Friday, June 29, 2012

CIA, Collections and Stamps

Many times over the years I’ve bought a vintage item and wondered about the original owner of the item.  Like the embroidered pillowcases I bought not too long ago.  They were perfectly starched and were wrapped up as if they had been a part of a young bride’s hope chest.   I can assure you that I tried not to think about the previous owner of the chamber pot I purchased many years ago.  The pot is beautiful …but some things I don’t want to know! 

Back to thinking about owners.  Recently I attended a silent auction and while looking at all the items being sold, one item caught my eye.   After looking more closely and reading the description I discovered a stamp collection was being auctioned off but no one had bid.  So I did, and I won.
Forty years of French stamps.
After taking the book home I just couldn’t stop wondering about the collector.  So I did some investigating and here is what I found out.

The collector began collecting at the age of 6.  Her father was an importer/exporter in New York so international mail was always arriving in his office.  She took advantage of it and amassed a large collection of stamps.
At one point the collector decided to give away her lifetime collection of stamps and stopped collecting. 

But then forty years ago she started again but this time she focused on collecting stamps from specific countries for the purpose of using them in art projects and history studies. She has an extensive collection of African stamps focused on French West Africa.
My auction purchase represents one third of the collector’s holdings of French stamps from the past few decades. 
 If this weren’t interesting enough, I went on to discover that the collector is a former U.S. Government intelligence officer (CIA).

She was so kind to offer to send me beautiful papers for mounting but for now I love being able to look through the book to see the beautiful items individually.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Westview Cemetery

 Generally I'm not one of those people who reads the obituaries but back in the '90s when we used to subscribe to the newspaper, occasionally an obituary photo or caption would catch my eye.  One of those captions read that the Chief Justice of the Gypsies of the World had died.   The article about the gypsy leader went on to describe several things about arrangements, particularly sharing that a cortege was planned following the mass with family stating,

"When the priest gets through, we'll put him on the horse and carriage and take him directly to the cemetery. We'll have a feast at the cemetery, too."

White horses drawing a black carriage would be bearing the coffin to Westview Cemetery.  Believe it or not, visiting this cementery has been on my list of to-dos since 1997.   So this morning I stopped Westview by to pay my respects.
The cemetery was established in 1884 and in the past 100+ years more than 93,000 Atlanta's have been interred on what is believed to be the largest cemetery in the southeast. 
 On the grounds of Westview there's an abbey as well as one of the largest community mausoleums of its kind ever built.  It contains space for 11,444 entombments.   
 An interesting stop was seeing the receiving vault which has been sealed up now but when the cemetery first opened it was a place to store the dead who died in the cold of winter. 
 One of the things I appreciated today was seeing names from the past and some of the name combinations.  I've always loved my mother's name which is Sadie and I've been fascinated with by my parents siblings names.  For example names like Frenchie, Wynelle, Wilna, Irwin, Elphia, Carson or Olivia.
Perhaps a picture of Ralph & Bridget O'Hara Williams
Today a few markers I enjoyed reading had names like Ollie, Alice, Bridget O'Hara (the O'Hara's really existed in Atlanta!) Williams, Lizzie, Ledla, Clementine, Isidore, Myrtice, Josiah, Mattie Gee, Eulous, Rossie, Ruby Mae and one that you will have to read for yourself....Seriously!!
Hopefully Seymour didn't use his middle name with his first too often!
Atlanta most historical and well-known cemetery is called Oakland but Westview is also one of Atlanta's landmarks but frequently overlooked.  Many well-known Atlantan have been laid to rest here including Asa Candler (founder of Coca-Cola), Joel Chandler Harris, governors, mayors, civic leaders including the gypsy chief justice. 
Of course the headstones and markers are often amazing and the thoughtful verses are noteworthy, memorable and sometimes haunting.   I found this pillow to be an interesting marker.

If you live in the Atlanta area this place is worth a visit and I've been told it is most beautiful in the fall when one of the world's oldest gingko tree puts on a show. 

Today I'm joining up with The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sunday and I hope you will stop by to see what other bloggers have been up to.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Alliance Française d’Atlanta's Salon de Thé

Let me start by saying I love the Alliance Française.  After my first trip to France back in the 90's I decided to take french classes and so I joined AF to study at the official language school.  My language progress has moved slowly but it doesn't keep me loving all things french and taking full advantage of the french cultural center, programs and special events right here in Atlanta taking place throughout the year.  
Me in my hat hidden behind the invitation
 Last weekend I had SO much fun attending the annual Salon de Thé fundraising event though I must say it created a bit of a fashion crisis for me as I didn't have an appropriate hat.   Luckily a British friend loaned me a beautiful black hat she'd just bought to wear to a wedding.   
Obviously before next year's event, I need to do some shopping for a new chapeau!  
The two ladies pictured in the center of the mural planned this event and I have to tell you it was amazing.  The event featured an afternoon tea, a silent auction and a fashion show featuring couture designed by Nina Gleyzer.
Now I can't wait until the Bastille Day celebration! 
I'm linking up with The Tablescaper for Seasonal Sunday.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Books, Movies, Dates and Jake's - Ice Cream, That Is!

It's been a big week and not just because of work.   This was one of those weeks when there were lots of activities scheduled every day and the summer has barely started.   The week started with a book signing event and not just any book signing.  This was the release party for the long awaited release of Mary Kay Andrew's new book Spring Fever.  I went to the book signing with my good friend Ginabeth but low and behold who was in line right behind us?  Sue from Rue Mouffetard!!  
 We all lined up waiting for our time with MKA which was made all the more fun because of being in line with good friends. 
  Sue was kind enough to take a picture of me and one with Ginabeth - thank you Sue!!!!

I love going to the movies and recently while seeing Exotic Marigold Hotel (love), I saw the previews for Bernie and given that it appeared to be VERY southern and funny, I made my husband take me out on a date to see it.   We loved Bernie (well, according to the movie, everyone loves Bernie) and I can't wait to see it again.  There were too many funny lines and at times I laughed so hard that I couldn't hear everything.  It is at times like these that I would love to have a pause buttons.
Before the film we stopped for an appetizer at a nearby restaurant called Rain.   Don't you love how restaurants prepare such fancy presentation?   That tray was so well decorated  and just for a few bits of food. 
And the good times just keep on coming.  

My grandgirls came today!  They brought a friend with them so we have three sweet girls at our house  and the girls and my son will be here for a week.  
With the girls here it seemed like a perfect time to stock up on ICE CREAM!  If you've been in Atlanta for any period of time your bound to have tried Jake's Ice Cream and the unbelievably great Slap Yo Mama Chocolate.  Well Jake delivers in my neighborhood and you should have seen the girls go running when I said the ice cream man was here.
It's a bit more pricey but well worth it.
The girls were still a bit puzzled by Jake's Ice Cream truck.  Somehow I think they were expecting some popsicles to show up.  Did you notice the little green bag in my granddaughter's hand? 
 That's the ice cream bag.
 In addition to the Slap Yo Mama Chocolate, I decided to try some of Jake's homemade Georgia Peach ice cream.  The perfect way to celebrate peach season.
Someone's looking very happy.  Today I'm joining 
The Tablescaper to celebrate some Seasonal Sunday fun.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Queen's Diamond Jubilee

So glad that it is Sunday.  Got a little free time to enjoy HM the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebration.
Thanks to NYTimes - Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

And what should one wear for a boating event on HM's barge?

And the flowers are the barge are amazing!!
Click here to learn about the flowers and the gardener.
Thought I would continue watching with a cup of tea.