Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas in 1845 at Bulloch Hall

We have not been back to Bulloch Hall in winter since 2012 when the theme that year was "Christmas in the White House at Bulloch Hall." In 2010 I had written a post entitled "Bulloch Hall in the Festive Season" because the theme that year was "The Symbols and Traditions of Christmas at Bulloch Hall."  This year the theme is "Christmas with the Bulloch's 1845."  (We also made several trips to Bulloch Hall in the spring for their quilt shows.)  Bulloch Hall, now owned by the City of Roswell, GA., was built circa 1839 for the Bulloch family and their eight children (4 were from previous marriages.)  Each year there is a living history re-enactment of the December 1853 wedding of Mittie Bulloch with Theodore Roosevelt, Sr.  When Mittie had visited her sister in Philadelphia she had met Theodore Roosevelt, Sr. (Thee) there.  Thee fell in love with Mittie, a beautiful Southern Belle, and they were married in the Dining Room of Bulloch Hall.  Re-enactment picture below with pictures of Mittie and Thee in black and white, courtesy Bulloch Hall.

Before I continue I'd like to thank my blogging friends who commented on my two part post, Chalkfest 2015 in Marietta, part two, and the story of US violence.  I appreciate each comment.  Before this Chalkfest post my blog had 290 followers but immediately after it went down to 282.  I guess eight bloggers disliked my post so much that they decided to "un-follow" me.  Earlier I had been advised not to talk about anything that could be taken as a negative about America.  A British friend who has lived here since 1959 told me that if you don't say the US is exceptional people will get upset and think you hate the whole country.  I remember asking him about my blog "how if I research and only state facts?" No, no, he said - no good, they won't like you the messenger, have contempt for you and they'll take it personally, above all because you are a foreigner.  But, I replied, I am not a foreigner, I am a US citizen and have been here since 1961 - or 54 years.  Forget that, he replied, as long as you were not born here and have an accent, and a French one at that, you are and always will be considered a "foreigner."  I certainly did not write the post to upset anyone as I enjoy research, wherever it leads me, and thought people with open minds might enjoy it as well.  I did not think it would make anyone mad at me.

Our house has no decorations or Christmas goodies because for the last week I have been battling a miserable chest cold.  It is a kind I never had before - constant short but hard coughs (as when you clear your throat, but it does not clear) total exhaustion, and lack of appetite.  I was told it is "going around" and usually lasts a couple of weeks or so.  Christmas will be quiet here this year as no visitors will come by, but it is better this way as I would not want to give anyone a gift of a miserable cold.  Eldest daughter, Celine, will be visiting her fiance in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Younger daughter, her husband, and the four grand-children drove to New York City to admire the beautiful holiday decorations there and stopped in Hershey, Pennsylvania, on the way.  Here is a picture of New York at night my daughter sent me via her cell phone.  She said it was very crowded.

This morning, December 23, they arrived in Paris where they will stay 5 or 6 days, and then they will fly to India to visit relatives.  I am happy that the grandchildren will have a chance to see all the great animated windows of the large Paris department stores like the Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps.  I still remember my mom taking me to see them when I was a wee child.  I think they will remember this, too.  Below are pictures of Les Galeries Lafayette in Paris (Blvd Haussmann.)  (Click on collage to enlarge.)

Le Printemps department store is celebrating their 150th Christmas anniversary this year and their windows are bringing a Christmas fairy tale (written for them in 1909) - a frozen nature awakened by adorable articulated dolls.  Eleven windows, decorated in cooperation with prestigious brands, present idyllic pictures with game illusions, optical effects and blooms.  Click twice on collage of windows below to see better.   Photos courtesy Le Printemps.

Back to Georgia - yesterday, Tuesday December 22, we drove to Roswell to visit Bulloch Hall.  It had been raining that morning and was very foggy, but warm.  We parked by the Museum and Gift Shop and walked up to the main house.

I love taking pictures outside and inside the house.  By now we know the house so well that it is like visiting an old friend.  I remember each room with its furniture and it is fun to see how it has been decorated anew.  Entering the great hall I feel the home is welcoming me back, and the owners are steps away, in the parlor.

After we entered, the docent gave us a page of information about this Christmas.  It said "Welcome to the World of 1845 .... James K. Polk is the President of the growing United States.  Florida has joined the Union as the 27th state and Texas as the 28th."  Well now, when we drove to Columbia, Tennessee, to see the doctors for my knees and foot, I remember seeing a sign directing us to the James K. Polk ancestral home, a couple of blocks away.  James K. Polk (1795-1849) was the 11th President of the United States, a Democrat.  He was born in North Carolina and died in Nashville, Tennessee.  Now for sure when we go back to Columbia, we will visit his home - that is really exciting (I get excited by things like this ...)  Below is a photograph of President Polk.  He was the first President of the United States to be extensively photographed during his tenure.

The leaflet went on "the village of Roswell in Cobb County has one church, one store, and one male and female academy ... residents include the Bullochs, Kings, Dunwoodys, etc..."  "And at Bulloch Hall ... James S. Bulloch, age 52, and his second wife Martha, age 46, are busy raising their blended families.   ...the younger Bulloch girls, Anna, 13, and Mittie 10, are excitedly wrapping gifts for their siblings and the sound of three year old Irvine's feet echo everywhere as he is swept up in the excitement."

The narrative on the page said "In Europe, Monet, Renoir and Rodin are challenging the traditional world of art."  Hmm.  Well, now, I don't want to be picky, but having shown many paintings of Monet, Renoir and sculptures by Rodin on my blog I know that both Monet and Rodin were born in 1840 and Renoir in 1841.  How could these men (?) challenge the traditional world of art in 1845 if they were just toddlers?  Last night, I told my husband that I should call Bulloch Hall so they could correct this error.  No, he said, they won't like it - people don't like to be told they made mistakes and they will be upset with you.  OK I said.  Then as I was writing this post I read this page again and thought that I needed to do something.  I called the contact listed on Bulloch Hall web page and left a message.  A few minutes ago someone called back and said they changed the names of the artists to J. M. W. Turner of England, I believe, and they thanked me.  Maybe they were upset, I don't know.

Going on with our tour - in the Parlor, refreshments are ready for the Bulloch's guests - tea or punch.

Passing into the Dining Room, we see that the table is set.  A couple is talking close to a Christmas tree.

Each room has one or more Christmas tree, from very small to large.  All of them decorated with natural ornaments, candles, corn, fruits, nuts and garlands.

The Pantry has food and drinks waiting.

A sumptuous array of food and sweets is waiting also in the cellar.

Then we went up to the bedrooms - two of them were decorated.

Back down again, we entered the children's bedroom/playroom,

then the Master Bedroom.

A Santa Claus was standing next to a Christmas tree in the Library.  A game of card, with glasses of Port by each player, was started in front of a roaring fire.

Our tour was finished.  We could sit on a bench in the hall and recall all the pretty decorations we had just seen.

Goodbye Bulloch Hall - we'll drive back home now, in the fog.

Now is the time to wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and Happy Holidays.  However, I think that this video showing the US Navy Band in Washington, D.C., last year, says it better ... and with a French twist.  Below is the Christmas Can-Can.


 and a Happy New Year!

See you next year ...

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Marietta Chalkfest 2015 - part 2, and more ...

This is a continuation of my post on the Marietta Chalkfest, see part one here.  There was a great variety of chalk art, such as Bill McCaffrey's chalk drawing.  Bill was a battalion artist in Vietnam, but now does temporary street paintings.  The theme this year was "Pariotic" but previously he had also drawn himself as a Santa.

I remember Cynthia Kostylo of Carlsbad, California, because at the 2013 Chalkfest she drew a stunning portrait of Ray Charles.  Below are the picture I took then, plus her drawing for this year - a Norman Rockwell painting.  In addition there are two other beautiful women's faces, in the center and bottom right, courtesy C. Kostylo.  (Click collage to enlarge.)

Walking along the street, other artworks, created by Mariettans, were shown on the walls.  A small boy was doing his chalk sign on a pick-up truck.

I did not get all the artists' names but below, on bottom right, is Beth Shistle's group of children singing.  Beth had drawn the owl in 2014, shown in part one of this post.

I wished I had a ladder because the drawings look so much better from up high.  Below are the drawings of Lee Mobley, second on the right, Willie Zin, middle on the left, I am not sure who drew the beautiful aircraft with the ice blue background.  Eduin Rosell drew the aircraft with green background and Hector Diaz is shown, bottom on the right.

Paulette Frontanes drew a memorial picture, on the right below.  Cathy Gallatin-Brown says that she loves the beauty of temporal performing art and for the chalkfest this year she drew a portrait of Marine Lance Corporal Skip Wells as a tribute.   Skip Wells, 21 years old of Marietta, GA, was one of five service members killed by a lone shooter on July 16, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tennessee.  On the bottom right is a picture of artist Cathy Gallatin-Brown with Cathy Wells, Skip's mother.  Skip was an only child.

There can be many drawings made from a patriotic theme such as historic figures, flags, monuments, aircraft and militaristic subjects.  But firearms can be included, I guess, as shown in the drawing by David Lepore below.  David, from West Palm Beach, Florida, has a flooring business but also takes part in street paintings - he prefers to draw heroes and villains.

I just found out that Nate Baranowski (shown in part one of this post) was awarded the People's Choice Award in the Marietta Chalkfest of 2015.  Jill, his wife, assisted him for the chalk painting "Migrant Mother" - see them below.

This had been another great festival with talented street chalk painters.

Since part two was short, I'll talk about something completely different.  A while back a couple of overseas bloggers sent emails to me wondering why there is so much violence in this country right now (about 3 times more than any other western country.)  They also thought that abortions were totally illegal in the USA.  My blog is not a political or religious blog and I don't often talk on these subjects but since they asked me I'll try to answer them with what I learned and observed since coming into the US in the 1960s.  From my various readings it seems that violence has deep roots in this country from way back, not just in our time.  Trying to learn about the holiday of Thanksgiving, the fourth Thursday of November, I realized that most of it is myth and propaganda.  On a site I read "The first day of thanksgiving took place in 1637 amidst the war against the Pequot (branch of the Mohawk people.)  700 men, women, and children of the Pequot tribe were gathered for their annual green corn dance on what is now Groton, Connecticut.  Dutch and English mercenaries surrounded the camp and proceeded to shoot, stab, butcher and burn alive all 700 people.  The next day the Massachusetts Bay Colony held a feast in celebration and the governor declared "a day of Thanksgiving."  Now the American Indians celebrate the day as a National Day of Mourning - read about it here.

In several women diaries, from the mid 1840s, who rode on the overland trail in wagons from the east of the USA to Oregon and California, they described how the American settlers were so scared of the American Indians that they would shoot them on sight.  After a while of course the Indians fought back, but the American western movies depict also a myth as more Indians were killed by American settlers than settlers were killed by Indians.  As the wagons drove on the Indian lands, they also shot the buffaloes, used the grass for their animals leaving the area arid, and also took the Indian land they liked.  These were painful books to read. Below is the Oregon Train painted by William Henry Jackson, American 1843-1942.

But the American colonists and missionaries did more to destroy native cultures than gun did.  In California the American Indians were forced to go into Catholic missions, where they were held prisoner - in fact the Christian missions were coercive religious, force labor camps.  As many as 100,000 Indians perished there from disease, malnutrition, enslavement and murder.  A growing number of scholars have come to view this as mass genocide of California Indians. 

Not to forget the Trail of Tears - President Andrew Jackson's murderous removal of the Indians to Oklahoma where thousands died along the route.  Later there were killing of pro-slavery people against those who wanted to free the slaves.  There is a list of violence in the US, from the 1800s till now and it is a long list.  If you are interested look here.The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was founded in 1866 and by 1870 they were in every Southern US state - they are still active today.  At its peak in 1920, the Klan had 4 million members.  They advocate white supremacy, white nationalism, anti-immigration and are considered a right-wing extremist and Protestant Christian terrorist organization.

As you can see violence has been pervasive in American culture since its colonial past.  They love their guns and if you have a firearm you tend to use it.  Many people here don't like civilized discussions about politics and religion - it is mostly "hate" of the "other."  They do not like to engage in talking about these subjects at all.  There is also the problem with fear - I remember several years ago, a couple of Korean tourists were lost, no far from here.  They knocked at a door to ask directions and the owner of the house came with his gun and shot them as he was afraid of them.   That does not apply to every person here, but still to a large number as you can see from any statistic - gun death is as common as car crashes and there are more guns here than people (357,000,000.)  Domestic violence kills an average of three women each day by their husband, partner, etc.  Children are also victims.  From 1979 to 2013, 119,079 children and teens have been killed by gun violence.  That is more child and youth deaths in America than American battle deaths in World War I (53,402) or in Vietnam (47,434) or in the Korean War (33,739) or in the Iraq War (3,517.)  It looks like guns are the solution to every problem.  But people here do not like to talk about this national penchant for violence.  It is fine to watch violent movies on TV or in theatres, or in video games, or to watch someone being shot in the news, but if a singer has a dress malfunction at a Super Bowl game and her breast is exposed - people are outraged.  Below Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson before wardrobe malfuntion at Super Bowl 2011 - courtesy USA Today.

Abortion in the USA has been legal since 1973.  However a group of white extreme Christian fundamentalists (usually far-right Republicans) would like to change the law and ban all abortions; although a 2012 survey found that 77% of Jewish Republican voters think that abortions should be legal and the percentage of Americans who are "pro-choice" is the highest in the last 7 years.  The radical Christian fundamentalists are a small minority - but very vocal, and they vote en masse.  The media keeps reporting on them and not on the majority of mainstream Christians (as they are afraid of Christian backlash.)  According to a recent Pew data, a majority of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases.  Since 1977 some extreme member of "pro-life" movements have began attacking clinics and personnel.  Doctor and staff have been killed with an additional 17 attempted murders, 42 bombings, 186 arson attacks and other illegal acts against abortion clinics.  They also try to de-fund Planned Parenthood even though only 3% (out of the nearly 10.6 million total services they provide) has to do with abortion and is not paid by the government.  Many citizens are against this gun violence but not much is done - the members of the US Congress are voted in but it looks like they are appointed - voters could chose other congressmen if they so wished.  Below is the US Congress, courtesy Wikipedia.

Most mainstream Christians are against this violence, but they rest silent.  I remember a co-worker told me that his son worked for a major TV news network (Fox News.) They had been told, at the time, that all newsmen/women in the business should never use the term "Christian terrorist" as it would hurt the networks' ratings.  This was during the Balkan wars.  In the summer of 1995, from July 11 through 13, 1995, the Christian Orthodox Serbs killed 8,373 Bosnian Muslims.  During this war there were over 38,200 civilian Muslim casualties.  But the Serbs were always referred to (at least in the USA) as "ethnic" Serbs, never Christian Orthodox.  The same happened after the Colorado shooting at a Planned Parenthood office, on 27 November 2015, where a Christian extremist killed 3.  Major TV networks made a pact not to call the murderer a Christian extremist (even though his ex-wife said he was a fervent evangelical Christian and admired the Christian terrorist anti-abortion organization "Army of God") but a "deranged" "lone wolf" person.  The media also said the American public only believes religious extremists are from other countries - usually Muslim (there has been a record number of anti-Muslim hate attacks this year.)  Below is the killing field in Srebrenica - courtesy France 24.

The FBI has reported that most of the terrorists' incidents in the last ten years have been perpetrated by white right-wing extremists, extremist Christians and "pro-life" members.  The Justice Dept reported that since 9/11 there has been an average of 377 attacks per year from these groups.  Sister Joan Chittister, a Catholic nun, has exposed the hypocrisy of the Republican White Christian extremists - she said "I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that makes you pro-life.  In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed.  And why would I think that you don't?  Because you don't want any tax money to go there.  That's not pro-life.  That's pro-birth ...."  When I was in Nice, France, several years ago, I saw a "pro-life" rally.  I was surprised because everyone was wearing the same pink tee-shirt - it just did not look like a regular French protest.  When digging a bit I found out that it had been organized and paid for, in France, by wealthy US abortion protesters.  Why is the public here not stopping these Christian fundamentalist extremists and all the gun violence?  I think they are cowed and apathetic - hoping if will go away.  They stay silent, just giving their "thoughts and prayers" afterwards to the victims' families.  I don't think it will improve in the near future.

Some of my readers might be upset by these observations, but they are intended to my overseas readers who do not understand the political, the violence and the religious climate here.  I researched it all and am not making it up.  The USA is a great country, but as in other countries, it has its problems.  We cannot always look at it through rose colored glasses and refuse to talk about it.

It is more peaceful to look at nature.  Several mornings ago, I saw this little yellow flower (a small sunflower?) growing from our roof gutter.  I guess it could grow because my husband (unstable on his feet since his Alzheimer disease) has not been able to climb on the roof.

Then two days ago, just about 10 feet from the driveway, we saw this superb hawk.  I did not have my camera and went back into the house to get it.  The bird had not moved and I was able to take several pictures.

Addendum:  After reading some comment I would like to re-emphasize that I was not criticizing the USA - I was answering some friends who asked me why there was so much violence now, social and religious.  I researched it and found out that violence has been in the culture for a long time.  I am not commenting on what is good, bad, or in between in the USA - that was not my subject - the history of social and religious violence was.  Last year, there were 16,000 criminal homicides in the US.  This is three times the number of lives lost in the entire Iraq war; 300 each week, more than 40 every day.  Facts are facts. Below is a graph showing violence in the US against other rich countries.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Marietta Chalkfest 2015 - part one

On October 11, 2015, we went to the Marietta Square to look at this year's Chalkfest.  On Saturday 10, in addition to the chalk festival were a beer fest and an antique car show, but it did rain a bit.  We preferred to look at the finished chalk drawings on Sunday.  It was a lovely sunny and warm day.

In 2013 we had gone to this festival and I had written a post about it - see my post of October 12, 2013 here.  In 2014, we again went to the Chalkfest on the Marietta Square - see my post of October 14, 2014 here.   Actually when I was looking on the Web to find information on the festival for 2015 I was very surprised to find out that under the Press Kit on the Marietta Chalkfest Festival 2015 the first information link on the site was a link to my blog!  I also recognized the owl in the poster below as I had seen the artist Beth Shistle drawing it on the pavement.

We could hear some music, and walking toward it on the Square, we passed several Halloween decorations.

After listening to the music for a while we walked to the side streets to look at the chalk drawings.  There were many this year as more than 50 artists were taking part in the festival.  I took 240 photos and will have to cut this post into two parts or it would be even longer than my usual posts!  This year's theme was "Patriotic."  Each artist had been assigned a 10'x10' square on the pavement and had to show the name of their sponsors in their design.  As we walked around the streets some chalk arts were completed and some artists were still finishing their designs.

At last year's festival I had talked with Joel Yau, an artist from California.  I thought I recognized his face on a chalk design made by Alexandra Alfeo.  Alexandra is from West Palm Beach, Florida, is only 17 years old and still in high school.  As I was looking at the chalk design, Joel Yau himself walked by.  I told him I thought his face was on the drawing.  He agreed that it was him and to my surprised he remembered talking with me last year, saying to me ..."...I remember you are French and you have a blog."  Here is Alex's chalk drawing and Joel Yau posing for me on the drawing.

Then we came to Joel's chalk drawing which was completed.  Joel Yau has been chalk drawing in street festivals since 1997.  He has won many awards as his art is outstanding and delightful - I love his 1940 era glamorous beauties.  He participates in festivals in the US and many foreign countries, such as Canada, Mexico, France, Germany and more.  He is also a gifted painter, ceramic artist, illustrator and graphic art professional.  Below, the blonde beauty is the chalk art he did in Marietta.  The other pictures of his designs are courtesy Joel Yau - the center face is actress Gina Lollobrigida as a young woman, the sailor face is a tribute to veterans, and the dark haired woman in the bottom is Emily Carr, Canadian painter and writer from Victoria, BC., and one of my all time favorites femme of letters and art.

Walking around the streets we saw a great variety of designs.  Click on collage to enlarge.

There is distortion of the image when taking pictures from the ground.  A professional photographer taking pictures from the top of a ladder was near me.  I gave him my camera to take one of the chalk art drawings and you can see the difference below, from the one I took on top, and the photo he took in center.  This is a drawing by Nate Baranowski.

Below are more chalk works from Nate Baranowski.  He is an experienced freelance artist specializing in street paintings, mural work, and concept design.  (Drawings courtesy N. Baranowski.)

Many people had brought their dogs.  I love cats, but they cannot be seen outdoor on leashes, unfortunately.

Below, on top left, is the chalk drawing of Holly Schineller, a resident of Tempe, Arizona, who has been teaching beginning warm glass classes around Arizona.  Joan Finn, from Kansas City, Missouri, is working on a rendition of President Jimmy Carter.  Yesterday, Sunday 6 December 2015, we were very happy to hear that Jimmy Carter, age 91, was now free of cancer.

Lori Hughes, from Galloway, Ohio, completed a chalk drawing of Captain America kissing Wonder Woman - adapted from a drawing by Issa Ibrahim.

Lori also creates fancy custom painted shoes and wall murals.  Pictures below courtesy Lori Hughes.

There were vendors on the streets along the asphalt drawings as well as places to eat and drink.

Zuleika Hodges, an artist born in Haiti, had drawn the beautiful face of an aviatrix.  Zuleika, now residing in South Florida, has been involved in art since she was very young.  Below my photo of Zuleika's drawing are two other drawings, courtesy Zuleika.

The Statue of Liberty was well represented.  Kevin Powell, a local artist, had Lady Liberty as a light house.  Jennifer Chaporro had an eagle flying around the Statue and Beatrice Flaig was working on the Statue of Liberty's face, half of it in color.  I did not see the finished drawing.

 Many people wanted to take pictures of themselves or others in front of the drawings so it was a bit difficult sometime to take a good photo.

Indian American chalk drawings were also well represented.  Dianne Gove had drawn the head of a "Native Patriot" below, top right picture.  "Eagle Freedom" is Ron Hawkins' design, below, bottom of collage.

Ron Hawkins, of Native American heritage, has been creating art since he was 3 years old.  He works in pen & ink, watercolor, acrylic and color pencils.  He draws outstanding birds as you can see below.  Pictures courtesy Ron Hawkins.

Beautiful patriotic ladies were drawn by Anat Ronen, on top of collage below.  Craig Thomas drew the lady with a sword on the left and Jessi Queen was inspired by a vintage poster from the Red Cross.

Lysa Ashley is an elementary school teacher and has been street painting for over 20 years.  She has won numerous awards, including Best of Shows.  In Marietta, Lysa painted the delicate figure with long brown hair, in center of picture.  The other samples of her art are around the collage, courtesy Lysa Ashley.

I'll stop part one of this post with more dogs walking with their owners and little puppies being carried.  (I just noticed that you can see my reflection in the door, taking the photo of picture on the left!)

More to come ....

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...