Category Archives: museum

The Oldest Original Church Structure in the United States Still Used for Worship

Old Swede church 1

Spring arrived in Delaware coaxing daffodils and crocuses to bloom in the ancient cemetery outside Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.  Sun warmed my bare arms, and a light breeze rearranged my hair as we ambled among the crumbling tombstones towards the large stone church.

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Colonial settlers may have built earlier churches, but those buildings fell down or out of use. Hal and I missed the 300th Anniversary Celebration at Old Swedes Church. This original stone structure, cemented together with crushed oyster shells mixed into the mortar, sprang to life in 1698.  The pattern of small stones, hand-carried by women parishioners, added strength and sparkle to the walls.  The pattern reminded me of ships or rafts in a fast-moving river.

 

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Graffiti artists began working on the edifice in 1711 making it their own.

Some things never change.
Some things never change.

Calligraphers etched their marks in the door as well as the stone walls for over one hundred years.

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I couldn’t substantiate this 1697 piece of church gossip, on the internet, so it must be true.  In a church bustling with young life, when the new twenty-nine year old single pastor, Erik Bjork, arrived from Sweden, he began a building program.  Of course, he needed his own parking space.  We entered the church through what had been his reserved “barn door.”  He drove his carriage inside the barn door entrance to the church.

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According to our guide, his ride attracted the most eligible bachelorette in the congregation.  Other carriages drove under the front overhang, dropped off the riders, and drove on through.  Bjork stayed with his Christina congregation for seventeen years before returning to Sweden.

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Inside the church, nearly one hundred years passed before artisans added stained glass windows.  This one attracts interest because young Jesus appears to carry a cross.  We approached the window so we could see the measuring marks along the t-square Jesus must have used as a carpenter’s apprentice.

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As we moved through the church, the guide fed us more facts that I could digest.  He and Hal discussed the abundance of eagles adorning Episcopal pulpits.

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“An ornamental eagle sales agent must have passed through all the New England churches in the early 1800s,” Hal suggested.

We stayed over twice as long as the 30 minutes needed to tour the church recommended by the Triple A Tour Book for Delaware and New Jersey.  We enjoyed many personalized stories we couldn’t read online.  We finished by meandering through the graveyard photographing crumbling tombstones of individuals who made history in early Delaware.  We wondered what made some famous, earning them shiny big headstones, and others remained obscure.  More questions drove us home to research in silence.

M.B. may have been the first person buried here, but no one knows anything about him or her.
M.B. may have been the first person buried here, but no one knows anything about him or her.

“Thanks to you, I learned a lot.” Hal told me at 9:30 in the evening.  Then he punched me in the ego.  “See what I found out about the new National Park in New Castle,”  he said as he handed me a new printout.

 

Flash: Old Ironsides is White Oak

I must be my father’s daughter since I can’t ever pass up the opportunity to get on board a ship, whether it goes somewhere or it doesn’t.

USS Constitution 1

The USS Constitution is still a commissioned ship manned by humorous navy docents.  I wonder if having a sense of humor comes as part of the package when one joins the navy.  Most navy vets I know tend to have a “dry” sense of humor.

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The first one told us about the upper deck and the construction of the ship, which is 10% original.  The second deck docent instructed us on the daily lives of 500 sailors living on hard tack and grog.

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Some of the visitors had difficulty with the height of the ceilings in the “day of sail.”  These guys all adjusted in their own ways.

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Hope you are having a great weekend.  What are you doing this weekend?  My friend’s son, Matt, is picking me up soon, and driving me to see more sites outside of Boston.  :)

Boston Here I Come

I have the fortune to be going to the historic city of Boston on social studies business.  I’m extending my stay since I have never been there, and live in CA, so I’ll be there from April 1-8 then on to Philadelphia and Delaware from April 8-15.  Thanks to Google Images for all the pictures.

Boston at night2

I’ll be arriving at 11:00 p.m., so I’m sure the city will look beautiful. For me it will just be 8:00.  I’ll be raring to go!  However, I’m alone, so I’ll  get settled in my hotel, and maybe write a post or two with Manny.  The good news is that I’m going to get to visit blogger friend, Eunice at NutsForTreasure while I’m there.

I investigated a couple of blogs.  Free choices of interesting sights to see abound.  Many friends told me to walk the Freedom Trail which starts at the Visitor Information Center in the Common.

Boston Common

I must see the Mapparium, a walk-in, three-story-high, stained glass globe.

National_Geographic_Wallpaper_-_Christian_Science_Mapparium_display1

I’ll enjoy visiting the Museum of Fine Arts free on Wednesday after 4:00 p.m.  If I tour the Samuel Adams Brewery from 10:00-3:00 beforehand, will I have more fun, or fall asleep on the floor? zzz

Museum of Fine Arts

Maybe I should explore the Massachusetts State House the war ship, USS Constitution, and the Old North Church instead.  Most of them open at 10:00 also. I’ll have plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast while I get used to the three hour time difference.

Old-Massachusetts-State-House

If you have been to Boston, or lived here, what would you suggest for me to see, or are you a blogger friend who lives there?

Mom better not forget me this time!
Mom better not forget me this time!

 

 

 

How to Recognize a Great Museum

When I was a kid, it seemed like museums stored old stuff that only grandparents recognized.  Now museums come in all shapes and sizes in every community.  Representing agricultural Tulare County a gigantic steel barn in Mooney Park houses everything from large equipment to a farm worker’s cabin from Linnell Camp.  Of all the museums I’ve dragged Vince to see, Bishop Museum was his favorite – ever.

It doesn't look like much from the street, but I'm from Indianapolis.  I was sold.
It doesn’t look like much from the street, but I’m from Indianapolis. I was sold.

What made Vince choose Bishop Museum as the best of the world?

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The layout of the grounds and the architectural structures took our breath away.  It didn’t hurt that they were in Oahu.

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Lots of exhibits alone don’t make the museum enjoyable, but a museum needs many exhibits, and some changes so that local folks don’t get bored.

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The exhibits grabbed you and pulled you in.  The more you looked, and read, the harder it got to move on.

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Variety of exhibits gives each person in the family something to remember.  I apologize for the blurriness of some of the photos, but I still wanted to share them.   Believe it or not my astigmatism has been mostly corrected.  :)

Imagine wearing a cape of feathers.
Imagine wearing a cape of feathers.

You knew you couldn’t see it all in one visit, and maybe ever.

Only one of the buildings held more than we could see in one day.
Only one of the buildings held more than we could see in one day.

At the end of the visit, you needed a nap to rest your eyes and brain.

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The Bishop Museum had so many more excellent qualities, you would need a break after reading this if I listed them.  What is your favorite museum ever, and why?

Travel Highlights of 2013

This was my first full year of retirement.  All my life I dreamed of traveling when I retired, and certainly God granted my every wish.   When I didn’t get travel, Manny did, so I have many wonderful pictures and memories for 2013.

Manny in Wuerzburg

On January 5th Manny and I headed south in my little green Prius that has 192,000 miles on it to San Diego where we met the History Girls.  We met Russel Ray, the San Salvador, and the bronze lady.  We faced peril in the Railroad Museum, and had to keep Manny under control in the Botanical Gardens.

Manny on San Salvador
Manny is climbing on the San Salvador as it is being built.

Later in January I attended a committee meeting in Berkeley and had time to walk around the neighborhood and take pictures.

Manny walking the streets of Berkeley

I went to Los Angeles to visit my friend Elane in February and so some shopping and serious eating.  I probably visited my dentist, Dr. Moy, as well.

Brian's classroom

In March California Council for the Social Studies (CCSS) held its annual conference, Social Studies on the March in Burlingame in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Marches in Birmingham.  SFW 2013 Folklorico Dancers 036

The next week the History Girls and I celebrated our friendship in Costa Mesa attending the play “Wicked,” which I had wanted to see forever.

getting made up
We all had to wear green make-up.

April is the month for the Executive Conference for CCSS.  As the President, I got to pick the place, and Vince prepared our house to host it here.  However, that didn’t work out for too many people, so we it moved to Los Angeles to the location where our conference will be held in 2014 at the Sheraton.

LA Sheraton

By May our neighbors wondered if I still lived here.  I visited my friend Elane again in Los Angeles.

Brian's classroom

My friend Jean and I went to San Francisco to celebrate her birthday for a couple of days and did walking tours.

Hotel Beresford

Towards the end of the month Vince and I took Cindy and Manny to Kauai, HI for her birthday.  The dogs watched our homes, and Kay and Mike East watched them.

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We arrive home from Hawaii on June 3, and believe it or not, we stayed home until September 11, and rested up for the remainder of the year which made us dizzy.

Manny and Danny 3

Since we stayed home, we sent Manny to visit Ralph in July.

Manny going to airport

In August he left Ralph’s home in Spain, and traveled to London with Ute.

Manny at Buck palace

From September through November he went with Carol and Glenn to Cologne, Bruges, Brussels, Frankfurt, Tasmania, Toowoomba, Waterloo, and Wuerzburg.  I’ll be doing lots of posts about these trips during the year.  I just need to learn a little bit more about them, and Manny is being rather tight-lipped about the events of the trip!  Carol tells me they have some secrets they’re not telling me.  :)

Manny in Toowoomba

Then he flew home with their daughter Melissa, who was going to Florida.  She sent him home from there.  His bags arrived in December from Australia.  He had fun showing us all his stuff.

Manny and stuff
Kalev thought Roo was for her. We caught her playing with him when we weren’t looking. She never plays with stuffed animals, but she loves Roo. We had to move him. :)

By September Vince and I contracted the travel bug, and went to Oregon to pick up the best Ebay bargain trailer on the market in Southern Oregon.  We turned it into our accidental vacation when our truck broke down in Klamath, CA.

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Manny was still on the road, so he missed my next trip.  A week after Vince and I got back from our first trailer trip, I took a train from Sacramento to Portland, Oregon to attend the Oregon Council for the Social Studies annual conference, and to meet my brother.

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After the conference my brother took the train ride of our lives going first to Chicago, then to South Bend and Indianapolis, IN for a week.

Randy and Marsha's elementary school.
Randy and Marsha’s elementary school.

After a short jaunt to Louisville, KY, I headed home on a plane to CA, and my brother took the long way home by train back to Portland.

Louisville Sluggers

Almost immediately I had to go to a dental appointment, and stayed in Santa Monica, an took the opportunity to visit our President-Elect, Amanda.

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No sooner than I got home than my house-bound husband wanted to take a trailer trip to the coast for two weeks.  We stayed a week, then he went home for some appointments. I stayed in Avila by myself to write my contribution to 2013 NaNoWriMo, Girls on Fire.  A few days later he drove back and picked the trailer and me up and carried us back home.

SFW SLO Beach 2013104

Less than two weeks after that, I flew St. Louis, MO to the 2013 National Council for the Social Studies Conference.

The Mississippi in Missouri
The Mississippi in Missouri

Manny and I arrived home about the same day, him from Australia via Florida and me from MO.  It was my husband’s birthday, and one week later the three of us got back on a plane heading for Honolulu, HI, where we spent a week in Waikiki.

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We have been home eighteen days, and today we took a day trip to the coast to celebrate our friend, Margaret’s birthday, but I think we are going to stay home for a while now.

birthday cake with S & M

At least until morning.  :)

I’d love to hear about your highlights from the year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Accidental Vacation: Chapter Five

Chapter Five Has The Transmission Come Yet?

unretouched sky, bright blue
bright blue sky not retouched by Photoshop,  new red rental car

Vince remained in his Twilight Zone of Optimism for several more days after the truck’s transmission lost everything but first gear and reverse.  The sun shone into their little palace on wheels early on Sunday morning.  Vince was ready with activities before Marsha awoke.  He scoped out Crescent City the night before when he went there to get the rental car.  Only sixteen miles north of Klamath, it bustled with history, restaurants, and best of all, internet and cellular service.  He knew Marsha would appreciate that.

The smell of fresh coffee and rays of sunlight drove Marsha from her warm bed.  “Let’s go to Crescent City today,” Vince announced still in his cheery mode.  There are lots of things to do, and I want to take you to breakfast.”

“That sounds good.  Do you want to go check on your truck?”

Vince was the kind of guy that checked and double-checked everything.  He checked the bank account balance several times a day to make sure it hadn’t been hacked.  He asked Marsha about every check.  Then he checked the credit card account, and asked Marsha about each charge.  Every day he checked the pool, swept it, skimmed it, put chemicals in it.  Before every swim, or just when he happened to go out and see a flower bud floating across the surface, he cleaned it again.  Marsha knew he would want to go up to Crescent City to see if his truck was still sitting safely in the lot at the GMC dealer.  He did.

20130915_0613166R “There’s a famous lighthouse here,” he told her after they finished a delicious breakfast.  “How is it that she doesn’t weigh 600 pounds?” Vince thought to himself as he watched her clean her plate making sure to wipe away every trace of cream cheese frosting drizzled on the blueberry pancakes.  “Good thing.  A woman can never be too skinny or too rich.  She’s pretty well maintained for 61,” he continued musing.

“You look so pretty,” he voiced his thoughts a little more flatteringly.  “My beautiful wife.  I love you sweetie.”

“I love you too,” she answered as she always did.  They had their rituals.  Just like when Vince’s son called and they were ready to hang up, Vince never hung up without saying, “Here’s a hug,” and making a little hug sound over the phone.

"That dog looks like PG."
“That dog looks like PG.”

Battery Park was huge, but not nearly as interesting as the jetty, pier and the lighthouse.  Both camera bugs took pictures of the lighthouse on top of the hill.  To reach it people crossed over the rocks, a stepping bridge across the mouth of a stream flowing into the ocean.

I won't let you fall, Puppy.  Hold on tight to my arm.
“I won’t let you fall, Puppy. Hold on tight to my arm,”  the wind blew her words out to sea past PG’s outstretched, listening ear.

“Do you want to go across?”  she asked, not feeling overly adventurous.

“No, you need high boots unless you are prepared to get wet.  Do you want to get wet?”

"Looks like high tide," Marsha thought to herself.
“Looks like high tide,” Marsha thought to herself.

Marsha knew he had her there.  It wasn’t that she minded getting wet.  In fact, she loved it.  But what other activities did Vince have planned? This was a rare occasion, and she didn’t want to ruin it by getting wet and wanting to go change.

Remembering one time she had gone kayaking in Monterey Bay with friends from work, Marsha hesitated.  Even though they wore wetsuits, she experienced soaking wet shoes.  Not realizing that the boat would let in water, she wore her only pair of shoes into the boat.  Bare feet, being more comfortable than sloshy shoes, Marsha removed her shoes after she gracefully landed the boat and literally rolled over in the surf a few times getting out of it.  The group wanted to go eat after their strenuous excursion.  She had put her wet shoes in the car, but the eatery clearly stated, “No shoes, no shirt, no service.”  Her boss shielded her as she scooted through the door shoeless.  That memory cautioned her.

“No, thanks,” she answered after giving the idea some thought.  Although the hill and house called her, she resisted.  Let’s walk out on the jetty.”

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“DANGER: Deadly waves at any time. Jetty unsafe for walking.”

“It says it’s dangerous at all times.  Do you want PG to be swept away by an ocean wave?”

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“Don’t let go, Mom. That looks like water down there.” PG’s thoughts were a clear as if she actually uttered them.

Visions of whether she would let go of the leash and lose PG or be swept out to sea with her aquaphobic doggie kept her moving away from the jetty towards the safer boardwalk.  A young couple with their two dogs joined them on the boardwalk.  One dog was a huge pit bull, the other a terrier, smaller than PG’s slight 9 pounds, pranced side-by-side looking like Mutt and Jeff.

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Fisher people with their empty poles dotted the boardwalk.  A couple from Medford, Oregon escaped the 100 degree heat to catch crabs in the bay.  Several huge crustaceans lounged unsuspectingly in their blue plastic bucket.

20130915_0620173R Soon it was time to leave.  There was lots to do, and they still wanted to see the Trees of Mystery.  They wound their way through the Redwood Highway back towards Klamath towards the mysterious trees where yet another adventure awaited them.

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Work would start on the truck tomorrow.  Or would it?  Stay tuned.

Does your dog or pet have any phobias?  How about you?

A Drive to Sequoia National Park

I thoroughly prepared myself for a day of work. I was going to  work on my quilt.  but Mary called, and off we went to the Sequoia National Park.

These WW ! and Civil Rights pictures will become several quilts to auction off at next year's convention in LA.
These WW ! and Civil Rights pictures will become several quilts to auction off at next year’s convention in LA.

We started at Bravo Lake in Woodlake, admiring the Botanical Gardens.  You have to climb to get to the lake as you walk through the gardens to the walking path around the lake.  Bravo Lake, fed by the Kaweah River, Indian word, eah, meaning river, filled with the raucous caw, cawing of many crows.

Race for Hunger, and Berry-eating festival coming up soon!
Race for Hunger, and Berry-eating festival coming up soon!

Bravo Lake, originally boasting a Spanish was renamed after an old-fashioned pioneer fist fight.  As today, all fights have plenty of onlookers and well-wishers.  This one was no different.  When one of the fighting Irish, Tom Fowler, won, the spectators cheered him with “Bravo, bravo, Tom.  Bravo.”  The Indians living in the area promptly renamed the lake, Bravo Lake.

Botanical Gardens at the foot of Bravo Lake
Botanical Gardens at the foot of Bravo Lake

After hiking a few feet up to the brim of the lake, we took a quick look then got back in the car, and went east towards the mountains.  The beauty of the snow on the mountains almost took my breath away, and  I wanted to stop in the middle of the road, but Mary wouldn’t let me!

Bravo Lake adjusted with layers reducing the saturation of blue.
Bravo Lake adjusted with layers reducing the saturation of blue.

Mary snapped a few pictures along the way, but I was driving, but you have seen this trip before.  When we got to the first stop for Kaweah Lake, we found the Natural History museum open.

Welcome to the Natural History Museum at Kaweah Lake  Kaw, kaw, snap.
Welcome to the Natural History Museum at Kaweah Lake Kaw, kaw, snap.

It was closed when Vince, Kalev, and I visited the last time.  We thoroughly enjoyed our time in the museum purchasing books, and chatting with the volunteer about the dam built on the river in the 1950s to alleviate the flooding problems that had plagued the valley since 1852, when it was first settled by white settlers.  I took pictures of the notebook of old photos.  You can see the lake in the background of some of them.  I’m only including one picture in this overview post.

Can you see the reflection of Kaweah Lake off the photo?
Can you see the reflection of Kaweah Lake off the photo?

Back on the road to Three Rivers we stopped at another POI, point of interest, that Mary found on an iPhone app, a giant cow.  I thought this bull/cow was rather vulgar looking given the pipes coming and going from him/her.  I found the exhaust pipe especially humorous since cows are especially huge methane producers here in the valley, causing more air pollution than automobiles.  Apparently this bovine used to be a hamburger stand, which explains some of his/her extraneous appendages.

This place will whet your appetite!
This place will whet your appetite!

Mary, you wanted a what?

He's a catch, Mary!  :)
He’s a catch, Mary! :)

Then we traveled on to the next museum where they were setting up for a Veteran’s appreciation program at 7:00 p.m. tonight.

Isn't' this a cool sign.  Unfortunately the sky wasn't as pretty as Paul's just a few feet away because I was shooting into the sun.  Lucky for me Photoshop came to the rescue.  I'l show you the before and after in a different post.
Isn’t’ this a cool sign?  Unfortunately the sky wasn’t as pretty as Paul’s just a few feet away because I was shooting into the sun. Lucky for me, Photoshop came to the rescue. I’l show you the before and after in a different post.

The outside attraction here was a giant statue of Paul Bunyan.

Paul is cracking up a bit, but he was carved in 1941 from one log!  He weighs tons.  I guess I'm skinny in comparison.
This sky is natural.  Paul is cracking up a bit, but he was carved in 1941 from one log! He weighs tons. I guess I’m skinny in comparison.

Displayed on the east side of the building were both summer and winter Native American huts.  So in which one would you rather spend the winter?  You can read more about Yokuts housing on TC History Gal Productions.

Tule reeds and bark huts.
Tule reeds and bark huts.

We finally made it to my favorite stop, the Gateway Restaurant at the mouth of the Kaweah River.  Mary tried to dutifully check us in and post our food on Facebook, but wifi there didn’t work with iPhone.

The noise here is the sound of rushing water.
The noise here is the sound of rushing water.

You can see that when the water levels are up to normal – the white line on the rocks, that this would be an exciting ride in a raft.  OK, I couldn’t actually SEE the line, but the waitress assured us that it was there.  The stack of rocks piled on the boulders are for wishing.  So make a wish, but don’t tell anyone what it is.  Let me know if it comes true, though!

Can you find the stack of wishing rocks?
Can you find the stack of wishing rocks?

While we ate our fish lunch at 3:00 p.m., we read about the famous Utopian Socialist Colony founded in Three Rivers called the Kaweah Commonwealth in 1896.  They wanted to earn money for themselves cutting down the huge trees, and thus they motivated John Muir, and eventually Teddy Roosevelt to protect the gentle giants from eternal destruction by declaring the colony’s purchased property a National Park.  (The U.S. Government could do that.)  Six years after they started their colony, it ended with only a minor internal bickering.  Utopia didn’t make it here around Three Rivers.  I personally thought they were much too capitalistic. – cutting down our fine trees for profit.  Apparently not everyone wanted to labor at all, another cause of internal irritation.

A bargain shopping spree for seniors over age 62.  $10 for a lifetime pass to the National Parks.  I'm coming back when I'm older!  :)
A bargain shopping spree for seniors over age 62. $10 for a lifetime pass to the National Parks. I’m coming back when I’m older! :)

We could have gone back, but chose to go the 1/4 mile east from the restaurant to the entrance of the National Park.  That was the most expensive short date I’ve had – ever!  Mary paid $80 for an annual pass to get in.  We went to the station, stayed 10 minutes until it closed, then turned around and headed for the chocolate candy store before it closed.  Had I been a mere 6 months older, I could have bought a LIFETIME pass to ALL the National Parks for $10.  The only bad part of that was that the man asked me if I wanted to purchase one.  He didn’t even ask Mary who is just about my age, 30 something.  Why would he think I look 62, anyway?  I’m going on a diet as soon as I finish my chocolate candy.

Agree/Disagree?
Agree/Disagree?

You can tell that all these great times have taken their toll on my tummy.  I’m almost as big as Paul Bunyan!  Diet, diet, diet.  (tomorrow).

OK, kids don't see the humor in this sign.  Go figure!
OK, kids don’t see the humor in this sign. Go figure!  Looking at chocolate makes me shake with excitement.  Sorry for the blurry picture.  Couldn’t be helped!  :)

“Unattended children will be given candy and a free puppy!”  Do I look 10?  What about a second childhood?  After a long wait in line to buy chocolates for Vince (hahaha), we headed back home.  What a fun surprise.  Did you enjoy the trip with me?  I hope so!  :)

Happy Easter from Three Rivers, California, and me, Marsha Lee :)
Happy Easter from Three Rivers, California, and me, Marsha Lee :) (not pictured here)

John Muir Visits the Tulare County Historical Society During the 2013 Annual Meeting

Yesterday at the Tulare County Historical Society Annual Meeting Frank Helling, a 30-year veteran as John Muir, with his hand carved cane in his Scottish accent told the crowd  “Everywhere we step is holy land.”  Of course he never hiked around the world,  he “san-tared” (sauntered) about because hiking is too much like work.

Frank Helling as John Muir
Frank Helling as John Muir

At one point Muir had to find employment.  Although he wasn’t a shepherd, he was hired to keep tabs on Shepherd Billy, a lazy bloke.   Billy rarely never bathed so  his clothes became a natural walking history museum, growing thicker by the day with new additions such as pine needles, tree sap, or whatever else he wiped on them.  Another employer wanted him to run a saw mill, but Muir had vowed never to cut a living tree again, but didn’t mind taking the already fallen trees to the saw mill.

Muir recounted the many famous people his path had crossed except for Louise Jackson’s mother who was 13 when she met him.  Sixty-eight year old Ralph Waldo Emerson came to see him in 1871 and remarked about the Sequoia Redwoods, “These trees have a talent for being tall.”  Muir quipped back,   “You’re a Sequoia yourself, get acquainted with the brethren.”

Muir, the Big Tree Advocate, upon returning to  Yosemite after one of his many travels,  found the trees being cut down, and cried out “Repent the Kingdom of Sequoia is at hand!”  He got lost in the “artificial canyons” (hallways) of a San Francisco hotel when he met with his editor, Johnson.  His friend changed his writing , and removed many repetitions of the word, glorious, telling Muir, “That’s called editing.”

Muir kept his audience humorously spell-bound for probably close to an hour.  I don’t know I lost track of time.

We will soon have a new TCHS website.  We meet with the designer, Louise Jackson’s daughter, Laile on Wednesday.  I’ve been honored to serve on that committee for the past year, so I can’t wait to see what she has to show us.  :)  Websites, websites, websites!!!  :)

Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign

This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Daily Post: Weekly Photo Challenge: Foreign. In this case I chose to focus on the word foreign meaning outside the United States where I grew up, and have lived my entire life.  Almost anything that is out of our comfort zone could be classified as foreign, and this trip was as foreign as I have ever felt in my life.  I hope you enjoy my long past memory of Paris, France where we traveled to be with my husband’s son when he married a Chinese-Laotian girl who grew up in France.

“The French approach to food is characteristic; they bring to their consideration of the table the same appreciation, respect, intelligence and lively interest that they have for the other arts, for painting, for literature, and for the theatre. We foreigners living in France respect and appreciate this point of view but deplore their too strict observance of a tradition which will not admit the slightest deviation in a seasoning or the suppression of a single ingredient. Restrictions aroused our American ingenuity, we found combinations and replacements which pointed in new directions and created a fresh and absorbing interest in everything pertaining to the kitchen.”
Alice B. Toklas

Basque restaurant in Paris

The short time we spent in Paris was lovely – eat visit museums, eat, eat, eat.  Wear fat lady clothes.  Someone told us that we had to go to this lovely alley Basque restaurant, Auberge de Jarente.

Address:  7 Rue de Jarente, 75004 Paris, France
Phone:  01 42 77 49 35
Marais District

We have a large Basque community in Fresno, and they are famous for their hospitality and home cooking.  This one was no exception.  It was early September, slightly cool enough to be comfortable in a light jacket at lunch time.  We sat outside and watched people come and go into their apartments across the alley.  The dining experience itself bordered on being elegant.  Cloth napkins and table cloth.  Handsome waiter checking on you often to bring you more of whatever you wanted.  Yet the location was an alley – very foreign!  I gained 10 pounds just sitting there that afternoon.

We took this picture as a joke since the food was almost gone.

We had kind of a meat paella.  There were foreign kinds of meats I had never eaten including duck, which was sort of heavy and greasy as I remember.  It must have been good, but you’ll never know until you go to Paris.  Amateur photographers may take a decent picture once in a while, but they forget that picture-taking is the MAIN objective.  That would mean as soon as the meal comes out, the camera is set ready to go.  As amateur photographers, we finished our delicious food, then we remembered that we Spencer and Margaret ALWAYS send us picture of their food.  oops – oh well!  I think that must be a foreign tradition – I still struggle with it.  “Eat first, photograph later – the All American Tradition.” – U.S. diner. (me)

Hotel in the Marais District

This really isn’t an interesting photograph, but it shows just how narrow and crowded the streets are.  I can’t imagine driving in Paris, and that is very foreign to me.  In my work I was driving about 30,000 miles a year.  We stayed in the Hotel du Vieux Marais which you can see if you enlarge this photo is on the right side just in front of the black car.

Louvre, Paris France

We did visit the Louvre because you can’t go to Paris maybe only once in your life, and ignore the largest museum in the country, and third in the world.  We got too close to Mona, and had to be ushered back.  I probably tried taking her picture.  (You know those amateur photographers always taking the wrong picture in the wrong place!)  I remember the big crowd standing around this tiny painting.   It is much smaller that I expected it to be.  I don’t know about you, but I get overwhelmed by museums and SO MUCH  visual input.  I can only take in a little bit, and then I feel stuffed and tired, almost like eating too much.  My brain won’t process all that I am seeing.  I know I won’t remember more than about one or two things in the museum at the maximum, yet I have this insatiable appetite for visiting museums.

Museum of Judaism

This was one museum I had to visit in honor of my friend, Elane Geller, who survived the Holocaust.  Going through this museum really brought home the fact that Jews had been in Europe for at least 400 years before Hitler was even born.  I wasn’t able to take pictures inside any of the museums, and I didn’t buy tons of souvenirs.  But the golden and bronze religious items on display were ornate and definitely foreign to a simple American like me.

I hope you enjoyed my short walk down my short memory lane.  There are a few more pictures, but I have to find out what they are!!! Maybe if I post one that I don’t know you will tell me what it is!????

Where were we?

Sorry that my photos are sort of grainy – too much noise.  We discovered undeveloped rolls of film YEARS after we took them.  We didn’t even think there would be anything to develop, but there’s enough here to jog our memories.  I’m not sure what happened to the rest of our pictures.  They were before digital!!  That’s foreign to me now!  How did I ever exist before digital?

 

Tillamook Air Museum

October 24th is my younger brother, Randy’s, and my Grandfather’s birthday.  I always enjoy these next two weeks because for that amount of time there is only one year between us.  So happy birthday, bro.  This post is for you.

Happy Birthday, Randy

If you’ve read about my small family, you know that Randy is my closest and nearly only living blood relative.  Until Mom passed away in 2006 we hardly spent any time together, but since that time we tried harder to keep in touch. 

We both love the coast, whether Oregon or California, and five years ago we went to Tillamook to the Air Museum.  I thought we would never get there. It is in the middle of nowhere, but well worth the drive.

6030 Hanger Road, Tillamook, OR

For those of you who like me thought that all they had in Tillamook was cheese, you will pleasantly surprised.

Tillamook Air Museum

The hangar housing mostly World War II vintage planes was huge.  Actually it is the largest wooden structure in the world measuring 1072 feet by 296 feet covering over 7 acres.  It was built to house blimps.  (NO not me!!!) 

Inside the main hanger

Neither my brother nor I had been there so we picked out our favorite planes, got to climb in the cockpit of one, looked in the gift shop, read all the kids’ letters to the museum, and ate lunch.  We did it all!

World War II Plane

This was one of my favorites.

The students did a much better job of illustrating their visit than I did, and of course, I had to read every one of their pictures.  Good thing my brother was patient.

All of us got to be big kids that day.

There was hardly anyone there, so we got a lot of special attention.

I’m sure we did our fair share of shopping, too.  I would recommend this as a great field trip for students.  I know they don’t get to go on field trips in our schools often, and yet the ambiance of being in a structure like this with the actual planes helps bring history to life. 

Parents did you know that family vacations like this one do more to increase your students’ intellectual powers that almost anything else you can do for them.  So hop in your cars and go to your own local museums.  Take a trip to a nearby town or city and visit the museums there.  They might not appreciate it now, but they will later.  Even better if you take grandparents who might even know how the strange items in museums were used.  Even better, start reading both before and after the trip.

There are many gems right in your own neighborhoods.  And you are the experts.  Help your kids grow up knowing their own culture.  Then expand their culture to include other times and places. 

What kinds of places do you like to vacation?

 

California State Railroad Museum

 

How many times do you visit an area, and think, “I really want to go there”, but then you don’t go.  That was me and the Railroad Museum.  Yesterday the Tulare County Teaching American History Grant Institute scheduled the trip, and I finally got my wish.

For a museum-aholic like me, it is really hard for a museum to reach the status of favorite, but this one may come very close.  How fortunate for us today that the  museum did not get built in San Francisco by the organization that collected these beautiful trains, the Railroad and Locomotive Historical Society.

The trains here are all huge and most of all immaculate.   The guides are  knowledgeable, and congenial.  Like Colonial Williamsburg where you have townspeople milling around town able to answer random questions from tourists, there are “railroad employees” interspersed among the visitors who wave, and answer questions as well.

They might be playing my brother’s favorite childhood song,  “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad” on their harmonica.

Whatever they are doing looks like fun even when they aren’t conducting tours.  All aboard!

The railroad changed the West in so many ways.  When the Gold Rush started in 1849, it took 6 months at best to get from St. Louis to the gold fields near Sacramento, and even longer when someone came from the East Coast.  After the trains were completed, it took 8 days, and it wasn’t nearly so dangerous.

In 1869 when the transcontinental railroad was completed,  engines looked like this, just like the little locomotive in one of my first children’s books, The Little Engine that Could.  It was first published in 1906, then rewritten several times until the version that I knew that appeared in 1954.  The third locomotive in operation on the Transcontinental Railroad’s Southern Pacific line,  the Huntington#1, was built in Patterson, NJ in 1863.  Trains have a shelf life of 30 to 40 years, so by 1915 the Huntington started its work as a show engine, traveling from show to show until finally coming home to the museum in 1980, and holds the honor of being the oldest engine on board.

You will have to forgive me for losing my focus here.  The trains were absolutely dazzling, but the sight of all these orange t-shirted K-2nd graders listening to the telephone (not cell phone-shaped) explanations distracted me from telling the train story.  I forgot to even ask the name of the train.  I hope you all can forgive me for that one.

Some of them took the information so seriously.

The very first locomotive in use by the Transcontinental Railroad was the Leland Stanford, partially pictured here.  In 1862 a freshman Congressman named Aaron Smith, reminded the Union legislators that much of the money to fund the Civil War came from California.  Using scare tactics he intimated that without better transcontinental transportation the South might very well win the war instead of the North.  Acting on that  a threat, Congress changed its protocol of  from its normal Civil War discourse and passed bills to begin work building the Transcontinental Railroad.  Seven years later the feat was accomplished.  Of course the Civil War was officially over by then, and the Congressman had served his constituents well.

Crossing the mountains was no small accomplishment, and required a special engine.  This giant tunnel engine was one of my favorite stories.  Notice the vents across the top.  A steam engine built in the 1950s it was completely rebuilt in the shop in the 1970s.  It stayed in operation until the early 2000s.

Engines like this serviceable display which stayed in service so long forced the locomotive builders to upgrade their models so that the railroad companies would buy new engines instead of repairing the old ones.  New engines now operate each wheel individually which allows them to run trains faster and safer now that they were running 40 years ago.

Tomorrow I will post the rest of the story taking you to the materials inside the trains, and the growth of what many little boys of the 50s found under the Christmas tree or received at some point in their lives – the toy trains.

 

Free Wheeling

When you think about American history, probably the first thought that comes to mind is not the bicycle.  However, in Davis, CA, bicycles are VERY important, so this is the perfect place for the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.  It is in downtown Davis, at 303 B Street.  Our host, Bob Bowen, was the perfect Bicycles R Us spokesperson!

I remember my first bike, well actually it was my mom’s bike, but my dad painted it powder-blue so I would think it was new.  It weighed more than I did, and the rust and oil from the chain gave my leg the tattoo-look before tattoos were popular.

No, this wasn’t the bike, but in the 1890s my great-grandfather rode one like this one when he was a kid.   Big-wheelers were fairly dangerous, and no helmets were required.  (or even imagined).  The biggest problem was that there were no brakes!!! AND you were 8 feet off the ground, and when you did stop you took a “header” landing head-first in front of the bike.

Bicycle hero, Major Taylor from my home state of INDIANA, caught my attention.  He was the highest paid athlete in the world for a time – a bicycle racer.  Of course that was before pro-football.  Even before pro-baseball.  But in 1899 Major Taylor was the man.

On the second floor of the Bicycle Hall of Fame were more heroic stories, many of them female including Rebecca Twigg, whom I liked for her name.  Born in Seattle, Washington – another of my favorite places, in 1963, she was an Olympic medalist, world and U.S championship race track cyclist.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Twigg9906_699.jpg

Next, we went into the basement.  Here the Hall of Fame houses the collection of bikes from across the ages. Transportation before bicycles was limited to walking and animal drawn vehicles.  Finally, here was a vehicle that people could power themselves.  The bicycle pictured below, called a running machine, started out without chains, brakes or other niceties that we consider essential today.  Running machines, powered Fred Flintstone style, by running them,  were used, mostly to go downhill, from 1817 up to the start of the Civil War.

Thank goodness women got involved in bicycling.  Before women started riding bicycles roads were dirt, or at best, cobblestones.  After women took the wheels, it wasn’t long until paved roads started appearing.  No wonder they called the first bicycles “bone shakers”.  Of course, the metal or wooden tires might have had something to do with that as well.

This is one of my favorite pictures.  At some point bicycling became a family event.  This bicycle seats 6.  I remember riding a bicycle for two, and when the person in front came to a large fallen tree in the path, she wanted to go over it.  I didn’t think that was such a good idea, but she was persistent.  OK, stubborn.  I think I tend to be somewhat passive aggressive.  So when she continued to power forward, I bailed.  I don’t think I made a very good back seat driver, so I hate to think of being in the back seat of this machine.  …Yes, she crashed, and I felt badly, but still convinced that I did the right thing, and she should have stopped.

All in all we had a great time on Bob Bowen’s Bicycle Tour.  I love alliteration.  I looked for a “B” word to substitute for the word tour, and after a few thesaurian clicks on synonyms I found the word “bender” meaning “a period of time escaping life’s harsh realities”.   Unfortunately it means a few other things as well, so we’ll stay with tour.

Some of us had more fun than others.

Some of us crashed.

Some of us  took the sport very seriously!  Win at all costs!

We all had a great time, and recommend this as a fun place to visit.  Thanks again to our hosts.

Location, Location, Location Making the Most of Meetings

President Elect, Mike Lebsock, begins his term as San Joaquin Valley Council for the Social Studies President on July 1, 2012.  In preparation he meets with Vice-President Elect, Justin Paredes, current President, Marsha Ingrao, and Treasurer, Marvin Awbrey to ensure a smooth transition.  Instead of meeting somewhere bland, the group of history buffs took a self-guided tour of Tulare County’s largest museums located in Mooney Grove Park.

Kearney Mansion Picnic and Tour

San Joaquin Valley Council for the Social Studies is a network of social studies educators who enjoy coming together to learn and do things together.  We had our first event yesterday- a tour of Fresno’s Kearney Mansion.

I have been to the park many times for the Civil War Time Travelers Event through the Fresno Historical Society and the Tulare and Fresno County Offices of Education.    This was an opportunity for a private tour without 1,000 or more students there at the same time.    Perfect picnic weather, it was a sunny 80 degree afternoon with a slight breeze.  The adobe mansion was quite cool inside.

You might think that the mansion doesn’t look adobe, but the frame exterior covers about 10 in thick walls.  I learned that Kearney didn’t build this mansion for himself.  It was for his general manager, Ralph Frisselle, but he did live here for the three years prior to his death in May, 1906.  The plans for the castle he wanted to build for himself outlived him, but never got off the ground.

We spent a lot of time in the main office that housed the “Raisin King’s” business, the Fruit Vale Colony.  Notice the modern calculator and check writing device on the desk.  The 5,000 acre enterprise (colony) was like a town with a  grocery store, blacksmith, and all the other necessary businesses to furnish the live-in workers with everything they needed ( for a price).  The price for goods was paid in company script.

Kearney’s office keeping system was methodical and included a drawer of files on each individual crop as well as the businesses on his Fruit Vale Estate.  This was the office for the public.  Behind it was his private office.  Mike decided that Kearney’s personal desk would work perfectly in his office.  Sixty to seventy percent of the furniture is original to the house, so my guess is that Mike will not ever be able to take the desk home.

The hour went by so quickly.  We had plenty of time to ask questions, take all the pictures we wanted, shop in the gift store, which is in the outdoor kitchen.  Of course, I bought a book.  In the more than 20 years I have lived here, I have never taken the full tour, and I learned so much, had fun with my friends, and made new friends.  What could be better?  The rest of the pictures I took are in an album on the SJVCSS Facebook site.

SJVCSS wants to be in the business of organizing opportunities for fun and learning for social studies teachers and their families to do together.  There are many places to visit in the Valley, and we would like you to join us.  Where would you like to visit?  Let us know.  It’s more fun to do it together.