Thursday, July 18, 2013

Travel Journal: July 8, 2013 Monday: Wallingford, last day.


My last day in Connecticut.
I slept like a baby the whole time I was at Sue's house.
A cute pink fan and an open window somehow lulled me into a deep sleep each night.
I awoke to the sound of birdsong!

I really, really liked Sue's pink and green decoration.
Some rooms had blue accents, or yellow accents or cherry red.
The screened in breezeway with the white wicker was my favorite room.

I had to go into Sue's room to meet the other member of the household.

Yes, like any other self respecting one person cat, Murray hightailed it under Sue's bed whenever I tried to photographer her.
On the last day, I gave up and just took her picture in HER chosen spot!
Sue is a cat lover, just like me,  and her 13 year old girl cat Murray has had an interesting life.
Murray has special permission to board at the Monastery whenever Sue travels.
Murray has managed to find hiding places even in such austere spaces as a monk's cell!
I spent a little time each day trying to win Murray's approval; on the last day she was willing to flop down on the floor across the room from me and tidy up her fur a bit.
That...is what is called "relaxed" in cat talk.
 

The Murray look-alike door stop greeted us each time we came home; each time I thought it was Murray for a moment.

Sue held Murray for me to get a better picture.

You can tell who Murray likes best!

Sue had wanted me to see the Wallingford Library (us both being MLS, of course that was going to be on the agenda!)
On the drive over I had her stop so I could get a photo of this cute old house.

The back of the library...with ample parking!

The library was airy and bright and had an interesting mobile hanging in the stairwell skylight.

A nice modern looking layout...

The children's area is reached a walk along railroad track.

The track goes past a reading space inside a tree trunk.

At the end of the track there is the Wallingford train station, replicated in room sized scale, and a train carrying loads of books.

I loved it!

The caboose had a place to sit and read.

Watching the seasons change from this window must be wonderful.

I wonder who built the playhouse sized train station.
Pretty fun idea!

I took a course in Children's Literature Illustration.
Set me down in a room full of picture books and I can be happy for hours.
Seeing the library's collection of original art of one famous children's book illustrator was fabulous!

Tomie dePaola's style is unmistakable.
 
His book "Strega Nona" is a classic.

And then there was the cover art of Pumpkin Moonshine, Tasha Tudor's first book, published over 70 years ago.
(I am a big Tasha Tudor fan, and once got to see her 1820's era wardrobe.  She was a very interesting woman!)

How did the Wallingford Library come to own such an extensive collection of Tomie dePaolo art?
See HERE to find out!
(And one fascinating detail: His maternal grandparents lived on the street behind the library while he was growing up!)

This painting was inscribed to Kathryn, one of the generous donors of the collection.
(I think it is so wise to donate such collections so in the future the public can enjoy as well as family members.) 

A summer morning at the library...how many of us treasure similar memories of library visits to fill up the long summer days?

Of course when I was as child no one had ever hear of Dobby.

Sigh.
I just love children's libraries.
I had planned on being a children's librarian.
The very last thing I had thought of being was a law librarian.
And yet...that was the way it went.

Bernie's grandmother created an extensive collection of dolls dressed in folk costumes.
I thought they should be in a library.
I made a bee line when I saw that the Wallingford library had exactly such a collection neatly labeled and on display.
Children, especially little girls, could learn so much by looking at the dolls in their colorful costumes.
That display could have had my attention for at least an hour...but time was ticking away.

Another excellent library element:
A tile mosaic of Wallingford.

I could picture zooming in the library with kids in tow, and stopping for a moment each trip to point out a tile or two, and sharing facts and memories of Wallingford's history.
So much more interesting than just reading the facts in a book once or twice.

One of the tiles:  Sue's father's grocery store.

Sue's church where we worshipped on Sunday.
See the Jesus sculpture on the lawn?

Original township details.
See the train station at the bottom middle?

People donated funds for tiles, and could also just donate money and have their name on the spines of tile books that lined the bottom of the mosaic.

Sue remembers going to this tent theater as a child.

Where our generation's past uncles worked.

(I marveled that I had selected a Wallace silver pattern as a teen.  Long story; I never got the place setting but I still think of the Wallace's Romance of the Sea as my pattern.)

The local paper...with the kind of headlines that I think all of us would enjoying reading first thing in the morning.

A poster from a newspaper page published about the destructive Wallingford tornado of 1878, including the broken tombstones of the Catholic cemetery.
 

I browsed around while Sue hunted down a DVD from a series of lectures on the history of Wallingford's Irish population.
Librarians know that other librarians would totally dig that kind of  DVD.
 
Back down the stairs with the graceful mobile...

I was quite taken by photos on display of a child from long ago. 

Margaret must have really loved her cat!
Her family must have too...imagine the photographer's set up and flash, and yet there the cat sits perfectly content.
(Murray needs to see this photo Sue...)

Margaret's hat was adorable!
And check out the round seat she was seated upon.
It had to be child sized...

On to our next stop...I made Sue stop so I could photograph the flower strewn picket fence.

Then it was on to Choate Rosemary Hall again so I could see more of the grounds in daylight.
Sue drove me by the sports buildings where there was an ice skating rink that she used to skate on as a child.
The building above was a dormitory, if I recall correctly.
 

Was the pond and building old or new?
Hard to tell...

I really liked the carp sculpture.

Lucky kids...

The pond must be equally beautiful when viewed in fall and winter.

The rather plain science building was designed by I. M. Pei,, he who designed the school's alumni John F. Kennedy's library.
The campus is very large; I had thought it was a college campus at first.
It would be great to stroll around and explore in more temperate weather.

Back at the house for a final meal...

The dining room was lovely, but you know how it is with family and dear friends...only they get the right to eat in the kitchen.
I still marvel at how both Sue and I painted the walls in our homes in a bright citrus-y green.

While sipping iced tea, I watched the DVD lecture on the Irish of Wallingford with Sue keeping one eye on the clock.
Sue suggested it was time to head to the airport; I pushed to watch the DVD a little longer.
The lecture was on what I consider to be my own history now.
The economic trials of the Irish, and the famine that forced them to leave their homeland.
The prejudice endured by the Irish in New England.
The tornado that wiped out their community.
It was personal story now.

But like all good thing, the time in New England drew to an end.
Sue drove me back up to New Haven, and dropped me off at the airport.
A short flight took me to Atlanta for a layover before continuing home.
Atlanta is not my favorite airport but I consoled myself with some freshly made pralines while I waited this time.
I arrived back in Salt Lake at 11:30 pm.
Bernie was waiting for me at the curb.
He and Jeff, Rachel and Luke had gone camping while I was gone; we shared a tiny bit of our adventures during the drive home.

The cats were waiting to greet and welcome me back.
 All of us were asleep in bed by 1.
The crazy part?
We got up again at 5 am, so I could take Bernie back to the airport, so he himself could fly to...you guessed it...Atlanta!
An unexpected ending to my traveling adventures.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jill-
One family note on Tomie DePaola. His mother and my Aunt Harriet Brosnan were best friends. Harriet was the Godmother for Tom's older brother.
S.

Vee said...

Loved it all! Now you must return with Bernie is tow. What? You're kidding me that he left within hours of your arrival! Hope that he's been happily home for days and days. I'm going to send this to my aunt and uncle in case they're missing home.

ellen b. said...

Atlanta is usually the stop between Jacksonville N.C. and us...
How great that you could make this trip and be hosted by such a great hostess.

Lovella ♥ said...

What a rich treasure that area is to your country. I am amazed so often by what you are able to see in such a short time and by comparison I feel we have to drive so far.
That children's library is amazing. I would love to visit there with my grands. I was reminded how recently Tyson talked about "illustrations".

What a whirlwind week!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

Of course you would visit the library! It sounds like you had the best of times in Connecticut...and received a warm welcome home. I'm smiling at the cats awaiting your return!

PS Love the flower strewn picket fence pic too!

Pondside said...

I'm not an MLS but I cannot resist a library. Over all our years of moving around the world, once I'd settled the house I always went in search of the local library. In countries where English wasn't the first language I'd look for two - the local library for its history and picture books and foreign language section, and then the English reading room, because every city had one. I really enjoyed this little series of your visit to Wallingford.