If you’re happy, and you know it . . . Christmas is supposed to be the happiest time of the year, but not for everyone. I have three quotes from three famous people. I hope they help you find a little bit of happiness.
Quote #1 – There is in the worst of fortune the best chances for a happy change.
Who said it? Euripides! It came from one of his tragedies. Here’s a recording with a minute’s worth of information about him. Link: Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
If you’ve never heard of Euripides, I’m not surprised. He wrote tragedies about 2500 years ago. Would you believe only three writers from ancient Greece had their complete plays survive? I hadn’t heard of the other two either – Aeschylus or Sophocles. I think it’s amazing that a quote about happiness came from a writer who specialized in tragedies. Source: Euripides - Wikipedia
This is how I’d illustrate Euripides’ quote, the worst of fortune leading to a happy change. It might be raining on their parade, but these two are still having fun, together.
Have you ever had something special planned, and then something goes wrong? It doesn’t turn out the way you expected. You could be sad, or you could look for the silver lining. Sometimes the unexpected, leads to more than you ever imagined.
Quote #2 – The only way to be happy is to make others happy.
Who said it? William Carlos Williams. He was 20 when he wrote it in a letter to his mom. Back then he was a student at the University of Pennsylvania. Here’s a link to a minute-long recording about him. Link: Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
I’d never heard of William Carlos Williams. He was quite talented! He was a medical doctor, poet, novelist, essayist, and playwright. He may have been overshadowed by other writers, but he inspired the Beat generation of the 1950s and 60s. Who knew he lived a pretty normal life as a doctor for more than 40 years? Maybe that’s why his words still ring true to me!
Sources: William Carlos Williams | Poetry Foundation William Carlos Williams - Wikipedia
When I think about what William said, this is what I picture . . . SHARING. One of my firm beliefs is that when you give, you get. When you get, you give. They work together.
I’ve also heard that when you’re feeling down, look around. Look for something you can do for someone else. You’ll feel better, and so will they. I’d like to think that William Carlos Williams agrees with me too. How about you?
Quote #3 – Whoever is happy will make others happy too.
Who said it? Anne Frank. She’s unforgettable. She was forced to hide in an attic for 2 years during WWII. That’s when she wrote this sentence about happiness. Here’s a link to her recording. It’s about a minute long. Link: Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
This is Anne, back in July 1942. It was taken two months before her family went into hiding. Her father knew about some concealed rooms in his office building. They were hidden by a bookcase. The photo below is a cutaway of that building. If you go to Wikipedia, you can enlarge it and identify each room.
This model reminds me of a doll house, but this was no children’s game of hide and seek for the Franks. If they were caught, they’d be sent to a concentration camp.
Anne took the diary she’d gotten for her birthday into hiding. She wrote in it regularly until her family was arrested in August of 1944. They were sent to Auschwitz, one of the worst camps.
Anne and her sister, Margot, were separated from their parents in November of 1944. They were sent to Bergen-Belsen, another infamous camp. They died a few months later, sometime in late February or early March. No one knows for sure.
Anne’s father was the only one in the family who survived the war. Otto lost his wife, his daughters. When he returned to Amsterdam, he found his secretary Miep Gies. She’d helped them hide, and she saved Anne’s diary. Otto published it in 1947 because Anne wanted to be a writer. She succeeded! Her diary has been published in over 70 languages.
What Anne wrote about happiness is incredible. She was so young and so wise. She found happiness in writing, and I get to share it with you.
I found this photo when I tried to illustrate her words. Happiness is contagious. Can you imagine how it spread from the boy to the girl? I think the same thing happens when your favorite team wins a game. Their joy becomes yours.
Information Source: Anne Frank - Wikipedia
Photo Sources: 1. Her house: By Alexisrael - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31562690
2. Anne and Margot’s grave: By Arne List - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=184880
Part 1 – Talking Money – The Must-Have Conversation: This is a tough conversation . . . I had trouble writing my post last night for you. Talking money anytime is difficult, and doing it with your parents is even worse. If you’d like some advice, try this link. They have some ideas that might be helpful for you. Link: 6 Ways To Help Your Aging Parents With Their Investments | Bankrate
I was lucky . . . I didn’t have to initiate the talk. My parents did – after my dad’s heart attack. It changed their lives. They survived quadruple bypass together. Then they patched the potholes they found during that experience. They organized their important papers and told us where to find the things they’d need, like insurance and bank accounts.
Then they made out their wills. They set up medical and financial powers of attorney to take care of each other. They added clauses to allow my sister and I to help them, if they couldn’t help themselves.
I didn’t want to look at that information when they first put it together, but now looking back, I’m glad my parents made me do it. At some point in the last few years, I realized . . . that it’s my turn. My husband and I need to have that talk with our kids. We need to put our information together. We need to set up wills, and power of attorneys, but for now, my husband and I are putting it off, like we’ve done for years. It’s easier to put things off, than to push through to do them.
Part 2 – Protecting Parents with Alzheimer’s: If you read Part 1, you’re on track to help your parents. If you haven’t, check out this link. It can help you catch up.
Link: A caregiver's guide: Finance protection for those with Alzheimer's - CreditCards.com
My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s back in 2011. He lived with it until he died in 2015. Mom managed the house, the finances, and watched over Dad during those years. She was sharp as a tack then, and she still is!
Mom’s mind is sound, but slowly, over the years, her body has weakened. Now she can’t live alone, so she moved into a senior citizen home in 2019. Mom still makes her own decisions, financially and otherwise, but I do her shopping and pay her bills.
These tools helped me help her.
The Financial POA helps Mom the most. Through it she grants me the power to do the things she needs done. If she ever changed her mind, she could take my name off and put someone else’s on. Over the years we’ve learned to work together; to listen to each other. I try to give her room to make choices, and I try not to make them for her. She tries to listen to what I can do for her, and what I can’t. It takes teamwork from both of us. It will take the same for you and your parents.
If it’s hard for your parents to make good choices, you can set up a Revocable Trust. It limits how much your parents can spend, but it may change your relationship. No parent likes to be told what to do by the child they raised.
If your parents are no longer of sound mind, you can set up a conservatorship by going to court. You’ll have to prove your case to a judge. If they agree, they’ll set up a guardian to make decisions. The guardian would control their checkbook and credit cards. It’s a last resort; one I didn’t have to use. My parents helped me into this world, and now it’s my turn to help them leave it behind.
Have you heard, “If you can be anything, be kind?” I have, and right now it feels like everyone could use a heaping helping of kindness. Here are three quotes from three famous people about kindness.
Quote #1 – No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.
Who said it? Aesop! You know the one from the fables? This quote came from the moral to “The Lion and the Mouse.” Here’s a recording with information I didn’t include. It’s about a minute long.
Link: Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
Aesop was a Greek storyteller who was known for his tales. Someone gathered them together to make Aesop’s Fables. He was born around 620 BC, before Christ. He died around 564 BC or BCE (before the common era). That’s almost 2500 years ago.
Details get lost over time, but Aristotle, Herodotus, and Plutarch wrote about him in their histories, so some details are still known. Aesop started life as a slave, but he was clever enough to win his freedom. He became an adviser to Greek kings and city-states.
No one is quite sure what Aesop looked like. This is a Greek statue of him. It’s in a collection in Rome, but I’m not sure how old it is. There’s another image of him from a woodcut that was done 1489. It’s below, with my list of sources.
Do you know the story of “The Lion and the Mouse?” It’s #150 on the Perry Index. I’ve never heard of it before, but I like to learn new things. There are 584 fables on the regular list; more on the extended one.
The fable – A mouse wakes up a sleeping lion. Mouse doesn’t want to be a snack so he asks lion to let him go. Lion does, but later he’s caught in a net. Mouse hears his cries and sets him free by chewing through the rope. Lion’s kindness is repaid.
That’s the first version of the story. Later ones, in English have the mouse asking for freedom, saying he’ll pay lion back someday. Lion of course is tickled that such a tiny creature can help him.
Aesop - Wikipedia
Aesop's Fables - Wikipedia
The Lion and the Mouse - Wikipedia
Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
- Greek Statue - By user:shakko - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5545991
- Lion and Mouse Sculpture - By Celeste Hutchins from The Hague, Netherlands - statue 2, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2186911
- Woodcut to the left - By File created by me; art by Francis Barlow (died 1704) - The 1687 edition of Aesop's Fables with His Life: in English, French and Latin, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9510028
Quote #2 – More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness.
Who said it? Charlie Chaplin. Have you heard of him? He was a famous actor who starred on stage and screen from the time he was a kid until 1976. That was a year before he died. Sorry, I couldn’t find a recording this time, but if you click this link, you can read their information.
Link: Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
If you read the information from Daily Inspiration, it’s about this photo from Charlie’s movie The Great Dictator. Charlie wrote the script. The quote about kindness and gentleness is at the end of the movie. Charlie wanted it said in 1940 because of Hitler and World War II. I think it still needs to be said today.
Charlie may have become a famous movie star, but he didn’t start out that way. He was born in 1889 in London, England to a pair of music hall performers. His parents separated when he was two, and his dad left the family behind. His mom struggled with money. Charlie was sent to a workhouse twice before he was nine. That’s where you went when you were penniless. They’d give you a place to stay, and work to do.
By the time he was 14, his mom was hospitalized for mental health issues, but a young Charlie was already taking care of himself – He was performing onstage in music halls. By age 19 he signed to do stage work with the Fred Karno Repertoire Company. The famous producer even took him to America.
Charlie soon found his way into silent movies, and by 1918 he was a world-wide star. He was only 29. A year later he went in with three friends to found United Artists. It gave him the freedom to make movies the way he wanted – to write, direct, produce, edit, star in, even compose the music. His movies were known for their slapstick comedy, with a little tragedy/sorrow on the side.
Charlie has a website. The link: Charlie Chaplin : Official Website
Charlie Chaplin - Wikipedia
Charlie Chaplin : Official Website
- Charlie starred as Adolf Hitler in The Great Dictator, 1940 – By United Artists - Cropped from File:The Great Dictator publicity still.jpg, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29507472
- Charlie in City Lights, one of his best movies, 1931 – By United Artists - www.creativelydifferentblinds.com/TVStageandFilm/CharlieChaplin/CityLights, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=19983420
- Charlie as The Tramp – his iconic role, 1915 – By Essanay Studios - British Film Institute, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24496648
Quote #3 – The point is not to pay back kindness, but to pass it on.
Who said it? Julia Alvarez. She has published 17 books so far. Most of them are both in English and Spanish. She writes everything – poetry, nonfiction, novels, and picture books. Sorry, I couldn’t find a recording this time either, but if you click this link, you can read the information from Inspiring Quotes.
Link: Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
This quote came from her essay an Aha Moment. Julia wrote about a horrible plane ride and the acts of kindness she saw during it. She also noticed how kindness inspires more kindness. Sometimes when life is at its worst, people rise to be their best.
Julia was born in New York City in 1950, but she moved back to the Dominican Republic when she was 3 months old. Her family lived there for the next 10 years. Julia thrived! Maybe because Domincans value story-telling, and they nurture it too.
In 1960 Julia’s dad helped with a plot to overthrow the dictator. The plot failed, and her family fled to the US. Can you imagine leaving everything behind?
That night Julia lost her home, her language, family and friends, everything she knew. She was homesick in the country she’d been born in, but it wasn’t home. She felt out of place, and people didn’t accept her because she was different.
At school she was discriminated against because she was from Latin America and spoke differently, with an accent. How did Julia cope? She turned to books and literature. She had teachers who liked her writing and encouraged her to keep going.
At age 13 her parents sent her to boarding school. They wanted her to have a better education than the local schools could offer. She also spent every summer visiting the Dominican Republic. Her parents wanted to make sure she kept her heritage and grew up properly.
Those experiences with immigration, new schools, and living in two different worlds found their way into Julia’s books from the Garcia Girls to her Tia books.
Part 1 – Meet Simone Biles – This photo was taken in 2018 at the Voice of America (VOA). It’s the largest and oldest international broadcasting company. It didn’t say why Simone was there, but maybe she stopped into say she was back in the gymnastics game again.
Did you know she took 2017 off? I didn’t! That was the year after the 2016 Brazil Olympics, and Simone won 4 gold medals, the most ever for an American gymnast. I’m glad she took a year off.
Simone probably started training nonstop in 2011. That’s when she became an elite gymnast. Imagine training as your full-time job, and school what you fit around it.
And Me Too – I never found her training schedule, but I considered going into music. I played 2 instruments, and I was told to practice an hour a day, per instrument. That was the minimum to go into music, not to become a GOAT. I wonder what Simone puts in, on 4 pieces of equipment, per day.
Can you imagine the stress of being a GOAT? You always have to deliver. There’s no room for mistakes, and everyone makes those. Did you watch Simone in team qualifications, or in the preliminaries? She was GREAT, but not perfect. She looked unhappy after each performance, even though she was at the top of the leader board.
I wonder, if Simone’s a perfectionist. I’m a recovering one. I’m learning to be OK with mistakes, but I used to go over them, over and over, endlessly. Now I stop when they teach me something that will help me grow. I have a feeling Simone does that too.
I was shocked, when I heard Simone dropped out of the team finals. She put endless hours into each of her 4 routines, for 4 years. You don’t invest that kind of time, that kind of effort into something, then quit. I don’t, and I bet Simone doesn’t either.
You keep going, whether you’re injured, or sick, until you hit a wall that tells you, YOU HAVE to. For me, it used to be losing my voice. Then I could call in sick and get my kids a substitute teacher. For Simone, it was the twisties, and they don’t look like this photo.
Part 2 – What’s a Twistie? – It happens when a gymnast is flying through the air. They can’t tell where they are, or where to land. Planes have the same problem in fog. They don’t know which way is up, or down.
I discovered twisties on July 28th when USA Gymnastics announced Simone’s withdrawal from team competition. I was shocked till I learned more. Simone said her mind and body just weren’t in sync. She also said she didn’t think many people understood how dangerous gymnastic surfaces can be.
Take a look at the picture above. It doesn’t look dangerous. Then look at the one below. It is! I thought Simone was upside down. NOT – she was in the middle of one of her twisty-airborne moves. If she lost focus, she might have landed on her head, or neck. YIKES!
Simone also talked about not having an inch of control over her body, not knowing where she was in the air. But even scarier, she had no idea how she was going to land . . . or where. I can’t imagine being brave and talented enough, to keep going after that first twistie.
I didn’t know Simone had the twisties before Tokyo, on floor and vault. This year the bars & beam piled on too. YUCK! I’m glad she took a break, but I’m also glad she came back and won bronze in the balance beam. I read that she did it for herself. Yay, Simone! Here’s to your new life beyond gymnastics!
Part 3 – Daring Young Gymnasts – Do you remember the song about the daring young men on the flying trapeze? Now they’re flying around equipment in the gym. They’re defying gravity and some of the laws of physics. It’s crazy good, also a little scary.
Did you know that about 100,000 gymnasts are injured every year? The most common injuries are wrist fractures, cartilage damage, and ACL tears. Did you also know that gymnasts are starting earlier and doing more difficult moves?
Death is rare in gymnastics, but it happened to Melanie Coleman after a fall from the uneven bars. It also happened to Julissa Gomez in 1988. She was vaulting and slipped off the springboard. Falls are dangerous.
Adriana Duffy and Sang Lan were both paralyzed by vaulting accidents 11 years apart. I’m glad there’s a new, safer springboard and horse for athletes today.
Men and women both vault over them, the gymnastic kind. Men also twist and rotate around pommel horses. It’s amazing what gymnasts can do, and they make it look so easy!
Here’s the new springboard and horse. Look at the old one, then the new one. Can you see how they’re different, and why the new one is safer? I’m so glad someone figured that out.
Take a look at all the positions this young man rotated through in a few seconds.
WOW! Gymnasts are amazing!
How Can You Protect Your Young Gymnast? – I picked 10 tips to share. To read all of them click on this link: Safety Tips: Gymnastics (for Teens) - Nemours Kidshealth
1. Wear the proper equipment – wrist straps, guards, grips, and footwear. Use spotting belts for new moves.
2. Warm up and stretch. That’s true for any sport.
3. Only practice on padded floors, not a hard surface.
4. Find a good coach! Somone who knows the latest in safety. A good coach will spot you when you try new/difficult moves.
5. Tell your coach if you’re uncomfortable with a skill. If you can’t, tell a parent or an adult who’ll help you. Kids don’t want to tell anyone. I saw it with my own, and with my 2nd graders. Sometimes parents had to tell me what their child wouldn’t.
6. Don’t try a new move at a game or competition, UNLESS you’ve practiced it A LOT.
7. No jewelry, gum chewing, or clothes that can get caught on equipment.
8. Never train alone.
9. STOP! If you get hurt or feel pain. Then get it checked out by a grown-up.
10. Play other sports so that you don’t overuse the same muscles. That leads to injuries.
CONGRATULATIONS to the Olympic athletes from all over the world! Win, lose, draw, or withdraw – you played the games and did your best. Thank you for the memories, for the inspiration you’ve given us, especially to the young athletes waiting in the wings for their turn. THANK YOU!
PS – OOPS! I forgot to write about mindfulness, but lucky for me, I already did! The link below will tell you what it is, and show you a few exercises that are great for kids.
PPS – They can help us grown-ups too!
Link: Rinda Beach - Blog - Rinda Beach
1. Simone Biles reveals depths of twisties problem at Olympics (nypost.com)
2. Simone Biles - Wikipedia
3. Gymnastics deaths are rare, but previous disasters have prompted safety changes - CNN
4. Safety Tips: Gymnastics (for Teens) - Nemours Kidshealth
Sometimes words inspire us. They help us do what we fear. We pull them out when we need courage. Here are three quotes from three famous people about persistence.
Quote #1 – You miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.
Who said it? Wayne Gretzky, the great one! He got it from his dad, Walter. Here’s a recording with information on Wayne that I didn’t include. It's about a minute long.
Link: Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
Wayne is from Canada where hockey is king! His parents bought their first house because the backyard was perfect to build an ice rink every winter. Walter encouraged his kids to take shots, even if they missed. It worked! Three of his four boys grew up to become professional hockey players. Wayne’s the famous one!
These are Wayne’s first skates. He wore them when he was three, and they’re definitely well used! I wonder how many shots he took in them. If you’d like to check them out, go to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
At six Wayne played on a team, for ten-year-olds. When he turned ten, he scored 378 goals and 139 assists in ONE season. No one counted his practice shots or misses. By age 13 Wayne had over 1000 goals. I wonder how many thousands of shots he took at those hockey nets by the time he was 13!
Wayne played in the National Hockey League from 1979 – 1999. He didn’t wait three years to get into the Hall of Fame. He was voted in his first year. Only nine other players have done that. I’m glad he took all those shots!
Wayne Gretzky - Wikipedia
Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
- Wayne Gretzky in 2006: By Kris Krüg, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=36257814
- First Skates: By Resolute - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17891111
- Wayne and the Stanley Cup. He won it four times with his first team, the Edmonton Oilers:
By 117Avenue - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=52424962
Quote #2 – Inspiration usually comes during work, rather than before it.
Who said it? Madeleine L’Engle! Here’s a recording that’s about a minute long with her thoughts about inspiration. You’ll only find them on this link. Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
Madeleine wrote her first story when she was five. She started keeping her thoughts in a journal when she was eight. She was off to a great start, but she was also shy and clumsy. Some of her teachers thought she was stupid. Her parents didn’t know what to do, but Madeleine did. She turned toward reading and writing. I’m so glad she did! Books are always a great answer!
Madeleine graduated college in 1941, cum laude, with honor. By 1942 she published two novels, but by 1958 she only had three more books in print. It must have been disappointing for her.
Madeleine decided if she couldn’t sell a book by her 40th birthday in November of 1958, that she’d quit writing. She wanted to pull her weight, money-wise, in the family, but she couldn’t stop thinking up stories.
In 1959 her family took a ten-week cross-country camping trip. Would you believe that’s when the idea for A Wrinkle in Time arrived? After she quit? I’m so glad she kept thinking!
Nothing is instant, even for Madeleine L’Engle. She finished Wrinkle in 1960, but it was rejected more than 30 times before she found the right editor, the right publisher. In 1962 Wrinkle was born. Madeleine published over 60 pieces of writing, from fiction to poetry to nonfiction. I’m glad she didn’t quit! We would have missed out on some great writing!
Sources of Information:
- Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
- Madeleine L'Engle - Wikipedia
- Madeleine L'Engle, Author of A Wrinkle in Time - The Official Website (madeleinelengle.com)
Quote #3 – Genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration.
Who said it? Thomas Alva Edison! Here’s a recording of the details behind the quote. Link: Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
Thomas went to school for a couple months as a kid, but he didn’t fit in. His mother homeschooled him so he could learn his way, from experiments. He went back as an adult – to take one chemistry class.
When he was 12, he developed hearing problems, but he learned it was a good thing – he could focus on work, without any distractions.
Thomas was also an entrepreneur. He made money selling candy, newspapers, and veggies on the local trains, and he was only 13. He used his money to buy supplies for his experiments.
Sometimes Thomas failed. He was experimenting with battery acid. It leaked through the floor and onto his boss’ desk. He was fired the next day.
But Thomas persevered and got his first patent for an electric vote recorder two years later. It didn’t sell, but Thomas kept experimenting. Seven years later he developed a new telegraph machine and sold it to Western Union.
The profits – he used them to build Menlo Park, the first industrial research lab, where he could constantly innovate and improve. Eventually his lab took up two city blocks and held over 8000 chemicals. Thomas also bought things like hair, silk, and feathers. They were a few of his supplies.
Thomas kept working. His next big invention was the phonograph, in the photo. The telephone transmitter, the electric light bulb, and the motion picture camera, they’re just a few of his inventions. Thomas also started 14 companies including General Electric. They all came from perspiration and experimentation – hard work.
Take a peek inside Thomas’ lab at Menlo Park, or go visit Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan.
- Menlo Park - By Andrew Balet - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5,
- Daily Inspiration | Inspiring Quotes
- Thomas Edison - Wikipedi
It’s not Presidents’ Day or the 4th of July, but I’m still writing about James Madison. Not because he was a Founding Father or our 4th President, but because he wrote the Constitution. If you follow politics like I do, you know that people are arguing over what it says, what it means, again. I hope that if you know a little more about James, you’ll have a little more faith in our Constitution and the way it works.
I met James at Montpelier on Presidents’ Day, 2020. I wasn’t expecting to spend the day tromping around his house and yard, but I was fascinated with some of the things I learned. I’ve been trying to figure out how to turn them into a blog ever since.
I was almost there last night, but the why answer was missing – why you’d want to read about the Madisons now, in May 2021. Here are the tidbits, the fun facts I remember – 2 years later! Plus a little research to fill in the gaps.
Part 1 – Meet Little Jimmy – That’s the first thing I learned from our tour guide, his nickname, the name his friends and his wife used – Little Jimmy. This is Jimmy in college. I googled his height – 5’4”. That makes him our shortest president. No one has slipped under his height – Yet!
The second thing that got my attention was how bright Little Jimmy was. He was a curious boy who loved to study. His favorite subjects were math, geography, philosophy, and languages, especially Latin.
Jimmy’s mom was probably his 1st teacher. He started school at age 11 and finished after 5 years. Then he studied with a minister for 2 years to get ready for college. Most Virginians went to William and Mary. Not Jimmy. He went to the College of New Jersey (now Princeton) because his family thought it’d be healthier for him. His parents had already lost 5 of their 12 children.
Jimmy graduated at age 20 with top marks in classical languages, math, geography, philosophy, and rhetoric (persuasive speech and writing). That wasn’t enough for Jimmy. He took another year to study Hebrew and political philosophy with John Witherspoon. That made him Princeton’s 1st graduate student. Clearly Jimmy loved to learn, but he came home without a clue about what he wanted to do with his life.
PS – John Witherspoon later signed the Declaration of Independence. Jimmy did not. He was only 25 when it was ratified in 1776.
Part 2 – Little Jimmy and the Constitution – I didn’t know Jimmy was the father of the Constitution. How did he do it? You don’t go from being clueless about your future – to writing the Constitution. Jimmy had work to do.
He started with local politics, then moved onto the state level. That led him to the Continental Congress. Can you imagine – talking politics with Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, or John Adams?
The Constitutional Convention was scheduled for 1787. Jimmy was tapped to draft the Virginia Plan. He didn’t write down his own ideas. He started digging for books about government through the centuries. Some books came from the 13 colonies. Others from France and England.
Jimmy looked at governments across time and from around the world. He gathered information and put a draft together. The Virginia Plan proposed 3 branches of government, and our system of checks and balances.
But not everyone agreed. Some worried they might lose freedoms. They wanted a Bill of Rights. They’d agree to the Constitution – but only if they got their bill.
Jimmy was afraid if a right wasn’t listed, it’d be lost. He came around after he looked at hundreds of ideas and whittled them down to 19. Then a committee boiled them down to 12.
- Jimmy’s ideas were the first ten Amendments to the Bill of Rights.
- Two more were added in the next 14 years.
- The next amendment – not until 1865. It abolished slavery.
- Would you believe the 27th amendment was from Jimmy’s original dozen? It took almost 203 years to ratify. Figures! It says Congress can vote themselves a raise, but they don’t get the money until . . . after the next election.
- Before writing this, I had no idea how brilliant Jimmy was. Imagine – being part of a written document that is used and respected 200 years later. I am SO impressed with Little Jimmy and the Constitution!
Part 3 – Hello, Dolley – Little Jimmy said hello when he was 43. He was charmed by Dolley. She was a wealthy widow with a little boy. He asked Aaron Burr to help them meet. They did, in May of 1794.
Jimmy and Dolley married in September. Dolley was 26,. Her son was 2. Presto! Jimmy became a husband and a father, four months after meeting Dolley.
(Note – Aaron Burr, the one from the duel with Alexander Hamilton, was guardian to Dolley’s son, Payne.)
Dolley was known as a Washington hostess long before Jimmy became president. She brought people together from both political parties. She made them feel welcome. She set styles in her day, and in the future too.
She also knew the power of image and how to use it. I grew up believing she carried George Washington’s portrait out of the White House before the British burned it down during the War of 1812. She didn’t!
That story came from a letter Dolley wrote before racing away from the White House. She edited it in 1836 and gave it to her friend and society writer, Margaret Bayard Smith. She published it. Other stories came out, but it was Dolley’s that I learned as a kid in the 1960’s. It was a good story!
The Madison family finances went downhill after they left the White House. Bad crops. Bailing Dolley’s son out of his alcohol and gambling problems. Then Jimmy died in 1836.
Dolley didn’t sell Montpelier and its slaves until 1844. Jimmy didn’t set them free, but he asked Dolley not to sell them without asking them first. I wonder why she didn’t. Maybe it had to do with money troubles.
It also surprised me that Paul Jennings, a freed slave, passed Dolley small sums of money. I heard this story when I was at Montpelier, and I thought it said something wonderful about both of them. The truth is it says more about Paul. Dolley sold him in 1844, and Paul worked to buy his freedom. That he would do something to help Dolley, makes him impressive.
Dolley may have been poor during her final years in Washington, but she was still well loved. Her New Year’s open house had as many guests as the White House’s. Dolley died in 1849, but she was buried in Washington. Nine years later her body was moved to Montpelier so she could be buried beside Jimmy. I’m glad they’re together again.
This is the final resting place for Jimmy and Dolley, just like it was in 1858. In 1901 the Du Ponts bought it (They own that chemical company.). In 1984 the family gave it to the National Trust.
My last favorite fact - the Madisons had 22 rooms at Montpelier. The Du Ponts made a few renovations – they added 33 rooms. The National Trust has spent the last 40 years redoing the house. How? They demolished 33 rooms! They also painted and furnished it to make it look like Jimmy and Dolley are still living there.
The Trust left the Du Pont race track in place, and they still run the annual horse races. If you go to the visitor center, you can see a wing that’s dedicated to the Du Ponts. It’s lovely to remember both families!
My final comment – I wasn’t keen to visit Montpelier, but now I want to go back. All this research makes me want to visit the rooms Jimmy and Dolley lived in. PLUS I can learn more about them and the community they built! Now, to find a reason to visit Virginia!
- The Life of James Madison | Montpelier
- James Madison - Wikipedia
- List of amendments to the United States Constitution - Wikipedia
- Becoming America's First Lady | Montpelier
- The Life of Paul Jennings | Montpelier
- Montpelier (Orange, Virginia) - Wikipedia
1. Montpelier – Source By Aigrette - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12559450
2. Madison’s Grave – By Billy Hathorn - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16048056
Part 1 – His Trivia Question
Meet Malcolm Gladwell. He wrote a book that repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule.” Which title is it?
The Tipping Point David and Goliath
Here are a few more clues. The book debuted on the bestseller list for both The New York Times and The Globe and Mail (from Canada). It was #1 for 11 consecutive weeks on the New York Times. It was published by Little, Brown and Company on November 18, 2008. It’s all about the factors that lead to BIG successes.
And the answer is . . .
I read this book in 2008 or 2009. That was almost 13 years ago, and I still remember the “10,000-Hour Rule. I was impressed by how it applied to so many famous people. It makes sense. The theory is that to acquire any skill with expertise involves practice. It’s true – ‘Practice makes perfect.’
I was surprised to discover that the authors of the original study that Malcom based the book on, disputed the way he wrote it. I was a newbie at writing back then. It made sense that I needed to invest time in writing, and taking classes about writing, if I wanted to be successful.
More Info: en.wikipedia.org
I’m sorry I don’t have the source. Somehow I forgot to copy it, but it was either quizclub.com or traveltrivia.com. I love their questions. I tried to look it up, but couldn’t find it. Shucks!
Part 2 – Four Reasons Why I Believe in the 10,000-Hour Rule
I remembered the first 3, but the fourth surprised me!
1. The Beatles – This picture is from 1964. Start on the top left and go clockwise: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison.
Here’s how they hit 10, 000 hours . . . They performed live in Hamburg, Germany over 1200 times from 1960 to 1964. Practice makes perfect, and they performed 2 or 3 sets a night onstage to live audiences. When the Beatles arrived in Hamburg, they had talent, but all those hours helped them perfect their sound. They returned to England with their own unique style. They took off! If you look at old videos from 1964, you’ll see girls screaming, sobbing, and going crazy over them. The Beatles became The Fab Four, international superstars.
2. Bill Gates – Meet Bill back in 1970. He’s on the right, looking up. The 2nd picture is from 2018.
Bill started work on his 10,000 hours at age 13. That was in 1968, at Lakeside Prep School. He also wrote his first computer program that year. I read somewhere, that he used to sneak into the school computer lab at night to write programs. Bill graduated in 1973 and moved onto Harvard the next fall. He dropped out 2 years later in 1975 to start Microsoft. The rest is history! Bill became the head of the Microsoft empire.
3. Hockey Players in Canada – Would you believe that most players are born in January, February, and March? I didn’t!
The cut-off date to play is January 1st, and kids with those winter birthdays are at an advantage in age, experience, and size. I couldn’t believe a kid born in April would be out of luck, let alone later in the year! This winter advantage is also true in other countries with similar deadlines like the Czech Republic. Kids born later in the year get overlooked. Wow, that doesn’t seem possible, but it is.
4. Summer Vacation – I’d forgotten this one, but my Outliers research found a paragraph that said learning lost each summer was the same for low-, middle-, and upper-class kids in elementary school. So why do some kids have an advantage over others, come September?
Upper- and middle-class parents tend to keep their kids busy with lessons and classes all summer. Their kids have opportunities for summer camps or vacation experiences the others don’t get. The kids who don’t get those opportunities forget, and those losses add up summer after summer.
Teachers know this – Year after year I could tell which students read over the summer. They had a head start on the school year. The kids who hadn’t, it took a couple weeks to a month to regain their learning mojo.
Part 3 – Me and Meeting That 10,000-Hour Rule - I started writing in 2007, and I read Malcolm’s book in 2008/ 2009. Here’s my writing timeline. I never counted hours, but it took about 10 years before I started seeing signs of success.
2007 – 2009 . . . I wrote my first story. I edited it as far as I could with my teacher friends.
2009 . . . I took that story to Chautauqua for a week of classes and critiques. My story was good, but needed lots of work. Of course!
2009 – 2010 . . . I read. I looked for my top 10 picture/ chapter books. They became my teachers. I wrote my 2nd bat story. I started reading new books and recording my thoughts in a reading journal.
2011 . . . I took my 2nd bat story to an SCBWI conference (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators). I did classes and a critique. I was only ‘flat.’ I found my 1st critique group, started my ant story, and took it SCBWI again. This time I got fine-tune/finish.
2012 – 2015 . . . I worked on my ant story and kept reading and taking classes. I lost my critique group, but found a new mentor. I wrote a new dog story, but only wrote on weekends and vacations. I retired from teaching in May 2015. I became a full-time writer.
2016 – 2017 . . . I took two classes with Michelle Houts. I worked on my dog story in the 1st one. I wrote a new story on safety for the 2nd. I continued working on the dog story and going to classes. I also joined 12x12 and Kidlit411. I took the safety story to Highlights for a critique/class with Darcy Pattison. I thought my words weren’t strong enough. Turns out they were too strong, too scary for my young audience.
April/May 2018 . . . I took a class with Mira Reisberg and the Children’s Book Academy to work on the Safety and Dog stories. That’s when I came up with the idea of writing a book about Neil Armstrong and his wind tunnel.
Summer 2018 . . . I started researching and writing about Neil. I got my FIRST R&R from an agent for my safety story. R&R stands for Revise and Resubmit. I’d done it! That was the 1st sign of success. The 1st sign I was close to meeting that 10,000-Hour Rule.
Fall 2018/Winter 2019 . . . I started working with Callie Metler and her Writing Magic classes to critique Neil and Safety. I wrote a new one about the ducks at the dock. I continued reading and taking classes.
May 2019 . . . PUBLISHED! I published my 1st book NEIL ARMSTRONG’S WIND TUNNEL DREAM in time for the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing. The book did phenomenally well!
June 2019 . . . I started working on LAKE FUN FOR YOU AND ME. I got a no from the publisher on the safety story, but a maybe for later. I kept working at my craft, and on these three manuscripts.
May 2020 . . . Published! I published LAKE FUN FOR YOU AND ME. I also received word that the publisher is still interested in my safety book.
Summer 2020 . . . I spent most of the summer on the ants, editing and revising through chapter 27. I started a new Nativity story, hoping to self-publish it in my hometown and beyond.
September 2020 . . . I was hard at work on 2 stories, the Nativity story and a new one about the zoo. BiblioKid and I were working on a contract to write a new lake book, a chapter book.
October 2020 . . . The agent said she was interested! But first – I’d have to polish 4 manuscripts by Feb. 2020. Meanwhile I was editing Zoe and working on the zoo book.
November/December 2020 . . . I finished editing the text for Zoe. We started/finished the illustrations. I worked on all 4 stories for the agent challenge, but focused on safety and ducks. I also started research for a new book about the zoo. My plan – to take Zoe and her family to the zoo.
January thru April 2021 . . . The zoo book got pushed to the back burner after I wrote my 1st chapter. It’s stored in my computer for later. PUBLISHED! I published ZOE’S SCAVENGER HUNT FUN in March of 2021. The ducks, dog, and Nativity stories are still in progress, but safety is polished! I pulled the ants out for another round of editing. I’m on chapter 5, only 25 more to go. It’s a good thing I love revision!
It took me 2-1/2 nights to finish this blog, but I made 2 discoveries. In 2007 I worked on 1 book at a time. Now I can juggle 6. I’ve come a long way, but I have so much farther to go. I finally finished this post tonight, and I made another discovery . . . screenshots are easier to add to Weebly than lots of tiny images. LIVE and LEARN!
This is a really cool map! It shows how the US came to be bit by bit, territory by territory. The brown area is the original 13 colonies and the territories that originally belonged to England. The white area – the Louisiana Purchase.
Part 1 - Trivia Question #1 – How much did the Louisiana Purchase cost the United States?
$2 $5 $10 $15 million
Trivia Question #2 – Which country did we buy it from?
Spain Portugal France England
Answer #1 – It cost $15 million. Answer #2 – We bought it from France.
And the story? Remember Thomas Jefferson from the Declaration of Independence? He was now president, from 1801 – 1809. In April of 1802, he wrote the following prediction to Pierre Samuel du Pont – that France taking Louisiana from Spain “… is the embryo of a tornado which will burst on the countries on both shores of the Atlantic and involve in its effects their highest destinies.” Huh? What did he say?
In other words – it would cause huge problems for our new-born country to have France controlling the Mississippi and the port of New Orleans. President Jefferson took action. He sent James Monroe (another founding father and future president) off to Paris. Monroe was to negotiate the real estate deal of the century! Florida and New Orleans for a cool $10 million.
But lucky for us, Napoleon Bonaparte came to power in 1799. He was short on cash so he decided to abandon the French colonies in the New World to shore up the finances at home. Napoleon asked for a cool $15 million, and in one real estate transaction, Monroe and Jefferson doubled the size of the US west of the Mississippi, for an additional $5 million. Thanks to the dynamic duo, our new country now owned 827,000 square miles of land west of the Mississippi.
Like anything else, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Those lands actually belonged to the Native Americans, and it has been estimated the true cost for the Louisiana Purchase is closer to $2.6 billion. But in the long run, it was a real bargain for our new-born country.
Sources of Information
1. Source: Monticello.org | Date Updated: July 22, 20192.
3. Louisiana Purchase - Wikipedia
Here’s another map – of the state of Louisiana. Can you find the Mississippi and follow it down to the Gulf of Mexico? That’s where you’ll find the city of New Orleans and the subject of my next question.
Part 2 - Trivia Question #3 – What instrument did Louis Armstrong play?
trombone trumpet saxophone percussion
Trivia Question #4 – What kind of music did Louis play?
jazz classical pop all of these
Answer #1 – Trumpet Answer #2 – All of these, and more!
So how did Louis get started playing the trumpet? He was born and raised in New Orleans in a neighborhood called ‘The Battlefield,’ and yes, it was a pretty rough place. But it was the sounds of New Orleans that brought Louis to music.
Louis met the Karnoffsky family when he started school at age 6. He did odd jobs for them. They took Louis in, fed and nurtured him. They treated him like family. The Karnoffsky’s had a junk wagon, and Louis played a tin horn to bring in customers. Morris advanced Louis the money to buy his 1st trumpet from a pawn shop. I didn’t know that Louis always wore a Star of David pendant because of the Karnoffskys, and the treatment they received as Jews.
Louis learned music – by playing it. He’s in this photo from 1918. He was playing in Fate Marable’s band onboard the S.S. Sidney, traveling up and down the Mississippi. Fate’s on the piano, and Louis is to his left. He was 17.
Louis played everything – blues, big band, Latin American folksongs, classical symphonies, opera, Broadway showtunes, and rock. You name it, and he could play it! When I think of Louis, I think of these two songs . . .
This is a shot of Louis on the set of Hello Dolly with Barbara Streisand. If you want to listen in, google Hello Dolly, and scroll down until you see my screenshot. Then – enjoy!
To find What a Wonderful World, google the title. Then scroll down until you see this screenshot. I think it’s incredible to see how far music took Louis – from ‘The Battlefield in New Orleans to Hollywood movie sets.
Sources of Information:
1. More Info: en.wikipedia.org
Sorry, no map – yet! It would give away one of the answers. But don’t worry – it’s right after them!
Part 3 – Trivia Question #5 – What is a muffuletta?
bread salad sandwich pizza
Trivia Question #6 – Where did it come from?
New York New Orleans Indianapolis San Francisco
Here’s the map, and its title gave away where muffulettas came from. It’s written in French because it shows the French Quarter, the tourist part of New Orleans. Scroll down to the bottom to read its story.
This is the Central Grocery of New Orleans. The building is older than the sandwich. To find it on the map, start with the Mississippi River. Go straight up, and you’ll see the Moonwalk. Keep going, and you’ll find the Café Du Monde. It’s a BIG tourist destination! (We’ll stop back later.)
Now go up to the first street. Look left to find its name. It’s Decatur, but turn the other way, and travel down the street until you see the French Market. That’s where you’ll find the Central Grocery. Sorry! It’s not marked on the map so I’m not sure which side of the street it’s on, but it’s definitely on Decatur!
Go inside, and you’ll find everything in the photo. Start on the top left . . . that’s a muffuletta! It’s open so you can see its ingredients.
Go clockwise, and you can pick up sandwiches for takeout. Continue around, and there’s a jar of olives, the kind in the sandwich. Last but not least – there’s a round muffuletta bun.
Salvatore Lupo invented the 1st muffuletta in 1906. The area around his grocery was the Italian Sector, and muffuletta was Sicilian bread. His customers wanted Italian food so they’d buy the bread, plus the fixings. It was hard to eat in pieces, so Salvatore put the deli meat, olives, and cheese together in a sandwich. Its name – The Muffuletta, and it’s still going strong a century later!
Looking for sweets? Go back to Café Du Monde, and pick up a Beignet. It’s pastry - think doughnuts without the hole, but with lots of powdered sugar on top. LOTS! They’re served hot, and they’re the perfect New Orleans treat.
Sources of Information:
1. Source: New Orleans Historical | Date Updated: April 2, 2021 Central Grocery - Wikipedia
5. Beignet - Wikipedia
1. Central grocery – By No machine-readable author provided. Jan Kronsell assumed (based on copyright claims). - CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=127539
2. Muffuletta – By Perlow, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3191684
3. Begnet – By Flickr photographer hamron / harmon - https://www.flickr.com/photos/mookies/2452009929/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4142967
4. Café Du Monde – By Jeremykemp - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14881345
Tomorrow – I have a great book for My Reads . . . about muffuletta!
Part 1 – Trivia Question: What was the name of the group of University of Munich students who used pamphlets to resist Hitler and the Third Reich?
White Rose People X Black Charcoal Black Sky
Answer: The White Rose (German: Weiße Rose)
Source: More Info: en.wikipedia.org
What was the name of a non-violent... | Trivia Answers | QuizzClub
Part 2 – Who Were the Faces Behind the White Rose?
These 4 young men were medical students at the University of Munich. Their studies were interrupted repeatedly by the German War Department. They were forced to serve as student soldiers in the medical corps on the Eastern Front. The things they saw in Russia changed them forever. They became part of the resistance to Adolf Hitler and his Nazi government.
Part 3 – How Did the White Rose Operate?
This is the Monument to the White Rose in front of the University of Munich. It is a perfect tribute – do you see the leaflets?
Hans Scholl and Alexander Morell had to do something after serving on the Russian front. They wrote the first four leaflets, starting at the end of June, then stopping mid-July of 1942. They left them in telephone booths or mailed them to professors and students. They sent some by courier to other students at other universities for distribution there too.
Here are the 1st three leaflets:
Isn't it true that every honest German is ashamed of his government these days? Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes—crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure—reach the light of day?
— 1st leaflet of the White Rose
Since the conquest of Poland, 300,000 Jews have been murdered in this country in the most bestial way ... The German people slumber on in dull, stupid sleep and encourage the fascist criminals. Each wants to be exonerated of guilt, each one continues on his way with the most placid, calm conscience. But he cannot be exonerated; he is guilty, guilty, guilty! — 2nd leaflet of the White Rose.
Why do you allow these men who are in power to rob you step by step, openly and in secret, of one domain of your rights after another, until one day nothing, nothing at all will be left but a mechanised state system presided over by criminals and drunks? Is your spirit already so crushed by abuse that you forget it is your right—or rather, your moral duty—to eliminate this system?
— 3rd leaflet of the White Rose
Willi, Hans, and Alex were sent back to the Russian front from July 23 to October 30th of 1942. The leaflets stopped, until they returned.
Sophie discovered during the fall of 1942 what her brother Hans was up to, and she joined in. They continued to spread their leaflets until February 18, 1943. That’s when the Stolls got caught. They brought a suitcase full of letters to the University’s main building. They dropped stacks in the empty hallways for students to find when they came out of class.
The Stolls should have stopped when they were ahead. They didn’t. They spotted some leftover letters so they went to the top floor and threw the extras down to the atrium. The maintenance man spotted them and called the Gestapo, the German police. You may think American police are bad, but they are nothing, NOTHING like the Gestapo. They were PURE evil. This is the Atrium, where the Stolls were arrested.
Sophie got rid of her evidence. Hans had one last leaflet, their seventh. He tried to swallow it, but the Gestapo stopped him. They identified the handwriting in the letter, Christoph’s. He was arrested, along with Hans. Sophie could have gotten away. The police thought she was innocent at first, until she confessed . . . Sophie was trying to protect the other members of the White Rose.
Part 4 – The Trials and their Results
Hans, Sophie, and Christoph were tried 4 days later, on February 22, 1943, in the Volksgerichtshof. The court was known for being unfair, and for its frequent death sentences.
The three members of the White Rose were convicted of treason and sentenced to death. I thought they were executed by firing squad. They weren’t. The Nazi’s used the guillotine – that means they used a huge blade to cut off their heads. I thought the guillotine was only used during the French Revolution. Wrong.
The 2nd trial was on April 19, 1943. Sixteen students stood trial. Eleven were sent to prison, one was acquitted, and three were sentenced to death – Willi Graf, Kurt Huber, and Alexander Schmorell.
The 3rd trial with four more students was supposed to be held the next day, April 20, 1943, but it was Hitler’s birthday, and a holiday. The trial was moved back to July 13, 1943. The judge originally planned death sentences, but somehow, the evidence was lost. In 1945 there was one more execution. Another was stopped – just in time – the Allies rescued her.
This is where this post should end, with the final resting place of Hans, Sophie, and Christoph. It’s next door to the prison where they died. My hope – that they rest in peace, knowing they stood up for what was right, and they did it peacefully.
German Democratic Republic stamp from 1961.
2,000,000 went into circulation.
-Hans Scholl – By stadtarchiv-crailsheim.de, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58900954
-Alex Schmorell – By Angelika Knoop-Probst, Nicoasc (talk · contribs) - Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=18328905
-Christoph Probst – By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58916181
-Willi Graf – By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=58900161
-The Atrium – By No machine-readable author provided. Cfaerber assumed (based on copyright claims).
-The Courtroom - By Richard Huber - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5526257
-The Grave Site - By Rufus46 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2870213
I’m lucky! I had four Facebook/Instagram friends who reached out to let me know something was wrong. I only know one of them personally, but I’m so grateful that all four of them saw, and then said something.
Here’s my story, just in case it happens to you. I would never have believed this could be true. I’m a retired teacher/writer from a small town in Ohio.
Part 1 – Two Cautionary Notes
This all started on October 16th, but I couldn’t find that message. I found this one from Karen on the 29th . . . Hi. I’m a friend of yours on FB, and I got a strange message from you on Instagram. Was it really you, or a fake you?
I answered back that I’d check. I did – no message, let alone a strange one. I asked for more information. She answered . . .
‘They’ sent a message to me today through Instagram. I am following you now twice. One account has 74 followers and no posts, which is the fake one. The other one, using your same photo, has posts.
I replied that I’d change my password again, like I did on the 16th. I thanked her again, and I hoped this was over, but it wasn’t.
On October 31st I got this message from Linda . . . Hi – Have you been contacting me via Instagram? I just want to double check that this is really you.
I apologized and said it wasn’t. I told her I’d changed my password twice already. That I was trying to figure out how to clean up this mess.
Linda wrote back . . . No worries. I just wondered because the messages are just a little off. Just now I got one asking if I know about some kind of domestic assistance grants. I’m going to block you for now, because I honestly think it’s a foreign bot. Will you contact me . . . when it’s resolved?
I couldn’t believe it! Domestic assistance grants? Foreign bots? I felt like I was in a spy movie. That’s when help arrived!
Part 2 – Help is on the Way
I messaged that night, the 31st . . . Linda, how did they get my name on IG? I just had a kiddo (I had her sister in school) who contacted me. I looked up my address and only found me. Do you have the address they were using? I want to get this cleared up, and you just can’t talk to IG. YUCK!
I’d forgotten – I messaged IG twice, and got no response. But I got this from the kiddo, AKA My Hero, on FACEBOOK . . . RINDA! Get on your Instagram if you’re able. Someone is impersonating you and trying to push “grant information.” I’ve sent you several messages with what they sent me and asked my Grandma to reach out to you as well.
Her Grandmother wrote . . . Jessica just called me and said she has been getting messages from you on Instagram about federal grants. She thinks your account has been hacked.
Wow! Jessica went above and beyond a friend! She called her grandmother who was one of my teaching buddies.
These are the original messages from Jessica. I can read the first line – RINDA URGENT! And the second – Someone is pretending to be you! The rest of both screen shots are what the ‘fake rinda’ wrote. I would NEVER write either of those messages. Sorry, if they’re a little fuzzy.
Jessica’s explanation of how they did it (extra j in the middle) is on the bottom right. She also said she flagged it but Instagram did NOTHING, even though I’d already filled out 2 reports. You’d think they would have pulled down the fake rinda. They didn’t.
This set of messages came up after Jessica’s grandmother finally got my attention. I’m so glad I could ask Jessica. You can tell – I had no idea what I was doing.
The funny thing that I learned from later messages – I couldn’t search and find this fake me, the one with the extra j in the middle. Jessica said they must have blocked me.
I did another report about THAT, but I didn’t hear anything from Instagram. NOTHING. Jessica flagged the fake account again, and Instagram didn’t respond to her either. I was disappointed, but not surprised. I have a writing friend whose web site has been blocked by Facebook for a year. A YEAR, and she’s a retired Kindergarten teacher.
Part 3 – Solving My Own Problem
It’s now January, 2021, and Instagram never got back to me – I really don’t know if the fake me is gone. The last time I checked with Jessica was on October 31st. She pulled down her flag, and the fake me was still there. She flagged them again, and suggested that I report again. I did, but I have yet to hear anything from Instagram. It’s not a surprise – the only 2 social media sites that respond to me are Pinterest and Weebly.
The only proof I have that fake me isn’t operating - no one has messaged me about grants or strange messages since October.
I didn’t rely on reports to Instagram. I put up my own post with an image that reminds me of Darth Vader. I added a message that I was hacked on Facebook, my Facebook business page, Instagram, and Twitter. Here’s a copy of that post . . .
Someone hacked me on IG so if you get a weird message from what looks like me, it's not. I only message people I know personally, and I don't do anything with grants.
My friend Jessica said - flag that weird account, and let me know. I'll keep reporting until this person leaves my account alone.
I’m glad I did! Here are my stats – I reached 11 people on my Facebook business page, 3 on my personal page, 16 on Instagram, and 0 on Twitter. Those are the ones that I know of. I wonder how many took a look and then scrolled on down.
Instagram is where I had the biggest response, 16. I also had 2 people who commented on my post.
One wrote . . . I received a strange message as well. Sorry that happened to you.
Another wrote . . . Yeah, I got that message. Maybe that’s who hacked me.
Part 4 – IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING
That’s what four people did for me. I only know one of them personally. It only took a few minutes, but the other three made a huge difference in my business. The squeaky wheel gets oiled.
I left a reporting trail. I don’t know if it made any difference, but at least it’s there. My conscience is at peace because I tried to do the right thing.
If I’m ever in the shoes of those friends who helped me, I’ll do what they did. If I see something off, I’ll say something. I’ll message them on a different account like Linda and Karen did. They saw the fake messages on Instagram, but they contacted me on Facebook. I so appreciated them and their help!
I’ll also do what Jessica did – I’ll flag the account and send in a report. Unfortunately, I don’t know the grandmothers of most of my friends, but I’d call them if I did 😊
Looking back the best thing I did was putting my message out on social media. I know there were at least 30 people who heard my story, and two of them were touched enough to write on Instagram. That’s where the original fake account originated from.
So if you’re ever in my shoes and you’re hacked, or you see something that’s not quite right, I hope you’ll take my advice – See something, say something.
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!