Saturday, June 28, 2008

dorothy's visit last march

When Dorothy came east for a visit in March, I didn't have a camera and so I wasn't able to document our time together. Dorothy took a few pictures, and here they are. Thanks Dorothy! We took a day trip to Provincetown on a cold rainy day. Provincetown, for those of you who haven't visited there, is (in the right season) a glorious extravaganza of fun shops, restaurants, galleries, and every kind of people you can imagine -- artists, merchants, fishermen, families, tourists, gay, lesbian, transgendered, and straight. All surrounded by wonderful ocean views on all sides. On a gray rainy day in March, most shops are closed, year-round residents are working or tucked away at home, tourists and visitors haven't arrived, and the views are truncated by fog and clouds. But it felt like an adventure as Dorothy, Nick and I trudged through the puddles, had a great lunch at a cool restaurant, and ended up at (where else), the Provincetown Public Library, which features a half-sized model of the ship Rose Dorothea.

Click here for a great video that gives you a sense of the summer life in Provincetown during Carnival from a partyer's point of view-- the crowds aren't much different on regular days. So Dorothy -- watch it and see what you missed! And turn up the volume!
Dorothy & Nick in front of a fabulous house with a sculpture garden.

Nick and Lucy @ the Provincetown Public Library.

Rose Dorothea (nice name, huh Dorothy?)

Friday, June 20, 2008

the gesture

Sara and I noticed that Mom makes a certain gesture while she's talking, and we've captured evidence of it in several recent photos. You be the judge.

No gesturing. Hands at rest.

There it is!

There it is again! And behind my back, no less!
And there!

Well, I guess I make certain gestures too. Peace!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

sara's visit back east

Here are a few photos of Sara's visit to the east coast. Check Sara's blog in the next few weeks for more photos. We had a great time catching up on each other's lives and thoughts and feelings. We talked non-stop and, of course, solved all the problems of the world. We spent a day at Heritage Gardens in Sandwich with Mom and Aunt Biddy, and had a really fun visit with Ben in Newport -- got to see where he works and where he lives. And we had a morning on Long Beach right here in Centerville, walking and wading. We saw an unusual fish that I have yet to identify, and the little sand crabs that dig their holes and create little balls of sand outside of the opening. Scroll down for a really bad (and blessedly short) video of the little crabs in action.

Susan, Biddy, and Sara, Heritage Gardens, Sandwich, MA

From Behind

Sara on the Carousel, Heritage Gardens

Kites along Ocean Drive, Newport, RI

Sara and Ben, Ocean Drive

Sara, Ben, Grandma Susie


Hannah graduates from 8th grade (Aunt Sara attended the ceremony)

Sara admires the shell tree, Long Beach, Centerville

Terrible crab video; nice butt
WARNING -- Graphic scene of crab abuse

Sara the bathing beauty

Piping plover

Long Beach, Centerville, looking west to Osterville

Sara and Grandma, Plimoth Plantation, Plymouth, MA

Friday, June 06, 2008

grandfather on great-grandfather

In a recent email Sara mentioned to me that she didn't really know much about Chester Loomis besides what we see in photographs and in his art. I am always on the quest for tidbits of information about him that will help make him more real to us, his great-grandchildren (see below for my post on my most recent research find).

I have a typescript copy of our grandfather Charles Dana Loomis' autobiography; it has been on my list of things to transcribe and send to everyone one of these years. But every time I start I get bogged down in the tedium -- sorry Grandpa -- of the text. Except for a few pages at the beginning and end, he doesn't mention his family at all. For nearly 250 pages he relates the details of his wonderful education, his esteemed professors, and his work in the architectural world. He does, however, talk about his father, Chester, for several paragraphs, and I share his words here. His love and respect for his father shine through.

"...Of course the first and usually the most vital imprint left on the tastes, instincts, and prejudices comes from the Father and Mother. In the first rush of a child's growth, little else interferes with the full effect of these two. Later come the teachers, companions, contemporaries, and even, to most of us, memorable elders. But one must begin with the best and fairest attempt to see these two truly. It is, of couse, apparent that to go further to try and explain them in turn by what made them runs beyond experience into hearsay and tradition. So we strive for an objective picture of them.

Father was above all a gentle man. Any act or word of his that might harm another was anathema. Of a palcid and phlegmatic disposition with nerves of iron, it never occurred to him that the world was full of people who had no objection to hurting others, or whose nerves sang like bow strings at a touch. He loved fun, and to him the play of delicate wit, and especially fancy, were meat and drink. He loved nature and little hidden out of door things, the birds, the beasts, and plants, more particularly if they were somehow modest, retiring, and a little hard to come up with. The flamboyant and the blatant left him cold. He looked upon the grandiosity with a dim eye. A complete extravert [sic], the things about him took all his attention, and neither self confidence nor self esteem was important enough to command his interest or his efforts. It is needless to say that the world of pushing men into which he was born rarely took time to examine this hidden man.

Left fatherless as a young man, with a competence which made it possible, he turned quickly to his artistic interest, and in the Paris of the [18]70's became one of the many promising young painters whose work was well hung in the Paris Salons, and which Americans were glad to take into their homes. Returned to America, the background of his American contemporaries in Paris furnished him a promising foothold in New York. In a fairly long life he painted and drew much that was worthy, some things that were very moving, and a few that were inherent failures. Always his failures were on efforts to produce the show piece, the dramatic, or the humdrum. His Mother Goose, if it could be reprinted, would still be the delight of all children. Wherever he could find the gay or whimsical his touch was sure.

It must have been his love for little hidden things as well as a love of sunlit water and pastoral scenes that turned him to trout fishing. Let summer weather promise just ahead, and he must be off to Beaverkill, the Lamoille, Maine, or New Hampshire, with his rod cases and fly books, and leaders boxes and waders, but no less with his water colors and his sketching kit. To him, the choosing of a fly, the casting of a fly, the playing of a fish on gossamer tackle were matters of the highest art, no less than the production of those luminous and tender water colors of the streams and fields and hills that he rejoiced to live with.

The social scene as such to him was dull. He was without the desire to shine, but with people who shared some of his delicate wit and gayety, he blossomed, and with farmers and fishermen, the earthy and direct, the unpreoccupied, he was at home and comfortable.

In a world, for him, of declining fortunes and disappointment, or disillusionment and anxiety he lived and died, steady, unperturbed, uncomplaining, and courageous. Among the fading hope and in the long descent to age, he found a tranquility and an inner happiness that saw him through."

NOTE: The watercolor above, painted by Chester, is of a dapper man fishing -- perhaps a self-portrait? The photo is of Chester with his first grandchild, Esther Barbara, daughter of Charles and Dorothy. They appear to be mutually delighted with one another. The photo was taken in 1923, the year before his death, and may have been taken by Grandma Loomis.

round lake

About 6 years ago I had planned to travel out to the Syracuse area to track down Loomis ancestors in towns like Cicero, Clay, and other small villages in Onondaga County. I never did make it out there -- my trip was canceled due to bad weather. Most of you have read my ongoing research on our great-grandpa Chester Loomis, and I continue to search for bits of information that add to my sense of connection to him.

Recent poking around on the internet brought up a new bit of information that was of interest to me. According to an article in the July 1, 1894 issue of the New York Times, Chester was spending the summer teaching art classes at the Round Lake Association, a community just east of Albany. By that time he and Sara Dana has settled into life in Englewood, NJ and had started their family. Spending a summer teaching closer to the family homestead must have been a perfect opportunity for them. Round Lake was originally established as a Methodist camp, but in the 1890s the emphasis shifted to education and leisure activities. The community of Round Lake still thrives -- and I was happy to see from their website that they're very proud of their library!

So now I need to reschedule that trip to New York, and add Round Lake to the list of destinations. According to Fransje, it's just a short drive from Halcyon Farm!