Monday, October 31, 2016

Ft Worth and Aunt Louise

Spirit has spent the last few weeks in the parking lot at Hill Villa--Aunt Louise's happy senior abode. It is quiet, safe and even somewhat scenic from atop the slight hill.

Ft Worth, as usual, is a whirl of relatives, restaurants, and real estate--The three Rs that have become a trademark to my visits with Aunt Louise.

As you can see by these pictures, we are still clearing out Aunt Louise's house.  There was a lot of stuff that did not get sold at the estate sale.

We have hired a second estate sales person to handle what is left but I still had to box it up.

And there is a lot of it..


vintage clothes and dolls. (yep, those boxes are all Madam Alexander dolls--never played with.) The house is on the market now and there is a neighbor that is interested.  Of course it is hard for Aunt Louise to think about selling the house she built some 50 years ago.  

However Caregiver Extraordinaire and friend, Suzanne, keeps Aunt Louise entertained and less preoccupied with the sadder moments in life.

A special talent of Suzanne's--she can back up without hitting a golf card! (with less than a millimeter to spare)  Maybe she can teach me how to turn right and NOT wipe out a government mail box.

So we explored museums and the Ft Worth area has its share.

This is the Doss museum.

The Rebecca Lowe Art Gallery

An art aficionado

I am not sure that Aunt Louise understands modern art made from found objects....

But I think some of it is down right ingenious.

We talked her into an evening of outdoor dining (?) at Central Market.


Every Friday and Saturday nights there is live music in their patio with dining from the grocery store deli and salad bar.  

Then we had a birthday lunch at Uncle Julio's Restaurant, with her cousin, Jerry...

and Jerry's daughter, Chelsea.

(Chelsea's husband Blake, Chelsea, Jerry, his wife Kathy, and Aunt Louise)

On October 19 Aunt Louise turned 96! I am hoping my mind is as sharp as hers when I reach 86.

Another restaurant. 

And another--Look at the size of that soup bowl!

But her favorite pastime is a visit with the ladies on the porch after supper.   There is always a little gossip, a lot of laughs and a recounting of the days visit to Walmart.

The simple things in life are what makes it all worthwhile,  like a belly rub...

(Suzanne's dog, Erin)

...or a treat for being so darn cute.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Back to the South

It was a very fast trip for me from Vermont back to the south.  There was no sightseeing except for an occasional stroll through a Cracker Barrel gift shop.  

 It was freeway the entire time through New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas ...

...and finally, Shreveport, La and a visit with my Lambert cousins.  Jo Beverly has not changed a whit in the past two years since her 90th birthday.  She is still going to work every day and has no plans to retire.  I am hoping I can talk her into taking a few days and traveling with me next spring--I am sure her work will survive without her for a day or two.

Cousin, Kim drove up from Houston to spend the weekend so it felt like a party.

And Brenda (Jo's daughter-in-law) and her mother, Lily, made it a really fun and very warm hen party.

It is so pleasant visiting this 'new' branch of my family.  I think of them as a gift that I never expected when I started this nomadic life 4 years ago.  

Once again, I am behind in blogging--due to a lot of business to take care of in Ft Worth, Tx with Aunt Louise.   It is not all work though so I best get back into the blog routine.  Thanks for hanging in there.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Last Night in New England

It has been a very eventful summer for me and incredibly enjoyable.   

I drove a short distance into Vermont to Woodford State Park, hoping to see some leaves changing color before I had to turn and run south.

Well, the setting was beautiful though the color was very minimal.

As I walked down to this lovely lake a couple joined me and we began to talk about life in an RV.  Their names were Patrick and Clara.

I am often asked if I don't get lonesome on the road and I have to admit that, sometimes I do.  There are things I have seen that I would love to share with others and that is definitely why I keep this blog.

This is one of those things I would like to share (with Patrick and Clara's permission).

When the three of us saw this idyllic lake Patrick said, "Boy, I would love to go swimming--but I didn't wear my swimsuit."

To which, I offered, "Well, if you want to go skinny-dipping I won't look."


His reply, "Oh, No! You can take my picture and put it in your blog!"  So here it is.

 And here they are.

So, do I miss company?  When I feel lonely I am sure to meet someone new, interesting, and sometimes just fun--or funny.

When I get back to Tucson I will start my quest to find a pet to join me and perhaps alleviate some of the aloneness.  But I sincerely value the memories of new friends and acquaintances and hope my travels will continue in the same serendipity way.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Norman Rockwell Museum

This is the very last museum of my summer tour.  I drove to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, to specifically visit the home and museum of Norman Rockwell.

Stockbridge is the classic small American town.  The museum and the Rockwell studio are in a country setting that could only have inspired the famous illustrationist.

Rockwell is known for the magazine covers of the "Saturday Evening Post."

From Rockwell's first cover in 1916 to his final illustration for The Saturday Evening Post in 1963 the Post published 321 covers of original Rockwell Paintings.

This piece of artwork is at the entrance of the museum and it surprised me--it was so different from the Rockwell illustrations...

...Until I found this.  Peter Rockwell is a son of Norman Rockwell and accomplished in his own right.

Anyway, it is an interesting difference in father and son's approaches to art.

"Boy with Baby Carriage 1916
This was Rockwell's very first Saturday Evening Post cover, for which he was paid $75.

 "No Swimming", 1921

Upon the urging of a fellow illustrator and friend, Norman Rockwell walked into the Philadelphia headquarters of the Post in early 1916 with two paintings he hoped to have published on the cover of the most widely read publication in the U.S.  Editor George Horace Lorimer was so impressed that he immediately purchased the works.

"Boy and Girl gazing at Moon" 1926
(Puppy Love)

"Self Portrait"

As an illustrator, Rockwell struggled with deadlines his entire life.  "Meeting deadlines and thinking up ideas are the scourges of an illustrator's life," he said. 

"Boy in a Dining Car" 1946
Based on an incident experienced by Rockwell's young son, the boy in the picture is trying to calculate the waiter's tip.

"The Gossips"  

The models for these 'gossips' were all friends and neighbors.  Rockwell himself is in the last two frames.

"The Art Critic" 1955

In the corner of the above painting of the girl on the bus:

"to Walt Disney
one of the really great artists--from an admirer
Norman Rockwell"

The painting was a gift to Disney and returned to the museum after Walt Disney died.

I could not get over how many of the over 300 paintings or illustrations were familiar to me.

So many of them are part of the memories of growing up...

...for anyone more than 50 years old.

An especially for the townspeople of Stockbridge, Ma. these paintings are a chronicle of the residents, their families and their friends.

The paintings also chronicle our country's history...

"Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms" 1943

"Freedom of Worship"

During the height of WWII, Norman Rockwell painted four of the most powerful and enduring images in American history.  Like many artists and writers he supported the war effort by creating work inspired by President Franklin Roosevelt's January 1941 State of the Union address outlining the four basic human liberties: Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

"Freedom from Want"

"Freedom from Fear"

"Freedom of Speech"

"New Kids in the Neighborhood" (1967) was the third of Rockwell's civil rights pictures for Look Magazine.    In his illustration of suburban integration in Chicago's Park Forest community, Rockwell was secure in expressing his philosophy of tolerance.

As a student in the south during the 50's I remember this magazine cover and the effect it had on me.  Thank you, Mr. Rockwell.  You said it so well.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1963)

(Items in Italics from materials posted at the Museum)