Violet Writes about Living in Paris, 1904

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“This is far & away the most beautiful town I’ve ever seen.  I love the great open places (like Place de la Concorde) surrounded by fine buildings & monuments & flooded by light & air & sun.  The long look through the archway near the Louvre up the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe, the changing trees, red & brown & orange that grow down to the edge of the Seine, the distant glimpses of Montmartre swathed in mists–are all bits of loveliness one doesn’t expect to see in a Metropolis……

We walked back through the Luxembourg gardens among the sparrows & the statues & the falling leaves.  It was cold & the sun rolled through the frosty air like a large orange.  Sitting on a wooden bench munching two gaufres we had bought from the old man who toasts them in the open air we watched the children spinning their wooden tops with untiring energy, the fat nurses with white bonnets & brown eyes jigging tiny infants up & down, the seedy-coated artistes with slouch hats & hungry handsome faces strolling arm in arm along the leaf-strewn paths.  We went as far as Notre Dame which shut at our arrival & back home where we spent two cosy hours before sallying forth to our evening meal.”

– Violet Bonham Carter, DIARY, 1904

(Lantern Slides, The Diaries and Letters of Violet Bonham Carter 1904-1914)

Leaving for Paris again in a month or so and dreaming about walking through this lovely park again…this picture is from my last trip in 2011.  

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Mirro Cook Book 1937 – Hot and Cold Desserts

I found this charming cookbook at an estate sale, and while it was too battered to sell I thought the recipes would be fun to share…they are truly a reflection of life in the 1930s.  I had never heard of some of these desserts….Harvard Pudding, Peach Dowdy, Volstead Plum , Sun Tan Pudding and many more.  Please feel free to use, print and share!

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An Open Letter To My Ex

 

It’s been three years today that our divorce was final and I never thought I would be writing you but a couple of things happened recently. The first one was that a friend asked me how I would feel if I had heard that you died and I responded that I would be sad. I have come a long way in forgiving you in order to feel that way. A couple of years ago I might have replied “good riddance” or the like, or laughed about comments made to me from friends about dancing on your grave. I certainly don’t feel that…and yes I would be sad. So it appears that there are things I need to say to you…and that is one of them.

The second thing was that a good friend is going through a divorce…her husband is in the midst of a sordid affair and they are divorcing because of it. I have been able to give her lots of counsel and be there for her in the middle of the night when she is going nuts, because, of course, I know what she is going through, as I have been there. And what I keep telling her is that it will get better…she will not always be in this much pain. When she comes out the other side she will find joy and peace again. However, it has stirred things up for me too…things have risen up from the depths to the surface. Old pains and bad memories have a way of doing that. It appears that I still have further to go on my journey to forgive you for everything. Some things are harder to forgive than others.

You will be happy to hear that my life is really good. I have the most love in my life I have ever had and am in good health. No cancer yet. I have had a couple of really fun,very nice boyfriends and have been happily reminded that I am very special, beautiful, and quite the catch. You made the comment to me our first year of marriage that I should divorce you and find a nice man and ironically that was probably the most honest statement you made to me in our years together. So yes, anyone I start a relationship with must first and foremost be nice. I know my worth and my standards are high. It’s fun for me to be single and be pursued and I enjoy dating so I don’t have any plans to get married any time soon. I am only going to get married one more time and I want to get it right next time so there’s plenty of time for that.

It might surprise you to hear that I don’t regret marrying you. I only have one big regret from our marriage and that is that I didn’t divorce you after I had kicked you out during the Ryan fiasco. The damage to our marriage was horrific and I never felt the same way about you after that. It should have ended there. I regret that, as I feel like all the years after that were a waste. I was miserable and you treated me so badly…..those are lost years for me.

You have mentioned that there was a specific moment in your failed marriages when you knew the marriage was over, even though in actuality they didn’t end until later. I had that moment in our marriage too. I knew it the evening that I had my panic attack and A-fib episode and how you treated me in the hospital ER. That was the moment for me. And it was compounded the next morning when you were so angry at me when you came to pick me up in the Intensive Care Unit. After you left in a huff my nurse came and sat on my bed next to me and talked about resources for abused women. It was one of the most humiliating moments of my life.

I am working towards forgiving you. I have made huge strides but there is still further to go.

My wish for you is that you figure out to treat the people in your life with love and compassion. Perhaps you need to forgive yourself first, and also forgive those who have hurt you in your past before you can get past your anger and make love the biggest priority in your life. My hope is that you are working towards that goal. While you can’t change the past or how you hurt me in so many ways you can go forward in your life and make a positive difference in the world. I believe that we should all leave the world better off for having been part of it. We all have a positive contribution to make. I know that there are many people who love me and will be truly sad when I die. I hope you can have those too. All the money in the world can’t buy you love. And in the end, love is all that matters.

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I’m In The Mood For Love

I love vintage sheet music…the lyrics, the artwork, the double entendres.  Here are three romantic covers…in honor of Valentine’s Day.

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Beauty and the Beast Within

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Rooms ( a poem by Ethel Romig Fuller)

Paris Sacre Coeur

ROOMS

In church this morning

I had a view

Of nothing but heads

From my rear view.

I played with the fancy

Each was a room—-

Some of them needing

Dustcloth and  broom.

Many were fine

Company places;

A few had signs,

“To Let” on their faces.

And one old woman’s

Snow-white head

Recalled clean kitchens

And home-made bread.

Ethel Romig Fuller, Kitchen Sonnets, 1958

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Getting Spooked in Savannah

I keep an open mind when it comes to ghosts, spirits, hauntings and the like….in my opinion there’s so much we DON”T know about life and death. Friends and family members have seen things, felt things, heard things…and a few times I have too.  My mom and I have gone into estate sale houses…looked at each other, and walked back outside.  There was just…something….there.  Something not good.  And we could feel it.  It’s only happened a couple of times over the many years we have gone out.  And once I went into the basement of an estate sale house and immediately needed to leave.  Something BAD had happened in that basement.  I don’t know what and I don’t know when and I truly do NOT want to know.  I just had to leave.

Last week my friends Robin and Pam and I went to Savannah, Georgia for a couple of days after attending the big Atlanta Gift Market.  I had been there once before and loved it and we all were excited to explore the beautiful city.  On our second day we were driving around one of the squares and we saw an “Antiques” sign on one of the houses.  Vintage is our life!  The entrance was in the basement and the minute we entered we were entranced by all the lovely unusual pieces of furniture and bric-a-brac.  It was so full of furniture there were just narrow aisles and lots of tiny rooms here and there, all full of furniture.  True antiques….with hefty price tags reflecting their heritage.

20150112_11445320150112_114631There were two men working in the basement and they told us there were two floors above to explore and to please keep the basement door shut to help with the heat.  So we headed upstairs.  The first story had 20 foot ceilings and rooms that must have been glorious back in the day…but paint was peeling everywhere and mold climbing the walls.  And furniture piled on top of furniture with barely room to move…just more narrow walkways.  So many lovely pieces of furniture….armoires from the 18th century, 150 year old hand-carved chairs…old mirrors and tables and buffets….one exquisite expensive piece after another.

20150112_11552020150112_11582220150112_11583920150112_115529On one hand, the peeling paint and decrepit grandeur added a certain atmosphere to the house….but I couldn’t help wondering what the mold and unheated rooms was doing to all the beautiful furniture.

I have rarely seen so many unusual pieces of furniture in one place…it was fascinating…but as I moved from room to room something was bothering me…it was on the fringe out there…something didn’t feel right….but I wasn’t paying much attention to it because the house was so enthralling.

There was a staircase up to the second floor.  We headed up.

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The second floor was very much like the first floor…with crowded furniture and peeling walls…but the ceiling was in worse shape…with plaster missing in places.  As we walked around…the feeling grew much stronger.  It’s hard to describe.  It was a strong feeling of sadness.  And it grew and grew.  It got to the point where I wasn’t looking at the furniture any more.  My friends were having a great time looking and oohing and awwwing…and I …just had to leave.  I couldn’t stay one more minute.  It wasn’t that I felt anything bad or evil.  But I did feel something…and I didn’t want to feel it anymore.

20150112_120410-001My friends didn’t feel anything like I did.  Is the house haunted?  Are there lingering emotions?  I simply don’t know.  I don’t get claustrophobic….so it wasn’t that.  There just isn’t a good explanation.  I just know I was much happier once we were standing outside the house.

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