Helen and Teacher

Helen and Teacher
The Story of my Life

Monday, April 16, 2018

Dolls Gotta Have Heart; Raggedy Ann, Legends, and History for Over 100 Years - Ruby Lane Blog

,Raggedy Ann was always one of my favorite dolls. I remember listening carefully, fascinated when my third grade teacher read the stories to us.  I think we made it through all the books. I used to enact them with my own dolls.  Years later, I saw the museum before it closed, and was able to go to the festival.  Now, I have neighbors named Ann and Andy!  My mom made a killer Ann Halloween outfit when I was six!  Love Gruelle and his books!





Dolls Gotta Have Heart; Raggedy Ann, Legends, and History for Over 100 Years - Ruby Lane Blog: Raggedy Ann has been a beloved doll and literary character for over 100 years.  Her face has graced countless story books, coloring books, paper dolls, toys, radios, canned goods, and posters about Diphtheria and Smallpox vaccinations.  Raggedy Ann and her brother, Raggedy Andy, have starred in their own animated films, and Raggedy Ann has flown... Read more »

Friday, April 6, 2018

Firestorm: a Review


Firestorm, but Iris Johansen.  A Book Review
Image result for Firestorm by Iris Johansen Public DomainPublic Domain Image
 
For years, my closest friends, also mystery fiends have urged me to read Johansen. After a windfall of books that included one of her novels came my way, I eagerly picked up the book.
 
The first chapter reminded me of the opening scene of Legal Eagles, which is one of my favorite movies.  A young girl awakes to fire, a horrible fire, and loses her mother.  Fast forward and years later, she is an arson investigator, who is a little psychic.  Shades of Medium, another favorite, albeit on TV.
 
We meet the murderer/rogue govt. agent/arsonist from the beginning.  So, we don’t wonder about “Who done it?”  Yet, as the novel progresses, it is the violence and the fiery murders that become the real characters and runaway with the action.
 
The murder’s motives are not convincing; he isn’t the kind of pyromaniac I met up with in my days of working in law offices. In fact, some of them are pretty unassuming.  I sat in a locked conference room facing one down, and I asked point blank, “did you do it?”  Oh, no, of course not!” he insisted, all innocent and doe-eyed.  We ended up not taking the case; a few months later, he was arrested and guess what!!?? He did it and then some.  Other than the evidence that buried him, there was no initial clue that he was a fire bug.  Just a nice, average guy that liked to set fires and leave.
 
The story is masterful, and she is one of the most successful authors in her genre, but the characters are cardboard, they go up in flames in more ways than one.  If you forgive the pun that dies and is resurrected into analogy, the characters are just fuel for the flames.  They go up like Birdie, the hapless celluloid doll set on fire and murdered by the evil, but gorgeous Marchpane in Godden’s The Dolls’ House, or like the little paper ballerina who immolates herself on the remains of Hans Christian Anderson’s “Brave Tin Soldiers.”

Monday, March 26, 2018

Why We Love Dollhouses (And You Should Too!) - Ruby Lane Blog

Why We Love Dollhouses (And You Should Too!) - Ruby Lane Blog: The first dollhouses on record are probably the Dutch cabinet houses and Nuremburg doll houses, meant more for adults as cabinets of curiosities than for children.  The novel The Miniaturist is based on these. One great example that still survives is Mon Plaisir, from the 18th century. The Nuremberg House open, 1673 via Victoria and... Read more »

Why We Love Dollhouses (And You Should Too!) - Ruby Lane Blog

I dedicate this one to my mom and dad.  She made rugs and curtains and doll clothes for doll houses.  He built doll houses, doll rooms, and models.  Both of them drove me to all kinds of miniature shows and museums  She bought my first book by Flora Gill Jacobs. I miss you mom and dad, and I will always love you.



Why We Love Dollhouses (And You Should Too!) - Ruby Lane Blog: The first dollhouses on record are probably the Dutch cabinet houses and Nuremburg doll houses, meant more for adults as cabinets of curiosities than for children.  The novel The Miniaturist is based on these. One great example that still survives is Mon Plaisir, from the 18th century. The Nuremberg House open, 1673 via Victoria and... Read more »

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Going Home

Today would have been my Dad's 86th birthday, and tomorrow is the 4 month anniversary of his death.  Both dates are hard to believe.


I am lucky in one thing; I can go home to their house every day, to what was my grandparent's house.  I can eat lunch or make coffee, lie down in my old room, listen to my old records.  Eventually, it will be my home again.  There is a particular peace there, and comfort.  As long as I can be there, they aren't really gone.


We all need a place of peace, a room of our own, as Woolf wrote.  It's good to look at the photos that trigger memories, and to drink coffee out of cups that my mother bought when I was still in high school.


It's nice to see t he light switch plate that says "Ellen's' Room" and to remember where it came from. What triggers memories for you--it can be a smell, or making a recipe, or maybe it's the time of year.  We did our share for St. Pat's, and my mother loved all holidays.  We always had a shamrock or two around, we made it to a parade once in a while, whatever it took.


Now, I'm in the autumn of my life, and while it's hard to fathom that I'm this old, I go back to that house, where the TV is in the same place it's been for over 60 years, where my birthday parties were held, where my heart broke and healed, and where my mother planted flowers.