The Sorrow of Grey Areas

In the absence of God we all want perfect heroes, don’t we? We build them up and hate them as we drag them down to earth. I can’t write about characters who don’t get dragged into pits and stomped on. It doesn’t seem real to me. I can’t relate and feel the whole hero thing…

No, The Other Brother

Edwin Booth had these eyes: dark, large and full of sorrow.They tore people’s hearts out. It was said that no one had ever seen the young actor laugh. That well-earned sorrow matured into frequent drinking binges and sometimes shoddy performances as an actor, but unlike his insane and brilliant father who begot him illegitimately there…

A Man Who Captured Beauty and Made a Difference

Seneca Ray Stoddard had not only a great name but an enormous love for the Adirondacks. A self-trained artist and photographer Stoddard documented the people, the beauty and the every day life of the region producing 3000+ images over forty years. He passionately worked to keep the Adirondacks wild and his persistence paid off when…

Ready to Wear Clothing

“In the 1800s, cowboys and other manual laborers wore what was called “ready-to-wear” — second-hand clothing that had been discarded by the higher classes. With few exceptions (such as military uniforms), new clothing was not mass produced back then. If you wanted an outfit, you went to a tailor, who measured you and custom-made the…

Baby Contests

Okay, so this will probably be my last venture into the weird world of baby fitness for a while, but I had to share this fantastic bit of PR with you. Better Baby Contests. All across America at agricultural summer fairs and elsewhere families waited in line to have their babies assessed for mental and…

Capturing Soul

There was a family and once they were here. Present. Full of possibilities. Serious young men echoing each other in pose. Attuned to the remarkable ability of the camera to capture soul–sort of. It captures a static moment when boys just before manhood take themselves and the world seriously. One boy dapper and the other…

The Nanny Diaries 19th Century Style

One of my best friends was  a nanny. Minding the children was the easy part. Living in the family’s basement (though it was a nice basement) with no car, no legal rights (she over stayed her visa) and no windows was kind of bleak. Thank God she had me to take her drinking in Hoboken…

Dying For A Lost Cause–Is It Worth It?

Rose O’Neal Greenhow‘s father was murdered at random by an unknown assailant. That’s enough of a story for most lives, but there’s more. This pretty little lady became a famous Confederate spy credited by Jeff Davis for the win at the First Battle of Bull Run. Before the war she married well and moved to…