Saturday, July 10, 2021

 

During our most recent trip south to visit our son and his family, we made a “slight left turn” and dropped in on the Tennessee town of Greeneville, which we found has an important place in USA history.  That’s because President Andrew Johnson (17th president, 1865 - 1869) lived here…

Who was Andrew Johnson, you might ask?   Long story...with the majority of what follows found on Wikipedia.  He assumed the presidency as he was vice president at the time of the assassination of Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865.  Johnson was a Democrat who ran with Lincoln on the National Union ticket, coming to office as the Civil War concluded. He favored quick restoration of the seceded states to the Union without protection for the former slaves. This led to conflict with the Republican-dominated Congress, culminating in his impeachment by the House of Representatives in 1868. He was acquitted in the Senate by one vote.

Johnson was born into poverty in Raleigh, North Carolina, and he never attended school. He was apprenticed as a tailor and worked in several frontier towns before settling in Greeneville, Tennessee. He served as alderman and mayor there before being elected to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 1835. After brief service in the Tennessee Senate, Johnson was elected to the House of Representatives in 1843, where he served five two-year terms. He became governor of Tennessee for four years, and was elected by the legislature to the Senate in 1857. In his congressional service, he sought passage of the Homestead Bill, which was enacted soon after he left his Senate seat in 1862. Southern slave states seceded to form the Confederate States of America, including Tennessee, but Johnson remained firmly with the Union. He was the only sitting senator from a Confederate state who did not resign his seat upon learning of his state's secession. In 1862, Lincoln appointed him as Military Governor of Tennessee after most of it had been retaken. In 1864, Johnson was a logical choice as running mate for Lincoln, who wished to send a message of national unity in his re-election campaign; and became vice president after a victorious election in 1864.

After Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, then-President Johnson implemented his own form of Presidential Reconstruction, a series of proclamations directing the seceded states to hold conventions and elections to reform their civil governments. Southern states returned many of their old leaders and passed Black Codes to deprive the freedmen of many civil liberties, but Congressional Republicans refused to seat legislators from those states and advanced legislation to overrule the Southern actions. Johnson vetoed their bills, and Congressional Republicans overrode him, setting a pattern for the remainder of his presidency.  Johnson opposed the Fourteenth Amendment which gave citizenship to former slaves. This did not endear him to many folks.  In 1866, he went on an unprecedented national tour promoting his executive policies, seeking to break Republican opposition. As conflict grew between the branches of government, Congress passed the Tenure of Office Act restricting Johnson's ability to fire Cabinet officials. He persisted in trying to dismiss Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, but ended up being impeached by the House of Representatives and narrowly avoided conviction in the Senate. He didn’t win the 1868 Democratic presidential nomination and left office the following year.

Johnson returned to Tennessee after his presidency, and gained some vindication when he was elected to the Senate in 1875, making him the only former president to serve in the Senate. He died five months into his term. Johnson's strong opposition to federally-guaranteed rights for black Americans is widely criticized; he is regarded by many historians as one of the worst presidents in American history.  (Wonder where he fits in, compared to some of our more recent ones?)

As for Greeneville itself, it’s a lovely town.  We found the pretty little train station (naturally), still in use but not as a railroad station.  As for his residence “The Homestead”,  Johnson owned it for 24 years, and lived here both before and after his presidency. During the Civil War, soldiers occupied the property and left it in disrepair. The Johnsons renovated it when they returned from Washington, filling it with Victorian furnishings and political gifts. Three generations of the family then occupied the home, before placing it in the stewardship of the National Park Service. 

 




And a very pretty property it is – that back porch is simply spectacular!  It would be fun to go back for a tour when we have more time!

Mandy

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Another quickie!

 

When I started combing through the pictures I took at the recent meeting with former co-workers, one thing became quite obvious. Now you may remember that a couple of the girls complimented my ballet flats. Nothing else "girly" was indicated. However, when I took a look at the pictures, I noticed one thing which was "bigly" amiss.  See below!

Did you notice that my legs were noticeably un-tanned? That "winter-pale" appearance may be what drew their attention down to my feet. You might say that "it's the light!" Yes, some of it is definitely the light - there wasn't much of that. The man next to me is standing in even a bit less light. However, not that much. And in better light, his were still much more tanned than mine. Might have something to do with the pandemic, and not having been out to enjoy the spring weather.

But now my task is to slowly (without getting burned) get out in the sun for a cursory attempt to make the sun be my friend...and without stirring up a melanoma. When I wear skirts and dresses, I really don't want my legs to be so jarringly pale!

Wish me luck...

Mandy


Monday, June 7, 2021

A local "trip!"

 

As “Mr. Rogers” might say, it was a “beautiful day in the neighborhood.”  I suggested to Wifey that we might as well get out and about on such a pretty day – and visit someplace on the Delmarva that we had not previously been.  Destination selected:  New Castle, Delaware (not far from Wilmington.)  It has lots of old historic buildings (as in 1700’s and 1800’s), and is very quaint.  Sort of like Williamsburg, VA – only closer, without crossing any big bridges.

 

But what to wear?  She pointed out that temperature was a bit too cool for shorts, and a bit too warm for the leggings I had put on that morning, so the logical compromise was a pair of light gray capris.  And, she pointed out that it would be a good chance to wear my white sandals all day.  (We both wished that the new ones I’d ordered recently had arrived, but no such luck.)

 

A couple of photos of note:  I noticed a hearse drive by, and chuckled at the license plate number.  In the attached photo you may be able to read it, but if not – it’s “DEAD.”   Quite appropriate - especially for the passenger along for the ride in the cargo area. 

 

 


 

Before we left, Wifey took a picture of me – standing beside Immanuel Episcopal Church.  This church was  founded in 1689, and is one of the oldest Episcopal parishes in the United States. Immanuel's parishoners have been worshipping on the spot where the church stands for over 325 years. USA history and that of the town of New Castle have always been closely linked, and continue to be so today.

 


 

 

We chose not to eat in the few restaurants which were open, and the closures probably were a result of town not being crowded,  such that we found a decent parking place.  With the lack of people, and only some stores open, we had few interactions with anyone, though I did notice women saying “Hi” as we walked by. (Of course, I responded.) We had a great time that day, and just before we left, Wifey took a quick picture of me, with Immanuel Church in the background: 

 

We hope to get back again soon, in “normal” times, whenever they begin!

 

Hugs,

 

Mandy

 

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Easter greetings!

 To all my readers who celebrate Easter, may you have a safe, happy and healthy holiday!

Mandy

A quickie:

 

Recently I was making some repairs to a piece of furniture, using our antique staple gun to reattach a loose back.  And wouldn’t you know, the stapler ran out of staples.  Couldn’t find any around the house.  So, off to the local hardware store…in my everyday women’s stirrup pants outfit and ballet flats, carrying my purse.  I asked the young lady at the checkout counter where to find them.  She told me, and said “I’ll have someone meet you in aisle 10, Ma’am.”  “Thank you so much, Miss.” 

 

As I stood there, blankly staring at the old staple gun and trying to figure out how to open it, a 20-something young man approached. (Bear in mind that the staple gun was probably 30 years older than the clerk, and did not have any staple info on it.) “May I help you, Ma’am?” 

 

So I asked him if he could find some staples that will work.  And after having struggled to get it open, I couldn’t resist saying I couldn’t get it to open either, but didn’t want to break a nail.  Which got a laugh out of him as he worked.  It took trying about 10-12 different sizes of staples, before finding one which fit.   That consumed almost 15 minutes…but I was so happy to have them, it didn’t really matter!  New staple guns cost about 3 to 5 times what the pack of staples did.

 

At the checkout counter, the clerk omitted gender-specific terms.  No problem with that approach: the good news is that it was another day during which I didn’t hear the dreaded “S” word!

 

Mandy

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Gotta take it in stride...

 

Had a (rare) occasion to visit a big box store during our visit to the kids' place in TN before Christmas, in my everyday attire – stirrup pants, turtleneck tunic, flats with trouser socks, and of course, long hair and nails, purse, a mask, and a women’s heavy hoodie due to the cold. Didn’t notice any questioning glances from passers-by.  But when I stopped to ask a nearby twentysomething female stock clerk where to find the product I needed, it prompted a strange reaction.

 

“Pardon me, Miss, where will I find  ________?”  She looked up at me from her duties, stared like she’d seen a ghost, and stuttered out something like “Oh sorry Miss - ummm Ma’am - ummm Sir, I don’t know, but I’ll get someone who does.”  She called a different clerk on her communicator to help me there in aisle 24, and then said “Excuse me now.”  And she skedaddled for parts unknown.  

 

She didn’t have her name tag on, so without a "lineup," identification would be difficult, and I desperately wanted to make my purchase so I could get out of there as soon as possible.  With the virus running rampant these days, and being in the heart of the bible belt, the issue simply wasn’t worth pursuing, for my own physical well-being.  There's a rotten apple in every barrel, and at the end of the day, that rotten apple eventually gets discarded.  (Like that pharmacy clerk who was fired for his actions against me a while back.)  Thankfully the male clerk who showed up was able to help, without any gender references (a professional response) and he took it in stride.

 

I wonder if perhaps the girl was a seasonal hire without sufficient diversity training, very religious and thus not wanting to associate in any way with, or even speak to, “one of those tranny sinners,” or just plain out-and-out bigoted.  I’ll never know, but for the time we’ve spent in the south, it’s likely the first bad reaction I’ve noted.

 

And at the gas station where I picked up a snack right afterward, I was addressed as female, by a 20something female.

 

As it should be…

 

Mandy

Monday, January 18, 2021

Thanks....

 

Thanks to Anuj and his team at Feedspot for including my blog in their "Top 100 Transgender Blogs" this year.  I’ll try to live up to the honor they have bestowed!

 

Mandy...