Monday, July 07, 2008

Stamp Museum and questions

Upon my return from Denmark, where I had seen and done so much, I promised myself that I would explore more of my own region - Washington DC and Northern Virginia.

With this set-up, I faithfully ventured into town today to take in an oft-forgotten but delightful gem in the Smithsonian Museum collection - the National Postal Museum.

Despite being all alone, I had a fabulous time! There were so many interesting things I didn't know about the Postal service and the museum is very interact, so learning was fun! My favorite part was the historical international stamps. A Mr. Miller of the early 20th century collected and than donated his entire stamp collection. Which is EXTENSIVE, to say the least (stamps from 1894, stamps with mistakes, exclusive stamps). What I thought was riveting was seeing international stamps during various remarkable historical incidents. For instance, the stamps from Germany of 1940 have Hitler's picture, the Russia stamps of 1911 - Tzar Nicholas II and by 1920 they are of Lenin, China in the 1950's communist propaganda. Stamps, it seems, are very much a reflection of the political situation to which they deliver the mail. If I go back again, I would like more time to poor over this particular collection.


Returning back to home, I hit a red light. At this specific intersection stood a woman holding a sign which read something to the effect that she was out of work and could we (in this sense the we being the general public) help her (I think meaning money). Again I twisted with my conscious if I should give her something but in the end didn't (I still am in doubt as to this decision). However, it did leaving me thinking, have we had a cultural change? What leads a person to beg? Wasn't there a time when there was shame associated with begging or am I just imagining that? How does one come to beg, making that decision? How do you feel when you beg? I'm not throwing judgment at all but better trying to understand this phenomenon....


Blogger Brenda said...

I would beg if my child were hungry and I were too hurt, or sick to be able to work to feed them.

I bet seeing all the stamps was awesome. My youngest daughter was a collector when she was younger. I guess she lost interest though.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Pax Romano said...

Maybe I am overreacting, but I think we are going to see more people "begging" in the next few months. Think about it: you've lost your job, your house is about to go to sheriff's sale, you can't afford the gas to drive to job interviews, your friends and family are hurting as much as you ... what's left?

Welcome to the New Depression!

10:37 AM  
Anonymous skatenelson said...

dude sorry i missed the excursion!!! look forward to seeing you next week though.

and thanks for the nod to my blog! :)

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The worse the economy gets, the bigger a problems it will be. I'm with Pax, though - I'd beg if it were the only way I thought I could feed my child. But often, there are complicatong factors in begging/homelessness - addiction and mental illness.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi mate, this is the canadin pharmacy you asked me about: the link

3:37 AM  
Blogger mommanator said...

I think there have been beggers all along, but we don't always see them. SOme of us, me included are too wrapped up in our own lives to see the forest for the trees. Or beggers on the streets.
This is a true story of my past. My hubby was in Washington Hosp Center for almost a year. Every day we'd drive on the way to the hosp this guy in a wheelchair, we'd pass. One particular day when my hubby was quite critical, I said to my girls- if daddy dies I am gonna give that guy in the wheelchair your dad's shoes! My daughters cried out loud. Mom he's in a wheelchair- he doesn't have any feet! So you see I saw the guy, but not his whole! I pray I don't ever get that blind again! If ya have time go to Chicken Scratch and check out his last blog! Very endearing!

9:02 PM  
Anonymous pol said...

I helped serve a meal at the local homeless shelter several years ago. I was very surprised to see a nice-looking, neatly dressed man and his two equally smartly-dressed children dining at the table. I don't think we can always judge people by what we see of them...

9:42 PM  
Blogger Virginia Gal said...

Brenda - yes I guess if you had absolutely nothing you could beg..I guess I would dumpster dive before begging - but Thank God I am not in that situation.

Pax - God I hope not, but I guess if the situation does became that way, than yes we will see more beggars.

Skate - no worriess chica!

Citizen - yes I think you are correct there are extenuating circumstances - I just wish more was reported and written about it, so I could better understand it.

Mommmantor - so true, so true, we see what we want to see, wrapped up in our own lives. Thanks for sharing the story.

Pol - Yes you are right we can't judge, I suppose I just want to better understand what brings them to that point, to begging, what was the decision process to lead to that point??

11:28 PM  

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