Williamsburg Hill

Williamsburg Hill

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Events Plus Sara Teasdale's Poetry

A couple of upcoming events this fall include some author fairs I've been invited to attend.  First, the Aurora Public Library's "Catch a Bunch of Authors" on Saturday, September 12, 2015, at the new Santori Branch from 2pm - 4pm in Aurora, Illinois.  I will also be at the Oswego Literary Festival, Saturday, October 3, 2015 from 9am - 1pm at the Oswego, Illinois Public Library.  I will be selling and signing copies of my books, Daniel's Esperanza, Funny Pages and Billy's First Dance at both events.  If you're in the Chicagoland area on those dates and are free, stop by and say hello.  Many talented folks attend these festivals.

Just a reminder, if ebooks are your preference, Daniel's Esperanza is now available for Kindle download on Amazon for only $3.99, and Funny Pages for only $4.95. Paperback versions of all three are still for sale, too.

Work continues on my new manuscript, Williamsburg Hill, and my goal is to finish the first draft by the end of October.  We shall see.

As I'm always searching for blog ideas, I thought I'd share some poetry by the late Sara Teasdale. Simple, powerful, moving are words I would use to describe her work. As always, thanks for reading this blog. I appreciate it very much.

I Love You
By Sara Teasdale

When April bends above me
And finds me fast asleep,
Dust need not keep the secret
A live heart died to keep.

When April tells the thrushes,
The meadow-larks will know,
And pipe the three words lightly
To all the winds that blow.

Above his roof the swallows,
In notes like far-blown rain,
Will tell the little sparrow
Beside his window-pane.

O sparrow, little sparrow,
When I am fast asleep,
Then tell my love the secret
That I have died to keep.

By Sara Teasdale

When I am all alone
Envy me most,
Then my thoughts flutter round me
In a glimmering host;

Some dressed in silver,
Some dressed in white,
Each like a taper
Blossoming light;

Most of them merry,
Some of them grave,
Each of them lithe
As willows that wave;

Some bearing violets,
Some bearing bay,
One with a burning rose
Hidden away —

When I am all alone
Envy me then,
For I have better friends
Than women and men.

The Look
By Sara Teasdale

      Strephon kissed me in the spring,
      Robin in the fall,
      But Colin only looked at me
      And never kissed at all.

      Strephon's kiss was lost in jest,
      Robin's lost in play,
      But the kiss in Colin's eyes
      Haunts me night and day.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Hai Karate - Be Careful How You Use It

I grew up during the 1960s and 1970s then attended college in the early 1980s.   Those years were three significantly different decades of historical events, change, rebellion, peace, love, big hair, spandex and bell bottoms.  The eras defined the music and the clothes, the toys, candy and, of course, the commercials.  Thanks to YouTube, antique stores, TV Land, and catalogs from places selling some of the same products from that time, we’re able to relive a little of our childhoods.  The vintage kitsch makes us nostalgic.
For some reason, I receive a mail-order catalog from The Vermont Country Store.  I don’t think I’ve ever ordered anything from them but I do get a kick out of some of the things they sell.  Does anyone remember the aftershave called Hai Karate from the 1960s and 70s?  They sell it.  YouTube triggered my memories of the commercials, too.  Campy and silly with a martial arts theme, each one ended with the slogan, “Be Careful How You Use It”.  It reminded me of the Batman and Dark Shadows television series.
After viewing those ads on YouTube, I then spent about twenty minutes watching a compilation of 60s and 70s commercial clips.  I remembered all but two or three of them.  Some of the catchphrases that brought an “Oh, yeah” from me:  Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut”, “I Can’t Believe I Ate the Whole Thing”,  “Frito Bandito”, “How Many Licks Does It Take to Get to the Center…”,  “People Start Pollution…”, “Let Noxzema Cream Your Face” (Joe Namath & Farrah Fawcett); “It’s Not Nice to Fool Mother Nature”, “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing”,  “K-Tel Records”.  I could go on. 
Whenever I wander through antique stores, I always find something that reminds me of my youth.  I used to think that if toys from my childhood made it into a vintage store then I had to be getting old.  Now I just appreciate seeing the occasional Lite-Brite, ViewMaster, Etch A Sketch, Operation and Spirograph games.  Tip-it, Toss Across and Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots (my brother had this one)…I loved playing with all of them.  And I’m referring to the originals, as I know that updated and newer versions are still being sold today.  I guess kids know a good thing when they see it.
I associate many of the items in the Vermont Country Store catalog with my grandmother.  I remember butter mints and pecan divinities, peppermint puffs and peppermint straw candy as things she always had on hand.  My grandmother loved to drink TAB (until she discovered Diet Pepsi) and she wore White Shoulders perfume.  I learned about Dippity-Do at her house because my aunts used it; and I recall accidentally spraying myself with a bottle of Wind Song cologne and gagging over the smell.  Mosser glass, percolators and soft-bonnet hair dryers.  Clarks Teaberry Gum, princess phones and mood lipstick.  Wella Balsam, Breck Girl and Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific shampoos.  It’s amazing what a little vintage reminder will do to a person.
Finally, candy (at least the kind I ate and not the kind my grandmother had on hand).  Milk Duds and Sugar Daddy were two of my favorites from back then and it’s amazing that people of my generation have any teeth left.  Who can forget wax lips, bubblegum cigars and fake candy cigarettes (Camel and Lucky Strike come to mind)?  Perhaps not the best choices for youth back in the day, but those were the times.  And I still love Almond Joy and Goobers (yes, I do) but I rarely eat candy nowadays, so it’s a treat if I ever indulge.
I suppose I should give credit where credit is due for this blog post.  I’m always searching for things I can write about and share here.  A Facebook friend inadvertently triggered this one by expressing surprise when finding Prell shampoo at a local CVS Pharmacy.  That caused this little trip down memory lane.  It is appreciated.