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Most of what you read here was original text.
21 January, 2023
Somewhere, MD 20***
I would love to do my civic duty, but honestly, I’m just tired.
Medically, I’m a real piece of work. Five cervical & Lumbar spinal surgeries have helped on the road to being tired. I can just vision the following taking place. I’m sitting in the Jury Box and get up to move, i’m getting numb again. “Juror # 7, where are you going?” “Sorry judge, just an old injury acting up,” I say. Neuropathy leads me to constantly raise my arms, #7, do you have a question? ” “ I’m sorry, no your honor I do not have a question.” The neuropathy also leads to my legs impulsively shooting straight forward at times. Not good should I be sitting in the second row of the Jury Box. “Juror #4, what are you on the floor?”
I retired from the State Police way back in1988 and found MD, that’s Postal speak for Maryland.. The first 12 years were delightful. We found a 100 year old house for sale next to the spillway of a gorgeous pond. After two years of work we opened this home as a B&B. Long about the year 2000, enter Cardiac issues. It all began with Atrial Fibrillation. A subsequent Heart Attack, two Bypass operations, five cardiac stents and on February 1 of this year I obtain my third Pacemaker. I’m much like that well known Rabbit, I just keep on ticking.An Electrophysiologist also added a third lead to my new device, one of my Valves is not operating properly. Never heard a word about the consonants though. I’m guessing I don’t have a problem there. Oh, and I lost count on the number of Cardioversions, scheduled and unscheduled. That’s the thingy where someone yells “CLEAR!” Now that would be excitement were I seated in the Jury Box and needed one, wouldn’t it?
I do tire quite easily and on most afternoons I catch a nap for an hour or so. From the bench once again, “ Excuse me counselor, would someone please wake-up Juror #7.” My Long Term Memory is fantastic, the Mrs says my short term memory does not exist. If it’s not written down it’s not going to happen. Did I mention my hearing, well I’m not even going to go there. just ask the wife. “Turn the Volume down,” she hollers from the upstairs.
I stay busy spoiling my seven Hens, chickens, not wives, and have numerous bird feeders as well. For my eightieth birthday I got a feeder with a camera that takes great pictures. I read a ton, write a blog, “When the Rooster Crows” @ https://elfidd.com. In season Uconn Woman’s Basketball keeps me awake after Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Phillies baseball and Eagles football also occupy my time in their respective season. I grew up in the Philadelphia area in case you were wondering. The O’s are liked also, though not if they ever play the Phillies in the World Series. Hey, how about the UConn men, won the NCAA national title this year in basketball.
One other caveat to the March date of your SUPENA. I will turn Eighty (80) in March, pending good results from my new pacemaker of course. Our son and his family reside in Connecticut and we were hoping to spend a few days with them during my birthday week. A night out at a Michelin rated restaurant is worth a trip north on occasion. It was a seven hour trip some years back, now it’s at least two days. Some nice people work at those Holiday Inn Express’ and they feed you breakfast also. I always get a Banana for the road. it’s been said they help constipation. Lord knows I don’t want to eat no bananas were I on Jury duty.
” #7, where are you going in such a hurry?”
Our two daughters followed us here and reside in the county. they check on us often. In total we have had 3 children, 9 Grands and 6 Greats. We have been blessed.
So Ma’am, should you still wish for me to sit in a Jury Box, you have the power to do so. But Honestly Commissioner, I’d love to be excused. Be my Hero, say YES—-Please. The only good of me being there would be that my wife of 58 years would have the house to herself for a month. I’m thinking it would be a lot quieter also.
With all do respect,
Yes, my friends, I was excused.
Don’t forget to check on the elderly!
Happy St. Patrick’s Day
- A family addition
- A Friend
- A Post from the past.
- About me
- Around the House
- Around the Village
- Canada 2016
- Happy New Year
- Keeping Busy
- Merry Christmas
- Mug Shots
- On the road with the Rooster
- Our first frost
- Where in the world
“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
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.
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.
I share with you this wonderful article on Bacon. I’m sure the men, or most of them anyway, are fans of this nourishing food. “Here Piggy, piggy, piggy.”
The Best Method for Making Bacon
Cast iron or in the oven? Microwave or air fryer?
- Ann Taylor Pittman
Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell; Design: Kitchn
People often joke that bacon makes everything better. I tend to agree. I use it a lot as a flavoring agent in recipes — a slice or two to infuse a pot of dried beans with porky richness, for example. But on #treatyoself days, I’ll cook up a mess of bacon as a more substantial component to a dish, or as a standalone food. This is the bacon to pile onto burgers or BLTs, or to enjoy alongside pancakes or waffles, dragging the strips through syrup or runny egg yolks.
Yet I’ve never had a consistent, go-to method for cooking that bacon. I’ve cooked it in a skillet and in the oven, and I’ve resorted to the microwave when I was in a hurry. I’ve read about air fryer and sous vide methods I’d like to try, as well as other hacks for easier cleanup or better texture.
To find which method or methods work best, I tested eight that are touted by trusted website sources and compared the results side-by-side. My house smelled amazing, by the way, and my sons and husband were delighted to help me taste test.
Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell; Design: Kitchn
A Few Notes About Methodology
Tests: I tried each method twice — once with regular-cut bacon and once with thick-cut. For each method, I tested the number of bacon slices that fit into the cooking vessel (skillet, sheet pan, air fryer basket, etc.) and made note of that in my description.
Bacon: I used widely distributed grocery-store brands. For regular-cut bacon, I went with Oscar Mayer Naturally Hardwood Smoked Bacon. And for thick-cut, I chose Wright Hickory Smoked Bacon.
Time: The time listed is the cooking time; any preheating time is noted separately. I did not list cleanup time.
Ratings: I rated each cooking method on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing perfection. Texture, cook time, ease of preparation, cleanup, and appearance all factor into the ratings.
Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell
Method: Water in Skillet
Total Time: 15 minutes (regular-cut bacon); 16 minutes (thick-cut bacon)
About This Method: This technique, touted by Cook’s Illustrated, instructs you to arrange bacon in a cold skillet and add just enough water to cover. You cook over high heat until the water boils, lower the heat to medium until the water evaporates, and then cook over medium-low heat until the bacon is done.
The theory here is that the water “keeps the initial cooking temperature low and gentle, so the meat retains its moisture and stays tender.” The site doesn’t specify what type of skillet to use, so I went with stainless steel, which is shown in the accompanying photo. There are no instructions to flip the bacon as it cooks, but I did (once the water evaporated) to make sure both sides were crisped.
The bacon stuck to the pan, and it cooked inconsistently, with crispier parts and chewier parts on each slice. I had noticeable shrinkage with the regular-cut bacon (but not so much with thick-cut). The thick-cut bacon also curled up a good bit, while the regular-cut stayed flat, and there was more popping and sputtering than I’d noticed with other stovetop methods. Cleanup was a bit of a hassle because after the water cooked off, the skillet was covered with a sticky film that just adhered more firmly to the pan as the bacon finished cooking. I had to soak and scrub the skillet to get it clean.
My Takeaway: The texture wasn’t superior to that of bacon cooked using some of the other methods. Cleanup took longer and required more elbow grease, too, which is a serious buzzkill.
Bottom Line: Best to skip this method.
Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell
Total Time: 4 to 4 1/2 minutes (regular-cut bacon); 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 minutes (thick-cut bacon)
About This Method: Although countless sources give instructions for this cooking method, I went with those in Food Network’s bacon roundup, as they seem both straightforward and authoritative. Here, bacon gets sandwiched between a double layer of paper towels on a microwave-safe plate and cooks on high for four to six minutes. I was able to comfortably fit four slices on the plate without overlapping slices.
It took me a few tries to get the timing right: The bacon easily went from a bit underdone to burned in a few seconds. You’ll likely need to check on the slices, remove ones as they’re done, and continue to cook the rest in short bursts. The bacon was very flat and appeared to be uniformly cooked. The regular-cut bacon was brittle and tasted a bit burned. Thick-cut slices fared better, yielding lovely crispy-fatty pockets — when I finally got the timing right. Cleanup was a breeze: I simply tossed the paper towels and loaded the plate into my dishwasher. Even though there were no splatters in my microwave, I still gave it a spray and rub-down because the walls had a light oily film on them.
My Takeaway: I wouldn’t use this method again on regular-cut bacon. I could see this method being useful if you only need to cook a few slices of thick-cut bacon, and you need to cook them fast — but I like to save my bacon drippings for later use, and with this method the paper towels soak them all up. You’ll need to check the bacon for doneness about a minute or two before the indicated cook time, and then cook in increments of 10 to 15 seconds until you get the right texture. Basically, although this method is the fastest, it requires some finesse.
Bottom line: OK for thick-cut bacon, if you’re in a hurry and don’t want the drippings.
Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell
Method: Nonstick Skillet
Total Time: 10 minutes (regular- and thick-cut bacon)
About This Method: I used the instructions from Food52’s roundup of bacon cooking methods. I arranged bacon slices in a cold nonstick pan and cooked on medium heat, flipping the slices occasionally as needed.
The bacon curled up a little as it cooked, and it ended up with some charred spots and some fatty-chewy spots. These textural differences were apparent by looking at the bacon. There were a few splatters on the stovetop, but cleanup of the pan itself was easy; I was able to scrape every last bit of the rendered fat into a container for later use.
My Takeaway: This method seemed okay for cooking a small amount of bacon, but the inconsistent cooking was not ideal. I love having some tasty seared bits on my bacon, but some of the slices ended up charred in places and were unpleasantly burned-tasting.
Bottom Line: It’s an okay stovetop method with easy cleanup.
Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell
Method: Baking on a Rack with Paper Towels Underneath
Total Time: 24 minutes (regular-cut bacon); 29 minutes (thick-cut bacon); + 10 minutes oven preheating time
About This Method: I was intrigued by this tip, given in a tweet by Alton Brown: Filling in the blanks of his brief explanation, I lined a rimmed baking sheet with layers of paper towels, arranged a wire rack over the paper towels, placed bacon slices on the rack, and baked at 400°F till the bacon was done to my liking.
The bacon stayed the meatiest with this oven-rack method, with the least amount of shrinkage. To see what difference the paper towels made, I cooked one batch of regular-cut and one batch of thick-cut bacon over paper towels and one batch of each with no paper towels. The paper towels definitely helped with cleanup, but didn’t eliminate it entirely; the unlined pan gathered lots of grease and some splotchy scorched spots that I had to scrub off. But even with the towels, the rack had to be scrubbed, and that was, frankly, time-consuming.
I know what some of you are thinking — and no, the paper towels don’t catch fire or smoke at 400°F. They do soak up the hot rendered bacon fat, basically eliminating any chance that you’ll burn yourself with hot grease. Of course, if you value bacon drippings like I do, this method isn’t ideal.
My Takeaway: This technique is great for cooking a large amount of bacon; you could do two pans at once (that is, if you have enough pans and wire racks). I liked how baking the bacon on a rack makes it easy to control the end product: I cooked one batch until it was crispy and one batch until it was meaty-chewy, with a Canadian bacon–like texture. And okay, I admit that I might be a baby (or maybe even a bit lazy), but I really hated scrubbing baked-on bacon bits off a wire rack. I tried washing it in the dishwasher, but some stuck-on bits remained, and I had to get out my brush and scrub anyway.
Bottom line: This is a good technique for cooking a large volume of meaty bacon with easy cleanup of the pan — but be prepared to scrub the rack.
Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell
Method: Air Fryer
Total Time: 8 minutes (regular- and thick-cut bacon)
About This Method: I was intrigued by the idea of cooking bacon in the countertop appliance of the moment and combined the instructions given by PopSugar and the blog A Pinch of Healthy: I arranged the bacon slices in the basket of my air fryer and cooked at 400°F, pausing to shake the basket occasionally, until the bacon was crispy, which for me was 8 minutes.
I tumbled them by shaking the basket every few minutes — so they curled up a good bit as they cooked. Thick-cut bacon slices had a crisp exterior and chewy-fatty interior, and regular-cut slices were pretty uniformly crispy throughout. I made sure to pour out drippings from the outer pan after the first batch, before I cooked another batch, to help prevent smoking. On subsequent batches, I did still get a little smoke and the faint smell of burning plastic — but these things did not affect the taste or texture of the bacon. To clean up, I scraped the drippings into a container for later use and washed the basket and the outer pan by hand.
My Takeaway: This method works well if a few things fall into play: You only need a few slices of bacon (depending on the size of your air fryer), you don’t care if the bacon curls up or doesn’t sit flat (especially in a smaller air fryer, you’ll likely have to fold the bacon to get it in), and you don’t mind pulling out your air fryer (or even keep it on your counter).
Bottom Line: If you’re an air fryer devotee, go for it.
Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell
Method: Sous Vide
Total Time: 12 hours sous vide + about 2 1/2 minutes searing time (regular- and thick-cut bacon)
About This Method: OK, this one is admittedly a little outside the norm. But, hey, if you have a sous vide circulator, why not give it a try? The method was gushed over by J. Kenji López-Alt at Serious Eats for yielding bacon with a crispy exterior and melt-in-your-mouth tenderness within. You simply place a full package of bacon, in the store packaging, inside a large container with enough water to cover it, and cook with the circulator at 147°F for 8 to 24 hours. I settled on 12 hours with a Breville Joule circulator and, although López-Alt stresses that this is only worth doing with thick-cut bacon, I tested with regular-cut, too, for consistency. After the low, long cooking, you open the package, pull off individual slices, and sear in a skillet on one side then just briefly touch them to the pan on the other side so the bacon doesn’t look raw.
López-Alt was not wrong: This technique is wasted on regular-cut bacon, which just doesn’t have enough substance to showcase the tenderizing effect of sous vide cooking. With the thick-cut bacon, however, I ended up with slices that had a thin, crispy, shellacked-like layer on the outside and a juicy-fatty interior. The bacon was, indeed, buttery tender and uniformly flat, with little shrinkage.
My Takeaway: This is obviously not your everyday bacon, or even your Sunday bacon. If, however, you want to wow some breakfast guests — and you have an immersion circulator — the results are noteworthy and worth the effort. Plus, López-Alt notes you can do the sous vide part way ahead of time and hold the bacon in the fridge for a few days or even freeze for a couple of months. Shortly before you’re ready to serve, just sear the bacon (thawed if it was frozen) briefly to finish it.
Bottom Line: It’s worth a try if you have the equipment, and will result in incredible textures (crisp, fatty, meltingly tender).
Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell
Method: Cast Iron Skillet
Total Time: 8 minutes (regular-cut bacon); 11 minutes (thick-cut bacon)
About This Method: Many sites tout this old-school method for cooking bacon. I went with the directions in Serious Eats’ roundup of bacon methods, where you place strips in a cold cast iron skillet and cook over moderate heat, flipping the bacon occasionally until it’s done to your liking.
The regular-cut slices curled up a good bit, but the thick-cut ones remained overall pretty flat. With both cuts of bacon, I got slices that were crunchy and seared in places and chewier-fattier (with a crispy crust) in other places, probably because the ends wanted to curl up and cook without making full contact with the pan. The well-seasoned pan meant the bacon didn’t stick, and cleanup was moderate. I had to wipe away spatters on the stovetop, and I scraped the drippings into a bowl for storage and rinsed and wiped dry the skillet.
My Takeaway: I truly love this kind of bacon. It’s nostalgic; it’s good grandpa bacon. There’s something about the amount of sear and fat and chew that you end up with that’s just delicious. And, perhaps I’m imagining this, but even though you’re only cooking over medium heat, I believe there’s almost an equivalent of wok hei here, where the bacon picks up character and flavor from the pan itself. It’s a good method for cooking up a few slices (up to maybe six in a large pan), that allows you to hang onto those flavorful drippings.
Bottom Line: This is great for folks who want to cook a small amount of bacon and value crispy and chewy in each slice.
Photo by Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell
Method: Baking on Parchment Paper
Total Time: 18 minutes (regular-cut bacon); 24 minutes (thick-cut bacon) + 10 minutes oven preheating time
About This Method: Martha Stewart’s technique promises a “spatter-free” way to get “perfectly crispy bacon.” You simply line one or two rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, arrange the bacon on top, and bake at 400°F until it is crisped to your liking. When the bacon is done, you transfer it to a paper towel–lined plate or platter to drain.
Because the bacon sits in its own rendered fat as it bakes, it cooks more quickly than if you cooked it on a rack. The fatty parts also get wonderfully crispy (if you like that), because they’re basically fried. If you prefer your bacon chewier, you can simply cook it a few minutes less to achieve that effect.
Both regular- and thick-cut slices cooked evenly and completely flat, without any need to flip them as they cooked. One cleanup tip: Make sure to cut a large-enough sheet of parchment paper so that there is overhang on all sides. Then fold the excess up so that the drippings don’t seep through any cracks. I tried this (it’s not shown in the photo) and when the bacon came out of the pan, I let the drippings cool slightly, lifted up the parchment, and directed the drippings into a container for storage. I threw away the parchment and inspected the pan — there was not a trace of grease. It went back in the cabinet without even a rinse.
My Takeaway: I loved the texture and appearance of this bacon, and that it cooks hands-free with no babysitting. I also loved that this method works for a few slices or up to 20, and that, if you use the overhang trick, cleanup is just so incredibly easy.
Bottom Line: Effortless cleanup (that allows you to save drippings), pretty slices, and easy control of the crispiness or chewiness of the bacon. This method has it all.
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This post originally appeared on The Kitchn and was published November 27, 2019. This article is republished here with permission.
My First Trip
My parents separated early in my life, I was two to three years old at the time. Japan, Germany and Italy came between those two young marrieds. My mother would have a small apartment over my maternal great-grandparents home in New Jersey not far from Philadelphia. My maternal grandparents would live but a block away. I was loved, dotted upon and for accounts and purposes, spoiled. My grandparents would always cart me along with them on any trip or outing.
I’m not sure which was my first trip, in the summer summer or winter,. I will write on both, these were trips with my maternal Grandmother and Grandfather. That would be Harry and Emma Wittman from Audubon, NJ. A trip to New York City prior to November 5th 1951 comes to mind. So, perhaps eight years old. I know prior to that date as the NJ turnpike was not open to Exit 10 from the Delaware Memorial Bridge as yet. We got on our bus in Camden, NJ and traveled old route 130 and crossed into NYC via the Lincoln Tunnel onto W. 36th st. I remember as a youngster, I would often hold my breath in a Tunnel.
We would stay in the Victoria Hotel, 160 Central Park South. It is now a Landmark, Marriott house. We would make this trip several times, always staying in the Victoria. It was quite nice back in the day and continues to remain so.
This particular trip was during cold weather and obviously close to Christmas. I know this as we went to Radio City Music Hall and saw their Christmas production. I shall forever remember the Rockettes.
We also saw some ice skating, it was so long ago I remember not where. Here is a little history on Ice Skating in NYC, should you be interested.
I remember walking about the city, going into Gimbels department store and being awestruck on the toy floor. I remember the elevator and the operator, announcing the floors. Being an effective elevator operator required many skills. Manual elevators were often controlled by a large lever. The elevator operator had to regulate the elevator’s speed, which typically required a good sense of timing to consistently stop the elevator level with each floor. In addition to their training in operation and safety, department stores later combined the role of operator with greeter and tour guide, announcing product departments, floor by floor, and occasionally mentioning special offers. I would always get a special gift on one of these trips. I remember also getting jostled a bit as the operator lined up the lift so as one would not trip exiting.
On the same trip, 6 months prior or 6 months later, warmer weather, anyway, we would have a boat trip. That trip would either be the Circle line around Manhattan or a trip from the Battery out to the Statue of Liberty. I got to do both back in the day.
The Circle Line Trip was a cruise all the way around Manhattan Island on a guided boat tour that takes in every angle of New York City’s iconic waterfront. Traveling by boat means unobstructed views of the Manhattan skyline, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Statue of Liberty—ideal for snapping memorable photographs. With live narration throughout the cruise, learn about the Big Apple while passing all five of New York’s boroughs.
The trip out to the statute of Liberty was special also. Visits to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island are musts in the Big Apple. On this guided tour, you get boarding on the ferry from Manhattan to visit the two important historical sites. Visit the grounds of Liberty Island and go inside the Statue of Liberty Museum. Then hop the ferry to Ellis Island and learn about the millions of people who arrived here between 1892 and 1954 in hope of living the American dream.
The highlight of my first trip was the ability to spit out of the window and to watch it travel down however many floors we were up. I also remember hanging out the window to see if I hit anyone down below. My leaning out the window and my grandmother going bezerk is still implanted in my head today. Three steps up a ladder with my vertigo is a high climb today.
We would take several trips to NYC prior to age 13, the age my grandfather died. Those trips were always special. Oh to be able to recall such details. Now, to what do I attribute that gift?