Monday, April 16, 2007

Blue Day Here and Around the Country

On my drive home from work I heard of the horrific tragedy that struck Virginia Tech this morning. As I write this, hundreds of parents and families are dying a slow death and scrambling to learn of the welfare of their loved one. They are on the road and booking flights across the nation. I can hardly imagine the fear and trembling they are feeling right now.

Images of the numerous students I know personally who attended Virginia Tech rushed through my mind and the only consolation I have is knowing that they have graduated from the college and are safe from a crazed shooter who has killed thirty-three thus far and injured as many ~ the worst killing spree in U.S. history.

I am sick and grief-stricken. Few details are known and I’m still processing, in my mind, this awful crime. My anger can’t be suppressed right now.

In 1999, the deadly massacre at Columbine High School shook the nation. The high school in which I worked, and where my daughter attended that same year, took immediate steps in developing a crisis management plan. Safety lock-down doors were installed but the main entrance was open with a sign that read, “All Visitors Must Register at the Main Office”. No help there.

For a few years, until 2005, I worked in a State office building for the Delaware Department of Education. All four entrances to that building were open to the public during working hours. At one of those entrances, my cubicle was the first stop for the general public and on a daily basis, the scum of the streets would enter the building and approach me to ask for directions to the nearest restroom. It was my restroom they wanted to visit, so I had a hard heart and directed them back onto the streets. Were they disease ridden? Were they packing a revolver? I put that thought out of my mind and took my chances on receiving a possible conflict.

There are grave failures happening in our society. Is the media responsible for the sensationalism attached to violent crimes that triggers repeated scenarios in the minds of potential killers? Will gun control laws inhibit these crimes? Or, do “family values” fall short in raising respectful citizens? It’s so complex and miserable.

Let’s face it. We are all sitting ducks. That’s why we should tell our loved ones, as often as possible, just how much we cherish them. A simple, “I Love You” will do at least once a day.



The weather is wild. In my area, sustained winds are at 30 mph, with 50+ mph gusts (70+ mph in the mountains, not far from us). There has been terrible damage in the surrounding areas. This is the first time my feeders flew off the station.

It hasn’t been a good day but it’s my birthday and I’d like to end this morose post with something a little light-hearted.

I’ve been admiring the childhood photos of blogger friends I’ve seen in recent posts. After looking for a few of my own, I realize that I don’t have many childhood photos that my parents kept. I’ll find them on my next trip to Maryland! There is one color photo that my Mother had taken of me, around a year of age, sitting near a stream of water and I was examining a tall weed next to it. I can't find that photo! I didn’t walk until I was about 16 months old, I think, because I was the observant type and was content to sit and contemplate pools of water and grass. I haven’t changed much! (Gee, I wish my scanner would work. I've been technology challenged lately...)


I guess it was me who found an ink pen and marked myself up.

Around the age of three, just inside the Baltimore City limits. Rowhomes were new. Never one for wearing dresses, I smelled like dirt most of the time. Yes, I haven’t changed too much!


entoto said...


Your kiddo pictures show such a cutie-patootie!

KGMom said...

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Mary, happy birthday to you!
My husband & I have done nothing but talk about the VA Tech tragedy this evening.
On Sept. 11, our daughter was a student at Georgetown in Wash., DC, and could see the smoke from the Pentagon. Then Army trucks rumbled up & down the streets. She came home for the weekend. Parents everywhere with VA Tech kids are hoping for good news. Some won't get it.
The photo of baby you--you could remove the ink marks by using Photoshop. Not too hard to do.
Anyway--have a good birthday and many more.

KGMom said...

P.S. Mary, I fixed it on Photoshop--if you send me an email, I can send you the fixed copy. (dfwenger AT gmail DOT com)

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Happy Birthday you cutie-pie you!!

I cherish you and your friendship and I love you for what you bring to my life each day.

Cuppa said...

Oh, you look like the Gerber Baby with the little top-knot of hair. Cute, cute, cute!

Happy Birthday to one of my favorite blog buddies.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Mary! Cute pictures! I agree that this could easily be photoshopped out in a short period of time!

Regarding the bad events today, this is crazy and only heard about it ~ 7pm today! Watching it on the news now, how crazy!

Ruth said...

What a bitter sweet day for you. The news is horrific, but I wish you a happy birthday and many more.

Susie said...

Terrible news for any day, but especially on your birthday.
Such cute baby photos!
Happy Birthday!

LauraHinNJ said...

Happy Day, Mary! Hope you had occasion to smile at some point on your birthday.

I really hate to see the school being blamed for this, or the campus police. College campuses are not elementary or high schools that have just one entrance and can easily be monitored. We should blame only the crazy person who did this.

I don't have a clue what the *emergency plan* is at my college! That scares me - what would I do for those students I'm responsible for?

My full-time job has scurity guards posted at both entrances and employees and visitors are supposed to show badges for entrance, but you know how that is. A joke!

LauraHinNJ said...

Forgot to say how cute you are as a baby!

Can't imagine you as tomboy playing in the dirt though - as much as you look the part!

Unknown said...

Happy Birthday, Mary! Thanks for the cute pics!

I, too, was deeply affected by the VA Tech tragedy. Having worked at a University for years, it was all too easy to imagine being in a classroom or in an office and having that happen. Very scary!

I think it's also important to remember that while we don't know what happened here yet, at Columbine, stranger protection wouldn't have helped . . . it came from within. I think your advice to make sure you share your love with your loved ones is the best advice possible.

It seems silly to say that I'm sorry this happened on your birthday but it's true -- birthdays SHOULD be happy, carefree celebrations of life. I wish you many, many more happy birthdays!

thailandchani said...

Cute pictures.. and Happy Birthday to you. :)



Susan Gets Native said...

Happy birthday, you dirt-rollin', Boston-lovin', snort-inducin', happiness-spreadin', bird-watchin', lovely person you!

One of my favorite people on the planet, my niece, is in her freshman year at a local college, and I have spent the day trying to reassure myself that she is fine.
I am interested to find out what made this person do such a thing. And I can't stop thinking about the parents who sent their children off to get a higher education, who now have to plan funerals for them.

LostRoses said...

Mary, Happy birthday, and many more! (And many more life birds too). Darling photos, I love seeing these old pictures on everyone's blogs. Funny how we don't really change, do we? You can still see the child in the grown-up.

A sad day, too. Thinking of the parents of so many slain students is heartbreaking. The Columbine anniversary is this week and it's still so fresh in so many minds. The families live with that forever. I agree with your advice about telling loved ones 'I love you.'

Anonymous said...

Dear Mary...Happy Happy Birthday!!! Again..I loved your pictures..and those baby pictures! So cute!

The school many people grieving for their children and family members. And so many others who were hurt but survived. No one should have to suffer that way. I hope something good can come out of this huge tragedy, but for now I can't imagine what that could be.

May today be a happier day for us all!

Mary said...

Trixie, thank you! All babies are cuties.

Donna, my daughter was a college student on Sept. 11 but was 7 hours south of DC. We lived a little north of Baltimore then, right in the middle of the mess. THANK YOU for touching up my photo. It looks great!

Lynne, I always look forward to your sunny posts, too. You are a terrific friend. I wish you would post more often ;o)

Cuppa, it's funny you should mention Gerber Baby - that's what they call me back then.

Mon@rch, thanks! I can't believe most of us didn't hear about it until dinner hours!

Ruth, thanks. The day wasn't too bad but I've had better birthdays!

Susie, thanks. I made the best of a saddening day.

Laura, all schools are wide open - even elementary schools to a degree. The sequence of events are unraveling every hour. I don't think the tactical teams were prepared but they can't be blamed for the murders. I was a tomboy - always preferred cars and dirt over baby dolls.

Liza, those of us in educational institutions aren't more safe than anyone else, I guess. But it's easier for a shooter to take out a whole lecture hall than to pick and choose which office to hit next. Oh, this is too morbid.

Chani, thanks - peace to you, too :o)

Susan, thanks for the giggles last night. I appreciate you!

Lost Roses, thanks for the wishes! More birds! I'd love more new birds but they are scarce lately...

Dorothy, I'm hoping today will shed some light on this awful killing. I'm sad the shooter killed himself. Someone else should have had the pleasure.

Jayne said...

Dang Mary! I missed your birthday??? Happy belated birthday dear heart! You share a birthday with ~m2~ as well, so you are in good company! I hope it was beautiful. Love the baby photos.... you cutie pie!

Cathy said...

Oh my gosh! I missed your birthday. Mary! Happy Birthday! I'm so sorry it was marred by the horror at Virginia Tech. Your thoughts at the end of your post are precisely my own - precisely:

'We are all sitting ducks. That’s why we should tell our loved ones, as often as possible, just how much we cherish them. A simple, “I Love You” will do at least once a day.'

Good advice. That and a plan to re-hang the feeders and to gather some more dirt on knees and under nails :0D

What a cutie. I'll bet your parents were smitten.

Annie in Austin said...

Belated birthday wishes, Mary - and you were one adorable baby.

Would it help you to know that a couple of other garden/nature bloggers have special feelings and connections to Virginia Tech?

One of them, Gotta Garden has a daughter there, and in South Carolina Pam from Tales from the Lab has a tale of connection, too.

Oh, those poor families - it's a terrible story.


Anonymous said...

Best wishes to you!

Melsie14 said...

It's nice to see photos of people when they were small. I only have one picture when I was really young, but a lot more as I was growing up.

If you would like to check out some of my pictures on flickr go to harmzies x 5 Hope you enjoy!!

sonia a. mascaro said...

Happy Birthday, dear Mary! All the best to you! Your baby photos are very cute!

I agree with Susie, terrible news for any day. Very, very sad, an enormous tragedy!

Chrissie said...

Happy Birthday, Mary!
We have heard of the tragedy over here, it was on our front page this morning. Sending love to you all!

kate said...

Happy belated birthday, Mary! I am sorry I missed out yesterday in sending birthday wishes to you. It is a sad time in the US - gun violence is a terrible thing.

It sounds as if your weather has been quite miserable ... I hope the worst of it is over and you can enjoy spring again.

You are a delight to read ... a breath of fresh air for me!

dmmgmfm said...

Happy Birthday, Mary. I wish you many, many more.

Anonymous said...

I found your blog by way of Sonia. Wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday. Love your baby pictures.

My prayers are with those in VA who are dealing with the loss. I think we are all still in shock that something like this can still happen.

Take care,

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!

I'd like to think that we are not sitting ducks, or rather, that we can sit for the most part in safety. I think as long as we want an open society, that we have to realize what the possible consequences are - such as what happened yesterday. It's tragic, and incomprehensible. But I do hope that Virginia Tech's doors remain open. I would also be sad if they became locked.

Jess Riley said...

Happy birthday Mary! And what an adorable baby you were. :)

Gotta Garden said...

Happy Belated Birthday! Oh, I do hope you won't associate your birthday with all that...thanks for your thoughts and words...I agree with Kate!

Baltimore! Not all that far from me! I love that you were a little earth oriented person even cute!