Friday, September 23, 2011

The good ol’ daze …

I won’t be blogging for a few weeks so I thought I’d post these great pictures to hold me over until I get back.

They are actual billboards posted in Detroit, Michigan by GM. If any of you out there are near my age these pictures will bring back fond memories !

I should have some interesting blog material when I get back and I will be anxious to share it with you.

‘til then … Keep on truckin'

Sunday, September 18, 2011

President Obama at NC State University

My granddaughter is a student at NC State and she was thrilled to see our President speak recently. Actually she was very lucky because 5,000 tickets were issued and they were down to the last 15 when she got hers.

I was so happy that she had this experience. It reminded me of the 2 times that I saw President Kennedy in person. Just being that close to the number one Head of State was awesome to me and I could tell, from her passionate response, that she felt the same way.

Here is the picture that she took of the event:

She is extremely concerned about the future of our great nation and is working hard at keeping an open mind and becoming a knowledgeable citizen. She is a grade A student and has not yet been beaten down by life as have so many of us “old-timers“.

It gives me great hope for the future of our country when I see her enthusiasm and I pray that she and others like her will be taken seriously. Our very lives could well depend upon it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


I live just four hours from BROOKGREEN GARDENS but it was 20 years after I moved here that I made my first visit.

The gardens have been described as “a museum of sculpture” but it doesn’t do justice to the collection. It is many acres that combine the beauty of nature with the beauty of creative works by some of America’s most outstanding sculptors.

Hundreds of statues are placed to our viewing advantage among dogwoods, magnolias, floral settings and, my favorite, the enormous live-oaks dripping with gray/green Spanish Moss. Many statues are integrated with pools or overlooking streams or small lakes.

This is a walker’s paradise. Stone plaques are strewn among the flower beds … most of them for identity but some had short poems or sayings. I got a big kick out of the one that read:

“I used to love my garden, but now my love is dead.
I found a Bachelor’s Button in Black-eyed Susan’s bed.”

I also got a chuckle out of one of the small statues in the indoor museum. It was entitled “The Dowager” and was of a nude woman, very obviously in her 80’s or older. She was portrayed in an aristocratic pose with a haughty look on her face. Her only bit of “attire” was a gold-tipped cane that she held in her hand and I had the distinct feeling that if I laughed out loud she would not have hesitated to use it on me !

BROOKGREEN GARDENS also provides tours, a boat excursion, an animal habitat and a visit to the Alston family plantation where Aaron Burr’s daughter lived.

If you ever get to Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, I would highly recommend a visit to BROOKGREEN GARDENS

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Ray Bolger in Las Vegas…….1957

In 1939 Ray Bolger became a household name for his rendition of the timid scarecrow in “The Wizard of Oz”; but, that wasn’t his only claim to fame. He was a song and dance man of star quality and his 1948 Broadway performance in the musical “Where’s Charley?” was proof of this. His soft-shoe rendition of “Once In Love With Amy” was the hit of that show and it became his theme song.

In 1957 I drove cross country with a friend from California to my home in Massachusetts. We made a brief stop in Las Vegas and when we saw that Ray Bolger was the featured performer at the Hotel Sahara we decided to attend.

The opening of the show was the typical girlie parade, but then the lights dimmed and Ray Bolger took the stage. We sat mesmerized as he performed ... he was so loose that you’d swear he didn’t have a bone in his entire body. Most of his routine was comical and fast-paced so we were completely unprepared for the finale.

Suddenly Ray stopped and stood as still as a statue in the spotlight. A hush came over the audience and when it was perfectly quiet the orchestra began to play “Once In Love With Amy.” Ray had not moved a muscle during this whole time but now he slipped into his soft-shoe routine while, very softly, singing the words to this lovely song.

Then he asked us, the audience, to join in and he continued to dance while tossing the lyrics to us one line at a time. We sang along as he danced and I doubt if there was a dry eye in the house…it was truly a magical moment.

I guess most people will remember Ray Bolger as traveling the Yellow Brick Road in search of a brain...but I will always cherish my memory of him in 1957, as the lovelorn Charley singing to his Amy on the stage at the Hotel Sahara in Las Vegas.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Photographers … my grandmother & my husband

Around 1885 the gelatin dry plate glass negative was introduced and my Grandmother Prentiss was thrilled. She was an avid photographer and a very adept one. She not only took pictures but she also developed and printed them.

My family is lucky to have retained many of my grandmother’s glass negatives and we’ve been able to make prints from them. The little girl in the picture below is her daughter, my mother. She and her sister were favorite subjects, as were landscapes, structures and, of course, the formal family portraits.

Fast forward to the late 1950’s when my husband appeared on the scene. He had just left “Life” magazine when I met him and was embarking on a free-lance career in photography. How different this was from the days of the old glass plates; but, nevertheless, it was still a cumbersome process.

I remember all the equipment that he had and how we made over a small bathroom in our apartment to be his darkroom. He would spend hours in there … enhancing, enlarging and printing the photos and then I would pitch in and help to wash them in the bathtub. They were then clipped to a line to dry.

Here are just two of his photos. The portrait is of Margaret Bourke White, the famous “Life” photographer and the other is a prize winning photo that he took for “Time” magazine.

Unfortunately Dick’s career as a photographer was cut short due to illness but it was challenging and fun while it lasted. I often wonder what both he and my grandmother would think of the advancements in the photographic field if they were alive today.

I keep my little digital camera with me always and love to record what I see. However, I can’t help but feel a little guilty when I produce a half decent picture and realize I did it with the aid of my trusty HP photosmart … a far cry from their devotion and expertise !

Saturday, September 03, 2011

1977 … Hitching to North Carolina

In the summer of 1977 my 17 yr. old son and his friend were restless and looking for an adventure. They came to me with a plan and, after a lengthy discussion, I agreed.

They had decided to hitchhike from Dutchess County, New York to Pinehurst, North Carolina … a distance of approximately 750 miles. His Dad and younger brother were already there working on a small building project and this would be a complete surprise for them.

The boys were short on money but they insisted they’d be fine. I wondered if I was crazy to let them go as I watched them trek down the highway looking like Mutt and Jeff… my son being 6’3” and his friend barely 5’ 10”. With tears in my eyes and trepidation in my heart I drove home and waited for their call.

Of course I was a nervous wreck but that call did come 4 days later and they were fine. They’d completely surprised my husband and younger son and the plan was for them to stay for the next two weeks and then they’d all drive home together.

I remember being so happy that it was a tame adventure and that my fears were boundless … they were safe and sound. It would be years before they shared the actual facts of the trip !

No wonder they weren’t worried about money. They rarely had to spend any. They’d get a ride from one big city to another and always planned it so they'd get there late in the afternoon. Then they’d find the busiest hotel in the vicinity and pretend to be registered there. They’d swim in the pool, which cooled them off as well as acted as a shower and then they’d wander to the lobby and check out the billboards. There was always an eating event of one sort or another listed and they’d just wander in. I guess being young and nice looking didn’t hurt since they said they were never questioned. Isn’t that amazing?

Then, to add insult to injury, they’d take the elevator to the top floor and bed down on the roof !! One night it rained and they settled for the corridor. So the only expense they incurred was for food and I’ll bet they weren’t shy about “doggie bags” from those free dinners they attended either.

So, that’s the “rest of the story” and all I can say is thank goodness I wasn’t aware of it then. It still gives me chills when I think of the “what if’s”. That old adage Ignorance is bliss is surely true in my case.