Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Monday, September 1, 2014

V-J Day

This Day in History: September 2, 1945

It's hard to imagine what life was like during times of world war. Only the remaining veterans of such a horrendous war truly know. For most of us, it is only what we read, watch on film and study as recorded history. With the passing of the greatest generation, memories of the sights, sounds, terrors and triumphs from the attacks on Pearl Harbor to D-Day to the landing on Iwo Jima to V-J Day and all the horrors in between will gradually disappear.

Kissing the war goodbye took place on August 14, 1945 with the announcement of Japan's unconditional surrender to the Allies being made public to the Japanese people. The ceremony officially ending the war did not take place for another few weeks, when Japanese representatives signed the documents of surrender aboard the USS Missouri battleship in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945.

Representatives of Japan stand aboard USS Missouri
prior to signing of the Instrument of Surrender.

General of the Army Douglas MacArthur signing the
Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Allied Powers
Japanese Foreign Minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signing 
the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of the Japanese Government
formally ending World War II

It is estimated that anywhere from 60 to 80 million people died during World War II, on all sides of the conflict. V-J Day should be seen as not only the celebration of the defeat of the tyrannical Japanese government of the time, but also the remembrance of those who fought, especially those who lost their lives.

By 2036, it is estimated there will be no living veterans of World War II left to recount their experiences. Should you know a veteran of WWII, perhaps as a friend or family member, be sure to make contact on this special day. If you do not know of someone close, seek out a veteran to let that person know how appreciative you are for undying service to and for America. For the veterans who survived the ordeal, the memories are too painful so don't expect lengthy conversation about the war. Most never talk about the battle(s) that haunt them to the grave. For that reason, it is not unusual for the sons and daughters of WWII veterans to know almost nothing of their fathers' wartime experiences. So, I invite you to share with me a time in the life of my dad filled with unspoken words yet overflowing with tradition......Traditions with Papa! He served at Iwo Jima.

Queen of Rock 'n' Roll

Today in Music History: September 1

Recording artists are often very well known for more than just their music. Such is the case for today's spotlight. This special person is a singer, dancer, actress, and author, whose career has spanned more than half a century, earning her widespread recognition and numerous awards. 

Besides her killer voice, did you know she is also well known for her flawless, sexy legs? She became the spokeswoman/model for Hanes Hosiery in 1997. Her name: Anna Mae Bullock but best known by her stage name ...

Tina Turner As a featured singer with Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm, Tina Turner's musical career began in the mid-50s. Her first recording took place in 1958 under the name "Little Ann". In 1960, her introduction to the public was alongside Ike as a member of the Ike & Tina Turner Revue. 

One of the world's most popular entertainers, she is also been referred to as The Queen of Rock 'n' Roll.


On this day, September 1...

1984 After a 25-year career, Tina Turner had her first solo No.1 single in the US with 'What's Love Got To Do With It'. This song was originally written for Cliff Richard, however the song was rejected. It was then offered to Donna Summer, who has stated she sat with it for a couple of years but never recorded it.
Turner's notable hits include 'A Fool in Love', 'River Deep – Mountain High', 'Proud Mary' and 'Nutbush City Limits' (1973), a song which she herself wrote.  


1956 19-year-old Jerry Lee Lewis arrived at Sun Records hoping for an audition, only to find that owner Sam Phillips was on vacation in Florida. Jerry Lee recorded some demos that Phillips would hear when he returned. The rest is another day in music history!

And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...  

Flashbacks & Reflections

At the close of the day today, the Labor Day holiday weekend will be over. Goodbye, summer! Even though in some places school doors opened before Labor Day, the beginning of the new school term will be in full swing, full speed ahead. Whether young or oldkindergarten, senior year of high school, or even collegethe atmosphere buzzes with enthusiasm from parent to child to teacher.

During the month of August, anticipation and apprehension began to swell as preparations and gatherings filled the weeks ahead for parents, teachers and students. Excitement over reuniting with friends away during the summer months expelled in giddiness as story after story of summer vacation aired. Apprehension over classmates, schedules and making the right choices, back to early morning alarm clocks, school bells and nightly homework may have at times created a more somber tone but never deterred any of the excitement. 

Flashbacks in time and reflections of one's self in the eyes of a child probably brought back memories of school days past...how things have changed from Grandpa's and Grandma's days. Within Awakenings is the opportunity to peer into the past and make connections that embrace those days and times long since passed. The accounts of early schooldays expose characteristics void of amenities common today. There was no electricity, running water, or telephone, and the restroom consisted of an outhouse in the back of the school yard. Can you imagine? Were you there?

An old privy or outhouse
(Photo credit: The Library of Congress)
Grandpa's School Days 

The scene, a late 1800s schoolhouse
Of character quite different from now
A one-room building was room enough
With honor and respect a solemn vow 

Grandpa strolled barefoot to school
Humming the summer blues
Often times walked in winter
Despite holes in his shoes

Not centrally heated or air controlled
A cast-iron stove burned wood or coal
Unfinished walls of hand-hewn logs
Revealed at least one bullet hole 

Atmosphere still, damp and dreary
Sought light through an open window
Brightness glowed from within a smile
Graciously spawned by Ms. Winslow 

Sitting on logs or rough lumber
Boys on one side, girls on the other
A watchful eye at every turn
Dodged spitballs one after another

Going and playing outside at recess
Found off limits the old barn around back
The ideal excuse took time off from books
Playing hooky, hiding in the haystack

Typical Old Barn
GA Hwy 84 E

©2013 Awakenings
Sharla Lee Shults

What stories do you embrace 
in your ancestral chain of schooldays past?


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Music Musings

Today in Music History: August 31

Thoughts and reflections mirror personal impressions about musicians, their unique rhythms and styles of music. No two are exactly alike, even when covering another artist's song. Perhaps one genre in particular is special with maybe something random now and again thrown into the mix to be different. The mood of the moment sets the tone of the music: fast, anxious, noisy versus slow, relaxing, soft. What music speaks for you?


1956 The top 10 songs in the UK singles chart were all by American artists including Elvis Presley, The Platters, Doris Day, Frankie Lymon and The Teenagers, and Gogi Grant. What a diverse group of recording artists and their songs! Each of these had No.1 hits in the US.
 1963 The girl trio, The Angels, started a three week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with ‘My Boyfriend’s Back’. The writers of the song Bob Feldman, Jerry Goldstein and Richard Gottehrer were a trio of Brooklyn songwriter/producers who went on to write the hits ‘Sorrow’ and have the 1965 US No.11 single as The Strangeloves with ‘I Want Candy’.
 1963 The Ronettes first entered the US singles chart with 'Be My Baby' the girl group's only top 10 hit. Lead singer, Veronica Bennett who became Ronnie Spector, took producer and ex-husband Phil Spector to court in the late 1990s for unpaid royalties.
 1969 Decca Records released what has been called The Rolling Stones most political song, 'Street Fighting Man', written after Mick Jagger attended a March 1968 anti-war rally at London's US embassy, during which mounted police attempted to control a crowd of 25,000. The single was kept out of the US Top 40 (reaching No.48) because many radio stations refused to play it based on what were perceived as subversive lyrics.
1985 'Brothers In Arms' by Dire Straits started a nine-week run at No.1 on the US album charts. The album also topped the charts in 25 other countries and went on to sell over 20 million worldwide.
1985 UB40 with guest vocals from Chrissie Hynde had the UK No.1 single with their version of the Sonny Bono song 'I Got You Babe' a hit for Sonny & Cher in 1965.
1987 The largest pre-order of albums in the history of CBS Records occurred as 2.25 million copies of Michael Jackson's ‘Bad’ album were shipped to record stores in the US. The LP followed the Jackson album, ‘Thriller’, the biggest Jackson-seller of all time (over 35 million copies sold). ‘Bad’ went on to sell over 13 million copies.

1991 Metallica started a four-week run at No.1 on the US album chart with, Metallica. The album featured ‘Enter Sandman’, ‘Sad But True’, ‘The Unforgiven’ and ‘Nothing Else Matters’ went on to sell over 10 million copies in the US alone.
1997 Oasis went to No.1 on the UK album chart with their third album 'Be Here Now.' The album had sold over a million copies on the first day of release. At that point, Oasis were at the height of their fame, and 'Be Here Now' became the United Kingdom's fastest selling album to date.  

2003 Elton John went to No.1 on the UK singles chart with 'Are You Ready For Love'. The song was recorded in 1977 and released in 1979, when it reached No.42. It was used by Sky TV for their Premiership football ads.
2002 NASA announced that Lance Bass, singer with NSYNC, was to become the first celebrity astronaut. His $23.8 million (£14 million), place on a Russian Soyuz module would make him the youngest person at 23 years of age to go into orbit. Bass ended up not taking part in the flight after failing to pay for his $20 million ticket on the craft.

2004 UK medical magazine Thorax issued a warning to music fans saying that listening to loud music in the car can give you a collapsed lung. One 19 year-old had been treated in Bristol after his left lung collapsed as his 1,000-watt bass box boomed out in his Fiat Panda.

2006 The Times ran a story on the demands of rock stars when on tour. Ozzy Osbourne insists on an eye, ear, nose and throat doctor at each venue. The Beach Boys require a licensed masseur, Meat Loaf a mask and one small tank of oxygen. David Bowie requests that the dressing room temperature is between 14c and 18c and Paul McCartney must have a large arrangement of white Casablanca lilies in his dressing room. Mick Jagger must have an onstage autocue with the lyrics to all the songs, it would also tell him the name of the city in which they were performing.

And the music goes on
beating to the rhythm of the changing times...  

September is...

...the beginning of Autumn, a time of change! A welcomed break from the sweltering temperatures of summer, a look ahead to landscapes erupting in riotous colorshow magnificent! With a new month comes occasions for celebration, so let's take a peek at what is at the top of the list for the entire month of September. What better start than to begin with music. Not just any music but tunes that date as far back as the 11th century that are still played in the 21st century. Then, make a music connection with each celebration.

Classical music may be at the bottom of your playlist but why not move it to the top during Classical Music Month? There is a huge possibility you know a lot more classical tunes than you think. Do you like the movies? More and more classical pieces are indeed intricate parts of their soundtracks. Even television programs and commercials have researched artistic masterpieces for marketing and advertising. You may or may not recognize the titles but perhaps the melodies ring a bell. Here is a sample...

According to Wikipedia, the term Hispanic is used to denote a link to Spain, whether it is a culture or a group of people. This is why the people of the countries and islands who were once ruled by Spain are labeled Hispanic today. As these geographical locations encompass a large variety of customs, traditions, cuisines, and music/art forms, the Hispanic community is a diverse group which cannot be limited to a stereotype. During National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15), celebrations are in order for the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society. 

Put away the straw hats worn while gardening and the beach hats topping the head for protection from the summer sun. Jazz up your fall wardrobe with a stylish hat. Both men and women wear hats and hats have been a part of our history for centuries. A hat is a headcovering that may be worn for protection against the elements, for religious reasons, for safety, or as a fashion accessory. In the past, hats were an indicator of social status. In the military, they denote rank and regiment. There are hats for men and hats for women, as well as hats worn by both sexes. Purveyors of men's hats are called hatters and purveyors of women's hats are called milliners. If you like, go cr-r-r-razy during Fall Hat Month.

The square dance is uniquely American. So American, almost 50% of the United States (24 to be exact) have designated the square dance as their state (folk) dance (click HERE). However, the format, many of the folk dances movements, and the terminology incorporated into the square dance were brought by early immigrantsEnglish, Irish and Scottish settlersfrom other countries to the United States. Celebrate International Square Dancing Month by participating along with a local square dancing club or host a square dance of your own. It's a great way to get some exercise while having fun at the same time!

We may be at the end of the summer season with temps beginning to drop (hopefully) but there are still some warm (even hot) days ahead. Of course, summer treats are not just for summer. Most are enjoyed year around with the Popsicle being one of them. The flavorful explosion of sweet blueberries at the end of summer has never tasted better. Include these in your next frozen treat experiment and you'll be a card-carrying member of the blue tongue society. Step back in time and celebrate National Blueberry Popsicle Month while listening to Jan & Dean's 'Popsicle'...

National Piano Month
The piano has been instrumental in many different genres of music with musicians 'tickling the ivories' for centuries. For National Piano Month, celebrate an instrument that continues to be classical, contemporary and flexible at the same time; an instrument that contributed enormously to the development of music as we know it, and continues to play a key role in modern music. It is enjoyed by young and old...there is no age limit when it comes to the piano!

Let's Talk Chicken! Did you know there are more chickens than any other domesticated bird on Earth? With that thought in mind, it is so far down the list of endangered species there is no need to worry about running low or heaven forbid OUT of Southern fried chicken! For National Chicken Month, options are endless as to how to enjoy chicken: casseroled, crocked, crusted, baked, BBQed, boiled braised, broiled, fingered, fricasseed, fried, grilled, nuggeted, pied, roasted, rotisseried, rubbed, saladed, sandwiched, sauced, sauteed, seared, smoked, stir-fried, stuffed, just about any way you like it. I fact, you can eat chicken every day for the month and never eat the same recipe twice. While dining on one of your favorite chicken recipes, enjoy one of many popular songs with chicken in the title!
Ah-h-h-h, September, so much to celebrate, especially the sweetest gift of naturehoney, of course! This one, simple ingredient is all-natural, delicious and so-o-o-o versatile. The National Honey Board (NHB) has always recognized the importance of honey bees and the benefits of honey. From the kitchen pantry to the bathroom vanity and beyond, honey plays a valuable role in our everyday lives. Did you know to make one pound of honey, a honeybee needs to tap 2 million blossoms? Now, that's what I call a 'worker'! Have a Honey Chipper Day but this time every day for the entire month.

Celebrate a healthy start every morning during the month of September. If you are not a breakfast eater, this is the month to change your habits. Jump start your metabolism, feel better and stay healthy. The benefits of eating breakfast are well worth the effort. As with any food be sure to include the right foods on the menu. Choose foods that contribute fiber, protein and healthy fats. Did you know breakfast should make up one-fourth to one-third of daily caloric needs? Just don't overdo with the sweets. Eat better during Better Breakfast Month!
Whew! That is a lot of celebration...and, to think that is not all being celebrated but all for now! Enjoy September!

This is classical...this is piano!