Saturday, July 20, 2019

We are not born as RACISTS.

You've got to be taught to hate and fear. You've got to be taught from year to year,
It's got to be drummed in your dear little ear. You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught to be afraid of people whose eyes are oddly made,
and people whose skin is a different shade. You've got to be carefully taught.

You've got to be taught before it's too late, before you are six or seven or eight,
to hate all the people your relatives hate. You've got to be carefully taught,” *

* lyrics from the 1949 musical “South Pacific” by Rodgers & Hammerstein

Monday, July 15, 2019

"My Halcyon Years" ... a book

… and did I read this book?   No, actually I wrote it and I'm thrilled to say that it is finally finished and for sale on Amazon.  The definition of the word HALCYON ("a period of time in the past that was idyllically happy") aptly describes the book and my big smile on the cover reinforces it.

February of 1943 was a pivotal time for  me.  I was the youngest of five girls living in Wellesley Hills, Massachusetts (a suburb of Boston) and my 10th birthday  was fast approaching.  Our country was deep into WWII by then but I was too young to truly understand what that entailed.  For me it was mainly a time of great drama so when my father asked me if I has a special wish for my big day I had a ready answer.  "Dad," I  said, "I want a British sailor" and that's exactly  what I got and where my story begins.  Little did I know how exciting the next 20 years would be.

I lived it.  I loved it and I hope you will enjoy reliving it with me.  This is just a partial list of all the star studded people, situations and career choices that fill the pages of "My Halcyon Years" …

WWII (visions from the home front),  Sylvia Plath (my High School class mate), Benny Goodman,
Margaret Bourke-White,  John F. Kennedy,   Howard Cossell,   Gregory Peck,    John Entwistle,
KEY-T TV,  Santa Barbara, Ca.,  WABC Radio,  New York,  NY.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

A walk back in time …

The last thing that Matt and I expected to see on our trip home from Beaufort, South Carolina was the ruins of a burned out church. We were traveling along a lovely tree lined road where the trees were dripping with Spanish Moss and we almost missed it. At first glance it looked like the sort of Italian ruins that you would see in Rome.

When we stopped and walked inside it was like turning back the pages of history. This was the remains of the red-brick Sheldon Church, built in 1757.

It was burned by General Augustine Prevost's British troops in May 1779, less than 25 years after it was built. It was then rebuilt in 1826 and given the name of Sheldon Church of Prince William's Parish. 40 years later, in 1865, Sherman's 15th corps under General John Logan once more burned the church to the ground. This was considered as part of Sherman's march to the sea.

As I strolled the grounds I could hardly believe that this place had once been the scene of such devastation. Now it is a peaceful tourist spot but it‘s also a reminder of the futility of war and man’s pursuit of it. 

Saturday, July 06, 2019


For years I've watched the 4th of July Washington, DC festivities on C-Span. I've always been impressed. Patriotism was always front and center but the music and the speeches were simple. They were like down-home examples of the unity and love that was being expressed in millions of towns across the country. We were truly celebrating America's Independence Day.

Fast forward to this year's tacky show of grandeur and military strength. Who would ever have believed that we would see a stage setting constructed in front of the Lincoln Memorial and grandstands occupied by invited ticket holders that consisted of Trump VIPs, followers and donors to his campaign? It was ludicrous as was his long and tiresome teleprompter reading.

And the big question is … WHAT IS THE COST FOR ALL THIS ? .
.. and just how long are we going to allow it to happen? In all my 86 years I have never seen anything to top what Donald Trump is doing to our beloved country. I have a feeling that our real shock will come after he's left the White House … when we the people get the bill !

Monday, July 01, 2019

A blogger friends “Stand Uppity Garden”

I can't believe that it's been 7 years since I traveled to Virginia to meet and enjoy the weekend with my blogger friend Possum of “My Little Corner of the World”. What a delight it was and look at the lovely garden that welcomed me. 

Not only is it gorgeous but it is a testament to her spirit and creativity. She was in a severe auto accident back in the 70’s and was told that she would never walk again but she would not accept that verdict. Now she does walk on her own two feet but it isn't easy. Her great love is gardening but bending over or sitting on the ground, or even on a low stool, is almost impossible for her so, with the help of some friends, she built her first “Stand Uppity Garden” (as she calls it) in 2009. However they didn’t use treated wood as it would have affected the produce so it did not stand the test of time.
She still loved the idea though and when she found Smart Pots her problem was solved. She mightily improved her idea of a standing high garden by using their 100 gallon Big Bag Bed.
They come in a variety of sizes and can be used for any and all of the projects in her amazing garden. The largest bag opens to a diameter of 4 feet and holds as much potting soil as a 4x4 garden. It is extremely sturdy and she can make as many “uppity” gardens as she wants by just putting a Big Bag Bed on top of a sturdy base.

And the smaller bags? They come with the complete endorsement of the many cats who roam and relax in this outdoor paradise !

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The lovely CONNECTED FARMSTEADS of New England

In 2002 I spent a few weeks in August wending my way slowly through Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. It was the one time in my life when I had no deadlines or time constraints. I was alone and in no hurry so I just drove the back roads and drank in the countryside. One of the lovely spots were I stayed in Maine was the Blueberry Hill Farm. It was my introduction to the connected farmsteads and I was fascinated by them.

I wish I had a better picture but you might be able to see what looks like a small addition to the left of the main house. That is the original cabin built in the 1800's. It was actually where my small bedroom was and it connects to the big house which in turn connects to two large barns.

These structures date back to the 19th century and there is a child’s verse that describes them perfectly: “Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn”. It is possible to walk from the main house (the parlor, dining area and bedrooms) through the “little” house (kitchen and wood shed) through the “back” house (privy and storage or workshop) to the barn without ever going outside. 

There are two theories for this connected arrangement. One theory is that a family could exist through the extreme winter snows without having to go outside to get to any of the buildings. The other premise holds that the thrifty New England farmer figured he could eliminate 3 walls by connecting the buildings!

I spent day after day on those New England back roads and every time that I spied a connected farm complex I would slow down or stop. Although it was August and a warm breeze caressed my cheek I would envision this same scene blanketed in snow. This gave me a feeling of snugness, safety and contentment.

Now, when I feel the need to escape from the rush and confusion of today I just bring back those memories and it never fails to slow me down.

Friday, June 21, 2019

A crystal ball into the future

While searching my blog entries today I came across this one that I posted in July of 2011. I repeat it word for word today because I can't get over how eerily apocalyptic it was and I repeat the last line … I pray it's not too late.

This is not my usual type of entry but bear with me … I am so fed up and frustrated that I just have to get this off my chest.

So many of us voted for change in 2008 and we were thrilled to have Obama elected. The first two years were a challenge but, little by little we could see progress. Maybe…just maybe… the powers that be would listen to the middle class … maybe we’d have a chance for survival.

And then came the mid-term elections and we, who had elected Obama, COMPLETELY LET HIM DOWN. We failed to come out in droves, like we did when he ran in 2008, and the result is what we have today … a completely divided Washington and a bunch of fanatical right wingers who tell us lies and are determined to undermine every single proposal put forth by the Democrats… or even their own more moderate party members.

Whatever happened to Statesmanship? When did compromise become a dirty word? We are now being held hostage by a completely self-absorbed bunch of Tea Party Republicans and we have NOONE TO BLAME BUT OURSELVES !

I have no idea how this fiasco will unfold but I hope that we’ve learned a powerful lesson...and I pray it's not too late.