This week at Eight Cousins . . .
Is everyone safe after Friday's storm? We're seeing lots of photos and posts. Please be careful. Bundle up, find lodging
if necessary, and drive with caution
As for Eight Cousins, we stopped in yesterday to check on the building. We were very thrilled to see the work that has happened in the space. Finished walls, new circuit breaker box, progress on the ceiling; all very exciting. While we won't set an exact reopening date until a few more steps have been taken, we are feeling more and more optimistic about mid to late April.
This past week, we were honored to be part of a literacy project at Mullen-Hall Elementary School. Patrick, a student at Falmouth High School, wrote his senior project on literacy. Patrick also wrote, and was awarded, a grant to purchase books for the third graders at Mullen-Hall. As part of the initiative, he mobilized volunteers from FHS and the community to read to the five third grade classrooms. Eight Cousins was delighted to be included. Congratulations to Patrick on this fantastic program and leading this initiative to get third graders (and the community!) excited about reading together.
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
Most Americans are aware of the tactics used to remove Native Americans from their tribal land onto less hospitable reservations. Such was the case of the Osage Tribe, which finally settled on barren land in north central Oklahoma. Unlike other tribes, the Osage settled on land that was above one of the richest oil reserves in the world. Because the Osage retained mineral rights, during the oil boom of the 1920s they became among the richest people, per capita, in the world. And then, one by one, members of the tribe began to die.
David Grann, through exhaustive research, begins Killers of the Flower Moon by following Mollie Burkhart, whose relatives were dying mysteriously -- either murdered or slowly poisoned. In a matter of months, Mollie was the sole survivor and the owner of the family's extremely valuable mineral rights. Should she die, her husband would inherit the rights. And Mollie was slowly dying from what was thought to be complications related to diabetes.
Although the Osage murders were widely reported, no guilty parties had been uncovered. In many instances, men who delved deeply into the investigations also died mysteriously. What was then the Bureau of Investigation also bungled these cases early on. A young J. Edgar Hoover, newly named head of the organization, decided the bureau would get to the bottom of these murders. In solving these cases, his goal was to form the bureau into a nation-wide, federal organization.
Hoover succeeded. The plot to secure Mollie Burkhart's family's mineral rights was revealed and the guilty parties were eventually sent to trial and served prison time. However, while doing his research, David Grann discovered that Mollie's family was just the tip of the iceberg. Other Osage had suffered the same fate.
Killers of the Flower Moon is a gripping story, fastidiously researched; Dave Eggers called it "disturbing and riveting." On the one hand, it reads like a true-crime story. On the other hand, it details yet another chapter in the disgraceful treatment Native Americans suffered, where members of law enforcement looked the other way, subverted investigations and were complicit with the men behind the crimes. In addition, the white citizens of Osage county also looked the other way and refused to step forward with pertinent information. The Osage tribe had nowhere to turn.
Killers of the Flower Moon (hardcover available now, paperback edition available on April 3, 2018) was the February selection for the PBS/New York Times monthly book discussion "Now Read This." Author David Grann was interviewed by Jeffrey Brown in the February 27 edition of the News-Hour. The interview can be viewed on the PBS website. The March title for "Now Read This" is Exit West by Mohsin Hamid.
Now in paperback
Backman's new novel, Beartown, is set in a frigid, dark forest in Sweden. Adding the harsh climate to the hardworking, reticent characters of A Man Called Ove and Britt-Marie Was Here, Backman tells a story about hockey -- or maybe not about hockey at all. Backman introduces characters you'll admire and who will surprise you just as he does in his previous novels. Another nice read.
Taking Mary Fran's "couldn't put it down" recommendation, I downloaded the audiobook of The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin.
At the start of the book, the four Gold children visit a psychic in New York City and learn the precise day of their deaths. This event affects each of them very differently. We know one sister will live to be 88, but we are unsure of the exact expected dates of the other siblings' deaths. We do know they may die much younger than 88.
Armed with this prediction the siblings set about living their lives. Each one takes a different career path and Benjamin provides insight into these choices. I found Klara's and Varya's choices particularly interesting.
This is Where it Ends
This is Where it Ends
, by Marieke Nijkamp, is a story of a school shooting. Released in January 2016, the book has spent 69 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller list. I have a confession. I never read it. It felt too close to home. Too hard. Too much. After the events at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High Schoo
l in Parkland FL, I realized that not reading this book was irresponsible. It was irresponsible for me as someone who works with and values children and teens to try to protect myself from emotions, fear, pain, trauma.
This is Where it Ends follows four students at a high school in Opportunity, AL. Autumn is a dancer; the boy with the gun is her brother. Sylvia is Autumn's girlfriend. Tomás is Sylvia's twin bother. He knows Sylvia is scared of Autumn's brother, but doesn't know why. Claire runs track. She hasn't seen her ex-boyfriend since his suspension, but he's due back at school today.
Bullying, abuse, loss, trauma, power, anger, silence: each makes a significant contribution to the gunman's decision. The story takes place over 54 minutes and the chapters are broken into 2-4 minute segments. Two minutes that change everything.
If you are interested in learning more about local March for Our Lives events, please visit this page
. We respect the Falmouth Public School administration requests that the community not be present
at school rallies and walk-outs.
Education is an integral component of our mission statement. Students, teachers, instructors deserve to have a safe environment dedicated to learning and education. To the children and teenagers of our community, we admire and value you. You have our support. Always.
~ Eight Cousins