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Contact me at Mom25dogs@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Civil War Sesquitennial

Stan and I really wanted to go to Charleston, SC last Tuesday for the 150th anniversary of the first shot fired that started the War of Northern Aggression. But he had to work. We were so disappointed. But I found these photos on the Internet and used them to make a scrapbook layout of the Civil War Sesquitennial.


I'm sure you've heard the term, "carpetbagger" but do you know where it came from and what it means?

Before "recycling" was cool, it was a necessity. Carpetbags were cheap luggage during the Reconstruction Era (after the War of Northern Aggression). It was recycled carpet made into bags. But the term, "carpetbaggers", came from Southerners who used the term to describe the opportunists from the North.

After the War of Northern Aggression, the devastated South was enemy occupied territory. Northern armies occupied the southern states and our state governments were forcibly changed. All of this was done, not for the betterment of former slaves or mankind, but for unscupulous people to take opportunity to make money off of us. Carpetbaggers saw money in the process and came down here to make their fortune off of us. It was used as a derogatory term, suggesting opportunism and exploitation by the outsiders. The relocated northerners often formed alliances with freed slaves and southern whites who were Republicans, who were nicknamed scalawags. Together they are said to have politically manipulated and controlled former Confederate states for varying periods for their own financial and power gains. The term carpetbaggers was also used to describe the white Northern Republican political appointees who came South, arriving with their travel carpetbags. They had no knowledge of, connections to or sympathy for the Southern area they were placed in charge of. And they had no intention of listening or cooperating. Southerners considered these Northern appointees ready to loot and plunder the defeated South and they generally did.

This term did not refer to abolitionists, reformers, missionaries and schoolteachers who really came South to try to help people. Most of the freed blacks had not had any education or experience in leadership so what could you expect but that they were led by the nose by the more sophisticated Northern carpetbaggers. But carpetbaggers were both white and black. The black carpetbaggers were, at the best, naive and easily led, and, at the worst, greedy as their white colleagues. To make money off of misery is the lowest of the low. Whether you make it off the backs of the poor slaves or you make it off the backs of the poor and defeated white Southerners. It shows that greed, selfishness, cruelty and evil are no respecter of persons.

The backlash of the Reconstruction Era corruption and carpetbagging politics came in the form of white supremacy groups like the infamous KKK. After the South somewhat stabilized then these groups began to form as the suppressed anger boiled to a boiling point. Wrath was taken out on those who were probably lowest on the totem pole... blacks. We had lost the Civil War and had no ability to start it up again so whites reached out against those they could get to... the blacks in their own communities.

A typical human response is misplaced anger. For instance, you get dumped on by your boss but you can't complain and yell at him so you come home and yell at your wife. If you yell at your boss, you get fired. The price is too high. But if you yell at your wife, she has to take it. So that's what you do. Whites couldn't retaliate against the U.S. government again so they jumped on the blacks who had no advocates or power.

All of it was so wrong, wrong, wrong. Slavery was wrong, mistreatment and abuse of slaves was wrong, trying to dominate the Southern states to the enrichment of Northerners was wrong, Abraham Lincoln starting the War of Northern Aggression was wrong, the politics and corruption of Reconstruction was wrong, the greed of carpetbaggers was wrong, white supremacy groups were wrong, civil rights abuses for whites or blacks are wrong. It just kept escalating like a snowball effect and so many have paid the price for it over several hundreds of years. Innocent people, whites and blacks, families, have paid dearly for these terrible injustices.

We are very blessed to live in a more enlightened time but don't ever think that we are more civilized today. Greed is still a great sin. Pride and power still drives. Selfishness runs rampant. Corruption is still practised. And we are doomed to repeat the vices of our forefathers unless we realize that all are sinners. We all sin and come short of the glory of God. None of us are good. We all have the potential for evil and we are born with an evil human nature.

What is the answer? Jesus Christ! He is the only way to be forgiven and saved. As long as we live we will have to contend with our human nature but once we are saved we have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit which works within us to grow our new spirit. If we allow the Holy Spirit to work in us then we can be better people. If we listen to God, we can do good things instead of bad. If we follow His Ways, we can do the right thing instead of the wrong thing.

Romans 8:6-13 (Contemporary English Version)
If our minds are ruled by our desires, we will die. But if our minds are ruled by the Spirit, we will have life and peace.
Our desires fight against God, because they do not and cannot obey God's laws.
If we follow our desires, we cannot please God.
You are no longer ruled by your desires, but by God's Spirit, who lives in you. People who don't have the Spirit of Christ in them don't belong to him.
But Christ lives in you. So you are alive because God has accepted you, even though your bodies must die because of your sins.
Yet God raised Jesus to life! God's Spirit now lives in you, and he will raise you to life by his Spirit.
My dear friends, we must not live to satisfy our desires.
If you do, you will die. But you will live, if by the help of God's Spirit you say "No" to your desires.
Only those people who are led by God's Spirit are his children.

Home Offices

"Office" stems from the Latin officium meaning "service", "(sense of) duty", "courtesy", "ceremony" and refers to the working room of an official of the government. There was also the scriptoriums where monks handcopied the scriptures. Scriptorium means "a place for writing" and is commonly used to refer to a room in medieval European monasteries devoted to the copying of biblical manuscripts. They would have been rooms off the library of the monastery. There weren't as many as we might think.

Chancery is a general term for a medieval writing office, responsible for the production of official documents. The medieval chancery was usually the place where most government letters were written and where laws were copied in the administration of a kingdom. The rooms of the chancery often had walls full of pigeonholes, constructed to hold rolled up pieces of parchment for safekeeping or ready reference, a precursor to the book shelf or filing cabinet.

The term "red tape" comes from the way solicitors used to file. They would gather all the documents for a case and stack them and tie them with red tape to keep them together. Remember this was before they had file folders, hanging files and file cabinets. They stored their files horizontally in flat files.

Roll top desks had all the little organizing cubby holes and flat file drawers that the office of the 19th century needed.

The offices of yesterday have shaped the offices of today but we have come a long way! The office was a place to do your work and store your necessary files. But they had less paper back then and so their methods of filing and organizing were very different than they are today. Cubby holes, flat filing were their way of organizing. And everything was in wood. Usually good hardwood like oak and walnut. This made them very heavy but since you can still find them, it means they were well made.

How would you like to sit in this all day long typing with the old timey typewriters. I learned on one and your fingers had to have strength to push those keys. Talk about carpal tunnel syndrome!?! And your timing had to be good or all those mechanical keys on legs would jam up. And you had to be meticulous because mistakes and typos were a pill to fix. Most of the time, you just had to rip out the paper and start over again!

Notice the typing desk? The typewriter is bolted on a flip shelf. When not in use, the typewriter flipped upside down which made the desk flat. When the typewriter was needed, you flipped it back over and it gave you the correct hand position. My parents had a desk just like this one at one time. We used it a lot but not with the typewriter. Also notice all the flat file drawers and cubby holes.

If you were a VIP or wealthy, you might have an office chair like this one.

The old wooden pieces can still be found and will function very well. If you luck up on a bargain antique desk or file cabinet, it's worth thinking outside the box!

With the Industrial Revolution, businesses grew astronomically and the availability of paper and the printing presses meant more and more bookkeepping. So offices in the business world required more and more clerical workers and managers to keep up with the paper work. Technology changed rapidly and soon the office had to change to accomodate the technology. For instance, everything used to have to be written by quill and ink. Then we got printing presses. Then more readily available paper. And pencils and ink pens. Then typewriters. Then carbon paper in order to make at least one copy of each typewritten page. The ballpoint pen came out in the 1930's. Then there were the electric typewriter. Then we jumped to dedicated word processors. Then big bulky computers and now the trim, flat screen computers. So for centuries mankind was using bird feathers and homemade inks on parchments that were handmade. The printing press was such a giant leap. But with the Industrial Revolution, within 150 years, we went from pencil and paper to emails and online conferencing. My Grandfather was born in 1898 and he would be 113 today. So within his, my parent's and my generation, we have gone from paper and pencil to computers and emails. That is a very rapid change considering the thousands of years before.

After the wooden office furniture, came the steel age. We had the old steel desks, filing cabinets, credenzas, steel office chairs, etc. The old steel office furniture is still available too. Made like tanks, they still work and function perfectly. Refurbishing vintage steel office furniture makes for some nice pieces that will still last you forever. It looks particularly attractive in modern decor. They are very heavy so the mobility is limited unless you have some very strong backs. But, once placed, they last forever. I mean, a desk you purchase today will be lucky to last a few years. The pressed wood under the laminate is not a particularly lasting material. And they are less attractive. The old steel desks are at least 50-60 years old and still going strong. Can you say that about the desk you buy today?

Go with the original patina or have them sandblasted and brought to a shiny steel or have them repainted in any color you want!

The real steel chair, not the cheap lookalikes.

A steel credenza

In my first home office, I used old steel filing cabinets like these with a countertop over them for my desk. It worked beautifully. This looks like a good idea for a kitchen too.

There was a swing back to wood and the dark walnut desks were in style.

I currently have one of these walnut executive desks and it's a jewel. Mine doesn't have the floating desktop. But it has a laminate desktop like this one which was smart as laminate doesn't get scratched up. It had the look of wood but the scratch resistance of laminate. These are heavy desks too.

Today, it's not just wealthy businessmen who need home offices. Everyone of us need a place to do our business and put in our computer time. If we are blessed, we have a separate room for a home office. But many have to think outside the box and make space for our home office. I did some Googling to find ideas for home offices. I tried to find ideas for those who have to carve a space out of another room and for those of us who have dedicated rooms. People are so creative and I found a lot of different styles to give you some ideas.

First you need to decide what you need an office for. What are you needs and interests. Will you be doing crafting in your office? Genealogy, like me? Do you keep a checkbook (the simple way) or do you keep detailed financial records like I do? Are you writing a book or writing in your journal? Is it research or school work? Are you using it to go through your mail and send cards and invitations? What do you need to store in your office? Will one file drawer be enough or do you need a bank of file cabinets? Decide what you need and what you need to store.

Then decide where your office will be. Will it be in a closet? A corner of the den? Will you use the 3rd bedroom for an office? Will you use the breakfast room or have a kitchen desk? Will you use the sitting area in your master bedroom? The bonus room? Maybe you don't use a formal dining room but you would use an office every day... then maybe you should use the dining room as your office. Maybe you need total privacy to work at home so you may consider buying a separate storage shed and insulating it and turning it into an office. Remodel a garden shed or separate garage. Or finish a basement or attic room for an office. I use our sunroom for an office. Originally it was a sun porch with large windows, skylights, plant shelf and tile floor. But I don't need a sunroom. So it made a perfect office.

Keep in mind that it needs to work for you! It needs to be functioning first and foremost. Then it needs to be organized and efficient. And, finally, it needs to appeal to you. It should be attractive in your eyes. You don't want it to be a place you dread to go to, but a retreat where you can get things done. It doesn't have to be magazine perfect. In fact, if it is, you won't want to "mess it up" by doing work there. But it does need to be funtioning.

For me I need a TV in my office. This makes it homey for me. I watch my soaps while I'm working on a project or updating my finances. But maybe you like music or quiet is conducive to your work. Some people like having a window with a view. Some young mothers need a corner for a playpen or a children's play center. Some need bookshelves and others need storage shelves, etc. Some people like having a plant in their office or some family photos, others like the minimalist look. It must function and appeal to you! The chairs you sit in for any length of time should be comfortable! And some people need dual work stations. For instance a desk for the husband and a desk for the wife or two children or you and your assistant. You want good lighting and you need plenty of electrical outlets.

Now here are the ones I found on the Internet. Thanks for the great ideas!

Notice how the round table can scoot back to the desks and used as part of the desk!

Office Ideas

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