Yesterday I came across this photo from 1998 or 1999. We have changed.
Life is a mystery. The more I live the more I wonder and question -- and re-question -- my life and experiences and the universe. This is good because mystery and wonder make life new, exciting and good!
The Bean Dance (Powamu) is the most complex of all ceremonies and is considered to be one of the most important of the Kachina dances. It occurs in February, and is divided into two parts. One part is the time when disciplining of the children occurs, and the second part is to promote fertility for the upcoming growing season, which is when the initiated males grow beans in the kivas. The Katsinam appear in the villages carrying the bean sprouts and bringing gifts for the children in the morning and a dance is held later that night. Young children are also initiated at this time into the Katsina societies.
The disciplining of children occurs during the other part of the Bean Dance ceremony. That is the time when the Katsinam in this painting appear. During the Powamu, or purification ceremony, there is a procession of Katsinam that will go from house to house to lecture unruly children, and in some situations, adults. They are, from left to right, Ha-hai Wuhti, the grandmother Katsina and also the mother of the monsters. Behind her stands a Soyoko known as the Black Nata-aska, an uncle from the Ogre family, and two Soyok' Wuhti's who are attendants and considered to be Aunties. Behind them is another Ogre known as Wiharu, or White Ogre. He is also an uncle, as are the four other Soyokos standing behind him. The last three Katsinam are He-heya's. They are uncles also.
As the Ha-hai Wuhti talks to the children, she will tell them what they are doing wrong and give them assignments to prove their worthiness. She also informs the children that she will feed them to the Soyoko's if they fail to meet their tasks. At this time all of the Uncles will begin growling as their mouths flap and their saws are raked across the ground. At the same time, the Ha-hai Wuhti will also inform the children that the Aunties have baskets of food for the Uncles, but, they could be added to the basket if they don't behave. During this ordeal, the three He-heya's will be intimidating the children with their ropes as if they want to tie them up. This is a very solemn time, and the audience watches with great reverence. It is a time of regeneration, a time when purity is renewed and the beginning of another life cycle.
Monsters enter the village and go to each house, threatening to eat children who have misbehaved, and demanding fresh meat. (It is my opinion that these monsters represent hunger and the lesson of preparing for winter is well-taught.)
To measure age stereotypes, participants were asked, "When you think of an old person, what are the first five words or phrases that come to mind?" The responses were judged on how negative or positive they were and how internal or external they were. Stereotypes rated negative included "senile" and "feeble," whereas stereotypes rated positive included "wise" and "active." External stereotypes included visual images such as grey hair, wrinkles and stooped posture. The study adjusted for initial levels of hearing, as well as several other variables that are known to affect hearing including age, education, gender, race, depression, chronic conditions and smoking history.
Older persons with more negative and external age stereotypes performed worse on hearing measures at the end of the three-year study. According to Levy, "Hearing loss is the third most common chronic condition among persons age 65 years and older and can lead to increased social isolation, self-denigration, loneliness and depression.
Negative and external feelings about old age, in other words, can actually make people physically age faster. And the effect is not limited to hearing alone. Similar studies have found that negative stereotypes about aging contribute to memory loss and cardiovascular weakness, and even reduce overall life expectancy by an average of 7.5 years.
My brother Paul sent this to my email. He was supposed to be answering a question but told me I had to read this first. I loved it! (He knew I would. Glad I was compliant.) Not only did I thoroughly enjoy the blog post, but I loved the unretired grampa part and the picture of you little granddaughter. She is precious and wonderful!
I will soon be 62 so this is particularly interesting to me. For several reasons. First because of the grief my dad had to put up with when the men he worked with found out I was going to college. (He was a machinist.) I guess his co-workers kept telling him how foolish it was for him to let me go to college. They said I would only get married anyway. Although my dad really liked the guys, he was truly irritated. He finally responded that evidently they considered their daughters second class children. He went on to say that he had two daughters and they were not second class children to his son. I guess he couldn’t resist. But he ended the conversation that had persisted several days by saying that if I wanted to get married some day, at least at college I might find someone who would appreciate me; and he liked that idea a whole lot better than thinking I would marry someone like them who would not. When he was telling me about the incident, he went on to say, “Remember honey, you never have to work for a man if you don’t want to. You can do whatever you want. Let them work for you!” I doubt my brother or sister have ever heard that story. I don’t see why they would have. He was ahead of his time, and I am so glad for it!!
The second reason I love the story is that from the first day of school I knew I wanted to teach. I loved school! Imagine if I had lived at a time or in a place where little girls were not educated. At that time, at least in West Virginia, there was no kindergarten. So we entered first grade. My brother and all my cousins next door were already in shcool. And I thought it highly unfair that I couldn’t go when I wanted. When I finally got to go, I waited patiently for the teacher to give me homework like by brother and cousins had. She didn’t! So finally I asked for some. She wisely gave me some. When questioned at home about why I had homework, I explained I had asked for it. I’m SURE Paul does not remembe this, but he went around complaining that he had the dumbest sister in the whole school and everyone would know it and he didn’t want to go the next day. I ignored it all and did my homework!