Tag Archives: history

Neighbors, past and present.

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A local resident posted these photos, (which were actually postcards from 1933) of our neighbor’s house on our town’s FB page recently.

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It’s a beautiful old home which was once a rose garden farm.

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That must have been something to see. Can you imagine living next door to acres of roses? The scent would be heavenly.

Less fragrant but no less impressive? Our current neighbor’s vegetable farm across the street.

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There’s a long tradition of growing in my little part of the world.

👍

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Because you never know what my husband will bring up from the cellar …

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The search for items to sell at a flea market continues and things are being belched up from the basement at an alarming rate. I don’t know if he’ll ever actually go through with this plan, but he certainly is enjoying the trips down memory lane.

Today’s treasure?

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The 1967 version of an adult party game. And judging from the look on that woman’s face, insufficient martinis were consumed before play began.

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The game is simple. 24 cards are placed on top of the feely box, you draw one… then reach inside to pull out the corresponding item.

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Yes, those are teenie tiny dentures. 1967 sounds like a blast.

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Bonk… part 6.

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Same book about sex, same warning applies. Tender hearted readers take note.. it’s about to get weird.

First up in today’s excerpts are tales from the factory floor.

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Being a porn star isn’t limited to (and I use this term loosely) acting in films. Apparently you can make money recreating and selling your penetrable parts. Who knew?

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Wise choice Maria. No need to make daddy feel inferior.

Leaving the body part factory, we get a history lesson in contraceptives.

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I suppose a cat liver ankle might dissuade the foot fetish suitors.

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I don’t know about you, but I’ve met many a woman with a furious womb.

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Is it any wonder the womb is furious? Geesh. No one wants to be compared to a badger.

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Bonk… part 4.

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You know the drill. The following excerpts are from a Mary Roach book about sex. You have been warned…

While Viagra is a relatively new treatment, cures for male impotence have been around for a long time. Two testicles not getting the job done? No problem, just get yourself a third.

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Yes, they really did have an add a testicle procedure, though it was not without its issues.

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Ponder that for a moment.

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Feel free to whip up that cocktail at your next dinner party. Gin, orange juice, grenadine and absinthe. Not sure what that recipe has to do with the family jewels, but I’m sure it will be a hit all the same.

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If that’s not trivia to impress your friends, I don’t know what is.

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Sodomization does seem a trifle extreme for pilfering a tomato, but clearly the Romans took their gardens more seriously than I do.

( If you want a good giggle? Do a Google image search on Priapus. That is one massive cucumber. 😳 )

I’m in!

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Let me just throw this out there… I love dinosaurs!

Always have, always will. While other little girls were playing with baby dolls and decorating Barbie’s stupid dream house, I was waging a life and death battle with my T Rex and Brontosaur. When other children wanted to go to Madison Square Garden to see the circus, I begged my parents to take me to the Museum of Natural History to see the Stegosaurus skeleton. In a perfect world I would have grown up to be a fossil hunter, endlessly scouring

the Black Hills for remnants of the Cretaceous. The best I can do now? Live vicariously through documentaries my husband thinks are dry as toast. Until this one –

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Tomorrow on Apple TV, the dinosaur documentary to end all dinosaur documentaries will begin. Hosted by David Attenborough…. All Hail Sir David! …it’s the dino version of Planet Earth and I can’t wait.

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*note to self – buy copious amounts of popcorn and butter*

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Now that’s tv worth watching!

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Don’t drink the water!

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A warning the Brontë sisters clearly never received.

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Today we think of water as a pure and healthy drink, but there’s a reason many 19th century inhabitants consumed alcohol instead.

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An 1850 investigation by Benjamin Hershel Babbage—which was instigated by Patrick Brontë, the novelists’ father and the parish priest, shortly after the deaths of Emily (1848; she was 30), Branwell (1848; he was 31), and Anne (1849; she was 29)—showed that the small town of Haworth, where the Brontës lived, had much higher mortality rates than other nearby towns of similar size. 41.6% of Haworth’s inhabitants died before the age of 6; the average age of death was 25.8. (Charlotte would die in 1855 at the age of 38—of what would have been a treatable condition today; Patrick would outlive all of his children.)

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Average death age of 25.8? I have whiskey older than that…

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Babbage, seeking to get to the bottom of these statistics, found, among other things, that there were not enough privies for the population, and those they had were filthy, not properly drained, and—bizarrely—much too public. “Two of the privies used, by a dozen families each, are in the public street,” he wrote, “not only within view of the houses, but exposed to the gaze of passers by, whilst a third, as though even such a situation were too private, is perched upon an eminence, commanding the whole length of the main street.” The cesspit beneath this privy would sometimes overflow into the street; a water tap was two yards away from its door.

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That is equal parts astounding and atrocious. To all those who long for the simple days of old? I have two words – flushing toilet.

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Then there was the graveyard—which sat on a hill, right in front of the parsonage where the Brontës lived—which Babbage found to be overstuffed, badly laid out, and poorly oxygenated, so much so that the decomposing material from the graves had filtered into the town’s water supply. The long-term exposure to harmful bacteria would have made the Brontës weaker, shorter, and more susceptible to other diseases.

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Drinking great uncle Rupert is a hard pass from me.

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Well . . . it’s still romantic in theory I suppose—a family of young, brilliant novelists dies from drinking graveyard water, has anything been more Gothic—but in practice, I will spend today being grateful for modern plumbing.

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Sanitation is a wonderful thing.

Long may it flush!

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The Photo Angel

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Have you heard about the woman they call the Photo Angel? She haunts antique stores and flea markets looking for old photographs and through exhaustive genealogical research, reunites them with their families. I think she’s fabulous!

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If you’ve never climbed your family tree? I highly recommend it. Genealogy is a completely fascinating, sometimes frustrating, but totally addicting hobby. They say you can’t know who you are, until you know those who came before … and a more delightfully quirky way to waste time you’re not apt to find.

Along with some sons of the revolution and a disturbing number of pious reverends ( how did that happen!) I discovered a few characters as well.

The Honorable Jabez Bunting Snowball.

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Yes, I’m related to a Snowball, which somehow seems fitting. He was the husband of my great grand aunt and The 11th Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, Canada from 1902-1907. “Snowball and his wife (called “Lady Snowball” by the locals) maintained a splendid residence in Chatham called “Wellington Villa” at the town’s most important intersection, and lived in great style, often entertaining with many servants and fine furniture.”

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He died a wealthy man but his good for nothing children squandered the fortune in one generation. Shame, that. I wouldn’t have minded a servant or two.

Next up is my 8th great grandfather, Sir Adrian Scrope.

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Yo, Adrian! My great, great, great, etc grampa’s claim to fame was this –

“Historically speaking, Sir Adrian Scrope (1601-1660), was one of the 59 signatories who signed King Charles I’s death warrant in 1649. Charles I was accused of being tyrannical and too Catholic by England’s Parliament, and he was ultimately executed for high treason. The monarchy was abolished with Charles I’s death; however, the monarchy was reinstated after the Restoration of 1660, and Sir Adrian Scrope was found guilty of regicide and was hanged, drawn, and quartered.

Not the most peaceful way to go I’m sure. But he does have a nice memorial tomb to show for it….

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Grandpa Adrian had a nice house as well.

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Wormsley Estate. Can’t say I like the name, but the garden is sweet.

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And I dare say I could fit my books in his library.

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2,700 rolling acres in Chiltern Hills, Buckinghamshire… it’s currently owned by Mark Getty. Yes, that Getty. If I ever visit England, maybe I’ll drop by.

It’s through this line that I can trace my family back to the year 1134. I can’t take the credit, when you have someone famous (or infamous as the case may be) most of the work has been done for you.

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No picture of dear old grandpappy Le Scrope I’m afraid. Back then an Apple was just an apple… no camera included.

Of course when you’re shaking a family tree, sometimes rotten fruit falls out. Like Franz… father in law of my first cousin twice removed.

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When your mother’s parents were born in Austria, this isn’t out of the realm of possibility… but still disturbing to find.

I’d like to say he was the only one. I really would.

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A Boothbay kind of morning…

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The day dawned cool, but clear and sunny so we decided to head for the coast.

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One of our favorite spots is a quaint old fishing village turned tourist mecca.

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Boothbay Harbor is filled with nice shops and galleries and restaurants….

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And off season is the perfect time to stroll across the historic footbridge that connects opposite sides of the harbor.

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The bridge house has long been a tourist favorite.

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And this year there are placards explaining history and points of interest scattered about the town.

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Ol’ Bill sounds like my kind of guy.

👍

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Another new addition to the bridge are a collection of love locks. Boothbay Harbor isn’t Paris, France…but apparently they’re trying.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the vintage hardware store up the road is responsible for this and has laid in a giant selection of locks in anticipation of the trend.

Mainers are nothing if not practical.

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A missed opportunity.

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We recently discovered a branch of my husband’s family owned a farm in a nearby town back in the day. A long lost relative even showed us a picture.

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Interested in the history, I did some research to try to find its exact location.

Due to my superior sleuthing, I found it.

Problem is, I was 70 odd years too late.

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In the town’s historical society, I found this picture of it burning to the ground in 1951.

Shame, that. It looked like a lovely place.

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