A Tale of Two Statues

I posted this a few years ago but since it’s 4th of July time and American history discussions are taking place all over the media, it seems like a good time to re-post. Enjoy!

Kickin' Hun Butt

Kickin' Hun Butt

Driving through Rhinebeck, NY, my eyes fell upon this chunk of manhood you see to the left. It’s dedicated to the town’s fallen soldiers of all wars. I’m assuming that it was originally dedicated to the War To End All Wars, probably done in the 1920s/30s. He’s someone Stan Lee would draw as a WWI superhero.

Arms which worked on upper New York farm fields or in the factories along Lake Ontario’s shores. Legs that jumped over any No Man’s Land seen along the French/Belgium border. He’s fully loaded, if you know what mean. What’s that he’s reaching for in his UTILITY BELT? Ammo? Grenades? Nobody wears a gas mask around his neck like this soldier. French Dames and English Roses fainted at the sight of him and the Von Schliefen plan didn’t have a chance against this guy. And there is no words for his stance. Wow…

At the site of him, I made Hubby (who is a chunk of manhood in his own right) stop the car. Rhinebeck is in a rural area though the town seems slightly upscale. I like a municipality that isn’t ashamed of their veterans.

Hailing a Cab?

Hailing a Cab?

The same can’t be said for Brunswick, Maine. They claim one of the most Butt-Kickin’ Union generals of all time, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, hero of Little Round Top. I could go on for hours about this man. How does Brunswick celebrate him? Look at his statue to the left. Chamberlain was a Bowdoin College professor who left a comfortable job and loving family to fight. He fought with the “Soul of a Lion.” Does the man to the left give you that impression?

Not only does he look tired and his uniform ill-fitting but where’s his accoutrements of war? The original statue had Chamberlain holding a sword. The good citizens of Brunswick thought that was TOO MILITARY. Instead, he’s holding his hat. He looks older than his actual age during the Civil War.
Make your own commentary for these two depictions of manhood and soldiering. I know which one I prefer.

Happy July 4th

I post this every Independence Day and each time I read it, the passage gives me goosebumps. Happy 4th, Everyone.

I never forgot this passage from Vera Brittain’s Testament to Youth. I think it’s appropriate to bring up on July 4th. Vera was a British nurse during WWI. In 1918, the war was going badly for Great Britain. Each week, her field hospital retreated before the German advance. Though the English newspapers painted a rosy picture, Vera and her colleagues knew their army had little time left, until…

WWI Dough Boy

WWI Dough Boy

Only a day or two afterwards I was leaving quarters to go back to my ward, when I had to wait to let a large contigent of troops march past me along the main road that ran through our camp…though the sight of soldiers marching was now too familiar to arouse curiousity, an unusual quality of bold vigour in their swift stride caused me to stare at them with puzzled interest.

They looked larger than ordinary men; their tall, straight figures were in vivid contrast to the under-sized armies of pale recruits to which we had grown accustomed…Then I heard an excited exclamation from a group of Sisters behind me.

“Look! Look! Here are the Americans!”

I pressed forward with the others to watch the United States physically entering the War, so god-like, so magnificent, so splendidly unimpaired in comparison with the tired, nerved-racked men of the British Army. So these were are deliverers at last, marching up the road to Camiers in the spring sunshine!

…An uncontrollable emotion seized me – as such emotions often seized us in those days of insufficient sleep; my eyeballs pricked, my throat ached, and a mist swam over the confident Americans going to the front. The coming of relief made me realise all at once how long and how intolerable had been the tension, and with the knowledge that we were not, after all, defeated, I found myself beginning to cry.

New York City, 1939

To me, these films never get old. You can tell it was recorded by a man because the camera focuses on things: buildings, cars, signs. I wanted to look at the fashions but the lens doesn’t linger on people.

Still, it’s lovely to watch.

[H/T: Small Dead Animals]

London in Colour, 1926

LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. I love this piece of film shot in 1926. Not too many ladies walking about but when you do see them, the cloches and knee-length skirts are lovely. There’s one scene when the camera is driving forward through an extremely crowded street full of working class men in suits, ties and skally caps and there’s one woman wearing her cloche. Everyone is looking back at the camera in happy curiosity.

The piano music (appearing halfway through the reel) is one of my faves – from the movie Amelie. I can’t play the piano but I just want to learn this one song.

A bit of advice: Play this one full screen.

[H/T: Small Dead Animals]

If you liked this, check out: Las Vegas, 1962.

My Space

Last weekend I attended the Washington County Antique Fair. The Fair is only 15 minutes away from home so it’s a pleasant half day away from the Wee One. While channeling every Better Homes & Garden decorator article and Pinterest home decor board, I picked up an old sewing cabinet drawer for $5.

A few days later that same drawer is now a sewing curio shelf.

Sewing and St. Theresa. There's a connection somewhere.

Connecting crafting and St. Therese.

I took the picture at an angle because apparently I can’t center shelving. I was wondering about any connection between St. Therese of Lisieux and crafting, and one came to me. The Little Flower’s mother made lace and had a thriving home business that allowed her husband to sell his jewelry business.

My space is a cute little room just off the bedroom. About 35 years ago, the room was a larger one that was divided in two. The half by the hallway was turned into a bathroom. A doorway was cut into the bedroom to make the other half a sitting/dressing room. I think the wallpaper is 35 years old, too. Someday I’ll fix the walls and paint it some color. Red? Sage? In the meantime, I’ll sit well-contented under the gaze of St. Therese.

Pattern Jackpot and an Added Kindness

I’m a newbie to sewing. Everytime I sew something, whether it’s a dress for myself or a jumper for my daughter, there’s always something stitched wrong; a little pucker here, an unintentional zig-zag stitch there or a not-quite invisible zipper. But, as I’ve mentioned before, if I’m not embarrassed to wear it in public, all the better.

And as a newbie, I have a fever that just won’t quit. Whenever I visit a flea market or thrift store, I look for a stash of cheap patterns. I don’t know if I’ll ever sew them, but, hey, the pattern was only 25 cents – SCORE!

I scored over the weekend of my toddler birthday hell. While Father-In-Law watched the Wee One, Mother-In-Law (M-I-L) and I escaped to the Dudley Do Right Flea Market. It was a gorgeous Sunday morning (we visited after Mass, BTW) and there were not many wandering the aisles. I had just bought three patterns for 75 cents and was eyeing the booths when I swooped upon a large plastic bin full of Butterick patterns.

While pawing through the patterns, my M-I-L chatted with the young girl manning the booth. As a teacher aid at the local elementary school, M-I-L knows half the school-aged kids in the area. This girl was the sweetest and had some evident learning disabilities but here she was, managing her grandmother’s very large booth. Since I was with M-I-L, the girl offered me a 2-for-1 deal on the patterns and offered a set price for the whole bin. Slick. Real slick.

I didn’t need the whole bin but I picked out a number of Retro Butterick patterns that were actually in my size. As I paid for my “new” patterns, the girl told my M-I-L about middle school and some of the shenanigans going on (not good) and I thought this girl is on the brink of choosing two paths which will determine how her life will go.

Before we left, I shook the girl’s hand and thanked her for a pleasant shopping experience. I don’t think an adult ever asked to shake her hand because her whole face lit up like a Christmas tree.

If you pray, pray for this girl in Dudley, MA.

And let me end with a picture of my Pattern Jackpot:

All this for $4.75

All this for $4.75

Birthday Party Hell

My Wee One is 3 years old and she received her first birthday party invite (from a family member). My first reaction was, “NO WAY!” It requires a three-hour drive into the Bay State, spending a lovely Spring afternoon inside a VFW-type building and imposing upon my wonderful in-laws for room and board. But I think the overriding thought about my most uncharitable feeling toward this invite is the thought of time with all those children.

My feeling about Toddler Birthday Parties

My feeling about Toddler Birthday Parties

I’m one of those mothers who loves my child but I’m not one to love other people’s children. When my daughter was a baby, mothers came up to me in restaurants, cooed over my child and asked,

“How old is she?”

“Is she sleeping through the night?”

I politely answered their questions. Because it seemed pro-forma, I politely asked about their kids but I would forget their answers within seconds.

Yes, I know I’m exposing myself to all sorts of negative commentary but I’m writing what I’m feeling. I just need to get it out.

Well, to end this diatribe, I have decided to take the Wee One to her first birthday party because I know she’s going to have a blast and I’m going to have a great time with family.

Rant mode: OFF.