May the Fourth is More than a Movie Meme

I was a high school senior in Westerville, Ohio, weeks away from graduation, when Kent State became national news for all the wrong reasons. Kent State University, a mere two hours away, was one of the few places of higher education on my list of colleges to consider. That tragic part of history etched itself in my memory. Do you remember May the fourth is more than a movie meme? On May 4, 1970 National Guardsmen opened fire on a crowd of Kent State students protesting the Vietnam War. They killed four and wounded nine. To this day, I still struggle to understand what happened and why. A Simplified Summary of The War The Second Indochina War, more commonly known as the Vietnam war probably began before World War II. But Japan’s invasion, defeat, and subsequent withdrawal from Vietnam left the nation vulnerable.  Communist-leaning, Ho Chi Minh claimed the northern city of Hanoi to be the capital of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, and appointed himself president. The French, wanting to reclaim control, backed Emperor Bao Dai. Saigon became the capitol of the state of Viet Nam. They wanted a country with close economic and cultural ties to the […]

When a Department Store was an Experience

Department Stores, they ain’t what they used to be. There was a time when a trip to the department store was an experience. You had a nice meal, you got personal service, and you were pampered. Before department stores came about, upper- and middle-class women didn’t go shopping. Door-to-door salesmen brought their wares to the home. Or servants went to stores for groceries and such. People thought it was too dangerous or risqué for a woman to be on the streets alone. The First The first department store opened in London in 1796. They sold furs, fans, haberdashery, jewelry, clocks, and hats. It was called Howell & Co’s Grand Fashionable Magazine  Macy’s opened in 1878. Department store owners sought upper- and middle-class customers. Everyone else lacked the time or the money to shop at their leisure.  Whoever said that money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping. — Bo Derek The Experience Aimed at women with money, most stores had elegant tea rooms or full restaurants. The buildings had high ceilings, luxury fixtures, and beautiful views. They had lounging areas, personal assistants to help you shop, and weekly fashion shows. Women loved the freedom that shopping gave […]

Inspiration from Fire and Brimstone and Redemption--the history of the Great Awakening

Inspiration from Fire and Brimstone and Redemption.

I come from a family with deep roots in conservative religion and found inspiration from fire and brimstone and redemption. Where did I find that inspiration? American Christianity has a history of periodic revivals of conservative religious fervor called the Great Awakening. During each of these periods of Awakening, there were widespread revivals led by evangelicals The phrase “Great Awakening” refers to all the periods collectively. The term Awakening refers to the awakening of interest in religion. REVIVALS Revivals were a series of religious gatherings. They lasted from three days to a week or more. Meetings would happen in the same location at the same time every day or evening. At these meetings, the evangelist preached of fire and brimstone and redemption. In the American South revivals were commonly held in tents through the summer months. In the northern states, halls and auditoriums were rented. Some areas and denominations continue to hold annual tent revivals to this day. Thousands attended these revivals. The evangelists produced a profound sense of conviction and redemption among believers. The Fellowship in my novel, My Soul to Keep, was created with this history in mind. WHEN Historians agree that there were three Awakenings. The First […]