Monday, July 26, 2010

Reggie's Rooms IV: The Wheeler Library

Lest you think, given the previous three installments in this series, that Reggie admires only rooms decorated in styles predating the turn of the 20th century, today's essay is about a favorite room that was decorated not only well in to that century, in the 1930s, but done up in a manner that could only have occurred after the advent of modernism.  It is a room that has much to recommend it, I believe, and there is much to be learned from it, too.

Wheeler library, gallery view

The room in question is the library in the Lake Forest, Illinois, house of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Wheeler.  Designed by David Adler (1882-1949), one of the greatest residential architects of the first half of the twentieth century, the room was decorated by his equally talented sister, Francis Elkins (1888-1953), with whom he collaborated extensively.  What an exceptional team they were, this superbly gifted brother and sister, and how lucky we are that so much of their work was photographed (in the case of this room, in 1934) and recently published in books by Stephen Salny and the Art Institute of Chicago.

David Adler in 1904                           Francis Elkins in 1938

I first came across David Adler's work, and the Wheeler library in particular, in the early 1980s when leafing through the pages of an out-of-print monograph on the architect that belonged to my dear friend George Pinckney, a fellow appreciator of traditional architecture.  Looking for the first time at the photographs of the Adler houses featured in the monograph was an astonishment for me.  Not only had I never heard of the architect, but I had also never seen such a concentration of handsome, well-appointed houses and interiors of the featured period, and all by the same hand.  At the time, I was certainly familiar with the work of McKim, Mead and White, as well as other illustrious architects of their and earlier eras, but this was the first time that I saw a book with the work of an equivalent master of traditional residential architecture of a more modern and, for me, accessible period.  Lots of books were available at the time featuring the twentieth century work of the masters of the International style of modern architecture, but little had yet been published on the work of their then less-celebrated, classically-inspired counterparts.  This has only been remedied more recently, in the last fifteen or so years.

The coveted Adler monograph; photo by Boy Fenwick

Written by Richard Pratt and published in 1970, the monograph is David Adler: The Architect and His Work.  It was and remains much sought-after by collectors, libraries, and practitioners of traditional (or classical) architecture, as it was the only book on Adler and his work available until recently.  It was, as it turns out, a very valuable book, too, and could only be had at a price that reflected its rarity and the fevered demand for it.  Looking through it for the first time I was determined to own a copy of it, but I was only able to do so many years later when my pocketbook could support such an extravagance.  It remains to this day one of the treasures of our book collection at Darlington House.

Wheeler library, fireplace wall

The Wheeler library is a room that I return to again and again in my mind's eye, as it is not only a handsome room, but the stuff of fantasy for me: a special-purpose room dedicated to the pleasures of reading, set apart from the owners' other sitting and entertaining rooms.  We have a room at Darlington, which we call our Snuggery, that holds many of our books; but I would not say that it is a library, per se.  For our Snuggery is not the sole repository for our books, which are scattered throughout our house in bookcases and piles, and in it resides, also, our lone television.  Frankly, we use our Snuggery more as a cozy, personal sitting room than we do as a place to read, contemplate, and study books.  I would be thrilled to live in a house that had an actual library, such as the one the Adler/Elkins duo created for the Wheelers.

Our copies of Adler/Elkins books; photo by Boy Fenwick

So, what is it, exactly, that I so admire about the Wheeler's library?
  • It is an attractive, symmetrical, well-proportioned room, embellished only with severe moldings and restrained architectural elements; it relies on the integrity of the materials for its beauty rather than surface decoration;
  • It is a special-purpose room, designed for the holding and studying of the Wheeler's extensive collection of books, set away from the house's more public rooms;
  • While clearly within a residence, it attractively resembles an academic library, with stacks projecting into the room at regular intervals;
  • It is paneled and fitted out with pickled pine, a great favorite of mine;
  • It is filled with an array of handsome furnishings spanning several hundred years, including English furniture from the eighteenth century and modern chairs and lamps by Jean Michel Frank--the modern master whose work Mrs. Elkins introduced and championed in this country;
  • The modern upholstered seating is both stylish and commodious, and a comfortable place to wile away hours reading;
  • The windows are hung with the simplest, plain curtains;
  • It is fitted out with good, modern lamps and the niceties of comfort and convenience--one need not look too far for a place to rest one's drink or set one's pipe, if one smoked such a thing;
  • The gorgeous, polished, antique parquet-de-Versailles floor is bare of carpets, giving the room a clean and fresh look, and it is scattered with boldly graphic Zebra skins--long before such skins had become the decorating cliche of the first decade of this century;
  • And it has a gun rack!  And not just any gun rack, either, but one built into the paneling and surrounded by a frame based on ones found on early English Georgian mirrors.
Wheeler library gun rack

Finally, the Wheeler library channels for me on a very personal level a number of academic libraries that I spent many pleasant hours in years ago, first as a student at Sherborne School, a boys' public school in England, and later as an undergraduate at Yale.

Sherborne School library
Image courtesy of Sherborne School

Sterling Memorial Library Reading Room
Image courtesy of Yale University

Unless noted, all images are courtesy of Francis Elkins: Interior Design by Stephen M. Salny, published by W. W. Norton & Company.  Additional images of the talented Adler/Elkins partnership can be found in Stephen M. Salny's The Country Houses of David Adler, also published by W. W. Norton, and in the Art Institute of Chicago's David Adler, Architect: The Elements of Style, published by the Art Institute in association with the Yale University Press.  

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Beach Chair Revival, Part I

I like old-fashioned beach chairs from the first half of the 20th century, the folding wooden ones covered with colorful, striped cotton awning fabric.  I much prefer them to today's cheaply made, mass-market beach chairs, made with powder-coated aluminum frames and covered with plastic webbing or mesh.  I find most of today's options, and certainly those available at big-box retailers, to be ugly and degraded.  But then, that shouldn't come as a surprise to you, Dear Reader, since Reggie is a self-avowed old fogey when it comes to these things.

Boy and I have collected a number of old-fashioned awning-covered folding chairs over the years.  And we use ours for one of their original purposes--at the beach.  We took some with us to Block Island several summers ago when we spent a vacation there, and we enjoyed sitting on them at the ocean's edge.  It all seemed so classically New England and beachy, in a 1940s sort of way.

Originally sold at hardware stores and awning shops for use at the beach, at picnics, or when camping, vintage awning-covered wooden folding chairs can be found today at antiques fairs and group shops, and also at tag and yard sales.  We've bought ours at the latter, rarely spending more than $20 a piece.  Their one drawback is that--unlike today's throw-away versions--they do require maintenance every now and then.  The frames can get rickety, and thus need tightening.  Also, cotton awning fabric weakens over time, particularly when such chairs are stored in barns and garages for fifty or more years, and the fabric rips, and so needs to be replaced.  The awning fabric on several of ours had given way, and they were no longer usable.

In anticipation of an upcoming beach vacation later this summer, I decided to replace the ripped awning fabric on our useless chairs, so that we could enjoy sitting on them again.  Although I had recently found (and bought) some yardage of vintage awning fabric for this very purpose, I decided upon reflection not to use it when replacing the fabric on our chairs, because I suspected that it, too, would soon split, given its age.

So we visited Sausbiers, Inc., a family-run awning (and fire extinguisher servicing) shop located on a side street in Hudson, New York, where we selected new Sunbrella awning fabric for our beach chairs, and arranged to have them remade before we leave for the shore.  (Note: "Sausbiers" is pronounced "sauce-beers" and not "soas-bee-aye" as we once thought.)

While the fabric that is available today for such projects is made from synthetic material, and the selection isn't as attractive (or extensive) as what one could buy half a century ago (is anything?), it is stronger and sturdier, and far less likely to split or rip than if it were made from mercerized cotton, as it once was.  We selected a colorful striped awning fabric from the swatch book at Sausbiers for our chairs, reminiscent of their original stripe, and left them to be recovered.

I'm planning on posting pictures of our revived beach chairs after I pick them up.  Stay tuned for the end result . . .

All photos by Boy Fenwick

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Paris Porcelain Bonanza

Last weekend, while out doing errands, we stopped in at a big, up-county antiques group shop where we came across a large and handsome part service of old Paris porcelain, circa 1850-65.

After debating its merits, and then negotiating with the dealer for an excellent price, we left the shop as the china's proud owners.   However, we left empty-handed because it was shortly before closing time, and the service needed to be wrapped and boxed in order for us to take it home.  We returned to the shop on Friday afternoon, picked up four boxes of the carefully packed china, and drove to Darlington.

After we got home we unwrapped the china and culled it of the two dozen or so pieces that were chipped or cracked, retaining seventy-odd pieces that were in perfect condition, albeit with some wear to their applied gilding.

This was a well-used set of china in its day and bears evidence of its regular appearance at prior owners' tables.  However, it clearly hadn't been used in many years, and was--as they say in the trade--filthy dirty.  It took me an hour and a half of steady work at a sink full of hot sudsy water to thoroughly wash the grime off of the pieces we kept.

As many of my readers well know, Paris porcelain (sometimes referred to as "Old Paris porcelain") is the name for a type of white porcelain china produced in France from the late Napoleonic era through the end of the Second Empire, or from around 1815 through 1870.  Much of it was produced as unmarked white-wares or blanks at Limoges, and then sent on to independent decorating shops in and around Paris (among other places) where it was then painted with colored ornamentation, banding, and gilding.  The porcelain was a popular export-ware, with millions of pieces sent around the globe.  In this country, Paris porcelain achieved its peak popularity in the decades leading up to the Civil War, when every middle-class American housewife aspired to owning a set.

I have always liked Paris porcelain, and we had rather a lot of it in my household when I was growing up, much of which had been passed down from my mother's grandparents.  I own some of it today.

A piece that once belonged to my great grandmother

Since buying Darlington House, Boy and I have added to the Paris porcelain I inherited, and we have dozens of simply decorated dinner and dessert plates that we use for large parties, a number of decorative urns, footed compotes and reticulated baskets, and a quantity of serving pieces.  We like it because it is honest, decent-quality stuff, is readily available, and usually quite reasonably priced.  One can pay a lot of money for Paris porcelain, but one doesn't have to, particularly if one keeps an eye out for it in offbeat places.  Not too long ago it was relatively easy to find large sets at less than ten dollars a plate.

The service we bought last weekend is quite extensive, including dinner, soup, dessert, and incidental plates, plus three covered serving dishes, half a dozen platters, serving bowls, cups and saucers, and more.

It also includes what I believe is an invalid cup.  Initially that struck me as rather odd, but upon reflection made sense to me, since illnesses that confined the afflicted to bed for long stretches at a time were much more prevalent in the mid-nineteenth century than they are today.

The set we bought is decorated with a peach-colored banding and applied gilding.  In general, I'm not crazy about the color peach, except on the actual fruit, as it was a much overused color in the 1980s.  However, I actually like that the porcelain we bought has peach-colored banding, now that we've brought it home.

In addition, the service is decorated with the letter "C" in an Old-English font that is identical to one that appears on a large set of silver I inherited that once belonged to my great-great uncle Augustus Bertram Coolidge (known as "Uncle Bert"), that was given to him 100 years ago in recognition of his service as Grand Master of the District of Columbia's Masonic Grand Lodge.  Nice coincidence, yes?

We inaugurated our "new" Paris porcelain china on Saturday at a small luncheon party at Darlington.  As it turns out, the guests we entertained also have a collection of peach-banded Paris porcelain, and it was an enjoyable gathering of jolly fellow travelers, with much to jabber about.

We served a classic country summer meal (supplied to us by our most-beloved caterer) of fried chicken, potato salad, and cole slaw, followed by chocolate devil's food cake and vanilla ice cream.  It was delicious, and the perfect repast on a hot July afternoon.  As I sat at our attractively laid table, talking with our guests and enjoying the lunch, I felt a connection with those who had owned the china before us, for certainly such a meal had been eaten off of it many times in such a dining room as ours in its 150 years of existence.  And will be again, I believe, long after we are gone.

All photos by Boy Fenwick

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When Is a Vase a Vahz?

According to my dear departed Mummy Darling, "Never!"  

When instructing her children in the correct American English pronunciation of the word used for the vessel designed to hold cut flowers, Mummy Darling (also known as "MD") insisted that the only acceptable pronunciation for "vase" is when it rhymes with "place."

Which of these vases is a vahz?

She was adamant that we, her offspring, should never pronounce "vase" as "vahz," because she considered doing so to be a contemptible genteelism, much like extending one's little finger when holding a tea cup.  She said that she didn't care a whit that certain American dictionaries may list "vahz" as an alternate, or acceptable, pronunciation to "vase."  She believed such pronunciation to be entirely unacceptable for those in our class, which she referred to as "our kind" (not without irony). "Vahz," she said, was a clear marker that the person who pronounced it thus either didn't know any better--and was to be pitied--or they thought it sounded "refined"--and therefore French-ified in a pretentious middle-class way--and were to be avoided.  One may tolerate such people, but one doesn't invite them to dinner.

Now, I believe there are a number of reasons that pronouncing "vase" as "vahz" stuck in MD's craw.  It was not solely a function of her snobbism, which she was certainly not immune to, although if you accused her of it she would bristle with righteous indignation: "Don't be horrid, Reggie, I am not a snob.  I'm a registered Democrat!"  It may also have had something to do with the imprecision of determining when a vase might actually become a vahz that she found unacceptable, for she was a great stickler, as was my father, for using precise and unpretentious language.

Many of the people I have quizzed about what differentiates a vahz from a vase have said they believe a vahz is a larger, more costly, and more elaborate vessel than the ordinary and utilitarian vase.  In other words, a vahz is a bigger, fancier, more valuable version of a vase.  But in my view--and this is where I agree with MD--determining the tipping point on the continuum from vase to vahz is too imprecise and too subjective to support its acceptable usage.  It reminds me of what Justice Potter Stewart (Yale '37) famously wrote in his opinion in the landmark 1964 Supreme Court obscenity case of Jacobellis v. Ohio: "Hard-core pornography" is hard to define, but "I know it when I see it."  It is the difficulty of defining when a vase becomes a vahz that ultimately condemns vahz.  At least here in America.

While I have generally gone along with many of the lessons my mother taught me growing up, there are certain pronunciations of words that MD favored to which I no longer subscribe--more for generational reasons than otherwise, I suppose.  Unlike MD, I cannot bring myself to refer to a tomato as a "tuh-mahh-toe," and I can't pronounce mayonnaise as "my-uh-nezz," as she did.  Such pronunciations sound comically archaic to me in 2010.  I, too, long ago gave up pronouncing envelope as "on-vuh-lope," preferring instead the more commonly acceptable "en-vuh-lope."  However, just as I would never consider chewing gum in public (a punishable offense in our household when I was a boy), I also toe the line when it comes to saying "vase" instead of "vahz," which is something I would never do.

That is, unless I'm joking . . .

Photo by Boy Fenwick

Sunday, July 11, 2010

An Italian Straw Hat?

Last weekend, Boy and I took a quick spin through a number of antiques shops in the nearby town and came home with this small, framed watercolor portrait of a jaunty young man.

Dating from the second quarter of the nineteenth century, it is a simple and straightforward depiction of a fellow in his twenties wearing a jacket and neckerchief, showing an impressive curl of hair at his temple, and sporting a straw hat adorned with a black ribbon.  And it's small, too, with the outside of the frame measuring only 7 ¼ inches by 6 ¼ inches.  The dealer speculated that the sitter was perhaps a sailor and that the picture was likely American, but could possibly be European.

English Man of War Sailors
London Illustrated News, 1854

Although similar hats were worn by English sailors, we think our fellow is most likely an American flatboatman, of a type seen on the rivers and canals of the New Republic, and a subject painted often by George Caleb Bingham.

Jolly Flatboatmen In Port, 1857
George Caleb Bingham, artist
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

On the other hand, we all agreed that he also looked Italian--or maybe French--given his features and the prominence of his finely shaped aquiline nose.

The straw hat he is wearing is similar to several that we saw two weeks ago in the Borsalino shop in Rome, next to our hotel.  Since many of the better straw hats made today, and also those made in the twentieth century, were made in Italy, could it be that all of these nineteenth century fellows are showing off their Italian straw hats?  Was there a mania for these hats in England and America before the Civil War?

The hat is similar to ones topping several mid-nineteenth-century Staffordshire figures we have at Darlington.

And here is a twentieth century Venetian gondolier wearing a related hat.

In any event, regardless of the hat's origin or the nationality of the sitter, we thought it to be a charming little picture, and a worthy addition to our collection at Darlington.  Furthermore, given that the asking price was reasonable (for these sorts of things), we agreed to buy it.  Since bringing it home we haven't decided where to hang it (we are running out of viable wall space for such pictures), but I am sure we'll find the right place for it soon.

As Boy was photographing the picture it got him thinking about straw hats, as much of our picture's charm lies in its depiction of the wearer's hat.  Not surprisingly, given that it is summer and therefore the time of year that one has straw hats at the ready and about, it was easy to make quick work of assembling a number of ours and photographing them.  For, in addition to collecting art and decorations, we also collect hats.  We have bought ours low and high, inexpensively and dear, and also new and vintage.

And we wear our hats.  Although I do admit, however, that there are some hats in our collection that it is unlikely either of us will ever wear again.  I doubt that Boy will again wear the blue straw porkpie hat that he bought almost fifteen years ago, and wore out once or twice.  It looked good at the time . . .

However, I think he will always look marvelous wearing this hat, a great favorite:

Tell me, where do you think the young man depicted in the picture we bought last weekend is from?  Do you think he's American, or from elsewhere?  Do you think he is wearing an Italian straw hat?

All photos by Boy Fenwick, except of the Venetian gondolier (photographer unknown) and of Boy himself, which was taken by Reggie Darling

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Bandwagon

Reggie, like many of his readers, is a great fan of the iconic L.L. Bean Boat and Tote Bag and considers them to be indispensible in his day-to-day life.  Originally introduced by the company in 1944 as "Bean's Ice Carrier," they have been in production ever since, and are today widely used for purposes well beyond carrying blocks of ice.  Reggie first remembers seeing them in the early 1960s as a young boy, for Reggie's mother, known as Mummy Darling (or "MD"), was a great fan of the bags, and there were many of them in our household when I was growing up.  In fact, I can't remember a time in my life when there weren't at least several L.L. Bean Boat and Tote bags knocking around.  MD loved the bags for their sturdy good looks, easy practicality, and good value--attributes that continue to recommend them highly to this day.

Photo by Boy Fenwick

The first Boat and Tote bags I remember were made entirely of colorless canvas, with the handles and the body made from the same plain white material.  Later, contrasting handles and bottoms of nautical red or blue appeared.  Over time, as the bags gained popularity, additional color options were added, and today the colors available to purchasers of these bags are virtually limitless, particularly when taking advantage of L.L. Bean's custom color palette choices.

At Darlington we have quite a few Boat and Totes, and we use them all the time.  Many of our bags have "Darlington" embroidered on them, as we use them to transport flotsam and jetsum between our city apartment, where we live during the week, and Darlington.  When we are in the city we keep one or two bags open and at the ready for receiving stuff, such as clothing and books, to take to the country, and we do the same in the country for the reverse trip.  In addition, we keep a bag in each of our automobiles embroidered with "Car" to hold things like bungee cords and reflectors, and Pompey has several bags for his belongings embroidered with his name, too.

We don't just use Boat and Tote bags at home, either.  I use one embroidered with my initials to lug documents back and forth to my office (just as I did for books in school), and Boy uses and supplies his staff with Boat and Tote bags embroidered with his decorating firm's name and logo, ordered from L.L. Bean's direct-to-business arm.

Since Boat and Tote bags are virtually indestructible, we are reluctant to let go of ours when they become worn.  And so we use our older bags for purposes that don't require them to be in pristine condition.  Once we cycle a bag out of the clothing and personal effects transport phase of its life we use it for groceries and other shopping expeditions, and our oldest bags--worn ones that still remain sturdy--are used to transport things like tools, or for storage.

As far as I am concerned, there's no other place to buy these bags than from L.L. Bean.  Why buy them from imitators when the "real thing" is readily available from the original purveyor at an attractive price?  Just as I don't buy fake Gucci loafers or Belgian shoes, I don't buy Boat and Totes made by any other supplier than L.L. Bean.  And I think you shouldn't, either.

Monday, July 5, 2010

My Birthday Bucks

I have worn white bucks for a very long time.  In fact, I've worn them my entire adult life.  They are my favorite summer weekend shoe when I want to wear something with tone and that is more substantial and provides greater support than a pair of loafers or moccasins.  Not only do I love the way white bucks look, I like the lore of them, and I have a sentimental attachment to mine, as they were a gift to me from my older brother, Frecky.

Frecky gave me my first (and only) pair of white bucks in 1977 for my twenty-first birthday, when he informed me that "No self-respecting gentleman doesn't have a pair of white bucks in his wardrobe," and that it was time to remedy that shortfall.  And Frecky would know, as he was then rather a Beau Brummell of the preppy school of dressing, having recently graduated from Yale and was attending the University of Virginia Law School.  He was also something of a mentor for me when it came to learning the important and finer points of perfecting my sartorial equipage, mixing (and savoring) such libations as planter's punch cocktails or mint juleps, and dining in grown-up restaurants with nary a parent in proximity.

At the time I was between semesters at Yale and spending the summer working at a lowly job in a lofty law firm in Washington, D.C., living with my father and (newish) stepmother in their townhouse on Embassy Row.  That was a bit of a trial, as they weren't used to having a loutish college boy under foot, and they continually bombarded me with difficult and nosy questions when I had the misfortune to come under their laser-beam scrutiny.  They also informed me that they expected me to do my own laundry (even when they had a full time housekeeper who did theirs, and who had done mine in the past) and that I would also be responsible for taking care of various menial chores and projects that summer in return for their allowing me to live with them rent-free, even though I was (according to them) earning good money.  The nerve!

Much to my relief, my newly married brother was also living in Washington that summer and working at the same law firm as I, but employed there as a much more exalted Summer Associate.  So I saw quite a bit of Frecky that summer, which was a great pleasure to me.  Not only was I fond of him and looked up to him, but he was full of all sorts of good advice as to how to manage my humorless father and his irritating wife, having trod the same path only several years before.  One day early in July, having lunch with Frecky in Lafayette Square, he informed me that he had decided to give me a present of white bucks for my twenty-first birthday.  And not just any white bucks, but white bucks from the only purveyor that one was to buy such exalted footwear: Barrie Ltd. of New Haven, Connecticut, located right next door to J. Press in the middle of the Yale campus.  What joy!

The small problem that Barrie was in New Haven and we were in Washington was remedied by a quick phone call from my brother to place an order for a pair, which arrived in the mail several days later.  I was excited to put them on my feet for the first time, and I felt like a swell when I wore them to the office where I was working.  It didn't matter that Barrie had sent a pair that was one size too large for my feet--I was thrilled to have them, and wore them constantly.

And I've worn the same pair of white bucks ever since, for over thirty years.  There have been times when I haven't given them a lot of wear, but that has not been the case for more than a decade.  And it's a good thing that Barrie sent a pair that was a size too large, for my feet grew in my forties, and the bucks now fit perfectly.  Once Memorial Day hits I pull them out and wear them at least once or twice a weekend.  I also wear them weekdays when I'm on vacation, such as during our recent trip to Italy.  And I take good care of my bucks.  I've had them resoled and reheeled countless times, I've had new insoles added, I've had the leather cleaned, and--more recently--I had a failing leather heel of one of them rebuilt.  I also regularly pounce them with a Buck Bag that contains white powder made for whitening white buck shoes.  Sure, they don't look spanking new, but that is fine with me because one doesn't really want to wear blindingly clean, straight-from-the-shop bucks.  It is far better that they boast some age.

You may know that white bucks are the source of the expression "white shoe," as in "He works at a white-shoe law firm," a firm that employs elite and moneyed professionals and that draws its clients from a similar world.  However, you may not know that at one time men were referred to, in certain circles in this country, as "black shoe," "brown shoe," or "white shoe" fellows.  "Black shoe" men were those who could afford to own only one pair of good leather shoes, which of course would be black--the safest and most versatile shoe available.  "Bown shoe" men were more affluent and could afford to have an expanded shoe wardrobe beyond basic black.  "White shoe" men were the most affluent, those who could afford to own many pairs of shoes, including shoes as impractical and upkeep-requiring as white bucks.

Today, when most people (at least in the Western world) have ready access to reasonably priced shoes, such distinctions are no longer meaningful.  But at one time--in the first half of the twentieth century--those were fairly commonly used expressions that many people understood instantly.   Men who wore white shoes--in this case, bucks--were understood to be more affluent and dandified than the average Joe.  And that is part of the allure of white bucks.

Tell me, do you or someone you know wear white bucks?

All photos by Boy Fenwick

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave

Reggie is back from his trip to foreign lands and is happy to be home again.  Oh yes, I adored our visit to Italy, and Boy and I had a lovely time in the land of sprezzatura.  But as Dorothy said, "There's no place like home," and it is a delight to be sitting, once again, at the kitchen table at my beloved Darlington House, typing away.  I'm working on lots of different essays, and I'm looking forward to posting more regularly in the coming weeks.

Photo by Boy Fenwick

But before I do, I would like to recognize our nation's Independence Day, for we are truly blessed in this country, the land of the free and the home of the brave.  On this day I honor the genius of our Founding Fathers, and the miracle that they wrought in establishing the independence of this nation, founded on the principles of liberty, equality, and justice for all.  We are fortunate, indeed.
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