So, I Read This Book Today

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CBS News Sunday Morning

Bedlam, The Crossrail Line, and London History

Adult and baby. Was the skull caved in before, or after, death?
Did Bedlam keep an open pit, simply covering up when it got filled? What is the history?

In the land of “Leiah doesn’t watch the news” – well, sometimes not watching the news means that you miss really interesting stuff. So, I got a subscription to Newsy Science on youTube, and I have to say – I am having a Ball! And really kicking myself. I love “sciencey” stuff, and I have really been missing out. It is sort of like how I go months without watching CBS News Sunday Morning, then kick myself when I realize it has been so long I have missed out on a lot of stuff that I would have really enjoyed (even if they do have a “news update” section I can simply skip through… I know what bad shape the world is in, I just don’t want to be beaten over the head with it. And if that makes me shallow, so be it. I did my thing for stopping violence against women, children and animals for years. I’m tired.)

London, well Great Britain, has such a rich history. . . but London’s, with people living on top of one another for centuries, has the most rich, I think.

Anyway. Here is a video I really enjoyed today, and I thought you might enjoy it as well. I watched several others, but this is rather short, so if you are bored, you don’t have to watch for long. If you are not, you can watch this, and others. It is about the archeological excavation of (so far) 3000+ human skeletons at London’s Liverpool Street, as part of a dig for the city’s new Crossrail line.

Apparently, this was the site of the ‘potter’s field’ for the infamous Bedlam Hospital, used from 1569 to at least 1738. I did find a book on Amazon,6945723

Bedlam: London’s Hospital for the Mad by Paul Chambers. If you are interested in the subject, I haven’t read it (yet) but it sounds well written.

With London’s history, of course, you can’t plant a rose bush without turning up some portion of history, but this site is providing a rich history, including not only the more recent Bedlam dig, but also eventually excavating what they believe will be an ancient Roman suburb.

Of modern day interest, at least one historical building, part of the Woolwich Arsenal, built in 1739, could (or maybe has already been?) torn down for the rail line, even though builders admit that it doesn’t really have to be – but it would be cheaper, which we all know is what REALLY matters, right? Gag.

This site, and others being excavated also served as mass burial sites for plague victims. While the “Black Death” of 1348 – 1350, and the “Great Plague” of 1665 are famous worldwide, these famous outbreaks are only two of nearly 40 that London suffered between 1348 and 1665. A total lack of hygiene, sewage running in the streets (and flying out of windows from chamber pots dumped out windows – Just. Ew.) and ridiculous Christian religious beliefs (don’t bathe, keep windows closed in sickrooms, kill cats because they are instruments of the devil), and people living elbow-to-elbow in the streets in abject poverty, allowed disease to run rampant, killing millions. These new digs will tell the history of these times, in meticulous detail.

On another interesting note, the gaps in the development history of homo sapiens is being filled. Check out the video here:

A Beautiful Story For The Holidays

Photo provided by Jackie Turner.

It’s the holidays – the time of love, friends, and family. Everyone gathering around their traditional holiday items, whether they be trees or Menorahs or whatever beautiful, historical items exist in their culture, sharing gifts and food and happiness. (Well, and also stressing out and fighting the mall crowds, but we won’t go there!)

But that happiness isn’t always there. For some people, the holidays cause deep and abiding despair, heartache, and a loneliness such as some will never understand. Some people never had families, or if they did, they were horrific and not to be remembered with fondness. December is not a favored month for me – too much pain, too many bad memories, and heartaches. But my pain is nothing compared to the pain of others.

As a huge CBS News Sunday Morning fan, I sat down this AM to watch. If you haven’t watched the show before, record it if you don’t get up early on Sunday mornings. I do – that way I can watch it when I get up, complete with tea and fuzzy slippers. And this morning I saw something that both tore at my heart and filled it with warmth.

Turner, a California college student who was sexually, emotionally, and physically abused by her biological parents before escaping into the streets, lived a life riddled with gang violence and poverty, eventually serving a one-year prison sentence.

“I was in gang life, on the streets, fighting, doing drugs, just making a mess of my life,” says Turner.

Upon her release in 2010, Turner worked to turn her life around, attending Christian Encounter Ministries, a camp for troubled youth, before moving on to William Jessup University in Rocklin, California where she holds a 4.0 GPA.

Though Turner knows her life appears great on the outside, things aren’t always what they seem:

“There’s still something deep inside of me. There’s this void, my biological parents aren’t here, and it’s kept this hole inside of me.”

Which is why she tried to rent a mother and father for Christmas, offering $8 an hour for the gig:

“Just to sit, just to listen,” Turner said. “Just to cry with me, no strings beyond that. I’ve never felt the touch of my Mom hugging me and holding me. I don’t know what it’s like to look in my dad’s eyes and feel love instead of hatred.”

What she got instead might not have been what she expected, but it was exactly what she needed.

Families not only offered to take her in for free, other people who had been abused, abandoned and neglected spoke out as well.

“When you speak up, people start learning that they’re not by themselves. Often we lock things inside of ourselves, like a lock box of our secrets. But then you let one out and realize, ‘I’m not by myself after all, am I?’”

Instead of joining a family for Christmas, Turner plans on getting all those who share her void together for the holidays.

The video below is from the CBS News Sunday Morning website. It is well worth watching, and remembering – there may be a lot of bad people in this world . . .

But sometimes, you can be surprised in the most beautiful of ways.

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