE POLISHED AND CLEANED STOVE AND TABLE,
SCOURED AND SCRUBBED FROM CELLAR TO GABLE,
WE DUSTED THE BUREAU AND OAK BED POST,
MADE COSTUMES FOR OCTOBER (A SCARY GHOST)
AND A PARACHUTE FOR A CAT NAMED JACK.
FROM THAT LOWLY, USEFUL OLD FLOUR SACK!
SO NOW MY FRIENDS, WHEN THEY ASK YOU
AS CURIOUS YOUNGSTERS OFTEN DO,
"BEFORE PLASTIC WRAP, ELMERS GLUE
AND PAPER TOWELS, WHAT DID YOU DO?"
TELL THEM LOUDLY AND WITH PRIDE DON'T LACK,
"GRANDMOTHER HAD THAT WONDERFUL FLOUR SACK!"