MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography..genealogy and life in general and this and that…


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Meeting Carly Simon, Finally…

What’s it like to finally meet someone you’ve admired for years, someone you have  come close to meeting through mutual friends but didn’t for one reason or another, and so you resigned yourself to the fact that it would never happen!  Carly Simon has always been an inspiration to me through her song lyrics and through her written words, and to meet her, although for only a few minutes…. well, it was down right awesome, nerve wracking and surreal and all I hoped it would be.

 

After 40 years of being a fan and admirer of Carly Simon – 5 concerts (MV with Harry Connick Jr, NJ art center, Lincoln Center, the Apollo and Joe’s Pub in NYC)…

 After a lifetime of both of us having a connection to Martha’s Vineyard and never ever meeting each other it finally happened on Oct 24th here in NJ at Carly’s book signing for her new book ‘Touched By The Sun’ about her long time friend ship with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

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How did this come to be after all these years?  Carly has done signings of CD’s and books over the years in NYC but I’ve never been able to make them, but when it was announced she was going to be on this side of the Hudson River in New Jersey and not far from where I live, and an early evening appearance… we knew it had to be now or possibly never.

My daughter got off from work early and we left around 3 for the 6 o’clock signing.  We got to Bookends in Ridgewood, NJ around 4.  There were already maybe 7 people in line outside, we went into the book store to purchase our reserved copies of the book which were our tickets into the event, got a refreshment and then got in line which had swelled to about 12 people by then.  I was so relieved to be near the front, and my daughter could relax knowing she had delivered me bright and early to the event.  I tend to get anxious sometimes and this was absolutely one of those times. The final estimate was between 250-300 people.  Around 5 they led us into the bookstore and downstairs into a large room where they had a sort of roped off maze of lanes which led up to the front of the room where there was a desk. My description is horrible but the concept was great as it kept everyone orderly and in order of how you first got in line.  As in most cases when you’re in a line for awhile for something you begin chatting with those around you, some were sitting on the floor already reading Carly’s book, my daughter was knitting socks, everyone was friendly, happy and anxious for 6pm to roll around.

A little after 6 we were all led back upstairs where Carly was seated behind a desk waiting for her eager fans.

 

Carly looked gorgeous, she was charming, gracious and warm, she didn’t rush anyone and spoke to you like the two of you were the only ones in the room.  I was afraid I would turn out to be one of those ‘gushy’ fans that says the same things she’s heard a zillion times so I practiced in my head what I wanted to say in the short amount of time I had.  I did not gush, I did not blather, I did not forget my name, or hers,  I was my version of cool.

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I wonder if we were both thinking the same thing…

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If you’re wondering why the pictures show the back of the jacket I have on, it’s from Carly’s tour in 1978 when her ‘Boys In The Trees’ album came out. I came into possession of the jacket through two mutual friends of mine and Carly’s and thought she might get a kick out of seeing it.  She did.

Thank you Carly for all the years of your incredible music,your heart felt lyrics (there’s a Carly song for every emotion),  and for books, you are truly an inspiration.

 

carlysimon.com

 

 


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Our Santa…

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My dad was a police officer in Newark, NJ. For many of his years on the force he worked in the Emergency Squad division. During the long hours between calls the guys would keep themselves busy in various ways like cooking. Near the Christmas holidays they always came up with a special project, like candle making for instance.

In 1956 they made Santas.  I still have ours.  Santa stands about 3 and 1/2 feet tall and is made from press board. After the outline was drawn the guys cut out the Santas and my dad set to work drawing the features, clothing and bag of toys.  At that point our Santa came home and my mother and I painted him.  I’m not sure how many coats of paint we used but Santa was spread out on our kitchen table for about a week before he was completely dry.  I don’t know what kind of paint we used either but here it is 59 years later and he’s not chipped or faded.  This was the only time I ever remember the three of us doing a family project together.

I love everything about this Santa, even the buttons being on the wrong side… but the thing I love the most is that he looks like my dad… a self portrait so to speak.

My creation

Below is my daughter Patty age 2 and 1/2 in 1966…… and her daughter (my granddaughter) Tiffany age 2 and 1/2 in 1991.

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Here’s to Christmas memories, old and new. ❤


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Memorial Day 2018…

Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War and a desire to honor our dead. It was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed. The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.In 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May and as a federal holiday.

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On my mother’s side of the family, my paternal great grandfather, Joseph Littlefield fought in the Civil War and died because of his wounds. He was wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864. He was sent home to Maine to die. He died of typhoidal pnemonia on Sep 30, 1864, he is buried in Rome, Maine. Unfortunately his wife and his 3 oldest children died of the same thing shortly thereafter, leaving my grandfather, Charles Littlefield at age 10 the oldest of the four remaining children.

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Below is a photo of the veteran’s section in the Fairmont Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey, where, on my father’s side of the family my great great paternal grandfather, Stephen Freeman is buried. Stephen did not die in the Civil War but was wounded in the battle of Antietam in 1862. He was sent home, lived another 29 years and died on May 30, 1891, which ironically was Memorial Day.

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Take a moment to remember the original reason for Memorial Day and the men and women who fought for, and gave their lives for our country.

Have a great Memorial Day and enjoy the weekend whatever you’re doing.

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Memories Of My Mom…

Maude Louise Littlefield

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Born in Waterville, Maine

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Raised on Martha’s Vineyard

my mother, Maude Louise and grandmother, Albra Mae – Oak Bluffs, 1924\

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Moved to New Jersey after high school graduation and met a Jersey boy, Joseph Albert (Al)…

 

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                                         married him                     and had a Jersey girl (me)

 

The next to the last Mother’s Day I spent with my mom was May 1975. My parents were vacationing on the Cape and she was unaware that we were driving up from NJ to surprise her for the weekend. I gave her the book ‘Mostly On Martha’s Vineyard, A Personal Record’ by Henry Beetle Hough, as I knew she’d know some of the people mentioned in the book. I am so glad I did that because after reading the book she decided she wanted to sail over to the Vineyard to visit her mother’s grave. It turned out be her last trip to her beloved Vineyard.

Can’t let Mother’s Day pass without pictures of my sweeties…

Daughters Patty and Debbie…

                                      Then                                                 Now

Grandchildren Tiffany and Tyler…

                                                        Then                                                  Now

 

 

 


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Downtown Newark, NJ Walking Tour…

What a fun thing to do on a gorgeous April Saturday.  A walking tour of downtown Newark, NJ with Have You Met Newark tours.  Newark is where I was born and grew up and it’s exciting to see what’s going on there.  Here are some pictures of our tour.

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Pictured below is the Prudential Center arena (The Rock) and the NJ Performing Arts Center (NJPAC)

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The Old First Presbyterian Church was established in 1666 by the founders of Newark, NJ.  My 10 times great-grandfather was one of the founders of Newark and he, along with some of my other ancestors were buried there.

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The City Hall, and Broad and Market streets, known as the 4 corners.

 

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The Prudential buildings. The Prudential came to Newark in the late 1800’s, the original building was demolished in 1956 to make way for Prudential Plaza which opened in 1960.  A few blocks away in July 2016 the Prudential Tower opened.

Prudential Plaza                                                          Prudential Tower

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Right in downtown Newark are three lovely parks.  Lincoln Park, Military Park and here is Washington Park.  The Newark museum and library are located on one side of the park.

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Newark always had lots of department stores.  Pictured here are Bamberger’s (which became Macy’s).. and Kresge (which is the K in K-Mart ), there was also Orbach’s and S. Klein all within a two block radius.

But the department store that was always a bit above the others, literally and figuratively was Hahne & Co Hahne’s closed its doors in 1987 and sat empty for 30 years, it has been totally renovated and is gorgeous.  In addition to retail space the new renovation includes 160 apartments.  Note the original Hahne & Co sign.

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I’m a big fan of Newark, not just because I was born and raised there but because it’s a terrific place to visit.  Learn about what Newark is planning for the future, like this beautiful new park. IMG_4200 But also learn about Newark’s place in our history. A fun way to do that is with a group from Have You Met Newark.

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My Mom, Maude Louise…

My mother, Maude Louise Littlefield Freeman was born in Waterville, Maine on March 11, 1907.

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(my mother and her mother Albra Mae Flewelling Littlefield Grant Baird)

The picture below is one of my most favorite pictures of all time…

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Raised on Martha’s Vineyard… that’s my mother and grandmother at their house on Circuit Ave in Oak Bluffs, 1924

After graduating from Oak Bluffs High School in 1926 she moved to Newark, NJ where she met, and married a Jersey boy… Joseph Albert Freeman

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and had a Jersey girl (me)…

 

I have posted the above pictures etc several times here on my blog either on my mother’s birthday or on Mother’s Day so why am I doing it again this year ?   During the past several months my daughter Deb and I (90% Deb) have been digging into the ancestry of our family.  I posted back in October 2015 how my mother’s ancestors did indeed come on the first voyage of the Mayflower …. but since then Deb has discovered ancestors on mom’s side all over the place and going back many generations.  She’s also discovered facts about my grandparents on my dad’s side which has been amazing since we didn’t know anything about them at all.  But that’s a post for another time. Today it’s all about my mom, Maude Louise.

A friend asked me the other day to describe my mother…what was she like, what did she like to do. I pondered this question and found it was sort of a hard one to answer. To me my mother was funny and a little nutsy at times, a trait I’ve happily inherited by the way… she was kind and loving, a hard worker, she adored my dad, and me. She liked to crochet, she made tablecloths and doilies, and also made lace on handkerchiefs. She made one for my best friend to carry on her wedding day… when I got married I carried it as my ‘something borrowed’.. as did my daughter Patty when she got married.

She had her problems as well though, she went through a period of over a year when I was around 11 when she wouldn’t leave the house… at all… ever. She would wait for me to get home from school and then send me to the corner store for her cigarettes or milk or whatever. We didn’t know what to do about this but then the solution presented itself one morning when my dad was home and he took advantage of it. Mom was doing the wash in one of those machines that had wringers where you’d put the clothes through to get excess water off of them. Somehow my mother’s arm went half way through the wringer…she screamed.. my dad went running to see what was wrong. He quickly took the wringer apart and freed mom’s arm. She claimed she was okay but my dad being a policeman who had worked in the emergency squad division thought otherwise. And here’s where his genius solution to mom’s not wanting to leave the house came in. He said he was taking her to the hospital, she started up the stairs to get dressed (she was in her robe) and he said no, there wasn’t time for that. And then he took her to the worst, most crowded hospital in the city and left her there. He left her because I was due home for lunch break and someone had to be there. Of course when I got home I wondered why Mom wasn’t there and he said she’d gone shopping ! Shopping, really ! The woman hadn’t left the house in months and months and now she suddenly went downtown to go shopping. I was skeptical. When I came home from school later in the day there sat my mother all dressed up like she really had gone shopping. I, of course asked if she’d bought me anything.. hey I was 11 and very self involved.

But what my dad did was just what was needed to snap her back to herself.  She had been so embarrassed sitting in the hospital in her night clothes with so many people around that I guess she vowed to take her life back and do something other than sitting and crocheting all the time.

And she did…. a week later she went to the personnel office in the bank she had worked for before I was born, applied for a job as a bookkeeper and was hired on the spot.

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But there was a lot more to my mother than that episode above… the fact that she had the spirit in her to get herself back on track, I find myself calling on that spirit at times too.

She was a kook in her younger years and I’ve got the photo album that proves it.

The first page says ‘taken during the year 1926’.. most of the photos are of mom and her friends on Martha’s Vineyard…there are a few from NJ as well.   I love how she wrote in white ink on the black pages…and wow, what typical 1926 sayings she wrote.  My mother it seems was turning into a flapper… I love it.

For instance, the picture on the lower left says ‘The Oak Bluffs Sheik “oh daddy” “He’s a hound with the ladies.”  I’m 80% sure I know who that hound was but I’m not telling 🙂

It would have been fun to have known my mother when she was that age, to have hung out with her and her friends on the Vineyard, to be in on their inside jokes and what really went on in with the sheik of Oak Bluffs ! Okay, maybe not. Does one really want to know THAT much about their parents, some things are better left unknown 🙂

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Yes indeed, my mother was one of my favorite people to spend time with.  Some nights when my dad was working the night shift my mom and I would have our favorite supper and speak our ‘silly language’, which was to put ‘S’ in front of every word… not as easy as you think and certainly made for gales of laughter from both of us.

I feel that maybe I shouldn’t have spent so much time on the above story about her bout with, depression, and I was tempted to go back and delete it…but no, it goes to show that she was a strong woman, who lost herself for awhile and then found and reinvented herself…and I’m proud of her for that and like to think that I got some of that fortitude or spunk from her… I definitely got my quirkiness from her and I thank her for that.

Happy birthday mom… ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Weekly Photo Challenge: Tour Guide…

The prompt:   Share with us an image, or two, or three, (or more!) of where you live. For bonus points, tell us what it is about the photo(s) that you love. I can’t wait to go on a fantastic virtual tour of the world, courtesy of photo challenge participants. Away we go!

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Rather than share where I live now I want to share where I was born and raised and lived until I got married.

My home town… Newark, New Jersey

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Above is the Essex County courthouse.  In the forefront is a statue of Abraham Lincoln called the Seated Lincoln sculpted by Gutzon Borglum who was the creator of the Mount Rushmore sculpture of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt.

 

 

Surprising to many who don’t know much about the city of Newark, it has some beautiful parks in it. Washington Park, Lincoln Park and the newly revitalized Military Park. Here sits another of Gutzon Borglum’s works,  one of his most compelling : Wars of America. He created this magnificent sculpture over the course of six years, completing it in 1926. It memorializes all the major conflicts in which Americans participated up to and including the First World War.

 

Thus ends a short tour of two of the beautiful sculptures you can find in Newark, New Jersey 🙂

 

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