HB, Prince Charles !!

When I was 10 years old I saw a picture in the newspaper of Prince Charles…he was attending Gordonstoun, and I think he was wearing a kilt..  Nonetheless, I immediately fell in crush.  It seemed clear to me that the Royal Family needed an American to add some colour..(way ahead of my time).  I started a scrapbook, combing the magazines and newspapers for more pictures,  reading and writing up bios on every member of the Windsors.  I can still tell you, from memory, that his full name is Charles Philip Arthur George, that he is the Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, the blahdy blah of blah, etc.

During the summer of my 11th year (1964) I wrote him a letter and asked him to be my pen pal.  I wrote lots of letters back then, but this one my Dad thought was so funny.  In it, I lied about my age and told him I was 12 !!!   While I was visiting Grandmother, he mailed the letter without my knowing.  A few months later I received a letter, on Buckingham Palace stationery, from the Queen’s Lady-in-Waiting, expaining to me that the Prince would not be able to correspond with me.  I still have the letter and scrapbook here somewhere.  I was so excited!  A few years later I discovered Real Boys, but always kept a keen interest in Charles.

Anyone who knew me back then was aware of my crush and I planned to go to England as soon as I was old enough. (unfortunately, that did not happen and I still haven’t visited)

Anyway, after the whole Di thing, I have been steadfastly defending him.  I think he accidentally married a young lady who had serious mental health problems, ignoring his heart and being faithful to his “position” as the future King.  Everything good about the Princes William and Harry has been attributed in the press to their mother, and I’m not going to try to malign her mothering.  However, Prince Charles started the Prince’s Trust way before he married her and has always been a true “working” royal.  His relationship with his sons appears to be strong, proven because they make fun of him like any adult child does, and also because they give him a lot of credit for the people they are today.

I still follow the Royals very closely.  BBC has been showing a lovely documentary that finally gives Charles his just desserts.  He and Camilla share loving looks and it’s quite clear they are still very much in love with each other after all these years.  I approve…but always did want him to be happy, since it didn’t work out between the two of us.

Dear Prince Charles,

Today is your birthday #70.  Geez, PC, we have grown old together…

Love, Peace, and Happy Birthday Wishes…

From your Loyal Fangirl…

Dance like nobody’s looking…

Peace

P.S.  I wrote about this in 2012…  if you are counting…

Delay Tactics

Okay, I admit it…I’m procrastinating again…  I picked up a book,

…and decided I need to read up.  Here’s what Amazon says about the book…

 In Process, acclaimed journalist Sarah Stodola examines the creative methods of literature’s most transformative figures. Each chapter contains a mini biography of one of the world’s most lauded authors, focused solely on his or her writing process. Unlike how-to books that preach writing techniques or rules, Process puts the true methods of writers on display in their most captivating incarnation: within the context of the lives from which they sprang. Drawn from both existing material and original research and interviews, Stodola brings to light the fascinating, unique, and illuminating techniques behind these literary behemoths.

Oh, I wanna be like them!  Toni Morrison, Margaret Atwood, F. Scott Fitzgerald…not Hemingway, though.  (hemingway was an ass)  The author goes through each individual’s process, many of whom procrastinate like crazy before they finally sit down and put pen to paper, so I feel like I’m in good company.

Nearly all of the more current authors have methods to keep themselves from falling into the black hole of the internet.  Zadie Smith first used apps to monitor her time online and eventually withdrew completely.  Margaret Atwood has two computers in her office:  one with internet, one without.  She allows herself 10 minutes each day on Twitter, which she thinks is the best social media platform,  and is involved with some online writing forums, but otherwise has disciplined herself to look away.

It covers a lot of oldtimers, too. Edith Wharton famously wrote in bed every morning, tossing each full page of writing on the floor for the help to pick up and take to the typist.  F. Scott wrote for $$ and revised or even rewrote when Max Perkins suggested.

Fascinating stuff, I tell you, and a perfect way to avoid writing, but hey, Toni Morrison usually has most of her books written in her head before she sits down to write.  Yeah, I’m just like her.

In the guise of research, I have googled 1890s and 1900s so often that Mr.G blithely fills in the blanks for me:  fashion, morals, entertainment.  I am immersed in imagining life at the turn of the 20th century, what they wore, how they traveled, what music they listened to…   It’s a sure-fire distraction, as I sit tapping my foot to Ragtime…

But ultimately, people are people in every decade or era.  They grow up to be products of their culture, but inside they struggle, just like me, to figure out how to rise above their circumstances.

So, I gotta get back to the actual writing…or maybe dance…

Peace

 

 

challenges, challenges

Every January I sign up with the Goodreads book challenge and Every November and December I find myself frantically reading books to meet the goal.  I was up until very early doing “easy” reading, stories that are sort of romantic mysteries.  I have searched for Kindle singles and have hope that I can get these last 6 –yes, six– books read.   I read from a kindle or a nook, mostly, but since I need to catch up quickly, I’m heading over to the library to find some nice mystery series that will keep me interested…or that’s the plan, anyway.

We didn’t get any snow, though I understand that the State was on alert for flurries.  The rosebushes are ready for anything, though…check it out…

We’re doing some experimenting in the conservatory.  When the sun is up, the temps stay about 10degrees above the outside.  At night, there is little difference between inside and out, so with lows in the 20’s, I want to add some heat.  We have a couple of space heaters for now, but I don’t want to see my electric bill go crazy, so we’re thinking a kerosene heater would be nice.  So far, everything is doing real well out there…

Those low temps bit the leaves right off the trees that were so beautiful just day-before-yesterday…

It feels like a day to make some soup and curl up with a book, or two…  I hope you are warm and cozy this lovely Sunday…

Peace

 

Playing the role of Grandmother…

I don’t know if I should call this the genealogy project anymore.  A better moniker might be Who were my grandmothers? Something new that generally contradicts the stories I’ve been told pops up with each of them.

I started life with 5 grandmothers:  Mom’s grandma, called Little Grandma; Dad’s maternal grandmother, called Gainsey; Dad’s paternal grandmother, Grandmother Mayne; Mom’s mother, Grandma Eaton; and Dad’s mother, who my brother named Plain Grandmother, P.G. for short.

I have focused on Grandmother Mayne because that’s who I’m writing the story about, but I am constantly sidelined by looking at records of the others…

Then there’s the pictures.  I have a plethora of photographs that go back to the civil war and possibly before.  This picture of Grandmother was my first clue that she was not a concert pianist.

A girlfriend whose family had owned a photography shop over in Illinois pointed out to me that this was a “performer pose”.   My great-aunt Bernie provided another clue when she gave me this little flyer.  The year 1900 written on there is my grandmother’s handwriting (I can tell because she wrote me letters).

If you could look closely, you’ll see that this is not a concert pianist performance.  I’m more impressed that she had star billing and ran the show!  She sings, plays mandolin and piano and it’s all “pop” music of the day..!  Probably there was some dancing.   Add that my great-grandmother was born Olive R. Kinkade and “changed” her name to Kathleen, and it doesn’t seem to me that she was a prim, college-educated concert pianist.

So, back to the train.  Ben L., the handsome county clerk, was also a teacher in the Browns School District, living with his mother and sister in Albion.  He took his bride home and that’s where my grandfather was born 9 months later and where my great-aunt Bernie was born 14 months after that.  According to Aunt Bernie, grandmother insisted on “having her own home” when Bernie was 2 or 3.  This picture was taken in front of that house.

 

No doubt Grandmother had to re-invent herself again when she married into the Mayne Family.  They were rather snobbish and would not have approved of her background.  As a result, I rarely heard much about her childhood and only knew for sure that her mother had died when she was 6 months old, she had an older sister named Anna, and that her step-mother had not been kind.  Bernie said that the Kinkades were “poor”.

It is hard to tell what is “poor” and what’s not, but I’ve discovered just who they were, and who my grandmother’s mother’s family (McWilliams) were and that tells a story much different than what I expected.

Having spent the week being JoJo the grandma, it is easy for me to imagine how much my grandmothers enjoyed being around me and my siblings.  Double that to a great-grandmother and it must be twice as joyful, especially if you are able to play with them and teach them.  I learned so much from my great-grandmother Mayne, more than from any other grandmother.  She taught me to love poetry and playing piano, and she had large closets full of books to read.  She tried to teach me to embroider and crochet.  We helped her bake pies, rolling out the dough and slinging around the flour, and she would save a little bit of the piecrust and bake it just for me.  She put butter on her crunchy peanut-butter sandwiches and used Roman Meal bread.  We played Chinese checkers and she didn’t let me win.  She wrote us letters and had Thanksgiving at her house, Christmas at ours. I spent a couple of weeks each summer at her house getting spoiled and doted on.

Grandmother visited us in 1957 when we lived in Gary, Indiana.  She insisted on going up to Lake Michigan, where she took off her shoes and waded in…

That’s me holding Grandmother’s hand, I’m 3, she’s 81…

She has rather haunted me all these years, compelling me to tell her story, and I will.  However, the other grandmothers are clamoring to be heard, too.  As I uncover more secrets, I am mesmerized at how strong my foremothers were.  I hope my grandchildren look back and remember me the same…

Peace

My daughter-in-law’s surgery went fine and she is back home loopy on meds, so I’m still doing the chauffering for her.  It was about 8pm last night that Michael brought her home, so I had Samantha asleep and Olivia at least in her room — I felt like a real Mama.  Samantha gets out of pre-school at noon, so I’ll just say “hey” and get back to work…

I’m glad the election is finally over, but it won’t stop the incessant roar of anger in this country.  I continue to avoid watching cable news, facebook, and twitter, though facebook, for me, seems the mildest of the three.  Facebook just hasn’t been showing me much more than ads until recently when folks (and their cute kids) started popping up–finally a reason to hit the like button..!  Believe me, a person can stay informed without the shrill and shriek of the talking heads manipulating and triggering emotions…

Casey is out putting some cages around the rose bushes.  There are some tall canes that I fear will be destroyed by winter snows.  Our first “snowfall” is predicted for next week…the kind that melts by noon…but we’ll be ready for anything.

Getting up early and getting out of the hou-hou-house seems like such a new/old experience.  Out there in the early morning with the school buses sends me back in time when I had places to go and things to do…and stress out the wazoo.  I’m glad I can help the kids out and take a little of the stress off of them.  Soon enough I’ll be back here with plenty of time to write.

Perfunctory Picture

 

Peace

 

Family Tree Intrigue

Back in 2003 my cousin sent me this clipping from the Grayville newspaper…just above it says

102 years ago today, April 16

It was 1901.  Ben L. Mayne, the handsome county clerk, was my great-grandfather and the pretty Miss Kinkade was my great-grandmother.  I had heard the story that they’d gotten married on a train, and I thought it sounded so romantic, but I thought they were actually traveling somewhere like St. Louis or at least Evansville…  Reading this, it sounds a little rushed, wouldn’t you say?  Odd that a Rev. was along, but they had to have the conductor and the brakeman witness it.   Don’t forget, Grandad was the county clerk, so they didn’t have to wait on a marriage license.  And where did they go?  Did they just get off the train in Grayville and grab another one back?

When I began to sort through old Mayne family archives, I came across a marriage certificate..

This is the official record, note that Grandad is the witness.   attached to it is a document from 1948…

Notice that the witnesses are the same conductor Neiman that the newspaper article mentioned, but instead of brakeman Trott is Mrs G.W Hall.  (This habit of women being Mrs. Husband Name is a pain.)  At first I had no idea who Mrs. G.W. was, but I am pretty sure it was Grandmother’s aunt Isabella.

I wonder why they were getting the marriage certificate certified again in 1948…

Anyway, this whole wedding-on-the-train sounds a bit shady to me.  My great-aunt Bernie once told me that her brother had been born “9 months to the day after Dad and Mother got married”.  Small town folks probably did their math, like me, and noted that the baby actually came a couple of weeks early and I’ll bet she heard about it…

Several years back I started writing a book about Grandmother’s life and the research is more fun than actually writing it.  We were told she was a concert pianist, not true; that her family was poor, not true.  But I’ll save that story for another time…

My daughter-in-law is having surgery tomorrow, so I’m stepping up to help with the kids for the couple of days.  I’ll catch up with you when I can.

Peace

 

Today

We filled up the birdfeeders and brought in more plants this morning before a cold front blew in.  We have 4 finch and 2 sunflower seed feeders and they are doing great business.  I’ve still got the hummingbird feeder out because I saw a hummer just last week, but haven’t spotted any lately.

I decided to try grilling  in the conservatory.  There wasn’t too much smoke, much, but now it smells quite loudly of chicken…

I’m still enthralled with my genealogy project and have finally started to focus on just one line of the fam…I think.

 It’s just been a day full of moments…one right after the other…

Peace