I was lying on the ground, gasping for oxygen after summiting the highest peak in my county, and trying to staunch a nosebleed with a handful of alpaca wool.

I was surrounded by decaying carcasses.

 

 

So, good opening, right?

Maybe…dramatized, just a tad.

I wasn’t actually prostrate, for example, but I am prone to exaggeration.

Technically, there was no need for oxygen, no nosebleed, no alpaca wool.

The “carcasses” were just old tree stumps.

Some people are into bicycling or making yarn – – I’m learning to spin alternative facts.

 

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One of our more intimidating trails – up to a 1 and a 1/2% grade!!!  And in places, some really tough weeds.

 

In Seneca County, NY, the highest elevation soars to … 1640 feet above sea level.  Not too impressive.  An easy stroll up the hill, through woods and pastures.   The neighboring counties top out at 2,000 – 2,200.  You don’t need ropes or mountaineering boots – – the only thing spiked around here, is the apple cider.

I’ve found it’s really hard to hire sherpas, or rent an alpaca, to carry stuff for you, for anything under 20,000 feet, they find it an embarrassment.  Sometimes a kid with an ATV will give you a lift.

 

 

 

Come to think of it, there actually are some alpacas around here.  Upstate New York has over 600,000 dairy cows, but you’ll also run across pastures with sheep, goats, and llamas, and every once in a while, alpacas, bison or ostriches.

But no mountain goats.   It’s just that all summer, I’ve been reading WP stories of mountains.  Rocky Mountains and Alps and Andes and Carpathians, hiking & rock climbing – – and I’ve been wanting to write “summiting,” like the cool, more  adventurous bloggers.  I’m going to post a story about climbing a volcano in Chile, but today, it’s about the decidedly tame, non-volcanic region where I grew up.

 

 

This old stump triggered this story – – with a bit of imagination, it resembled a rocky mesa

 

All summer, I’ve admired pictures of spectacular ranges, peaks, alps, buttes, mesas, and cliffs.  The masses of stone are almost overwhelming.  Evidence of titanic energy and uplift – – lava flows and volcanoes, and the weathered faces of former seabeds, eons of sediment, pushed sky-high by tectonic plate movement.

Everything’s standing tall.  I’ve visited some of the western states, gone to the mountains, and met a lot friendly  folks with positive attitudes.  It’s a forward-thinking, upward-trending kind of place out there, in the West.

 

 

Here in the East, in Upstate New York, the landforms are pretty modest.  Like our infrastructure and many of our residents, the topography is half-cracked, old and crumbling.  Once upon a time, the Taconics, on the eastern side of the state, were as tall as the Himalayas.  Eons and a couple of Ice Ages flattened out the hills, and smoothed out the valleys.  Instead of purple mountains majesty, we run more to gullied hillsides covered with cow pastures, and what we call “mountains” in the Finger Lakes, are wooded hummocks really.

 

 

About 130 miles east of here, New York does have mountains, but less than half the height of the Rockies.  The Adirondacks top out at 5343 feet, and the Catskills at 4180.

New York’s official motto is “Excelsior” i.e.”Higher,” (didn’t you think that was Colorado?), “Ever Upwards,” but some days, it seems we’re really more about erosion and running downhill – – of land, civility, ethical standards, you name it.

The state has amassed a mountain of debt, over $64 billion, and climbing.  We’re specialists in fits of pique, more than peaks, and slippery slopes.  Our legislators recently voted on the Official State Sport, and chose “Backsliding.”

 

 

 

 

When you travel from New York City to central New York, where I grew up, it’s all downhill, economically.  NYC is still a Himalaya of financial services, and much of Upstate is an eroded depression of former manufacturing centers.

Every little city around here has stories about “we used to make…”  from shoes to cigars, fire engines to cameras, steel to furniture.  My village was known at one time for its pianos and organs, but its well-made wagons and sleighs were the most famous – I’ve run across them several times in museums around the Northeast.  The company successfully evolved into a maker of car bodies, making various types of “woodies,” until those went out of fashion, and it folded in 1957.

 

 

A 1942 GMC “Waterloo Woodie”

 

All these economic peaks are ancient history, and long gone, along with many skills and well-paying jobs.  The region now looks to “agritourism” to climb back up.

 

 

 

Still…even though good jobs are scarce, the lakes and surrounding hills are beautiful.  The region is ever more popular as a busy tourist destination.  Waterfalls, boating, fishing, wineries, cheese-making, cideries, Amish farms, distilleries.  In my little village, and neighboring Geneva, there are hundreds and hundreds of hotel rooms, and in summer & autumn, they’re often booked solid, and the restaurants are crowded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, while we’re waiting for a table…we started with mountains, and then wandered into the local economy…maybe now, a little glass of vodka, and a two-paragraph detour to the Russian Empire.  Not to climb the Urals, but to visit Potemkin villages.

Grigory Potemkin was one of Catherine the Great’s boyfriends, and a pretty interesting guy, who fought wars, built fleets of ships, calmed the Cossacks, etc.  Like Rooster Cogburn in “True Grit,” a one-eyed fat man, that you shouldn’t underestimate.  But sometimes he’s only mentioned for something that probably didn’t happen.

Potemkin governed the Ukraine, and whenever the Empress of Russia came to inspect,  supposedly he’d nip out and have cute little sham villages erected along her route,  staffed with smiling serfs, washed and dressed in embroidered peasant clothing, so Catherine would believe everything in her realm was just peachy.

 

 

These pop-up “Potemkin villages” may be kind of a myth, but sometimes, that’s how I think of the Finger Lakes.

Except without the borscht.

 

 

Visitors here (to New York, we’re done with Russia now, please keep up) follow the embroidered Chamber of Commerce pamphlets and winery tours, and see a Potemkin village, a flower-strewn facade of summer cottages, lakeside music fests, rose gardens, boat tours, balloon flights, microbreweries, and one hundred wineries.  The Amish in their horse-drawn carts add a touch of quaintness.

And just o’er the hills and not far away from the wineries and waterfront properties, are ramshackle trailer parks and rundown farmhouses, heated with woodstoves, not because that’s so cozy and nostalgic, but because they cannot afford the heating oil.  Pillars fall from dilapidated Greek Revivals, and big brick Victorians go topless, as their roofs cave in.

 

 

The local farm co-op went bust and closed all its stores in 1999, and half the shops in the rural hamlets are boarded up.  Deer season’s a big deal, not as a sporting proposition, but to stock up the chest freezers for winter.

 

 

 

Politicians and state officials sometimes venture here, to look down upon the hayseeds, chew the scenery, and talk endlessly of natural beauty, tourism, agri-tourism.

Eliot Spitzer once left his Manhattan penthouse and drove by, while campaigning for governor.  (And lasted for well over a year in office!  before resigning after a prostitution scandal.)  He compared the area’s economy to Appalachia, apparently not recognizing, that the hilly Southern Tier region (bordering Pennsylvania) actually is part of Appalachia.

 

 

More about hills.  The hillocks and ridges to my north, closer to Lake Ontario, are mostly glacial deposits called moraines, eskers, and drumlins – – piles of sand, clay, boulders, and gravel, dumped by melting glaciers when the Ice Age melted away.

 

 

And we’re still getting dumped upon.

The highest point near my hometown?  It’s a series of terraced barrows, where we gather and store up earthly wealth.

In other words, a giant garbage dump, hundreds of feet tall.  Now that the Ice Age is done leaving glacial till, a Canadian company is ringing the till, trucking in trash from NYC.

 

 

Waterloo is between the northern ends of Seneca and Cayuga, the largest of the Finger Lakes, almost forty miles long, and in places, 400-600 feet deep.

The only lakefront property, however, in the town, is occupied by a state park.  In this county, mostly agricultural, and with a substantial Amish population, per capita income is less than $26,000.  So, since before I was born, Seneca Falls, the village immediately to our east, has accepted millions of dollars to host “Seneca Meadows.”

This sounds lovely, but it’s actually a landfill, covering hundreds of acres between the villages.  Six thousand tons of garbage are trucked in daily, almost all of it from downstate, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.  Millions of tires are “recycled” by grinding them up, and using them as a substitute for gravel in drainage beds.   So much methane is produced, that it’s tapped to supply an electric-generating plant.   A mile of plastic piping is strung between tall poles, spritzing a flowery deodorant 24/7.

 

 

It’s a well-run operation.  The trucks and earth-movers are precisely choreographed.  Technically, we’re informed, these man-made hills are called “dry entombment.”  And sure, isn’t that cheerful-sounding.  The operator reaps tens of millions of dollars, every year.  A lot of locals aren’t excited about the new landscape, hundreds of feet tall, but there’s only 19,044 active, registered voters in this county, and NYC has 4,420,737, so guess which direction the local politicos and state authorities flop.

So pile it high.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I guess when you don’t have mountains, we have an urge to create them.  Barrows, cairns, pyramids, we like to pile stuff up.  Sometimes around here it’s piles of rocks, raked out of the fields by generations of farmers.  Sometimes a heap of rusting harrows, seed drills, broken stanchions, and old cars.  Defunct breeds gravitate to the hamlets and small farms – – Mercury Sables, Pontiac Sunbirds, and brontosaurus-sized Oldsmobiles – – following hereditary paths laid down by dinosaurs, woolly mammoths, AMC Eagles and Pacers.

The old cars migrate up into the hills to die and return to the earth, mostly rusting away in ravines and farmers’ side yards.

 

 

Hiking around our little hills and patches of woods, it’s sometimes hard not to envy those cool state-of-the-art Westerners, cruising in their Land Cruisers, trekking with nano-tech jackets, mirrored Oakleys, freeze-dried goji berries, GoPros streaming adventures in the huge wilderness areas and high peaks, all drama and dramatic vistas amid giant spruce and firs.

 

 

Meanwhile, back in the unexciting Upstate boondocks…I find there’s always something interesting in these woods and creeks, and there’s a sort of charm in the quiet green valleys around here.  And no choking forest fires!

 

Part of the new economy. Microbreweries are popping up everywhere around here.  Hops (used as a preservative and flavoring in beer) have been grown in NY since the early 1600’s, and Upstate dominated the market in the 1800’s. The large-scale production is now in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, but small-scale growers are beginning to be a familiar sight.

 

Let’s go back up to the highest part of my county.

I’ve walked many times along the Hector Backbone, the ridge running between the longest of the Finger Lakes, Cayuga and Seneca.  Part of the ridge is within the Finger Lakes Forest – a mixture of pastures, 2nd-growth woods, and pine or oak plantations,  16,000 acres managed by the USDA.  The remnants of the original hemlock woods, clinging to the ravines, are beautiful, but the pine plantations aren’t looking that great, chewed up by beetles and wind storms.  The foresters are now planting red oaks instead.

There used to be a hundred small farms along here.  A lot of the little hill farms were already eroded, marginal, or abandoned, before the Depression finished them off.  On your walk, if you see a half-dozen ancient sugar maples in a row, you’ll inevitably find an old stone foundation nearby.  The houses and barns are long-gone, but even after eighty years or more, I’m still tripping over rusty old buckets and scraps of iron and wire, hidden under the leaves and humus.  Stone walls, painstakingly stacked by immigrants and Civil War vets, that used to define fields and pastures, still run straight as an arrow through the forests.

 

 

I started writing this at the height of summer, and now it’s fall.

Like most of my high school classmates, I’ve found a job out-of-state, and moved away.

 

 

And believe it or not, I’m gonna miss this place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Autumn, Finger Lakes, FLX, History, Nature, NY, Uncategorized, Upstate New York, Waterloo

Upstate New York. Fall of 2018

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Alternate History, Arrant Nonsense, Art, History, Removing Statues, Revisionist History, Sculpture, statue, Waterloo, William Seward

Learning All About History by Looking at Statues. Chapter VI. It Was a Dark & Stormy Night…

Chap VI.

Our next statue, “Nydia,” was chosen because its creator was born in my hometown.

I wanted to discuss the intellectual and aesthetic question “Why is this artist’s most famous work, the most-replicated statue by an America sculptor, during the 19th century, like a chronic sinus infection?”

The answer to the question:  Drip, drip, drip.

I’ll explain the dripping in just a sec.

I am from Waterloo, NY.

If you ask people in my village, the only famous person from here is a football coach, named Coughlin.

He’s depicted in a mural, painted on the side of a bar on Main St., overlooking a vacant lot where they play quoits.  Genuine old-time residents pronounce his name like a cat hacking up a hairball.

Runner-up is a guy named Gridley, who invented an improved washboard. (No kidding.  It was curved.)

The back of the village garage, which faces a defunct grocery store, and a crumbling, unusable bridge, has a mural, showing two more local heroes:  Murray & Welles, who began the village’s Memorial Day observances in 1866.

Then one day, by chance, I found out that one of the most successful American sculptors of the 19th Century was born here.

Not only is there no statue of him in Waterloo, but in all seriousness,

I’ve never once heard his name mentioned in his birthplace.

It’s Randolph Rogers.  Born 6 July 1825.

You can see his works in parks, galleries, and the better sort of cemeteries in NYC, Hartford, Gettysburg, Cincinnati, Detroit, Richmond, Philadelphia, Washington, etc.

His “Columbus Doors,” all 20,000 pounds of them, are the main entrance to the U.S Capitol.  They’re an homage to Lorenzo Ghiberti’s Renaissance masterpiece, the “Gates of Paradise” in Florence.

Randolph Roger’s versions are 17′ tall, and depict everyday life in Columbus, Ohio, during a political convention.

 

One one door, a stylized border of venial sins surrounds panels with scenes of graft, extortion, lobbying, malfeasance, pettyfogging, etc. while the other door depicts the politicians’ torments in the afterlife.

Rogers created statues and busts of Adams, Lincoln, William Seward, General Lew Wallace (of “Ben Hur” fame), and allegorical figures like “The Genius of Connecticut” for the top of their statehouse.  (This last one was later re-named “We’re All Above Average” and then melted down for scrap during WWII.)

His Civil War monuments include the Soldiers’ National Monument at Gettysburg.

The Seward statue is in Madison Square Park, in NYC, and was the subject of a scurrilous rumor that Rogers re-purposed a leftover Lincoln body and stuck on a Seward head.  It’s simply not true.  The proportions are fine – Seward just had a small head, relative to his body and nose.

(Henry Adams wrote that he had “a head like a wise macaw.“)

 

And one of Roger’s statues has replicas in almost every big art gallery in the U.S.A.

The work is called “Nydia

It was the most popular American sculpture of the 19th Century.

Nydia is based on a character in a book called “The Last Days of Pompeii” (1834).

The author, Bulwer-Lytton, was a politican-novelist, and poet-playwright.  It-is-all-about-hyphens-with-this-guy.

The book was a huge hit.

And it’s absolutely unreadable.  I know that, because I tried.  Really.  Cannot be done.

I mean, I have an exceptionally high tolerance for tedium.  I can show you my survivor badge for “One Thousand PowerPoint Presentations” and once, I stayed awake for 3 ½ minutes of “Twilight.”  But this book – –  I lasted one page.

Here’s the beginning:

’HO, Diomed, well met!  Do you sup with Glaucus to-night?’ said a young man of small stature, who wore his tunic in those loose and effeminate folds which proved him to be a gentleman and a coxcomb.”

Doesn’t that just make you long for a dark & stormy night, so you could rub out the author before he writes anything else?

“Sup with Glaucus”??  Why no, I finally got a prescription for Amoxicillin and it cleared up that Supping Glaucus, boy, I’m glad to be done with all that Mucus and Phlegma.

But it turns out, Glaucus is not a medical condition, it is the hero.  And he and Nydia live in Pompeii.

And also a type of sea gull, I looked it up in Wikipedia.

The glaucous gull …the second largest gull in the world. which breeds in Arctic regions of the Northern Hemisphere and winters south to shores of the Holarctic.”

I remember thinking that you might want to know that, but now I don’t know why.

(Didn’t you think for sure, Glaucus was a sinus or eye infection?)

One more sentence, and you’re done.

Well, you must sup with me some evening;  I have tolerable muraenae in my reservoir, and I ask Pansa the aedile to meet you.”

Well, sure, I’d love to sup, unless some clever blacksmith has invented tines, and then we could just eat with forks, like grownups, and stop all this supping crap.

Um, aedile is a type of Roman magistrate?

And I found, with a dawning sense of horror, that muraena is a type of Mediterranean moray.

So this idiot  is bragging that his reservoir is infested with eels ?? and no doubt we’re going to be supping up jellied eels for dinner??  and why is this paired with the magistrate??  Unless it’s the politician/slimy eel thing??

 

I misplaced my notes – – this is either a still from the 1913 silent film “Last Days of Pompeii,” or a current cabinet meeting in Washington.

 

It’s a long, convoluted lava flow of melodrama — Greeks, Romans, Christians, the Cult of Isis, love potions, a witch, and eels.

Most of the characters are wiped out by the volcano, but not nearly soon enough.

Pompeii is depicted as a warped and decadent place, and yet, not fun.  If anyone tried to get a good bacchanalia going, I’m sure Bulwer-Lytton threw a wet toga over it.  His artistic conceit was clearly to deep-fry every sentence into agonized contortions, to mirror the bodies found in the ashes of Pompeii.

Better to dig up roasted Romans than to be engulfed and buried in this book – I never made it past the first page.

So anyway.

The book was a huge hit.

It was 1834.  In three years, if you’d finished the book, Victoria would begin her reign, and you’d have 63 years, seven months, and two days of additional dullness ahead of you.

In the U.S., free from monarchies and elitist literature, we were celebrating Jacksonian Democracy and getting ready for bank failures, 25% unemployment, and a 7-year long recession.

Most of this wasn’t Bulwer-Lytton’s fault, but he didn’t help.

 

So…some years after all that, I was in the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY and ran across a statue of “The Toothache”.

At the sufferer’s feet rests the broken capital of a Corinthian column, symbolizing an impacted wisdom tooth.

 

 

 

It turned out that in 1861, inspired by the book, Randolph Rogers created this depiction of Nydia.

Nydia is guiding Glaucus, the hero, and the love of her life, through the eruption and ash-storm that was engulfing Pompeii, towards the harbor.

There he would be safe, and have lots of lovely eels to eat.

Her mission accomplished, Nydia then continues on, into the Mediterranean, and dies.

I don’t remember why, unrequited love I think, but she drowns, or maybe the eels get her, but she definitely dies.

It’s all very tragic, because she didn’t drag Glaucus and Bulwer-Lytton with her.  Somebody really should have tied them all together and dropped them off a pier, attached to a Corinthian column.

I think Nydia washes up again, in the epilogue.

So, somehow, Randolph Rogers was inspired to depict Nydia, pre-drowning, but already drippy.

The statue was a huge hit.

It’s displayed in the big galleries in NYC, Washington, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Portland, Providence, L.A., and a whole lot more places.

In fact, Rogers replicated it 167 times (seriously).

Rogers didn’t actually chisel all these himself, of course.  He had a workshop in Italy, where workmen cranked these out for Culture Tourists, in the days when a souvenir was a souvenir, and before snow globes were invented.

 

 

 

 

Here’s a mention in “A History of European and American Sculpture” by Chandler Rathon Post (1921):

“Randolph Rogers never found his vein.  He tried his hand with tolerable results at several kinds of sculpture, but all his many productions suffer from a blight of dullness…his portrait statues…are fairly respectable performances in stiff rhetoric.”

Well, quite likely, you think I’m all wet, and ignorant, and that Nydia is a lovely statue.  They have one in the Memorial Art Gallery, the National Art Gallery, the Met, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Chicago Institute of Art, I’m tripping over this thing where ever I go.

But to my uneducated, rustic eye, it looks awkward, and a bit odd.

 

Like someone you’d feel bad for, if you ran across her downtown, and probably kind of avoid, because she’s hunched and her dress is half-off, and then you’d feel terrible, when it dawned on you that she was blind, and you weren’t sure if she was trying to cross the street, or if she was aware of her wardrobe malfunction, and depending on the angle, she’s either suffering from toothache, or is listening for something, like maybe an oncoming bus, or chariot, so you’d have to go back and hesitantly ask if she would like assistance in crossing the street, and she says, no, thank you, I’m actually listening for a volcanic eruption.

And until Mount Vesuvius actually blows, you’d think she was delusional, and should you call social services or something, the whole thing is awkward.

Oh, I forgot to mention that.  The character was blind.  I hadn’t realized this until I looked at the book, it’s hard to tell with a statue.  The full title is “Nydia, The Blind Flower-Girl of Pompeii”.

 

Nydia, from the 1913 silent movie “The Last Days of Pompeii” (Library of Congress)

 

It’s an interesting example of how tastes change.  I don’t know if most people today, would be crazy for the statue, or the book.  I’ve yet to find anyone who’s actually read Bulwer-Lytton.  Because I’ve asked a lot of random people at airports, bus stops, restrooms, and bars, and only gotten funny looks.  Apparently he’s really not popular anymore.

 

(Do you know he added a third Lytton to his name?  Edward George Earle Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Baron Lytton.  Because having it only twice, you might forget??  Or to distract people from “Bulwer”?)

(Today, “Bulwer-Lytton-Lytton-Lytton Disorder is better known as “Compulsive Redundancy Syndrome.”)

Most of us tend to remember and focus on the good stuff.  In the 1830’s, people were reading “Oliver Twist,” “The Hunchback of Notre Dame,” “The Fall of the House of Usher,” “The Lady of Shalott,” etc.  But just like our own time, people consumed lots of not-so-wonderful stuff.

Maybe that’s the value of looking at “Pompeii” and “Nydia”  – – for contrast, and to show just how wonderful the good writers and artists were.  To remind ourselves, just how exceptional Dickens, Poe, Shelley, Hawthorne, Washington Irving, Byron, Emerson, Delacroix, etc. were.

In 1861, when the statue was unveiled, there were other horrible things happening, like Fort Sumter and the Battle of Bull Run, but there were also wonderful things:  Church’s “The Icebergs,” Whistler’s “Symphony in White, No. 1,”  Manet’s “Music in the Tuileries,” and Leutze’s “Westward Ho!” so Rogers can’t use the Civil War as an excuse.

Nydia is shown as she guides some Pompeii people through the blinding volcanic ash-cloud to safety – the man she loves, his girlfriend, and some really insistent people hawking postcards.  That’s admirable, and that’s why she’s holding her hand to her ear.

 

Although I still say, she could have had a toothache, too, right?  and that’s why she drowned herself, not the unrequited love thing.

The museum sign informs us, that the statue is evocative.  But would you have understood the situation, if I hadn’t told you? That she’s listening for which way an exploding volcano is located?  If she were a Labrador, would you guess that someone was blowing a dog whistle?  Or figure, poor doggy, has a toothache.

Well, we’re all learning a lot from these statues, aren’t we.

And anyway, Randolph Rogers was born in my hometown, he was knighted by King Umberto I, and Art is in the eye of the beholder.

So is glaucoma, I did look it up, and it’s related to Glaucus, but I forget how.  Something to do with seagulls.

 

Excavation of the Temple of Isis at Pompeii (Wellcome Library)

 

 

P.S.  Glaucus, glaucoma, and the seagull really are all related!  But this post is way too long already.

 

 

An earlier, and I think, superior work, “Ruth Gleaning” (1850).  As in the Book of Ruth in the Bible, and “gleaning” as in gathering up leftover barley.

 

 

 

 

And one final piece, “The Last Arrow” (1880) – – I wonder if his fellow Upstater, Frederic Remington, saw this, since it predates his bronzes by fifteen years.  These two pictures are from the Met website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Johnny Reb & Billy Yank

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Civil War, Decoration Day, First World War, History, Memorial Day, Waterloo, WWI

Memorial Day Postcards VII ~ ~ 1900 – 1945 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ” There in the fragrant pines and the cedars dusk and dim”

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A very busy photograph, but that seems appropriate for Teddy Roosevelt. The real Teddy did visit Waterloo, but by train, on a whistle-stop campaign for Governor.

 

 

 

This small village lost fifty-eight men during the Civil War.

 

 

 

The actual observance of Memorial Day, and commemoration of the fallen, will be on the 30th, as it has been, every year, for 151 years.

 

 

 

I took a picture of an old Chrysler, and didn’t see the reflection of the flags until I got home. This is similar to the one owned by Harry Truman, who would drive with his wife Bess to NYC, to visit their daughter.  He drove it himself, with no Secret Service detail.

 

courtesy of the Truman Library, accession Number: 2004-213

 

This reminded me of the 1975 song by Robert Lamm of the band “Chicago,” who was not a fan of Richard Nixon –

Harry Truman

America needs you Harry Truman ~ Harry could you please come home

Things are looking bad ~ I know you would be mad ~

To see what kind of men ~ Prevail upon the land you love ~

America’s wondering, how we got here ~ Harry all we get is lies~

We’re gettin’ safer cars ~ Rocket ships to Mars ~

From men who’d sell us out~  To get themselves a piece of power ~ 

We’d love to hear you speak your mind ~ In plain and simple ways ~

Call a spade a spade~  Like you did back in the day ~

You would play piano ~ Each morning walk a mile ~

Speak of what was going down ~ With honesty and style ~

~ America’s calling Harry Truman ~ Harry you know what to do ~

The world is turnin’ round ~ and losin’ lots of ground

Oh Harry is there something we can do to save the land we love ~~~~~ by Robert Lamm

 

Civil War, Decoration Day, Finger Lakes, FLX, History, Memorial Day, Upstate New York, Waterloo

151st Memorial Day Parade, Waterloo, NY.

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The “Flags on Parade” stamp was first issued on May 30, 1991 in Waterloo, NY, for the 125th anniversary of the village’s Memorial Day observances.

 

1908

 

c. 1900-1910

 

 

1908

 

1908  Grand Army of the Republic. Membership in the G.A.R. peaked at 490,000 in 1890. Their last “encampment” was held in Indianapolis in 1949, and it’s last member died seven years later.

 

1908

 

 

 

Decoration Day, History, Memorial Day, Uncategorized, Waterloo

Memorial Day Postcards V ~ ~ ~ 1900 – 1910 ~ ~ ~ Old Glory

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The Spanish-American War provided another opportunity for reconciliation between Civil War vets. “Fighting Joe” Wheeler, the Confederate general, later commanded the U.S. cavalry fighting in Cuba. (Although while watching the Spanish troops retreat, he forgot himself and yelled “Let’s go, boys! We’ve got the damn Yankees on the run!”)

 

An odd juxtaposition — a solemn admonition “Lest we forget” with pretty women in uniform.

 

I count 46 stars, so 1908-1912. Until the Spanish-American War, soldiers wore blue wool, winter or summer, and even after khaki was adopted, the blue survived as the dress uniform. I thought this hat was fanciful, but other than the gaudy gold trim, it’s actually the correct style of dress cap for that era.

 

1908. Horrifyingly indiscreet, but at least the young lady isn’t revealing any ankle.

 

In the 1890’s, this became a day for hugely popular bicycle races, followed in 1911 by the Indy 500. It’s a neat poster, but again, it seems like a strange partnering of soldiers, aged vets, and bicyclists. Library of Congress

 

This one puzzles me — has he enlisted to escape his formidable-looking wife? Or was he shooting at that hat by mistake, hoping to have pheasant for dinner?

Civil War, Decoration Day, Memorial Day, Uncategorized

Memorial Day Postcards IV ~ ~ ~ A Bit Less Serious

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c. 1900-1910 Even as the number of surviving Civil War soldiers dwindled over the years, cards continues to display the emblem of the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic), a fraternal organization, and a powerful lobby for the interests of Union veterans and war widows. In later years, you also see the emblem of an offshoot, the S.U.V. (Sons of Union Veterans), which was formed in the 1880’s.

 

c. 1900-1910

 

c. 1899 “To My Comrade” A Spanish-American war uniform, however, with the G.A.R. insignia and badge

 

This postkarte, like a lot of the ones I’m posting, was printed in Germany, which may explain the unusual two-finger salute. As far as I know, it’s used in the U.S. only by the Cub Scouts, but hasn’t been used by our military. It was apparently more customary in the German and Polish armies.

 

c. 1917

 

illustration from a 1917 “Youth’s Companion”

 

 

 

Decoration Day, First World War, History, Memorial Day, Uncategorized, WWI

Memorial Day Postcards III ~ ~ ~ 1900 – 1918 ~ ~ ~ Passing the Torch

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