Urban Ruins Updated

Stumbled across this colorful Berkely, CA ruin when we were on a field trip last summer.


Thanks for the Memories

I have my computer set to ripple through all the My Pictures folders and show the pictures as screen savers. I have no idea how the inner workings determines the sequence.I just know that any pause and a new photo pops up. It is a constant trip down memory lane.

Jim and I as bride and groom fifty years ago
followed quickly by last weeks trip to North Carolina, followed by the grand-kids in California several years ago, followed by a view of the Grand Canal taken when we were in Venice three years ago or was that the trip before? Or art-work images, or Mama in the hospital, or Jim's mother three years before she died or places I know we must have been but I have no clue when or where.

This slide show keeps you on your toes.

It is marvelous - a time machine.

So simple.

The computer does it all.


The French Cat

I walked into the kitchen of a painter's villa in southern France and spied this cat perched in a warm spot on the sunlit window ledge. He/she may be there still.


So Much for History

I love history. I imbibe the past through historical novels ( claiming their exceptional research), museums, history sites, movies - you get it.

Recently I had an epiphany and I am standing back and re-evaluating my inclination to soak in the past through all these various lenses.

As I lifted the receiver I checked the caller ID. It read "California" and the number. Is that supposed to narrow the field? My daughter lives in CA, Jim's family is spread from San Diego to San Francisco, and I do have friends living there.

"Ellouise" She did not have to say her name. I recognized her voice immediately and when I heard it a flood of memories washed over me and I was right back in the 1970s when we worked together for the women artists movement.

She came to the DC area often in those days and when she did she sometimes stayed with us. Her visits were always a delightful pleasure and a challenge. An outstanding artist, this women is an unusual person who who enjoys challenging the status quo. She is never dull.

"I am writing a book about the history of the women artists movement and I want to include information about the Coalition." She was calling to confirm some facts and when she told me what she had written down I said,
" you've got it wrong. "
" What do you mean? That's how it was when I got involved."
"Maybe so, but the Coalition was started at least six years before that and you are leaving out much of the early history."

Now what to do? Dig around in the basement for the real facts or just let it alone. History irrevocably changed by omission.

Is that how it is with much of the history that is written down thirty, forty years after the fact. And then what about history re-digested after millenia.

So much for the absolutes in history.

Storyteller truth, right?


Three Hotels

Jim and I will sleep in our own bed tonight. Its good to be home.

This week we have crawled into beds in three hotels in two states with a lot of road in between.

We are not going to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough in October so last week-end we went to Williamsburg, Va for the 2nd annual Williamsburg Storytelling Festival.
I am not saying it is a substitue for Jonesborough but it was an excellent stand-in - - wonderful setting, terrific storytellers telling really good stories.

Our family came too and stories are even more fun when you are enjoying them with your home group. Cousins Jim and Pam, Karen, and Jim in the background. Jim and Monica arrived later.

We dipped into our Sunterra time share points for two apartments at Powhatan Plantation.
What a mistake. The first units they assigned to us were filthy. We complained and with some trouble we were moved. We wound up sleeping on a mattress that was a rock! We had a kitchen so every morning I ate my regular bowl of shredded wheat. Familiar is good..

Mid-day on Sunday Jim and I wrenched ourselves away from the sunny world of stories and hit the highway toward North Carolina to spend a couple of days with Mama at her rehab hospital. We checked into the Fairfield Marriott Hotel in Kannapolis, NC. Friendly folks, clean room and a deliciously comfortable bed – at least to two people who had been sleeping on a rock for three nights. There was a small breakfast room off the compact, plain lobby filled with small tables and chairs. Every morning they set out various breads for toast, stuff to make your own waffle, a rack of small boxes of cereals, coffee, juices, yogurt and fresh fruit. I could have my regular cereal every morning. Ah, good.
Oh, I forgot the place also has free internet. A definite plus.

Mama is doing so well. Getting over a broken hip is no small thing. She can walk four times across the room with assistance. She is determined to get back on her feet. Her right hand is weakened for some reason. Every day she goes to the therapy room and works with putting round pegs into round holes and removing them. One of the women who works near-by calls it "picking cotton."

Jim and I went to Target and bought a Fisher Price toy – where the child drops colored shaped blocks through matching holes in the blue top of a yellow plastic bucket. Its her homework. She was delighted.

I am emensely proud of her. There is nothing easy about any minute of her day.

We arrived home on Wednesday and slept well in our own bed.

Thursday morning I ate shredded wheat at my own kitchen table. The phone rang as I was leaving to tell stories at a near-by pre-school. It was my childhood friend Betsy. She called to tell me that our friend Carolyn had died in her sleep during the night in Salem, VA.

(left) Carolyn.
"I will call you right back." I told her.
I did - - after I told a set of stories to 4 year olds. Tales about talking animals are a good way to keep a painful reality at bay.

Around noon on Friday Jim and I headed down Highway 66 to Highway 81 to Salem, VA, just outside Roanoke. We went to say good-bye to Carolyn.

We checked into the Comfort Suites off Electric Blvd in Salem. Big room, comfortable bed, and Wi-fi. Tomorrow morning we would have breakfast at one of the small tables set up at one end of the light-filled spacious lobby.

I met Carolyn and Betsy in a Girl Scout Troop at Hawthorne Lane Methodist Church. We were 10 years old. We became closer friends as we pulled ourselves through Junior High School. Our Sophmore year at Central High School we pulled in two others and started calling ourselves the Big Five – Jane, Betsy, Thorny, Carolyn and me. We did most things together. We were known for being the best of friends. The bond was – is – strong. The winds of our lives blew us in different directions. Our parents stayed in Charlotte but all of us moved away. Every so often we had big five reunions. A week-end away, a sleep-over and other get togethers.

Friday evening at the funeral home in Salem, VA Betsy, Jane and Thorny and I sat on a couch – feeling incomplete.

Jane smiled wistfully and whispered the child’s verse-song:
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed.
One fell off and then he was dead.
Now, four little monkeys jumping on the bed.

The bed at the Comfort Suites was warm and comfortable.

In the lobby the next morning they did not have shredded wheat; I ate Cheerios.

Nothing is the same.


Good-bye Carolyn

Carolyn Minogue Meacham died Thursday September 21, 2006 in Salem, Va.

I met Carolyn when I was 10 years old and we were members of the same Girl Scout Troop. We went to Piedmont Junior High School and graduated in the same class from Central High School, all in Charlotte, NC. We grew up together.

Winds blew us in different directions by we followed each others lives and stayed friends - some times closer than other times but never without without caring about each other.

Carolyn had a razor sharp wit and was one of the funniest people I have ever known. I will miss the laughs, the caring and the support she was so ready to give.

But more than that, we had history. As I get older I value that more and more. Losing someone who has known you from childhood is like losing a thread in your own story.


Mama Made It

Last week mama had a partial hip replacement.
We all came to Northeast Medical Center in Concord, NC to hug, and then, watch and wait.

My sister Kathy and my daughter Karen played cards. That's sister Lynda on the solitaire game in the background. Good ways to pass the time.

The operation took three hours.
Mama came through it with flying colors.
The next day she was eating and receiving company.
Let's hear it for this 90 year old soldier!

Thank you Lord.