Celebration of a Hero’s Too Short Life

July 4, 2017 is an Independence Day we will never forget.  That is why I chose it.  All eleven of the the family were in Cambridge UK at the American Cemetery  to celebrate the life of my oldest brother George, a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division,  who jumped in the early hours of June 6, 1944. He  was  wounded at the battle for La Fiere Bridge in Normandy, and died on the ship back to England.  He was 20 years young.  I was not born until two years after his death.    As the last of my immediate family, I feel a responsibility to pass this story of our family’s hero to my children and their children.  I heard the other day that it takes 3 generations to forget history.  I am doing all I can to insure that my grandchildren will both  know and remember our history.

I have quite a few tales to tell as I share the steps my family took starting in Normandy and then to Cambridge. I hope this will encourage each of my readers to keep their own   heroes   and everyday  family  members and their stories alive by  repeating tales to  family today, recording,  and preserving them  for the generations to come.


http://www.AParatroopersFaith.org     Visit  to learn more.



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MacKenzie-Childs 2017 Barn Sale

Image result for MacKenzie-Childs Barn Sale 2017Aura,  New York was alive with visitors from all over the country this weekend. In the       Sunday paper from nearby Syracuse, a woman from California  was interviewed.  The sale began  on Thursday and and ended on  Sunday. I went on Sunday with my family who lives in nearby Skaneateles.

MacKenzie-Childs is very high end ceramics, painted tin dishes and everything you can image.  The black and white checkerboard pattern is certainly a theme and trade mark. It is very pricey  so the Barn Sale of 70% off is very appealing to the masses. Let me tell you that is is quite expensive at 70% off in my opinion.  In small doses,   it is a fun colorful  accent  to most decors but in my taste a little goes a long way! I will just show you lots of pictures from this sale and you can  can get an idea.

My granddaughter loved the furniture which reminded me of ALICE IN WONDERLAND which when I think about it pretty much describes it all !

The Barn Sale is every July in the third weekend from Thursday though Sunday.  Mark your 2018 calendar if you are interested!

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Waiting patiently in line with the spectacular view of the pond and English Gardens.

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Start in the barn for the dishes and accessories in the trademark checkerboard either black  and white or yellow and white.

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Shopping in the barn


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A few brave men, shopping carts, bags and bargain hunters!

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Violet loved the furniture. . . . she is 7!

This is the New York City Showroom

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I think Queen Victoria would love that chair!

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Well, I think I have given a pretty thorough taste of these designers.

Would love to hear your thoughts!


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Musee de Montmartre

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Is this not a picture perfect site for the Musee de Montmartre, sited at the crest of the hill and surrounded by gardens that were designed from the master garden painter Renoir? The gardens are terraced down the hill and even include a grape vineyard which hugs the hill overlooking the city of lights below.

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Image result for images of garden musee de montmartre

Visiting this small museum gives you a feel for what it was like for the artists  who lived there during the Belle Epoque from 1872 to 1914 at the height of this time of art in Montmartre. Here are a few of the quite well known artists who lived, painted and were inspired in Montmartre. Many of them stayed and painted in the rooms we walked through in the Musee, Salvadore Dali, Claude Monet, Henri de ToulouseLatrec, Pablo Picasso  Renoir and Suzanne Valadon.

Suzanne was born into a lower middle class family with a talent for art that showed up in  her sketches as a young girl.  She had a wild and free spirit wanted to be in the circus.  This dream ended in a serious injury.  She had her art to turn to.  This was not a time for woman in art and though Mary Cassat was well known and from an affluent family, Suzanne was poor.  Her entry into the art world was by being a model for many of the famous artists, many of whom she became their mistress as well.  She would  observe, ask questions and learn by osmosis, all she could about her and their art. Slowing she became doing her own art. She litterally pulled herself up by here bootstraps~

Erik Satie, the composer,  was one of many of her lovers.

We wandered through the buildings and gardens seeing architecture , film, and art. . . a little this or that which held our attention because of the variety and incredible history of the site.  Approaching a closed door, we decided to try to enter. As the squeaky door swung open we were faced with a  room filled with light from the skylight. The furniture  and artists supplies were left just as if the artist had stepped out and would be right back. Much to our delight , we discovered that the artist who used this studio just as it was left was none other than Suzanne Valadon!

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Image result for images of Suzanne Valadon's studio

Her studio was the often used meeting place with many artists.


Posted in Architecture, art, France, Suzanne Valadon, Uncategorized, women | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cafes, Cafes Everywhere!

A cafe at the beginning of a block. . .Image result for cafe images in Montmartre

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A cafe at the end of the block. . . .


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And one that  meets  in the middle!   This one was quite near our apartment.

We always ate breakfast at a table outside a cafe.  The traditional French breakfast is a croissant, butter, baguette and fruit preservers  along with orange juice and  a cappuccino.

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Our dear French friend insists that the croissants must be plain but  the chocolate ones we like are available. . . . . maybe just for the tourists!

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Cafes are a great place for a glass of cider or beer, snails, a sandwich or any light French meal.  Always there is crusty bread and cheese.  And you can sit and rest after eating and no one insists that you leave. Most of the waiters,especially  the young ones ,speak English after the bonjour  and merci!

My husband loves to tease me about how little I have of French though I have many years on my transcripts!   I always remind him that i TOOK French  but never say I STUDIED  French!   I remember Je ne sais pas and Je ne comprendez pas so I could respond in Francis to madame! I have no idea if these are spelled correctly but thought I wouldn’t check for spelling so that you get the full  extinct  of my French!

Posted in food, France, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Notes on Baby Driver… . . . . A Film

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David’s turn to choose the film this week  Lots of layers  here.  There is the obvious bank robber story  which is pretty predictable.  Many exciting car chases  that even I liked. The characters have some redeeming qualities in spite of the fact that they steal money from the rich banks!   Hmmm. . . . Robin Hood in the 2000s!   Kevin Spacey is just about the perfect “bad guy!”   Have you seen HOUSE OF CARDS? Baby and Deborah discover each other in the midst of the chaos in a diner , no less,  and experience a  first love which for once does not immediately end up in bed!

We were disappointed in the predictable ending and had hoped for something a tad  more new but on the other hand  with the references to times past makes it acceptable.    Below are some lessons learned from Baby Driver which may bring up memories from your Mama’s words to live by. . . .

“Crime doesn’t pay!”

“Love conquers all !”

And  I think it is in response for the success of LaLA Land .  With the bank robberies, car chases, complicated  evil by mildly sympathetic  characters, it is a musical !   There is  constant  music playing in the background as well in Baby’s earbuds and even some musical moves almost dancing ! Pretty much not predicable for bank robbers.

It is new and entertaining film  with a very good cast of characters.  Because of  the violence in one scene which was gratuitous to me  not even  car chases could overtake and pushed it to a five star.

For me it is  * * * * entertainment!


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Montmarte in the City of Lights

Our trip began in Paris as a four day celebration of our 50th wedding anniversary.  Montmarte  was my  request thinking of galleries, cafes and meandering among the artist and musicians. 

Yes it is at the top of a rather large hill which we walked  often.  Our steps in Paris were 14,000-15,000 each day.  That is 7-7.5 miles! This helped us maintain or almost the weight we had lost before the trip.

We  had been to  Paris in 1999 for a visit in the summer and then in December  on the way home after a semester with students in Rome. This visit  we tried new accommodations  by renting an AIRB&B .  David was uncomfortable  not wanting to stay in someone’s house, not knowing the owners.  I found an apartment  in Montmarte, one bedroom with a kitchen, bath and living room for about $180 a night.  This was not cheap by any means but much more reasonable than a hotel.   It was comfortable, great location, clean,  and private.  We would eagerly return to Gaelle’s lovely apartment anytime.  Renters and owners   rate the experience so that helps in choosing a location.

We also used Uber for the first time ever in Paris. Our pick-up at the North Station after taking trains from CDG airport was uneventful except for Montemarte being open only for pedestrians on Sunday.  Our driver kept trying this and that winding street until he got us very close to the apartment.  Language or our lack of French was a slight challenge but it all worked out.

Paris, Montmartre, Cathedral

The Basilique Du Sacre-Coeur De Montmarte  is at the top of the hill with steps and sitting on the hill for fabulous views of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  It is said this church and this site was a statement by the church and city. It was thought to show  the church’s position of disdain for the lifestyle of the  Bohemian actors, artists, musicians  , artists , and writers  who lived in the area.  Needless to say, the residents were not happy with the church taking this place of dominance in their Montemarte.  Today there are just many tourists and visitor climbing here and there on steps or cobblestone streets.

We were told that  taking a bottle of wine in the evening for a drink from the steps of the church and viewing the City of Lights was a wonderful and romantic finale to a visit.  We were very late finishing dinner and had to  be ready for pick-up at 7 AM.  We decided to save that experience for  our next visit but  I pass this  along to any of you who visit  Montemarte!

Au Revoir !


Posted in Architecture, beauty, France, history, Montemarte AirB&B Uber, Religions of the World, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

The Human Condition

Image result for image of Indian Women covered from head to toe riding a motorbike


Part of the traffic scene throughout India , are women covered in vibrant  saris , with long white gloves, mouths covered along with their  faces covered leaving  their eyes uncovered except  some covered with  sun glasses. As we traveled by rickshaws, we soon discovered the horrible exhaust fumes filling the streets and we would hold up scarves to filter our breathing.  Some people in open traffic had bandannas  which were worn  to filter the air.  T hey reminded us of bandits in the old movies with their noses and mouths covered and tied behind their heads.

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The long white gloves were a mystery which was solved as we watched TV in the hostel where we lived. There were commercials after commercial for skin lighting cream. Next we noticed that most of the actresses and actors on TV and in Indian film were light or lighter skinned.  Oh course, the unrelenting and powerful sun darkens skin no matter the the beginning skin tones!

We were very surprised because to us the young Indian women with their perfectly chiseled features, their petite  builds. thick, and long, thick  ebony hair  were outstanding no matter the skin tone.   As we mulled this over  especially when out and about, a thought of clarity came to me.  People in the US , usually the young among us would spend money, time, and  risk getting  cancer to sun bathe or tan in a booth in order to be darker.

Can it be that humans are just naturally dissatisfied and want to be this or that or have this or that. . . .  . just be  part of the human condition?  I think so. . . . . . the human condition of dissatisfaction. . . . . .


Posted in Amdavad, beauty, film, India, Uncategorized | 6 Comments