Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

My uncle's plane was lost in "adverse weather conditions" over the Irish Sea, September 14, 1944. Nine months later, two boxes were delivered to his young widow in Texas. The contents are listed below.

33 pr socks
20 handkerchiefs
18 drawers
2 drawers, winter
3 pajamas
1 sweater, white
1 hood, Red Cross
1 pr gloves, woolen
1 pr swim trunks
5 towels
1 wash cloth
2 T-shirts
1 Cap, garrison w/bar (1st Lt.)
1 Short coat
1 Blouse
1 Battle jacket
1 Shirt, pink
2 Shirts, green
2 Trousers, green
1 Trousers, pink
1 Field jacket
1 Shirt, O.D.
1 Trousers, O.D.
1 Bath robe
1 Cap, service
3 shirts, poplin
6 Neckties
1 pr Leggings
1 pr Shoes G.I.
1 pr Tennis shoes
1 pr bathroom slippers
1 pr house slippers
3 pr Shoes, low-quarter
1 Brief case, containing orders, etc.
1 pkg. Parcel Post (cont. 2 pkgs.)
1 Small picture frame, leather
1 pipe, smoking
1 small box containing: tobacco pouch, New Testament, comb, check book, Air Medal ribbon
3 belts
1 wallet
1 leather folder
1 shoe box containing letters
1 Leather shave kit
1 Leather picture frame
1 Stationery portfolio
1 leather fingernail & mirror set
1 leather fingernail set
1 small box stationery
1 First-aid travel kit
1 pr Apollo single grip garters
1 Eversharp fountain pen

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Without a Trace ~ Random Memory # 13 ~ Thailand

Blue Hill, Maine

Brunswick, Maine

Two familiar landmarks disappeared last year. The old cape on route 15 in Blue Hill was efficiently dismantled board by board and the house on the Mere Point road in Brunswick went up in flames in a controlled burn. In both cases, there is no trace of the former dwelling, or of the personalities who spent their lives within walls, now gone.

Random Memory #13 ~ Thailand

We have returned to Bangkok and plan to visit our Dutch friends, Anneke and Eric. After their years in Bahrain, the lush growth and brilliant flowers have captivated Anneke who is an enthusiastic gardener and I sense that when they leave Thailand, they will do so reluctantly. Eric is nearing retirement and they are planning to move to Spain.

After a few wrong turns we find their house which is an oasis in the middle of a soulless concrete desert of newly built high rise apartments. Walking into the enclosed garden is like entering Eden with its profusion of exotic trees, vines and the hundreds of orchids Anneke has collected from all over the country. The filtered light through overhanging foliage gives the impression of coolness in the thick humidity. The house is very old with beautiful carved details and shuttered windows that leave bands of light and shadow across the large airy rooms. They have been very content here and I too, could happily live in this traditional space so full of the atmosphere of old Bangkok. I have fallen in love with the house.

Our friends tell me the owner has sold the house to a developer and soon there will be another high rise block in its place. When the movers come to pack in a few weeks, Anneke and Eric's home will become a memory.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Language of Flowers in Photos ~ From whispers to a loud clamor

A gentle reminder of endings and beginnings.

We have a bank of these shy fragrant beauties at the cottage. They are always the first of many small bouquets, from Peter, in my kitchen window.

I love the intense color of tightly closed lilac buds. They will immediately wilt if you pick them at this stage. It's as if they are telling us to wait for their full glory.

This unassuming and prickly plant gives you plenty of warning to stay away as it is nearly always swarming with bees. We will pick fat juicy blackberries along the side of the road on our walks in late August.

Happiest with their faces to the sun, the sunflower will cast its eyes downward indoors. Still, I love them in the cottage dining room.

I shot this photo of a houseplant in my mother's kitchen window. It reminds me of Maurice Sendak's book, later made into a movie, "Where the Wild Things Are." The image makes me think of a long loud screech.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Home Rules

Peter and I have spent the last three days opening the cottage....mowing, mulching, planting, sweeping, dusting and much more. It's a lot of work, but I love this time of the year with the promise of a whole summer before us with visits from family and friends. There are times when the parade of visitors can be overwhelming and one meal runs into the next, so when I saw the above "Home Rules" in a friend's cottage, I asked her to make a copy for me...and my brother suggested I post it on my blog. So here it is, Lil Bro and I know you asked for an exemption to the rules, but....

Lilacs on a Maine cottage table.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Fork in the Genealogy Trail

White Clay Creek Presbyterian Church, Newark, Delaware.

When I first met Peter, he told me his family was very small, but the internet has changed all that. He has been researching both sides of our family for ten years and has found 4,400 'new' relatives! We have met a number of the 'found' and each occasion has been a delight and they have always led Peter to yet another fork in the genealogy trail.

More is known about my side of the family and the names of those who have gone before me have often been repeated by my aunts and grandmother. Many rest in White Clay Creek Church in Newark, Delaware. As I stood beside the community of graves for the first time, I couldn't help but wonder what they would think of a great great granddaughter who had wandered so far afield without roots for so long, standing beside their graves, reading their names etched in stone.

Old Swedes Church, Wilmington, Delaware.

One drives through some rough neighborhoods in Wilmington, Delaware to find the beautiful and immaculately tended Old Swedes Church. It was early spring and the ground was sprinkled with pink petals while more drifted through the air as we walked amongst the graves. The effect was magical and the outside world disappeared beyond the old walls.

Charles Springer is buried by the side entrance to the church where a steel gate prevents a closer inspection of the site. He was one of my earliest ancestors to arrive in America and one small link as to why I am here and why this is my country. He never intended to make that journey. Charles Springer's life in Sweden was privileged and he was sent to London to further his education. I try to imagine his terror when the thugs attacked....imprisoned him on a ship bound for Virginia and the hardships he endured as an indentured servant on a tobacco plantation. His experience is well documented in a moving letter to his mother. Please click on the link and scroll down to the bottom of the page for a translation of the original letter which is in the National Swedish Archives.

A fork in the genealogy trail.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Another Cottage Afternoon ~ Random Memory #12 ~ Maine

In a few days, we will be opening the cottage for another season...

Random Memory #12 ~ Maine

My neighbor, Betsy, wanders over for a companionable chat and we gaze out over the water. Over time trees have fallen along the bank, boats and docks have come and gone and the light is ever changing with the hour and seasons, but the view remains the same. It is impossible to separate one summer from the next and I think that is part of the attraction of Mere make time stand still.

We catch up on all the news and drama from the previous winter and, after awhile, our conversation turns to theater, a mutual interest. Laughing, we plan a hypothetical play along the lines of "Same Time Next Year" only ours would take place on Mere Point. It would be so easy to stage with folding chairs on the grass and sound effects of gulls overhead and slamming screen doors. We have a wealth of material between us and we mull over possible scenes portraying the passage of time, our many blessings, joys, heartaches and life's unexpected surprises. The time passes, new shadows appear across the lawn as the light shifts through the trees. Soon a child requires a life jacket, a bar-b-que is lighted, a salad needs to be tossed, or perhaps the phone rings. I really don't remember the interruption, although the distractions are predictable. We go inside our separate cottages, doors slamming as our unrealized lines drift away in the summer evening too elusive to recapture on another afternoon.

Years later our play remains unwritten. We don't know how it ends.

Monday, May 17, 2010

1942 ~ A Trip to Transylvania

1942. A trip to Transylvania

This post is completely spontaneous and unplanned and is the result of finding the above flickr photo in the group, Time Passes.... The beautiful sepia tones and clarity caught my eye, then the arresting title and finally, the charming detail of the young woman with her bouquet of flowers by the side of the railroad tracks. elinor04 has kindly given me permission to include the image on my blog. The photo was taken in 1942 by her uncle who was 18 years old at the time.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Share the Road ~ It's Spring, the bikers are out!

Orland, Maine

In sync in Searsport, Maine.

Belfast, Maine

Most photographers have lurker tendencies and I'm no exception. I love candid shots of people engaged in various activities, with a flicker of an unguarded expression, or a slouch in posture that reveals the mood of a person. I think observing strangers brings us together in our humanity.

I'm fond of photographing bikers...I've never seen a dull one. Have you?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Focus of Attention

Camden, Maine

Seated in a restaurant with my back to the view, I hear my 94 year old father say, "there's a seagull!" My camera is always within reach so I swiveled around to grab the shot. Later, looking at the image on my computer, I realized my subject was the focus of two photographers!

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Ruin of the former colonial beauty, Rosewell, built between 1725-1738, gutted by fire in 1916. Gloucester County, Virginia.

The ruin of Rosewell on the York river, sits alone in a grassy glen with fields of dried cornstalks on three sides of the property. There wasn't a sound except for birdsong and the crunch of vegetation under our feet. The atmosphere is difficult to capture with a camera and I wished I could have made a solitary dawn visit...I think the site would be even more beautiful with early morning light and mist rising from dew soaked earth. As it was, we were the first to arrive. We waited until the Visitor Center's 10:00 AM opening where we were given a gracious introduction to the history of the house. An on-site archeologist (and Bowdoin College graduate!) provided additional information and, at last, we ventured down the long access road for our first glimpse.

The loss of Rosewell by fire is a terrible tragedy, but what remains is eerily lovely and stirs the imagination.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Another Sign of Spring

Ellsworth, Maine

I always look forward to the picturesque nets in the Union River, Ellsworth, Maine. The graceful draping with its blue weathered floats along the shore is a reminder spring is here...even though the weather is gray and raw. I've never sampled their bounty; glass eels for export to Japan. I wonder if they are similar to the sliced jellyfish 'noodles' I enjoyed, not so long ago, at a Thai wedding?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day ~ Random Memory #11 ~ Virginia & Connecticut

Random Memory #11 ~ JCB at Jame's Madison's Montpelier.

JCB has not yet reached her first birthday, but she is scooting very efficiently all around our apartment in Alexandria, Virginia. Completely besotted, I can scarcely tear my eyes away from my cheerful and easygoing baby. I am watching the day she learns to pull herself up to a standing position in front of our coffee table. She teeters on her tiny feet while a small hand reaches for the objects in front of her and with incredible deliberation, shifts everything around until she is satisfied. With a plop, JCB falls to a sitting position on her padded diapered bottom. Her arrangement looks beautiful!

Random Memory #11 ~ Connecticut

While in Hong Kong, we bought one of the first personal computers available and that big clunky machine quickly became our son's obsession. In truth, Peter and I and JCB hardly bothered with it in those early days. By the time we returned to the U.S., John was already way ahead of his peers and was creating his online magic; he had also established a network of like minded enthusiasts. One of these was a fellow called Randy, and I became uneasy as Randy's and John's lively correspondence increased. Randy's stories of SWAT team adventures and police activity seemed fabricated and I wondered if it was all fiction. He would promise to stop by our house to meet John only to cancel, time after time, with the excuse of yet another wild operation. I knew John was terribly disappointed, but he remained fiercely loyal and optimistic that Randy would someday appear at our door for that long awaited visit.

At last, Randy did arrive with a spray of driveway gravel and the deafening sound of a very big motorcycle. His huge body filled the storm door glass window, but his smile was warm and friendly and his dark African American eyes instantly conveyed that he was the real deal. Later, we saw photos and news articles about Randy in the papers. He emailed John to say someone shot him point blank when he stopped their car on the Connecticut Thruway. He had some broken ribs, but the bulletproof vest saved his life.

John went off to college, married and is now a father and I am very proud of his accomplishments. I do know this; a mother can lavish praise on her son, but what he really needs is a mentor and heroic role model. Thank you Randy, wherever you are.

As a postscript; there are many different kinds of "heroic role models" and most do not wear bulletproof vests. If you have ever inspired a child, then you have this mother's gratitude. If every child had just one hero, every day would be Mother's Day.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Light Through Glass

One of many etched glasses I have at the cottage, a collection JCB has aided and abetted!

Shooting through old cottage windows and a glass photo frame. My grandmother is the little girl on the left.

A prism hanging in a cottage window.

A snowy view through my front door, taken Feb. 25, 2009.

I love glass, and as a result of my crow-like tendencies, have far too much of it. So versatile from its transformation from liquid to solid; I never tire of the infinite shapes of glass objects! Refracted light, distorted scenes, a mosaic of views and water condensation on surfaces are just a few of the things that I find enchanting about the medium. So durable, glass survives centuries and simply becomes smaller when shattered... pieces that glitter like diamonds.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sky Change

The blue is not water, but rather a band of dense cloud cover over Bath, Maine. I love the way the eerie light makes the shapes of the buildings so crisp and clear.

Driving along RT.1, just north of Bath, Maine.

Crossing the bridge to Wiscasset, Maine.

I'm beginning to notice clouds as spring creeps slowly into Maine. I seldom see large dramatic cumulus clouds in winter...Winter is a season when brilliant blue skies fade as a gauzy smear of white ushers in the flat gray of approaching weather.

Last July 4th, Peter and I were caught between two storm systems...he drove while I blissfully recorded the unfolding drama. Clouds are a photographer's friend and they transform the most mundane scene. I'm glad to see them back again!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Henna Boxes

I purchased the henna boxes years ago in India and one of them may have come from that magical city, was such a long time ago.... Henna is used in a myriad of ways, but my favorite is the thick mixture which is painted in intricate designs on the hands and feet of a bride. I was inspired to post the containers after viewing a beautiful wedding video on twitter. Filmed in Jaipur, the photographer wove together actual wedding footage into a mystery of his own creation. I hope you enjoy the link, the film lasts about 30 minutes.

Kevin Shahinian's City of Lakes.

Older posts you might enjoy....