Miss Pym and a Friend

Miss Pym and a Friend

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Brief Review of a TV retelling of The Brontes' Story: To Walk Invisible- Happy Birthday, Anyway Charlotte

To Walk Invisible will air again tonight, 8 pm cst, on many PBS stations. Visually, lots of detail attracted the eye, but I found there was a modern slant put on the sisters' story that took away from their genius.  Hannah was left out, Elisabeth Gaskell mentioned not at all.  The attention to location, interior décor, costume, hairstyle, etc., was impeccable, but little was told of their juvenilia, other than flashbacks where Branwell's soldiers came to life. The original soldiers appear on the official website featuring Haworth. As an aside, I've tried many years to join The Bronte Society; live has prevented me from checking lately, but in the past, one had to pay in pounds sterling, still not easy to do.

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Anne, To Walk Invisible, Public Domain

For many years, I have read, reread, studied, written about, and created art about the Brontes.  I never got the feeling these filmmakers did.

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The Sisters, Public Domain image

The emphasis of this well-acted but depressing production was Branwell's drinking, his love affairs, allegedly with one Mrs. Robinson, an older woman [I know, true life is better than fiction!], and his dissolute behavior.  While he had these issues and more, the letters of Charlotte's I've read, and so many other primary sources and credible biographies, do not imply that the household was rendered completely dysfunctional by the only Bronte brother.   He was brilliant but troubled, yet this show makes him out to be "not that good", hence the cause of many of his issues.

Life isn't that easy.

Despite it all, the letters of the sisters and their papers indicate a happier, even mundane existence, with a lot of writing and creativity going on.   Emily, who was a genius, and amazing in her own right, comes off as a disgruntled bossy, ill tempered witch.  Charlotte, well, she's just weird, and Anne is a shadow.

I liked the idea of the program, but not the program itself.  Read Unquiet Soul by Margot Peters, or Gaskell's The Life of Charlotte Bronte.  Read Daphne du Maurier's The Infernal World of Branwell Bronte. These remarkable women were so much more than the abused caretaker of a brother who couldn't allegedly hold his drink. 

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Public Domain Image

Friday, March 3, 2017

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: March February Sneak Peek!- deducated to Dean Betsey Brodahl and Augustana's House on the Hill

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: March February Sneak Peek!:   March Cover, ADC What better way to launch our March issue than with a fantastic Japanese Doll announcing an article on ...

This issue features books by Rumer Godden in the Collectibles Column, and stories on The Japanese Doll Festival.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: For Valentine's Day

Dr. E's Doll Museum Blog: For Valentine's Day: May you enjoy a peaceful, Happy Valentine's Day, filled with glad memories of The Valentine's Box, conversation hearts, and loving m...

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Rosemary, that’s for Remembrance; In Memory of my Friend, Rosemary Rovick

Rosemary, that’s for Remembrance; In Memory of my Friend, Rosemary Rovick
Smile a little smile for me,
Rosemary, Rosemary . . .
Adapted from the song by The Flying Machine
Two weeks ago, I lost one of the closest friends I ever had, my beautiful Rosemary.  Rosemary Rovick was born in Northern California and lived their most of her life, though she graduated from Cornell Law School and traveled widely.  If angels walk the earth, then she was one of them.  We met when we were both externs at Santa Clara County Superior Court.  For nearly 30 years, we have kept in touch, traded confidences, comforted each other’s sorrows, teased each other, and supported each other.  
Rosemary was one of the purest, kindest people I’d ever met.  She was compassionate yet witty, and she could laugh at herself.  We teased each other, even while we suffered through incompetent supervisors, arrogant judges, snotty court personnel, earthquakes, and heart aches.  She would leave me notes on my desk that read something like, “Go and get me a truffle and a cup coffee from next door.  There’s a dear!”  And I would leave her notes calling her “Miss Toolbelt,” which was a reference to her love of travelling the world to build playgrounds with a construction company.  I also teased her about being so good all the time, and  she would say, “What is it you call me that I like so much, you know . . “  I would answer, “Sanctimonious and self-righteous?”  “Yes,” she would exclaim, laughing gleefully, “That’s it!”
But, she was tough and Uber-fair in her own way.  “Come on, Ellen; be a man,” she would say, when things became intolerable at The Court and I would rage. When I was being bullied by one of the judges and a supervisor, she alone of everyone interceded for me.  When I was ready to give up, I could drive to her house, sometimes driving at 1 am through the Santa Cruz hills on Highways 17 and 101, and she would be up making sour dough toast and coffee.
She called me when I came home to “Central America” as she called it, and often, because she said I made her laugh.  Rosemary loved hiking in Yosemite, and I used to say she and I were going to The Home together, and that she should look for a nice one in the national park. She was selfless to a fault, and I think that may be what caused her untimely death.  She opened her home to Polish refugees, roommates with no where else to go, her relatives, her friends, anyone in need.  I stayed there sometimes, and had sleepovers with her friends Shauna and Edie.  Edie worked for The Catholic Charities in Thailand and Cambodia, in a camp owned by the Khmer Rouge at one point.  The three of them wanted me to go with Edie to teach there, and I was game, until I overheard that night, as I lay innocently in my sleeping bag, who owned the camp.
“Rosemary!” I shrieked the next morning, “Where are you sending me?  Do you want me get me killed?”  But, I was laughing as hard as she was.  We joked about applying for a job for research attorneys in Micronesia.  We even had our work outfits planned, grass skirts, brief cases, oxford shirts and tweed jackets.  We walked on the beach near her house, and I was honored that she liked the ceramics I painted.  At one point, I did a black cat of her own kitty, Lucy, who was a wild child through and through.  I was honored and flattered that Rosemary wanted me to make it for her.   We used to walk everyday in San Jose, too, sometimes stopping for lunch at Sizzler, or our favorite Japanese/Ethiopian restaurant.   We walked through Japan Town, too, and she was scandalized one day that I took my jacket off to reveal a strapless dress.  “Put that back on!  You’re naked under that!”  “Rosemary,” I said, we’re all naked under our clothes!
Yet, she wasn’t a prude.  She had a quick wit and a wicked sense of humor, too.  The walls of one of our offices were paper thin, and the partner of a neighboring law firm talked fast and loud all day.  We could hardly think, let alone write bench memos.  “Watch this,” she said.  “I’ll make him shut-up.”  She then loudly asked me, “What’s your favorite fantasy?”  It got very, very quiet on the other side of the wall.
We saw Angry Housewives together, and laughed all night.  She liked giving presents and “shopping local”, and going to the farmers market and the flea market.  We both loved mysteries.
Rosemary was a Renaissance woman, who ran a marathon, played tennis at almost a pro level, scuba dived, gardened, travelled, read widely, and loved to eat out.  We both had a thing for Carlos Fuentes and the film with Gregory Peck, The Old Gringo. We also talked about trips we wanted to take, including a Sizzler tour of the world.  She collected Christmas ornaments, little bears, and tiny pieces of pottery.  She also liked to restore good furniture, and had a Morris chair that she was very proud of.  She and I sent each other man things, including Flamingoes.   My last Christmas present to her was a purse with a flamingo on it.  She was fond of saying the vintage flamingo in her yard had a skin disease because its paint was flaking.  In the late 80s, she negotiated to buy a light blue Honda Civic, using the blue book and getting an amazing price all on her own.  No man, in fact, no one, had to help her. Now, she is with her parents, her beloved dog that was half coyote, and her cat Lucy.
She lived a full, but short life.  Much too short.  Sometimes I want to call her number, just to see if her voice is on the answering machine, still.  She took care of a friend who suffered a stroke on one of their bicycling trips, her parents, Edie when she was dying, and Edie’s parents.   Even when she was so sick, she worried about me.  When she learned that I, too, was dealing with family elder care issues and catastrophes at work and everywhere else, she fretted that she wasn’t able to come to me.  “I should be there taking care of you” was in one of the last emails she ever sent me.  I don’t think she lasted two years after she first got sick, but she never let on how bad it was.  She fought and fought, and she never gave up.  It was as if she didn’t believe bad things could happen.  
She died on a Sunday; early on that Sunday morning, before I know, I had a terrible nightmare that she had died.  My husband woke me up, and said I was crying out and whimpering.  Well, at least on the inside, I still am.  Rest in peace, my beautiful, tall, blonde Rosemary.  The hard part is trying to go on with out you.   

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: February Interview with Emily Jackson

Antique Doll Collector Magazine: February Interview with Emily Jackson: Emily is a gifted young  artist, seamstress, antiquer, doll collector, and college professor.  She helps run her family business, Jackson&#3...

The stuff of Bring and Buys and Jumble Sales!! Great things!!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

We Salute Mary Tyler Moore, a Most Excellent Woman

Even now,  is my role model, and I've watched her since I was a toddler.  She made the name "Laura" special to me as Laura Petrie.  As Mary Richards, she gave us preteens, and teens, hope. Her life was perfect as she was. Even today, I study her clothes and wish they were mine.  She had those beautiful eyes, and of course, that smile.  She lived what Barbara Pym wrote about in her books, and she was a single woman with many things to love, and with more than a full life. Rest in peace, and when we see the stars shimmer tonight, we will know it was your famous smile that turned them on.