Sunday, June 28, 2020


I apologize to the readers who have seen this entry before but I wanted to get as far away from the Pandemic and Trump disasters as possible … and this seems to fit the bill.


In January, 1907, this adorable picture of my mother and her pet rooster, Teddy, appeared in the “Boston Globe”, along with the following article:

Roosters are not unknown as pets, but little Ruth P. of West Brattleboro, Vt., has an exceptional rooster, Teddy, in that he will allow her to do anything she may wish with him.

The way this little mistress manages her bird playfellow is extremely interesting. She never punishes him because he never needs a rebuke. She speaks to him in a quiet tone, but there is in her eyes a certain power of the will, a power which is rare in children, which forces him to submit to her kind, though sometimes odd, treatment.

In the morning he struts into the kitchen and with a jolly “crowing” he mounts the low table at Ruth’s command, steps into the washbowl and patiently submits to a sponging with soap and water. After shaking his feathers a bit he is dried off with a towel and then brushed until his coat shines bright and clean.

Then follows another of her favorite pastimes. She hitches Teddy to her small doll-cart and drives her noble steed by “gee” and “haw” out through the woodshed, down the front yard to the sidewalk for a jaunt… both child and bird with tiny white hoods crowning their heads.

Ruth has had this strange comrade for several years and has trained him entirely herself. Teddy shows a great fondness for his mistress and obeys her without the least hesitancy.”


My mother lived to the grand age of 92 and, as one of her five daughters, I can attest to the fact that she “trained” us pretty much in the same way that she did Teddy !

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Bowen Barn opens it's doors ...

 As we all know New York state has been hit hard by the Covid Pandemic but it's been steadily adhering to CDC rules and, as a result, Governor Cuomo has recently been able to allow business owners to, very carefully, open for business.

This applies to my daughter and her husband who live in upstate New York and have their own business called Bowen Barn. They sell antiques and all sorts of other items that have attracted customers for years, but, for the past 3 months their doors, which they only open on weekends, have been closed.  
Happily tor the last two weeks they have been open and it seems to be going well. I think a lot of that is due to the guidelines that they adhere to and that they insist their customers do too. 

When they posted their opening to friends and customers on Facebook they wrote

Yowza ! The time is here. Bowen Barn is allowed to open at 50% capacity. Please, sanitize your hands and wear your mask when you come in. (Hand sanitizer will be made available.) 
Note: if you disagree with wearing a mask we're happy to discuss this privately, but this is not a discussion we will have at the barn. We're doing our best to abide by the mandated guide lines and appreciate your support.     Jody & Brian”

Isn't that great and don't you wish all businesses would do the same?

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Chalking it up ...

Isn't this a sweet picture? I am always looking for “feel good” articles to post, but it gets harder and harder to find them so I was thrilled with this.

These are the children of a bi-racial family in Naperville, Illinois. Their mother, Amber White, said, "We spent the weekend chalking and talking about love and inclusion and treating everyone we encounter with kindness."

The project wasn't limited to her children either. She said that as other children came to watch they were encouraged to join in. The different colors are representative of their choices and it's a great example of how beautiful and interesting a jumble of ideas can be.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020


Have you heard? President Trump has actually scheduled a “good old time POLITICAL RALLY in Tulsa on July 20th. In case you've forgotten they look like this:

President Trump's actions show that he is denying all the CDC recommendations for social contacting. Like his refusal to wear face masks he is promoting the ego based message to his followers that he is above it all and perhaps the whole “Pandemic thing” is really a hoax anywaysomething that the low down Democrats have concocted to steal the election.

I am not surprised by this and I guess there are many “always Trumpers” that will actually believe this drivel, but I wonder how they reacted when they went to get tickets and found they had to sign this first:

By clicking register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury.”

They probably just "trusted" in Trump and didn't pay any attention to it!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

A travel back to a softer time ...

I find it so interesting that a blog entry about my 1951 experience at the Totem Pole Ballroom, posted in 2007, is still getting comments. Just this week I received another one and I thought it would be fun to post the article again and then follow it with some of the comments that it's gendered over the past 13 years. 

1951 … Dancing at the Totem Pole Ballroom
One of the joys of growing up in Massachusetts was the chance to spend a magical night at the amazing dance hall called the Totem Pole at Norumbega Park in Newton. Virtually every famous swing band in the country appeared at that venue. These included Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Harry James & the Dorsey Brothers among others. A night at the Totem Pole was pricey so most of us in the teenage bracket had only dreamed of going. However, shortly after I turned 18, I met a college man (sigh!) who actually had the means to buy tickets and we spent a memorable Saturday night there

As I recall they didn’t have a name band the night that we were there, but that didn’t dim our enthusiasm. I was mesmerized the minute we walked in. We were on the upper level of a huge hall. A large staircase led down to the main dance floor and couches and small tables were interspersed on the way down.

There were actually three dance floors…the enormous one in front of the live orchestra and two smaller, intimate, ones on either side of the seating arrangements. It was all very posh and incredibly romantic. The lighting was soft and the music was dreamy and just right for slow dancing. I doubt if I was as much enthralled by my date as I was by the idea of it all; but, it was certainly a night to remember.

Of course it all came to an end,,,not just that night, but the Big Band Era itself...and in 1964 the Totem Pole closed it’s doors for good.
But the city of Newton has preserved ten acres known as the Norumbega Park Conservation Land. It has access to the Charles river and is a popular jogging and dog-walking site during the day.

During the night? I can’t help but wonder if it is occupied by “Totem Pole ghosts” of the past ,,,romantic couples on an enormous dance floor, swaying to the hypnotic swing tunes that dominated the 50’s and 60’s.


38 people have responded since 2006. Here is a sampling of the most nostalgic:

* I would be part of the ghosts, part of me is still back there dancing and canoeing on the Charles.

 *That would have been a marvelous time. I know when my mom used to cater for a Masonic Lodge in the 70's and I was a litlle girl, I loved to see the ladies and gents dancing and swooning and dressed all lovely.

* I had a date that took me to the Totem Pole. He didn't have a car so we got there by street car, subway and bus! I lived north of Boston. The ballroom was beautiful, the band was great and the couches were cozy. Each couch had a dim light and some couples would turn them off.. only to have an employee turn them back on !

* I danced at the Totem Pole as a teenager and remember how romantic those booths and little lamps were. I saw Peter, Paul and Mary in all their youthful fervor. Several years ago I saw them again - all of us decidedly middle aged, at my daughter's music camp in Michigan. The parents swayed and sang along .. the kids thought we were so funny.

* I remember what a magical place the Totem Pole was back in the 50's. Only couples were admitted and I remember the sign near the entrance said “No alcohol allowed either internally or externally” The setting was as romantic as could be and we all felt a bit like Fred Astair or Ginger Rogers.

* When I was at Fitchburg High School in the 40's a group of us boys were recruited to go to the Totem Pole to meet and dance with a group of students from a girl's school in Boston. I'll remember the wonder of that evening all my life. It was magic.

* I found a love letter tonight from my deceased husband and laughed because he said he just couldn't wait until Saturday night when Glen Miller and his band would be at the Totem Pole. He was 17 then and we went as often as his pitiful little grocery store job paycheck would allow. We were married for 42 AWESOME years before he died of cancer. You made my day as I was sitting here missing him so much tonight.

* I am 82 and lived in Newton all my life. I worked at the Totem Pole from 1944 to 1958, first on soda fountain then to ticket booth and then the hostess in the ballroom where I met my later-to-be husband who was the manager. You can't even imagine all the memories and happy images you've brought to me.

* Going through my High School years in Newton, it was a pure delight to take a girl to the Totem Pole … so romantic and such fond memories of our youth when we were so amazingly innocent. We had no idea what made up a girl but we sure loved 'em.

And this week I received yet another …

* My mother related to me several times of her and her brother who were home from leave from the Marines in World War II. They went to the Totem Pole and got called up on stage to meet Frank Sinatra. I'm not sure if it was Tommy or Jimmy Dorsey playing that night.
What a thrill.

Saturday, June 06, 2020

Monday June 1st, 2020 … UNBELIEVABLE

I write this for those of you who did not watch first hand as the events of this past Monday played out. I DID watch in horror and fascination and I, literally, could not believe my eyes.

When something is not seen first hand the message often gets blurred and the reporting can be biased and changed. For instance, the Trump people are saying that smoke, a chemical spray and flash grenades were NOT used against peaceful protesters but I can tell you that they were. I saw many people gagging and even vomiting after their use and all of them running for cover from the HUGE avalanche of heavily armed police.

So, if you did not see it I suggest that you read this. It is an article from the NY Times and, from what I remember, I can tell you that it is accurate and in great detail. I am not promoting the paper but I am assuring you that it is not “Fake News”.  

You can, and will, judge for yourself but I sincerely hope that you will read it.