Saturday, August 31, 2013

Talking a hike - literally

A hike in the woods and cliffs by San Simeon point in the Central Coast of CA, followed by an elegant dinner at a local eatery.

An amazing, beautiful, sunny, gorgeous day.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

The most fun surprise!!!

I got a package yesterday...but didn't notice it tucked into my office until this morning.  It was from Suki, who had written to me that she was sending this package of postcards from her brothers collection.


It's more than postcards really. It's a postcard journal of a trip out west of a Mrs. Stearn and Miss C.W. Batcheller.  Don't you wonder what their relationship was? Aunt and Niece?  Old lady and companion?  Sisters? How I would love to know!   I'll show you at the end of this post how I know their names. (and my ideas on their relationship...don't get excited, it's pretty tame!)

This is one of the first cards with (I assume) Carrie Wood Batcheller's writing.

Mrs. Milly George Stearns is our "matron"

Miss Carrie Wood Batcheller is our younger lady.

( How about Mrs. Truxtun Beale with her maid - hoity-toity!)

Carrie and Milly went thru the Panama Canal to get to Los Angeles.  I think this was fairly adventurous for the time. The Panama Canal opened January 7th, 1914 - just one year before these two went thru on the Kroonland.

Then they arrived in LA and started sightseeing in the Automobile as written below.

I like to think that this is a photo of the two ladies, with companions that they met on the trail to Mt. Lowe

Typical 1915 view of LA street scenes?

Then it appears that they went to San Diego after two weeks (and four days) in LA.  There is no note about how they got there, I love to think of them driving down the coast.

Note the Steamship on the horizon.

This Hotel looks the same today as it did in 1915. 

It appears that they went to the Panama-California exposition of 1915  which was such a successful expo that it was extended thru 1917.  The point of the expo was to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal and to "put San Diego on the map" especially after the "wall street panic of 1907".

I guess it worked!

Then they started traveling up the coast. I don't know exactly how, I'm assuming they didn't drive, but who knows.

There are a few Santa Barbara photos and postcards.  The usual serene views, with few people and fewer cars.

They made it to San Francisco - this hint of GG park is for Robin, who loves that park. 

They apparently took a ferry to Oakland where they visited a beautiful hotel "situated in the midst of most unattractive surroundings"

From San Francisco they boarded a Railway to travel to Oregon, Lake Louise, Banff and then thru Toronto and Montreal home to Boston.

I know their names from their return itinerary - from San Francisco way back to Boston via western cities and scenic destinations.  6 weeks of travel back...for $247.20

To me it's so much fun to read these little stories, and think about who these people where, what they did and how they got about.  They left home on May 22, 1915 and got back to Boston on September 1st, 1915.  Three and 1/2 months of traveling - who could do that now?  Then again, 6 weeks of that was on a boat out to the coast and another 5 weeks back by train, with sightseeing along the way.

I have found out - thru quick research - that Carrie Wood B was born in 1867 and was a Music Teacher in Providence, RI.  Maybe she had the summer off from school to travel.  She went to France in 1924, I'm not sure for how long...that's for another story.  A census when she was 15 has her listed as "step-daughter".  I can't find anything on Milly - so I'm making up the story that Milly was a widow, with Carrie her daughter.  Milly was widowed, and Carrie had to teach music to help support her mother. Milly herself did dressmaking.  Later on in life, Milly married George Stearns, who was a successful shop owner who could afford to send his wife and stepdaughter for a jaunt out to the West Coast.

This was such a delightful present - thank you Suki - I love it!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

After years of planning.....

For a few years I have been planning to put together a book of family history and recipes. I've gathered recipes, and tried different versions of the same family recipe. I've got pictures and a family tree and stories...and that's where it's all stopped.  I got bogged down in the details of a book.

So...I started a new blog.  Last night!  (actually started it in February during a snow storm, but that doesn't count) I did my first post last night and sent it around to cousins and other family members.

I wouldn't say I was on a roll...but it's a start.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

A weekend at the beach

I spent the weekend at one of my favorite places in the world, a beach on Long Island, NY.

Not very exotic really but a wonderful place to me.

This old small stucco house was my Grandma's summer house, 1/2 block from the beach on a street with little traffic aside from fruit and vegetable vendors, and ice cream trucks.  The men mostly stayed in the city during the week, while the wives and children spent the days at the shore which was 20 degrees cooler than our city apartments.  I grew up in a city apartment with limited or no AC, so this place was heaven to me.  It was also heaven because I adored my fat, soft armed grandma - with her homemade peach pie, calm teaching manner and warm loving welcome.  Grandma taught me how to knit, how to make cookies and cakes without looking at a recipe and how to enjoy family.  After a family dinner, we'd sit on the porch all evening, talking and telling stories, the kids either cuddled up somewhere or playing in the street waiting for the ice cream truck to come along. It was so different from Brooklyn, and just what I wanted and needed.

When I was 19 my grandma died, I was so sad. But of course, life went on, I finished college and moved away from NYC, made a new life in New England, got married, met my BFF, (she FINALLY gave me my wonderful nephews and I had waited for years!) and I rarely get back to the city.  And the house eventually went to my aunt and uncle and then to a close cousin.  And once a year, at least, I go back for a weekend at the house.

The house is close to the way Grandma left it.  Carpets have been changed, and kitchens updated.  AC has been put in and other critical upgrades. But the garden still has Grandma's lilacs, and hydrangea's.  And the beach is still the beach - wide and white, with that wonderful Atlantic ocean pounding away.   One cousin bought a house 1 block over, and this weekend 5 of us cousins, and spouses and some kids, met for the weekend to hang out on the beach, enjoy each other, tell stories, laugh hysterically and eat eat eat!.   The younger cousins taught me how to take "selfies".  I tossed in the wild waves and got water up my nose, and couldn't have been happier.  For a few minutes, I felt like 10 years old again and it felt good.

And after the day is done, and you've walked back to the house from the sandy beach my favorite part of the day is showering in the outdoor shower.  It's housed in an old beat up shed off the house, and we - all the cousins - absolutely adore that shower.  Our spouses are very puzzled by this, they can't understand how anyone can love a shower. But we do!  There is no better way to get clean than in that shower, toweling off afterwards with giant towels or even giant-er terry cloth robes.  It's a clean like no other clean.


And that's what this weekend at the beach does to me. It cleans me out for a few days, clears my head like nothing else.  Makes me remember Grandma and her pies.  Makes me feel like a kid again, and that's good.