dual personalities

Happy Independence Day!

And, of course, Happy Birthday to my dear brother, who I imagine will enjoy a day fishing followed by a view of the myriad firework displays that can be seen from his cottage on Lake St. Claire in Michigan.

Not my picture, but it is Lake St. Claire

Not my picture, but it is Lake St. Claire

Due to technical difficulties too complicated to enumerate here (it’s a long, sad story to do with a car crash, damaged electronics and a decidedly bruised energy level), I don’t have a witty post or great pics of the birthday boy to share. Fortunately, my dual personality captured the birthday party spirit in her post yesterday.

What I do have are a couple of family history tidbits to share. First off is my mother’s high school graduation picture. I found this yearbook on ancestry.com. I don’t know to whom it belonged, but my mother signed it! Cynthia Coghlin was one of her best friends as well.

mother's year book

It’s clearly a small world. In my internet wanderings, I also came across a wonderful syndicated newspaper article about police aviation, in which my grandfather, Arthur Newell Chamberlin, Jr. figures prominently.

Miami_Daily_News_Record_Wed__May_7__1930_Written in 1930 when domestic (non war related) aviation was in its infancy, the article details the new aviation traffic regulations. It refers to our grandfather, who formed New York City’s first aviation unit, as a “pioneer in air-lane traffic regulation” and describes his position thus:

ANC quote 1It neglects to mention that he was a pilot in WWI, which is why he was involved in the police aviation thing in the first place. He was also a lawyer, having graduated from Georgetown law. Although he passed the Washington DC bar, he never practiced law. For some reason (probably the excitement), he always preferred newspaper work. In fact, he had been slated to become editor of the Burlington Free Press, when he got called up for duty in WWI.  The aviation article quotes him further :

anc quoteHe also explains why the planes are not equipped with guns:

ANC quote3Here’s a close up of the lovely pic.

ANC 2Well, the aviation unit was a great idea and it flourished for a few years, but when the Great Depression really got going, it meant budget cuts to the NYC police department and the unit was among the first to go. That spelled the end of my grandfather’s flying career.

Happy Independence Day to all of you! We’re going to spend ours quietly drinking tea and reading. I’m currently enjoying Sax Rohmer’s The Hand of Fu Manchu, first published in 1917. It’s not exactly highbrow literature, but it is really fun. Given my current intellectual potential, it’s just perfect.

I hear America singing*

Chris and Tom

Chris partyChris 80 2 2







Well, tomorrow is my big brother’s birthday. Here are some pictures of him celebrating his birthday in the olden days. Time was when he was usually off fishing somewhere. When he found himself in flyover country we would celebrate in fine fashion.

Last year my dual personality and our better halves visited our bro in Michigan. We couldn’t do it this year. I will miss them.

Our fourth of July at home will definitely be low-key. We’ll toast our forefathers and listen to some Sousa marches. Perhaps we will light some sparklers. Yes, it will be pretty lame.

But don’t feel too sorry for me. I plan to binge-watch John Ford’s cavalry trilogy: For Apache (1948  ), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949) and Rio Grande (1950).


You could do worse, but hardly much better.


And here’s good news: Shirley Temple is Star of the Month on TCM! Here’s a list of the movies they’re showing. Time to set your DVR.

Have a great weekend!

*The first edition of Walt Whitman’s book of poems, Leaves of Grass, is published in Brooklyn, New York on July 4, 1855.

“I just want to be your firecracker”*

The OM used to belong to a fraternal organization that was responsible for putting on the annual flyover 4th of July parade here in town. He was involved for years in the float department and so our daughters were shanghaied into dressing up in embarrassing costumes and riding on the floats.

One year daughter #1 was Tinkerbell on the Peter Pan float.


In comparison, daughter #2 got away easy dressing up as a hillbilly gal. I have pictures**, but in typical fashion, I am unable to put my hands on them.

I never went to the parade. There is nothing I hate more than getting up in the pre-dawn hours to park God-knows-where to secure a place amidst a large crowd of strangers to watch a parade downtown.

Since it was the OM’s thing, I let him go with it and have father-daughter bonding time. (I did go down to the “den” with respective daughters to get them fitted in their costumes.)

Anyway, the point is, this year for the first time (in a long time) the parade will be televised. Back in the day, I would have really appreciated this.


This year I will be watching the parade in my pajamas. Mimosas, anyone?

*Ryan Adams

**This is not a conspiracy of not having pictures of the neglected 3rd child. Really. I searched high and low.

“It’s 80% script and 20% you get great actors. There’s nothing else to it.”*

Today is film director William Wyler’s (July 1, 1902 – July 27, 1981) birthday.


Kirk Douglas clowning on the set of Ben Hur with Charleton Heston, Wyler and Jack Hawkins

Wyler, you will recall, is the most nominated director in Academy Awards history with 12 nominations. In addition to that, Wyler has the distinction of having won the Academy Award for Best Direction on three occasions, for his direction of Ben Hur, The Best Years of Our Lives, and Mrs. Miniver. Only John Ford, who won four Oscars in this category, has won more.

Wyler also has the distinction of having directed more actors to Oscar-nominated performances than any other director in history: thirty-six. Out of these nominees, fourteen went on to win Oscars.

The list of his films is truly impressive. He made romantic comedies and religious epics and westerns and war movies and even a musical with Barbra Streisand!

My favorites are: The Best Years of Our Lives (1946),


Roman Holiday (1953),


The Big Country (1958),


Dead End (1937),


and, of course, Ben Hur (1959).


There are a lot of other great ones to choose from, but these are my favorites.

I will raise a glass to old William Wyler and watch The Big Country tonight. This film is marred, mostly by the presence of Carol Baker and the annoying character she plays, but I can overlook this, because Gregory Peck is at his most dreamy and he is ably supported by Charlton Heston at his smoldering best. And the music is great.

Which reminds me…of this. Sacrilegious, but funny. Can you spot the OM’s doppelganger (twice)?

*William Wyler

“Green was the silence, wet was the light, the month of June trembled like a butterfly.” *

The internet is full of tips. Here are some tips concerning how to keep that after-vacation glow (care of a friend of daughter #1.)

I will admit I have some shells on my desk at work.

And here’s something to cheer us all up.

11698988_10153387616005396_8686389261377449359_oWell, I got through the first day at work after a vacation, so today should be better, right? I’ll hang in there if you do.

*Pablo Neruda

Postcards from Gasparilla


From our first night to our last,


we had the best time!


Our week in Boca Grande was filled with good food (thank you, daughter #2)


good drink (thank you, daughter #1)


and ice cream,


hair braiding,

IMGP1299 (1)

beach time,


and pool time,

IMGP1286and lots of gab, gab, gabbing.

We pretty much did everything we did on our previous visit, but with just the three of us girls, we simplified the formula to basically: floating in the pool, walking on the  beach, eating, drinking, and watching movies/Freaks and Geeks and various other Netflix offerings. Although daughter #2 did some online grading, I never looked at a computer or even my iphone. It was great.

On Saturday we headed to the airport, bid adieu to each other and flew off to our separate homes in three states.




“Whereon it is enough for me, Not to be doing, but to be!”*


What heed I of the dusty land
And noisy town?
I see the mighty deep expand
From its white line of glimmering sand
To where the blue of heaven on bluer waves shuts down!

In listless quietude of mind,
I yield to all
The change of cloud and wave and wind
And passive on the flood reclined,
I wander with the waves, and with them rise and fall.

–from “Hampton Beach” by John Greenleaf Whittier

Tomorrow I am off to Florida to meet up with daughters #1 and #2 for a week on the beach. The OM has flaked on us due to work commitments, so we will eat and drink what we please and binge watch “Freaks and Geeks” if we so desire.

Although daughter #2 will have her laptop, I will not be online. So I’ll see you in a week or so. Keep us travelers in your prayers.


*From “A Day of Sunshine” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Rocky Mountain high

I was thinking about how it has been seventeen years since we went out to Lake City, Colorado.

colorado 98

Who knows when I will make it back?

When I need a fix of San Juan country,

colorado2 98

I check out the dashcam videos on the internet. It is almost like being there!

If you really want a thrill, watch one of these crazy jeep drivers. How they can do this without constantly invoking their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I don’t know. Just watching them sets me to prayer!

or this (especially about 10 minutes in):

Imagine doing that in a stagecoach!

This and that: ‘Your arm’s too short to box with God’*


Today is the 240th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill, fought on June 17, 1775 on Breed’s Hill.

It is also the birthday of our maternal grandfather Daniel “Bunker” Cameron (1900-1968) about whom I have written before. He was quite the guy and his great-grandson, the boy, is kind of the spitting image of him.

Bunk Cameron 1921

‘Bunk’ Cameron 1921

Also born on this day was James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938)–


American author, poet, educator, early civil rights activist, and prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance. I was introduced to his poetry by a former rector of our church who was African-American and who gave great sermons that occasionally included dramatic poetry recitations similar to the following:

Did  you listen to the whole thing? Here’s another one to get you going this morning:

O Lord, we come this morning
Knee-bowed and body-bent
Before Thy throne of grace.
O Lord–this morning–
Bow our hearts beneath our knees,
And our knees in some lonesome valley.
We come this morning–
Like empty pitchers to a full fountain,
With no merits of our own.
O Lord–open up a window of heaven,
And lean out far over the battlements of glory,
And listen this morning.

Lord, have mercy on proud and dying sinners–
Sinners hanging over the mouth of hell,
Who seem to love their distance well.
Lord–ride by this morning–
Mount Your milk-white horse,
And ride-a this morning–
And in Your ride, ride by old hell,
Ride by the dingy gates of hell,
And stop poor sinners in their headlong plunge.

And now, O Lord, this man of God,
Who breaks the bread of life this morning–
Shadow him in the hollow of Thy hand,
And keep him out of the gunshot of the devil.
Take him, Lord–this morning–
Wash him with hyssop inside and out,
Hang him up and drain him dry of sin.
Pin his ear to the wisdom-post,
And make his words sledge hammers of truth–
Beating on the iron heart of sin.
Lord God, this morning–
Put his eye to the telescope of eternity,
And let him look upon the paper walls of time.
Lord, turpentine his imagination,
Put perpetual motion in his arms,
Fill him full of the dynamite of Thy power,
Anoint him all over with the oil of Thy salvation,
And set his tongue on fire.

And now, O Lord–
When I’ve done drunk my last cup of sorrow–
When I’ve been called everything but a child of God–
When I’m done traveling up the rough side of the mountain–
O–Mary’s Baby–
When I start down the steep and slippery steps of death–
When this old world begins to rock beneath my feet–
Lower me to my dusty grave in peace
To wait for that great gittin’-up morning–Amen.

–James Weldon Johnson

Have a good Wednesday and let’s toast Bunker and James and prodigal sons tonight!

*”The Prodigal Son” by James Weldon Johnson

“To feel at home, stay at home.”*

I like Jamie Meares and have enjoyed her blog I Suwannee for years. I wish I could go to her store in Raleigh, don’t you? Anyway, I thought her blog post yesterday was just great.

She says, “the collections in your home should be the truest reflection of yourself.  they can be edited, and some may seem more relevant at times than others, but hold onto the little things that accumulate in life, and display them.”


I totally agree. I mean, who wants to live in a hotel-room house?



Not I, that’s for sure.

But it’s not enough to have a bunch of junk in your house, which sometimes–let’s be honest–those “country” style homes and “shabby chic” places display.


No, the things you have in your home should “mean” something to you.


Too often, bloggers seem to think that a trip to HomeGoods will supply everything you need. Well, it will supply a quick fix and that’s all.


Like with most things, collecting takes patience and time.


And I’ve got time. And so does Jamie. It’s called Life.

*Clifton Fadiman


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