Monday, December 2, 2019

Oklahoma Indians

Hi Kids,
     Have you seen this building? It's the Oklahoma History Center in Oklahoma City. Miss Elaine and I visited recently because she is working on a story about Oklahoma Indians.
     Did you know there are members of 39 different Indian tribes living in Oklahoma? Here's a map that shows all the different parts of the United States that they came from.
     There have been Native Americans living in Oklahoma for thousands of years. At the History Center we saw sandals and a moccasin that are very old.
     The two flat things on the top shelf were sandals maybe made 10,000 years ago! On the bottom is a newer sandal, about 6,000 years old. The lumpy one is a moccasin made from buffalo hide. It's the newest one -- perhaps less than 1000 years old.
     Many native tribes traveled around following the buffalo others settled more permanently and farmed. There were several tribes in Oklahoma who lived here most of the time. Many other tribes came through the area for hunting.
     So how did all those other tribes get here? When European explorers discovered this country, they went back to Europe and told stories about what an amazing land this was. Some people decided they wanted to move to this new land.
     The country started to get a little crowded so pioneers began to move west. The Indians who had roamed freely got pushed out of their lands. By that time, the country had a government. The government made many of the tribes move to our part of the country. It's a long and unhappy story which you will learn in history class when you are a bit older.
     The tribes had their own cultures and traditions. In the History Center you will learn about them. I'll show you some of my favorite exhibits.
     Did you know that different tribes lived in different kinds of houses? Some lived in tepees, but others built homes of wood, bark, clay or rushes. Here are examples of two different kinds of native houses.
     Look at the ceiling in this picture:
     It's a copy of a star chart made several hundred years ago by Pawnee Indians. They were known as the star people of the plains. They mapped the sky and used the information on the movement of planets and positions of stars to help them in traveling, hunting, farming and war.
     I loved this dress. It was made for a little Cheyenne girl by her grandmother over 100 years ago. It is made out of deer skin and decorated with thousands of tiny beads. She must have been proud of this dress and took very good care of it.
     I like horses, too. The Comanche Indians were famous for their horses. I don't think that saddle looks very comfortable, do you?

     This is one of the most valuable pieces in the museum. It is a friendship certificate given to Chief Big Axe of the Otoe-Missouria tribe by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in 1804. 

     Several European countries had explored parts of what would become the United States. They claimed ownership of the land. In 1803, President Jefferson bought a big bunch of it for the U.S. This was called the Louisiana Purchase. He sent Lewis and Clark to explore the land he had just bought. He knew they would meet Indians and gave them papers to give to the tribe's leaders saying they would be friends. Only two of these certificates are known to exist. And we have one here in Oklahoma. It was saved by Chief Big Axe's family and now, 200 years later, they gave it to the museum so we all can see it.
     This is a long letter -- but there's so much to see in the Oklahoma History Center. And the Native American part is just one part. Miss Elaine and I were there for hours and we didn't even get to see the rest of the museum!
     Here is a picture of me on another of my favorite things:
     This is a travois (say: tra-vwah). The poles are from a teepee and it was pulled by a horse. When some of the tribes moved around, they just took their tepees down and turned them into a kind of trailer. Wasn't that smart?
     I hope you will get to visit this museum yourself. It's fun to see how people lived in the past. 
Your friend,

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Wonderful Copenhagen

Hi Kids,
     Here I am in Copenhagen, the capital of the country of Denmark. I loved this city so much, I had to write THREE posts about it!  See the little figure on the rock behind me? That's the Little Mermaid. People come from all over the world to see this little statue.
     I took this picture from a boat. She always looks out toward the sea. You probably know her story from the Disney movie. But her story was written long ago by this man:
     This is a statue of Hans Christian Anderson. He wrote many stories. Maybe you know the story of the Ugly Duckling. He wrote that, too. When Miss Elaine was little, there was a movie about him. One of the best songs in that movie was "Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen." And that song is right.
     There is a lot of water in and around the city. One of the best ways to see things is by boat. 
     There are many beautiful buildings in Copenhagen. Behind the yellow building, you can see the spire of Our Savior's Church. The church is over 300 years old. That's older than the United States! I think it's really cool the way the spire is twisted. You can climb to the top of the tower. I'll bet the view is really good. We didn't go up all those stairs because Miss Elaine said she would get too tired of carrying me. There are 398 stairs. I don't think she could have climbed all those stairs even without carrying me!
     A lot of the old buildings in Copenhagen are painted bright colors. The buildings here are over 300 years old, too. But this area is called New Harbor. That's not very new!
     I took this picture from a boat, too. Do you see the round-topped building? This is the Royal Palace where the King and Queen of Denmark live. I think they are lucky to live in Copenhagen. 
     In my next post, I'll tell you about another castle. And in the third post, I'll show you pictures of a beautiful park right in the middle of the city.
     I hope you have time to scroll down and see more of my visit to Copenhagen.
Your friend,
P.S. (Did you know that's short for "postscriptum," which is Latin for "written after. You use it when you want to add a note after you thought you were finished.) My postscript: look at the next two posts for more of my trip to Copenhagen!

Fuzzy Visits a Castle

Hi Kids,
     There are several castles in Denmark but Kronborg Castle may be one of the most well-known. The castle is hundreds of years old. It was old when Shakespeare wrote a famous play, Hamlet, about a Danish prince who lived in the castle. When you get older, you may read, or, even better, see the play. This statue of Hamlet is outside the train station.
     It was a long walk to the castle. We had to cross a moat.  Lots of time, castle builders surrounded castles with water so invaders couldn't get close to the castle walls.

     The castle is protected by tall walls. The castle has a big courtyard in the middle.
     One of the coolest thing about our visit was that actors performed scenes from Hamlet in different parts of the castle. The first scene we saw was in the courtyard. Yorick, the court jester, came out and sang a song about the wicked king. Long ago, when there was no TV and no cell phones, kings hired entertainers -- jesters. The king did not like the song and Yorick got in trouble.
     I was visiting with him, but I didn't get in trouble. Remember, this is all just for fun. We got to throw wet sponges at Yorick for his punishment.
     Later, we listened to him tell stories to the pretend Queen and her companion.
     In between parts of the play, we got to look at a lot of the rooms in the castle.  This was the ballroom -- where they had parties. You could have a REALLY big party in this room. 
     The last part of the play is exciting -- and sad. Hamlet and his friend get mad at each other and have a sword fight. As you can imagine, the play does not have a happy ending.
     I was glad it was just a play. I had a good day seeing Kronborg Castle. And I got to ride on a train to get back to our hotel. 
Your friend,
P.S. There's more in the next post.

Fuzzy Goes to Denmark's Disneyland

Hi Kids,
     No, this isn't Disneyland, it's Copenhagen's famous Tivoli Gardens. Like Disneyland, it is a beautiful place with lots of flowers and pretty buildings, rides, and entertainment. But the first Disney park is only 64 years old. Tivoli Gardens opened 176 years ago.
     There are exciting rides like these and relaxing rides like boat rides. 
     The merry-go-round is my favorite ride. This one is two stories. Can you see the stairs in the picture?
     Isn't this pretty? A lot of Danish people just go to the park to enjoy the flowers, to have a picnic, or eat in one of the restaurants.
     This pirate ship is really a restaurant. That's where we ate dinner. It was very good. 

     We didn't see any pirates but it was still a little scary. I wasn't too sure about sitting by this skull, but they told me it wasn't real.
     Isn't this building colorful? It has a Chinese design. Do you see the peacock's tail? That's actually the curtain in front of the stage. But it's not made of cloth and it doesn't go up and down.
     They put on plays here. This play was a pantomime -- no talking, just acting. It was a very old kind of play from Italy. It was funny. These two characters were very clumsy. Also in the play were a beautiful girl and her boyfriend and a clown who played tricks on everyone.
     This was the end of the play. You can see how the curtain closes. After it was over, I got to meet one of the actors -- the clown.
     He was very friendly. This is just one thing I like about traveling. There are nice people all over the world!
P.S. The End!

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Fuzzy Visits Cherokee Country

Hi Kids,
     The building in the picture is 150 years old. It once served as the capitol of the Cherokee Nation. The Cherokees are one of many Indian tribes moved to Oklahoma long ago. Today the building  serves as the Cherokee National History Museum. 
     Exhibits here tell stories of how the Indians used to live, how and why they were moved to Oklahoma, and about their customs and crafts.
     Here's a picture of some special Cherokee clothing -- worn by important members of the tribe. Today Cherokees only wear special clothes at celebrations and ceremonies. Most of the time, they dress just like you, your parents and your teachers dress.
     There are many interesting things in the museum. I liked this exhibit because kids can try to make a basket like the Cherokees can.
     You can even see some school books that Cherokee children used over a hundred years ago. And you can see them up close because everyone who visits gets to borrow an iPad to show more information.  Can you see the small pictures of things? They have the names written in the Cherokee language under each picture.
All the Cherokees can speak English; many can also speak Cherokee.
     After we went to the history museum, we went to the Cherokee Cultural Heritage Center. They have a museum there, too. And they have two outside exhibit areas which are open during the nicer months of the year.
     This is Leon Grayson holding me. He is a Cherokee who knows all about Cherokee history and customs. We are in a re-created Cherokee village like the ones Cherokees lived in in Tennessee 200 years ago. 
     He showed me many of the skills the Cherokees used to hunt and live. He is very good at using a blowgun made from a hollow reed. If you look closely, you can see that his dart hit the target turkey.
     Of course, you know they also hunted with bows and arrows. They made the arrowheads out of rocks. They would chip out the shape by tapping a rock with another rock. It took a long time to learn to do it correctly. Learning to make arrowheads taught young Indians to be patient -- that to do something correctly often took a lot of time. 

     A Cherokee lady named Shyla Diver showed us how she weaves belts with yarn and her fingers.
     After we toured the Indian Village, we went to Adams Corner. This shows what an Indian village in early day Oklahoma would have looked like. It had a school and a church and a blacksmith shop and a general store.   

     Many Native Americans from many tribes live in Oklahoma. It is interesting to learn about their histories and customs. I'm glad Miss Elaine took me to Tahlequah so I could learn more about the Cherokee Nation.
     Before we left, we saw one last exhibit -- a really big one!
Cherokees are famous for weaving beautiful baskets. Two Cherokee ladies made this giant basket -- as tall as a regular ceiling. They used flat reeds (tall, thin marsh plants). They used dyed reeds to create designs on the basket. It took them a long time to make it this big. 

I think it is pretty, don't you?
Your friend,


Monday, September 2, 2019

Fuzzy in Space

Hi Kids,
    I've been out of this world on a planet far, far away. Well, actually, I've been to Disney World but they have a whole new section called Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge. It's all pretend, but it's really like being on a strange planet. In this case, the planet is called Batuu. They don't have teddy bears there -- but they do have porgs -- that's me with one of them.
     Even the toys are strange -- here are shelves of Kowakian monkey-lizards. I can't imagine cuddling one of these!
      Batuu is a very hot planet -- they have three suns. And Batuuans don't say "hello," they say "bright suns."
     A lot of work on the planet is done by robots called Droids.

     Maybe you have seen a Star Wars movie -- R2-D2 is a Droid. At the cantina -- a place where Batuuans go to get something to drink -- the DJ is a Droid -- R-3X.

     They have different kinds of foods, too. They drink blue or green milk. Miss Elaine drank some and said it was really good. She also had a vegetable meatball and a yummy dessert.

     In the Star Wars story, the good guys -- the Resistance -- have been defeated by the bad guys -- the First Order. Members of the Resistance are hiding out on Batuu. Their equipment is all old and rusty and they are trying to rebuild their force to combat the First Order.
     Their most important piece of equipment is the Millennium Falcon -- a space ship described as "a piece of junk."

     This is me by the Millennium Falcon.

     Some members of the First Order have come to Batuu to look for the members of the Resistance. They have an army of Storm Troopers who question the Batuuans about the Resistance.

     This is the TIE Echelon, the space ship of the leader of the First Order.

     The Star Wars stories are exciting and it's fun to pretend to be in one. Here was the most exciting thing. Miss Elaine got to pilot the Millennium Falcon. 

     They weren't going to let me go because I am not tall enough -- but they let me ride in Miss Elaine's purse. You can see through the front of the ship -- it looks like you are really flying around buildings and over mountains and are ducking asteroids. Miss Elaine was a really bad driver and we had several crashes. Since it was just make-believe, we didn't get hurt.
     This was a really great trip but I'm glad I don't live on Batuu. I hope you enjoyed our visit!