Author and friend Trisha Wooldridge from Massachusetts has a new book coming out before the end of this year and I am privileged to help her reveal pieces of the cover of her book – scavenger hunt style! The book is a wonderful story of mystery and kids – and wisdom and maturity. My blog here is but one of the places you need to go to find pieces of the cover, put together the puzzle – a poem – and WIN! Please go to Trish’s blog for details of the contest – more about the story and how to win fun prizes!
This is but one piece of the cover and puzzle – a special piece as you can read below.
The MacArthur Tartan
“Once upon a time…a great-great uncle that we hadn’t known prior […] saw my dad on the show Who Do You Think You Are? where he tried looking into his dad’s line back to the Clan Arthur but only found a dead end. Great-great Uncle William MacArthur sent us family records and the deed to the falling-apart castle just before he died.”
My friend Aimee Weinstein was one of my first beta readers for The Kelpie, and she gave me a lot of great feedback. We’ve been friends for some years since we shared an online tutoring job, and I adore her blog posts about modern culture and anthropology as she discusses being an American ex-pat over in Tokyo. Because she does so much with culture, I wanted to give her the MacArthur Tartan to display on her blog.
Also, I stole Aimee’s name and spelling for Heather’s mom.
If you look very closely on the cover, you’ll see the strips of this tartan, especially when you see the full wraparound cover. This is my artist, Vic’s, rendition of the MacArthur Tartan (because tartans can be copyrighted.)
I chose Clan Arthur from Scotland because there actually happens to be a lovely hole in the clan history over in Scotland that I could squeeze my family into, giving them a long-forgotten castle with a mysterious past. The MacArthur Clan also has a lot of American history; I found more on that than about those left in Scotland. This also fits because Heather’s family is a mix of American and Scottish.
Thank you very much, Aimee, for being part of my Scavenger Hunt and the journey of The Kelpie!
My friend, long-term resident of Tokyo and Jewish Community of Japan Board Member Larry Greenberg has remained in Tokyo throughout the earthquake and tsunami disaster, as well as the ongoing concerns about the situation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Larry reflected on his reasons for choosing to stay in Tokyo despite the quick exodus of many other foreign residents.
At 2:46 pm on Friday afternoon March 11th I was seated in a narration booth at a studio in downtown Tokyo. As I read out the lines of my narration script the microphone in front of me began to shake. “Earthquake!” That word flashed into my mind and I looked out through the glass window that separated me from the director and the sound technician. Our eyes met and in a flash we shared the same thought “Everything is fine. Let’s keep on going.”
So, we carried on for 15 seconds or so until the entire room began to shake and we all knew that “this was a big one” and that it was time to get outside. As we walked down the steps the entire building was rocked by tremors and when we finally got outside we saw crowds of people rushing out of the surrounding buildings. We all knew that this was a serious quake and that something bad was happening and that this was going to affect us all.
After about 15 minutes the intensity of the tremors fell off somewhat and I looked at the director and the sound techie and simultaneously we all said the same thing: “Let’s go back in and get it done!” And so we went back inside and over the next 90 minutes we finished the project despite the constant aftershocks. Afterwards, as I walked 90 minutes back to my office amidst the crowds of people who were calmly walking home, I thought back on how spontaneously and naturally my Japanese colleagues and I each knew that something big had happened, that this was serious, but that right now we each had something important to do. And we did it.
It’s been 19 days since the disaster struck. During these 19 days we have learned that close to 30,000 people have lost their lives. We have seen images of entire towns being swallowed by walls of water. We have learned that in fact the Earth was shifted into a new orbit. We have watched as selfless heroes have struggled to bring the situation at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant under control. We have been concerned about an array of indices that have shown that there is radiation contamination across a wide range.
And yet there has been calm. People in Tokyo have gotten up, watched the news, eaten breakfast and gone to work. Some people have chosen to send their children away and many entire families have gone. But the overwhelming response on the part of the people of Tokyo has been to get on with it, to do what we each need to do and to stay calm and ask ourselves one by one what each of us can and should do.
And that is why I am here, why I am glad to be here and why I am proud of Japan and proud of her people. It is also why I am confident that once again Japan will recover from the challenge that it currently faces.