Thank you friends for taking the time to look at my blog. Since I am on vacation visiting my mother in the Upper Midwest, I thought I would spend the day thinking about happiness and unhappiness. Not much else to do in this tiny town. Anyway, I’ve decided I am a pretty happy person, and if anything rubs me the wrong way, well, I usually get over it pretty fast. Clearly, life is too short to muddle our minds with unhappiness.
So in the sweltering heat, in Gotham City, where Solitude is taken for granted, I continued to read and edit my dad’s World War II diary in its digital form. We managed to help my mom find the originals, which after rummaging around in closets and cabinets, were neatly hidden under her bed. My brother and I decided they need to be made accessible to the public, but we thought, before sending them off to some museum or having them digitally processed by the Veteran’s Project, that we should scan them ourselves. Well, this shall be a daunting task, because found in the box were five volumes, and four or five little notepads. The small notepads he filled while he was crossing Belgium and Germany, digging trenches and wading through snow up to his waist, between the months of January and April of 1945. Such is warfare! I often try to imagine him in the midst of bombs exploding overhead and the bullets whistling by, close to grazing his helmut, what it must have been like and how he actually survived this horrible war. He never spoke about the his activities much in daily life. Once my son, Francisco asked, “Grandpa, what did you do in the war?” He replied, “I ducked a lot.” Of course, we laughed knowing it wasn’t a laughing matter at the time. With this in mind, Richard P. Rivard’s (better known as Yochen) diary is a testimony to his days in the war, and a relic to be treasured.
Another thing I accomplished in the day was to take photographs of my mother’s art. An art teacher before retiring, she produced many beautiful things throughout her career and instilled in me a great appreciation for all the Arts.
Oh! Before signing off, there is one more thing. Getting back to what Ivan Ivanich said about having reason and purpose. Well, I just want to say that I am writing this to express my gratitude to my parents for the wonderful life they have given to me.
So, thank you, to the two wonderful people notoriously known as Bona and Yochen, or my mom and dad! Thank you for teaching me how to be a happy person.
The quote, “Money, like vodka, makes a man eccentric.”, appearing in the story “Gooseberries”, by Anton Chekhov, inspired me to start this blog. “Gooseberries” has many themes, all of which reflect the problems of the 21st century; rich vs. poor, educated vs. uneducated, city vs. country and happiness vs. unhappiness. Like the 21st century, “Gooseberries” is about the cost of the pursuit of happiness for society. Ivan Ivanich, the main character, in his frustration over his brother’s dream to become a wealthy landowner, grow gooseberries and have servants, says; “those who are happy can only enjoy themselves because the unhappy bear their burdens in silence, and but for this silence happiness would be impossible.” Sound familiar? He continues; “There ought to be a man with a hammer behind the door of every happy man, to remind him by his constant knocks that there are unhappy people.” Finally he concludes as he points to the younger Alekhin; “There is no such thing as happiness, nor ought there to be, but if there is any sense of purpose in life, this sense and purpose are to be found not in our own happiness, but in something greater and more rational. Do good!”
With that in mind I plan to ‘do good’ by this blog. I will post on my varied interests, such as Photography, Art, Literature, History, Culture and even some personal and fun matters, from time to time. As Ivan suggests they will have a purpose and reason, and if they cause happiness, unhappiness or non-happiness, so be it! Welcome to my blog! Oh, and by the way; I highly recommend Anton Chekhov’s Short Stories.