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FINDING FONTAINEBLEAU: An American Boy in France ~ Thad Carhart

Monday, July 11th, 2016

“Long before mass tourism and globalization, France was simple, soulful, and every inch stimulating.  Carhart knew it all and shares this with us with the deftness and insight of a master storyteller.”  (Cover:  Leonard Pitt, author of WALKS THROUGH LOST PARIS)

FINDING FONTAINBEBLEAU is a beguiling memoir of post war France with loving stories about baguettes and penmanship learned with quill pens and black ink.  I enjoyed every page and every story in this book and was sad when I turned the last page.  At age 4, Carhart’s military family was moved from the Virginia suburbs to Fontainebleau, France.  The family celebrated their move with trips all over the countryside and discoveries while attending French schools.  With five children and a big old “woodie” Chevy station wagon they explored.  The author captures a great deal about French culture and habits.  It is a remarkable story.

The Nazi invasion truly made a difference to the hearts and minds of the French and the subtle protections on the individual levels are recorded in the stories.  PBS is doing a series on the importance of NATO and this story talks about the beginnings of those treaties.  War changes so much.
About the Author

The son of an air force officer, Thad Carhart grew up in a variety of places, including Washington, D.C.; Fontainebleau, France; Minneapolis; Amherst, Massachusetts; and Tokyo. After graduating from Yale, he worked for the State Department as an interpreter. His first book, The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, appeared in 2000, published by Random House. Across the Endless River, a historical novel came out in 2009 with Doubleday. He lives in Paris. (AMAZON)

Thad Carhart Website
Thad Carhart Facebook
Thad Carhart Twitter

I was constantly thinking about who I wanted to share this book with and for what occasion.  Carhart has returned to France with his family as an adult and has been given tours by the architect who is refurbishing The Castle Fontainebleau.  The layers of tile, the roofing material, the commitment of the people of France to their historic sites and the damage done by millions of tourists as they visit is fascinating.  Then the stories of the Kings, Queens, Mistresses and how they changed the buildings and added on to the design, and how consistent and authentic the designs and repairs were to the original buildings – fascinating.

The author’s Mother and the recorded stories about the 5 siblings and their adjustments to a new house and country are loving and often humorous.  The word delightful just keeps coming to mind.

I just wrapped up my copy for the biking architect in my family as his birthday is tomorrow and he will so enjoy this story to the max.  It did make me want to visit France and particularly Fontainebleau.  I have been excitedly talking about the book at my book groups as even though it is a very different read, I think they will enjoy the look at the 50s and what it would be like to be transplanted, not knowing the language, as a child.

TLC Book Tours   sent this book to me for review and it is wonderful.

Bridge Ladies
Alice In Bed
The Rivals Of Versailles

THE SILENCE OF MORNING: A Memoir of the Time Undone ~D.A. Hickman

Monday, April 11th, 2016

“Despite a crushing loss…here we have a warmth of spirit, understanding and compassion in a distancing world.”  (Madeline Sharples – from cover)

I believe that there is a need within each of us to read this book.  Yes, it is a well written memoir with lovely poetic sentences and descriptions, it is a poignant telling of a son’s life, it is a sociologic study of our society and culture, and most of all it is an amazing tribute to  a mother’s grief and the deepening of a spiritual journey into an awakening.  THE SILENCE OF MORNING is a book we need.

Suicide is a difficult end to a life and even with a note; there is rarely a possibility of verifiable understanding.   What was the truth of this life or this moment, which made the decision possible?   What enabled suicide’s success?  How will a Mother/ Parents and family create the mythology to answer all the questions or create the story that will bring release to the grief and sorrow?  Dare I intimate that there might be a letting go of the life and only memory left?

We are also drawn into a study with all the pomp and considerations of a master research paper.  We are invited to take a look at schools now and then.  We can observe the role of teachers and philosophy of schools and how the child will react or would have been received differently now.  Hickman catches the restlessness of a generation and the incredible work an educational system must engage in to meet the needs of children and get the “job done” for a future of usefulness and output with reward.   The study looks at the War on Drugs and how the need for entertainment grows and grows along with the lure of the “high” and the demands of addiction.  How does a society remedy this dis-ease and free the individual caught within its seductive nets?  Have we learned and do we know how to stop the progression?  Are we as a people all addicted to something?

There are nearly perfect descriptions in this telling of landscape and interactions and just beautiful memories of family – breathtaking.  There is a poetry of words and pivotal theological quotes and explanations.  Reading can free tears.

This is memoir which asks the tough questions, puts words to grief and opens the heart to an exploration of the depth and width of personal growth and spiritual path-finding and it is “Holy and beautiful and heartbreaking.” (Cover quote)

In the author’s own words:  “How do we better understand the human condition, the quest for inner peace?  How do we tap into the deeper mysteries, embracing challenge and loss as we go? How do we distance ourselves from a malcontent culture focused on excitement, escape, and excess?  And despite it all, how do we deepen our perspective…commit to sustained personal growth?”

“I will always be a dedicated student of society looking for the essential story, the universal message: a path with less suffering, deeper awareness.  Everything we experience is a reflection of the human struggle to somehow right itself against the rocky waves of time.  So on and on we walk…always into a deeper version of ourselves.”

Hickman’s Blog:  SunnyRoomStudio.com
Hickman’s Facebook

THE SILENCE OF MORNING is a part of my personal library and I am delighted to be sharing it with you.  I think we all need to read this memoir.

Shadows in the Sun
The Myths of Happiness
NEW: Understanding our need for Novelty and Change
Now Everyone Will Know


Thursday, March 8th, 2012


Bullying has been on my mind a lot lately, so I have been involved with a number of Internet searches on the subject.   I found that KUOW the radio station was going to run an hour long program done by Teens on being Bullied.   It was an outstanding hour spent listening and taking notes.

So who are these bullies?

Nearly everyone has experienced a time of being bullied or has been a bully over an idea.  Yep, just about everyone has experienced both sides.   Sometimes we bully when we do not mean to but rather an emotion runs away with us.  Most teen bullies do not know any better, and usually the bullying begins at home and it is a way that their family interacts.

Bullying is an enculturation error by society.   It is sometimes promoted in a society, such as on sitcoms and in teasing and by looking at the flow of money.

Bullies usually are feeling how they want to make you feel:
–    Insecure
–    Bullied themselves
–    Transferring own emotions onto the victim
–    Learned behavior from Media, School and HOME
–    Sign of fear
–    Self hatred
–    Wanting to feel powerful

The teens are trying to help other teens understand and I am proud to say that a number of suicide attempts by victims have been thwarted because teens are taking the lead – especially on social media sites monitoring and setting up interference with the  interaction.   TEENS are saying,  “That is not an appropriate thing to say/to do  to someone else.”   They are teaching the words that need to happen and they are not just standing around.   They are Naming the Problem and tracking it down quickly.

Parents think teens just have to endure this and toughen up.  If they really want to accomplish those things, they need to find another teen that is willing to stand up face to face and stop the barrage at the moment it is happening; they need to fund the classes on EMPATHY that the students need.

The ROLE OF THE BYSTANDER is the most crucial role in stopping this behavior.

The program on bullying was excellent and I learned a great deal.   The reason that I was researching bullying was that I am a bystander watching the Bullies make such huge amounts of money and be rewarded for their inappropriate behavior and language.    In 2008, I recommended that as bystanders we take on the Banking Institutions by Move your Money .  The BIG BANKS have become the Devil to so many individuals and are being left unchecked: large numbers of people are suffering and being victimized.

Whole Denominations are asking their membership to MOVE their MONEY now because of the banks human rights violations, illegal use of funds and investments, and Bullying behavior over housing issues.

This bystander repeats again MOVE YOUR MONEY and here are the three biggest bullies in this country  BANK OF AMERICA, CHASE, and WELLS FARGO.   I am sure you can name a few more.  You are feeding the problem by leaving your money there.

Just say NO to the Party of NO, be like Senator OLYMPIA SNOW and tell it like it is.  We elect “you” to office, not to take money from all the PACs and lobbies, we elect you to represent us the people and to be a voice for us and get the work done that we pay you for.   YOU are bullies and your behavior is inappropriate and noisy and it is creating victims and suffering that you do not care about. “ You” are the ones who are insecure and hurting and your media representatives have become a Bullying pulpit.

But what are we teaching our young, our communities when a Bully like Rush Limbaugh is rewarded daily for being a bully on the air.  He is rewarded with Millions of dollars of advertizing and a huge audience.   He is an aggressive cyber bully.

Stop listening to these media bullies and purchasing products from their advertisers, be a great bystander.

Teens are telling their peers and friends that he is just that, because the adults in our society are getting their jollies off imitation.  If children are not taught appropriate behavior by their parents then the teens are stepping in and saying, “We do not want this Bullying Kind of Society.”

The bystander should not be whipping folks into a frenzy by bullying.   I think the correction on Facebook and Twitter needs to be “If you cannot say anything encouraging or supportive, then do not say anything at all”   We can all find ways to run down another person and attack them – that is the way of the ignorant and the unaware – it is the way of the bully.  CYBER BULLING is Rampant.

Have you had to name language as being “bullying”?  Could you follow the example of the teens who are boldly letting others know that the bullying is inappropriate behavior and language?  They are teaching empathy?  Do you?

Please use the share button with this post, I would like to share my thoughts loudly and appropriately and I could use your assistance.  Thank you

Related Reading:
 Move you Money
Agenda For a New Economy
Leaving With Rake
Situations Matter
On Facebook – Public Radio Exchange