Manchester Mascot An Honor To Our Past

Opining Quill Response

Opining Quill Response

Manchester Connecticut has a rich history dating back before there was a United States of America and long before the arrival of English settlers. The area now known as Manchester was a camping and hunting ground for Native Americans known as the Podunk.

Before recorded written history, there is evidence of Native Americans living across not only Manchester but all of the lands we now call the United States. When the Pilgrims arrived in 1620 they first encountered Wampanoag Indians from the Nauset tribe in what is now Eastham, Mass. It is well documented that the early settlers learned to plant corn from the Native Americans. A crop that significantly helped the pilgrims survive in this harsh new land.

From the early days of this nation to this day the contribution of culture and service to this country by Native Americans is significant. The Navajo Code Talkers of World War II provided our military with a method of communication that proved to be priceless. To honor and recognize Native Americans is not only justified it is politically correct.

The history of the lands within the boundary of what is now the west end of Manchester was home to Indian settlements in areas we know as Hillstown Road, Olcutt Street and West Center Street. The early English settlers adopted some of the language and names from the Indians. We can look to the Native American word Hocquaun meaning hook-shaped or crooked river to find where the name of the Hockanum River came from. Even the name of our State, Connecticut comes from the Native American language.

Manchester High School athletic teams have been known as the Manchester Indians for generations, it is a tribute to the Native Americans that originally occupied the lands upon which the school previously and currently is located. The mascot for any school should reflect some of the history, it must be something that is held in high esteem by the community, it is a symbol which not only the students but the community can look to proudly.

Manchester High School could have chosen the farmer, weaver or even the silkworm as a mascot. Who would question as politically correct a “farmer” mascot? Yet today some would question the selection on an Indian as the mascot.

If one understands the honor and esteem a community places in a mascot they understand the true nature of the importance the mascot holds within history of the community. In the case of Manchester High School when a cheering section chants “We are the Indians, mighty mighty Indians, everywhere we go people want to know who we are, so we tell them” they are endorsing the roots of the community. The original inhabitants are remembered and their strength as a culture is recalled. The Podunks were known as a peaceful people and their history is our history, their history is a key building block in the foundation of the Manchester we know today.

Today there are some folks that although well intentioned, may be misguided in their interpretation and understanding of the Manchester High School Indian Mascot. Those that would call for a change in the mascot are calling for a revision of history. They are asking that we remove an honored part of our heritage, a building block and a memory for generations of Manchester alumni. They are asking the community to take away a position of leadership, esteem and reverence the current Manchester Indian holds.

I submit it would be far better to educate the misguided to understand the historical importance of the Native American, Indian people in Manchester. It would be far better if those that want to replace the current mascot with some less meaningful symbol would instead join with the generations of the past and remember the significance of the Indian mascot.

Perhaps it is time for a block of instruction within the school curriculum at the middle school level to introduce the Manchester Indian to the next generations so that as they enter high school they will not only understand the contribution and importance of the original inhabitants but also take great pride in being known as a “Manchester Indian”. Calling ourselves, Manchester Indians shows our understanding and kinship with our historical roots. Manchester alumni are proud of those roots and the next generations should share in that pride.

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The Lonely Chair at Nauset Light

Nauset Light

Nauset Light

The lighthouse draped in fog lent an eerie feel too the silence of an early morning.  Yonder, morning light was rising from the sea painting an ever changing sky.

 

 

Pastel Sky

Pastel Sky

The pastel palette across the sky produced an awe of reverence for the creator, here a heavenly sight and yet I am alone within my thoughts.  Slowly I walk toward the ocean, for I am feeling blessed and humble.  I share the beach only with an object in the fog, a chair.

 

The Chair

The Chair

As I walk across the sand, the chair emerges from the fog, it is large and strong, sitting empty and yet it radiates a certain sense of strength of structure.  Alone it sits symbolically, as a guard upon the beach, witness to the beauty of the sunrise and the power of the ocean.

 

Sun Behind the Clouds

Sun Behind the Clouds

The sun has risen and yet its’ brilliance hides behind the clouds and fog, acting as guards upon the horizon.  In time the sun will burn away the fog, and dry the dew from the chair upon the beach.  There is a patch of blue in the sky above, for me a glimmer of hope, perhaps a sunny day shall yet appear.

 

 

Grandeur and Perspective

Grandeur and Perspective

Like the chair, I now sit upon the sand, to watch and wait.  The sky is ever changing; the clouds are moving east, the sun is rising.  The chair once so large and grand seems to shrink when viewed against the open sky and the grandeur of a new day.  An over-sized chair built by man takes its’ place beneath the pallet in the sky of the great creator.  I am in awe.

The Sun Has Risen

The Sun Has Risen

Alas, the sun breaks through the fog and clouds, it is a glorious morning.  The chair is now a silhouette in the morning light.  A golden light upon the ocean sparkles like an endless path of golden opportunity, to the horizon and beyond.  Like the chair I am alone in the silence broken only by the sound of waves against the shore.  The beauty I have seen this morning is emotionally inspiring.

 

The Chair Remains

The Chair Remains

Before I go I am drawn toward the water; it is the sound and movement of the waves that has my attention.  Nothing man creates has the perpetual motion of the ocean, so calm today and yet so powerful.  I turn to leave and see the morning light accents the lonely chair against the towering dunes and grey sky.  I am lucky, life is good.

Cape Cod is a great place to relax and unwind.  Sunrise is early, but if you take the time to visit the chair in the early morning hours on Nauset Light Beach you will not be disappointed, you just may feel you have seen a slice of heaven.

 

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July 25, 2014 · 6:00 am

Look In The Mirror and Start Your Engine

Mirror 32a

There are times in all our lives when we feel defeated, overwhelmed or beaten. Take heart, have strength and know that this is normal. Within you is the strength rise up, to fight back, to once again overcome all that has caused this feeling of loss. It is time to change the negative to positive.

 
Nothing is stronger than the human spirit, when unleashed you have the power to to take back your dignity from those that may have put you down. You have the power to conquer the fears that have immobilized your being. You have, within your being the strength to rise above the current situation and prove to the world you are the person you want to be.

 
There is a time when you must take back the power you have granted to others, a power or position they have abused and now bring fear, negativity or stress into your life. They are not the person you believed in, trusted or wished they were, but you have the ability to change what is happening.

 
If you are determined, you shall not be stopped, overwhelmed or defeated, you shall march down a road toward personal renewal. A road of recovery for some, a road to growth for others, it will not be an easy road; you will find small hills and valleys. Ultimately you will continue the climb until you have reached a vista, opening your eyes to a panoramic view of opportunity.

 
There is an old Scottish ballad that describes the journey and battles you will face, “I may be wounded but I am not slain. I’ll lay me down and rest for a while and then I’ll fight again.” It is clear the road will have obstacles but it is equally clear you have the inner strength to win the fight.

 
Nothing will change without a motivating force, wishing for change will not work, waiting for change will not work, and doing nothing should not be an option. In life it is easy to do nothing, it is easy to avoid change, and it is wasteful to go another day without doing something to improve where you are or where you want to be.

 
It does not matter if the problems seem in surmountable nothing is impossible; it can be your job, your home life, your friends or your government. Your have the power, the strength and the skills to do something to bring about change. These attributes are all within you, the biggest obstacle you have is in your mind.

 
It is time to overcome your fears, after all fear is only False Evidence Appearing Real. You have nothing to fear unless you remain stagnant, unless you do nothing then and only then will you guarantee to yourself change will not come. Your world can be a better place if you are active in it; if you take control of the direction you are headed.

 
If you don’t like the direction you are headed, it is up to YOU to take some action. To depend on hope and change brought to you by others is a road to dependency and lower self-worth. Now is your time, and this is your place to move on down the road knowing you are in control of your direction and destiny.

 
Every journey starts with one step, every marathon is completed with a single step at time, there are no shortcuts and victory goes to those willing to pay the price. You may have stalled or even run out of gas but now is the time to restart your engine. What are you waiting for, rise up, get moving, go forth and start your journey. As they say at the Indy 500, “Ladies and gentlemen, START YOUR ENGINES!”.

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A Father’s Day Remembrance

East Cementary 009-3XThey say time heals all wounds, I sometimes wonder if I have enough time remaining in my life to heal.  It has been twenty five years, and the scars upon my heart remain and yet the memories and lessons still provide strength and guidance.

My father was not a man of elegant words; his lessons were passed on by example and action.  A man working day and night holding two jobs for thirty-five years without missing time passes on a work ethic.  There is no doubt he was a provider for his family but it was his acts of kindness and love that have proven to be his lasting legacy.

Today I enjoy the toil of clamming and the results of my harvest, an endeavor passed on by a man that never ate the fruits of his labor.  No, my dad would dig and clean the clams for family and friends out of love and kindness, receiving only smiles of joy from those that ate the fruit of his labor.

The first year he was gone was filled with memories and tears, the wounds of such sudden sorrow were deep.  Trying to move forward would bring back memories and moments of sadness over his passing.   The first time clamming alone was one I can never forget, but the story is true and the memory is clear.

It was a warm and sunny day like many others on Cape Cod Bay, an ideal day with a tide that would accommodate an early afternoon of clamming.  I ventured out over the tidal flats, a walk I had taken with my dad and always taken for granted.  He would always lead the way knowing exactly where to go.  Over the years the clam beds were getting smaller, but dad knew just the spot to go in the uncharted expanse before us.

Now alone I ventured out, rake in one hand and bucket in the other.  Yes I thought I could do what dad had done; he made it look so easy.  I dug, and I struggled, the tide was turning and little did I have to show for my efforts.  My emotions were raw, as I thought back to the times I had shared in these waters with the man that never ate the clams.

Alone in thought, I believed if he were there we would have had our limit and been walking home by now, but I only had three clams.  The tide was changing but not my luck.  I saw a seal not too far away, I paused to observe and thought how much my dad liked to watch the wild life that Mother Nature so kindly brought his way.

It was then I noticed the seal seem to be nodding his head to my right, I moved in that direction and he continued to nod and I continued to move.  It wasn’t that far until he stopped and suddenly began to move his head up and down as if to say, yes.  I paused, and without hesitation I began to rake for clams, for the tide was turning and the time was coming when I would have to stop my quest.

There with the first stroke of the rake was a clam, as I reached for my bucket I looked toward the seal but he was gone.   I continued to rake and in a short time I had what I had come to seek, a bucket full of clams.  It was time to go and leave the bay but the memory of that day will never leave.

It has been twenty-five years since dad was killed by a hit and run driver, not a day goes by that I don’t think about the man.  The wounds of that day are deep, the scars of time remain and I wonder if I will live long enough for time to heal the wounds of loss.  On this day, I can only write these words in his memory, happy Father’s Day, dad.

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Remembering the Sacrifice of 6,809

As of May 23, 2014 6,809 Americans have sacrificed their lives in the wars of Afghanistan and Iraq. In Somers Connecticut they are honored and remembered this weekend in a display known as, Field of Flags.
A single American Flag remembering each life has been placed in neat rows along Main Street. There is also a list of all 6,809 names listed by state of residence.

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The Other Side Of Mother’s Day

The other day I saw a sign that said, “Thank your mom for the womb and board”. Well I thought, that sure wraps up the meaning of Mother’s Day in the style of a humorous tweet.

Although mothers have been honored throughout the centuries it has only been 100 years since Woodrow Wilson signed a joint resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day in the United States. It has become a tradition day of honoring and recognizing the role of women as the nurturing force behind our families and our nation.

Mother’s Day has become the busiest day of the year for long-distance phone calls, and in some areas traffic advisories are issued due to heavy travel. Mother’s Day cards given to mom on Mother’s Day swell emotions within with the expressions of thanks and love and often bring a tear to mom’s eye.

Yes, to be sure every Mother knows what Mother’s Day is all about, for many there is the anticipation of hearing from children far away or seeing grandchildren as families gather to celebrate the day. But there is another side of Mother’s Day, a side that we often leave unnoticed, a side that has no smiles, no joy and opens wounds of emptiness in a heart.

For some the day is a reminder of hurt, of emptiness, of raw emotion, the phone does not ring, there are no flowers or cards but there is the pain of a scar re-opened. There will always be mothers that have lost their children but have their memories. For some mother’s it is a child lost to war, accident or disease, for others it is a deep hurt of abandonment.

Mother’s Day was supposed to be day of honor and celebration not a day of hurt, but for the mother that sits alone today there are no hugs, no smiles, no flowers or cards there is only the pain from an emotional scar, from an wound that never seems to heal. The phone will not ring, no loving voice will be heard, and this mother will sit alone today.

A mother that sacrificed and loved her children, they were the world to her has been abandon by her children, forgotten on this day. While the world around her celebrates, and she hears reminders of the day she is left alone to ponder what might have been, alone in her world of empty hope, but the phone will not ring and the flowers will never come.

Another family goes on about their business today, trying to forget the hurt, and the missing link, the empty chair, left behind when mom passed on. Yes they have some memories but on days like this those memories turn to a feeling of emptiness and loss, of something missing. There will be no trip to grandma’s house for she has been laid to rest. So while others shop for cards, order flowers, and gather in celebration this family has only a feeling of emptiness. They could go to the cemetery for a visit but that too brings raw emotions to the heart……..it is not a day of happiness. It is the other side of Mother’s Day.

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Ground Hog Predicts More Than The Weather In Connecticut

 

Chuckles reports to Mayor Diana

Chuckles reports to Mayor Diana

Television, press and a mob of early morning raisers gather in Manchester this morning to hear the prognostication of future weather from Connecticut’s own official ground hog, Chuckles.  This annual tradition takes place at the Lutz Children’s Museum as the sun begins to rise.

Manchester Mayor Diana by virtue of his election is endowed with the ability to communicate with Chuckles and hence listens to Chuckles and makes the announcement.  The crowd went silent as the mayor leaned forward and listened intently to Chuckles.  Then the moment had arrived, ‘There will be six more weeks of winter,” but wait, the Mayor announced there was more to hear. The crowd hushed and the Mayor said, “Denver is looking good, in Super Bowl”

So there you have it straight from the Ground Hog, bundle up for six more weeks and go with Denver or was the Ground Hog only referring to the uniforms and demeanor?  We will have to wait to judge the accuracy but make no mistake Ground Hog Day is a fine tradition.

Chuckles

Chuckles

The official name of Chuckles is “Connecticut Chuckles VIII” she will be two years old on May 1st.  Chuckles is a full time resident at the Lutz Children’s Museum.  She was rescued when she was discovered injured and orphaned as a baby. Her doctor determined that she would not be able to survive in the wild, opening the door to a new career in meteorology.

Last year was her first prediction and she was right on target.  Now you can’t say that about all the other local weather predictors.

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