Friday, July 30, 2010

St. James General Store

St. James General Store is a historic landmark in Suffolk County, New York. But to my husband and I, it was the place to go to buy the best 'molasses paddles' around. We would drive the fifteen minutes often to buy a bag full of them hoping they would last more than a few days, though they rarely did. That was many years ago, and I haven't been back to the store since moving to Florida twenty-five years ago, but I still remember the many trips to the quaint little store that was filled with so much history. This store is the oldest store in the United States that has been operating since it opened in 1857. The store ledger show that many famous people visited back in the day, such as Lionel Barrymore, Ethel and John Barrymore, Lillian Russel, and Irving Berlin to name a few. The above picture is my husband way back in 1976 outside of the general store. The picture below is a shot of the inside back in 1976.


We would often go to the store and just hang out on the front porch and take pictures. In the picture below is my sister (standing) and my two sister-in-laws (sitting). My sister was still in her hippie faze.

I don't know why this picture posted so tiny, but this is my daughter and her cousin outside of the general store back around 1981.
If you want to know more about the store and its history click on the title of this blog.



Thursday, July 22, 2010

Grandkids: They Grow So Quickly

This is Jesse at two years old, already a computer wiz. Notice the headphones, he loved his music. This is when this sweet little boy and my daughter still lived with us. I babysat him everyday while his mommy worked.
This picture is shortly after they moved to Alabama, just before he turned three. This was our first visit (only 3 weeks after they moved) and he stayed overnight in the hotel with us. After having them living with us since he was born, it was very hard to let him go so far from us. Our hearts were broken over my daughter and Jesse moving nine hours away.
Skip ahead two years, and this is Jesse in a karate outfit I had bought him for his 5th birthday. His birthday is 6 days before Christmas. Every year my daughter and her husband would come for the Christmas holidays and we would have Jesse to spoil again.



Skip ahead two years again, and now Sophia is added to the mix and almost a year old. This picture was taken in our Florida living room when they visited in August. In the picture is Jesse, age 7, my husband Chriss, and little Sophia. Three days after Sophia was born we bought a small house in Alabama that we have been hoping to move into permanently. Anyone want to buy a house in Florida???
Jesse and Sophia in the living room of our house in Alabama. Sophia is about a year and a half and Jesse is eight.


My daughter and one of her friends started a photography business in town and this is one of the pictures from a photo shoot of the kids. It is one of my favorites.

Sophia is almost four years old already and Jesse is almost eleven. Time sure flies, they are growing so fast. Even though my husband and I go to Alabama as often as we could, we still feel like we are missing so much of them growing up. I am so grateful for computers and video chats and cell phones with picture messaging. I miss these kids so much when I am in Florida. The next two pictures are from my last visit there. The first picture is the two of them on my laptop(Jesse is still a computer wiz) while I was folding laundry. The second picture is my two angels asleep on the blow-up mattress that they always sleep on when we are in Alabama. My daughter and son-in-law only get to visit their children when we are there, because the kids stay with us (though I am sure they enjoy their alone time).


I can't wait to sell my house in Florida and move there for good.








Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Yard Sale and Thrift Store Finds


Some thrift store finds while I was visiting Alabama this past weekend. There is a cute little thrift store in Gadsden called "Let There Be Light" that I picked up the old fashioned hand ice crusher. The other items were purchased at several other thrift stores around town.

This little yellow table and chairs is just the perfect size for my granddaughter, Sophia, to play at. I picked it up from a yard sale in Gadsden. The little flower pot and the marker container are glued to the table so they cannot be lost. When we sit on the porch she has her own little spot now.


At the same sale I found this cute little cabinet that fit perfectly in my tiny bathroom. It is great for holding extra roles of toilet paper and other small items.

I found a beautiful antique dresser that would have been perfect for my bathroom as a sink cabinet at the Salvation Army but when I measured it, it was a inch to wide. I wanted to cry because it was exactly what I wanted and it was only $89.00. I will have to keep looking.




Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Special Birthday Gift for Hubby.

I never know what to get my husband for his birthday. Whenever I ask him if there is anything special that he wants he always says no. On a rare occassion, he might suggest a pair of drumsticks, drumheads, or a cymbal(you may have guessed that he is a drummer). With his birthday in August, I started about a month ago trying to come up with something special to get him. As I was surfing the internet for ideas I saw it. The perfect gift for my husband...tickets to see Ringo and his Allstar Band. Growing up in the 60's, The Beatles were his favorite band(and mine also), and being a drummer, Ringo was his favorite Beatle. Neither of us had ever had the pleasure of attending a concert that included any of the Beatles over the years, so this was a big thrill for us. I had wanted to keep it a secret and surprise him, but I was so excited after I bought the tickets I could only keep my mouth shut for about a week. Though my husband's birthday is still a month away, Ringo was playing our area tonight so hubby got his birthday present early and he loved every minute of it.


Members of the Allstar Band were Rick Derringer(the McCoys-'Hang On Sloopy'), Richard Page(Mr. Mister-'Broken Wings'), Wally Palmar(the Romantics-'What I Like About You'), Edgar Winter('Frankenstein' and 'Free Ride'), Gary Wright('Dreamweaver') and Gregg Bissonette(drummer).


Can you believe Ringo just turned 70 years old? He celebrated his birthday July 7 and was playing a show at Radio City Music Hall in New York and a special guest joined the show that night to wish him a Happy Birthday...Paul McCartney. Oh, the lucky fans that night, two Beatles instead of one. Too bad we couldn't have been at that show.


Sorry the pictures aren't too clear but we weren't sitting very close. I do love the zoom lens though.




Monday, July 12, 2010

Henry Ford's Winter Home

After viewing Thomas Edison's home and guest home(see yesterday's post) we were guided through a small garage that housed two old fords, a Model T and a Model A Ford. Right next to the garage was Henry Ford's winter home named 'The Mangoes'.
This Craftsman Bungalow is 3000 sq. ft. and Henry Ford purchased it in 1916 for $20,000. The furniture is not the original furniture, which was sold in the 1940's at an auction. In 1945 the house was sold to the Biggar Family for $20,000(the same price that Henry paid for it in 1916). The city of Fort Myers did not acquire the property until 1988. The Biggar family sold it to the city of Fort Myers for $1.2 million. The furniture has been staged from pictures and are period antiques and collectibles representative of the original furniture which was purchased in 1990 by the Foundation. The only original piece that belonged to the Ford family is the Grandmother Clock in the living room which was given back to the home in 1990. Below is the guest room and the bathroom on the main level.


The Wedgewood china on the dining room table is a set of Clara Ford's favorite pattern named Columbia. The Wedgewood Company made this set in 1990 especially for 'The Mangoes'.


Notice the window benches flanking the living room fireplace. They provided a place to sit when all the other furniture was removed from the room to open a space for square-dancing.


The picture below is the guest bedroom on the main floor south wing, with a private bath. Upstairs were two more bedrooms, a bathroom, a dressing room, office, and a sleeping porch. The north wing has 2 servants rooms and 1 bath. The main floor center housed the living room, dining room, butler's pantry, kitchen and pantry.


The only original piece of furniture that is in Ford's house is the 'grandmother' clock. The grandmother clock is said to be called that instead of the grandfather clock because it is shorter, thinner and never wrong, a joke the tour guide told. The clock is set to the time that Henry Ford died, which was a tradition for many Irish families back then.


The Model T and the Model A Fords

My grandson enjoyed checking out the old cars and hearing the stories that the guide was telling. One of the funny stories that the tour guide told was that one day Henry and Thomas were out and came upon a man on the side of the road whose car had broken down. Henry, who was an accomplished mechanic and still loved to tinker on cars stopped and offered his assistance to the man. He worked on the car until it was repaired. The man was very grateful for the help but did not know who had just repaired his car and offered to pay him for his troubles. Henry refused the man's money, stating he was rich and didnot need the money the man was insisting he take. Still trying to pay Henry for his help, the man remarked, 'if you are so rich, then why are you driving a Ford?" Talk about an embarassing moment.

Thomas Edison

Saturday night my husband and I packed a bag, grabbed the grandson and headed south for a 3 hour drive to Fort Myers, Florida. We pulled into a motel around 11:30 pm for a good nights sleep so we could be bright and bushy tailed for the day we had planned with our grandson. We had decided to take him to see Thomas Edison's winter home and laboratory and Henry Ford's winter home. They were neighbors and close friends. Jesse is a ten year old boy who just soaks up things like a sponge and was thrilled to see many of Edison's inventions. Edison purchased 13+ acres in 1885 and two homes were assembled on the property the following year. His home was known as Seminole Lodge.



The view from the porch.


The garden path connecting to the guest house.



Inside views of Seminole Lodge, Edison's winter home in Fort Myers,Florida. The bedroom is actually seperated from the rest of the house by a breezeway. Originally it was a kitchen but when he bought the house next door the kitchen was then moved to the other house. It was said that he didn't like to smell the food being cooked. There are two additional bedrooms upstairs.




Thomas Edison's lab near his home in Fort Myers, Florida. Pieces have been moved into the museum area while the actual lab is being restored.



In the actual lab...a cot was kept close by. Edison would take short naps during the day and would often work through the night.

The lab that is being restorated.


A generator




Some of the many inventions that Edison worked on over the years. He had over 1090 patents by the time he died in 1931 at the age of 84. The invention that he is most known for is the phonograph. Many people believe he invented the light bulb, but he did not invent the first light bulb. But the man who did couldnot keep the bulb burning for more than a few seconds, so what Edison actually did was perfect it, getting it to burn 40 hours, and later 1200 hours. Another of his inventions is the motion picture camera.




We were all amazed to find out that in 1925 Harvey Firestone gave Edison a 4 foot cutting of a Banyan Tree to add to his botanical research garden and that tree is now nearly an acre in diameter. This tree just seemed to go on forever. The following 3 pictures are of the single tree.





My next post will be Henry Ford's winter home. Jesse was very interested in the cars and stories that he heard about on the tour.
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