An Open Letter To My Grandma In Heaven, The Holidays Surely Aren't The Same Without You

An Open Letter To My Grandma In Heaven, The Holidays Surely Aren't The Same Without You

Everything about it was perfect, even if it wasn't perfect for her.
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My Grandma Bonnie absolutely loved the holidays! It was her favorite time of the year. She had hundreds of Christmas decorations and ornaments ready to go the day after Thanksgiving. Her house was like a walking into Santa's workshop. Everywhere you look there was something surrounding Christmas.

In my Grandma's house, it was anything from watching "Home Alone" to baking to feasting on a home-cooked meal. Christmas was the best in her house. I loved it.

Once my Grandma passed away, I knew Christmastime would never be the same. In our house, Christmas would still be the celebration of Jesus. There would always be a few things missing though. It was everything my Grandma did. I can still remember walking into her house the first Christmas without her. It was bare. There was one thing I wanted more than anything else- for Christmas to be the same way again.

Christmas at my Grandma's house was so special. Everything about it was perfect, even if it wasn't perfect for her. She made Christmas feel like I was a little kid every year. The smell coming from the kitchen with the twinkling lights off of the Christmas tree. Might I add the soft music in the background? It was the best.

My Grandma made everything about the holiday season seem right. Her excitement for it lit up the room! She knew exactly how to make you full, both on food and joy, and it was the best. There will never be another holiday season like it without my Grandma Bonnie.

There was something so special about Christmas at my Grandma's house. Everything seemed so right. Nothing could ruin it. Christmas at my Grandma's house was special. The hours spent in the living room watching Home Alone and crying because it made me laugh so hard is something I will always treasure. Nothing could ever beat her joy at Christmastime, and I will always miss it.

For now, though, I want to say thank you to my Grandma. Thank you for giving me precious childhood memories during the holiday season and leaving me with memories near and dear to my heart. Every time I see a Barbie ornament, I think of you. Every time I hear Christmas songs, I think of you. Every time I see trinkets as you had in the china cabinet, I think of you.

Grandma,

You have given me so much in my short twenty-one years of life, and I am forever thankful. Even though we no longer get to celebrate Christmas with you physically, I know you're celebrating it big time up there. You were the best, Grandma. I could never thank you enough. I'm already in the Christmassy mood just like you would be! I'll make sure to make your famous dishes this year!

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14 Fraternity Guy Gifts Ideas, Since He Already Has Enough Beer

Frat boys are a species of their own and here are some exciting gifts they will be ecstatic to receive!

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What more do frat boys love than alcohol, partying, and just acting stupid? Here are some gifts that help fulfill all of those needs for the frat boy in your life!

1. Beer holster belt

Whats better than one beer? Six beers! This fashionable camouflage accessory can be used for tailgates, beach days, formals and everything in between.

Price: $8.49 (one pack), $14.99 (two pack)

2. Phone juul holder 

You know those cardholders everyone sticks on the back of their phones? Well, now a Juul holder for your phone is on the market! This will save your favorite frat boy from ever again losing his Juul!

Price: $10.98

3. Animal house poster 

This Animal House poster is a classic staple for any frat boy. This poster will compliment any frat house decor or lack thereof.

Price: $1.95

4. The American Fraternity book

Does the frat boy in your life need a good read for Thanksgiving or winter break? Look no farther, this will certainly keep his attention and give him a history lesson on American fraternity heritage and tradition.

Price: $28.46

5. Beer pong socks 

These snazzy socks featuring beer pong will be loved by any frat boy. As for the way to any frat boy's heart may, in fact, be beer pong.

Price: $12.00

6. Condom case

This condom carrying case will not only protect condoms from damage but also make frat boys more inclined to practice safe sex, which is a win-win situation!

Price: $9.99

7. Frat house candle

Ahhh yes, who does not like the smell of stale beer in a dark, musty frat house basement? Frat boys can make their apartment or bedroom back home smell like their favorite place with the help of this candle.

Price: $16.99

8. "Frat" sticker

Frat boys always need to make sure everyone around them knows just how "fratty" they are. This versatile stick can go on a laptop, car, water bottle, or practically anywhere their little hearts desire.

Price: $6.50

9. Natty Light t-shirt 

Even I will admit that this shirt is pretty cool. The frat boy in your life will wear this shirt at every possible moment, it is just that cool!

Price: $38.76-$41.11

10. Natty light fanny pack 

This fanny pack can absolutely be rocked by any frat boy. The built-in koozie adds a nice touch.

Price: $21.85

11. Bud Light Neon Beer Sign 

A neon beer sign will be the perfect addition to any frat boys bedroom.

Price: $79.99

12. Beer Opener

Although most frat boys' go to beers come in cans, this bottle opener will be useful for those special occasions when they buy nicer bottled beers.

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13. Frat House Dr. Sign

Price: $13.99

Forget stealing random street signs, with this gift frat boys no longer have to do so.

14. Beer Lights 

Lights are an essential for any party and these will surely light up even the lamest parties.

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Please note that prices are accurate and items in stock as of the time of publication. As an Amazon Associate, Odyssey may earn a portion of qualifying sales.

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Hassana Kabbani: A Lebanese Woman In A Time Of Radio And Regime

An interview with my grandmother on her exposure to radio and television during the '60s.

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Hassana Kabbani, a 71-year-old woman with a love for vintage radio and television. Hassana was a very bright student growing up, adventurous, courageous, filled with energy and insight. This woman is also my grandmother, as she spends her days rewatching classics like Casablanca and still manages to listen to the songs that shaped her music taste today, such as Elvis and Johnny Hallyday. I chose her specifically to interview as I was always intrigued by the way she reacted to radio and black and white television every time it was around her, even the sight of a record player and a distortion within modulating a radio frequency gave her nostalgia.

Hassana Kabbani was born on September 26 of 1946, a time where radio had just begun and a time where media was limited because of the excessive political conflicts happening within her hometown. My grandmother was born in Beirut, Lebanon and was a classic teenage girl following trends off magazines and listening to every source of media for her to find out the latest trends. The Lebanese civil war in 1975 and the critical reception of political figures collided with sources of media, making radio stations get cut and television being limited for only a specific amount of time. Propaganda surfaced on the radio and televisions, making my grandmother torn between her country's dilemmas and her own entertainment as everywhere she went to find a source of happiness in days of war she could not. At around the time of 1980 and onwards, my grandmother began to settle down, as she had three children and a loving husband. She would always enjoy the classic voices of Frank Sinatra, but she was haunted by the public service announcements involved with safety, war, and politics.

The main subject of where my curiosity shined the brightest was knowing my grandmother's favorite stations and her favorite influences from childhood radio and television. She replied "Radio in Lebanon in my early age was actually more of an educational tool. I was 12 and it was the 1950s. I used to listen to a specific local anchor named "Chafic Jadayel" who had many programs and would recite poems all the time. I loved his poetry it relaxed me so much." Hassana was very fond of poetry and opera at the time, as radio mostly broadcasted live performances of French singers and Arabic writers and poets. Furthermore, the use of French singers came across as a little strange, so I asked her why most of the programs happened to be in French on television and the radio. She replied saying "Lebanon was colonized by the French in 1941, and then gave Lebanon its independence in 1943, so we gained a lot of influence from the French. I'm French educated actually. I can speak French, Arabic, and English." Some sources even claim that the French allowed "the sectarian political divisions, and the class positions of dominant and subordinate social groups that they often expressed, continued to influence developments in Lebanon and Syria" (Encylopedia).

I asked my grandmother if the clash of Arabic, English, and French programs would be complex in learning three different languages. She replied "Yes, actually. Sometimes I would get mixed up with languages so easily. Each language made me view the entertainment in a specific way. The Arabic radio stations contained poetry and the television shows were comedy. The English songs that came on the radio were always upbeat and very fun to be around. It was the most popular music because we were fond of the joyful media in America, and the French radio stations contained opera and live performances and educational info such as poetry and stories." I was intrigued by the fact that Lebanon was so popular when it came to radio and television and she replied by saying "Well you do know Lebanon was one of the first countries to get television into the Arab world. Radio was also made pretty early here. I think it was called Radio Lebanon or something like that."

She was referencing Radio Lebanon which was "One of the oldest radio stations in the Arab world. The Lebanese Radio station was established in 1938 as Radio Levant by the French Mandate and was based in the Government Palace building (Grand Serail), the former Prime Minister's headquarters and the present Ministry of Interior. After the end of the Lebanese civil war in 1989, the radio station restored its broadcasting stations and worked to put a development plan for its broadcast stations and studios" (Halawi, Ayman). Furthermore, Lebanon also remained "unique among other Arab countries because of the variety of broadcasting systems that exist there and because of the changes that have taken place in participating broadcasters over short time periods" (Rugh, William A, Pg. 202).

Hassana talked about her love for slapstick television and her main obsession with American dancing. She stated " I loved to laugh and dance, those were my favorite moods. I used to dance to Elvis Presley and Johnny Hallyday all the time. Without television, I would have never been able to learn about the dance move the "twist" which came from Hallyday who we all knew as the French king of 'twist'." My grandma claimed that she learned about the twist dance in 1963, through a program on her television called "Talents." She states "We only had television for about four hours a day, so whenever we had the chance to watch "Talents" me and my friends all took that chance. Until many families started seeing it as frowned upon." My grandmother later carried on to explain that the dance was banned by the ministry of interior from all nightclubs and public places because of the aspect two bodies being close being a part of the dance. I asked her what happened when it was banned, was there a riot of some sort. She replied saying "Since the dance was banned, it became more popular and the popularity spread out to young adults all over Lebanon. Johnny Hallyday once came to Lebanon but the minister of interior did not allow that to happen. "I had a ticket to a concert the day Johnny Hallyday came to Lebanon where he was performing but the concert was canceled because of the banning of the "twist" dance. The prime minister interfered and allowed Johnny to come to Lebanon to have dinner with him, but was not allowed to perform anything for the time he was there. "As a progressive Minister of Interior in 1963, Kamal Jumblatt tried to ban the French king of Twist, Johnny Hallyday, from appearing in Lebanon and attempted clamp censorship on imported films" (Mackey, Sandra, Pg. 41).

Hassana elaborated on the uproar of the ban saying" People started watching the show on a weekly basis to see if they are going to bring back the twist dance or not. It was a conflict between traditional and modern, between the east and the west, the dabkeh (Lebanese dance) and the twist." People in Lebanon were threatened by the popularity of the twist and how its culture could take over the culture of Lebanon hence the "dabkeh" a traditional Lebanese dance that was performed throughout the entire country.

I later asked Hassana about her favorite TV shows, what brought the most entertainment to the public, and who was the most popular of the time. She replied "There was a very famous comedian in Lebanon called "Shoushou." He was the best at that time, and that time being the late 1950s to early 1960s. He was famous because he had the voice of a child and he had a popular big mustache and wore multicolored clothes. He had his own show on tv and people and kids used to imitate him. He was like our stooge of the time." Shoushou was considered an icon within his time, as he influenced many other Arab tv personalities because of his original wit and unique character.

"Hassan Alaa Eddeen better known as Shoushou took his fame and put it into establishing a national theatre entitled "Al-Masrah al-Watani" in 1965. He was the new company's leading actor as he assumed the role of a poor, naive, disheveled, air-headed young boy whose character shined all over Lebanon as a comedic icon" (Rubin, Don. Pg. 149). I later asked my grandmother about the downfall of television and when everything started to fall apart because of the Lebanese Civil War. She replied saying " It played a role during the war because any coup or speech that was broadcasted on TV such as in 1976 when general Ahdab, a Muslim, staged a coup demanding the resignation on the Lebanese president Sleiman Frangieh, a Christian.

"He announced his coup on a TV after his militant took over the tv building CLT and Franjiyeh in retaliation took over another TV station in Lebanon and propaganda continued from both sides until another president was elected." "General Ahdab allowed the split of radio and television systems in Lebanon into two competing sections, as Ahdab took over the medium wave and FM radio transmitters and also saw to it that the CLT television company, located in the center of Beirut which he controlled, broadcast pro-Ahdab Arabic newscasts each night.

While Franjieh controlled main medium and shortwave radio transmitters within Christian areas in Beirut" (Rugh, William A, Pg. 197). The context that's placed here is the Lebanese Civil War which was the war between Christians and Muslims. "The spark that ignited the civil war in Lebanon occurred in Beirut on April 13, 1975, when gunmen killed four Phalangists during an attempt on Pierre Jumayyil's life" (Lebanon). Furthermore, I asked my grandmother about the results of radio and television when this was occurring, she stated that at this time she was married and had kids so the next step was evacuation to another country.

I asked Hassana where she fled too and if the media coverage still spoke about the war in Lebanon. She replied saying "Me, your grandfather, your mother and your aunt all flew to different countries like Switzerland, and Syria. Mainly in Syria was where the radio and television would only cover the war in Lebanon. It was a sad time, there were no channels based in Lebanon the radio were strictly political. It was a dark place, I had no media to cope in at this traumatic time". The war ended around 1990 as "The Syrian air force attacks the Presidential Palace at Baabda (a location in Lebanon) and Aoun (Prime Minister at the time) flees. formally ending the civil war" (BBC). I later asked Hassana about the aftermath of the civil war and how radio and television evolved from then. She stated that "So much improved at that time, within the 90s TV was our internet, so many channels were being broadcasted such as LBC, MTV, Future TV, Al-Manar they all were news channels.

The television and radio acted as the internet for us. It was our source for every situation happening in Lebanon. Tele-Liban which was owned by the government was overruled by the success of LBC (Lebanese Broadcasting Company)". Hassana elaborated that at this time, radio and television may have gotten the popularity it needs, but it shied away from the entertainment prospect it used to have and mostly aimed at dealing with political coverage which creates a daily stress in the population of Lebanon. As our interview came to an end, I asked Hassana what her final thoughts were on the evolution of radio and television today. She replied saying "Everything is so unique now, it's like walking life through screens. I am in shock every day of how futuristic we are living in. It is almost a foreign feeling to me when I hear the modern music on the radio or I see all these colorful shows. Its almost like an experience, but today's technology allows me to look back on my past and to replay the songs I used to listen to as a little girl which warms my heart. I can relive my childhood with just the press of some buttons."

Hassana Kabbani was an uplifting spirit within her youth, as she partied to the "twist" and Elvis Presley at a young age but later had to face the fate of war upon early adulthood. Her nostalgia will always be based on vintage music, old Arabic poetry, and slapstick humor in black and white television. In conclusion, her experience with radio and television may have been one of the most impactful things in her life as she suffered through saving herself from the dilemmas of Lebanon through confidence in music, comedy, and other outlets to help shape her brain on pop culture, trends and what goes around in countries thousands of miles away (USA, Europe). Radio and television are two of the most revolutionary tools, as they could change the lives of many even with only a four-hour accessibility to television at a young age.

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