Friday, May 31, 2013

Blog Intermission No. 20 (entr'acte) - Journey, a poem

Blogging friends who have been reading my posts for a while know that I love to travel - whether it is a walk in our area, a quick trip in our state, a long journey or a voyage on the seas to faraway places - the idea is to move.  I am pleased now that I can take many pictures with my digital camera.  In my earlier travels I took photographs too, small ones in black and white or colored slides - they don't look too sharp.  Many trips I made alone, some with family and some with friends.  Below are friends in Oslo, Norway.

Now I can take many pictures (I show just a fraction of them on my posts.)  I like to look at all my photos of past journeys to remember the places I have seen, cities, small towns, nature, the sea, mountains, birds and relive these moments - everything, like the seagulls on Tybee Island in Georgia,

or walking into the fog in Newfoundland, Canada.

or admiring ancient trees in the Alamo Gardens in San Antonio, Texas,

or listening to some folk music in Croatia,

or going to a street market in Italy,

or coming upon a pretty cat sitting on a path in Jimmy Carter's childhood farm in Plains, Georgia.

Below is a poem by Italian poet Paolo Ruffilli (born in 1949.)  It is called "Viaggio" which translates as "Travel" or "Journey" - I translated it into English below.  Ruffilli uses short, lyrical and musical words.  Roberto Marcho, an English Literature teacher in Italy says of Ruffilli's poetry:  "He often tells a story in an attempt to recover a memory that "is not a way of looking back to recover what is definitively lost" but the narration of the past perceived to be "inside each one of us," since "our past is what we are."

 Travel by Stagecoach circa 1811 by Pavel Petrovich Svinin (Russian-born American 1787-1839)


Poi, alla fine,
mi metto in motto
la tentazione di restare
nelle zone piu vicine
in vista del mio noto.
Ma, in compenso, parto
solo per tornare.
Non so neanch'io
cos'e che vale
e mi convince. . .
un'intuizione certa
un sesto senso
che mi spinge,
la conscienza fulminante
di una scoperta
che bisogna perdersi
per potersi davvero
ritrovare.  Paolo Ruffilli

  The Bath to London Coach, by Charles Cooper Henderson, British 1803-1877



Then, at last
I go away
the urge to stay
as closely as I can
in familiar surroundings.
But against that, I leave
only to return.
I do not know either
what is so true
and convincing
about this thought . . .
a strong intuition
a sixth sense
driving me,
the sudden realization
of a paradoxical
that you must first lose yourself
before you can truly find yourself again.  - Paolo Ruffilli

Stagecoach at Le Treport, France by Jules Achille Noel, French 1815-1881 

"I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read and all the friends I want to see."  - John Burroughs, American Naturalist 1837-1921.

San Francisco, California - View of Coit Tower, Alcatraz and Marin (courtesy English Wikipedia.)


Note:  Post pre-programmed - This is a blogger break.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Happenings in Georgia and Tennessee

Two more posts on Warm Springs and Callaway Gardens will be forthcoming, but later on.  In early May friends invited us to attend a concert given at the historic Strand Theatre in Marietta, Georgia.  This theatre is by the turn of the century square in downtown Marietta and has been there since the 1930s.  I took pictures of it several times along the years but had never been inside.  I drove by it again this morning and took a picture through my car window.  (click on collage twice to enlarge.)

The Strand Theatre was opened in 1935 as a new Art Deco movie theatre.  It had the latest technologies of the time such as acoustical sound system, heating and air conditioning, a fireproof projection room and seating for 1,000 patrons.  At the time it costs $150,000 to build and it was the most modern theatre outside Atlanta.  "Top Hat" a musical starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers was the first show featured at the Strand in the fall of 1935.  It closed its door as a movie theatre in 1976.

Afterwards the building housed a number of ventures until it deteriorated and became vacant in 2002.  Community leaders formed a group to save the Strand Theatre and after a successful restoration campaign it re-opened in 2008 with a showing of "Beauty and the Beast."  On May 4th, 2013, the "Paradocs" were giving a performance at The Strand.  We arrived early so we could get a good look at the theatre.

The group playing that Saturday came about when a "pair of docs" taking a break in the doctor's lounge at the local hospital started a conversation about music and how much they missed playing.  In 1996 they started playing together and were joined by more medical personnel and registered nurses.

The doctors and nurses call their 15 piece rock and roll band the "Paradocs."  Their repertoire includes great rock music from the 60s, 70s, and 80s to the present.  They also play some southern rock, country and blues tunes.  I was really surprised at their sound - it certainly rocked!

The female and male vocalists were true professionals and could certainly sing on the stage fulltime instead of working in a hospital.  I tried to take pictures, without flash, with my little Lumix camera - it was not easy with all the fast gyrations.

The Paradocs have been playing for five years and most shows are sold out.  They give all the revenues from the performances to benefit the Strand Theatre or other worthy charities.  We really enjoyed the performance.

 The following week I did not go on the computer much as I was trying to finish knitting a baby blanket before our trip to Tennessee.  I finished it just in time.  It was in the same style as those I made for our three grandsons, but mostly pink...

We drove to a suburb of Nashville, Tennessee, where our younger daughter lives with her family.  Every time we visit we see how fast our three grandsons are growing - they are now 6, 4 1/2 and 2 years old.

This was a special event - the birth of our little granddaughter.

She was born on Friday, May 10, 2013.  She is a lovely 8 1/2 pounds baby, but has a slight heart murmur which we hope will heal as she grows.  The mother, our daughter, had to be readmitted in the hospital for a couple of days but she is out now and improving.  We stayed several days.  I pre-programmed a post for publication but am behind again visiting friends' blogs

I had time to crochet a "lap" blanket (or security blanket or car-seat blanket) - it is about 23 inches square.

Below is grandson no. 2 making a list of names for the baby.  Eldest grandson is showing his green
soccer uniform and youngest grandson is getting close to the baby to check her out.

While we were in Tennessee the weather was perfect - warm with low humidity.  Peonies and roses were blooming in the garden.

We drove back through Alabama.  Many fields were covered with bright yellow wild flowers.  I could have stopped many times along the way to take pictures.

I am a city girl and the sight of cows in a field will stop me every time.  There was no place to stop on the road but luckily no cars were behind me and I took the pictures from the car window.

It was lovely to see that our roses were in bloom when we arrived back home.

Our wild climbing roses were covering the adjoining trees.

Now we need to get busy planting annuals and herbs before the weather gets too warm.  Looking over this post it seems I have a lot of the color pink showing - it goes well with a new baby granddaughter!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Little White House in Georgia, part 2

In my last post I stopped after walking through the "bump gate" leading to the Little White House.  We walked by a Marine Corps Sentry post to the left and a US Secret Service booth to the right.  I peeked inside and took pictures - there was period furnishing inside. (Click on collage twice to see better.)

We entered the Servants' Quarters and walked up the stairs to the seating area where there was a nice pot belly stove.  The rooms could be seen through a glass enclosure - one bedroom for the cook, Daisy Bonner and the other bedroom shared by Irving McDuffie, personal valet to FDR and Lizzie McDuffie, the family maid and a bathroom.

Across the Servants' Quarters is the Guests' House - preserved as it was during FDR's time.  Here too, there is a glass enclosure by the doors - so the photos are not very clear and you can see my reflection.

Then we could see the Little White House in front of us.  As I mentioned in my last post President Roosevelt (FDR) had this small cottage built in 1932 and stayed there whenever he came to Warm Springs to swim in the therapeutic warm pools.  His wife, Eleanor Roosevelt disliked this cottage and came rarely.

The Little White House is a six room one-story cottage, quite humble for a President of the United States.  It was opened to the public in 1948 and has been kept the same as it was the day FDR passed away.  President John F. Kennedy spoke here when he was a candidate for the 1960 presidential race.  Jimmy Carter opened his general election campaign here in 1976. (Click on collage to read better.)

When we visited the Little White House years ago one could walk freely in the rooms and the last portrait of the president was still placed on the easel in the living room.  Now, a Georgia State Park employee gives information and the rooms can be viewed through glass enclosures.  We entered through the side door into the kitchen after passing an ice box on the porch.  It is a spartan kitchen from the 1930s.

This was followed by a small pantry.

We walked into the front room.  A replica of FDR's dog Fala was standing by the door.  Fala was the beloved Scottish Terrier who followed FDR everywhere and was well known and liked by the public.  He died in 1952.  On the side is the wheelchair FDR designed from a kitchen chair.  There is also a linen closet in the room - you can see the reflection of the State Park attendant in my picture of the closet below.

Then we entered the dining/living room combination.  FDR liked nautical themed items as he was a "Navy" man - models of ships (one he built with his sons) and ship paintings.  The house looks very cozy and warm with wood everywhere.  These is a Dictaphone where FDR recorded his voice and also recorded his "fireside chats" radio address.

Tall French doors opened onto the back verandah where FDR liked to look at the view.  FDR had asked that no tree be cut down when building the house so the back yard could retain its natural woodsy atmosphere.  There were some Marine Sentry shacks in the back too.  This 10th of April 2013 was a lovely spring day and I could have sat in a chair on the sundeck with a cool glass of lemonade.  I could easily imagine FDR having a drink here sixty-eight years earlier on 10th of April 1945.

But we came back inside through a side door straight into FDR's bedroom and his adjacent small bathroom.  The bed was not big, just a simple single bed.

On the other side of the bathroom was Eleanor's bedroom  A panel indicated that she did not come often, but FDR's children and other family members used this room when they came to Warm Springs.

Then we were back in the main room.  The easel that Madame Shoumatoff was using on 12 April 1945 to paint his portrait is still in the same place.  The watercolor "Unfinished Portrait" has been moved into the new Legacy Building.

President Roosevelt had come to Warm Springs on March 30, 1945, to rest after the stress of the Yalta Conference, the 1944 campaign and the continuing war effort.  He was very tired and looked weak.  His cousins Laura Delano and Margaret Suckley, as well as his secretary Grace Tully and his assistant Bill Hassett were there.  On April 12, 1945 he read the Atlanta newspapers, dictated some letters and worked on a draft of a Jefferson Day speech for the following day, April 13.  He was looking forward to a minstrel show that afternoon at 5:15 p.m.  One of his favorite entertainers, a black pianist and accordionist, Graham Jackson, a recruiting chief petty officer in the Coast Guard had obtained a leave so he could perform for the president that day - that would have been his 24th performance for FDR.

Another guest, Lucy Mercer Rutherfurd (1891-1948) who had been his mistress decades earlier and was staying in the Guest House was there also with her friend, the Russian born painter Elizabeth Shoumatoff (1888-1980.)  As Ms. Shoumatoff was sketching his portrait FDR was reading, seating in his favorite chair near the fireplace.  But at about 1:00 p.m. he complained of having a terrible pain in the back of his head and collapsed.  He was carried to his bed.  Ms. Rutherfurd and Shoumatoff left for Aiken, South Carolina.  At 3:35 p.m. on that 12th April 1945 President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was pronounced dead from a cerebral hemorrhage.  FDR was 63 and had served 83 days into his fourth presidential term.  It felt strange being in his bedroom on that April day but I also had feelings of profound sorrow and sadness for this brilliant man.  I bought a postcard of his unfinished portrait. 

We left the Little White House cottage and went to the Legacy Exhibit building.  The building houses the "Unfinished Portrait" and the "Finished Portrait" that Elizabeth Shoumatoff painted from memory in 1946.  The difference is in the color of the tie.  FDR is holding the rolled up program of the Jefferson Day Dinner in his hand.

The building below is dedicated to the legacy of Franklin D. Roosevelt.  As you enter, on the left, is the flag that draped FDR's coffin.  There are also posters and photographs.

Whenever FDR arrived or left Warm Springs he came by Georgia Hall (the main building of the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute) where he was greeted when he arrived or where they said goodbye to him when he left for Washington.  On April 13 1945 they said their final farewell.  A military procession from Fort Benning had escorted the hearse to Georgia Hall where everyone was in tears.  Graham Jackson played Dvorak's "Going Home" on his accordion instead of the minstrel show as planned.  Tears weere running down his face (see a close-up in collage above from a museum display board.)  Eleanor who was there now was very moved to see how much the people of Warm Springs loved her husband.

That Friday April 13th the funeral presidential train left Warm Springs station at 9:05 a.m.  The coffin placed on a bier of Georgia pine was in the last Pullman car with the windows open.  The casket was draped with the flag that had been flowing on a pole at the Little White House.  An honor guard was standing at attention.  A large crowd had assembled along the tracks to watch the 11-car funeral train go by and to say goodbye to their beloved president and friend - thousands more gathered along the tracks all the way to Atlanta and beyond.  FDR's casket remained at the White House for one day and on April 15, 1945 President Rooseelt was laid to rest.  The descendant of Maartenszen van Rosenvelt "Marten of the rose field" is buried in the rose garden of the Roosevelt home in Hyde Park, New York.  Now, every 12th of April the flag at the Little White House flies at half-mast in remembrance of FDR's death in Warm Springs.  (Most old pictures are from displays at the museum or from the Digital Library of Georgia.)

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a wealthy aristocrat but through his 41 trips to Warm Springs, Georgia, he came to understand and help working people.  During his 12 years in office he led the nation through the Great Depression and World War II.  FDR was fond of his little rustic cottage which he called his "inspirational retreat."  I am pleased that we visited the Little White House Historical Site.  It shows and explains to me why the nation cherished him.  FDR save the Americans' jobs, farms, and their way of life.  He helped ensure the freedom of many nations  Our tickets included admission to the therapeutic pools museum where FDR swam with other polio patients but it was almost 2:00 p.m. so we went to lunch.  The visit to the therapeutic pool museum will be in an upcoming post. Below is a shrub in blooms from the back yard of the Little White House.

"We are a nation of many nationalities, many races, many religions - bound together by a single unity, the unity of freedom and equality.  Whoever seeks to set one nationality against another, seeks to degrade all nationalities.  Whoever seeks to set one race against another seeks to enslave all races.  Whoever seeks to set one religion against another, seeks to destroy all religions." - Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Note:  Post pre-programmed.
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