Friday, September 6, 2013

A Simple Little Jersey Dress

Shopping on Carnaby Street in London at the famed store, Biba's.  Buying lingerie at boutiques in Paris or dresses on 5th Avenue,
New York, the world was mine as a Pan Am stewardess.  Whatever was "hot" in the world was at my fingertips. At the time, the look was mod and mini and that is what I wanted. I would just schedule to be on a flight to that destination and buy or drool over the hot fashions... This was the 60's. 

By the 70's, I was home with two little children and a husband just finishing law school.  I was working part time and trying to make enough money to help pay our bills.  Now, clothing was something I borrowed. Luckily, my sister-in-law and friends were the same size and swapping clothes was something we always did.  One of my friends was working at a clothing boutique, and always wore the most cutting edge fashions.  At the time, I remember, Diane Von Furstenberg and her jersey dresses were the most sought after pieces to wear.  I had a rehearsal dinner to attend, and immediately went to Helena's closet to borrow one.

The dress fit perfectly and could be worn today, 35 years later and still look great.  The colors were just right for fall and the pattern, timeless.  From that night on, I have loved Diane Von Furstenburg fashions.  I think this was one of the first designs Diane Von Furstenburg had made and brought to America.  It was a shirtwaist dress and a classic, before her signature wrap dress became popular.

It was at least 25 years later before I actually bought my own wrap dress.  I remember the first night I wore it.  

Jimmy had taken me to a romantic little French restaurant.  I felt like a movie star wearing it and decided the wrap dress was going to remain in my wardrobe.
Since that first aqua and indigo blue jersey wrap dress,  I have bought others.  

Each time I wear one, I still feel as special as I did in the original.

          And, I still like to borrow and share the creations...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


It is hard to believe a fire could be so massive as to have burned 357 square miles of the most breathtakingly gorgeous land  I have ever seen - Yosemite National Park. As I think back, I can see the giant sequoias,  the deer, the chipmunks and other little animals scampering, I can smell the pine forest, and feel the cool shade which the trees offered, 

I can hear the birds singing and the leaves rustling with the wind. Now, a blaze that began 16 days ago and is not expected to be contained for another 18 days has changed that land forever.

It's amazing how reading about this horrific fire, has sparked wonderful memories of a short vacation to visit my sister, Joan and her husband, Fred.  They were living not far from Yosemite and the highlight of my visit was an excursion into the Park.  A spot they had loved and wanted to share with me. The drive began with the red clay soil, and shrubbery of cactus and tumbleweed, becoming rolling hills that soon gave way to steep and winding narrow mountain roads and dense forrest on either side. It seemed as if we drove forever surrounded by lovely forestry.  But then, we were at the heart of Yosemite.  Looking up and seeing the massive waterfalls, 

                                                                                   Upper yosemitefall.jpg

being surrounded by the highest mountains and feeling so tiny in this, God's land.  What a beautiful creation...

We spent the day hiking and pretending to be Ansel Adams as we photographed so many of the sights which he had made famous with his black and white photography. 

We had lunch at, and toured the magnificent Hotel.  

Photo from the Ahwahnee website


We saw campers and campgrounds, picnickers, hikers, climbers, photographers, artists, people reading, people meditating,  all breathing in the fresh air and the wonderment of this heavenly vista.

El Capitan.jpg

Let's hope the fire can be extinguished soon, so future generations  can enjoy the majestic sites as I had seen them. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Summer Sleepovers

With the recent death of my mother-in law, and seeing the loving feelings of my children as they mourned such an important person in their life, I think back to the fall of 1965 when my grandmother died and the wonderful memories I have of her...

Beatrice Margarite Harner

I see her charming white house with the big enclosed porch along the front with built in cushioned seats which lifted open to reveal a baby doll's cradle and a baby doll just waiting for me to hug.  I recall cool summer evening breezes and a cuckoo clock striking to tell me it was time for bed. 

It was always special to be able to go and stay for a few nights at her house.  I remember her teaching me how to sew on her Singer sewing machine with a treadle to make the needle go up and down.  
She would help me make doll clothes and when I got bored, she would finish sewing them herself. I may still have some of the outfits up in my attic. And I have the thimble she wore to protect  her finger when she stitched by hand.

                                                                                            Photo from Pintrest

I can see her at her piano playing hymns from the church hymnal and singing along.  I soon would be sitting beside her and learning to play.  I do think my love of old Christian hymns comes from my times with my Grandmom.  

The game of canasta was a card game she loved and, of course, she taught me how to play.  She had a little machine to shuffle the cards because she had lost the top half of her index finger while placing some freshly laundered clothing into the ringer of her washer.  

                                                                                               Photo from Pintrest

Her finger had gotten  caught and was severed, this made shuffling cards, by hand, impossible but I loved using this gadget because shuffling was beyond my skills.

During one of my sleepovers, I remember Grandmom taking me into her bedroom.  I can see her rooting through her jewelry box and taking out a beautiful gold ring with engraving on either side and a garnet stone in the center.  She gave it to me.  I wore it proudly telling everyone where I had gotten it.  Unfortunately, it is now lost.  But I
still have the sweet memory of her giving it to me.

Grandmom had two little chihuahua dogs.  They were little barkers and loved to show their teeth as they greeted me.  She would say they were smiling but I thought otherwise and was a little afraid of them.  She loved them and because of that, I learned to like them...reluctantly.

I can still taste her Thanksgiving turkey gravy and hear everyone commenting on how good it was.  I can see the table all set and the place where I would sit.  The day after was the real treat.  Grandmom and I headed into Philadelphia on the train to begin our Christmas shopping.  For me, it was her taking me to the
giant Woolworths to make my purchases.  For her, Wanamakers and Lit Brothers.

Sometimes, in the summer, my niece, Georgene, would be there with me. We watched my Grandpop as he worked in the garden.  We helped him  pick and carry in the fresh vegetables. Then Grandmom would make piccalilli relish -  the best part of any sandwich I have ever had.  In the evenings, we would sit out under the giant mimosa tree

Grandmom and Grandpop

Aunt Dew (Grandmom's sister) and Grandmom
in her backyard and swing on the hammock or glide on her garden glider 

and when the fireflies would come out, we would use her mason jars to catch them, making our own night lanterns.
             Photo from Pintrest

Photo from Pintrest



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Little Bit of History

should have worked at the Historical Commission for the state of Massachusetts.  I, so many times, have given tours of Plymouth Plantation, looked down at Plymouth Rock, walked the Freedom Trail in Boston, celebrated Patriot's Day in Lexington and Concord, and have been spooked by the Salem Witches.  All to show my large out of state family and group of friends our early American heritage.

One of my favorite destinations on the tours has always been been a lunch or dinner at Longfellow's Wayside Inn,  the oldest, still operating inn in this country.  The last time I had been there was when Jimmy and I had taken my mother-in-law there for her 85th birthday, she is now 93, and I had almost forgotten about this little gem. Last week, I was again in tour mode.  Three of my nieces were visiting and staying near Concord.  We decided to meet nearby at the Wayside Inn for dinner before they headed home.  We stepped back into history, having our own historic dining room with paneling, a fireplace and even flickering candles.  I recalled that some of 'Grandpop's' often quoted poems were written by Henry Wadworth Longfellow and were compiled in a book titled 'Tales of a Wayside Inn'. We could almost hear him reciting, "Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere".

This led me to thinking about the day I had taken my father to see 
the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow home in Cambridge.  As we exited and walked down the street, he recited "Under the spreading chestnut tree....".  Little did we know at that time, I would soon move into the historic home of Nathaniel Longfellow, a cousin of Henry's, 

and have a beautiful spreading chestnut tree in my front yard.

Just think, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow could have been writing about that tree.

Monday, May 27, 2013

A Flag for Every Soldier

                                                 30,000 flags, 
              30,000 lives given in service for our country 
                            the state of Massachusetts
                                           since the
                                          Civil War

Do we want to know the National total?
God Bless those 
Brave Heroes!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

"Love Letters in the Sand"

As I walked along the beach, I stopped to read the hearts carved in the sand, filled with peoples names and the year 2013.  Seeing these names and the love that was being expressed reminded me of the Pat Boone song 'Love Letters in the Sand'.


My walk did not include my camera so I couldn't wait to take the same walk the following day... camera - check, beach -check, walk - check, love letters - gone.  The tides had rolled in and had washed those beautiful love letters out to sea.  But I had my 
camera and my Ben's birthday was the next day.  I could write my own love letters in the sand.

I found a love letter written in the sand last year to me from my grandson, Cameron. And, received via email.  

Now, I wonder if maybe those couples who had written their love letters in the sand had taken pictures or maybe, all they have are their memories.  Today, there are more letters left by the edge of the sea.  Maybe photographed or e-mailed or maybe just a memory.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Mixed Bouquet

I can remember being not much older than a toddler, taking an afternoon walk with my Mother.  We came upon a grass field filled with brilliant yellow Buttercups.  

I gathered a handful and presented them to her.  She bent over and taking one of them, said something like "let's put this under your chin to see if it reflects yellow, then we will know whether you like butter". 

What an impression that made on me.  Whenever I see a Buttercup, the moment and the learning experience come back.  I have repeated it with my own children and have gone one step further by saving and  pressing the Buttercups they presented to me between pages in the same book where my Mom had pressed flowers that were important to her.  

One of those had to have been  Sweet Peas.  She loved those delicate flowers.  She carried them on her wedding day and when speaking affectionately to her granddaughters, she would call them "Sweet pea".

When Amanda was getting married, she chose Sweet Peas for her bridal bouquet in honor of her Grandmom.  Stephanotis was also there.  It was a bridal must of my Mother's.

Lilacs were another favorite of hers.  When my Tammy made her First Communion, my Mom arrived from Philadelphia with buckets of this fragrant breath of spring to make into beautiful arrangements in my home for this special occasion.  And, when one of her Grandchildren would tell a fib, she would call that child "my little lilac" (lieloc??)

                                   Lily of the Valley

Sweet Peas, Stephanotis, lilacs and Buttercups, her favorite flowers, they go together - in one fragrant Mother's Day bouquet for my Mom.  

         The Victorian Meaning of Her Favorite Flowers 

             Buttercup - cheerfulness and charm
             Lilac - first emotions of love, and beauty
             Lily of the Valley - sweetness, happiness and humility
             Stephanotis - marital happiness
             Sweet Pea - THANK YOU!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Pink and Green and Lilly

"Anything is possible with sunshine and a little pink."
Lilly Pulitzer

Wearing a 'Lilly' does mean sunshine and happy days.  If there was ever anything we could call 'feel good' clothing, this is it.  Lilly  chose her colors from a palette of the greens found on palms and kee lime trees to the colors of citrus oranges and pink grapefruits to pineapple shades and the corals of sunrises and sunsets over the turquoise waters surrounding Florida.  Wearing any fabric in these colors meant sophisticated relaxation.

I can't remember when I bought my first Lilly but I do know my sister introduced me to the Lilly shift. Doris would wear them daily when not in a golf skirt (but I bet her golf skirts were Lilly)

 and would always look so perfect.  I wish I still had some of those 'vintage' adorable dresses.  But I do have memories of some.  One, a pink and green shift that I wore the night I was introduced to Jimmy's cousins at a family cookout. The dress was special, but with the tied on kerchief around my hair and a Bermuda bag and a pair of Pappagallo flats that was style!
And, when I saw the picture below on Pinterest, I thought of a favorite of mine. It was a long green and white shift with a gorgeous matching triangular shaped shawl trimmed in a white ric rac.

When Little Jimmy was born.  My roommate from college, Maura and her Mom, came to visit me.  What I remember is both of them were wearing Lilly's. I learned at that point, these simple frocks looked great no matter where you were going or what you were doing and, they were multi-generational.  

                                                                 Lilly dress I wore of  Maura's

Then, Lilly seemed to disappear from my personal style until a                     revival when my children 

                         and grandchildren began wearing it. 

 Seeing them dressed in the styles I loved brought back such memories that I had to buy not only for them but for me.

We love the Lilly style so much, that entertaining "In the Pink" is the only way to have a summer party.

Quoting Lilly, "Live every day like it's a celebration and make every hour HAPPY HOUR"

Here is to you, Lilly!