Sunday, December 30, 2012

A cluster of Santas and other Christmas delights

Aren’t these little Santas adorable? They are the creation of my Granddaughter who brought them to our family dinner on Christmas day. Just cut up strawberries and cool whip but they gave us all a chuckle.

And here is my son-in-laws fun package. He couldn’t find a suitable container for his gift so he made one !

My daughter knows how much I love the work of Maurice Sendak so when she saw this sweet Christmas jigsaw puzzle at a yard sale she grabbed it. It was in pristine condition so it was a surprise when I went to put it together and found that one piece was missing. Not to worry … there was a booklet enclosed with the picture so cardboard, scissors and paste were all that was needed to rectify that problem.

And last, but definitely not least, is my little sea-shell dove. I have a good friend who has a knack for turning shells into works of art. The body of this little guy is made of crushed shells and the wattle under his chin is a bivalve shell with a pearl in the center. Clever and just the right size to go on the top of my tiny 2 ½ foot tree

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Consumed with hatred …

Isn’t this incredible? If I didn’t know better I’d think these signs were posted in some backwards section of the country. The misspelling (liers) and the crammed in lettering seems to speak of illiteracy or, at the very least, bigotry and fear of change.

But, no … these placards and others that were even more inflammatory before President Obamas election, are actually posted on the lawn of a family living in an affluent section of the county where I live. I can’t imagine how this must affect their neighbors … especially in this holiday season when most of the other houses are displaying Christmas decorations.

I am amazed that the governing body of that town doesn’t insist that they take the signs down; but they are probably afraid of a court case being brought against them if they did. I can just imagine that anyone with the chutzpah to put up this kind of garbage would be the first to cry “You are denying my rights … I’ll sue !!”

Hatred … defined as “intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury” … it will kill us as a nation if we allow it to fester …

but how do we fight it ????

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My favorite Santa …

This bright red Santa is made of papier-mâché and measures 14 inches high. He is at least 85 years old and was originally a lamp base.

As a child I remember that lamp. It had a colorful glass shade that rotated when activated by the bulbs heat. My sisters and I would sit in front of it, mesmerized as we watched a variety of winter scenes come into view and then slowly pass by with each turn.

I’m not sure how old I was when that lamp toppled over or what caused it … but, topple it did and the lampshade shattered to bits. My four older sisters and I were devastated but my mother took it in stride. The next day she took the lamp parts out, worked her own papier-mâché magic and patched the hole in his head. Voila! … he became the Santa that you see here.

I love the expression on his face. Despite all the love that I‘ve lavished on him over the years he seems to have never recovered from that ill-fated fall more than 75 years ago when he lost his “innards” and fancy headgear.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

EASTER-EGGERS arrive in time for CHRISTMAS …

Some of you loyal followers may remember these two. They are my daughter and son-in-laws “ladies” … the chickens that I mistakenly thought were Black Cochins.

I’d put a chicken coop on the back of my house 2 years ago so it was ready and waiting for them when my kids passed through on their way to a reunion in Ft. Lauderdale. They left them in my care until they returned a week later… all of them, including the two dogs, now here in time for Christmas.

And here is a picture of their produce …the “easter eggs.

  It was actually the eggs that proved these two were not pure bred Cochins. As Wikipedia explains it: “An Easter Egger is any chicken that possesses the "blue egg" gene, but doesn't fully meet any breed description.” Well, they may not be pure but they sure are prolific … and once the shell is removed you can’t tell one egg from another.

Kind of how I feel about man-kind. A bunch of mixed breeds but pretty much the same deep down when you clear away the skin colors.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Stand up and be heard … NY City 1962

The main reason I started my blog in 2006 was to chronicle the memories of my life and to compile them into a book for my three children. I wanted them to be intimately connected to their past and to have some wonderful remembrances of their dad who passed away in 1990. This is one of those instances:

In the years 1958 through 1962 my husband Richard and I lived and worked in New York City. Dick was a free lance photographer and he collected a large amount of parking tickets due to double parking while delivering photos to clients.

When he was summoned to court to pay these tickets he had no idea that they would not accept a check. They demanded cash and, when he didn't have this on him, they threw him into a tiny holding area. The place was filthy … vermin on the walls, a strong smell of urine and close proximity to criminals in shackles. Dick was a Type 1 diabetic and almost went into insulin shock because they would not give him anything to eat. (he was to die at the age of 59 because of this disease.), After many hours he was allowed one phone call and he was released after a good friend brought in the cash.

Dick was furious and he got in touch with the New York branch of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union). They asked him to document his ordeal and he did this in writing as well as in photos that he took of the holding area. It was the start of a good relationship and a few years later one of the ACLU officers called Dick and invited him to lunch. He congratulated him about his diligence in documenting his treatment and said that it played a large part in getting the rules changed. No longer would a person be subjected to such treatment for a misdemeanor.

I’ve always been so proud of Dick for his part in correcting this and I recently wrote to the NYCLU to see if they had any documentation regarding it. I wanted to have something concrete to give to the children. I received a very nice note from the archivist Erin Matson who apologized for only finding this one reference but I was thrilled. Here is the article in part:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Make-over … to Arts & Craft style

I’m lucky to have three children and a son in law who are very artistic and imaginative. They are all self employed and it’s fun to see what challenges come their way. This front porch do-over is a good example of that.

The owners had done a wonderful job in turning a small cottage type house into a charming home but the spindly front porch columns were way out of proportion as you can tell by this photo.

My oldest son was called in and this is the result.

The solid stone bases and the heavier, tapered columns completely change the appearance and the owners now have a home that could have come straight from the “Arts & Crafts” era of the 1850’s.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

A shameful past … an outstanding read.

One of my greatest pleasures is to come upon a book that I simply can’t put down. That’s what happened when I took a chance on this book that I saw on display in our local library.

It is “Requiem” by Frances Itani. I had never heard of her but it appears that she is a well known Canadian writer and I feel sure that AC and Philip will know the name.

In a nutshell this is the story of Bin Okuma, a Canadian artist who is suffering the loss of his wife … compounded by the memories and the anger he has suppressed for years due to his unjust youth. He and his family were part of the 21,000 citizens of Japanese ancestry who were sent to Canadian internment camps during World War II.

Ms. Itani weaves her story around the long drive that Bin, now in his mid fifties, takes from Ottawa to British Columbia to visit the site of the camp where he spent his childhood. She recalls in great detail what life was like then and how the families survived despite great deprivation.

I found her book especially fascinating since I never realized that Canada took part in this round-up like we did here in the United States. It’s interesting to note that as I write this it is Dec. 7th … 71 years to the day that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. To our everlasting shame 127,000 Japanese-Americans, most of them from the West Coast, were uprooted from their homes and relocated to internment camps after that attack.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Those were the “daze” … air travel in the 50’s

It was 1957 and I’d just moved to New York City. I had a good job at WWNY radio and life was exciting but the weekends were long and empty. I had yet to make many acquaintances so I filled the time with trips to LaGuardia airport.

In those days air travel was all first class and passengers were usually the very wealthy and, more often than not, from the entertainment world. With a destination like New York City I could rely on a good show and I was seldom disappointed. I felt like I was at a Broadway opening as I watched the bejeweled and elegant people swarm by me.

Id even dress for the occasion ! No tacky jeans or sweatpants for me. I donned my “traveling clothes” and carried a small overnight bag hoping to emulate a young lady leisurely waiting for her own flight to be called. The hardest part was to remain cool and not gawk at the celebs as they passed by … Ethel Merman, Cary Grant, and Frank Sinatra … to name just a few that I saw.

Here I am in those days… long gloves and all. Would I have fooled you?

2nd Class and stand-by flights have made flying affordable for almost everyone now, and that’s a good thing; but, (just like the movies of that era) it’s hard to beat the 50’s for glamour !