Immigrants, Seattle, Travel, History, Family, Writing, and Maine

 

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Features excerpts of our wide-ranging lives

 

All  the themes covered in my updated book are finally published after years of work. For decades I believe my mother’s tale that Danish immigrant Hans Pederson left us penniless. Then I uncover the truth about my father’s wealth and prolific contributions to Seattle. I discover my mysterious father’s boom to bust life in the early 1900s as I grapple with family secrets and heartbreaking deception in this very personal memoir. My coming-of-age journey from Seattle to Singapore, Shanghai, Honolulu, New York, New Jersey, Maine and North Carolina.

 

Available on Amazon. Please check our Facebook page!

 

 

 

Maine Writer Elizabeth Strout Meets Immigrant Writers

“The novelist Elizabeth Strout left Maine but it didn’t leave her,” states Ariel Levy in the May 1, 2017 New Yorker.

Strout’s books resonate with me. Maine claims my heart too.

Strout’s people do not live in Maine tourist towns along the coast. The characters in Olive Kittredge, winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize, either cannot  leave the state that defines them, or or else they feel driven to leave it. The Congregational minister in  Abide With Me must work his way through the family tragedy with his daughter in the inland hamlet away from the coastal Maine town favored by his wife’s summer-season parents. Drama is understated, inexpressible. People cannot communicate their feelings. In one interview Strout states that when growing up she had a sense of “just swimming in all their ridiculous extra emotion.”

Levy says “a recurring theme in Strout’s novels is the angry, aching sense of abandonment small-town dwellers feel when their loved ones depart.” It is almost as if they are emigrating to another country.

My parents were both immigrants to the U.S; my father Hans Pederson from Denmark, my mother Doris Huchulak, a Ukrainian Canadian from Alberta. My Danish friend and fellow blogger, mariaholm51, sent this wrenching painting that shows the pain of immigration to the Facebook page currently celebrating my memoir, (same title for both)  “Mysterious Builder of Seattle Landmarks.”

 

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Edvard Pedersen, Emigrants at Copenhagen Harbor 1890

 

My January 22, 2016 blog, “Maine Nonprofit Helps Immigrant Kids” described one young immigrant’s experience at The Telling Room a Portland, Maine youth writing program. On a recent visit to The Telling Room, Levy tells us that  Strout met refugee and immigrant  high schoolers mostly from Africa and the Middle East.

“The students stood in a circle and told Strout what they were working on. ‘My name is Abass and i’m trying to define what home is,” a teen-ager from Ethiopia said.’ Steff rom Burundi told her, ‘I’m writing about how I find my voice in America.’ Another boy said, ‘I’m writing about second chances.'”

After wrenching leave-takings from towns, cities, or countries, lives becomes either better or worse for those who leave and those who remain. They are never the same.

 

Pioneers Develop Jewelry to Stop Rapists

 

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Pandora Beads Silver Bracelet courtesy Wikimedia Commons

 

How well do tools like rape whistles and pepper spray actually help prevent sexual assault? If you look at the statistics — like how nearly one in five women and one in 71 men have reported experiencing rape at some time in their lives, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention — you might not think so much.

 

 

Recent Harvard Business School graduates Quinn Fitzgerald and Sara de Zarraga are co-founders of Flare Jewelry, an early stage startup that’s developing technologically enhanced jewelry meant to help prevent sexual assault. They plan to make a product that will leave antiquated and ineffective tools in the dust and also empower women without making them compromise their personal styles, reports Harvard Business School staff writer Olivia Vanni.

“We asked each other, ‘what problems do we really care about?’ and sexual assault became an apparent answer,” de Zarraga told us of Flare Jewelry founding. Working with survivors, the Flare Jewelry team was able to zero in on specific features that would best serve people in compromising situations.

“It will be a modular piece that can be put in bracelets or necklaces,” Fitzgerald shared. It is meant to be discreet so it doesn’t impact the look of a piece of jewelry. “The modular component keeps it versatile and discreet, so no two styles look alike,” de Zagarra said.

Flare Jewelry is first designed with college-aged women and young professionals in mind. However, the duo sees other potential user demographics—people with disabilities, children, travelers, and grandparents. They also anticipate parents and partners of target users to purchase safety-equipped jewelry for their loved ones.

Flare Jewelry intends to take a socially conscious approach while handling it’s revenue. “We want to create a culture against sexual assault, so we’re donating part of our proceeds to fund education prevention programs. We want to be part of the solution every way we can be.”

Harvard Business School staff writer Olivia Vanni

http://bostinno.streetwise.co/2016/07/19/flare-jewelry-harvard-ilab-startup-preventing-sexual-assault/

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