Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 20, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
Margaret Luckhurst Spring trials of a light house-keeper rTHE OTHER day I told my neighbor I couldn't go to a fashion show with her because I was about to begin my spiring cleaning. "My aren't you the ambitious one," she said admiringly "that's what getting out into the workaday world has done lor you, you've become ever so much better organized! I wonder if I too, should join the laborforce." "Hold it," I admonished wearily, "It's last year's spring cleaning I'm talking about-I haven't even got that done yet, let alone last fall's. So I'm not one whit better organized than I've ever been." I realized I was a couple of seasons behind in housecleaning when, after that false spring a couple of weeks ago, I found we couldn't see objects outdoors clearly because the windows were so dirty. "It makes me feel better to see so many dirty cars going by," my husband said as he glanced out our living-room window, "every car seems to need an hour or two at the car wash, just as ours does." "Oh I don't know," I remarked gloomily, "I think if you look closely you'll see the dirt is nearer than you think, like maybe on our windows." He immediately changed the subject, which verified my suspicions about the windows, as he no doubt thought I'd launch into a window-cleaning project, which he thoroughly detests. Last time he volunteered for the job, which he claimed was both scientific and revolutionary, he bad simply turned the garden hose on full blast on all the windows. The dirt poured off all right, in great smeary streaks, but water leaked through two bedroom window-sills reducing the plaster to soggy, smelly paste. It had cost $25 for repairs. I think my disenchantment with bi-annual housecleaning projects stems from my youth when my mother carried out her cleaning campaigns with all the drive of a sergeant on the battle-field. The whole family was conscripted into the ranks, with the exception of father who had long since received his honorable discharge from active duty. The enemy was dirt, and our: weapons were brooms, mops, pails and bottles and jars of cleaning agents. Mother, who usually had a pleasant disposition, became militant and overbearing for the duration of the engagement, and until the enemy was defeated. We kids would hustle back and forth in the trenches of piled furniture, and any slackness or whispered suggestion of nipping AWOL was likely to be met with a slap of a dishtowel on the back of our legs. We did not have the equipment for cleaning which makes today's housework seem like a breeze. No one had vacuum cleaners so rugs were hauled out and draped over the clothesline where great clouds of dust were beaten out of them with flat rug-beaters which I'm sure can't be found in museums today. There were no instant - shine waxes or polishes either, and the high shine on floors and furniture was the result of the application of plenty of elbow grease and industry. The whole house was gone over from top to bottom, cup- boards were turned out and things no longer useful for us packed into "mission boxes" which were delivered to the Ladies Aid who forwarded them to appropriate outposts in some remote part of the world. There were times when mother's generosity gave rise to question, as when she consigned water jugs, basins and jerries bequeathed earlier by her mother, to a box clearly marked "for our mission in Africa." My sister objected. "They won't know what to do with any of those things she said, "in the first place the natives wash in the river, and in the second they don't have beds to slide those pots under." "The missionaries will find them useful though," mother replied serenely, "any one of them would be dandy to plant geraniums in - that gives a little touch of home." Good-hearted though mother's intentions were I have always entertained a minor suspicion that her .dubious donations, when multiplied in many households across the land, probably did a lot to direct the whole mission program into the precarious position it is in today. The whole housecleaning operation took the better part of a week, and when it was all over, mother would relax with a look of triumph in her eyes, the troops were called off and the enemy laid low - temporarily. Spring of course was the major campaign, but in the fall when the harvest was over, there were light. skirmishes, relatively minor by comparison, but necessary to keep the enemy at bay over the winter. There are some things we might look back on in the good old days with real sentiment, but one of these, for housewives at any rate, is not housekeeping methods. Indeed, each time I set out to de-moth cupboards or wash my drip-dry curtains I praise progress for all the wonderful appliances we now have. As a matter of fact, we don't need to gang-up on the cleaning the way our mothers did because the efficiency of mod-. em equipment makes it possible for us to do a pretty good job week in, week out. But there are pitfalls in this method too. Because of my ~ reliable aids, I find it easy to keep putting things off. Then I'm forced into washing mitts and scarves in August when they should have been done in May. I also have a nasty habit of kidding myself out of dusting simply by lowering the shades and removing my glasses; everything looks quite neat and tidy then. About once a year I turn out my mending basket, and my husband and I go through the regular old dialogue: He: What are you doing with that pile of socks and shirts? Me: The socks need mending and the shirts need buttons - so I'm making up a box for the church ladies, they patch everything up. He: Why don't you patch everything up? Me: Because if I did, you'd have to wear them all again, and you know, and I know you don't want to do that!" During my annual cleaning I usually take the opportunity of moving the furniture around, because after all, doesn't a room get boring with everything in the same place all the time? My husband dislikes changes however and always goes into a big hoo-haw over it. "What's the organ doing under the window?" he asked recently after a major reshuffle. "I pushed it there." "By yourself?" "Sure." "For a girl who constantly complains of tired blood, there are times when I'm convinced you could go a couple of rounds with All end come out all right! And what is my chair doing way over there?" "ft looks nice: there." "Maybe, but there's no plug near it for my lamp." "That's okay, I've got it linked to an extehtion that runs around the dining table, under the hi-fi, under the rug at that end of the room, and plugs into the outlet in the hall." "Well, now that you've bad your spring fling, let's get everything back to their original place before the fire department comes around and plunks a condemned sign on the front door." Husbands, like spring cleaning, sometimes can be an awful drag. But anyway, I've got last year's spring cleaning done. Now I've got to figure out a way to catch up on this year's. Or maybe it would be better if I just started on fall's, in that way I may even get ahead of the game. Or would I? The spring sentinel -Photo by Walter K�rb�r Book reviews Man must live without boundaries "Boundaries: Psychological Man in Revolution" by Robert Jay Lifton (Random House of Canada Ltd., 113 pages, $6.95). rpHE WORLD is falling apart for almost everyone: the time when men could live within clear-cut boundaries has passed. How this came about and the way men respond to Anyone for baseball? "Ball Four" by Jim Bouton, edited by Leonard Shec-ter (Dell Publishing Co. Inc., 371 pages, $1.25). T>ALL FOUR" has to be the funniest, most brutally honest book ever written about the great American pastime of baseball. My first reaction to the book was one of disgust. I felt baseball and its stars were special and should not be maligned or made light of. "Baseball players are far from being the best conditioned athletes in the world." Upon reading the history of Jim Bouton's career in baseball (in particular the 1969 season), my attitude changed. Why not tell the truth about baseball and its players? After all they are sold to us as idols; men to look up to. If it's not so, if these men are not all they're made out to be, some one should say so. And that's what Bouton has done. "On the other hand there were those times when he'd push little kids aside when they wanted his autograph, and the times he was snotty to reporters, just about making them crawl and beg for a minute of his time." - Bouton on Mickey Mantle. One would be well-advised not to let the kids get at the book. That is, of course, unless they are fully versed in the language and morals of the day. The book is written as a day-to-day diary of the 1969 season and of Bouton's thoughts and actions during that year. Bouton puts his emotions on public display. He s h o w s his disgust with baseball's pettiness; he writes warmly of his love for his family; his humor bubbles forth throughout the book; he shows anger, fear, hate, mistrust and forgivenes. The book is a complete look at Jim Bouton. "Greenies are pep pills - dextroamphetamine sulphate - and a lot of baseball players couldn't function without them." Bouton, a former 21-ganie and 18-g a m e winner with the New York Yankees, was beset with arm trouble and set out to develop a new pitch, the knuckleball. He shuffled through the minor leagues, struggling to regain his winning ways and eventually worked his way back with the new expansion club, the Seattle Pilots in the American League in 1969. Coaches, managers, players and front office people all fall prey to Bouton's often acid-dipped pen. "Hey Jim, how do you pitch to Frank Robinson?" I told him the truth, "Reluctantly," I said." Racial discrimination is still very real in baseball. Some teams are better than others, but in many cases there is still a lot of resentment towards the colored ball players. Bouton himself doesn't seem to worry about race, but takes people at face value. In fact he even goes so far as to defend an umpire - Emmett Ashford the Negro official. He also points out some of the abuse Ashford takes because of his color. "They feel he doesn't belong in the big leagues with his way of umpiring. Besides, he's a Negro and they believe he's just there because of that. It must be terrible for Ashford." The book has been called a disservice to baseball. Some feel the apparent free use of drugs by many players should be kept secret. Others think the personal life of a player is his own. Bouton loves baseball. The excitement of playing, the humor, the thrill of doing well mean a great deal to him. One gets the impression he would have loved it even more if it weren't for coaches and managers. "All a pitcher has is his arm. One small hurt and it's all gone. Like a tiddly-winks champion with a hangnail." Almost everyone likes baseball and it's possible many of these fans will love "Ball Four". Even if baseball is not your bag, "Ball Four" will be one of your favorite books. "There was a notice on the bullpen board asking, guys to sign up to have their cars driven to Seattle. The drivers are college students. I think I'd prefer Bonnie and Clyde." GARRY ALLISON. the new situation is the substance of this little book consisting of the five talks Dr. Robert Jay Lifton gave on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation network two years ago. Man has always had to face death but never before has he had to contend with the possibility that all life may be annihilated, deliberately or accidentally, through the exercise of scientific and technical powers. There is a sense, says Lifton, in which we are all survivors of Hiroshima, involved in struggles to find significance and meaning. Tracing the unsettled condition of most men to the nuclear threat is not a new thing. But Dr. Lifton's analysis of how the threat has destroyed the hope of immortality is rather different. He speculates on the possibility that "some of our present fascination with outer space ... has to do with our doubts about biological immortality on earth" and the hope of discovering new life elsewhere. A new kind of man has emerged everywhere as a result of the shattering of the boundaries. This is Protean man who is flexible and malleable. He does not commit himself lastingly to ideologies or theologies: and opts for experimentation instead. There may be some who would prefer to describe this man as the other-directed personality who has always been around. It doesn't matter what he is called; the new fact is that Protean man inhabits us all. About the closest Hung to commitment to be found in this universal man is rejection of the discredited past. Mockery is the typical style of the new man. A long chapter on revolutionary China failed to convince me. I don't recognize Protean man in China very readily. And I think Dr. Lifton may be reading too much into the slogan, "May the revolutionary regime stay red for ten thou-sand generations," when he sees it as a grasping for immortality. These essays seem to summarize some of Dr. Lifton's previous work. At certain spots, at any rate, I felt I was on familiar ground - (hat of his book, History and Human Survival (reviewed in The Herald, August 8, 1970). Dr. Lifton is a professor of psychiatry at Yale who applies psychological methods to the study of history. DOUG WALKER. Books in brief "Inside SummerhUl" by Joshua Popenoe (Hart, 112 pages, S2.75, distributed by George J. McLeod Ltd.). C UMMERHILL . . . the � "free" school run by A. S. Nell in England, is looked at here by a 16-year-old boy who has just spent four years as a student there. What this boy writes will not dampen the enthusiasm which advocates of the school have. It is written with candor and charm. The quality of the writing speaks well for the school. Nearly half the pages of the book are devoted to photographs taken by the author. * "November" by Georges Simenon (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 185 pages. $6.75, distributed by Longman Canada Ltd.). INDEFATIGABLE writer Georges Simenon, who has produced over five hundred novels and mysteries, has' written another dandy. It is amazing how he can keep coming up with new plots. This one is about a family of four who live virtually incommunicado in a house outside Paris. The raconteur is the daughter who works in a hospital lab and is the lover of the chief. Her brother and her father both get involved with the maid. The mother, an alcoholic, arouses the sympathy of the daughter in a bizarre way - to be left for the reader to discover. Focus on the University - By J. W. FISHBOURNI An unholy office I HAVE long believed that every institution of any importance has an obligation to examine what it is doing from time to time. If one can infer from the amount of money we spend on it-and what else do we regard as important? -that the public views education as having some importance, there would seem to be some justification for the plethora of boards, commissions, and other agencies that study and inquire and generally root around in the morass that our educational system has become. I would like to propose an additional agency, but one with a difference; this one would not exist for the purpose of "proving" that whatever we are doing at the moment needs no more than some minor tinkering to retain its proud position of Best in the Universe. My suggestion is that we establish at each university, an Unholy Office, presided over by a full professor of Heterodoxy. This resident heretic would have easy and frequent access to the president and all other power figures. He would go to board meetings, sit with councils, attend committees and generally be present whenever decisions were being made. (An unusually hardy individual, it goes without saying) he would have the right to require an answer to his questions, which generally would be variations on the simple theme "Why?" His simple charge would be to sniff out instances of the commission of the three cardinal sins of the educational system, orthodoxy, bureaucracy and administrative convenience. (I would like to add to his mission the right to identify and attack instances of sophistry and casuistry, and the substitution of rhetoric for reason, but obviously one man-or twenty-could not possibly cope with that in any modern educational Institution.) He would have to operate in a manner somewhat similar to that of an ombudsman, with comparable rights to access to information. He would issue reports, not edited by anyone, direct to the public. < Qualifications for appointment as a Heretic in Residence would be rather special, and candidates might be difficult to find. He would have to be more honest that not. ("tho, a completely honest man simply could not cope with the job.) He would have to have an inquiring mind, but one that was not too highly trained; we have not yet learned to train without brainwashing. He would have to have much love for human values, but little for human beings. And, of course, he would have great stamina. In short, the sort of man that might be picked by a selection committee comprising modern equivalents of Digenes, Mahatma Gbandi and Attila the Hun. This obvious shortage of suitable candidates would restrict the installation of resident heretics to universities, at least in the first instance. In time, it would be hoped, enough candidates could be found or developed to staff the colleges, and eventually the high schools. But in the meantime, let us employ theiri where they are needed most. There is a long-range future in this occupation, if anyone wishes to take it up. I cannot conceive of the job ever being finished. I suspect, too, that the field could be greatly expanded, and can visualize the Unholy Office extending to include divisions of Sacred Cows, Educational Myths and Academic Gobbledigook, to name only three obvious possibilities. There is work in those fields to keep many experts busy for years to come. When one talks of a new office, and especially of its possible expansion, one naturally must consider the matter of budget. That should be no particular problem, in this instance. I am sure that the Resident Heretic's salary and expenses, and those of the necessary staff, could easily be financed from a fund raised by levying fines for the commission of the sins which are his special charge. The fines would have to be very modest, though, to avoid bankrupting all our institutions of higher learning. The Voice Of One -By DR. FRANK S. MORLEY Can you hear children crying? IXN November 20, 1959, the UN passed a Declaration of the Rights of the Child. It stated that all children are entitled to relief and protection, a name and nationality, social security, education, opportunity for self-development, special treatment if handicapped, parental love and understanding, protection against exploitation, and a friendly world. What a mockery this is! In the next 12 hours the nations of the world will spend more on armaments than they do on needy children in a year. Over half the children of the world live in squalor and suffer malnutrition and 500 million of them will die without having tasted milk or visited a doctor. Thousands will die of starvation this year. Thousands go blind from improper diet. In many countries only half the new-born babes survive. In others only one in three will grow up. Ten million children have leprosy and only one in five is treated. A hundred million people have malaria. In India there is a death every minute from tuberculosis. Half a billion people suffer from trachoma. Half the children of the world can neither read nor write on reaching maturity. Half the children in developing countries, about 400 million, have no school to go to and no teacher to instruct them. In some countries half the children are covered by agonizing yaws and their screams of pain could be turned to laughter by 15 cents worth of penicillin. Jesus put a child in the midst and thus made a child the judgment of a civilization. "Inasmuch as you have done it unto the least of these! Beware that you despise not one of these little ones!" Judged by such a standard Canada and the U.S. do not rate too well. Ghastly slum conditions exist in the cities. Unemployment destroys families. Children inherit polluted air and water. Not until 1874 did a lawyer, Henry de Bergh, initiate a movement to protect children from cruelty by pleading that a little girl, Mary Ellen, was an animal and therefore had a right to protection from the law prohibiting cruelty to animals. In the United Kingdom legislation protecting children from cruelty did not come into existence until this century. The world is a dreadful place for children. A soldier explained the shooting of children in the villages of Vietnam by the statement that, since the mothers were shot, there would be no one left to care for the children and they would only die anyway. Thank God not all are merciless fiends. Countless thousands, gripped by the compassion of God, give their time and talents to feed, teach, and heal needy children. It is a world-wide compassion and history has never seen anything like it. The magnificent work of UNICEF won the organization the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965. But thousands of others have labored sacrificially without glamorous recognition. The Canadian Save the Children Fund, for example, this year celebrates its fiftieth anniversary of an astonishing variety of aid. Their "CanSave" program sends a stream of mercy to multitudes. They gave emergency relief to countries like Peru, Rumania, and Yugoslavia, gave food and planted gardens in drought - stricken Lesotho, sent aid to the refugees in the Middle East, built a convalescent centre for war-wounded children in Vietnam, and their sponsor-a-child program cares for thousands of children and their families in 26countries. In Jamaica "CanSave" is planning to build and staff a Model Basic School costing $100,000. Already "Can-Save" has in Jamaica an excellent agricultural and vocational training program in animal husbandry, crop production, and marketing, along with education and medical programs. There are many other programs in response to the Man who declared two thousand years ago that his mission in the world was to heal the sick, to deliver the captives, to give sight to the blind, and hope to all men. What better Lenten gift or discipline, therefore, could any man or woman give than to practice "The Unseen Guest" at mealtimes, contributing the cost of the meal to feed a hungry child? In the words of Longfellow: "Therefore accomplish the labor of lov* Till they heart is made God-like, Purified, strengthened, perfected, And rendered more worthy of heaven." Anything but that! By Doug Walker 'T'HE grade sixers at Gilbert Paterson school recently engaged in a game designed to teach them something about the world of commerce. They were to try to increase their money by engaging in business, dealing in property, and that sort of thing. Paul seemed to be a little bewildered by the game. He didn't have much idea of how to go about accumulating money - he has bees deprived of parental example. It behooved us to try to help the lad with a few suggestions. The idea the rest of the family liked best was that Paul should take note of which girl had the most money and then propose marriage. Marrying into money is a strategy employed in the big leagues, we pointed out of Paul, but not one that his pals would be likely to hit upon. Paul's blanching only ceased when the game was concluded a few days later.