Weekly Photo Challenge: Extra, Extra

Extra, Extra

Cousin Hal and I stopped momentarily in New Castle, DE to mark the landing-place of William Penn in 1682. We relaxed in a park on the Delaware River in this tiny historic village, named “Tomakonck,” place of the beaver, by the natives that settled there.   We didn’t see any beavers.  The extra entertainment we found in New Castle lurked in the lower left corner of my camera.

Serious conversation

Who knows what two ducks have to talk about.  But I don’t think it’s much different from any male and female that live in the same place.  His Eminence, the strong silent type, dominated the discussion early on, as Dolly Duck listened… silently, waiting her turn to talk.

Come back here

Sure enough, he quit quacking. Dolly started to speak. Maybe H.E. didn’t hear her.  Maybe he had just used his 10,000 quacks for the day, and it was time for a swim.  I don’t really know because I don’t speak “duck.”

Quacking Up

But the situation seemed vaguely familiar.

For “Extra, extra” reading, click here.

Book Reviews: Peter Abrahams Collection

After I read Steven King’s, On Writing, I thumbed through his suggested reading list at the end of the book.  Granted he published his book ten years ago, so these are not the most up-to-date books.  Probably  voracious readers have already heard of Peter Abrahams, but I started at the top of the alphabetized list, so I started reading his books.  He does what I haven’t even come close to mastering.  He writes descriptions, metaphors newer and fresher than clean socks, similes as puzzling as a Sudoku, which I never work out correctly no matter how much scratching I do along the sides.  If I had to categorize Abrahams books, my guess is that they fit best as drama or mysteries.

Lights Out

In Lights Out Abrahams chose a wrongfully imprisoned, vengeful murderer as the hero.  This poor man’s mother neglected him.  His older brother set him up, lied to him and abandoned him, leaving “Nails” to serve his entire sentence in prison for something he never did.   Of course, he killed a few bad guys in prison that picked on him, which kept him locked up.  When he eventually emerged, looking younger and more fit than his outside colleagues, he looked for his errant brother.   Nails seemed dumb, but you had a feeling he would solve the mystery of why he went to prison, and get the good-looking woman in the end.  You wondered if his brother would get caught, and by whom. He did, but not in any way I would have expected, or chosen to read, for that matter, but it kept me reading.  No matter what he did, Nails’ brother got an appropriate comeuppance, but not one you’d wish on your worst enemy.

Revolution #9

Revolution #9, published in 1992, told the classic story of a smart woman marrying a man she thought she knew, and finding out on her wedding night that she didn’t even know his name, nor the people who came and took him away. The government thought they could close the twenty year old murder case when a counterfeiter blew Charlie’s cover in return for favors he would soon need again. No one had reacted with more surprise than Charlie when the bomb he had built and set under the building exploded, killing the eleven-year-old son of a professor at his college.

Running for his life, abandoned by the real terrorists, Charlie changed his identity, and took cover as a lobster fisherman.  He laid low until he accidentally fell in love.   When he married, news of Charlie’s reappearance twenty years later triggered many levels of events reaching into the depths of the government before the reader discovers the true perpetrators.  But did they get away with it, and let Charlie live?  Only those who read the book know for sure.

Oblivion

I also read Oblivion.  Such a title that might have clued me in to the surprise, but it didn’t.  It’s unclear by the end of the book if it actually has a resolved, happy ending.  It’s sort of happy, but because of the oblivious, I’m not sure.

Petrov is an investigator who wins court cases for his clients.  He’s dramatic and thorough, attacking each case with the tenacity of the locked door on my front loading washer. (That’s another story.)  Somehow along the way, he loses his way, and ends up in the hospital, falls in love with the nurse, and ends up head to head against his past and another love.  Abrahams packs more surprises into each chapter than I have had in my life.  If you read it long ago, you may have forgotten all the turns and twists, but I doubt it.

summer reading

If you haven’t read this trio of mysteries, treat yourself a few days of good reading this summer.  :)  What are you reading?

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Room

This is the perfect challenge to tell you about the wonderful interesting room I had in San Francisco a couple of months ago.  I wanted to support these people because they are from the Valley.  In the pictures the rooms look fabulous.

beresford arms_4a

In their defense, I drove in late, and was lucky to get a room.  I got the last available room, and it was in the basement.

SFW SF Beresford

Whoever heard of rooms in the basement? Yes, it had a window.  It was two stories above the ground level.  I know, it confused me, too.  The view was unusual _______.

Beresford2

I didn’t care about outdated wallpaper that didn’t match the vintage of the building.  My worst complaint wasn’t the bath tub.  In fact I looked forward to getting into the spa tub.  Until…

Beresford3

I ran the water.

Beresford4
before Marsha

I didn’t need a soak in tan that badly.  I fell into bed tired and dirty, and after breakfast the next morning decided to just leave.  I phoned ahead for my car because it could take up to 30 minutes to get it.  I went down up to the lobby twenty minutes later, and waited an hour an a half downstairs upstairs.

Beresford5

As old hotels in San Francisco go, this one probably rates better than you might get from my review. My friend Sally rented a brochure room when she stayed there.

 

Book Review: Co-Operative Dreams A History of the Kaweah Colony by Jay O’Connell

Kaweah Colony

If you’ve never seen a tree so wide you can drive your truck through it, then you need to come to the Sequoia National Park.  The Kaweah River surges down from the Sierra Nevada, through the Big Trees, forming the Delta where big agriculture lives in Tulare County.

map

The huge forests that attract thousands of tourists world-wide today, might have been wiped from the map before their secret was discovered were it not for the drama that unfolded in the mountains in the 1880s.

I met author, Jay O’Connell, in the Pizza Factory in Three Rivers on the day Sally Pace and I made ad sales calls for the Kiwanis Magazine, “What’s Happening in the Foothills.”  I went home, and sure enough, I had his book, Cooperative Dreams A History of the Kaweah Colony, in my library, but to my loss, had never taken the time to read it.

Early tent colony where first Kaweah Colony residents settled.
Early tent colony where first Kaweah Colony residents settled.

“Three key issues of the nineteenth-century California history are illustrated by events at Kaweah.” The issues prominent in the 1880s, when the Kaweah Colony formed were: “land and its acquisition; labor and the organization of it; and conservation.  … They are personified by three major characters in the drama of the Kaweah.” Charles Keller found the land, and knew it would be perfect to start the perfect cooperative colony.  Burnette Haskell, son of none other than Eddie Haskell (not from Leave It To Beaver, but very much like him in personality) gave voice to the organized labor movement so prominent in those years.  Finally, Visalia’s own “Father of the Sequoia National Park,” George W. Stewart championed conservation so effectively that the results surprised even him.

More permanent dwellings afforded little protection from the winter weather.
More permanent dwellings afforded little protection from the winter weather.

What I didn’t know was that there was such a mysterious aura around the often-told story.  For fifty years even historians did not know how the park came to be included in a bill that originally reserved only a small portion of the trees for posterity.  Even more amazing was the reason for including the magnificent trees in the preservation act.

O’Connell gently unfurls the story, introducing each character, using primary sources including letters, newspaper articles, and interviews of survivors of the colonies conducted in the 1940s by Tulare County historical expert, Joe Doctor, to authenticate his narrative.

As a student of local history, I found this fascinating, but California’s history, its dream belongs to the world as did the settlers that came in the 1800s.

Sue’s Word a Week – Orange

I love the sunny color of orange, and the sweet flavor as well.  No place salutes orange better than Orange Works in Strathmore, CA  on the west side of Highway 65.

Orange works1I drive thirty miles just for a taste.   The orange picker brings in crates of warm oranges from the field outside the back door of the restaurant. He squeezes the whole crate of them into just one pitcher.  From there the juice magically turns into ice cream or smoothies.

It’s the perfect treat for a hot, dry California summer day.

To take part in Sue’s challenge, click here.

Best News Ever – Well In The Last 24 Hours

You have all been so faithful reading and visiting while I my creative juices dried up.  Thank you so much.  I think they are going to start flowing again soon.  I’m at the beach.

castaway-laptop2

Oh yes, the good news.  Even though my book, Girls on Fire, is on a break pending more rewriting and editing, I had a request from a publishing company to consider writing a book about our local area.  So I’m checking it out.

Happy Mother’s Day One and All

I am not a mother, a “real” mother, but like everyone else, I had a mother.  And she loved me.  And I loved her.

family pic age 7

Many people have just the opposite situation.  We all form relationships in which we have mother/child like contacts, and without these wonderful people in our lives, we would be lonely and/or unguided.

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I was fortunate to have many generations of mothers on Mom’s side of the family.  You can see the resemblance between all of us.  I’m the grumpy looking one.

Marsha

I admired my mother, and listened to her guidance.   We shared secrets, dreams, ideas, friends, careers and interests.  We traveled to Stonehenge and other places in England, the highlight trip of our lives.

Peggy and Marsha

I rarely let more than a few days go by when I was a young adult in which I didn’t call her.  As she aged and moved closer to me, we saw each other daily, and those were precious years.

Peggy's 80th 013rc

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move

Transportation shapes our lives, allowing us to go on the move.  Going to a location by ship, rail, air or road transports us long distances from home in relative comfort.  Manny and I taxi from the airport to our hotel.

On the Move via Taxi

In Boston, Massachusetts I did not rent a car, but I moved along via  the T (metro) to the city, and meandered on foot along the red brick road indicating the Freedom Trail.

Boston Underground T

Throngs of sightseers and Boston natives moved along with me on the Freedom Trail, some on bicycles, a few motor in vehicles, but the bulk of them moved on foot.

Freedom Trail 2

Loud music and a crowd gathered in a square outside Faneuil Hall, the “Cradle of Liberty,” stopped many people on the move as they took time to listen, watch and participate in a street performance.

On the Move FT3We take the ability to move wherever we wish for granted.  Across the street from the Freedom trail towered four plexiglass columns, seeming out of place among all the 18th century brick buildings that marked the beginning of the freedom experiment in the New World.

On the Move FT4

I detoured off the red line, still on the move to explore the incongruous structures.  A blast of warm air hit me as I moved into the first one as though I opened the glass door on my fireplace.

On the Move HC2

Mesmerized I read the quote and then gazed through number after number printed on the tower wall. Trapped in the mid-twentieth century  symbolic chimneys of Auschwitz,  I fixed my eyes  on the Freedom Trail of the eighteenth century, and twenty-first century people on the move across the street.

Auschwitz chimney

Only in the total absence of freedom does one recognize the true value “On the Move”.

For more entries click the icon.

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Reviews and Recommendations

A few weeks ago I read Breathing on Her Own published by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas written by Rebecca Waters, a friend in a Facebook writers support group.  This book struck a chord with me because one of my friends in Visalia has gone through much of the same trauma.

Breathing on Her Own

Breathing on Her Own doesn’t sound like a lightweight romance, and it isn’t.  Waters walks us through the difficult healing process of a mother whose married adult daughter is paralyzed after a car accident.  WARNING:  Do not have unprotected sex if you think that parenting ends when your child leaves home at the end of… high school…  college… when they get married…

Molly Tipton, an active church-goer and Christian, battles God as she goes through the healing process after the car wreck.  Her daughter had been drinking, and the weather was bad.  Who got the blame for the accident?  God, of course.  It was HIS bad weather that made the road slick.  Well, maybe it was the “girlfriend” with Laney, she had always been a bad influence, but she died instantly, so it was hard to keep blaming her.

After the weeks Laney lingered in the hospital, Molly struggled through numerous changes and tribulations. That first night in the hospital watching her daughter struggle to breathe on her own, Molly never suspected that the caring officer, Officer Steadman, would later charge Laney with the manslaughter of one of her closest friends.  Molly and her husband, Travis, shared responsibilities for Laney’s children as the road to recovery wound around Obstacle Mountain.   When Laney left the hospital still unable to walk, Molly and her husband had hard financial decisions to make that threatened their retirement plans as they tried to help her daughter’s family cope with living with a disability.

 

Accidents are only a second away from any of us.  As she reached out to help , Molly discovered that her own life needed overhauling.

I recommend this book.  It’s an easy read, but then it’s not!

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A few days ago I told you that I switched to iPage. The switching procedure takes ended up being more complicated than I thought it would to switch, but I wanted to save $200 or so.  The service was great.  Eva called me, and answered my call.  However, I returned to WordPress because I had to transfer my own data to the hosting site.  Because my paid membership expired, I couldn’t do that and take my pictures.  I discovered that WP has a less expensive product to host the website, and give more room for storing my pictures.  I jumped on that train, and I’m back in business at WP.  For my simple purposes the $99 program is enough.  Just thought I’d share.

Travel Theme: Close Up

A year ago I took my first and only photography lesson with Mike’s Camera Shop and learned how to use F-stops.  Reading an article about F-stops the other day reminded me that I forget to spin knobs and click buttons before I shoot pictures.  So often my close up pictures aren’t excellent.  During our class we got really close.

SFW Wildflower class20130420_74r

Sometimes I got a little closer to the little hairs on the stem than I did to the blossom.

SFW Wildflower class20130420_20r

“It’s all in the composition,” says Leanne Cole.  That was before my first, and only lesson with her.  Life keeps getting in the way.  I have Australia – lessons with Leanne on my bucket list, though.

SFW Wildflower class20130420_40r

I think the shadow on the top flower resembles the 1970s cartoon, Gumpy, jumping off a roof, or sneaking up on someone.

For more Travel Theme posts, click here.

I hope you enjoyed today’s travel theme, “Close Up.”  If you did the traveling was all yours.  I stayed close to home!  :)  What is close to home for you?

WordPress Photo Challenge: Letters

The Pennsylvania Railroad Museum didn’t bother to post their rules in any language but English.  That may have been their downfall.

Manny can't read

Sometimes the letters aren’t right when you take a picture, and you have to make some changes.

Fugitive Manny2

For more stories and pictures about letters click on the WP image.

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Changes: The Constant in Life

We love seeing old things.  They may be beautiful or ugly, useful or not, but they are interesting because we have changed.  In order to for things to remain viable, we need to make changes to them from time to time.

New Castle 1r

I have changed my blog, and moved it to iPage.  I loved the chat service that WordPress offered with their premium package that I bought, but it was more expensive than I wanted to pay this year.  So far I am very impressed with iPage.  Eva called me to see if there was anything I needed, and sure enough, I had let my domain name expire.  So I changed that, and now I’m renewed, ready to go.  There may be changes on my site, that I don’t understand yet, but I’m still alive and well, and hope you are too.  :)

Word Press Photo Challenge: On Top

I like to be on top of things.  So does my cat, Scardy Kitty.

Scardy on top

Other animals feel the same way.  Maybe they feel safer if they are on top.

on top of the piling

To be on top signifies power, visibility, and with-it-ness.  Seldom is there a church or a government without a spiral or a dome.  We look up to and admire the tops of those buildings.

Church Top

Here is a church tower I saw at the picturesque town of New Castle, DE

Old South Meeting House

This Bostonian Congregational or Puritan church, the Old South Meeting House, where Boston’s citizens met and demanded their rights from the British officials has an aspiring top.

on top of the MA Statehouse

Governor Samuel Adams presided over building the new Massachusetts State House in 1795.  At the time leaders claimed that this beautiful building held the top, most prominent position in the nation. Notice the gold dome.  No one knows how much it cost; they probably paid top dollar for it.

Top2Workers like to be on top of their work.

on top of the train Supervisors like to be even higher.  We stood on top of a bridge at the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum overseeing the work of these workers chipping ice into the cooler car.

on top of the horse

Manny is growing up to be a top-notch bear.  He loves to climb on top of things.  Hal suggested that he needs velcro to stay on top.  Maybe that’s what we all need.  What do you think?

Click here to see more examples of “on top.”

 

 

Book Review: On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

Writing the romance novel in November, ushered me through a hidden door from a room I thought I knew well, the Writing Room. My scores on tests throughout my training and career in education, convinced me I knew how to write, spell, and that my knowledge of grammar probably out classed Strunk and White – a good argument against multiple choice tests.

A romance site that helps new writers write the genre of romance recommended Stephen King’s book, On Writing:  A Memoir of the Craft.  I devoured every word, making more notes and highlights that I have ever made in my kindle.  I noted vocabulary and description.  He writes honestly without worrying who might be upset reading it, as long as it is true to character.

skonwriting

Stephen King started writing at about the same age I did, around age 10.  I entered a writing contest looking for new talent.  When the rejection slip came back, I wadded it up and threw it away.  Not Stephen King.  He began his lifelong collection of them.  He nailed them to his wall, and counted them as a step up to the next level of achievement.  What I learned from Stephen King is that you have to push yourself to publish.  Eventually you learn what you are doing wrong, if you keep working at it. I wonder what might have happened if I had kept trying to publish my writing.

Stephen King’s advice shot me right in the forehead.  In my first composing enthusiasm, I opened myself for the inevitable criticism that accompanies first drafts.  (duh) I was so excited when I wrote Girls on Fire that I sent it to anyone who was kind enough to take a look when it was fresh off my fingertips.  I discovered that it put one person to sleep, the grammar appalled another reader, and my main character had way too many character flaws.  That’s all good information, but there was more eye-opening to come.  After reading several books on how to write, I shudder because I know there are many MAJOR errors remaining after the fifth or sixth draft.  Master writer, King operates differently.  “Write with the door closed… When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story. … Once you know what the story is and get it right – as right as you can, anyway – it belongs to anyone who wants to read it. Or criticize it.”

“Let’s say you’ve finished your first (fifth or sixth, in my case) … If you have someone who has been impatiently waiting to read your novel… then this is the time to give up the goods … if, that is your first reader or readers will promise not to talk to you about the book until you are ready to talk to them about it.” (p. 210)  Then he tells us impatient novice writers to let it sit at least six weeks before we start talking about it with the reader(s).  Finally, it’s time to do the real editing work, most of which has to do with character motivation.

King noted when to ignore your first readers.  “Some will feel Character A works but Character B is far-fetched.  If others feel that Character B is believable but Character A is overdrawn, it’s a wash” (p. 216).  Leave it be – yeah!  Another hint, “As a reader, I’m a lot more interested in what’s going to happen than what already did” (p. 224). “Everyone has a history and most of it isn’t very interesting” (p. 227) (No wonder my reader fell asleep!)

King’s wise words made my fingertips itch, and my brain dry up for the moment while I try to absorb his advice. In my humble opinion, every new writer, and some of us experienced ones, should read this book.

Boston in Mourning

Boston mourned April 2-5 for two firefighters who lost their lives battling an apartment fire on a windy day.  Many people came by to drop off flowers read the memorials left behind to honor their heroes.

Fire fighters memorial1

Firefighters pulled Lt. Edward Walsh 43, and Michael Kennedy, 33, from the basement at the rear of the building.  Both Walsh and Kennedy worked on Engine 33/Ladder 15 out of the station at Boylston and Hereford Streets, less than a block from the Sheraton Hotel where we had our NCSS meeting. 90.9 WBUR.

Firefighters 2

Fireman’s Prayer

When I am called to duty, God, wherever flames may rage, give me strength to save some live whatever be its age.

Help me embrace the little child before it is too late, or save an older person from the horror of that fate.

Enable me to be alert and hear the weakest shout, and quickly and efficiently to put the fire out.

I want to fill my calling to give the best in me to guard my every neighbor and protect their property.

And if according to your will I have lose my life, please bless with your protecting hand, my children and my wife.

Station 33

When Matt picked me up, we drove by the apartment on the way out of town.  It amazed me that fire devastated the brick building.

fire

Sometimes I take life for granted.  Tragedies make me take stock and think about the gift of life I have.  My prayers are with families who lost so much as a result of the fire.

Boston Herald

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.

old swedes church 3

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.

 

old swede church2

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.

old swedes church6

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.

Old Swede church 9

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.

old swedes church 7

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.

Old swedes church 8

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.

Old Swedes church10

“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.

 

Discovering Delaware – Historic New Castle

My mother’s only cousin, Hal,  insisted that I needed to learn more about the hidden historic treasures in Delaware.  The 70 degree temperatures and spring sunshine today made exploring and photographing Delaware a delight.

“If you love Colonial Williamsburg, Marsha, you will enjoy Historic New Castle, DE., established in 1651.”

Newcastle DE1

“First order of business, Marsha, you HAVE to eat at Jessop’s Tavern.  You get to experience colonial life.”

DDays Tavern

Our food came in pewter bowls and plates served by servers  in colonial costumes.

Mannys first bite

After lunch our eyes soon became as glutted as our stomachs. Stumbling along uneven brick sidewalks and cobblestone streets, we admired preserved, and not restored, colonial architecture.   One house caught my eye because the patterned brick front differed from smoother faced brick on the surrounding homes.

Ddays home

As it happened, the owner came out of the home at the exact time we walked back up the street.

RichardDay

Of course, I asked him a question, “Do you live here?  I love the brick pattern on your home.”

“It was built in 1690, the oldest one still standing.”

Ddays patterned brick

“New Castle is so quiet and peaceful,” Hal commented.

Historic State park

Richard’s left eyebrow raised slightly.  “That is changing.  In March we voted to allow New Castle to become a National Historic Park. Delaware was the only state that didn’t have one.  I used to own the Arsenal Restaurant on the Green, but the government didn’t renew my lease.  They have other plans for it.”

Arsenal

A half hour later he escaped our barrage of questions.  A few minutes later I saw him again, conversing with one of the servers at his restaurant, Jessop’s Tavern.

jessups tavern2

 

 

Back Before Gluten-Free There Were Parker House Rolls

Natural leaders in history social studies groups remember facts and tell great stories. Past President of CCSS, Greg Spielman, is that kind of leader.  Some men would hesitate to take five women clubbing and ghost hunting in Boston after 9:00 p.m., but not Greg.  He rose to the challenge.  The way to a woman’s heart is through bread.  So he took us to the Omni Hotel, and began wowing us with his fun facts.

Omin 1
I found the Omni Parker House Hotel again during the day on the Freedom Trail.

“Right here is where Parker House rolls began.”  he said as we walked into the hotel out of a light rain.  He and Sandra ran through the streets, while the other four of us took a cab.  They beat us.  He ran his hands through his wet crew cut to dry it out.  We thought for sure he had made these stories.

“In fact, Malcolm X was a bus boy here in the 1940s.”

“Nooooo.” Five women disputed him.

“Right Greg, you’ve mixed up your facts somewhere.   Malcolm X?  This doesn’t seem like his style.”

“It gets better.  Ho Chi Minh was one of the pastry chefs making famous Parker House rolls.”

You are pushing it, Greg.  Really?”  You could cut the disbelief with a pastry knife.  Two famous people working in one restaurant?  Not at the same time, of course.

“John Kennedy loved this place.  In fact this is where he made his first public speech.  He was at his grandpa’s birthday party.  You know his grandpa, John F. “Honey” Fitzgerald, Irish-American Mayor of Boston?  Of course, you do.  So anyway, guess where John F. Kennedy proposed to Jackie Bouvier?

“Not here at Parker Restaurant?”

Yep, and there’s more.  Ever heard of Boston Cream Pie? … Right here.

What five women couldn’t resist stories of love and power and Boston Cream pie and Parker House rolls?  We followed him, turning right into a magnificent hallway into the “Last Hurrah Bar.”  The Omni Hotel on 60 School Street is “America’s longest continuously operating hotel,” Greg quoted the fact sheet before we knew there was one.  He had it memorized.

We sat around a couple of tables on comfortable chairs.  Michelle ordered a kahlúa cream drink for dessert at the Last Hurrah Bar.  That sounded good to me, too.  If you are more literary than I am you’ve probably read Edwin O’Connor’s 1956 Pulitzer-Prize winning novel called The Last Hurrah about federal penitentiary inmate, MA governor and U.S. Congressman, James Michael Curley.

Omni 2

How has Greg had time to learn all this stuff?  How does he remember it after he learned it? Those questions have answers. After he gets back to CA, he will return to Boston with a group of way more high school kids than I would know how to handle in Boston.  He will tell them these fun stories, without the kahlúa cream, of course.   Have fun Greg.  I know your travel group will!

 

 

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