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Kindness Exist

by Buffy Basile

Winston Churchill said, "We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
  Have you ever been on a bus or subway and witnessed someone offer their seat to an elderly person? The thoughtful person feels noble, the elderly person radiates gratitude, and the spectators are cheering inside from witnessing a simple act of kindness. Turns out, the effects of those experiences aren't just psychological.
  Clinical studies into the science of generosity reveals that performing a good deed even has physiologicalbenefits — for the giver AND the recipient. Naturally, we don't behave in benevolent ways to benefit from our actions...but the side effects are wonderful.
  David R. Hamilton, Ph.D., is a chemist who introduced scientific results proving that performing a kind act releases oxytocin, the same brain chemical that surges when you hold your baby or snuggle a pet. Which also temporarily lowers blood pressure. Kindness is literally good for your heart.
  The importance of kindness is all around us and more important than ever. A father in Chicago created a blog:  performing an act of kindness every day, (366randomacts.org), to set a good example for his daughter.  Sometimes it's as simple as cleaning the house, which made his wife shed tears.
  There is a woman who rings strangers' doorbells and leaves sunflowers. (kindnessgirl.com); she scrolls first-day-of-school sidewalk messages that say, "Don't be shy, we're all new friends!"  Look closely and you'll see the generosity of everyday people everywhere. Dismiss the negativity.
Buffy is the Wellness Director at the Eastern Lycoming YMCA.

The Bookworm Sez 

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

“The Lives of Chang & Eng: Siam’s Twins in Nineteenth-Century America”
by Joseph Andrew Orser
c.2014, University of North Carolina Press
$28.00 / $35.00 Canada
259 pages

Two peas in a pod.
  That’s how you and your favorite sibling were often described. Where there was one of you, the other wasn’t far away. You shared a room, clothing, secrets and, even now, you’re still each others’ best friend.
Truth be known, though, there were times when you really needed a break from one another.  Now imagine that you couldn’t – and read “The Lives of Chang & Eng” by Joseph Andrew Orser.
  Born in Siam in 1811 and conjoined at the chest by a flexible band of flesh, Chang & Eng Bunker were brought to the limelight by an enterprising British merchant who spotted them and thought he’d seen a “monster.” When he realized they were boys, he bargained with their mother to allow Chang & Eng to “display their physical anomaly” throughout North America and Europe. The twins were just eighteen years old; her agreement became a point of contention later in their lives.
  Conjoined twins were not unknown in the mid-1800s, but they rarely lived very long. By the time Chang & Eng made it to American shores, however, they were healthy young adults and doctors clamored to examine them. It was observed that they shared a sense of taste through the chest band, as well as a reverse sense of touch. They also shared a belly button.
  But doctors weren’t the only ones fascinated with the twins: Chang & Eng were a 19th-century sensation. Attorneys debated about what the physical connection could mean in matters of law. Gossips tittered over intimate possibilities. But the biggest debate was over race – were the twins white, or non-white?  Were they Chinese or Siamese - an important question, since the Chinese endured racism but the U.S. was especially friendly with Siam. Had their mother sold them to the British merchant – and if so, were they slaves?
  That controversy dogged Chang & Eng throughout their lives. It was exacerbated when, pre-Civil War, they purchased land in North Carolina, married two white sisters, and became slaveholders themselves before their deaths, just hours apart, in early 1874.
  “The Lives of Chang & Eng” was rather dry for me, initially.
  There’s a heavy focus on 19th-century racial mores here, and while I understand how it made a difference in the story, I wanted author Joseph Andrew Orser to tell me more about the Bunker’s lives.
  On second look, I realized that that was there all along, but subtly.
  In the midst of recounting the social history of the time, Orser drops in those tiny facts that make a reader want to stay. We’re attracted, and quietly led to imagine what it must’ve been like to be a curiosity, to live so closely to one’s often-mercurial brother, and to face the serious illness and death of the one to whom you’re literally attached.
  I ended up liking “The Lives of Chang & Eng” quite a bit and, if you’re social historian or lover of the unusual, I think you will, too.  This story of two individual men is one fascinating book.

Duboistown Garden Club Holiday House 2014

For more than 50 years young and old eagerly await the holiday season. Again this year, the Duboistown Garden Club kicks off this wonderful season with their 51st annual Holiday House. The show will spotlight a large variety of holiday decorating ideas for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.
  The show will be held, as it has been for many years, in Pennington Lounge, just off Mulberry Street on the campus of Lycoming College November 21, 22 and 23.
The theme for this year’s show will be “The Colors of the Holidays.” Show chairperson Mrs. Edna Schooley said, “We’re working very hard this year to present show attendees with a change-of pace. The theme of our show will be carried out with many floral arrangements and Christmas trees.” More than a dozen Christmas trees with handcrafted ornaments will be displayed on Christmas Tree Lane, a popular feature of Holiday House. Four room settings will carry out the theme of the holidays. And Club members will display their decorating skills with table settings, wreaths, flower arrangements, fireplaces, and much more. Show attendees will be certain to garner fresh, new decorating ideas for the seasons. The Garden Market features a variety of handcrafted items made by Club members and available for purchase.
Serving with Mrs. Schooley on the Holiday House Committee are co-chair persons Mrs. Carolyn Cosentine and Mrs. Rosa Beattie; tea table-Mrs. Virginia Schuman, Mrs. Cynthia Belles; Christmas Tree Lane-Mrs. Joan Eastlake; center court display-Mrs. Deborah Robbins, Mrs. Susan Miller; door hostesses-Mrs. Schuman; miniatures-Mrs. Hilda Lupold; garden market-Mrs. Lee Bryan, Mrs. Bernadette Servey, Mrs. Kitty Hofer; placement-Mrs. Millie Brennan, Mrs. Joanne Reeder.
  Raffle items-Mrs. Beverly Stroble; Thanksgiving room setting-Mrs. Cosentine, Mrs. Servey, Mrs. Carol Bonner, Mrs. Darlene Stannert; Christmas room setting-Mrs. Rebecca Stark, Mrs. Stroble; New Years room setting-Mrs. Patricia Kaczmarek, Mrs. Diane Cramer, Mrs. Lisa Bock; basket room setting- Mrs. Carol LaRue, Mrs. Georgie Bower, Mrs. Rita Bower; Signs-Mrs. Joyce Schramm; publicity-Mr. Robert Schooley; outside decorations-Mrs. Joyce Wenner; place settings and card tables-Mrs.  LaRue; decorator tables-Mrs. Wenner; free standing doors-Mrs. Gladys Dapp; movers-Mrs. Rosalie Miller; registration-Mrs. Rita Lane; children’s trees-Mrs. Robbins.
  Donors and sponsors help the Club not only to stage this show, but also to support the Club’s many community beautification projects throughout the area. Sponsors this year are the home decorating firm Timeless Interiors and Valentine Express, a home and busness delivery service of FedEx.  Donors are Kressly’s Paint and Wallpaper, Gold Leaf Frame Shoppe, M & M Lawn Care and Shear Impressions.
Holiday House show hours are Friday and Saturday November 21 and 22 from 10 AM to 7 PM, and Sunday, November 23 from 10 AM to 5 PM. The famous Holiday House punch and home-baked Christmas cookies will be served. Donation is $4.

Scissor Skills Fall Tree Craft

This is a great craft to help reinforce cutting skills with the little ones! This craft doesn’t have so much cutting that it is off-putting to a child learning to use scissors and can easily be adapted to a child that is still at the “tiny snips” stage of cutting. The end result is a “pile” of construction paper leaves that your child can use to decorate their fall scene however they would like. This is a great fall craft for preschoolers.

What you'll need:
• Construction paper (green, brown, red, orange, yellow, blue)
• Glue stick
• Scissors
• Pencil
• Ruler

How to make your Fall Tree:
  Cut a tree shape out of brown construction paper and glue it to the blue piece of paper. There’s no template for this because it is another part of the craft that an older child could help create. Once you get the trunk glued down, the limbs are just long and short rectangular pieces of paper glued on.
  Cut a wavy, thick strip of green construction paper to be the grass.
  Use a ruler to draw two to three straight lines on the red, orange, yellow and brown construction paper. Ideally you want to create two ~ inch long strips. Have your child cut along the line to cut the strips out if they are able.
  Then have your child cut the strip into small squares. These will be your leaves.
  Use the glue stick to attach the leaves to your tree. Remember, it’s fall so the leaves can be on the ground, falling to the ground, or floating through the air above the tree!

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