Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ode to 2015

"Poo-Poos" for the eve of the New Year.
A visit to the birthplace of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings' young dear.

Books upon books to buy at a fair and library.
A new paint job for Tradewinds; she is once again bright and airy.

Pioneers, Mote Marine, a Sanibel Island beach vacay in a cottage.
Shakespeare in the Park with me on the stage.

Summer trip to Indiana seeking Harmony, balloon rides and mounds.
A visit to my childhood home made the rounds.

Lincoln's boyhood home and "All Things Boone".
Historical places we'll not forget soon.

More "Poo-Poos" at Historical Gasparilla Inn.
The Cumberland Gap, a log cabin in the wood.
Lunch at the first KFC, to miss it would be a sin.
The chicken as always, "finger-lickin'-good".

Playing dress-up for the county:
A Mars colonist, pirate and Red Cross nurse.
Historical facts and fun as my bounty.
I continue to fill my memory's purse.

I look back on 2015, never a moment dull.
A year that was quite busy.
I see my 2016 calendar already getting full.
It could make one dizzy.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Monday, December 21, 2015

Victory Florida USO

2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. As living history docents for the county, The Colonel and I (Darling-Sister-In-Law was out of town) once again donned costumes to help with the county historical center's program entitled, Victory Florida USO. Victory Florida is a statewide initiative that honors and celebrates local, state and national heroes and heroines of WWII.

Our USO had pretty, patriotic centerpieces on the tables. Every place setting had a box of Cracker Jack for the attendees to eat or take home with them. Cracker Jack has been an American favorite since 1896.

Big Band music played on a sound system while people ate food that became popular in the 1940s. Foods like: S.O.S. (creamed, chipped beef on toast), fruit cocktail, Spam on crackers and Mock Apple Pie (the pie filling was made entirely of Ritz Crackers and tasted like apple pie). There was also a sheet cake for dessert (see picture at beginning of post).

We had a good crowd of attendees. Many of them were veterans and a few were WWII veterans. Some of the veterans danced and one WWII veteran got up to the microphone to tell us all, especially the kids that were there, about how great this country is and that war is not glamorous. He gave a little history lesson about WWII too.

The kids were able to make their own flags that they could take home with them.

The local gardener's club had a display about Victory Gardens and they were handing out packages of cabbage seeds.

Crystal, our boss, came dressed in a "Cracker Jack" style naval suit. Her son was dressed as an aviator.

Crystal's boss came dressed as "Rosie the Riveter". Jackie was the one who made the S.O.S. and Mock Apple Pie. She made some test pies at home and used her husband, who loves apple pie, as a guinea pig...he did not believe her when she told him that there was no apple in the pie.

Jeannie, a docent, came dressed as our "Kissing Booth" girl. She looked like she stepped right out of the 1940s. Her dress and hat were perfect but the most perfect touch were the "Victory Curls" in her hair.

She didn't actually kiss anyone (except one WWII veteran, when The Colonel dared her to), she handed out chocolate kisses and for a small donation she "sold" candy cigarettes, bubblegum cigars and chocolate bars.

The Colonel was dressed as a Block Warden who was "selling", for a donation, war bonds. At the end of the program, the person who was holding the most war bonds won a gift basket full of goodies.

I was dressed as a Red Cross Nurse. I had a table top display that gave the history of the Red Cross. It was very instrumental in the blood donation effort during WWII. The Red Cross also was the entity that contacted the servicemen when their wives back home had delivered a baby. When I gave birth to our daughter in Washington State, it was the Red Cross that contacted The Colonel in Korea, telling him he had a baby girl and that both mother and baby were doing well.

The Victory Florida USO was a hit! Many of the veterans said the food and music brought back fond memories from their pasts. What I enjoyed most was watching the interaction between the generations. Many of the teens who were there as volunteers, sat at the tables of the WWII veterans, listened to their stories and asked thoughtful questions. WWII veterans are a great learning resource for us all, one that is becoming more difficult to find as their numbers dwindle.

"We owe our WWII Veterans - and all our Veterans - a debt we can never fully repay,"

- Doc Hastings (U.S. Representative -Rep. 1995-2015)

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Pirate's Life For Me

On September 19th, The Colonel, Darling-Sister-In-Law and I got to dress up again to help the county historical center with another one of its outreach programs. This time we got to dress up as pirates. We began putting together our piratical outfits with glee and gusto...who doesn't like dressing up as a pirate? We rummaged through closets, visited Goodwill stores, shopped at Wal-Mart and online. I think we did a fantastic job cobbling together our outfits. What say ye matey?

We were dressed as pirates because the county program had Captain Mike Daniel as a quest speaker. Captain Daniel is a naval historian and undersea explorer. On November 21, 1996, he discovered Blackbeard's flagship the Queen Anne's Revenge off the coast of North Carolina.

The county historical center co-sponsored the program with Life Long Learning (LLI), an adult, continuing education group that has an office at the local community college. Because of the LLI connection, we were able to hold the program at the college auditorium. We set up tables of information and kids activities in the lobby. Captain Daniel was inside the auditorium giving his slide-based lecture. I was not able to listen to any of his lecture because I was busy in the lobby with the kid's activities. Those who heard him speak enjoyed his lecture.

One of the activities was "Walking the Plank". The Colonel and I made the planks in the garage (it is becoming "Dreamworks" SW Florida). We also made the shark fins. Notice that they are Black-Tip Reef Shark fins. These types of sharks are found in the waters of the Caribbean.

The shark fins and planks were set upon a blue tarp or the "Drink". The kids and adults had fun seeing how far they could walk the plank without falling into the Drink. One boy even walked backwards without falling. I told him he would make a good pirate and would he like to join our scurvy crew? He would have to clear it with his mother first, of course. We weren't such a scurvy crew that we would resort to Shanghaiing the lad.

Another activity was a bean bag toss. The kids would try to knock down a ship with a bean bag. Some of the kids tossed with deadly accuracy.

After his lecture, Captain Daniel sold beautiful maps and then would sign them upon request. Of course I got one and had it signed.

Captain Mike Daniel was very friendly. He enjoyed himself very much and especially liked that we were dressed as pirates. He told us that he would love to come back again for another lecture.

Better keep our piratical gear at the ready...

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Adventures In Time

Funny, I am writing a post about time...because I must hurry to get a couple of more posts (about things I have done this year) written before time in 2015 runs out!

On July 21st (that is almost 5 months to the day that I am writing this post! Now you can see how time has laughed, rolled its window down, stuck its hand out,  flipped me the bird and left me in a cloud of dust as it sped by) The Colonel and I participated in another county program. The program was entitled, "Adventures in Time".

The program's premise: Dr. Almyra Turveydrop and Professor Octavius Ambrose, Victorian scientists, have created a time machine and portal called the Ambrodrop 3,000. With the time machine they hope to bring people through the portal from the past and future. They are unveiling their creation to a room full of potential buyers...only catch is they have not tried it out in public yet. With fingers crossed they start up the Ambrodrop 3,000....

The Colonel spent many hours building the time machine and portal in our garage before the day of the program. He did a fantastic job in making them look very Steam-punk. He also put together a great Victorian Steam-punk outfit for his character, Professor Octavius Ambrose.

The program was held at a local library. It was open to the public at no cost. We docents and our "Boss" met at the library early to set up the time machine and portal.

When all was finally set up, we tested the lights that ran around the portal's opening. The room would be dark when it was time for the "time travelers" to come through the portal.

We had a nice crowd (the prospective purchasers of the Ambrodrop 3,000) in the room; a mix of adults and children. It was time to start our adventures in time.

Professor Ambrose did the calculations for the each time traveler.

The room went dark, the time machine lit up and made sounds like whining gears (The Colonel created an mp3 sound track for the time machine) and the portal lights flashed whenever a character came through the portal or went back through it.

We had an interesting parade of persons come through time and tell their stories. Darling-Sister-In-Law portrayed Marie Curie...lab coat and all. We also had Virginia Trabue, the wife of my town's founder. She visited from the late 1800s. Marie Antoinette also came through the portal. She wanted to share her petite, powdered doughnut with the crowd...she kept it in her decolletage, mon dieu! She said, "Let them eat cake...doughnuts!"

The two Maries

I portrayed a Mars colonist who was a geologist. I had my young daughter come through time with me (apparently Mars colonists still practice the tradition of "Take Your Daughter to Work Day"). My young daughter was played by my boss's little girl.

During one of the time portal calculations, Professor Ambrose made a small miscalculation and nearly brought a dinosaur through the portal. The crowd heard a dinosaur's roar as the portal lights flashed. Dr. Turveydrop and Professor Ambrose quickly shut that time portal down.

The Adventures in Time program was a success. We had planned on giving the "performance" a few more times and at other libraries but a change to the school year's starting date put an end to it. School started earlier than normal which meant that the days we had chosen to give the program, the kids would be in school.

The Time Travelers

This county program has been put on the shelves for now, but it may be brought down, dusted off and done again next year. Who knows who or what Dr. Almyra Turveydrop and Professor Octavius Ambrose will bring through next time when they fire up their Ambrodrop 3,000!