We're two sisters who are craft book publishers and found ourselves in the midst of an avocado grove. We bought this house where we planned to conduct our publishing business and in the deal got 4 acres of avocado trees thrown in. Now we're not only publishers but ranchers as well! This blog is all about avocados and anything else that strikes my fancy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Sepia Saturday 119 - My Working Dad

This is a pin that my dad wore to work. It looks more like a prison badge!  I don't remember that he worked for Acme Steel Co. I was too young at the time to know where he worked. We lived in Chicago and I'm wondering what the Riverdale refers to. Was this a subsidiary of Acme Steel? It's funny that this badge is so similar to the one on the woman in the Sepia Saturday theme photo.

I also don't remember that he was that short. 5' 8" is pretty short. He seemed really tall to me.

My dad died at the very young age of 42. I was15 at the time. Things were never quite the same after that. 

We had this desk in Chicago that was later involved in all our moves. The desk now resides in my overflowing garage. When I open the middle drawer, it's almost like a shrine to my dad. That's where this badge was. Here's some other things from his work:

He was a design engineer so I can guess that he got lots of use out of this compass and that really thick pencil, too. The two rocks at the top were probably some that he found on one of our rock-hounding trips in the desert. He loved rocks - he should have been a geologist. And if you look really hard at the right of the drawer you'll see my ancient skate key. Remember those?

The red box contains some small wrenches. The ruler is mine. My dad only used one of those fancy kind of rulers that open up several times. I don't know where Julie's was. Those matches look too new to be his and besides he didn't smoke.

This is how he probably looked when he went off to work each day. My mom said that he always took his lunch to work with him - a cheese sandwich. Every day!! Never deviating. I don't think it's because he loved cheese so much as that he loved to save money.

He didn't just work at Acme Steel. He worked at home too. Here he is building a garage in the backyard of our new house in South Chicago:

He wasn't much of a handy man. My mother was the one that did all the repairs around the house. But he did manage to get this garage built, with the help of several of his friends and probably my mother. And he was so proud of it.

I also found this portrait that someone did of my dad. I have no idea who, but it's a pretty good likeness:

But most of all, I remember my dad as a real family man. That's what he worked at the hardest. Since he had grown up in an orphanage, he really devoted himself to us kids.
My sister Barbara on the left, me in the middle and my brother Bob on the right,  about 1945.
Click here to read other stories about work:  Sepia Saturday.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sepia Saturday #118 Nostalgia and Betsy, Tacy & Tib

When I saw this week's theme on Sepia Saturday with the two ladies from the past, it reminded me of the challenge I've created for myself. The three girls above are the inspiration for a series of books I read as a youth. The author, Maude Hart Lovelace is the one in the center. The books are The Besty-Tacy series.

I guess when you get older, you yearn to relive your youth. The way I'm reliving my youth lately is this challenge. I want to own all 15 copies of the series. And I don't want just any copies, I won't be happy with the re-issued versions, I want the actual hardcover books that were written in the 1940s.

So I've been searching Ebay, Amazon, Half.com and other book sites trying to find copies. I just ordered 3 books of the series on Ebay and wouldn't you know. The books got lost in the mail. It was so distressing, until I got the yellow slip at the post office saying there was a package for me.

And there they were. Three lovely old library books. This is one of the books, and the illustration mirrors the photo at the top. These are Betsy, Tacy and Tib, the characters based on Maude herself and her two best friends (in the above photo).

And here's a bonus from the book. Remember these? An actual library card with a whole list of my kindred spirits. I'll have to look up and see if I can find any of them.

I can't tell you how much I loved these books and in fact, still do. I reread them every few years and get reeled back to the time I was 11 or 12. I just ordered another book today. I'll now have 6 of the original copies - 9 more to go!

I'm not the only one that loves these books. There's even a convention each year for like-minded fans.
But somehow I think that's going a little too far, in more ways than one.

I'd love to know if any of you have this same yearning for books from your youth.

For more stories about "going out" click here Sepia Saturday.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sepia Saturday #117 Girl Scouts and Diaries

Here I am in my girl scout uniform in the 5th grade class photo. As I remember, our teacher had sent a memo home to parents saying that we should wear something nice for photo day, and please no uniforms. Somehow my memo didn't get home. And I'm the only one in our troop that wore a uniform that day. But I see that the Blue Birds didn't get the memo either. They're the ones in the the crisp white blouses and kerchiefs.

About a year ago my daughter who lives in Brooklyn, told me about going to a club in her neighborhood that once a week would feature people reading from their diaries. She said it was absolutely hilarious.

So I'm going to feature a page from my diary which involves Girl Scouts. I noticed in my fifth grade diary that I would sometimes write about the Girl Scout meetings, but mostly about boys.

I don't know why I didn't have a proper diary like this one, all leather with a secure lock:

No, I had one that I must have stolen from my father. Or did I ask him to buy me one and he said, "no, you can use this one".  He was known for being really, really cheap or should I say thrifty? So instead of a pretty red leather diary with a lock, I had this one which I had to personalize myself. You can tell that I didn't get any of the "art" genes in our family. My sister got them all. I can imagine what her diary might have looked like - certainly not like this one.

This page proves that the diary had belonged to my Dad, but he passed it along to me (or did I steal it?) and I scratched out his name (to hide the evidence) and added mine instead. The diary made the move from Chicago to California (note the different addresses) which leads me to believe that I didn't steal it - it must have been laying around for years before it was handed down to me. Looks like I was pretty scared that someone might return my found diary to Stanley Quality instead of to me. No way did I want my secrets sent off to Westfield, Mass.!!

So back to the Girl Scouts. On April 1st our troop must have decided to play an April Fools joke on the tourists heading to San Diego on the train. Can you imagine their horror seeing a bunch of uniformed 5th graders infiltrating their car? It couldn't have been a pretty sight. I'm pretty sure we weren't a well-behaved bunch. So here's my diary posting for that April Fools Day:
Dear Diary,
Went to the San Diego Zoo on train.
Sat with Jane on way up and on the way
back Donna, Connie, Jane and I sat
together on seats like this

Seats went like this when you
press a button.
Seats were comfortable.

So I was pretty impressed with the seats. There was absolutely no news about the zoo or San Diego or anything else about the trip - just the seats. How easy was I to please?

Here's another posting about the girl scout meeting, but you can really tell that all I was interested in at that time were boys.
Dear Diary,
We put on those plays at girl scouts.
Gordon never pays any attention to me, so I guess
I'll stick with Douglas. All day long it's the same old boys.

One of my fondest memories of girl scout meetings was that we would all stand around holding hands and sing the Girl Scout song. My friend Jane and I can still sing all the words. If you were a girl scout, do you still remember the words? If not, these lovely ladies on youtube will help us out:

I loved being a girl scout, but once I got into high school I dropped out. It just wasn't the cool thing to do.
For other scouting stories, click on Sepia Saturday

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sepia Saturday #116 Amazing Hairdo

This is some hairdo, isn't it? The lady with the super teased hair was a friend of my late mother-in-law. I looked and looked through old family photos and when I found this one, I knew I had to use it. But I didn't know where it was going to lead - Disney, Cheech and Chong, The Manson murders, Silent Screen star. All of this from just one amazing hairdo.

The woman's name is Mimi. She and my mother-in-law, Virginia were best friends in Los Angeles and their sons were also best friends.

That's my mother-in-law, Virginia on the left with a not so weird hairdo and my ex-husband. I don't know the lady on the right. Are they all laughing because of Mimi's hairdo? I wonder.

But the interesting thing about her is her husband's history. His name was King Baggot,  a cinematographer who died while working on a Disney film in Hawaii. They were filming a scene on a ship out on the ocean and warned not to film that day because of bad weather. I don't know if it was the director or producer or what, but they went ahead and filmed against all the advice. King was swept overboard and died later of the injuries. Mimi was awarded a nice settlement from Disney. This is the movie:

And here's King Baggot himself discussing lenses with Debbie Reynolds:

Their son, also named King, went on to become a cinematographer as well (it was in his genes!). He worked on several movies including Cheech and Chong's Next Movie, Revenge of the Nerds, etc. etc. But the thing I didn't know about him was that when he was a cameraman for KABC-TV in Los Angeles, he covered the Manson murders.

An L.A. Times article featured the confession of Manson family member, Susan Adkins. She told where they had changed clothes during their getaway and dumped the bloody clothes in a roadside ravine. The L.A. Police Dept. ignored this part of her confession, while Baggot and his team did not. They recreated the getaway drive and found the bloody clothes. Baggot had to testify at the trial and when Manson testified, he tried to implicate Baggot in the murders. This story was featured in the book Helter Skelter.

I found while researching this interesting family, the real star of the clan, King Baggot the first. He was an internationally famous film star of the silent era. He was the first individually publicized leading man and was referred to as "King of the Movies".

It's amazing what this one hair style led me to. Thanks, Alan, for coming up with this week's theme.
To see other Sepia Saturday stories click here Sepia Saturday.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sepia Saturday #115 Popping the Question

Oops. Please don't read this post. I posted it by mistake. 

Let's pretend that the gentleman above is popping the question to this lovely supine lady who actually looks more drugged than wanting a marriage proposal. But since he's all dressed up and even has a boutonniere, he'll persist because he's really ready for marriage.

During this period, a game was played in many parlors across the U.S. that mimic this man's intentions. The game was called "How Silas Popped The Question."

I can just picture the young people of that time sitting around their parlors in great gales of hilarity playing this card game. Wow, how humor has changed over the years. I purchased one of these games in an antique store (I have a large collection of turn of the century games, so you can imagine my delight when this week's theme was announced).

The object of the game (kind of an early version of Mad Libs) was to use the cards with printed phrases  to insert in a story that's included in the game. Rules state that the winner is the person who laughs loudest!

Here's some examples of the phrases:

And here's the first page of a 7 page booklet:

I wonder how many actual proposals were spawned by this game. And speaking of proposals, haven't they become a little way too spectacular? I feel sorry for men who have to think up bigger and better ways to propose to their intended. In front of millions at some televised sporting event, with a special billboard, a banner flying behind an airplane, standing atop a high mountain. Geesh. how many ways are there to propose?

I looked at lots of proposals on youtube and this one really was the most original. To be proposed to by a hyena???

I don't know how I got from Silas popping the question to a hyena popping the question, but I guess it's all related. A wonderful example of proposals then and now and how times have changed. It's all really a big game, isn't it?

See more game stories by clicking here: Sepia Saturday