Monthly Archives: July 2020

Claiming a Proud Tradition

Today I want you to use your imagination a little. I want you to close your eyes and picture Boston, MA in 1848.

What comes to mind?

Irish immigrants fleeing their homeland?  A crowded harbor? Cobbled streets filled with horses pulling carts, wagons, and carriages? Abolitionists writing newspaper articles?

In the middle of all this activity — perhaps in response to recent progress — the Boston Public Library was established. In 1895 they moved into their present day building.

Boston Public Library

With a heritage to be proud of– First free municipal library to do each of the following: lend books, establish a branch, and create a children’s room — they are also a modern facility.

Pre-COVID19 they gave daily public tours to showcase the art and architecture of the building. I’ve included it on my list if I ever happen to visit Boston again.

A Mere Three Years

Has it been three years? Or three decades?

More and more this summer, I find myself yearning for the past. You know — like last year. Before the stay-at-home orders and threat of giving or receiving a deadly illness in a stray cough.

I miss the days when you could decide at breakfast to go on an adventure. Check your calendar for obligations. Pack up some bottled water and perhaps a few snacks. Check for camera and map. Then it’s into the car and off to see something new a hundred miles away. (Give or take on the distance.)

Three years ago a went on such an adventure. After driving past signs to this historic re-created village numerous times, I followed the map to visit.

It was a warm, July day. Not many other visitors were on the grounds. This made the exploring better. The demonstrations, while well attended, allowed a good spot to see and hear the craftsmen/ladies.

American frontier on the cusp of a technology leap.

Fireplaces were the heart of an 1830’s home — heating and cooking.

Blink twice and the 1850’s homes featured iron stoves which used much less fuel and heated more efficiently.

Magic Passport

Do you enjoy traveling? Are you looking forward to seeing new things? Is it the experience you anticipate?

In this unusual year of 2020 I encourage you to stride into your local library and use (or obtain) a magic passport.

I don’t read much you respond. — No problem.  Most libraries also carry movies, TV shows, and audio books. Some allow you to check out games (video and board) and puzzles.

Thanks to library materials I’ve gone to the Pacific during WWII with the US Marines, popped in to England in 1928, and solved a mystery in Quebec. And that’s only since they re-opened after our initial quarantine! Where will your magic passport take you?  The future?  Outer space? Ancient Egypt? Or the current halls of government?

 

Side-by-Side

Nature is always concerned about the next generation. From a simple one cell organism to the largest of the whales, offspring is front and center.

It’s not a surprise then that trees put a lot of energy into seed. Some like to scatter them with the wind. Others hide the side in thick, hard shells for animals to carry off. Still others use a combination.

Open, brown cones from 2019 share a branch with developing 2020 crop.

Looking for Serious?

A week ago, I wrote about taking a trip between the covers of a book. My examples were a selection of romance novels.

When you travel in person are you the sort of tourist who reads and ponders every plaque in the museum? Do you soak in the sights and sounds outside a historic home? Or a battlefield?

Then you may prefer to seek your summer escape in the non-fiction portion of the bookstore or library.

These are some of my non-fiction “keepers”.

History. Biography. Travel guide. Which section of the bookstore or library draws your attention?

Three Things

Quick — name three things that come to mind when I mention the state of Maine.

Got them? How many are in the photo?

My trio is water, rocks, and trees.  I’d expect lighthouses and lobster to be on many lists.

Acadia National Park outside of Bar Harbor offers breathtaking views. The water was calm during my visit. Use your imagination and conjure the powerful waves during a storm. Crashing against the rocks. Sheets of water sliding back into the surf. Over and over. Year after year. The timeless struggle of sea and land.

Non-Beach Reads

How’s summer going? Are you keeping to those goals and plans set in January?

Yeah, I thought so. On those short winter days, when I was setting goals and targets for 2020, I was an optimist. I planned three trips away from home — one for writing business and two for pleasure. (Yes, visiting relatives counts as pleasure.)

One by one the events and travel plans were cancelled. It was sort of like watching dominoes fall in slow motion. Even a couple of shorter trips — one night excursions to far corners of the state — are in serious doubt.

One thing that’s never cancelled (okay, when the library was closed it was difficult) is taking a vacation by reading a book. Within the magic covers you can travel to places unheard of in the real world. Want to step back in time? Check out a vision of the future? Explore a region on a different continent?

A selection of romance authors — these share the initial B — delightful for a summer vacation in your favorite chair. Keep a beverage within reach!

Witches and Whaling

My son and I planned the trip months in advance. He’d not been very far east of our Midwestern home. I wanted to visit some relatives and see some special historical sites.

Can we…? I looked at the 17 year-old and agreed. (Always consider your traveling companions.)

We added Salem, MA to our itinerary.  It was delightful. Witchcraft trial museums and plays. Whaling and clipper ship history and displays. Excellent seafood.

Among all the good things in Salem, MA — I think I liked the waterfront best.

 

Happy Birthday!!!

The document was first read to the public here. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine yourself 244 years ago in a large, thriving Colonial port.

Are you relating to one of the well-dressed gentlemen in knee breeches? Or the lady of a prosperous household in an imported dress and bonnet? Perhaps you are a crew member of a sailing ship? Or a worker in a brickyard? You might be a servant girl cooking and cleaning for room and board.

I’ve only visited this city once. Enjoyed all the historical sites and fell in love with the waterfront. They were setting everything up for the large, annual birthday party the next week. (Considering events of 2020, I expect the “large” portion to be canceled.)

This Philadelphia view was taken from one of the ships displayed at the waterfront. The United States was younger then — a mere 222.