Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas. It's been going on all day!

So, I'm not entirely wanting to give up and go to bed because that'll mean that Christmas is over. I've been drawing all day. A pen & ink dwg of Laura•Mary•Carrie•Grace. Someday it'll be a notecard that Laura Ingalls pilgrim-visitors to Mansfield, MO, will buy. But that's someday. Today it was the quiet fun of sitting & drawing, watching lovely TV: Cranford.
Quiet biss on toast, that's what it's been. A necessary analgesic in the face of what the pissed-off sons of extreme Islam did in Nigeria today. Thank heavens for means of escape, reality-wise.

Friday, December 16, 2011

"For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors & laugh at them in our turn?" Miss Jane Austen, born 236 years ago today. I'd wax on about her, but I have other things to tend to.

So, this blog, as it has been from the inception a few years back, is going to change. I set out as I always do, like a merry tractor, roaring forward with elaborate, romantic (manic?) notions of writing daily - every blessed day - about things & individuals historical. Then I settle into my customary, procrastinating, distractible self and let days go by, their commemorations left unremarked. You might, though, you precious few who chance upon this posting, direct yourself to this link, featuring an ethereal melody conceived & worked out by a fellow whose tormented life began on this day in 1770. In any case, beginning with the new year, this blog will take a rather different form as I cannot bring myself to do away with it entirely. I just can't.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Laura's Prairie Rose

So, okay, according to what I know about her, Laura & Almanzo Wilder's daughter Rose was altogether as headstrong as her parents. Her mom, in particular. She was born up in Dakota 125 years ago today. Being a deep-dyed fan of Mrs. Wilder's books, I cannot but be fascinated with Rose Wilder, without whose editorial assistance & advice, her mother's would never have been published to such acclaim, read with such pleasure. Reverence even.
I love knowing, thanks to my friend Bill Anderson (justly admired biographer of LIW & knowledgeable in all things Ingalls/Wilder) that journalist Rose & her good friend "Troub" (Helen Dore Boylston, nurse/WWI vet/author of the delightful series of Sue Barton books) traveled about Europe together after the Great War. That she & Rose took LIW all the way west on Route 66 to California in roundabout 1927. Ah well. Rose Wilder Lane. God rest her. Serious needleworking Libertarian dame.
And she shares a birthday w/ Walt Disney [1901], Gen. Geo. Armstrong Custer [1839], 8th President Martin Van Buren [1782],sappy romantic poet Christina Rossetti [1830]. So much for astrology.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A pair of dames...

So, in the course of tracking down the birthdays of the eminent, interesting [to me] dead, I came across a lady I'd never heard of. That'd be Octavia Hill. A social reformer, who actively concerned herself w/ the atrocious living conditions of poor folks in Victorian London. She came into the world on the 3rd of December, 1838. And, just for you to know, it was 150 years ago this very day (Dec. 4), an entirely different sort of dame was born. Helen Louise Leonard her name was, but the world came to know her as Lillian Russell. If you click HERE you can hear how she sounded in 1912 and see how she looked.
I'd wax on a bit about how much I would love to have glimpsed ol' Lillian in life, illumined by flickering gaslight, about beauty and the exceedingly different roles its pursuit figured in the lives of these ladies, but their work is done and mine is not.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


"God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December." James Barrie

So this day began in a motel buzzing with dressed up and excited people who'd come to see their dear ones graduating from initial training, I'm guessing, at Fort Leonard Wood. My folks went down there years ago - gosh, it must be at least 30 years ago - to visit my little brother Paul. And now I'm home from 200 miles' worth of driving through beautiful rural Missouri from three days of visiting some lovely schools roundabout Waynesville. Golly, talking to little kids about books, about mastering reading, writing, language. Drawing pictures for them. Entertaining them. 'Twas some serious fun, no foolin'.