Standing Among Heroines

Considering myself an ordinary, Midwest American woman, I don’t hobnob with the great figures of my time. My friends are more likely to be nurses, teachers, or clerks than anyone interviewed on the news.

But on a vacation several years ago we stood among some great historical figures. Well — sort of.

A daughter-in-law and I stand among the figures at Women’s Right National Historic Site.

If you ever find yourself in upstate New York — I suggest a side trip to Seneca Falls and this fine, educational attraction. These were brave women to gather in 1848. Yikes! My ancestors, and those of DIL, were still in Europe at the time.


Memory Prompt

Gardens. Flowers. August.

In the vegetable garden August is filled with picking, washing, cutting, and canning. Hot water in great quantities as mother performed (and directed) the preservation and storage of vegetables to tide us through the winter.

Flowers formed a joyful spot in their own garden, or on the edge of the vegetables. Their names escape me now but I do remember the year I was ready to take gladiolus to the county fair as part of my 4-H project. However, it was also the year we had a puppy — who decided the best place to roll and scratch his back was in the middle of the flower bed. (I took the dahlia. — It’s always wise to have a back-up plan.

Our neighbors grew difference flowers from our variety. They had hollyhock beside their garage. Decades later, the sight of this portion of the Missouri Botanical garden takes me back to the flowers grown by previous generations.

Do you have a flower garden? Fond memories of other gardens?


Mind and Body

Use your mind to keep it sharp! You’ve heard the advice for members of the “Boomer” generation.

Keep moving! Use it or lose it! Advertisements shout for our attention to buy clothing and equipment and exercise programs. It can get exhausting.

One day, while looking for one thing, I found both. Or at least the opportunity to do both.

First the mind–

Our local library system has a new branch. Well, actually a new building for an existing branch. No longer will the patrons of this area need to share space (and be crowded) in a portion of a municipal building. Less than a year ago, this fine new facility opened to serve their book, magazine, and video needs. Computer access and classes. Meeting space. All in clean, bright space — when the pandemic will allow us back into the building.

Now the body —

You can’t see it in the photo. So I invite you to image behind the photographer, at the edge of the parking lot. A paved walking path. Open during daylight hours. (I’ve never been much for walking in the dark.) Adults — do you want to exercise the body first? Or do you prefer after you check out your library items and stash them in your vehicle? Are the children rowdy? Perhaps a little physical exercise first before they enter and use their “inside” voices.


Famous Chimes

You hear them in many public spaces. Colleges are fond of them. Certain doorbells can be programed for the first portion. And when a group of friends get silly, or one begins the tune, others tend to “chime” in.

On the quarter hour the voice is heard in the neighborhood. And on the hour — the voice is famous world-wide.

Yes, I was fortunate enough to hear the Westminster Chimes from the source. On a different day — not at 1047 — I was standing just across the river when Big Ben himself (the bell) tolled the hour of 6 PM.

This is not the same Big Ben alarm clock my father faithfully set each evening. Or the smaller, Little Ben alarm clock which I took to college. They have different stories.

Can you hear public chimes or clock in your neighborhood?


Small Town, Big Heart

Height and weight proportional.  This was a phrase used when women gained access to occupations previously denied to them. The height and weight requirements for a physically fit male did not suit women.

The same standard can be applied to all sorts of things. For example: a new church with the maximum capacity of 100 would be completely out of place in a growing suburb. A grand hotel with 500 guest rooms and banquet facilities would overshadow a rural community of 300 residents.

After use as a store and physician offices, this building is the current library. Just the right size for the community. With inter-library access to the collections of dozens of others in the region.


Unexpected Pairing

Glass: fused sand manipulated, shaped, and refined by man.

Plants: living entities drawing nourishment from the earth.

At first thought, these two appear on opposite ends of a spectrum. In many ways they are. Yet…


Glass cranes among the water lettuce makes a beautiful scene.

2020 — the Year We Stayed Home — makes me grateful for the photos taken during multiple trips to local attractions such as the Botanical Garden.


Powerful and Picturesque

Small and mighty. This phrase is often appropriate on children’s shirts. Their influence on the people around them is not reflected only in physical size.

The same is true for some cultural institutions. Libraries, for example, can occupy buildings blending into the community. Today’s featured institution is typical of the New England town. This is convenient — since the location is Stowe, VT.

The Stowe Free Library was formed in 1866 with a core donation of 51 books and community funds of $100. The concept of a free library replaced the membership and subscription model. The collection has grown in the previous century and a half, and the location has changed from the original space.

Today the library shares a historic building with the Helen Day Art Center. Constructed in 1863, the Old High School pre-dates the library by a mere three years.

Stowe Free Library

Welcome! Step inside and find a modern collection of books and media.