Thursday, May 31, 2012
Oak Grove Station - sounds like the name of an old stage stop or something from a Laura Ingall's Wilder book, doesn't it? The Ingalls family did once live in Burr Oak, Iowa where Pa helped run the Masters Hotel pictured above. Laura never published a story about this time in her life, but Burr Oak was where her little sister, Grace, was born May 23, 1877. Cynthia Rylant wrote Old Town in the Green Grove based on notes left by Laura Ingalls Wilder, but it is not officially part of the Little House series.
Oak Grove Station was the name of the Phillip's 66 station operated by my Uncle Al Childers from 1947 through March of 1953. At that time, US Highway 34 ran through town. The station was located on the west edge of Corning. I had long wanted a picture of the old station. A couple weeks ago a series of "Wrecks in Adams County" were added to the Facebook page, "You Know You're From Corning If..." and this picture was among them. I do not know any of the details of the wreck, unfortunately, nor the identities of any of the people pictured.
What I remember of the station was that the office part was inside the front doors. As well as the cash register, it contained a pop machine, candy display, cigarettes, cans of oil, fuses, other automobile related items - anything a motorist might need. In the back, through a door from the station was a small kitchen, dining area and living room. Upstairs were bedrooms for the family.
Oak Grove was so named for obvious reasons - it was situated in a small grove (an acre or two) of beautiful old oak trees. In addition to the station, there were a number of tourist cabins scattered about in the trees. By the time I was old enough to remember them, they were no longer rented out to tourists and there were only three or four still standing. A couple of the small structures were being lived in by locals. I remember playing in one of the empty ones - probably cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians. I loved running through the timber whooping and hollering with my cousins and brother and sister.
Dad's sister, my Aunt Leona Lynam, moved to Davenport, Iowa after graduating high school in 1943. It was there she met Albert Childers. They moved to Corning in 1947 to be closer to her parents. George and Bessie Lynam's home was just down the hill from the station on the north side of Hwy 34.
Pictured here, in the oak grove, are: back row, left, my brother, Ronald, cousin Georgia, Grandmother, Bessie; I am in the middle with cousin Frank (we always called him 'Butch') to my left; in front are my sister, Betty and cousin, Donald. I think we had been at Grandma's for the day and took some sandwiches over to the timber for a picnic.
Here is another view of that day - Grandma, Georgia, Donald and Betty on the left, Butch, Ron and I on the right. We are sitting on foundation stones of one of the old tourist cabins. In the background is Grandma's house. There was a small stream which ran through the property clear at the back, 'down the hill'. It seemed a long way from the station at the time. It was fun to go down and wade in the creek - especially so since it was verboten - but worth the spanking when we came back all wet and muddy.
North of Grandma's house was her cave. She didn't have a refrigerator. She kept her milk, butter, etc. in the cave along with her jars of home-canned fruits and vegetables. Pictured here, back row, Grandma Bessie, Mom, Ruth, and Dad, Louis; Uncle Al and Aunt Leona seated in front.
The cave was covered all over in Iris which you can see here in the background. Left to right, Frank, Uncle Al, Georgia, Aunt Leona holding Donald. This is circa 1951 or '52. My aunt and uncle moved back to Davenport in March of 1953. We took a rare family vacation and went out to see them for a week that summer. In the fall, they moved back to Corning and Uncle Al took over the Standard Station in town. In 1959, the family moved to Glendale, AZ in hopes that the climate would be better for my uncle's asthma. He operated a Flying A service station there. Donald was the only member of their family to move back to the Midwest - he and his wife, Judy, live in a St. Paul, MN suburb.
Unrelated to this blog, but while looking through all the photos of wrecks, the only other photo I recognized was this one and that is because I was familiar with the farm home of Russell and Neva Vogel in the far background. This accident happened June 28, 1947. I don't remember the accident, but I remember hearing Mom tell about a neighbor of ours being killed in it......another story for another day.
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Upon leaving Arlington Cemetery, we went north to the first corner and then east back across the Nodaway River to Tenville where we crossed Hwy 71 and went east on old Hwy 34. Of course I had to tell my son of my own teen age late night trips to Tenville to hang out and drink cokes at Sierp's gas station and cafe.
We drove on old 34 to the bottom of Ankeny hill then north toward Quincy - the first county seat of Adams County. There is no signage at Oakland (Quincy) Cemetery which is why I'm using an old picture of the first Adams County Courthouse as illustration.
Oakland Cemetery - which almost everyone refers to as 'Quincy Cemetery' - is south and west of Quincy. The cemetery lies on both sides of the road - the old part is on the north side and the new part is on the south side. Family members are buried to the east of the drive just as you enter the new section.
Above is the marker of my Great-Great Grandparents, George Washington Gravett (October 22, 1842-January 13, 1914) and Melinda Jane Cecil Gravett (June 17, 1846-October 31, 1923). They were married in Ripon, WI January 1, 1863. George was born in Kentucky and Melinda was born in Indiana.
Their eldest daughter (fourth of their children) Nancy Emma Gravett (July 14, 1870-September 16, 1914) married Bernard (Barney) Thomas Lynam (December 16, 1863-September 20, 1919) on February 13, 1888. (Note that Nancy and her father, George died the same year, 1914.) These Great-Grandparents of mine had four children - one of which was my--
Grandpa George Albert Lynam (November 29, 1891-September 14, 1947). I wasn't quite four years old when Grandpa Lynam died, so I have very vague memories of him. He and Bessie Lucille Duncan (July 16-1891- August 14, 1987) were married November 15, 1914. They lived on an acreage on the west side of Corning along old Hwy 34 when it was still the main road through town. I have many, many very fond memories of visiting Grandma Lynam there.
My Dad is the only member of his family not buried at Oakland. Both of his sisters are buried just to the left of Grandpa and Grandma - Leona Maxine Lynam Childers (June 19, 1915-August 7, 2002) and ....
Dad's baby sister, Evelyn Lois Lynam born May 8, 1923 and died four days later, May 12, 1923.
The Mt. Etna (Brethren) Cemetery is located southwest of the town of Mt. Etna in Washington Twp.
My maternal Great-Grandparents, George Robert Means (November 8, 1853-December 8, 1942) and Matilda Neoma Lippincott (June 21, 1863-August 7, 1945) were married August 28, 1881 in Mt. Etna. George was born in Indiana and Matilda was born in Clarke Co., Iowa.
My Great-Great Grandfather, Isaac Oscar Means, was born August 6, 1821 in Montgomery Co., KY. He died March 18, 1892. Isaac moved with his parents to Jefferson Co., Indiana in 1830. There, on February 17, 1845 he married Susanna Ellen Snyder (also seen written as Susan Snider). They were the parents of eleven children. Susanna was born in Dublin Co. Indiana February 21, 1827 and died February 8, 1911. This stone does not have Susanna's name on it. However, I did find 'Mrs. Susan Ellen Means' obituary in the February 15, 1911 Adams County Union-Republican newspaper; it states that she died at the home of her son, Harrison Means, near Fontanelle "where the funeral was held February 9 and the body was taken to Mt. Etna for interment beside the husband".
When I used to go to the cemeteries with Grandma Delphia, she told me her grandparents were buried here and a tree was planted to mark their graves. The tree died and has been cut down. There are two small stones on either side. This is just north of George and Matilda Means' grave. I assumed they were the graves of Matilda's parents, David and Catherine Lippincott, but know now that Catherine is buried near Gothenburg, NE where one of her daughters lived. Preston noted that you could almost make out Means on the larger piece of stone, but not for certain. More research is in order.
Preston was the last of my three kids to make the cemetery rounds with me. We were gone four and a half hours and drove about 110 miles. After leaving Mt. Etna Cemetery, we drove through Forest Hill Cemetery southeast of Mt. Etna where Mom's sister, my Aunt Evelyn and Uncle Howard Roberts are buried as well as their son, my cousin, Larry. We also drove through Mt. Zion cemetery north of Prescott where Mom's cousin is buried. In all the cemeteries we visited, with the exception of Arlington, I have great-aunts and uncles and numerous cousins buried. I find it somehow comforting to know where so many of my ancestors and relatives lie.
The cemetery pictured above is one we did not visit Saturday afternoon, though I do hope to get there someday. It is Good Hope Cemetery near Indian Head, Pennsylvania where my Great-Great-Great Grandfather, Samuel Ridenour, Sr. is buried. I have heard it is a beautiful spot up in the mountains and that you have to have four-wheel drive to get there. That sounds like an excellent cemetery visit to me!
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
From Prairie Rose, we continued south and west toward Guss - passing through Iveyville and past the farm where my Grandpa Joe and Grandma Delphia Ridnour lived on the Adams-Taylor County Line. Maple Grove Cemetery is north of Guss in Taylor County. Guss Cemetery - which it now seems to be 'officially' known as - has a nice new sign with plot maps showing where graves are located.
I don't need a map to find the grave of my grandfather, Joseph Rufus Ridnour (June 11, 1896-February 22, 1960), I've been coming here 52 years. I was 16 when Grandpa died. His was the first death I really felt. My maternal Grandma, Delphia Verda Means Ridnour (May 10, 1896-August 15, 1991) once said to me, "I know who will put flowers on the graves when I am gone, but who will put flowers on yours?" I hardly ever missed a year of taking her and my Mom around to the cemeteries. That was her way of acknowledging my commitment. Delphia and Joe were married April 2, 1916.
Susana Whipkey Ridnour (April 28, 1837-April 26, 1931) was my great-great grandmother. She was born in Cameron, VA where she married Benjamin Ridnour November 20, 1856. They migrated to Page County, Iowa. The couple had eleven children. Susana was buried here on her 94th birthday.
At this point, I had planned to take Preston to the grave site of Susana's husband, my great-great grandfather, Benjamin Ridnour born in PA in 1836, but time was getting away from us. Benjamin died in 1886 and was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery west and south of Hepburn in Page County. His grave was unmarked until just a few years ago when family members erected a stone for him and two others buried nearby. Benjamin and his brother Samuel Ritnour both came to Page County. It was at this time the spelling of the last name became different in the records. My grandmother Delphia used to say the Ritnour's and Ridnour's in southwest Iowa weren't related. Now, of course, we know we are.
This picture of Susana and Benjamin shows their daughter, Kate standing behind them with baby Ida on Susana's lap.
From Guss, we went 'cross country' to the Nodaway Cemetery, north and east of Nodaway in Adams County. I think I had Preston totally lost by then - but he was seeing some pretty countryside.
If you were looking for my great-great Mauderly grandparents, you wouldn't find them by the name carved on their headstone - it reads Manderly instead of Mauderly. This error always makes me think of the opening of Rebecca: "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." Apparently the carver mistook the U as an N.
Franz Xavier Mauderly (April 16-1829-1896) was born in Stusslingen, Solothurn, Switzerland. Maria Romang (November 11, 1835-March 17, 1890) was also born in Switzerland. She came to America with her brothers about two months before her marriage to Xavier December 21, 1855 in Illinois. They came to Iowa ten years later. Their farm was a mile north, a mile east and another 1/2 mile north of this cemetery.
Next to his grandparents is the grave of Freddie Ridnour, my grandpa Joe's little brother. I can find no information about him - date of birth, death, etc.
Here are two of my great grandparents I do have some memories of. Rufus Ridnour (January 6, 1869-July 13, 1950) was born in Galesburg, IL. He was fifteen years old when his father, Benjamin, died. He helped raise his siblings. I have heard that Rufe inherited his father's veterinary equipment, but have no stories about either Ben or his son being a veterinarian. To my knowledge, Great Grandpa Ridnour was a farmer. He and Lydia Katherine Mauderly (March 16, 1872-May 29, 1954 [58 yrs. ago today]) were married September 29, 1895.
Great Grandma Ridnour was always called Katherine or, more often, Kate. Her's was the first funeral I remember attending. I was 10 years old. As I watched her children and grandchildren quietly shedding tears, I kept thinking "I should be crying, too. I should be sadder", but of course I didn't really know her all that well. The year Grandma Kate died, she had seven new great-grandchildren, one of which was my little brother, Leslie.
My main memory of Grandpa Rufus was going to see him a couple times during his final illness. The last time, he was in bed. I was rather frightened by the whole experience. I don't know if I realized he was dying or was just confused about seeing him in bed. I do have a fond memory of being at their home about three years earlier for a family reunion. It is of the pergola and grapevines growing over the cave entrance east of their house. They lived on the Mauderly farm after Kate's parents died.
From Nodaway we went west on Hwy 34 into Montgomery County, past Hwy 71 and across the West Nodaway River to the first crossroads then north more than a mile to Arlington Cemetery. This newer signage is at the entrance to a long lane leading up to the cemetery.....
....where this older sign still stands. This is where my dear sister-in-law, Ruthie, is buried.
Ruth Anne Nicolaisen (April 22, 1942-January 29, 2004) married my brother, Ronald, April 6, 1968 in Arvada, CO. Ruth was as Scandinavian as you could get - her mother was from Sweden and her Dad was from Denmark. Ron and Ruth moved back to SW Iowa from Colorado in 1970 and to the Stanton area in 1971. She fit right into the Swedish community. Ruthie worked as a nurse before her children were born. We lost both Ruth Lynam's within six weeks - Mom and Ruthie - it was a very sad winter. The word in the upper left corner of the tombstone is TAK - Danish and Swedish for Thanks.
And finally....back to Adams County.....
Monday, May 28, 2012
Saturday afternoon (May 26) Preston and I set out to visit and decorate family graves in Adams, Taylor and Montgomery counties. It was his first time to go to all the cemeteries with me. He came prepared with pen and notebook. It was a hot, windy day. I made sure we had plenty of water and my camera. We began at Walnut Grove Cemetery on the north edge of Corning.
Where are buried my great-great-great grandparents on my paternal side, John Palmer Hull (1820-1887) and Rosina Edwards Hull (December 1, 1825-August 26, 1906). Rosina was born in Seton, East Riding, Yorkshire, England.
Their daughter, Agnes Georgina Hull Richardson was my great-great grandmother. Grandma Aggie was born October 18, 1850 and died March 25, 1943 - eight months before I was born.
Flora Viola Richardson Duncan (April 20, 1871-March 15, 1932) my great-grandma was the only child of Agnes and John Richardson. Agnes raised her daughter on her own after her husband John 'disappeared'.
Flora married Lemuel Daniel Duncan (March 27, 1865-January 17, 1919). Flora and Lemuel were married May 25, 1889. They had six children, the oldest of which was my grandmother, Bessie.
Second stop was Oak Hill/Calvary on the south edge of Corning. You can see by the flag how strong the wind was blowing.
My Irish grandparents are buried here in Calvary, the Catholic cemetery. William Lynam (December 4, 1832-March 30, 1898) was born in Cloonagh, Castletown-Geoghegan, West Meath, Ireland. At the time of his death, he was survived by his wife and six children.
Catherine McDonnough was born in County Antrim, Ireland in 1832. She died February 24, 1912. She came to Ripon, Wisconsin in 1852 where she was married to William Lynam on April 19, 1856. These great-great grandparents of mine came to Adams County in 1878 where they first settled on a farm about a mile north of Brooks. They had eleven children, six of whom lived to adulthood.
Carved on this stone are these words: "Dear Mother thou art gone, we wish thee longer stay, but death he made us mourn, for taking thee away. So sudden was the stroke, so heavily it fell, such tender ties it broke..Dear Mother, fare thee well."
Prairie Rose Cemetery is in Jasper Township five miles south and two miles west of Corning. From my childhood home, it is a mile west and a mile south; or diagonally southwest across the section. Even though most of father's family is buried elsewhere, he wanted this cemetery, so near his farm, to be his last resting place.
Louis Lavern Lynam (May 6, 1917-May 24, 1978) was born in Jasper Twp., moved at a young age to Douglas Twp. where he began school at Highland. Then his family moved to Taylor County where he went to school at Spaulding #1 and lived until he married Ruth Voneta Ridnour in Bedford on October 10, 1937.
Ruth was also born in Adams County (Douglas Twp.)(January 25, 1919-December 16,2003). She started school at Grub Ridge in Hacklebarney north of Villisca, but ended up going to school mostly in Holt Twp., Taylor County. Mom and Dad lived their entire married lives on the Jasper Twp. farm south and west of Corning where their four children happily grew up.
Also buried at Prairie Rose is my sister, Betty Ruth Lynam Beavers (September 23, 1945-October 14, 1973.) She died of a cerebral hemorrhage at the entirely too young age of 28, leaving a 10-yr old son and a 5-year old daughter.
Betty's son, Michael Eugene Beavers, (February 16, 1964-July 27, 2006) never seemed to be able to get over losing his Mom. Much to the sorrow of his family, Mikey made the decision to join his Mom in death. Mike had never married.
Next....on to Guss.....
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
It may seem wrong to be reading a Christmas story in the spring, but I needed an Anne Perry fix while I wait for the next William Monk novel (A Sunless Sea) to come out in August. I hadn't yet read any of her holiday series books, so I decided to try one of them.
A Christmas Promise is a quick little read about 13-year-old Gracie Phipps trying to help 8-year old Minnie Maude Mudway find her missing friend Charlie in the freezing slums of London's east end. It is three days before Christmas. Charlie is a donkey who pulled Minnie's Uncle Alf's rag and bone cart. Uncle Alf was found brutally murdered. Charlie and the cart are missing.
I might read all the books our library has in Perry's holiday series, but I'll probably wait until the holiday season to read them. I love Anne Perry's Monk series so much. It is hard to believe the author was herself convicted of murder in New Zealand when she was fifteen years old.
Glow is the first novel by Jessica Maria Tuccelli. It is so my kind of book. "With Cherokee lore and hoodoo conjuring, Glow transports us from Washington, D.C., on the brink of World War II to the Blue Ridge frontier of 1836, from the parlors of antebellum manses to the plantation kitchens where girls are raised by women who stand in as mothers. As the land with all its promise and turmoil passes from one generation to the next, Ella's ancestral home turns from safe haven to mayhem and back again."
One line from the book which especially spoke to me was this one - a former slave woman remembering her mother - a woman captured and transported from Africa, sold to work on a plantation: "For the first time since she died, I could feel the joy of her. You got to be careful with grief, that it don't shove all the other memories aside and one day you find yourself on this Mother Earth too far along and with a terrible fear: that you done lost the memories, they vanished like they ain't never happened, and you got to dig to uncover the dead, you got to pray they more than dust."
I'm putting Tuccelli on my list of authors to watch for - hoping that she writes more than one book. She has the kind of magical writing I enjoy.
I probably should have waited another couple of months to read Elizabeth Adler's latest - From Barcelona With Love - just because she writes the most perfect summer reads: romance, exotic locales and mysterious characters. Of course, being transported from Malibu to Barcelona in May isn't too bad, either.
Adler is a self-confessed romantic, travel addict and a foodie, all of which she infuses into her writing. This latest novel continues with the same characters she introduced in her last three, so I have developed an interest in her Malibu detective and his Latino side-kick. I hope she continues to write about them, but I'll always read an Adler novel regardless of the characters. They are just plain fun escapism.
Finally, the popularity of The Help waned and it was no longer always OUT at the library. I'm not even going to try to add my feeble review of Kathryn Stockett's stellar debut novel. Suffice it to say I agree with all the kudos it has received. I loved the book. I want to watch the movie now.
It appears that Kate Alcott is also a first-time author with her judiciously timed novel, The Dressmaker. The book was published this year, the Centennial anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic and the book is about, what else, passengers on the Titanic.
One of the interesting aspects of this novel is that two of the main characters are actual people - Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon - famous as the fashion designer, Lucile, and her sister, British novelist and Hollywood screenwriter, Elinor Glyn. Lady Duff-Gordon really did survive the sinking of the Titanic. And three years later, she survived the sinking of the Lusitania when, due to illness, she cancelled her reservation on its last voyage. I find the life stories of both these sisters quite fascinating.
The book is told from the view of Tess, an accomplished seamstress and aspiring designer. She is hired by Lucy as a personal maid to accompany the Duff-Gordon's to New York. It gives her the opportunity to show Lucy she can be more than just a maid. They all survive the sinking of the Titanic. Once in New York, Lucy gives Tess a job in her dressmaking workrooms. Her first assignment is as a presser. Very quickly Lady Duff-Gordon promotes Tess and gives her some expensive material to use in fabricating one of her own designs which Lucy will show along with her fashions in the season's collection.
A U.S. inquiry into the Titanic tragedy begins almost immediately even as rumors begin to circulate about the survivors and the choices they made. One of the rumors is that Lady Duff-Gordon may have saved herself at the expense of others, and the ensuing stories catapult the imperious fashion designer onto the front pages of the newspapers, turning her into an object of scorn.
Tess is torn between loyalty to her mentor and the chance Lucy has given her to achieve her dreams and doing what is right and honorable. I've read books and watched movies and documentaries about the Titanic and always found them fascinating. This novel adds one more layer to the stories.
Finally, why I said it appears that Kate Alcott is a first time author - Kate Alcott is the pseudonym of author Patricia O'Brien and this is her sixth book. The Dressmaker was rejected thirteen times because her previous novel, Harriet and Isabella, "hadn't sold well enough". When she submitted the manuscript using the pen name, Kate Alcott, it sold immediately. I'm glad it did. I really enjoyed the book.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
"Louis, this is the house where you were born; 2nd place we lived. Room marked where you arrived May 6, 1917." I don't know when my Grandmother Bessie gave this post card to my father Louis, but that is what she wrote on the back of it. Dad was born 95 years ago today.
I discovered this while looking through the old Adams County Free Press on line: "A daughter was born to Mr. & Mrs. George Lynam, south of Corning, Sunday, May 6." It was printed in the Wednesday, May 9, 1917, paper. I didn't find any correction. I wonder if they received any pink booties?
Dad was born on the Roach Brothers Farm about two and a half miles south and west of Corning. This house burned down in the late '40's (I think). The farm was owned by Ralph Readhead when I was growing up. Vernon (Pete) and Lois Stewart lived there with their children, Verna and Earl, in the house that replaced this one. Verna was a year behind me in school at Jasper # 2.
I wanted to use the picture of Dad as a baby in his christening gown for this blog, but I couldn't find it this morning so I'm re-showing this picture from 1945 with Dad holding baby Betty. Whenever I think about what I'm going to write about, in this case Dad's birth 95 years ago, I start thinking about what was going on around that time or what is going on now that might have also been happening then.
There was a full moon last night. When was the moon full in May, 1917? It was the day after Dad was born, May 7. I doubt it was a perigee moon like the one we had last night. Chances are it was just a regular full moon like the one I took this picture of over the Atlantic Ocean when we were on Nags Head in 2008.
The 138th Kentucky Derby was run yesterday. I was excited about it because the Iowa-owned, chestnut colored horse, Dullahan, was running. Dullahan was the second horse in three years owned by Iowa's Donegal Racing consortium to make it into the Derby. Dullahan, Donegal and Lynam are all Irish names.
What horse won the 43rd Kentucky Derby in 1917? It was another chestnut, the British born, Omar Khayyam, named for the famous Persian mathematician. It was the first time a foreign bred horse won the Kentucky Derby. (Pictured above.)
Omar Khayyam was a poet as well as a mathematician. Englishman Edward Fitzgerald translated those poems which were published as the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. And that is how I got to my idea for yesterday's blog.
My mind seems to work like a pebble thrown into a pond - it makes a circle and the circles keep going out and out and out. I get an idea and it leads on and on and on. To me, all things are connected.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
"Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May" wrote Shakespeare in his Sonnet XVIII. And while those words come to mind this first week of one of my favourite months, my mind turns mostly to my daughter Kari and other family members whose birthdays fall in May: my Dad, Louis; brother, Ron; Grandmother, Delphia; grandson, Brock; sister-in-law, Susan; nephew, Dale; Kari & Preston's Grandmother, Clara; as well as several cousins and friends. May is a lovely month in which to be born.
Kari had already started a collection of cobalt glass when I added to it for her on one of her twenty-something birthdays. This loving cup could illustrate one of her favourite verses:
"Come, fill the cup, and in the fire of spring
Your winter garment of repentance fling:
The bird of time has but a little way
To flutter - and the bird is on the wing."
The verse is from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by Edward Fitzgerald. Pictured above is another of Kari's collections she began when she was in her twenties - twelve copies of The Rubaiyat. It started, according to her, just because she loved the music of the poetry and the philosophy behind it - that life is brief and precious: make the most of today.
At first she had a couple inexpensive copies then she found an edition with beautiful illustrations and she began to keep an eye out for the book in antique shoppes. Her purchases ranged in price between one and twenty-five dollars. If memory serves correctly, she was visiting me when she bought one of the editions at a book sale at the Corning Public Library. The large book in the middle is the only one which was a gift. It was from her friend, Carter, who found it in a bazaar in Mombai, India. It is written in Turkish.
The little book in the middle at the top is actually the humorous Rubaiyat of a Persian Kitten first published in 1904. According to Kari, it is a classic in its own right. It counts as the thirteenth in her collection. And while I no longer buy birthday presents for my kids, I know if I ever run across an affordable old copy of the Rubaiyat, I won't be able to resist getting it for her.
Another of Kari's favourite verses - and long one of mine:
"A book of verses underneath the bough,
A jug of wine, a loaf of bread - and thou
Beside me singing in the wilderness--
Oh, wilderness were paradise enow!"
Oh, the wine, bread and cheese picnics that verse recalls! Is anything more perfectly romantic?
The oldest editions in her collection, all from the 1890's, include Kari's two favourites: 1st, the pretty brown leather one lower right with the lyre/laurel/pen emblem in gold.
2nd, the green leather, palm-sized edition on the left which she found in Taos, New Mexico. The name and date are inscribed on the fly leaf: Eugenia Glauman, Dec.1898, Chicago. The bookseller told Kari that Eugenia had been a painter of some repute in her day.
Kari sent the pictures of her Rubaiyat collection along with some of her favourite verses and the information
about her collection for which I thank her. I'm using Pietro Rotari's Young Girl Writing a Love Letter to illustrate one of my favourite Omar Khayyam verses:
"The moving finger writes: and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line,
Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it."
(In tomorrow's blog, you will find the unlikely impetus which started me thinking about Omar Khayyam.)