Monday, November 19, 2018

FAO

 I heard this week that FAO Schwarz has re-opened in New York City.  Wow!  That is great!  And they will have the giant piano again.  Just in time for Christmas shopping.  When I was a child and teen, I visited that giant toy store a couple of times and remember it well.  Loved the large animals that you could hug and play with and the piano, especially!



But one of my favorite memories of all time in New York during the holidays was our visits to the Macy's store.  The original one, the best one in the world.  That store had windows that went completely around the store, both on 34th Street and on Heralds Square.  Each one of those large display windows would be decorated with the most elaborate diorama.  With moving parts and colorful images and falling snow in some of them.  It was magnificent to a young girl such as myself.



When you entered the store itself, the decorations and lights and music were everywhere.  It was so hard for a child to take it all in, I tell you.


One whole floor of this huge store was taken up by Santaland.  
Wow! Wow! Wow!
It was like you were in the North Pole.  There were snowy mountains, houses all decorated for Christmas, Santa sitting on a big chair, elves everywhere you looked (and one running around taking pictures), huge pieces of candy and candy canes, and life-sized replica of Santa's reindeer.  But, what I remember most is Rudolph, the Red Nosed Reindeer!
When I passed by Rudolph, he talked to me!
Honest!
He told me he liked the red coat I had on with the little fur collar and he asked me what I would like for Christmas.  I don't remember what I told him but I will always remember that he commented on my hand-me-down winter coat!  
It took me years to figure out how that inanimate replica of a deer had been able to talk to my nine year old self.  And that he talked to all the children.  I thought he just talked to me!  I was sure that I was that special in that special place.
Magic!!!





Monday, November 12, 2018

WW1

I was of a mind to post this yesterday, but life got in the way as I have spent two days and nights staying with my son, The Prince, while he was in hospital.  He is out now and doing well.  
So, onward we go.


This is a picture taken of my father before he entered World War 1 (the war to end all wars, remember?) taken when he was 22 in 1914.  I imagine that he enlisted and was not inscripted.  Did they have a draft then?  I don't know.
I have his discharge papers but no enlistment records.

My father served on three ships during his time in the service.  I believe that he was a cook on all three ships, the largest of which was the USS Wilhelmenia.  This large ship was used to transport men (and some women who acted as nurses or stenographers and such) to Europe and, unfortunately, to bring wounded and dead back to our shores.  One time, years ago after my mother's death when I was going through family genealogy papers and pictures, I found online a picture of the crew of the Wilhelmenia and there he was, big as life, in his "cookie" whites.  I wish I had that picture but I can no longer find it online.  Shame!
This picture is of him on one of his ships in his dress blues!
Handsome dude!


Here he is in his dress "whites" in Brest, France 1918-1919 as he noted at the bottom of the picture.  From what I can gather, Brest was the dock on which men were let off the boat and the dead were loaded onto the boat.  


When my father returned home to New York late 1919, he resumed his less-than-magnificent career in Vaudeville.  
Of course, by that time, and after missing over three years on stage and in "show business" and as vaudeville was coming to an end with the advent of other forms of entertainment, such as family and children's programs on the radio, his was a short-lived career after the war.  
This is a picture of him in a skit on stage after his return from the war.


As my father, George Albert, was already on his second wife and had a very small child, he needed to find an avocation that would 
pay the bills and take care of his family.  
Odd jobs it was and they were varied and many.  
As he only had a sixth grade education, even then, it was difficult to compete for even the most lowly employment when you had not much education.  
Within just a couple of years thereafter, about 1937, I believe, he lost his wife and sent his young daughter to be raised by her aunt on her mother's side.  
Back to looking for work he went.  And he went everywhere in New York and New Jersey for employment in order to feed himself 
and send money for his daughter, Joyce Marie.  
This is a picture of my father around that time at Jones Beach in New York.  
He always wore that Navy cap of his.  
When he died, my brother got the cap from his Navy trunk and when my brother died a couple of years ago, 
his son got the Navy hat.  
Yes, the same nephew of mine who will get my 
loved Gibson guitar this month.


So on this official day of commemoration of Veterans Day and the end of the "war to end all wars", 
I think of my father and all the others who fought 
and died in the trenches 1914-1919.  
It was then we began to invent and use "weapons of mass destruction",
 such as the battle tank and mustard gas.  
Aren't we proud?

Friday, November 09, 2018

Wednesday Words on Friday

I am going to try this once and see what happens.  It is called Wednesdays Words on Friday.  You can find the original post here.

Another Shooting


Another mass shooting in the United States.  First one we have had for a week.  What a shame.  How awful.  Sending thoughts and prayers your way.  Of course, Donald has said nothing because he does not care for California because they don't particularly like him.  It happened this time in a large country and Western bar near Thousand Oaks.  The purpose of the people in the bar that night was to celebrate College Night.  There were students there (and killed) from California Lutheran University, Pepperdine, and Moorpark College.  I have pictures of my son jamming with his little band when he attended CLU.  Well, it is now one day later and our people have again patched up another little hole in their hearts and will move on to other things, other problems, other life issues until the next time....maybe next week.


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