Down The Stairs

Yesterday morning early, I glanced at a report in Time Magazine, about a young woman in New York City.  She was carrying a baby stroller, with her baby in it, down the stairs of the subway station.  The mother was found dead, after impact.  Fortunately, the baby was O.K.  It wasn’t certain if the mother died from a preexisting condition, or from the fall. The article said that it is not uncommon for people to carry their baby in a stroller down the stairs at the subway station, and that others will often help, but not always. In this case, it wasn’t clear if anyone had offered a hand, or not. When I began my day with this story, I was struck by an incredible feeling of sadness, for this woman, and I don’t even know her. They quoted her brother to say ‘she was a wonderful mother’.

John Donne wrote in his poem, “No Man is an Island”;

Every man’s death diminishes me.

I felt diminished, by the news of this young woman’s death.



Run, whenever, and as fast as you can.

We’re all in a hurry, and want to get things done.  Completing tasks that lead to an accomplishment, is a challenge in itself.  So many parts go into a final project.  One detail of that project might be a source of inspiration.  We may be able to envision the final product, but getting there is key.  This young man, climbing the hill of the ‘Philosopher’s Way’ will be enlightened when he reaches the top, as his lungs fill with air, and the crisp autumn surroundings envelop his form.  He comes from the Ancient People, like all of us.  If we’d only come to realize…


“Babbitt” is an important book in American Literature.  It mirrors a pivotal time in the history of a country that is less than 150 years old. I agree with an article I recently read that said ‘Goodreads had it all wrong when they gave “Babbitt” an undeserving low score.’ This author, whom I will have to go back and find, said that “Babbitt” is an hilarious book. True enough, but the humor is derived from a dark, satirical critique of society, which is mimicked throughout the 20th century, and now, into the 21st.

Through “Babbitt,” we see in its main character, the result of the reversal of two American political parties; Republicans and Democrats. The story takes place, in 1920, only 55 years after the party of Abe Lincoln, (kind of) freed the slaves, built the Railroad to the Wild West, and started the Homestead Act that allowed new immigrants to find a future for themselves, and their families. Business, at the end of the 19th century, in history, needed the government to get on their feet, and help them build an infrastructure. The Republican party liberally supported these small business people, but once businesses became bigger and stronger, they no longer wanted government snooping around. As a result, the Republican party, needing the support of conservative business to maintain their base, became a conservative party, and gradually began to embrace members that advocated for business enterprise. The Republicans began to undervalue the need to have social programs for the more fragile, and struggling citizens, e.g. immigrants, marginalized citizens, like African (ex-slaves, sharecroppers), and Native Americans, many of Spanish and mixed descent. By 1930, with the election of FDR, the Democrats, the party of the South completely reversed from conservative, into the liberal court, advocating for reforms, and the Republicans, in turn, became the party of ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps’. Today, we still see members of both parties flip-flopping amongst themselves. Bob Dole, for example, a few years ago reminded the American people ‘to not forget that the Republican party was the party of Abe Lincoln’. There are many Democrat’s who espouse liberalism, yet, when it comes to real voting, go the conservative way, which promotes the White Anglo-Saxon status quo. One could argue that the diversity of thought, within, and across party lines, is crucial to the need for a two party system. A citizen of left leaning thought would object to the white ego-centrism of both parties.

Back to “Babbitt”; its main character ‘Babbitt’ is an incarnation of the completed evolution of the extreme conservative Republican businessman, who by 1920 advocated for big business enterprise, and the acquisition of personal wealth, at the expense of the more feeble citizens, of society. Babbitt, uses false advertising, shrewdly teasing poor people into buying his real estate over its true value, and in the process, materialistically enriches himself. His purpose – to increase, and perpetuate, indefinitely his wealthy status, and image. Babbitt lacks individuality, sees only glitz, loathes Bolsheviks, for bringing down the wealthy Czars, and undervalues human beings that express themselves artistically. Sinclair Lewis with brilliant literary wit, satirically, and allegorically, created ‘Babbitt’, who hauntingly lives today, in the reality of the 21st century.

Note: Sinclair Lewis, a perceptive author, with a keen ability to write in the American English style was born, February 7, 1885. Interestingly, he was a Midwesterner, born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, but attended Yale University. He died near Rome, Italy, was buried in his hometown, and became the first American author to get the Nobel Prize, in 1930.



A New Book

I’ve begun a new book. It’s called “Babbitt”, written by Sinclair Lewis in 1922. Takes place in 1920, in a fictitious town in Indiana called, Zenith.  The main character, Babbitt, a realtor, lives in a new dutch colonial, in a prim and proper neighborhood, with his unhappy wife and strange egotistical children.   1920 seems so long ago, but in reality it is only 3 years before my mom was born, so at least it brings the story into my realm of being.

The story line is familiar. Change the props, and it could be told in the 1950’s or ’60’s. It kills me when in the story, the son of Babbitt insists he must have the car for the evening.  This is a young man who, as father reminds him, can’t even pass his Latin exam, but wants everything dished out on a silver platter.  Who would expect such a request in the 1920’s?

“Babbitt” is a novel about the American Dream, and how one man believes primarily in himself, to the exclusion of others.  A quintessential narcissist, he is in charge of making the American Dream come true in his own image and likeness, and based on how it serves him and his happiness, best. He knows not that every one has dreams, of their own, and in fact he doesn’t care that all people have dreams. He knows nothing about culture, but is concerned only with that which lines his own pockets with gold.

Look at Everything

When life presented challenges to Frances Nolan, the main character in a “Tree Grows in Brooklyn”, she would often recall what her granma Mary Rommely would say:

To look at everything as if you were seeing it for the first, and last time.  Thus is your time on earth filled with glory.

“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” takes place over a 100 years ago beginning with 1912, to about 1917.  The beauty of this book is that it is written in heightened realism. The attention to detail, of how character is defined by a sense of place, and their living conditions, brings to light the struggles a poor family had to overcome. This is especially true for Francie, who lost her beloved drunken singing Irish father, when he was only 34 years of age. After her father’s death, Francie forfeited her high school education to work and help her mother, while her younger brother Neely, got to go to high school.  They could only afford for one to go.  Katie, the mother, who wanted her son to be a doctor, reasoned with her daughter Francie that if she went to high school, and Neely didn’t, he would never go, but she knew her daughter would pursue her education somehow, and that Francie did.  Francie never stopped fighting, to get an education.  She worked right out of junior high school to help her mother sustain the family, and got herself into night and summer school, until eventually, she ended up going to college at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  The book, highly autobiographical, was written by Betty Smith, in 1943.

Dear January

Why do you fly by so fast? I’m still inventing my resolutions, as each bad habit I practice tells me that if I procrastinate today, I will do so, as well, tomorrow, and the year will be gone. Grand month, of January, I follow your spirit as you bridge the astrological signs of Capricorn and Aquarius, bring in new hopes, and the coldest days of the year. The birth of numerous creative persons, happened in your time.

On the 17th of 1706, Benjamin Franklin, was born. A famous beloved man world-wide, in France, in Philadelphia, in England, and across the land, inventor of electricity, and lover of flying kites, author of “Poor Richard’s Almanac”, and drinker of only water; Franklin was an optimistic man. He supported, and signed The Declaration of Independence, in 1776.

Contemporary with Franklin, Jacob, the elder of the two Brother’s Grimm was born, on the 4th, of your month, in 1785. A collector, and recorder of fairytales, his legacy lives on today in the minds of children, and elders, everywhere.

On the 10th, in the year of the Great War, of 1917, the new frontier lost a hero of the Pony Express. The one, and only, Buffalo Bill died. He got his nick-name for killing 4820 buffalo, to feed the workers building the railroad, the gateway the Wild West. Known as Colonel Cody, when he scouted for Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, once served his purpose, he opened and ran a circus, called “Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show”.

The 12th of 1628, a second writer of fairy tales was christened, in France. Charles Perrault, author of “Bluebeard”, “Tom Thumb”, and “Puss-in-Boots”, he wrote the most beloved rhymes ever read; “Mother Goose”.

If this isn’t enough claim to fame, there was born another teller of tales on the 27th, of 1832. The story of “Alice, in Wonderland” came to be, with its creator, so bright, and imaginative; Lewis Carrol.

January, your gifts are many, and blessed, for St. Hilary, St. Paul, and St. Agnes, are celebrated within your days, too.

With all these inspiring souls, if I am not content with my own accomplishments all I need to do is remember words of hope, “Poor Richard” left behind;

“Hide not your Talents, They for use were made; What’s a sundial in the shade?”

Thanks January, month of the Saxon Wolf, for all you gave.

Yours truly,

Tiffany Creek


The first month of the year, called Wolf-Month, by the Anglo-Saxons, doesn’t bow out quietly. Snow, rain, ice, and subzero temperatures arrive to New England. The Wolf-Moon donned yesterday’s evening sky, and cast long, dark shadows across the white crusty snow, once the clouds blew away. Many viewed a lunar eclipse, across the land. Weeks and weeks of cold, but mild weather, and very little atmospheric drama is now another reality. The wind blows hard, and Nature is encased in glistening ice. I can’t see, or hear a bird, of any kind. The tall trees sway, and crackle in the blue morning sky, as if they will break in two, any second. It’s time to live in the moment, when you can, but beware of a wolf, or two.


Month of Janus, according to the Romans, opener of the new year, and guardian of the gates of heaven. Janus, an early deity had two faces, one that looked ahead to the future, and the other to the past. He built the temple of Janiculum, on the Janiculus, a hill on the other side of the Tiber, a temple whose doors were opened in times of war, and closed during peace. When the king refused to open them, in a time of conflict, the goddess Juno, wife of Saturn, and Queen of the gods, and the spirit of all women, descended from the sky, and forcefully opened them herself, upon which the city of Rome was engulfed in flames. What can all this mean? I wish I knew, but the Romans were not lacking in a dramatic tale, or two, intertwining the gods’ and goddesses’, loves, hopes, desire and pursuits, reflective of human nature, not always understood in modern times, no matter what month of the year.