that time should be
So rich yet fugitive a pageantry.

forsake it then and with us fly
Into the past where nothing now can die:
Where even the young and lovely, old and staid
Live on unchanged - of purest fantasy made.

Prologue - W. de la Mare

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

True Confessions

I'll be the first to admit it, I'm the world's worst blogger!!!!

Oh, I had all these glorious ideas about how beautiful everything would look, how wonderful my writing would be. But my thoughts could not just jive with my actions - or is it the other way around??! Truth be told, I'm so technology challenged, that everything becomes overwhelming.

Now, if I would have the common sense and decency to post more often, I'd say that sooner or later (probably later), it would come together, be much easier. But I'd rather be digging in my garden or even (gasp) scrapping, than sitting at a computer struggling with cyber space!! So it all falls by the wayside.

And then, every so often when I decide to post - frustration sets in and I have to call in reinforcements. That would be my son, when he is willing. And I suffer severe embarrassment  when he says with disbelief in his voice "I just showed you how to do that last week!!" I wince, and say "well -  yes -  but - huh - I can't".......whilst looking frantically for the scattered notes on scraps of paper that are willy-nilly here and there, instead of being in that special little notebook specifically made for this purpose!!

Thus, you see this mess, a blog that wants to be spectacular and has big ideas, but no will power!!!!

So now I must get serious!! I must figure out how to get followers, I must post regularly. I must post close ups, as well as full layouts. I must explain a few things......because I am a Guest Special Investigator for the month of April at the challenge site CSI. And I am quaking in my boots, which are actually my socks and beat up old slippers. Here goes......wish me luck! All very well and good, because basically I'm talking to myself. Still no followers!! And well aware of that!

And my first post will come up in a couple of days!!!!!

River Reverie

River Reverie   #58

#58, Used all 5 colors, and my interpretation of the sketch.

Evidence: wood(buttons), twine, fabric(tulle & cheesecloth), jewels(crystals & antique glass beads), jagged edges, sheer(soft gel medium & tulle)

Testimony: I documented a getaway from the past by letting my thoughts wander back, used the inspiration words escape and reverie. Full journal is found by pulling out tag attached to twine at the top of the layout.

"Such a hot summer day! We longed for a cool place! We were visiting Grandma and Grandpa. We drove to the Old Mill in Arlington, and there we found our escape on the banks of the Battenkill River. Lovely cold water rushed and tumbled over smooth rock boulders, sending up spray everywhere!! There were shallow pools in the broad ledges, and we dangled our feet in the bracing water enjoying its' tonic effect. You were a bit shy of water at the time, being just 3 years old. Whilst your older sisters and brother splashed about in the riotous water, you remained apart, seemingly lost in reverie, quietly gazing off at the surrounding beauty....a most private child...."

Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not    #54

#54, used all 5 colors, sketch
. Evidence: punched circles, polka dots, text pattern, music pattern, tea cup accent.
 Testimony: journaling inspired by the quote by E. Roosevelt,used inspiration words, written on the page opposite the layout as this is going in my Grandmother's book.

"Today, Jan. 16, 2010 - After a long morning researching family history, you and I were feeling the need for a hot drink. Of course it had to be tea! And it had to be served in the precious teacups that once belonged to the woman whose life we had spent hours on trying to piece together. We cleared a space on our worktable for the tea things. It seemed necessary to place her old tea tin from Russia, that had miraculously survived through the years, next to the cups. You poured the tea. We looked at the tableau and quickly snapped photos as the steam rising from the cups was visible in the light from the window. We felt her "presence."
Today, Jan.16, 2013 - 3 years have gone by, so much learned, so much still unknown. My Grandmother truly was a strong woman. Dead infants, two husbands who disappeared under mysterious circumstances, language barriers, poverty, social stigma. Tested, she emerged from the "hot water" again and again, propelled by a strength I can barely comprehend."
The photos are of her teaset, which she purchased from a traveling peddler and paid 10 cents a week for. The set is painted with a lovely vine of pink roses, yellow daisies and blue forget me nots. And that is my Grandmother in 1937.

A Wartime Christmas Gift 1944

A Wartime Christmas Gift  1944   CSI #52
Case #52: All 5 colors

Evidence: string, paint, circles, kraft paper, newsprint paper, tag, burlap, numbers, washers.

Testimony: I documented a gift, included the inspiration words gift and remember, journaled on a tag with handwriting, and included handwritten items.

On the pull out tag which is attached to string on the right hand side of the layout (pulled out from under the paper bag), I have handwritten some of my Dad's thoughts and memories of this special Christmas gift which was presented to the 5th Signal Team. The words are simple and they are his, how they were related to me 6 years ago: "In Sete we had the most wonderful Christmas dinner, which was offered to us as a gift as an honor for being there. It was quite something, I tell you, with white tablecloths, fancy dishes, waiters and all! We were each given a special menu, and all the team members had a course named for them! Imagine that! We had the best food and the best time, and I still have that menu with my war stuff, and I remember everything about that day to this day!!! Boy, it was great!!!" (I have tucked a copy of the menu in with the tag.)

Because this layout is going into a book about my Father's war experience, I have journaled on the page opposite this layout the story about the team's assignment to Sete, France and the Christmas Party.

"In November of 1944, the Fifth Signal Center Team landed a "plum" assignment in the port city of Sete, in the South of France.

After months of traveling up into Northern France under precarious circumstances, living in bombed out cellars and make-shift shelters, the team was abruptly ordered back South to the port city of Sete. Here they were to work communications for Base 109, a French base bringing over colonial troops, Moroccan Gouhmiers, from North Africa. (At this time most of the south of France had been liberated.)

Sete was then a small port city with many canals and a very steep hill. The team was billeted half way up the hill in a former convent school called Sainte Marie des Anges. Before their arrival it had housed the German Gestapo, and the Germans had built a large concrete bunker in front of the property! The beautiful old building was large, with a center hall, sweeping staircase, salon and library with fireplaces. All rather grand!! There was a big dining room with tall windows where meals were served. Off of this was the kitchen and the servants quarters. The French had "loaned" the team 3 German prisoners of war, who were very happy to be cleaning the toilets and maintaining the furnaces, otherwise they would have been clearing the harbor area of mines that the Germans had left behind in their retreat. Also "on loan" were 3 Italian prisoners, who did the cooking and serving of meals. This was living in style!! Each man had a private room, an unheard of luxury, with a cot, chair and small bureau. The view from these top floor rooms was lovely, overlooking the town and the harbor out to the sea!

The men went into the town to work at the French Communications center. First Sergeant Brigodan was good buddies with the French military commander, and this led to "perks"!

On Christmas Day, 1944, the team was given a special gift by the French, a traditional Christmas dinner, and the Italian waiters really outdid themselves serving up with grand flourishes!
So, here in this photo we see the team assembled in the dining room, with their French hosts, the Italian waiters, the German cleaners, amazing!! It was a grand affair, all men together in a spirit of goodwill and reconciliation. (My Dad is standing third from the left in front of the windows, his head is peeking out).

My Father never forgot this gift of love and goodwill. He remembered it fondly, still excited by the whole scenario, 60 years after the fact!

A Tale of Two Sisters 1929

A Tale of Two Sisters   CSI #45
For CSI #45
Used all five colors: medium brown, cream, off white, pale gray, and grayish green
Evidence: Used woodgrain (thin veneer behind the photo), buttons, lantern, vintage text (post card), textured paper, and mostly cardstock with one pattern paper.
Testimony: I wove a tale about my ancestors in connection to a famous event in history, and tried to present the "place" of my characters in relation to their family standing, and also incorporated the inspiration words family, comfort and home.
My journaling is typed using a vintage typewriter on little strips of paper and placed in groups on the page opposite this layout, as this is going into an album about my Mother.

"A Tale of Two Sisters"

We were the youngest in our family of ten. I was known as "Tootsie", although my real name is Suzannah. Pauline, my little sister, was called "Babe". And was she ever a baby when it came to pouting and getting her own way, as you can see by that expression on her face in this picture!!

We were having our photograph taken by our oldest brother who was all grown up. He told Pauline to give a pretty smile. And even though we were wearing our brand new "best" dresses, which were pale blue voile with "Bertha" collars, she still pulled a pout! That's Pauline for you, sometimes she was just plain contrary!!

It was a real sacrifice for Ma to have these dresses made for us by Mrs. Farnum. Ma worked every day from 6 to 6 in the mill, except for Sunday. Ma is very iron willed, and maybe this is where Pauline gets her stubborn head from. Anyway, they say it is a "Great Depression" and that Ma is lucky to have this work. We don't have a Father. We did have one, but he died before Pauline was born, and I was only 2 years old. The mill gave Ma his position as a weaver so she could feed us all, and give us a place to live, a home she tried to make comfortable and pleasant for all of us.

But for us, this "depression" doesn't seem so depressing! Our days are mostly fun. Because our older brothers and sisters get work here and there, we can go to school, and have other comforts that Betty, one of my older sisters, is always reminding us she didn't have when she was our age. Betty is kind of spoiled because she is so pretty.

When we weren't in school, we liked to play "make believe house" in the deserted Holden Lumber Co. building. To make our house look pretty we swept the earthen floor in each timbered cubicle with branches. We gathered wild flowers and filled thrown away bottles and tin cans with them, and placed them along the top of flat beams that were used to hold lumber. Shiny stones were our jewels, and we put them alongside our vases of wildflowers. We wove together wreaths. Tree branches, acorns, bird feathers and nests we used for decoration in our little houses. Although we didn't have "real" dolls, we did have little tiny 5 cent celluloid dolls. Our doll babies were cradled in leaves for their naps in our house. While the babies slept, we visited with our neighbor "house" friends, usually Harriet Farnum or Janet Woldyka. We sang songs and complimented each other on how nice our houses looked. It was so much fun, until someone would say - oh, it's time to eat! And we would cast aside our vases and stones and grab our babies, and run home for our supper!!

When we were lucky enough to get 5 cents, which we had to share, we ran to "Blind Bill's" candy store. It was a serious business trying to choose the right candy. The more we got for a penny, the fuller our little brown paper bags would be! We usually got jelly beans, or boston bsked beans, because we got a lot for our nickel. But we really coveted MaryJanes, which were expensive, only 3 for a penny.

So you see how carefree and happy our days were?? What's so sad about this depression? We were loved, although sometimes it was a tough love, Ma was kind of demanding! And at the end of the day, even though I had to share a bed with Pauline, who dreamt wild dreams and tossed all over the place, she was my little sister, and I loved her the bestest, that is after Ma, of course!"

A Monumental Visit 1945

A Monumental Visit - 1945   CSI #47
A Monumental Visit 1945

CSI #47: used all five colors

My evidence: patchwork pattern, frames, foliage, gold metal accents, mesh

My testimony: I documented a visit by my Mother to our nation's home, included the words visit and welcome in my journaling, and included how this visit impacted my life:

"September, 1945, Mom and her sister Betty had taken a train to So. Carolina to meet their brother Frank at Parris Island. They wanted to be there to welcome him home from the war. Frank, a Marine sergeant who had served 2 years in the Pacific Campaign, was being transferred to Boston to await discharge from active service.

The siblings, along with 2 other Marines, would be taking a road trip in Frank's new car, back to Massachusetts. Because of time constraints, it would be a whirlwind affair. The Marines were expected to arrive expediently via the most direct route. They were given a gas mileage ration of $0.03 per mile and a meal allowance of $1.00 per meal. They were expected to "maintain decorum at all times."

The highlight of the trip would be a stop in Washington, D.C., our nation's home. Here we see the siblings posing in front of the Washington Monument. Mom and Betty both wore the wide legged loose trousers that were in fashion, carried identical "bohemian" handbags, and wore white sandals. Although it is difficult to see the Monument in these photos, it is there! This was a "monumental" visit for my Mom in so many ways. She had a great love of history, and this visit, no matter that it was a brief daylong one,was a fulfillment of a childhood yearning. The visit fanned the flames of her desire to learn and see more of our country's great landmarks. And indeed, she passed that love onto me. As a child I was taken to many "historical" sites. Mom gave me a very thorough lesson wherever we went. Of course, there were times when I most definitely did not appreciate this and was not a willing student. But today, I am so very grateful that this monumental visit also impacted my life in such a wonderful way!!"

I made the patchwork quilt pattern - "Mariner's Compass" as a backdrop for the photos and included the 4 points of direction. Of course, this page is oriented North, the way the travelers were journeying home