Solomon Northup, a black man, was born free in 1808. He lived in New York State with his wife and three children. He worked and supported his family and loved playing the violin. One day he was kidnapped and following being sold multiple times he ended up spending twelve years as a slave on a Louisiana plantation. During this time he was brutally beaten and existed working on little to eat and sleeping on a dirt floor. He had no idea whether his family was still alive when he was finally freed.
Published in 1853 this detailed and true description of life as a slave became a best seller. This true story is spellbinding and heartrending. It was eventually made into a popular motion picture. I recommend this book.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in prison? In solitary confinement? On death row? Now you can know those things and much more about a prisoner’s life by reading what prisoners write at https://prisonwriters.com. “Prison Writers . . . . Where Prisoners have a Voice” is an internet site of writings by people who are currently incarcerated. The articles are about all aspects of life before and after imprisonment. They are edited by professional volunteers and writers are paid $10 for each piece that is published on the website.
Please check out this link and read such articles as these popular ones:
I Was Repeatedly Raped in Prison
Best Prison Slang Words You (Hopefully Won’t) Need to Know
Love in Prison: 12 Tips to Dating A Prisoner
Remember Amy Preasmyer? She Writes Us From Solitary
Life Behind Bars As A Convicted Sex Offender
Authors’ photographs and sometimes a bio accompany many of the articles written by inmates.
We all know, or at least have heard of, individuals who spent the last part of their lives in long-term facilities without any quality of life while eating up all of one’s lifetime savings. Medical costs at the end of life are a huge portion of one’s lifetime medical expenses. There are others who have a terminal and debilitating disease such as Parkinson’s who do not want to live helplessly until natural death occurs. Such people are likely to desire the end of life, but unless they live in certain areas of this country this is not an opportunity for them, at least not legally. In areas that do allow one to end their life, cancer is the number two diagnosis for self-deliverance, behind ALS.
There is much controversy regarding the act of ending one’s life. The American Medical Association is against physicians being involved in such acts because the physician is to be seen as a healer instead. Others, particularly religious groups, see this self determination of the end of life as suicide and therefore a sin. Advocates see it as death with dignity.
In 1990 the Patient Self-Determination Act was passed when the Supreme Court ruled that a person had the right to refuse nutrition and hydration to end life. This quickly lead to the Living Will with which most of us are familiar. https://crookedcreek.live/2017/01/25/death-decisions/ At about the same time the Supreme Court ruled that assisted death would be up to the states. Since then, nine states and the District of Columbia granted that right to its citizens. One in five Americans live in those states and fewer than 4,500 have died utilizing this right.
Interestingly, assisted death by injection is forbidden. The person choosing to die must be able to ingest oral medication. One-third of those who obtain the medication for this purpose do not take it, even though it is on hand.
Maine, one of the nine states, named their law Medical Aid in Dying and the current medical protocol, called D-DMA: contains #1 powdered digoxin, which is normally used to treat irregular heartbeat but causes the heart to stop at extreme doses. And #2 a mixture of Diazepam (Valium), which suppresses the respiratory system in high doses; Morphine, a narcotic that also suppresses the respiratory system; and Amitriptyline, an antidepressant that stops the heart at high doses. This cocktail is said to produce peaceful sleep followed by death. It is not easy to obtain this method of dying. Maine requires an oral request followed by a second oral request. A written request is then required at least fifteen days later.
“Final Exit”, by the founder of the modern American right-to-die movement, Derek Humphry, was published in 1991 and offers information on ending one’s life where it is not legally permitted.This book offers various ways to end one’s life listing each by lethality, minutes to death, pain level and other factors. Some methods, e.g., the use of a plastic bag and helium or nitrous gases require that someone remove the apparatus prior to a coroner’s visit if the deceased doesn’t want it known that they ended their own life. The book even includes information regarding life insurance. The fact that this book has sold 2 million copies seems to indicate great interest in the subject and the many methods of suicide/euthanasia described within.
Written by William Styron, one of my favorite authors https://crookedcreek.live/2018/02/26/books-3/“Sophie’s Choice” is a tragic story of a young Polish woman who was sentenced to a prison camp in Germany during World War II. After her release she holds her heartbreaking family secret within until many years later. When she finally finds the strength to share it that leads to her dreadful end. This book is a moving story about a trio of characters; this woman, her mentally ill lover and their twenty-two year old friend. If you have not read it, give it a try, if you like this type of fiction. I do.
My brother, Steve, lived in California with his family of four children. He had told his kids about Kentucky where he was born and raised. Some things were significant, I guess, but some were just about simple memories. It seems that California, at that time, lacked two staples that he missed, Big Red Soda and White Castle Hamburgers. I found it hard to believe that Big Red could not be bought there, in that state that had so much that Kentucky didn’t have. I did understand that the White Castle chain may not have reached the West Coast. Apparently he told his kids, particularly the oldest son, that when they came to Kentucky he would be sure that they had the privilege of both of these culinary delights.
As fate would have it he brought the family home and instead of taking the kids out for these things he’d promised, he first needed to visit a favorite aunt who he had not seen for a few years. No problem! I was an aunt too and in an effort to become their favorite, I loaded them all into my SUV and out we went to White Castle several miles away. I was also thrilled to have my young granddaughter, Katie, there to go with us too. The kids were less than impressed with the onion laden hamburgers but ate them without complaint. If fact, I was so eager to give them this great experience that I stuffed these kiddos with White Castle staples.
They were good kids and pretty quiet on the drive home as I told them that Big Reds awaited them at my house. When we got there I prepared desserts, Big Red Floats! For each child I added vanilla ice cream to a tall glass and then poured it over with Big Red. They ate, they drank, they loved the dessert! By the time their parents came home, I had a house full of nauseated kids. Some were white. Some were green. One was vomiting athletically.
When you think you are helping out, if it involves kids, greasy burgers and Big Red, think long and hard before enacting your benevolent plan.
Like most of you, I have read “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee more than once. And, of course, I’ve seen the movie based upon this extraordinary book multiple times. I decided to listen to the audio version while riding my Beast. I’m sure you remember this contraption but in case you do not please check it out: https://crookedcreek.live/2021/02/25/the-beast/
I am so glad that I made this decision. The book is narrated by Sissy Spacek and she does Scout’s Alabamian accent perfectly. As I listened to Scout tell the story of her life with her brother Jim, I forgot completely that it was Spacek speaking. She was an eight year old girl full of curiosity and full of spunk.
Unfortunately, the court scenes with Atticus Finch were what I had remembered most clearly. After listening to the audio book, however, I will always remember Scout and her adventures in a small southern town.
I recommend this wonderful book, but also suggest you hear its narrated version if you have not.
Life has been an adventure and I just realized that sounds like it is coming to an end. That isn’t what I mean, but after seventy-seven years on this orb, I have much to look back on. Education was fun and my career was satisfying, but pure joy only comes from sharing life with those you love. I am blessed by two wonderful daughters who brought sons into my life; even though they are called sons-in-law they are much more. Thirty years ago my first granddaughter was born followed seven years later by the second. It is hard to believe that it was so long ago because my memories of them as children seem so fresh.
From the beginning of their lives, they spent a lot of time with their Grandfather, who they called Pop, and me, Grandmother. As they grew our games became more complex but none were more fun than pretend. The oldest, Katie, was an actress and she loved getting into character and acting out elaborate roles. Her younger sister, Elizabeth, was fine with pretend too, but also loved being outdoors following her Pop around as he worked.
As they got older we went on short vacations each year before school started. One year we went to Kings Island in Cincinnati and another we spent a few days taking in the sights of Chicago. We shopped for back-to-school clothes and before we knew it grade school became high school and then college. Their days of staying at Camp Grandmother and Pop’s may be over, but the fun memories remain forever.
Like most of you, I imagine, I read “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London years ago. I remembered the short book to be about a sweet dog who returned to the wild and lived happily ever after. This week, while riding the Beast, a.k.a. my Cardio Strider, I decided to listen to the audible version of the book. How could I have forgotten the cruel abuse this dog endured?
Buck was a one hundred and forty-pound St. Bernard and Scotch Collie mix who lived on a nice estate in California. A worker there stole the dog away from his owners who loved him and sold him to be used as a dog to pull sleighs in Alaska. Buck knew nothing about what was expected of him but he finally learned through many beatings by multiple owners. He eventually ended up in the Yukon area of Canada where the Klondike gold rush was taking place.
Again Buck learned cruel lessons from both the dogs he was forced to work with and from various men who owned him for a time. Finally, mercifully, he was rescued by John Thornton, an experienced frontiersman, who had a heart and a fierce love for Buck. They traveled the frozen country-side for a few years until Thornton was murdered by Native Americans. Buck was furious and savagely attacked the people until many of the Yeehat tribe were dead. Buck then followed his primordial instinct which had been calling him for some time, and he joined a wolf pack to live out his life in the wilderness and his wolf heritage.
The author, Jack London, published this animal fiction tale in 1903. He realistically gave this magnificent dog human traits and thoughts that were easy to accept as authentic. “The Call of the Wild” has been adapted into over one dozen films and remains an all-time favorite.