Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My Intrepid Niece …

Some of you might remember my niece Wendy who visited me at Christmastime. She lives in NY City and is a free lance artist. She's not constrained by a standard job and can come and go at will. She's also a great devotee of train travel and proved it last week when she boarded an Amtrak headed West … a 72 hour trip that climaxed in Seattle, Washington !

At first gasp all I could think was ... THREE DAYS ...without the luxury of a sleeper! But Wendy loved every minute of it. She was able to sketch, read, write emails and just plain relax. Here are some of the details that she shared with me as the days wore on:

This is the detail of the ceiling of Union Station in Chicago. (This picture has many more details than the others because she was able to take advantage of the indoor lighting.)

This sunset is over the swollen Mississippi at La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Minot, North Dakota. As they say there: “Why not Minot?”

Foothills of the Rockies toward Glacier National Park. Unfortunately it was overcast, but still beautiful and they even saw 3 moose!
To quote Wendy: “It's so interesting to watch the parade of passengers: Wisconsin brought whole families of Amish and Mennonite. One Mennonite guy had a booming cell phone call behind me, talking in the strangest pigeon German/English. 
Minnesota brought all characters who could have come straight off a Prairie Home Companion set (I had a long chat with an antique dealer who specializes in historic bottles. He does the garage sale circuit, only on a bike! If he buys large items he goes back with his van, but he says the bike saves him time - sometimes he rides 30 miles in a day.) In North Dakota, it's Native Americans.”
I loved my vicarious journey with her. It was a reminder of the amazing likes and differences that make up our amazing United States. No wonder the politicians have a hard time appealing to all !

Friday, March 25, 2016

So tame by comparison …

Does anyone remember this picture?

It's John Kerry windsurfing in 2004, the year he was making his presidential run. The Bush campaign had been accusing him of flip flopping on the issues and when they saw him weaving back and forth on the waves they cleverly turned it into a negative political ad. I didn't like the ad but had to admit that it was very effective.

How tame is that compared to what is going on now in the Republican race for a presidential candidate? I don't condone the risque TV ad that Make America Awesome posted about Donald Trumps current wife posing naked… but, in the political world all is fair and it does ask a legitimate question. Is this who we want for the First Lady of the United States? Or, taking it a step further, do we want a President who is currently with wife #3? (Could #4 be lurking in the West Wing?) 

Hmmmmm, just food for thought !

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Windham, Vermont … Circa 1890

This bucolic scene was the hometown of my great aunt Hattie who was the Windham Post Mistress for many years beginning in 1890. 

The office was in her home, an old white farmhouse sitting close to the road. My sister Mary, who died a few years back, remembered staying with her one summer when she was a 10 year old child. She told me that many times meals would be interrupted by patrons picking up their mail, buying stamps, sending packages or simply passing along the latest news. I guess that the volume of mail must have been low enough that Aunt Hattie could handle it by herself but it was certainly a full time job.

However, it didn’t take all of her time because early in her days as post mistress she added a new dimension. She was a great reader and had an extensive personal library. She conceived the idea of cataloging & displaying her books with the idea of setting up a lending library so that her neighbors and friends could enjoy them too. I love the picture of the small library as my sister described it to me. She said that Aunt Hattie had hand-made wooden step ladders propped against the wall. The steps of the ladders made perfect shelves for her books and they were displayed in alphabetical order by author. Our family has been told that it was the first public library in Vermont, although I have never been able to confirm that.

I imagine that Aunt Hattie's home must have been a bee hive of activity and that makes me smile because, although she never married, I'm sure she never lacked for companionship !

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Videos tell what really happened ...

Here we see a black man by the name of Rakeem Jones being restrained by deputies at a North Carolina rally for Donald Trump on March 9th. We assume, by the looks of this picture, that he must have been disruptive and perhaps even resisted the officers, but, no …Jones had come to the event as a protestor and was being peacefully escorted out when a 78 year old man in the audience sucker punched him in the face.

That man is John McGraw, (seen here in the red shirt and cowboy hat and in the insert) who calmly went back to his seat as the deputies surrounded and forced Jones to the ground.
No one in authority questioned McGraw and he stayed for the rest of the rally.

That could easily have been the end of the story except for multiple videos that were posted on line showing him punching Jones in the face and later, actually boasting that “we might have to kill him next time”. It was only then that McGraw was questioned and arrested by the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office and was charged with assault, disorderly conduct and communicating threats.

What is wrong with our country that we allow inequality like this to happen time and again? Why did the deputies automatically wrestle the black man to the ground and let the obvious bigot go merrily on his way? Why was no action taken until the videos made it impossible to ignore?

When questioned about this Trump replied that he knew little about it but he has been known to condone these type of actions and even boasted that he would pay the legal fees if need be.  Incredible !!



Thursday, March 10, 2016

Catchy LOGO's

One of the categories on “Jeopardy” the other night was “Catchy Logos” and they showed some very clever ones. I couldn't help but be reminded of how my husband Dick's logo came to be.

The year was 1958 and we were living in New York City. Dick had been a photographer for Life magazine but had left the year before to start his own free lance business. We'd fashioned one of the rooms in our apartment into a dark room and he was building up his customer base but we realized we needed a logo for his business cards and other written material. This was easier said than done. 

Then one night a friend of ours, who happened to be the Art Director for Swissair, was having dinner with us and we mentioned our dilemma. He immediately wrote down the pertinent facts ….Name: Richard Dean, Occupation: Photographer … and in a short time he had it done. Dick's name in lower case and the way he put it together resembled a camera. Perfect. It was simple, clear cut and we loved it.

We even had little glue-backed stamps made up for us in rolls, such as you see at the Post Office. They included, along with the logo, the words “Richard Dean Concept” and we would adhere one to each finished photo before presenting it to a client. I was almost as proud of our logo as I was of the wonderful photos that Dick took.


Saturday, March 05, 2016

“...that's not what I heard.”

An interesting thing happened this week. I noticed that one of my close friends was acting a bit stand-offish and it bothered me. When I asked her about it she was hesitant and then explained that she didn't like what I said about a mutual friend. I was very surprised because I thought I was always supportive and complimentary about that person. After a good discussion we both came to realize that what I said was not what she heard and we realized how important it is to be specific and clear when communicating with others.

It reminded me of the story about the man driving a big open truck with the back filled to overflowing with penguins. He was stopped by a policeman who explained that this was illegal. He said he wouldn't give the driver a ticket but that he needed to take the penguins to the zoo immediately. The driver thanked him and drove off.

Two days later the policeman was astonished to see the same man with the same truck and, once again, it was filled to over-flowing with penguins. The only difference was that all the little birds were sporting sun glasses ! The policeman stopped the truck and in an angry voice he told the driver that this time he was getting a ticket and that he'd better obey him or he'd get jail time too.

The driver looked very confused and in a trembling voice he said, “But, officer, I did do what you told me. First I took them to the zoo … and now we're going to the beach!!”