Thursday, August 6, 2020

A Crumbly Old Newspaper

Our cardoon, which must be about eight feet tall, is blooming like crazy. It has eight big flowers, a few of which are already spent (above).

Here's one of the fresher ones. The bees love them, and dig way down into the bristly blossoms. It's funny to watch them nose-dive into the plant.

They seem almost drunk with glee, though I'm sure I'm personifying.

Dave signed me up for a monthly craft gin club, in which a bottle of gin and some accessories (various tonic waters and garnishes and snacks) are sent to me regularly. Our first shipment arrived yesterday, just in time for us to take it over to our friend Colin's house to try it out. The gin itself was awesome -- because, well, gin -- but I'm not sure about the garnish of dried goji berries and grapefruit.

Dave ordered it to be delivered here at our house, and I reminded him that we're going to be back at school in a couple of weeks, so we might want to get it sent there. We don't want boxes labeled "craft gin" lingering on the doorstep, an invitation to petty thieves. (I know poor Dave thinks I always see the dark side of everything. But as I've often reminded him, in my family, I'm the optimist!) Of course, the minute we switch it to school, school will be cancelled for coronavirus and we'll have to switch it back. Sigh.

Oh, and our neighbor's gardener trimmed our trees on her side of the fence, as promised, and from our garden you can barely tell. So that all went fine.

Apropos of nothing, here's an old newspaper clipping I scanned while visiting my mom several years ago. It shows my grandfather's marching band from Dunmore High School, outside Scranton, Pa., probably some time in the early 1920s. (My grandfather was born in 1904, so I'm just doing the math.) Apparently the band was brand new at the time, having made its first public appearance in Dunmore that Memorial Day.

This is my grandfather, though you couldn't prove it by me. Looks like he's holding a trombone? Or maybe a trumpet?

Here's a better picture of my grandfather, just for the heck of it. He's the one with the S on this shirt -- I believe it was his college sweater, so that stood for "State," as in Penn State. Here's his obituary, available (to my surprise) through the Washington Post archives.


  1. Beautiful picture of the flower with the bee! Stunningly photographed too!

  2. To honour your grandfather, you should seriously consider copying his outfit from the second picture. You would look so cool marching over to St John's Wood with a big "S" on your sweater. "S" for Steve - just in case you forgot. Frank Malcolm Gager was a clever man, looking to the future.

  3. That cardoon is stunning!
    And wasn't your grandfather handsome?🙂

    Dark red lupins germinated well...soon time to pot them on.

  4. I knew a post from you about a crumbly old newspaper would be something magical.

  5. Your bee photo is amazing. Amazing to find old family obituaries, isn't it? I see he worked at NRL--a very accomplished man. Familiar with NRL as a number of friends used to work there. I located my paternal grandparents obits (both died in 1929) in the Pittsburgh Press archives several years ago.

  6. Oh, Steve! Your pictures look even more amazing on my new laptop! How cool!
    Did you know your grandfather?

  7. Your grandfather was a really interesting guy! I've never really thought about people having accomplished professional grandparents (duh). One of my grandfathers was a dairy farmer, his wife was a beautician, and the other set worked in cotton mills.

    Love the bee in the flower.

  8. Awesome photos of the bee and the flower. Wow, those old photos are wonderful. It's really great to have these things. Your grandfather sounded very interesting. And smart! You must be very proud of him. Enjoy your day, hugs, Edna B.

  9. Interesting to look over the ski equipment. He did the right kind of skiing...cross country.

  10. Those cardoon blooms look a lot like artichokes when they bloom. Great photo of the bee digging in.
    Your grandfather was quit an accomplished fellow with an interesting career. I'll have to dig around and see if I can find obituaries for my grandparents.

  11. I love old family photos like that. Your grandfather really was a handsome guy.

  12. The cardoon is very showy. And your grandfather had quite a distinguished career. Reading that obituary must have made you feel a bit of pride.

  13. Old pictures are a window into another world altogether. Cliche, I know, but true. I love looking at them, whether they're my relatives or complete strangers.

    The cardoon has two distinct beauties, does it not? Striking! And I LOVE that photo with the bee! Talk about being immersed in your work!

  14. I do like the bee burrowing in to the blossom, very intent on what he's doing.

  15. I can definitely see the family resemblance. and the cardoon is awesome. great picture of the bee!

  16. After Jerry Sanduski scandal no body wanted anything from Penn State, I had a lovely old 1919 leather bound annual, tried to sell it on ETSY, It got jeers. So i finally sent it to a charity shop , reluctantly because it was cool. Pretty sure your grandfather was in that book somewhere. Maybe people who keep everything are the smart ones...I so would have sent it to you.

  17. That S sweater is a must now. The cardoon colour is such a treat every summer.

  18. Like Red, I looked over the ski photo with the knickerbockers and braces and the sturdy belts. Great photo. I read the obit. Is this the same grandfather that went to Antactica?

  19. go to liquor. I may need to go to it a lot once school begins. I was in a meeting today about virtual learning and recording lessons. I am not looking forward to this!! Loved the flower pics. I know Scranton is on my way home when I visit my mother in upstate NY.

  20. Such wonderful old photos. I like the idea of a gin delivery every month. What a great present!

  21. David: Thank you!

    YP: I would love to have that sweater, though I bet it was wool and probably itchy as heck.

    GZ: He was handsome. Sadly I do not take after his side of the family. LOL

    Mitchell: Thanks! It was fun to write. This is the same grandfather I mentioned several weeks back who was involved in "Operation Highjump."

    Mary: He was very accomplished. I feel like a slouch by comparison.

    Ms Moon: Glad the photos are looking good! Woo hoo! I did know my grandfather, but he died when I was 10, so I didn't know him in adulthood.

    Bug: My great-grandfather was a teacher, so I imagine he inspired a degree of learning in his children.

    Edna: I thought it would be interesting to preserve and share that newspaper clipping. If anyone ever researches the history of the Dunmore High School band, maybe they'll find it!

    Red: I love that you can identify the TYPE of skiing he was doing!

    Sharon: Cardoons are related to artichokes. In fact they're edible, but we tried them once and thought they were pretty terrible.

    Jennifer: Handsome and smart! I'm sure he was quite a catch in his day.

    Catalyst: He was a very interesting guy, and I certainly am proud to be related to him. Apparently we share common ancestors with Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- which explains my politics, LOL!

    Jenny-O: I agree. I love old photos. I'm so glad we have these.

    Allison: They just work and work!

    Ellen: Thanks! I don't resemble him as much as I'd like, LOL.

    Linda Sue: I think we HAVE those yearbooks! I know I've seen them, at least. Someone in the family must still have them.

    John: Ha! You could make one!

    Sabine: I'm wondering what color it was. I'm thinking navy blue, but that's just a guess.

    Alphie: Yes! Same grandfather. I'd forgotten I wrote about that or I'd have linked to it in the post.

    Michael: Gin is my go-to drink as well. Have you ever seen "Auntie Mame," with Rosalind Russell? When the mother of the "Aryan from Darien" asks Mame if she likes gin, and she says, "Oh, I ADORE it!" And the woman tells her after dinner they'll play a few hands, and Mame's face falls. LOL

    Elizabeth: It IS a great present! I was very impressed!

  22. Your comment made me laugh this morning. Thanks for that!!