MELVIN’ S MONTHLY MOMENTS
THE SPELLBINDING STORY OF LOOF LIRPA
A Journey Across Enemy Lines
I’m a student of history. In college, I was an accounting major, but I loved my history classes the most. I remember one history professor in particular who brought the past alive for me more than any other. DuringWorldWar II, this professor’s father was a German officer who had to leave his pregnant wife behind. One night, far into her pregnancy, she was attending a movie in Berlin when American planes bombed Berlin for the first time. She had to wait it out in an air raid shelter, and at some point during the bombing, she gave birth to the professor. The professor’s father died in the war, and his mother ended up marrying an American soldier and raising her son in America. At one point, when the professor was a young man, he was watching a video of American bombers taking off to bomb Berlin. The date noted at the bottom of the screen was the day he was born. The “His personal history was fascinating, but it was nothing compared to all the fascinating little historical tidbits he had picked up over his lifetime. He was full of stories, and he effortlessly kept us spellbound with them.”
thought occurred to him that somewhere in an air raid shelter in Berlin, this American-raised professor was being born to his German mother while the American pilots were dropping bombs overhead that were meant to kill him. He always told this story with a smile; he had a devilish sense of humor. His personal history was fascinating, but it was nothing compared to all the fascinating little historical tidbits he had picked up over his lifetime. He was full of stories, and he effortlessly kept us spellbound with them. One time, he told us a story once about a Hessian soldier (a German mercenary hired by Great Brittan) who became a great hero during the Revolutionary War. His name was Loof Lirpa, and he fought for the British at the Battle of Trenton on Dec. 26, 1776. The famous painting of Washington crossing the Delaware is from this battle. The battle was actually a defeat of a Hessian army, and on Christmas that year, the Hessian soldiers had gotten so drunk that the next day, American troops easily defeated them. Loof was so impressed by the Americans that he changed sides and began to fight alongside them. He used his status as a Hessian soldier to move behind enemy lines and gather information. The information Lirpa gathered was essential in helpingWashington stay one step ahead of the British. GeorgeWashington once stated that without the help of Loof, the Americans might not have won the war.
“The Capture of the Hessians at Trenton, December 26, 1776” by John Trumbull
The funny thing is that if you spell Loof Lirpa’s name backward, it spells April fool. We didn’t catch on until my professor wrote it up on the board. APRIL FOOL – there was no Loof Lirpa! By the time we realized it, we had all taken a couple of pages of notes on Loof Lirpa. My professor was wily like that, and he had enough of our trust to get away with it. To all of you reading out there, happy April Fools’ Day! Don’t get taken on any Loof Lirpa rides this year, and happy spring!
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If your child is between 3–5 years old, you’ve probably noticed that they’re becoming a lot more talkative. By the time children are 4, they can usually speak in 5–8-word sentences. That makes this age range the perfect time to get your child interested in reading. However, this can raise a lot of questions. For starters, the question of how to get your child interested in reading is almost more important than when you do it. You may wonder how much time you should spend reading with them, how intensive reading time should be, and if you should make everything involving words and letters into a reading lesson. While the answers to these questions will vary from child to child, there’s one goal that every parent should strive for when teaching their child to read: Above all, help them enjoy it. When your child starts kindergarten, learning to read will be a part of the curriculum. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to teach them to read earlier, though. If your child loves to read, it can make their learning experience much more enjoyable. WHEN SHOULD YOU TEACH YOUR CHILD TO READ? And How Should You Do It?
Have you ever walked through a park and seen a plastic bottle or wrapper lying on the ground? If so, did you pick it up and properly dispose of it? You might not have realized it, but in that moment, you took a small step toward keeping your community — and, by extension, America — beautiful! April is Keep America Beautiful Month, and folks who celebrate aim to help each community in every state stay clean and green. Created by the nonprofit organization Keep America Beautiful, this holiday offers a perfect opportunity to roll up your sleeves and work to better the place you live in. Here are three ways to show your appreciation for a green America this month. Volunteer for the Great American Cleanup. This event is one of America’s largest community improvement programs, with hundreds of thousands of people participating each year. In 2019, over 550,000 volunteers participated in the GAC to bring natural beauty back into their communities. 2020 marks this event’s 22nd year, and you can be a part of it this month! Volunteer your time with a local Keep America Beautiful affiliate or another community improvement program close to home. Do your part to clean up your parks and spread awareness today. Start plogging. If you’re passionate about staying active and cleaning up your neighborhood, then this is the perfect activity for you! Plogging combines jogging and picking up litter, which takes care of your health and keeps your community clean. Anybody can do it: Just throw on your running shoes, grab a bag, head out the door, and pick up any stray bits of trash you see on your morning jog or evening walk. Improve recycling through education. An important goal during Keep America Beautiful Month is to spread awareness about recycling. There are various ways to educate those around you about recycling and encourage them to do their part. At work, for example, you can volunteer to lead a recycling initiative by printing off guides and fostering discussions on why recycling is so essential. At home, you can make a commitment with your family to fulfill the three R’s of recycling: reduce, reuse, recycle. DO YOUR PART TO KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL AND MAINTAIN GREEN LIVING SPACES FOR EVERYONE
There are plenty of ways to help your child enjoy reading from an early age. One is to simply read to them and make storytime fun. If the pig goes oink or the mailman
has a funny, nasally voice, bring those features to life. You can also have your kids help you with daily tasks that require reading, like making a
to-do list or shopping at the grocery store. When they’re helping you and having fun, it won’t feel like learning at all!
Finally, the best way to make reading enjoyable
for your children is to enjoy it yourself. Your kids watch what you do, and if they see you enjoying a good book, they’ll want to read even more. Reading opens up the world to them, and with your help, nothing will dull their
To discover more ways to participate in Keep America Beautiful month, visit their website at KAB.org today!
love of learning.
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THE OLDEST LIBRARIES IN AMERICA A Story of Many Firsts
What’s the oldest library in America? It’s an easy question to ask, but it has an unexpectedly complicated answer. Before the Industrial Revolution generated greater interest in public services, a library’s function and purpose varied widely. Several libraries in the United States claim to be the country’s “first,” but for different reasons.
libraries throughout the colonies to encourage the spread of the Anglican Church. Not surprisingly, most of the libraries’ holdings were theological.
A Few More Firsts
During the 1700s, a few more “first” libraries were established. In 1731, Ben Franklin and a few others started the first subscription library in the United States. Members of subscription libraries could pay to buy books or borrow them for free. In 1757, 60 men founded the Library Company of Burlington in New Jersey, and Thomas Rodman received a charter from King George II to operate the business in 1758. The library still operates under that charter today. The Library of Burlington was the first library to operate out of its own building after a prominent resident donated the land in 1789.
Colleges and the Clergy
Some believe Harvard University hosted the first library in the United States. Harvard was the first university in the United States, founded in 1636, and clergyman John Harvard seeded the library with a 400-book collection. Soon after, however, Thomas Bray, another clergyman, began establishing the first free lending
By the People, for the People
In 1833, just as the Industrial Revolution was picking up steam, the Peterborough Town Library was founded in Peterborough, New Hampshire, at a town meeting. It was the first tax-supported free public library in the United States and in the world. Not long after that, the Boston Public Library, known as the “palace for the people,” became the first municipal public library in the country. The Boston Public Library was also the first library to have a space specifically for children.
Out of all the “first” libraries in the country, these are the most probable progenitors of most libraries today — even if they weren’t exactly “first.”
EASY DEVILED EGGS
TAKE A BREAK
Inspired by TasteOfHome.com
1/2 tsp ground mustard
• • • • •
1/2 cup mayonnaise
Salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper, to taste
2 tbsp milk
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
12 large eggs, hard-boiled
1/2 tsp dill weed
Fresh parsley, minced, and paprika for garnish
1/2 tsp fresh chives, minced
Mix mashed yolks with mayonnaise mixture. Spoon or pipe the mixture back into the egg whites. Garnish with fresh parsley and paprika. Refrigerate before serving.
In a large bowl, combine mayonnaise, milk, parsley flakes, dill, chives, mustard, salt, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper. Mix well and set aside. Cut eggs lengthwise and remove yolks carefully to preserve egg whites.
Solution on Page 4
In a small bowl, mash yolks.
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INSIDE 1 The Spellbinding Story of Loof Lirpa
Keep America Beautiful Fostering a Love of Reading in Your Child
The History of Libraries in America Easy Deviled Eggs
Did You Spot These Movie Easter Eggs?
DID YOU SEE IT? 3 of Hollywood’s Best Movie Easter Eggs
This April, many kids will search excitedly for Easter eggs, but aside from the holiday treat, the term “Easter egg” has a fun alternate meaning when it comes to media. In this context, an Easter egg refers to a hidden surprise or message, and people often enjoy trying to find as many as they can. This spring, turn on some of these classic movies and see if you can spot a few of Hollywood’s Easter eggs yourself.
is unknown, and sadly, a treacherous storm sinks their ship. Three years later, their eldest daughter, Elsa, is coronated, and guests arrive at the castle. If viewers scan the crowd of visitors, they will see Flynn and Rapunzel from the 2010 Disney movie “Tangled.” (Notice the time difference?) The theory, confirmed by filmmakers, is that Elsa and Anna’s parents were traveling to Flynn and Rapunzel’s wedding. The connections continue with claims that the shipwreck in “The Little Mermaid” was their ship, and some even think that Tarzan’s parents were actually Anna and Elsa’s parents, who survived the wreck.
In 2002, “Catch Me If You Can,” starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio, created just that. The movie follows the life of Abagnale, who briefly appears in the movie himself to arrest DiCaprio, who plays a young Abagnale. Today, Abagnale serves as a security consultant and teaches courses for the FBI.
Indiana Jones and Han Solo Teaming Up
No movie franchises are as prolific as George Lucas’ “Star Wars” and “Indiana Jones,” but they also share another Hollywood connection. Both series feature Harrison Ford, who plays Indiana Jones and Han Solo, and the franchises make references to each other, including hieroglyphics in “Indiana Jones” that feature R2-D2, C-3PO, and Princess Leia, as well as a club named Club Obi Wan. Though “The Empire Strikes Back”was filmed before “Indiana Jones,” Lucas had Ford in mind for his next great story and gave Han Solo a bullwhip in reference to Indy’s famous go-to tool.
Disney Royalty’s Family Tree
Frank Abagnale Arresting ‘Himself’
At the beginning of Disney’s “Frozen,” released in 2013, Elsa and Anna’s parents leave
At 15 years old, Frank Abagnale Jr. started his career as one of the U.S.’s most prolific con artists. Abagnale scammed the government out of money, impersonated pilots and doctors, and swindled banks, making his story seem like a Hollywood plot.
to journey across the ocean. Their destination
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