Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Al Franken Holiday Party

These photos are from the Al Franken Holiday Party in December, 2011. The event was held at the Normandy Inn in Minneapolis.  We had a good time with good food and a lot of laughs..
The author of this blog, David, is on the right. 
 U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton (left) and seated guests (right).

U.S. Senators Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Francie Nolan Grows Up in Brooklyn

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
By Betty Smith

Harper Perennial Modern Classics

I recently finished reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. The book is centered on the underclass of Brooklyn, New York, in the years up to World War I. (The tree, itself, is one commonly found growing up between the cracks in the concrete of poorer neighborhoods.)

One passage caught my attention. It was the author's portrayal of the treatment of schoolchildren by their teachers in a Brooklyn school. If the schoolchildren were from wealthier homes, and wore good clothes, they were seated at the front of the classroom. These front-row students had privileges; they were seldom chastised or ignored.

Children were placed in the very back of the classroom if they were poor. Some of the poorest children felt so completely disenfranchised, and were so intimidated, that they didn't dare raise their hands if they needed to use the restroom. Some of these, apparently, urinated in their classroom seats. They went home with wet clothes, chilled to the bone.

Those overcrowded schools in Brooklyn provided the author, Betty Smith, a compelling  illustration of how social-class privilege permeated American life at the beginning of the 20th century.

A Tree Grows is Brooklyn is a classic that I am sure many of you will want to read if you haven't already done so.

(The following link goes to the book at Amazon.com)
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Publisher: HarperCollins