Thursday, July 4, 2024



Gratz Park/Transylvania University area, Lexington, KY, July 3, 2024

I'm feeling less patriotic than I used to, due to current events, but I still love to see children sitting on old porch steps and stone walls, eating their hot dogs, popcorn, ice cream and popsicles on the holiday, and I am still proud of the following 5 things, which at least at present, still remain intact in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution: 

1)  The right to dissent in independence, currently still without official sanction. 
2)  The right to openly criticize political/governmental figures, including former and current presidents, and speak out against abuse of power, giving a voice to the powerless and vulnerable. 
3)   The first country to give the right to separation of church and state, giving us a choice whether to believe, believe in different ways, or to not believe at all without harassment, imprisonment, or death. 
4) The right to recognize that our country's history isn't as pristine, pure, and lily-white perfect as many would like us to believe, that it's actually messy - and that I can acknowledge that and also take pride in the right for those people we've wronged, by allowing them to have a voice and representation, to include protest, just as we did with Britain 248 years ago.
5)  The right for people of color to now stand alongside us, in this grand old park, in the middle of the oldest (and formerly wealthiest) part of Lexington, which used to be segregated and disallowed anyone but the help in homes (but not the park). 

Thus, we accompanied my mom, my little sister, and my little's sister's boyfriend to Gratz Park, last night, to hear the Lexington Philharmonic play in the park.

The following pics of houses are not my photos, but just some photos others have taken of a sample of the homes surrounding Gratz Park (and then my photos again below).

Gratz Park is - with the exception of the Mary Todd Lincoln House (on Main Street) and the Henry Clay House (Ashland off Main, to the East of the city) -  are among the oldest homes (and formerly the wealthiest) in Lexington, original homes in the 1790s, with a boom after 1825 and continuing to the early 1900s to 1940s. 

I will do my best to put them in chronological order, but you can tell by the transition from Federal townhomes to Greek Revival to the 2nd Empire Victorian/Queen Anne Victorian/Gothic Revival to the Colonial Revival/Prairie Style/Craftsman/Tudor Revival of the early 1900s ... 

Though I believe my grandmother's family lived briefly on 3rd street, she grew up in the Rand Avenue/Apple Tree Lane areas and nearby Transylvania park, which back in the day, considering the rigid social structure in the South, would've been considered the "next tier down" socially (merchant/engineer/lawyer/doctor class).  

Unfortunately, unlike the Gratz/2nd/3rd Street areas, those areas have have now either nearly fallen in decay or have already been torn down. 

You never would've known she was upper middle class by the time we were born though - she'd live a farmer's wife blue-collar life on Little House on the Prairie in nearby Jessamine County for too long.

Regardless, back to the Patriotic Concert, in addition to the National Anthem and other patriotic tunes, UK Opera Baritone, Michael Preacley, also treated us to what is known as the Black National Anthem called "Lift Every Voice and Sing!" - very cool!

Written initially as a poem by James Weldon Johnson in 1900, a melody was later added, giving birth to what is now known as the Black National Anthem, and should be acknowledged every bit as much as our official national anthem ... 

Here's an a Capella version by Oakwood University singing group, "Committed,"

They also played Kentucky's National Anthem, "My Old Kentucky Home," which is problematic in its own right, but the words have been changed to remove the racist elements.

Thus, when I hear it, half of me feels sentimental and the other half bristles when I know the racist parts are coming up, despite the lyrics having been changed.

But more interestingly to me, they played both Star Trek themes AND the Star Wars theme (to please both Team Trekkie and Team Star Wars).

They also played some Dixieland Jazz,  30s/40 swing, and some Cab Calloway stuff, to which the older set got up and boogied down with the Charleston to swing to the jitterbug - even my mom did a little jib, at one point!

I haven't heard back yet on permission to post any family photos, so for now, just this one of myself and Mark while walking to the park ...

Yes, I cut my hair again and made such a mess of it that the only way to correct it was to go short- whups!

I now have a Karen haircut (but it was it was an accident)! 

Also, sorry for the film quality - the camera on my phone is apparently going? Everything has a darkish-yellow cast I've tried to fix, but to no avail.

Lastly, if I do post family pics,  keep in mind that the heat index was 100 degrees! 

There was no breeze and the cloud cover was low because a front was coming in, so despite battery-operated fans with misters, cold drinks, and sitting under a tree, we were literally dripping with sweat, makeup having melted off by then - but we had a great time!  😂


PS - Just got permission from everyone to post the photos - again, keep in mind, my phone camera is dying and gives a dark, yellowish cast, so I've tried to brighten up as best as possible - also, we were sweating our tushies off in 100-degree weather!

My little sister, her boyfriend, and me, with our bangs now firmly stuck to our heads with sweat! 😂  

Mark was in the picture, too, but was looking down and had his eyes closed and asked to be cropped out 😂

BTW, Lil Sis is 45 -  exactly 10 years and one day younger then me at 55 - but she looks 25, right?!?

Me and Mom ... Mom will be 81 next week ... 

Little Sis, Mom, and Me ...

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.