Wednesday, December 19, 2007

kissing cousins

A favorite picture of me and Cousin Peter Browne, circa 1968.

Loved to kiss those California cousins!

Bonus point: Why is there a trash can in the middle of the table?

ghosts of christmas past

Nick at Grandma Susie's house, East Bridgewater, 1993

Hannah in Middleboro, 1997 or 98

Lucy in Towson, Maryland, 1958

Dorothy, Lucy, Sara in Hyattsville, Maryland, 1960

Sunday, December 16, 2007

love poem at christmas

Uncle Jack Loomis and Aunt Eleanor Brown were partners for over 50 years. They met in 1918, during World War I in France, where she was a telephone operator in the Signal Corps and he was stationed in Tours. Throughout their photo albums is evidence of the deep love they had for each other, their families, and their animals. Aunt Eleanor was the subject of most of the pictures, as Uncle Jack trained his lens on her with loving regularity. There are pictures of hikes through the Palisades, visits to Central Park, stays with friends, visits to the Washington Zoo, international travel, silliness with dogs and birds. They had no children, but their photo albums are populated with photos of their niece and nephews and their children -- us!

In 1936 Aunt Eleanor took a trip to Seattle for a month at Christmastime. Uncle Jack sent her the card pictured above with the following poem:

Gee, I miss you, Funny Person,
When the house is still and quiet
And the clock's eternal ticking
Rends the silence like a riot.
And I miss you in the morning,
In the evening, all the time.
So return with flying footsteps,
Answering my humble rhyme

At this season of the year, when we're sometimes not sure what we're celebrating, I wish you the kind of love that this poem celebrates – rich, deep, and profound. ~~xxxooo

Friday, November 30, 2007

cousin peter

Cousin Peter Browne passed away on November 25th. I know we all spent Thanksgiving weekend praying for his recovery and sending loving and healing thoughts out to California. Though many of us hadn't seen Peter since Fransje and John's wedding at Halcyon Farms, we kept up with the Liebowtiz family news through Aunt Nan and Sylvie.

Here are several links to great articles about Peter's life and organizations he was passionate about:

Holy Names Universtiy
Inside Bay
Castro Valley Center for the Arts
Oakland Zoo

Monday, October 22, 2007

happy birthday

In a previous post I mentioned cousin Jon Loomis' new novel, and his brother Dana's move to Nevada. Well, here is a photo of us Loomis cousins, being "arranged" by our fathers for a nice photo in Grandma's Ruxton garden -- dated June 1961. Uncle Dana is clearly trying to force Jon and Sara to hold hands against their will. Young Dana is politely standing by, holding his little car. Dorothy has her squinty mad face on. And Dad is trying to keep me from escaping with a death-grip to my head. I guess the photographer gave up trying to wait for a better shot. "I'm taking the damned picture now!"

Dad's birthday is coming up on November 2nd. He would have been 78. The year before he died, he told me that he didn't care if Brud and I got married (we'd been living together for 6 years at that point) -- he just wanted more grandchildren. So for my birthday he gave me glow-in-the-dark sheets (I guess to get that baby-making action going), and a copy of Dr. Spock's Guide to Baby Care. Thanks to those sheets, Nick was born the year after Dad died, and I kept the Dr. Spock guide on my bedside table for instant consultation every time that poor child made so much as a peep. So, happy birthday, Dad, and thanks for your help in getting my family started.

Here's that favorite picture of Dad, Uncle Dana, and Aunt Esther -- brothers and sister / 3 monkeys -- circa 1989.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"behind every cloud is ... another cloud"

OK. I have to admit it. Nobody laugh. I have a secret passion. My kids think I'm a complete loser, but I have this thing for....clouds. Don't ask me why, but they just really speak to me. Sort of like those shells on the beach that call out to be picked up and taken home, to be displayed in a little jar on the windowsill. Except it's kind of hard to do that with clouds.

So last year the kids gave me a gift certificate to Borders, and what did I do but buy myself a book on clouds and the weather. I keep it in my car, and have been known to pull over on the side of the road to look up an interesting cloud formation. I run the risk every day of being pulled over for "cloudspotting while driving." I have seriously considered becoming a member of the Cloud Appreciation Society, but I'm not much of a joiner. I might join just to get the t-shirt. Is that so wrong?

Well, I've decided maybe I've inherited this trait. The diary and guestbook that Helene brought and gave me (see post below) turns out to have belonged not to Grandma Loomis but Great-Grandma Isabel Abbot. And in it were dozens of newspaper clippings about the weather -- she obviously had a passion for such things as well:

  • Coldest Wave Since 1899 - Extend from Rockies to Atlantic and Lakes to Gulf (32 below in North Dakota)
  • First Snowfall is Only a Flurry (October 30, 1925)
  • Hottest September 8 since 1881 & Mecury Again Above 90 (1918)
  • Temperature Goes to 69 - Weather Bureau Records Show it was Hottest Oct 29th in 44 years (1918)
  • Northeaster Brought 3.77 inches of Rain (1923)
  • How to Dress to Go to Frisco -- Democrat Convention-Goers Should Trade Palm Beach Suits for Overcoats (1920)
A brief article Great-Grandma collected from 1922 states "the only thing to do about the humidity is to bear it. But while it endures be tolerant of the frailties of the human temper. Sea bathing affords only temporary relief. Cooling drinks are of no help, because the perspiration they provoke cannot be radiated. It is only possible to wait till it is over and to remember Mr. Shakespeare's injunction that time and the hour run through the humidest day."
So what's your secret passion? Not the ones that everybody knows about, but a thing that fascinates and resonates, even when no one around you gets it? I have one friend who is an enthusiastic member of Friends of the Erie Canal, even though she's never lived anywhere near it, or even visited in the area that often. Uncle Jack Loomis put together lists of funny names he found in the phone book, like Jack B. Nimble or I. P. Freely or Olive Yew. He had collected dozens of pages of them, lovingly typed out on his ancient Underwood typewriter.
Now you know my passion. Tell us yours in the comments field below. We promise not to laugh.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

another long lost cousin

Cousin Jon in his comment on an earlier posting admitted to acts of SG -- Self-Googling. I practice another private vice -- GOP -- or, Googling Other People. Hadn't heard from Dana for several Christmases, so I did a little fiddling around on the Internet and found he's moved from North Carolina to parts West. He's relocated to Nevada, where he's Director of the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada at Reno. Read all about him in the University's NevadaNews. If anyone has contact information for him or updated news, I'd love to get him back on my Christmas card list.

Monday, October 08, 2007

why is kyria stabbing grandma with a fork?

Finally getting around to sharing these photos of our summer visits. Pictured are Kyria, Mom, Fransje, Livy, Claire, me and Hannah. A whole bunch of goofy girls, I'd say.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

visit from helene

Cousin Helene Van Oosten visited today. She divides her time between Fisher's Island, NY and Santa Barbara, CA, and points in between. For those of you who may have forgotten, she is our second cousin -- Edna Lapham Van Oosten was her mother and Aunt Helen and Uncle Roger Lapham were her grandparents. She brought along an album that Grandma Loomis kept -- a guest book for the house in Washington, Connecticut -- full of autographs and photographs and letters and clippings. I'll scan some of those items and share them with you. She also brought an album of Grandma's photographs of her sister Helen and the Lapham family. Grandma was an aspiring photographer and studied at the Art Student's League of New York and with noted photographer Clarence White. Helene told me that Grandma was much chagrined that her parents wouldn't allow her to pose nude for him -- when she later saw an international exhibit of his, which included a number of nudes, she realized that she could have been famous!

Here are a few of the photographs that Helene brought along. I believe that Grandma Loomis took all but the one of herself.

Dorothy Abbot Loomis
Helen Lapham, Carol Lapham, and Isabel Abbot
Lewis and Carol Lapham and Edgar Abbot
Isabel Abbot

Friday, September 14, 2007

cousin jon writes a novel

Visit Jon's blog, too.

From the Publisher:
Provincetown police detective Frank Coffin had been a well-respected Baltimore homicide detective. But when he started having panic attacks at crime scenes and fainting at the sight of corpses, he was forced to pack it in and go home to Cape Cod, where the most gruesome crimes confronting P’towns five year-round cops were usually break-ins, bicycle thefts and domestic disputes. After eight uneventful years, a vacationing TV evangelist turns up dead on the beach at Herring Cove, wearing a wig, a pink-and-yellow muumuu, and a pair of size-twelve pumps. Not to mention the raspberry-colored taffeta scarf strangling his neck. Ordinarily, the Cape and Islands DA’s office and the State Police investigate major crimes on the Cape, but P’town’s powers-that-be are nervous. Coffin’s given a choice by the new police chief: investigate or lose his job. So Frank and his partner, Officer Lola Winters, an ex--army MP, start out on the trail of a killer, visiting the restaurants and tourist spots the evangelist and his wife visited by day, and the drag bars and isolated trysting spots he might have frequented at night. As the body count begins to rise, however, it becomes alarmingly clear that this wasn’t an isolated incident: A killer with an agenda is at large in Provincetown. Tracking a murderer is something Coffin hoped he’d never have to do again, and the experience triggers the same nightmares that plagued the end of his time in Baltimore. And if his life isn’t complicated enough, Frank’s girlfriend Jamie thinks she’s being stalked by an overzealous suitor; his senile mother is stirringup trouble at the nursing home; and everyone in town has a theory about who’s committing the murders. Funny, sexy, and dark in equal measures, High Season is a mystery for anyone who’s ever fallen in love with a seaside town.

Author Description Jon Loomis is the author of two collections of poetry, Vanitas Motel, which won the 1997 FIELD Poetry Prize, and The Pleasure Principle. Twice a Writing Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Loomis has also been awarded the Jay C. and Ruth Halls Fellowship in Poetry at the University of Wisconsin, and has been the recipient of grants from the Ohio Arts Council and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. He lives with his wife and son in west-central Wisconsin. High Season is his first novel.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

50th anniversary

Tissy and Dick celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with lots of family
and friends in attendance. Here's a shot the family / cousins.
Tissy writes: Just wanted to let other family members and friends know that the people in the picture are: Joanne and Peter Leonard, Susie and Lucy Loomis, Luke(Roo) and Judy, Mason, Sara, Matt and Linda Orist (Big Pete's daughter), groom and bride, Sarah and Jon Brooks, Kallie and Shaun Hannon, Jeannie Stanhope, Katie and Kathy Hannon, Alexis Stanhope, Don Stanhope, Dickie Brooks and Krissie Woodard. Front: Sam Stanhope and Spencer Luke Brooks!! What a crew!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

at the beach

Here are Hannah, me, Livvy, and Claire on Craigville Beach. Fransje and the girls spent a day with us, walking talking, sharing lunch, and having ice cream at (where else?) Four Seas. Does anyone else notice that Hannah is going to be taller than me any day now?

We've had fun company this summer (see Kyria's blog for her notes on visiting the Boston area). Taking some time off as the summer winds down. Day trips, school shopping, relaxing. Hannah's camp is over, Nick aced summer school and is finishing up work Labor Day weekend. I'm trying to get in a few more days of swimming, a few more visits with friends, a kayak trip around Barnstable Harbor, a tribute to Kurt Vonnegut at the Barnstable Comedy Club, and a dinner or two on the town.

--Much love.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

art imitates life

This illustration is from the Little Bright Eyes Storybook, pictured below. Published in 1901, it contained art by numerous artists of the day, including great-grandfather Chester Loomis.

I think you can see from this photo that Chester's mother-in-law Arvilla Dana (Sara Dana's mother) is the inspiration for the grandmother in the illustration.

The book is for sale on ebay at the moment -- click here to see the listing. Many thanks to Steve, the ebay seller, for sending a scan of the illustration.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

chester loomis painting

This wonderful painting by Chester Loomis is up for auction right here on Cape Cod -- just one town away! I'm hoping to attend the auction -- don't think I can afford to buy it, but I'm intrigued to see it. I have a call in to the auction house to see where it came from and if they know who it is. They know it came from an estate in Georgia, but are doing a little more research for me. I think it looks like Grandma Loomis, but that could be a stretch.