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“Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”
An Old Pen Shop Is Mightier Than the Death of Cursive
March 15, 2023
I share with you this Blog posted by Jack Limpert, long-time Editor of the Washington Post. Jack’s Blog, About Editing and Writing, can be found @ https://jacklimpert.com
This writer loves Pens also. A Sharpie S-Gel 0.7 is my go-to. Like John Wayne back in the day. I always carry. “If it’s not written down, it never happened.”
From a Washington Post story by Tara Bahrampour headlined “An old pen shop proves mightier than the pandemic and the death of cursive”:
The enormous patina-green fountain pen juts over the sidewalk on F Street, two blocks from the White House, its gold nib pointing down at the front doors like a command.
“Fahrney’s Pens,” the sign in calligraphy reads. Inside, the narrow space with 28-foot ceilings is a cathedral to its acolytes, its objects of worship gleaming under glass counters. Ball or fountain. Plastic or rose gold. Steel or acrylic resin, redwood or ebony, matte or shiny.
“Allow me to dip it,” store manager Phuntsok Namgyal says softly. He bathes a nib in a bottle of blue-black ink and hands a fountain pen to a customer, who dashes off his signature.
“Perfect,” the customer says. “It makes you want to write more.”
In its 94 years, Fahrney’s has outlasted the advent of mass-produced ballpoints, the rise of email and text messages, and a pandemic that decimated newer downtown businesses all around it. Its staying power can be attributed to a base of loyal old customers, along with a new generation raised on the digital but enchanted by the mechanical.
But the future of a shop dedicated to luxury pens will depend on more people wanting to write more. Some parts of the country have become pen-shop deserts, said Jonathan Weinberg, an artist and curator of the Maurice Sendak Foundation in Ridgefield, Conn., a state where he knows of no pen shops. “It’s a dying breed.”
One reason for Fahrney’s resilience may be its location.
“There’s just so many potential buyers, between senior government employees, law firms, lobbyists, accountants” in Washington, D.C., said David Baker, executive director of the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association. “There is a significant group of consumers that like to hold a fine writing instrument in their hand.”
Susan Ebner, 67, a lawyer from Potomac, Md., has been coming to Fahrney’s since the 1980s; on a visit last week, she reeled off the names of pens she had bought there and the year she had bought each one. Solomon Dennis, 79, of the District came in for refills.
“I was dealing with this shop when they were at the Willard,” he said, referring to the storied hotel. Fahrney’s moved to its current spot around the turn of the 21st century.
Dennis, leaning on a copper-colored walking stick, recalled the first pen he bought at Fahrney’s, in 1974: a Montblanc Diplomat. “It was a hundred and fifty dollars then; I think it’s a thousand and fifty now,” he said. When he lost it, he cried for a week.
Pens at Fahrney’s range from $20 to nearly $5,000 and from themes like Harry Potter to King Tut. Some have historical connections, like the Fisher Apollo, a ballpoint pen that traveled to the moon and contains gas that allows it to work underwater, upside down, in freezing temperatures and at zero gravity. A National Zoo pen features pandas.
Once, Fahrney’s sold a $130,000 pen “completely covered in diamonds,” store owner Chris Sullivan said.
Robert Collie, 58, of Vienna, Va., inherited a Parker 51 fountain pen from his father, who died when he was 8. “Three years ago, my mom says, ‘Oh, I forgot I had this; it was your dad’s,’” he said. Last week, Collie came to the shop to buy a similar one for his son, who was turning 25.
“I’m thinking maybe a fountain pen with his name engraved on it,” Collie said.
Choosing a pen is personal. How do you tend to hold it? Is your lettering large and loopy? Do you close your L’s? Do you prefer the feel of a light pen or a heavy one? Flashy or subtle? Fine tip or broad?
“It shows their individuality,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan’s parents bought the store in 1972 from founder Earl Fahrney. Sullivan, 62, worked in the shop growing up and now co-owns it with his sister; his 83-year-old mother is still working, too, in the warehouse in Upper Marlboro. (“I can’t get her to stop,” he said.)
Fahrney used to tell of how the store once supplied the White House, Sullivan recounted, aides “running down the street, knocking on his door after the shop closed.”
Nowadays, in-person purchases account for just 15 percent of sales; the rest is online and catalogue, he said. Still, the pandemic hit the shop hard. Its doors closed for three months, and business still hasn’t returned to what it was. “Look across the street,” Sullivan said, gesturing at papered-over shop windows. “It’s horrible.”
Worse were the lives lost during covid: Chuck Edwards, who repaired pens at Fahrney’s for three and a half decades; Elizabeth Spinks-Bunn, who taught calligraphy and cursive classes; and Sullivan’s father, Jon. The shop now displays Edwards’s neatly folded navy-blue work uniform, “The Pen Doctor” embroidered on its front, in a shadow box by his repair bench.
The store still does repairs, though it is getting harder to find parts. It also sells stationery, journals, inks and calligraphy books, a small bulwark against the drift of a country that long ago dropped handwriting classes from school curriculums.
And yet the generation that didn’t learn cursive has somehow fallen for fountain pens — and their interest is helping drive demand. The average age of customers at Fahrney’s is 60, but it is dropping, Sullivan said.
“There’s a lot of young buyers — ‘young’ being people in their 30s — paying $1,200 for a pen,” said Baker, the association director. “From what I hear, during covid, a lot of collectibles and fine items became significant as people had time to browse and look at these things.”
Trends like urban sketching and journaling have helped spur interest in fountain pens in particular, said Weinberg, who owns around 250 of them. “With a ballpoint pen, your hand tends to get a little cramped,” he said. “Your hand kind of flies across the page with a fountain pen.”
Like many old-school technologies, they do have drawbacks: the ink staining your hands when you fill them, the risk of leaks on planes. But for young people, who are embracing typewriters and vinyl, the glitches are part of the charm.
“Just as with records, you had all the scratches and skipping,” Weinberg said. “Young people don’t have that history, so they tend to romanticize.”
And so it was last week that a gaggle of young people, members of the concert choir at Otterbein University in central Ohio, skidded to a stop below the giant pen out front, mouths agape.
“A pen shop!”
Connor Rosenberger, a 19-year-old music major with flowing blond hair, had been searching for a fountain pen in every town the choir had visited on its tour. He said he takes notes in class by hand, because “psychology studies show you retain the information better,” and journals “all the time.” But there are no pen shops where he lives.
“It’s like a candy store for me,” Rosenberger said, standing in the middle of Fahrney’s, as if unsure where to turn. “A very expensive candy store.”
For his choir mates, too. Teddy McIntyre, a 21-year-old redhead with a denim jacket and a mustache, said he writes actual letters to relatives. “It’s kind of like opening a present, instead of getting an email sent to you. And it gives me an excuse to use my wax seal,” he said. And Anna Kate Scott, 22, said she writes novels and short stories by pen “because I feel more like I’m in it, rather than separated from it by a screen.”
At the counter, Rosenberger pointed at pen after pen, and Namgyal took each one out for him to try.
“This is so exciting,” Scott said. “You have to tell your mom that you found a whole fountain pen store!”
Rosenberger hesitated. The pen he was eyeing, an orange and black Monteverde Regatta Sport, cost $90. “She doesn’t like my obsession,” he said. “She’s like, ‘You only need one.’”
Soon, he was on the phone with her.
“I’ve bought nothing,” he relayed. “I actually broke one of my friends’ bracelets, and she didn’t ask me to, but I bought her a new one … and I bought myself a new ring that was five bucks.”
His friends were playing with a four-foot approximation of a Shaeffer fountain pen. They posed for photos with it. McIntyre held it up like a bazooka.
Rosenberger got off the call with his mom.
“She said use your best judgment,” he said.
Tara Bahrampour, a Post staff writer based in Washington, D.C., writes about aging, generations and demography. She has also covered immigration and education and has reported from the Middle East and North Africa, and from the republic of Georgia.
And finally, some recent losses.
Six weeks ago we had eight hens of various descriptions providing us with eggs. Thanks to a local Red-Tailed Hawk, we are down to six. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses …” Oops, that’s on the plaque at the base of the Statute of Liberty. Have you seen the price of Eggs lately?
March has been windy here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. None too warm either. Crazy weather across the country. We saw snow Flerries once so far this year. All those trucks with plows, just rusting away.
My goodness, LAZY could be my name. February flew by, well 28 days of it anyway. No Blog from the Rooster. I really thought I was on Wall Street. My ticker was working overtime, thanks to a new pacemaker, #3. I’ve had two during the past twenty years, the batteries get old and they, (electrophysiologists) put a new one in using the original leads. This time I got a third lead to my Left ventricle which was not beating according to Hoyle. What is an Electrophysiologist you ask? An electrophysiologist — also referred to as a cardiac electrophysiologist, arrhythmia specialist, or EP — is a doctor with a specialization in atypical heart rhythms and the electricity of the heart.
So the new lead was causing Diaphragmatic Stimulation and I got to make three trips to the ER over a three-week period. As of this writing, all is well. Enough already on that. Plenty of info out there if you’re at all interested. Really though, quite boring.
As some of you know I’ve been journaling daily for about ten years. I’ve been blogging since 08, here and on Blogspot. Granddaughter Jill, a senior at Siena University recently had a news piece printed about the subject. With her permission, read the below.
Just to give you the KID COUNT, we’ve had three of our own, nine grands, and six greats. I guess you could say we’ve been blessed over the past 58 years.
The following are a few picks from the past couple of months.
Top left we have a Northern Magnolia. In the center is an Eastern Shore sunset. to the right is a flowering Apple tree.
The bottom center is a “Did You Ever Wonder”. How in the name of John James Audubon, do Sea Gulls know the farmers are tilling the fields?
Don’t forget to Spring forward.
If you’re confused by all this, the official time right now for all states and territories of the United States is available from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Don’t forget to check
Sunsets over the Chesapeake
Golden rays of sun descend, On creeks and fields near Chesapeake’s bay. The sky ablaze in shades of red, As day gives way to night’s display.
The air is filled with peaceful sounds of chirping crickets, singing birds. The gentle trickle of the creek’s bounds A symphony of nature’s words.
The grassy fields, a sea of green Stretch out as far as the eye can see. Beneath the sunset’s dazzling sheen, A beautiful sight, so wild and free.
I stand and bask in nature’s glow As the sun sinks lower in the sky. This moment of peace and calm, I know, Will stay with me until I die
So I’ll sit and watch the sunset fade On creeks and fields near Chesapeake’s bay. Content to rest in nature’s shade As the world slips quietly away. theRooster 01/03/23
Both photos were taken on Maryland’s Eastern Shore on 2 January 2023 with an IPhone 11. Our Lord’s paintbrush, just doing its thing.
I meant to send the below out on several mediums a few weeks ago. Business in my life obviously kept it in my draft file and it never was posted. Perhaps you may think the timing is poor, if so apologies are extended to you.Several years ago on a trip to Germany my son-in-law and I had the opportunity to visit the Dachau Concentration camp.
Dachau (/ˈdɑːxaʊ/) was the first concentration camp built by Nazi Germany, opening on 22 March 1933. The camp was initially intended to intern Hitler’s political opponents which consisted of: communists, social democrats, and other dissidents. It is located on the grounds of an abandoned munitions factory northeast of the medieval town of Dachau, about 16 km (10 mi) northwest of Munich in the state of Bavaria, in southern Germany. After its opening by Heinrich Himmler, its purpose was enlarged to include forced labor, and, eventually, the imprisonment of Jews, Romani, German and Austrian criminals, and, finally, foreign nationals from countries that Germany occupied or invaded. The Dachau camp system grew to include nearly 100 sub-camps, which were mostly work camps or Arbeitskommandos, and were located throughout southern Germany and Austria. The main camp was liberated by U.S. forces on 29 April 1945.
Prisoners lived in constant fear of brutal treatment and terror detention including standing cells, floggings, the so-called tree or pole hanging, and standing at attention for extremely long periods. There were 32,000 documented deaths at the camp, and thousands that are undocumented. Approximately 10,000 of the 30,000 prisoners were sick at the time of liberation.
In the postwar years, the Dachau facility served to hold SS soldiers awaiting trial. After 1948, it held ethnic Germans who had been expelled from eastern Europe and were awaiting resettlement, and also was used for a time as a United States military base during the occupation. It was finally closed in 1960. (Reprinted from Wikipedia)
Now it is clear why the media hardly mentioned Pearl Harbor this year.When I was a kid, I couldn’t understand why Eisenhower was so popular. Maybe this will explain why General Eisenhower Warned Us. It is a matter of history that when the Supreme Commander of the Allied
Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found the victims of the death camps he ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury the dead. He did this because he said in words to this effect: ‘Get it all on record now – get the films – get the witnesses – because somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that this never happened.
This week, the UK debated whether to remove The Holocaust from it school curriculum because it ‘offends’ the Muslim population which claims it never occurred. It is not removed as yet. However, this is a frightening portent of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving into it. It is now more than 70 years after the Second World War in Europe ended. This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the, six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians, and 1,900 Catholic priests Who were ‘murdered, raped, burned, starved, beaten, experimented on and humiliated’ while many in the world looked the other way! Now, more than ever, with Iran, among others, claiming the Holocaust to be ‘a myth,’ it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.
How many years will it be before the attack on the World Trade Center ‘NEVER HAPPENED’, because it offends some Muslims?Do not just delete this message; it will take only a minute to pass this along. Remember when all classrooms had an American flag in them? Do they even teach our children about the World Trade Center attacks in 1993 and 2001, or did it go the way of Pearl Harbor and Veterans Day? Don’t even mention Christmas or Hanukkah or prayers in school. Many schools no longer recite the Pledge of Allegiance and many children do not know the words to our National Anthem, or that we even have one!
On a more joyous note I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.
This morning the wife and I are sitting at the kitchen table and I notice a box of Hamburger Helper on the counter. It’s been many a year since I’ve seen a box like that in our house. ” What pray God are we doing with that,” says I. The little lady answers with, “I just thought a trip back to the fifties might be something different”
I am shocked. We eat quite well mostly, no strict diet of one kind or another. Our diet is what I would call well rounded. None of that scheduled fasting, no Vegan, Ketogenic, Mediterranean, Paleo, Weight Watcher’s, Carb Cycling or what ever. I’d like to call our diet a good old sensible 1950’s real food diet. I mean, for goodness sakes, I’ll be eighty (80) in a few months, we must be doing something right.
So, getting back to the Helper. No Hamburger in the freezer, so the lady breaks out a pound of ground Pork. “How about some Green Beans with that.” “No,” Hamburger Helper I’m told. You see, I love Green Beans. I could most likely finish a #10 can of the beans all by myself. I’m told there may be some Spinach mixed in. Wouldn’t Popeye be proud of us. So, tonight, it’s back to the fifties.
Our daughter Kathryn and son-in-law Jeff have Jeff’s dad living with them for a few months. Jeff’s heading to Austria and Slovenia for a few weeks soon and we shall prepare some of the meals. I’m guessing Jeff will eat quite well on someone else’s dime. Daughter Kathryn gets busy at work so we shall help with a meal or two on the table for her and her father-in-law.
Some great meals from the fifties, Beef Stroganoff, thanks Hamburger Helper. Next on most everyone’s list, Meat Loaf. The beefy, robust flavors come together like nothing else and have become cherished by every American across the country. How about Skirt Steak on the grill? After World War II, American families could finally get more access to meat and with the advent of outdoor grilling, steaks became the hot item that continues to define American cuisine.
Chicken and dumplings trace their roots back for centuries. Our dumplings are called Slicks. Auntie Ems has them all ready to boil and frozen should you wish to shop in our Food Lion or Acme. A bit of Green Bean Casserole on the side would be lovely. My good Irish friend Ed O’Leary uses the word LOVELY quite often. Hands across the sea you know. I have a cousin, haven’t seen her in years, Patty was her name. For family functions we could always depend on Green Beans and Onion topping. If you’re reading this, “Hi Patty.”
Chili, we eat this with a bit of frequency, thanks to son-in-law Jeff. It’s especially good during football season. On the side you’ll always find a bowl of Jalapenos. His gut must always be in turmoil.
I could go on and on, how about Chicken Pot Pie, a Sunday Beef or Pork Roast with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots, and weekend meals are sure to transform forever. Don’t forget to go to Sunday School.
We in our suburban Philadelphia home always had, it seemed like a weekly staple anyhow, Fish Sticks. To this day, I deplore Fish Steaks.
At any rate, should you be old enough to remember, perhaps I’ve stimulated your brain and taste buds. Eat well, eat often, and don’t go to be hungry.
Turn off the TV and internet fifteen minutes early, pick up your favorite book, and read a few pages. It really helps you sleep. Currently, I’m Reading “Fall of Giants” by Ken Follett. It seems lately it’s either history or the life and times of Stone Barrington that I’m reading. Stuart Woods writes about Mr. Barrington.
25f on 12/06 on Md’s Eastern Shore this AM. It was a bit chilly when I let the chickens out of the hutch. Now, if we could just have a few more eggs girls. They’ve reached the terrible twos, The egg count is down.
Don’t forget to check on the elderly.
Thinking back, more years than I really hate to remember, there was always a Fruit Cake in our, or my grandmothers home. Imbedded into the fruitcake was Paradise Green Candied Cherries–also known as Glace Green Cherries–have been a part of candied fruit recipes for generations. Green candied cherries are sweet and chewy, and complement red candied cherries in a variety of recipes, making for a more colorful and tasty baked treat. I detested those colored cherries as well as the red, orange and blue ones also. When you come right down to it, I detested Fruitcake, especially back in my single did-get days. I’d be right to say I detested Fruitcake in my teens also.
Citron is and has been used in fruitcakes forever. Perhaps as a youngster, now there’s a word you don’t hear much these days, I wasn’t a fan of Citron, but I’ve come to learn there are some real health benefits from eating Citron.
Let me jump forward sixty-plus years, actually one year shy of age eighty, and my ability to enjoy Fruitcake today. For the past four years I’ve enjoyed the Abby of Getheehsemani’s prize-winning 2 1/2 lb Kentucky Bourbon Fruitcake. The Abbey is a monastery in the Order of the Cistercians of the Strict Observance (OCSO), part of the body of the Roman Catholic Church. Nothing during the month of December brings more enjoyment in the mornings than a piece of the Monks Fruitcake and a nice hot cup of Pete’s dark roast coffee.
Happy Cristmas to all 3 weeks early.
My Paulownia Tree
Thank you, Wiki, to whom I contribute to, for my lead-in for this Blog.
Paulownia (/pɔːˈloʊniə/ paw-LOH-nee-ə) is a genus of seven to 17 species of hardwood tree (depending on taxonomic authority) in the family Paulowniaceae, the order Lamiales. They are present in much of China, south to northern Laos and Vietnam and are long cultivated elsewhere in eastern Asia, notably in Japan and Korea.
It was introduced to North America in 1844 from Europe and Asia where it was originally sought after as an exotic ornamental tree. Its fruits (botanically capsules) were also used as packaging material for goods shipped from East Asia to North America, leading to Paulownia groves where they were dumped near major ports. The tree has not persisted prominently in US gardens, in part due to its overwintering brown fruits that some consider ugly. In some areas it has escaped cultivation and is found in disturbed plots. Some US authorities consider the genus an invasive species, but in Europe, where it is also grown in gardens, it is not regarded as invasive.
The genus, originally Pavlovnia but now usually spelled Paulownia, was named in honour of Anna Paulowna, queen consort of The Netherlands (1795–1865), daughter of Tsar Paul I of Russia. It is also called “princess tree” for the same reason.
Paulownia trees produce as many as 20 million tiny seeds per year. However, the seeds are very susceptible to soil biota and only colonize well on sterile soils (such as after a high temperature wildfire). Well-drained soil is also essential. Successful plantations usually purchase plants that have been professionally propagated from root cuttings or seedlings. Although seeds, seedlings, and roots of even mature trees are susceptible to rot, the wood is not and is used for boat building and surfboards.
Trees can grow to maturity in under 10 years and produce strong, lightweight timber, good as firewood, with an even higher strength to weight ratio than balsa wood. Its density is low at around 0.28 kg/liter, although significantly higher than balsa’s very low 0.16 kg/liter.
My Paulownia tree was planted about fifteen years ago from seed. The tree appeared to die off that first year, and when I did the first mowing, what little I had left, I mowed over it. Throughout the mowing season, if there was any growth, it was cut. After that first year, it grew with a vengeance, underground, it must have been doing things I was unaware of. The tree has been growing ever since.
We had one winter back some years ago with a lot of ice. If you can pick out the difference of the right side of the tree, that side faces North. Several limbs broke off that year, and it remains vacant today.
Today, 18 November 2022, was our first frost. The temperature dropped to 28f, and the Princess started dropping her leaves. Historically the tree drops her leaves beginning on the first frost. After conferring with Mrs., we both believe this is our latest first frost here on Marylands Eastern Shore.
I’m guessing Al Gore would say Global Wahttps://www.conserve-energy-future.com/al-gore-and-global-warming.phprming.
History of Paulownia
The below information is from the site – https://paulowniatrees.org/about/about-the-paulownia-tree/
Paulownia wood has been used in Japan for centuries primarily as a furniture wood. Wooden chests of drawers called Tansu are made from this wood and nearly every Japanese home has a Tansu of solid Paulownia, or sliced Paulownia veneer glued on a Lauan plywood. Other uses of the wood include musical instruments called Koto, wooden clogs called Geta, ornamental carvings, wooden bowls and spoons, bas relief panels, and large and small gift boxes. While the Japanese do not consider this tree “Holy”, the wood is held in reverence by those who work with the tree, possibly due to the ability of the tree to regenerate from its own root. This, coupled with its resistance to rot and its freedom from checking and cracking, may account for this reverence.
Properties of Paulownia
Paulownia is 30% lighter than any comparable American hardwood, falling mid-way between balsa and poplar. The wood weighs between 15 and 19 pounds per cubic foot air-dried. The tree will not rot when felled in the forest unless it is touching a contaminant of some sort. The lumber can be air dried in as little as 60 days in racks or kiln dried to 10% – 12% moisture in five to seven days.
Logs may be debarked, milled into lumber, exported, or used in established domestic markets. U.S.-based markets are being developed continuously and account for over 80% of all timber harvested domestically. Water and snow sports products make up much of the current usage, and marine-grade plywood production efforts are well underway.
Across the Bay
There are three women from around here that do a Whale of a good thing together. For at least the past three years these ladies have ventured out on the SEA, we call it the Atlantic Ocean around here. So far it has been via the Tidewater area of Virginia. To get there from here you head south and cross the lower Chesapeake Bay where it meets the Atlantic Ocean via the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. This year the trio will take the Cape May – Lewes Ferry, crossing Delaware Bay. And what is this you ask, it’s a Whale watching adventure, on a boat.
The girls, Mary Agnes, Kathryn, and Alexis do a lot of things together. Mary Agnes is the Matriarch, Kathryn is her daughter, and Alexis might as well be a daughter. There is a definite Irish connection there. We shall save that connection for another time down the road. These girls also spend a lot of time together wearing out the soles of sneakers. Marathons, half marathons, 10-Ks, 5-Ks and lazy meanderings are often the order of a day off together.
Previously the girls used Virginia Beach, VA as their launch site. This year they shall venture out from Cape May. They will spend their nights in Wildwood Crest, just north of Cape May. New places to shop, new restaurants to try out. Perhaps they could work their way north in the coming years and travel further up the east coast. There great shopping and food venues in places like Montauk, Long Island, Newport, Rhode Island, and Gloucester, Massachusetts. I’m told they even see Whales way up there in Canada.
What a difference a day makes. Yesterday we had temperatures in the low to mid 70’s here on the East Coast of the USA. It is now Sunday 13 November 2022 and as I type this at 0630 hrs. it is 49f, 9.4c for the rest of the world. Will we ever change and join the world community? But then again, the English still weigh in Stones. I guess we all have our little quirks.
11/13/2022 Today’s Marine Forcast…Nw Winds Around 20 Kt With Gusts Up To 30 Kt. Seas 3 To 5 Ft. Nw Swell 3 To 5 Ft At 4 Seconds. Light Swells. Showers Likely Early This Morning, Then A Chance Of Showers Late This Morning. A small craft warning is in effect. Will the girls get a rain check once again? Thank the good Lord shopping is always an option.
November 10, 2022
Yes today is my birthday, along with every other present and past United States Marine. No matter where we born, Parris Island, SC, San Diego CA or Quantico, VA. When you get that Eagle Globe and Anchor, your life as a Marine has begun. I feel I’m looking pretty good for a man of 247 years.
Here is the Commandant’s message for this the 247 Birthday of the Marine Corps. Should you be interested in learning a little more, take a few minutes and watch the accompanying video.
The US Marine Corps started as the Continental Marines on November 10, 1775. On that date, the Second Continental Congress decided that they needed 2 battalions of Marines to serve as landing forces with the Continental Navy during the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783).
(Photo from : https://weaponsandwarfare.com/about/
After the war, the Continental Navy was dismantled, and as a consequence the Marines as well. However, after increasing conflict with revolutionary France, the Marine Corps was formally re-established.
If you live east of the Mississippi river, your boot camp training will be located at Parris Island, SC. Now there is a special place that brings back many memories from every Marine who has gone through that training.
Parris Island has a long history of colonization. Many attempts were made at permanent settlement between 1526 and 1722. The first successful attempt was made by the French in 1562, followed by the Spanish and finally the British. After the Revolutionary War, Parris Island plantations began to grow cotton instead of indigo. During the Civil War, the island became a coaling station for the Union Navy.
Nov. 2, 1861 – The first Marines in the area of Parris Island sailed into Port Royal Harbor, S.C., as members of detachments aboard various ships with the Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Commanding officer, Navy Capt. Samuel F. Du Pont, seized the area and it was used as an important base for the Union Navy throughout the Civil War.
Aug. 7, 1882 – An act of Congress authorized the establishment and construction of a coaling dock and naval storehouse at Port Royal Harbor. A select group of naval officers chose Parris Island as the site.
In early July of 1962 this writer arrived at Parris Island via Yamassee, SC.
Although Parris Island’s first recruits arrived on the USS Prairie in October 1915, the Marines developed that same year a train station at Yemassee, S.C., which was the depot’s initial receiving point for the central and eastern recruiting stations. The town then had a bank, a general store, a few houses and “an abundancy of South Carolina pine.” A hotel was also there in 1915, and the Marines praised its ballroom and the gracious hospitality of the townspeople, especially its pretty girls. Recruits arriving at Yemassee on the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad would be transferred to the Charleston & Western Railroad, which ran to Port Royal. Once there, the World War I recruits would be placed on everything from side wheel ferryboats, barges, long boats or a kicker (a small motor boat) for the trip to Parris Island. Today, most all recruits are flown to this great advenure and will land in Charleston, SC.
I along with a host of new recruits from more northern states would board a train at 30th street station in Philadelphia, PA and head south to 13 weeks of summer camp. Should wish to learn more of this summer adventure check out https://www.mcrdpi.marines.mil/Centennial-Celebration/Historical-information/8-Yemassee-SC/
Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego
Today this Recruit Depot provides its nation’s Corps with basically trained Marines to fight in the current conflicts in both Iraq and Afghanistan. The depot has the responsibility to train all male recruits who reside west of the Mississippi River to serve at the call of the nation. Some history should you be interested. https://www.mcrdsd.marines.mil/About/Depot-History/
Officer Candidates School
The mission of Officer Candidates School (OCS) is to educate and train officer candidates in Marine Corps knowledge and skills within a controlled and challenging environment in order to evaluate and screen individuals for the leadership, moral, mental, and physical qualities required for commissioning as a Marine Corps officer.
Reading at a young age.
My favorite children’s stories?
Hans Brinker and his silver skates was one of the first books I ever remember having. It was a historical novel by Mary Mapes Dodge. Now I consider myself old, in 2023 I shall turn 80 years old. This book, it’s really old, it was written in 1865. I had a bedside table in my room in the apartment my mother and I lived in. This apartment was the 2’nd floor of my great grandmother and great grandfather, Lena and William Peachmann. We lived there until until 1950. That book was always on the shelf of the bedside table.
So, I was reading at age seven. And yes, I’m still reading today. Several eye surgeries of late have put a bit of a crimp in this enjoyable endeavor.
Two memories of my great grandfather, who I called Grandpop, by the way, were playing checkers and him wittling. I especially remember him whittling a canoe and shavings always on the floor around his chair. And my goodness, I loved playing checkers anytime. Great grandmother Lena was my surrogate mother during those first seven years. She kept me well fed. She was grandmom, and spoiled me with love.
One other book, “Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson” was always next to the bed. Treasure Island is one book I’ve read more than once. “For sheer storytelling delight and pure adventure, Treasure Island has never been surpassed. From the moment young Jim Hawkins first encounters the sinister Blind Pew at the Admiral Benbow Inn until the climactic battle for treasure on a tropic isle, the novel creates scenes and characters that have fired the imaginations of generations of readers”. Thanks to HTTPS://WWW.GOODREADS.COM/BOOK/SHOW/295.TREASURE_ISLAND for this bit of information.
Here’s a book review on Hans Brinker from – HTTPS://WWW.PLUGGEDIN.COM/BOOK-REVIEWS/HANS-BRINKER-OR-SILVER-SKATES/.
Hans Brinker, age 15, and his sister, Gretel, age 12, live in Holland in the mid-1800s. Ten years before this tale unfolds, their father, Raff, suffered an injury that left him senseless and incapacitated. The children and their mother have lived in poverty ever since. They know Raff buried a large sum of money prior to his fall, but he’s unable to tell them where it’s hidden. Raff also left a fine watch with Dame Brinker just before his accident, making her promise to keep it safe. She knows nothing of its mysterious origins and has often considered selling it to feed the family.Hollanders get around in the winter by skating on the frozen canals. Hans and Gretel can’t afford real skates, so they strap blocks of wood to their feet. Though many wealthier children look down on the Brinkers, a few, including Hilda van Gleck, Peter van Holp and Annie Bouman, show great kindness and generosity. Hilda and Peter buy Hans’ homemade necklaces so he and Gretel can afford real skates without feeling they’ve taken charity. These children provide other necessities for the Brinkers as well.The children of the city are overcome with excitement when they learn of an upcoming skating contest. The fastest girl and the fastest boy will each win a pair of silver skates.As Hans goes to town to purchase his skates, he spies the renowned surgeon Dr. Boekman on the street. Hans offers his skate money to the man, if the doctor will examine Raff. Touched by Hans’ story, the doctor refuses the money and promises to come see Raff when he returns from a trip.Shortly thereafter, Raff’s health deteriorates. Hans and Peter go in search of the doctor, but without success. When Dr. Boekman finally returns, he performs a risky surgery to relieve pressure on Raff’s brain. Raff experiences healing that is miraculous. Though his memory is foggy, he is essentially the same person he was before his accident. He helps the family find the lost money, and the Brinkers are finally able to support themselves in a reasonable manner.Raff also begins to remember the story behind the watch he’d left with Dame Brinker. It was given to him by a man named Thomas Higgs who was fleeing the country. Thomas believed he’d inadvertently poisoned someone. He asked Raff to contact his father and give him the watch. Thomas told Raff to have his father contact him if it was ever safe for him to return to Holland. On one of Dr. Boekman’s visits, the Brinkers discover Thomas Higgs is the doctor’s son. Dr. Boekman explains that he had prevented the poisoned man’s death, so Thomas was not in any legal trouble. He’s thrilled to learn his son may still be alive, and Hans promises to help the doctor find Thomas. Through another coincidence, they trace Thomas to England. He returns home immediately.Hans and Gretel, along with all of the children of the town, join the race for the silver skates. Gretel wins in the girls’ category. Hans is one of the finalists in the boys’ category. When Peter’s skate strap breaks right before the final run, Hans graciously gives his strap to his friend. Peter wins the race.Dr. Boekman later returns to the Brinkers’ house to introduce his son. Thomas will be starting a business in town and offers Raff a job as his right-hand man. When Dr. Boekman learns of Hans’ interest in surgery, he invites the boy to become his apprentice.In a sub-plot, Peter leads a group of boys on a multi-day skating adventure to various Holland cities. The boys (including an English boy named Ben) see numerous historical sites and share stories about famous Dutchmen over the years. The narrator uses this trip to show readers a detailed geography and history of Holland. One legend made famous by this novel is the tale of the Dutch boy who sticks his finger in a dike to save his town from flooding. Peter and the boys say this tale represents the spirit of Holland. Any leak, be it in government, public safety or honor, is quickly filled by a million fingers. The boys lose their money, sail on an ice boat and catch a thief before visiting Peter’s sister’s mansion and returning home for the big race.
My take away from this was that the children of the Neherlands drank beer and wine in place of contaminated water. I thought that was neat.