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DANCING WITH DION


 

 

 

Candice Dion Braxton has a  gentle presence as you sit and talk with her, but, make no mistake, she has a true commitment to fitness, which she pursues with an incredible ferocity.  She began her fitness journey in 2008 when she took her first step on a treadmill. At that time she was working as a Nanny and the woman for whom she worked had a small home gym, where she encouraged Candice to start working out.

Walking on the treadmill led to working out at the Inches-A-Weigh gym, a weight loss center for women with toning and exercise equipment. Loving the feeling of being fit, Candice branched out and started working out and taking classes, specifically Zumba, at the Tuckahoe YMCA in Richmond, Virginia.  Not only was she shedding pounds, but she was also learning the ropes of lifting weights and dancing her way to excellent health by taking Zumba classes.  And, she was good at it!  Over the course of about 2 1/2 years she lost well over 100 pounds.

 

 

Candice lost well over 100 pounds. And, she did it the old-fashioned way: with Diet and Exercise! 

But, what about Zumba?  Candice is very modest in her answer to that question.

“I really enjoyed the classes and I kept improving. Everyone in my class kept encouraging me, so, I decided to take the course and become a certified Zumba instructor.” She started teaching in 2011,  right after becoming certified. At first she was leading classes part-time, but that all changed in 2013 when her job ended, and she felt like it was a God-given opportunity to pursue her passion for helping others become physically fit.

How does a Zumba teacher come up with music and the routines? That is a big question, because each instructor has their own style.  Candice likes to mix latin, soul, hip-hop, middle eastern and more. “I listen everywhere I go. If I hear a song I like, I’ll look it up on my phone and save it to listen to later. Music means so much to me and I like to mix it up, with different styles of songs following each other.”

Packing studios has become the norm for Candice.  She teaches corporate classes at:

Capital One, Altria/Philip Morris, Dominion Power and the Department of PublicServices. These Zumba courses, held at workout facilities on their respective campuses, are for the benefit of the employees.  Candice also teaches at two YMCAs in Richmond, and then, there is “Dancing With Dion.”

“Dancing With Dion,” a series of Zumba classes that is open to anyone, brings hundreds of people in every week.  Candice has worked with many local businesses to establish her own dance studios. On Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays she leads her students through swinging, swaying, marching, twirling, moving and shaking, thoroughly enjoyable Zumba routines. These classes are spread out, so, you can take one of these Zumba classes held at workout facilities in Midlothian, on Forest Avenue or on South Laburnum Avenue. *Candice has worked with many local businesses to rent out different spaces for her Dancing with Dion Zumba classes.Her work routine is dizzying, too, because she is  an instructor, fitness trainer, Certified Natural Health Counselor and a DJ.

It’s true that music, fitness and health have combined to make a very full life for Candice. Her love of music and dance spurred her to learn how to spin records, mix sounds and start a business as a Disc Jockey.  She is completely self-taught and has purchased all her own equipment so that she can go anywhere to liven up the party. She loves to see people get up and onto the dance floor! Gigs include weddings, birthday parties, celebrations of all kinds and middle school dances. Candice smiles when I ask her about DJing for Tweens and Teens. “I have had to acquire a whole different set of music for them,” she laughs. “But, I honor every request that they give me! It makes me feel so happy to see them having a good time!

When asked what is one of the most gratifying aspects of her very multi-faceted career helping people, Candice reflects, “My students range in age from 5 years to 80 years old, it’s a very diverse group. I think that being able to teach people who are older, younger and don’t look like me, makes me a better teacher.”

And, what of goals for her burgeoning business? She smiles, and says quietly, “I would love to have my own fitness and health center one day, where I can teach, counsel people on natural health and more.  But, that’s a ways away.” In the meantime, we all twist and turn, shuffle, shimmy and salsa and sweat off the pounds to Candice’s righteous playlist and feel a lot better after every class!

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Top Down vs Bottom-Up: The Battle to Understand Speech

by Kathi Mestayer

(This article also appears on the “Hearing, Health and Technology Matters,” site http://hearinghealthmatters.org/betterhearingconsumer/2018/top-down-vs-bottom-up-the-battle-to-understand-speech-kathi-mestayer/)

Top-down grabs wheel, runs into ditch

There are two different ways in which we make sense out of speech – “top-down” and “bottom-up.”

I first read about this in The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker, in which he describes how we take sound input and make sense of it as speech. Let’s start with the top-down system, since it’s the one we’re more aware of.

Top-down auditory processing is more, shall we say, thoughtful, using tools like context (dinner table, board meeting, classroom), expectations (past experience, person speaking), and nonverbal cues (facial expressions, body language).  It considers those factors, along with the speech sounds, and does its best to interpret what was said.

The bottom-up system, on the other hand, makes a lightning-fast, best guess based on the raw sound data. Period. No consideration of context or those other complicating, time-consuming factors. As a result, bottom-up attempts can be comically wrong, like the mis-heard lyrics of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, “he is trampling out the vintage where the great giraffes are stored.”  A thoughtful, deliberative system, like top-down, would not report those lyrics, especially if you’ve heard that song a thousand times. But bottom-up’s job is to get you an interpretation really, really fast.  No editor, no proofreader…a hip-shot.

But sometimes a fast reaction is needed, because we’re busy using up top-down capacity with things like multitasking or making a tough decision.  In those cases, our brains opt for the bottom-up mode and hope for the best.

So, who makes the decision about delegating tasks to the slow road or the express lane?  Our brains do, usually without consulting us, and that’s how we end up on the receiving end of ‘great giraffes’ or ‘national pelvic’ radio.

Top-down and bottom-up, toe-to-toe

Because it has a few more milliseconds to work with, it’s natural that top-down, the more deliberative process, is correct far more often.  But not always.

Take the other night in a noisy restaurant, when my brain handed the task to top-down, assuming that it would be in a better position to tell us what was being said. I was sitting with two friends who were chatting away, when the waitress came up to me and asked, “Are you ready to order?”

“Yes,” I answered.  Then she turned and walked away.

Hmm, what just happened?  I sat there for awhile, puzzled.

A few minutes later, the waitress came back to our table, and said, “Are you ready to order now?”

“Didn’t you ask us that the last time you were here?”

“No, I asked if you needed a little more time.”

At that point, top-down started whirring away, figuring things out. Putting the pieces back together, I see that my top-down system took over as the head interpreter, elbowed bottom-up out of the way, and made the call based on what it expected the waitress to say as she approached the table – were we ready to order?  Nice try.

In so doing, top-down completely ignored what speech sounds were available in that noisy space (which, in fairness, were pretty garbled).  Bottom-up would have given me, “did you betty the border?”  And bottom-up plus top-down would probably have gotten it right.  But top-down, in this case, was about as helpful as the great giraffes. Of course, bottom-up gets a kick out of this. He’s usually the one who gets things wrong. It’s not as amusing as hearing canned spinach instead of the king’s speech, but a new kind of lapse.

Good thing I’m not a control freak. Now, I have two different kinds of mistakes to look out for.  I’m just batting clean-up.  Who’s on first?

 

Kathi Mestayer writes for Hearing Health MagazineBe Hear Now on BeaconReader.com, and serves on the Board of the Virginia Department for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing.  She has kindly contributed this article to Every Girl’s Dream, but it also appears on the “Hearing, Health and Technology Matters,” site http://hearinghealthmatters.org/betterhearingconsumer/2018/top-down-vs-bottom-up-the-battle-to-understand-speech-kathi-mestayer/.       

In this photo she is using her iPhone with a neckloop,audio jack, and t-coils which connects her to FaceTime, VoiceOver, turn-by-turn navigation, stereo music and movies, and output from third party apps, including games, audiobooks, and educational programs.

 

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Feathers, Furs and Lace: The Price of Fashion in 1912 by Dale P. Talley

 

Feathers, Furs and Lace: The Price of Fashion in 1912

By Dale Paige Talley

I help create costumes and exhibits. We dress characters in period correct attire so they can help people interpret specific historical eras and events.  The goal is to make learning fun. Recently I was looking for an idea for a program about Edwardian fashion and thought that since the anniversary of the maiden voyage of RMS (Royal Mail Ship) Titanic is upcoming on April 15, I could use it as a vehicle.  Of course the Titanic ended in tragedy and the world still mourns the loss of more than 1500 souls in the icy waters of the Atlantic.  But the story of the ill-fated ship lives on in our hearts and minds.

There is so much material about the loss of the ship and the fashions of the era, it is not easy to think of something new to discuss.   Sixty seconds on the internet will yield more photographs of dresses, corsets, tea gowns, plumed hats and the always funny hobble skirt than one can digest.

Suddenly, the image of Rose arriving at the dock in one of the early scenes of James Cameron’s 1997 movie Titanic appeared in my consciousness. At first we see only the top of her hat as she extends a gloved hand to be helped out of her limousine.  It takes a few seconds before she can raise the brim (it is a big hat,). Finally we see her face looking at the huge ship she is about to board.  She has a sophisticated air of “ho-hum” in her gaze.  The scene has always reminded me of ugly-duckling turned swan, Charlotte Vale in Irving Rapper’s 1942 film, Now Voyager. In a pivotal scene, Charlotte has been transformed from a dowdy spinster into a model of sleek fashion.  She is going on the first real adventure of her life.  As she steps aboard a luxury liner, the camera focuses on the top of her wide-brimmed hat.  Slowly, she looks up to reveal the new Charlotte eager for the journey to begin.   It makes me smile.

In Titanic, the docks are teaming.  As Rose’s party emerges from chauffeur-driven limousines, the camera pans over carts piled with steamer trunks, hand baggage and even a safe for precious jewelry, indispensable documents and cash.  The irony of the safe is not lost on us.  We know what happens.

Today, most of us traveling say from London to New York are minimalists.  We don’t want to pay extra baggage fees or wait too long at the baggage claim at the other end.  We have elevated taking as little as possible in small suitcases to an art.  We fold washable, crush-proof, wrinkle-free, quick-dry garments into small bags that can be dragged on their little wheels behind us through the throngs at international airports.  At the boarding gate we line up under covered ramps and quietly move forward to our assigned seats. 

First class passengers might have champagne, leather seats and a little more leg room, but all passengers are belted into their seats and hurtled at 35,000 feet above the surface of the earth continent to continent. It takes about eight hours. To pass the time, we thumb through magazines, do crossword puzzles, watch movies, sleep or tell secrets to people we have never met knowing we will never see them again.   In the main, the process of travel is something to be endured, not relished. With minor differences, most airlines are the same and there is a quality of cattle car to them all.

But a century ago, during the golden age of travel, the only way to cross the ocean was by steamship,  For the glitterati, first class travel was a social event of high style. Historian Andrew Wilson wrote, “Passengers were stratified by class—the third class at the bottom of the ship, the second in the middle, the first at the top—and, for the most part, did not mix with one another. In those massive liners, first, second or third class passengers had completely different experiences.”1

 Of course Rose DeWitt Bukater is a fictional character but aboard The White Star Line’s 883 foot Titanic, the real-life first class businessmen, politicians, military brass, sports icons and silent film stars were among those who bought the pricey tickets. Colonel John Jacob Astor embarked with his pregnant wife Madeleine.  They were returning from their extended honeymoon in Egypt.  Benjamin Guggenheim was traveling with his mistress, French singer Leontine Pauline Aubart. She traveled incognito to avoid scandal.  Fashion designer Lucy, Lady Duff-Gordon (whose designer label was Lucile) had first class accommodations, as did film actress Dorothy Gibson. 

Accustomed to life in the grand hotels of Europe, and luxury liners like The Mauritania and Lusitania, the uber-rich must have been curious to compare the new Titanic, They knew how to entertain themselves and would have ample time to discuss the comparison over Formal dinners signaled by on-deck bugler that could have as many as  twelve courses and last four or five hours.  The dinners must have been relaxing after a full day of strolling on covered decks, lounging in deck chairs, or having lunch or tea in any of a number of restaurants and cafes. After dinner they could relax a little more.  Ladies could retire to the reading room for bridge.  For the gentlemen it would be cigars and brandy in the smoking room. 

What did they wear for all those dinners, lunches and teas?  What did it cost to own the diaphanous gowns that seemed to float in a spangled ether of their own? How expensive were the aigrettes mounted in diamond tiaras, or chinchilla coats and silver fox stoles that kept delicate shoulders warm? What about the intricate lace waists and tea dresses?  How much did an extravagantly plumed hat really cost (and why didn’t Rose DeWitt Bukater have any other huge hat)?

The most expensive accommodations on the ship were the two exclusive parlor suites with two bedrooms, bathroom, sitting room and fifty-foot private deck. It is well known that one of the suites had been booked by J. P. Morgan who had to back out just before the ship sailed.  A wealthy Philadelphia divorcee, Charlotte Cardeza, purchased the second suite for the equivalent of $62,591 according to Money Magazine’s calculations.2

Mrs. Cardeza famously boarded the ship with three other people and a staggering amount of trunks, suitcases and crates.  Who was she and why was she on the Titanic?

Image 1. Charlotte Cardeza circa 1900, Courtesy Thomas Jefferson University Archives

 

Image 2.  Charlotte Cardeza and her son, Thomas aboard their 282 foot steamer-yacht, Eleanor. Courtesy Thomas Jefferson University Archives

 

Image 3.  Charlotte Cardeza game hunting on safari in Africa, 1911.  Courtesy Thomas Jefferson University Archives

Charlotte Wardle Drake Martinez-Cardeza was no ordinary traveler.  She was also no ordinary woman. Not only was she a member of the Philadelphia elite, she was a fashionista, art buyer, globe-trotting yachtswoman and big-game hunter. She inherited her fortune from her father, a textile manufacturer who invented a method of making denim that was sold to the Union Army during the Civil War. 

Though she owned the princely estate known as Montebello in Germantown, Pennsylvania, she spent most of her time aboard her 232-foot steamer-yacht, Eleanor, with its crew of 39.  In 1912, her usual entourage included 36 year-old Thomas, his manservant, Gustave J. Lesueur, and her ladies’ maid, Annie Moore Ward.  They cruised to the most exotic ports around the world.

In early 1912, mother and son completed an extended trip to Europe and Africa that included a safari. In April, they decided to return home.  They elected to book the brand spanking new Titanic. Perhaps because it was her birthday.  Charlotte turned 58 the day they boarded Titanic at Cherbourg after a final shopping spree in Paris.

The U. S. National Archives has on file a list of the contents of Mrs. Cardeza’s trunks that were loaded onto the Titanic.  The document is fascinating in detail. It is sixteen pages long and single spaced.  Many pieces of clothing are detailed by designer, material, color, cost and in many cases where purchased.  The document was submitted to the Oceanic Navigation Steamship Company in support of her claim for losses when the Titanic sank.  The total value of the clothing in today’s dollars is estimated to be $1,775,000. The jewelry at more than $2,561,000. It could be that the document overvalues her wardrobe, but it is nonetheless a gold mine for fashion historians.

 

Image 4. Louis Vuitton trunk.  Louis Vuitton made history with his sturdy, elegant trunks that were said to be airtight in 1854.  Rather than being fined as traditional trunks, his were flat- bottomed and stackable

Among the most popular designers of the day were Redfern, Worth, Paquin, Doucet, Callot-Soeurs, and Poiret. Upstart Coco Chanel had not yet hit her stride, though she opened her first salon in 1909. Judging by her inventory, Mrs. Cardeza preferred tradition to cutting edge style. She had several designer garments by Redfern, Worth and Callot-Soeurs. There was a single rose-colored-gown in one of the trunks made by Lucile, but, what would she need to be perfectly decked out amongst the “A” list social crowd for this trip?

A partial summary shows that she needed at least 31 dresses; 39 blouses; 21 nightgowns (all pink, but one); 13 petticoats; 22 Pairs of shoes; 75 pairs of gloves; 12 suits; 11 hats; 58 individual feathers and 45 pairs of stockings. There were ivory combs, false hair, ribbons (one which was described as a ‘hobble’), several pairs of  fur-topped slippers and a scarf edged in maribou (stork feathers). She also required an entire trunk full of furs, muffs and stoles.

Image 5.  Redfern salon. Established at Cowes in the Isle of Wight in 1855.  Redfern became tailor  to the Queen of England, Empress of Russia, Princess of Wales and the royal courts of Germany, Portugal, Denmark and Greece, among others.

 

Image 6.   Callot-Soeurs dress 1912          

There were unwritten but strict rules about dress for women of the leisure class. A single day could require at least three wardrobe changes.  Each transformation had a specific purpose and exacting standards for that purpose.  It took five and a half days to make the 2890 mile journey across the Atlantic.  First class women never wore the same outfit twice during a crossing. They never dressed in formal attire the first and last evenings.  No self-respecting first class lady would think of traveling without a ladies maid to organize, track and layout each wardrobe change with its requisite accessories. Brushing and twisting hair into the appropriate style required assistance. Cleaning, pressing, mending, packing and repacking was not on the agenda for “Madam” who was busy seeing and being seen. Mrs. Cardeza had the efficient Annie Moore Ward traveling with her.  It was presumably Ward who prepared the inventory.

During the first quarter of 1912, Vogue magazine revealed the important fashion trends of the season.  The byword would be “revival”.   Louis XIV touches such as heavy brocade and fine laces would appear on gowns, dresses, jabots, fans, umbrellas, and, well, everything. There would also be a resurrection of columnar Egyptian style dresses in contrasting colors such as green and black.   Other important materials in style would be silk chiffon and fine embroidery. Mrs. Cardeza’s inventory showed at least six brocade dresses in her Louis Vuitton, Goyard, Mendel and Innovation trunks.  Of course we do not have images of Mrs. Cardeza’s clothing but we can find examples by the well-known couturiers of the time. Of the more than thirty dresses listed, two stand out as being both the most expensive and fashion forward.   The first a cream silk chiffon dress designed by Redfern that cost $500.00 (or about $12,300).  The second is from  Worth that cost $900.00 then or $22,000 today.  (As an aside, the dress was not as expensive as the bonbonniere purchased in Paris at the end of her trip for $1,000!  It must have been some candy dish.)

Aside from its delicate beauty, lace has had an influence on, history, politics, fashion, culture, and world economies over the millennia. It has always been a status symbol since men (not women) began to wear it centuries ago.  Louis XIV strained the French treasury purchasing lace from Italy until he pirated some lace-makers and brought them to France to make a better domestic product. If the inventory is an indicator, Mrs. Cardeza favored bobbin laces like Valenciennes, Mechlin, and Point de Paris.  She does not say whether her laces are antique pieces or even handmade. There seem to be few items of clothing or accessory that are made of, or, trimmed with lace,  and there are evening coats, fur coats, handkerchiefs, petticoats, gowns, wrappers, dressing sacques, pillow slips, and bureau scarves all in varying types of lace. There are few garments that make me weak in the knees but a 1912 tea gown can take my breath away.

Image 7 . Embroidered lace tea gown, c. 1912 White cotton net, elbow L sleeves, narrow silhouette, heavily embroidered, needle lace bodice insertions, hem & side gores of handmade tape lace, F & B floating panels, crochet ball button trim, net lining, B 34″, W 26″, L 60″. Ohio State University 

She does say that of her seven umbrellas and parasols, which she called “gamps” (see sidebar) four were made of Milanese, Brussels and appliqué lace and were purchased from Redfern.  The combined purchase price of these four gamps was  $650 ($15,892 today).

 

Image 8. Lace gamp      

Gamp, Brussels lace, circa 1910.  The term is derived from the name of a character in a Dickens novel.  Sarah Gamp was an umbrella-wielding, gin soaked mid-wife who was nonetheless charming.  She so endeared herself to readers of Martin Chuzzlewit, in which she had a prominent role, that fans began to refer to their umbrellas as gamps.  The term is still used today.

Image  9.  Mother of pearl and lace fan.  Cardeza was in Hungary in 1912.  Perhaps she purchased the fan she mentions in her inventory there. This is a Hungarian fan of the period.

 

Image 9a.  Handkerchief   Cardeza has several dozen lace handkerchiefs in the drawers of her trunks. Pictured is an example of point de Paris lace that she mentioned in her list

   

Of the more than 35 waists (blouses) in her trunks, many were made of the en mode chiffon or linen and were adorned with embroidery and/or Irish, filet and Venetian lace. The term waist could mean not just a blouse to pair with a skirt, but an over blouse to be worn over a delicate gown. Mrs. Cardeza paid as much as $450 for one waist designed by Redfern. By contrast, the Sears catalog for 1912 shows a black, embroidered silk chiffon waist for $4.50 (about $110.00 today).

Image 10.  Furs catalog from Brussels-based Pygmalion.  1912.

Inventory of Furs

Chinchilla coat ($6,000) New York

White baby lamb coat ($1,400) Russia

Chinchilla stole ($1,400 Austria

Ermine coat ($1400) New York

Mink stole and muff ($800) Russia

Near seal coat (800) Germany

Moleskin ($400) Paris

Silver fox stole (New York)

Ermine stole & muff ($180) Germany

Squirrel ($200)

Since the early 1600s, fur has been economically and socially important.  Today, demand for fur has diminished considerably but until recent history, fur was a status symbol. Mrs. Cardeza packed or purchased along the way, at least twelve fur garments including coats, stoles and muffs.  It would be interesting to know which furriers designed these pieces, but she only mentions where they were purchased.  Perhaps her furs came from the likes of Drecoll, who designed fashions for the imperial family of Austria.   The Brussels-based Pygmalion also provides an idea of the styles of the day.  (To modern sensibilities, it is a bit macabre that the catalog seems to ask the the animals to advertise their own coats.) The insurance claim asserted that Mrs. Cardeza spent, $262,226 (in 2018 dollars) to stay fashionably toasty.

Fur fashion catalogue 1912

Image 11. Fur designed by Austrian couturier, Drecoll who was designer to the imperial family of Austria.

Accessories make the outfit of course, and although Mrs. Cardeza did not seem to have any shoes that cost more than $10, it did appear she had a glove fetish.  For this trip, she had more than 75 pairs of kid leather, silk and suede gloves. There were almost an equal number of long and short ones.  Apparently, unless they were asleep, in the bath, drinking or eating, ladies’ hands were gloved. It has been said that a lady never put on or removed her gloves in public.  The rule makes clear why dinner was always after the opera. The most elegant opera gloves—over the elbow—could take a stretcher, a lot of glove powder, a ladies’ maid and as long as twenty minutes to inch all the way up.  It would have been inelegant to try it in public. I can imagine ladies swanning into the ladies lounge of the Savoy Hotel (where there was a fainting couch) to have the uniformed ladies’ maid help them off with their gloves.  When dinner was over there would be a trip back to the ladies lounge and more glove wrangling before farewells and the return trip home.

Image 12 . Glove powder container, a holdover from the Victorian era.  Treenware.


Image 13. Kidskin opera gloves

Image 14. Glove stretcher.  Birmingham sterling 1912

Today, we certainly see elegant hats at Ascot, the Kentucky Derby and English weddings. And always on Queen Elizabeth.  She seems to be keeping up the notion that no respectable woman is seen outside her home without a hat.   In 1912, hats were huge both in dimension and in importance as an accessory.  Generally made of velvet, felt or straw, hats were adorned not only with tails and crest feathers of exotic birds but sometimes with their entire stuffed bodies.

Image 15. Egret feathers adorn hat in 1912.  Note the shimmering fabric of her dress that seems to have a life of its own.

 

Image 16.  Egret showing its most desirable hat trimming…its mating plummage.

Image 17. “Mary Stuart” aigrette in gold, silver, diamonds and pearls designed by Joseph Chaumet, circa 1910. Collection Chaumet Paris

By 1905; wearing feathers as personal adornment came under widespread criticism.  Concerted efforts by newspapers like The New York Times, satirical magazine Puck, and the newly formed Audubon Society waged a public relations campaign that ultimately saved egrets, birds of paradise and other species from certain extinction. It was in the nick of time. According to the Times, “1911 saw just four feather trading firms sell approximately 223,490 bird corpses in London alone.” They charged the fashion industry with engaging in “murderous millinery.” I thought about Rose’s hat. Perhaps Titanic costume designer,  Deborah Scott, left the feathers off to make her supportive of the cause.   Perhaps I am just making that up but it pleases me to think that she did.

 

Image 18. Satirical magazine Puck (published from 1871 until 1918) mocks  milliners as retrievers for women are really behind the practice called “murderous millinery”.

Charlotte Cardeza did not seem to be enlightened on this issue.  She packed three aigrette feathers, one black, one white and one light blue. Together they cost $380.00 or more than the cost of a pound of gold. (At that time, gold traded at around $20.00 per ounce)  She listed two pink “Elephant’s Breath Paradise” feathers for $125.00 and another without color description for $80.00.  An additional pink paradise feather was $75.00.  It is not clear if that is the price for an entire bird or just the tail feathers.  

The entire Cardeza inventory deserves study and would take more digital ink to adequately illuminate than there are ones and zeroes to spend here.  I did not mention the contents of the three crates.  I also did not cover the jewelry she deposited with the Titanic purser that would be worth $2,561,000 today.  Of course if it was actually found 12,500 feet below the surface of the Atlantic, it would be worth considerably more as a artifact of the catastrophic event.     

Mrs. Cardeza did not receive the full value of her insurance claim.  It probably made little financial difference to her.  She could easily replace the items she lost.    She died in 1939 leaving an estate of at least $52 million or the equivalent of almost  $1,000,000,000 in today’s dollars.

Image 19.  Charlotte Cardeza and Annie Moore Ward (undated).

Finally, Charlotte Cardeza did not pack a bathing suit for a journey on a ship with a heated pool.  Or did she?  Maybe the mysteriously named “one-piece albatross” was actually a swimming costume.

NOTES

1.Wilson, Andrew, Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived, narrated by Bill Wallis, Audible 2018 Audiobook

 

2.Daugherty, Greg, “Here’s What the Most Expensive Ticket on the Titanic Would Have Bought You” Money Magazine, online, April 14, 2016, accessed March 3, 2018

 

Dale Paige Talley is an author, historian and partner in Engaging History Productions, Inc.  The  non-profit coalition of historians, authors, actors, costume and set designers create custom events that bring history to life.   Clients are typically museums, foundations and historical societies in and around Richmond, Virginia.

Contact: engagingfour@gmail.com

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World War One Farmerettes: Working the Land and Feeding the World

 

Between 1917 and 1919 roughly 20,000 women served in the Women’s Land Army of America. Known as “Farmerettes,” these mostly young ladies came from all backgrounds and regions of the United States.  They helped keep food on the tables of everyday Americans throughout the Great War. 1

 

A Bit of Background…

It’s 1915, and, imagine, if you will, a chilly July afternoon in London, where throngs of women are marching, demanding “their right to serve” their country during the war. 2

Although Emmeline Pankhurst, the famous suffragette leader, is at the head of the crowds, the event was put together by the British Government. David Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer, organized this rally because he knew that Britain was going to need help on the home front during this “War to End All Wars.” 3

Emmeline Parker, British Suffragette
Member of British Woman’s Land Army

 

An ocean away, the United States was not completely isolated from the growing storm in Europe.  By 1916, America was sending food to France. And, many citizens foresaw the rising conflict overseas, and anticipated that the United States would become involved.  The National Security League was one of the organizations that arose before our entry into World War 1 and was focused on defending America. 

Miss Grace Parker, who had joined America’s National Security League, went to England to visit with members of the Women’s Land Army of Great Britain, which, ultimately became a model for America’s Women’s Land Army of the United States. 4

Upon her return, she addressed the Congress of Constructive Patriotism, an event that was held in New York in January 25-27,1917. 5

Her speech, entitled,“Woman Power of the Nation,” was lauded by the more 3000 businesspeople, Senators, Governors, Mayors, Generals and others who attended the Congress, inspiring them onto action. One of the outcomes of this event was the formation of The National League for Women’s Service, a group designed to galvanize this  “Woman Power.” 6

Their mission was:

“To coordinate and standardize the work of women of America along lines of constructive patriotism; to develop the resources, to promote the efficiency of women in meeting their every-day responsibility to home, to state, to nation and to humanity; to provide organized, trained groups in every community prepared to cooperate with the Red Cross and other agencies in dealing with any calamity-fire, flood, famine, economic disorder, etc., and in time of war, to supplement the work of the Red Cross, the Army and Navy, and to deal with the questions of “Woman’s Work and Woman’s Welfare.” 7

Their organization’s slogan was “for God, for Country, for Home.”8

On January 31, 1917 the German Government announced that, on February 1, 1917, it would no longer restrict their submarines from firing on any ship (merchant ships from neutral countries, passenger ships, etc.) that sailed in the war zone around Britain, France and in the Mediterranean Sea. On February 3, the United States broke diplomatic relations with Germany.  True to their promise, the high command gave orders for the submarines to attack, and before April 6, 1917, they had sunk 9 American ships, and caused the U.S. to lose another due explosion by underwater mines.  9

All this began less than two weeks after Grace Parker addressed the Congress of Constructive Patriotism about harnessing the “Woman Power of the Nation.”

The sinking of the ships was the final straw. On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson addressed a joint session of Congress requesting a declaration of War on Germany.  The motion was passed

by the Senate on April 4, 1917 and by the House on April 6, 1917.

The United States officially entered World War 1 with its’ Declaration of War on April 6, 1917. 10

The newly formed National League for Women’s Service marshaled forces and got busy.  Working in conjunction with the Red Cross, they developed

“…thirteen national divisions, as follows: Social and Welfare, Home Economics, Agricultural, Industrial, Medical and Nursing, Motor Driving, General Service, Health, Civics, Signalling, Map-reading, Wireless and Telegraphy, and Camping. Definite work under these thirteen national divisions … developed through state and local organizations, the working unit being a detachment of not less than ten nor over thirty under the direction of a detachment commander.”11

So, it began, that American women began to take up the work of their men who were off at war, performing the duties of: dockworkers, bricklayers, coalminers, munitions workers, nurses, teachers, wireless operators, ambulance drivers, drivers, railroad conductors, farmerettes and other jobs as needed.

Food production had become a critical issue. In late February, 1917, Bread Riots broke out in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. Shortages developed because the United States had been sending food to France since 1916. Subsequently, prices on staples had risen astronomically making it difficult for people to buy the basics. Agricultural support was deemed a priority at all levels of government. 12

Enter the Women’s Land Army of America (WLA). “Farmerettes,” as they became known, hailed from all over the United States, came from all walks of life and many, many of them had no experience with farming. But, they were anxious to “Do Their Bit,” and enthusiastic about their mission. Although the members of the WLA were of all ages, many were young and excited about the adventures that awaited them as they took their turn at farm life. Many were students who attended institutions such as Barnard College, Bryn Mawr, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, Goucher, Vassar, Mount Holyoke and others throughout the United States. The Northeast, Midwest, West and some  Southern states embraced the WLAA. Camps where the women were housed and received much-needed training, included New York, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Michigan, New Mexico, New Hampshire, New Jersey,Virginia, Illinois, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina and California.  13

They found out that farming was a tough business. Graduation from the Libertyville farm in Illinois was thusly described in a Chicago Tribune article:

“There was no organdy and lace, no pink ribbons and rosebuds about the graduation dresses of the girl farmers who met in the leafy grove on the farm of the Woman’s Land Army yesterday. The graduates wore overalls instead, garments which had obviously seen hard service.  A bright kerchief worn about the neck or the head, a feather placed Indian fashion in the hair–these were the only signs of ‘dressing up.’ They realized they were there as pioneers in a new work for women.” 14

Armed with knowledge and training, they were ready with rakes, hoes, trowels and shovels, in hand. The only problem was that the farmers didn’t necessarily trust them. Despite the great need for food production, in many cases it took enormous amounts of persuasion on the part of the WLA Camp Directors, local media, local politicians and business leaders to convince farmers to hire this new and very dedicated work force. 15

In an address in September 17, 1918 at the Illinois Training Farm for Land Army Women,  Illinois Governor Frank O. Lowden, explained to farmers:

“My old friend, the Conservative Farmer: I know that many of you think that these girls will not do on the farm. I welcome these young women into our ranks…These young women who shall help us to raise the food to feed their brothers on the battle front… And by helping us to raise the food we need, will become comrades of these heroic boys in the trenches of battle fronts of Europe.

“I hope that this movement begun here in a simple, modest but very effective manner, may communicate itself to other portions of this State and other States so that if need be we will match the irresistible army of our heroic men on the battlefront with an equally strong and equally patriotic army of women in the field and in the dairies of our land.” 16

At Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (RMWC), in Lynchburg, Virginia, Dr. Meta Glass, a young Professor of Latin, directed the school’s group of Farmerettes. Dr. Glass, herself, an alumna of RMWC, took her charges to farms around the Virginia Piedmont where they could work the land and help with harvests. 17

 

Likewise, Farmerettes brought in crops of peaches, apples, potatoes, tobacco, beans, corn and every fruit and vegetable conceivable. They plowed, raked, hoed, dug, built fences and coops, herded cattle, sheep and goats. They milked cows, tended pigs and chickens — in short, they did every sort of farm work available.

But, what did the ladies think? Here are some of descriptions:

  

Here are some thoughts from Helen Kennedy Stevens, a senior at Barnard College, who served at the Bedford Camp,

“…apple picking in an old orchard, where we had to use forty-foot ladders. Coming down a forty-foot ladder with a full basket of apples is a circus stunt, I can tell you.  Then there was cutting and loading corn for the silo, and potato digging was also a husky harvesting job. The corn cutting was picturesque, but the corn rash we got was not.  Preparation for a day in corn was chiefly putting old stockings on our arms.” 18

Letter from a farmerette in a Staten Island, N.Y Land Army unit, 1918:

This isn’t like any other camp for man, woman, or child. It is at times the jolliest, 

but always the most strenuous, ever. Rise 5:30; tumble downstairs in the dark for a hose pipe shower; overalls on. breakfast with a cafeteria rush; bed-making; grab a lunch; jump into the Ford with ten to twenty others whom a natty little chaufferette delivers at several farms within a radius of six miles by 7:30; hoe, weed, plant or gather and carry bushels of luscious tomatoes, until the noon whistle blows; lunch under the trees with perhaps a few minutes nap in the long grass; then farm work with the farmer till the long Ford comes with our driver in Fifth Avenue togs to take us home again. Can you beat it, the Woman’s Land Army Plattsburg Camp?

At home there is a rush for the porcelain tubs and hot baths, a rush for the laundry tubs to put underclothes and overalls to soak. Dinner at 6, dishes washed, lunches for the next day packed, and assignments made of next day’s work. A spin down to the beach for a salt-water swim, a coolish ride home with the girls hanging on anywhere the Ford offers a foothold and singing lustily. 19

Or

Memoir of Margurite Wilkinson: My Experince as a Farmerette

 

Chop,chop,chop went our hoes. Down the long field in the hot sun we trudged slowly, hilling up those sprawling plants. Sally could very nearly do two rows while I was doing one, but she cheered me along kindly and tactfully, telling me that I was doing very well indeed for a new girl and that it would be a lot easier when I had grown accustomed to it. Bertha did not work much faster than I, but she was steadier and did not have to stop for breath so often.

Chop,chop,chop. Birds were singing in the trees that bordered the field, Bumble bees buzzed along on their way to neighboring patches of wild flowers. But after a while I was only conscious of the fact that my back, my right wrist, and my left elbow ached like mad.

We went to the house for a pail of water. We took long draughts of it, left the pail under a big tree to keep cool and went back to work. We were painfully conscious of profuse perspiration. They have another word for perspiration on the farms which is more vulgar, vigorous and appropriate. Big drops of moisture were running down our foreheads into our eyes, down our necks into our clothing, down our legs into our mute, protective boots. But for the rest of the morning we kept an honest pace, stopping occasionally for a drink when our progress down the rows took us near the big tree and the tin pail. And at last came noon and the chance to rest.”

In those hours of the afternoon the heat was at its worst. The air seemed to be vivid with it and quivered about our faces. We felt it rising from the soil against the stiff, leather soles of our boots. We were aching, and dripping wet. Little shivers ran up and down our spines occasionally. But we did not stop. We just thought of the boys in the trenches who have much more to bear. Sometimes we spoke of them.

“You see, it is a course in many things besides agriculture, and the camp is a democracy, and cosmopolitan at that. Across the furrows at her weeding, a little Russian tells of her recent voyage to America. Further in among the celery beds a French girl and an Irish girl exchange consolation for the lover and the husband who recently started ‘over there’. College girls, important in their senior years, and women weary of degrees and world travel, wisdom or teaching, come here and take the kink out of tired nerves by straining their flabby muscles a bit. There are violinists in the camp, and singers, too, that the world will yet hear from. ..The war is not talked about thought it lies deep in the hearts of the sweethearts and sisters who are trying to do their bit to increase the country’s food supply.” 20

From the Spring of 1917 through the Fall of 1919, these women saved the day by raising crops in America. These crops fed the U.S. and contributed heavily to foodstuffs for Europe.  They certainly “did their bit” and did it very well!  We would have been hard-pressed to feed ourselves without them. As the “Great War” ended and the men came home, the WLA gradually packed up its’ shovels and rakes and turned the soil for a last time. The WLA was absorbed into the Department of Labor, but, for all intents and purposes it ceased to exist.  21  It was, however, revived during World War II, but that is another story for another day.

Elaine Weiss, Smithsonian.com, “Before Rosie the Riveter, Farmerettes Went to Work,” May 28, 2009

Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, pp. 3

Ibid, pp. 4

Ibid, pp. 17

Ida Clyde Clarke. American Women and the World War. Chapter XIV. http://www.gwpda.org/wwi-www/Clarke/Clarke14.htm

Ibid

Ibid

Ibid

9.Rodney Carlisle, “The Attacks on U. S. Shipping that Precipitated American Entry into World War I”

10.First World War.com Primary Documents -…Declaration of War with Germany, 2 April, 1917 m/source/usawardeclaration.htm

11. Ida Clyde Clarke. American Women and the World War. Chapter XIV.  http://www.gwpda.org/wwi-www/Clarke/Clarke14.htm

12.World War I — United States Food Administration U.S. Food Administration http://histclo.com/essay/war/ww1/cou/us/food/w1cus-usfa.html

Wikipedia, Woman’s Land Army of America, World War I,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woman%27s_Land_Army_of_America

Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, pp. 159

Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War

Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, pp. 160 – 161

  17. Richmond Times-Dispatch,1918 June 2

Randolph-Macon

[Special to The Times-Dispatch.]

Lynchburg, VA., June 1.             ( https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/)

18. Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, pp. 83

FARMERETTES – Looking for Mabel Normand. www.freewebs.com

Ibid 

Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, pp. 269

Between 1917 and 1919 roughly 20,000 women served in the Women’s Land Army of America. Known as “Farmerettes,” these mostly young ladies came from all backgrounds and regions of the United States.  They helped keep food on the tables of everyday Americans throughout the Great War. 1

A Bit of Background…

It’s 1915, and, imagine, if you will, a chilly July afternoon in London, where throngs of women are marching, demanding “their right to serve” their country during the war. 2

Although Emmeline Pankhurst, the famous suffragette leader, is at the head of the crowds, the event was put together by the British Government. David Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer, organized this rally because he knew that Britain was going to need help on the home front during this “War to End All Wars.” 3

An ocean away, the United States was not completely isolated from the growing storm in Europe.  By 1916, America was sending food to France. And, many citizens foresaw the rising conflict overseas, and anticipated that the United States would become involved.  The National Security League was one of the organizations that arose before our entry into World War 1 and was focused on defending America. 

Miss Grace Parker, who had joined America’s National Security League, went to England to visit with members of the Women’s Land Army of Great Britain, which, ultimately became a model for America’s Women’s Land Army of the United States. 4

Upon her return, she addressed the Congress of Constructive Patriotism, an event that was held in New York in January 25-27,1917. 5

Her speech, entitled,“Woman Power of the Nation,” was lauded by the more 3000 businesspeople, Senators, Governors, Mayors, Generals and others who attended the Congress, inspiring them onto action. One of the outcomes of this event was the formation of The National League for Women’s Service, a group designed to galvanize this  “Woman Power.” 6

Their mission was:

“To coordinate and standardize the work of women of America along lines of constructive patriotism; to develop the resources, to promote the efficiency of women in meeting their every-day responsibility to home, to state, to nation and to humanity; to provide organized, trained groups in every community prepared to cooperate with the Red Cross and other agencies in dealing with any calamity-fire, flood, famine, economic disorder, etc., and in time of war, to supplement the work of the Red Cross, the Army and Navy, and to deal with the questions of “Woman’s Work and Woman’s Welfare.” 7

Their organization’s slogan was “for God, for Country, for Home.”8

On January 31, 1917 the German Government announced that, on February 1, 1917, it would no longer restrict their submarines from firing on any ship (merchant ships from neutral countries, passenger ships, etc.) that sailed in the war zone around Britain, France and in the Mediterranean Sea. On February 3, the United States broke diplomatic relations with Germany.  True to their promise, the high command gave orders for the submarines to attack, and before April 6, 1917, they had sunk 9 American ships, and caused the U.S. to lose another due explosion by underwater mines.  9

All this began less than two weeks after Grace Parker addressed the Congress of Constructive Patriotism about harnessing the “Woman Power of the Nation.”

The sinking of the ships was the final straw. On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson addressed a joint session of Congress requesting a declaration of War on Germany.  The motion was passed

by the Senate on April 4, 1917 and by the House on April 6, 1917.

The United States officially entered World War 1 with its’ Declaration of War on April 6, 1917. 10

The newly formed National League for Women’s Service marshaled forces and got busy.  Working in conjunction with the Red Cross, they developed

“…thirteen national divisions, as follows: Social and Welfare, Home Economics, Agricultural, Industrial, Medical and Nursing, Motor Driving, General Service, Health, Civics, Signalling, Map-reading, Wireless and Telegraphy, and Camping. Definite work under these thirteen national divisions … developed through state and local organizations, the working unit being a detachment of not less than ten nor over thirty under the direction of a detachment commander.”11

So, it began, that American women began to take up the work of their men who were off at war, performing the duties of: dockworkers, bricklayers, coalminers, munitions workers, nurses, teachers, wireless operators, ambulance drivers, drivers, railroad conductors, farmerettes and other jobs as needed.

Food production had become a critical issue. In late February, 1917, Bread Riots broke out in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. Shortages developed because the United States had been sending food to France since 1916. Subsequently, prices on staples had risen astronomically making it difficult for people to buy the basics. Agricultural support was deemed a priority at all levels of government. 12

Enter the Women’s Land Army of America (WLA). “Farmerettes,” as they became known, hailed from all over the United States, came from all walks of life and many, many of them had no experience with farming. But, they were anxious to “Do Their Bit,” and enthusiastic about their mission. Although the members of the WLA were of all ages, many were young and excited about the adventures that awaited them as they took their turn at farm life. Many were students who attended institutions such as Barnard College, Bryn Mawr, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, Goucher, Vassar, Mount Holyoke and others throughout the United States. The Northeast, Midwest, West and some  Southern states embraced the WLAA. Camps where the women were housed and received much-needed training, included New York, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Michigan, New Mexico, New Hampshire, New Jersey,Virginia, Illinois, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina and California.  13

They found out that farming was a tough business. Graduation from the Libertyville farm in Illinois was thusly described in a Chicago Tribune article:

“There was no organdy and lace, no pink ribbons and rosebuds about the graduation dresses of the girl farmers who met in the leafy grove on the farm of the Woman’s Land Army yesterday. The graduates wore overalls instead, garments which had obviously seen hard service.  A bright kerchief worn about the neck or the head, a feather placed Indian fashion in the hair–these were the only signs of ‘dressing up.’ They realized they were there as pioneers in a new work for women.” 14

Armed with knowledge and training, they were ready with rakes, hoes, trowels and shovels, in hand. The only problem was that the farmers didn’t necessarily trust them. Despite the great need for food production, in many cases it took enormous amounts of persuasion on the part of the WLA Camp Directors, local media, local politicians and business leaders to convince farmers to hire this new and very dedicated work force. 15

In an address in September 17, 1918 at the Illinois Training Farm for Land Army Women,  Illinois Governor Frank O. Lowden, explained to farmers:

“My old friend, the Conservative Farmer: I know that many of you think that these girls will not do on the farm. I welcome these young women into our ranks…These young women who shall help us to raise the food to feed their brothers on the battle front… And by helping us to raise the food we need, will become comrades of these heroic boys in the trenches of battle fronts of Europe.

“I hope that this movement begun here in a simple, modest but very effective manner, may communicate itself to other portions of this State and other States so that if need be we will match the irresistible army of our heroic men on the battlefront with an equally strong and equally patriotic army of women in the field and in the dairies of our land.” 16

At Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (RMWC), in Lynchburg, Virginia, Dr. Meta Glass, a young Professor of Latin, directed the school’s group of Farmerettes. Dr. Glass, herself, an alumna of RMWC, took her charges to farms around the Virginia Piedmont where they could work the land and help with harvests. 17

Likewise, Farmerettes brought in crops of peaches, apples, potatoes, tobacco, beans, corn and every fruit and vegetable conceivable. They plowed, raked, hoed, dug, built fences and coops, herded cattle, sheep and goats. They milked cows, tended pigs and chickens — in short, they did every sort of farm work available.

But, what did the ladies think? Here are some of descriptions:

Here are some thoughts from Helen Kennedy Stevens, a senior at Barnard College, who served at the Bedford Camp,

“…apple picking in an old orchard, where we had to use forty-foot ladders. Coming down a forty-foot ladder with a full basket of apples is a circus stunt, I can tell you.  Then there was cutting and loading corn for the silo, and potato digging was also a husky harvesting job. The corn cutting was picturesque, but the corn rash we got was not.  Preparation for a day in corn was chiefly putting old stockings on our arms.” 18

Letter from a farmerette in a Staten Island, N.Y Land Army unit, 1918:

This isn’t like any other camp for man, woman, or child. It is at times the jolliest, 

but always the most strenuous, ever. Rise 5:30; tumble downstairs in the dark for a hose pipe shower; overalls on. breakfast with a cafeteria rush; bed-making; grab a lunch; jump into the Ford with ten to twenty others whom a natty little chaufferette delivers at several farms within a radius of six miles by 7:30; hoe, weed, plant or gather and carry bushels of luscious tomatoes, until the noon whistle blows; lunch under the trees with perhaps a few minutes nap in the long grass; then farm work with the farmer till the long Ford comes with our driver in Fifth Avenue togs to take us home again. Can you beat it, the Woman’s Land Army Plattsburg Camp?

At home there is a rush for the porcelain tubs and hot baths, a rush for the laundry tubs to put underclothes and overalls to soak. Dinner at 6, dishes washed, lunches for the next day packed, and assignments made of next day’s work. A spin down to the beach for a salt-water swim, a coolish ride home with the girls hanging on anywhere the Ford offers a foothold and singing lustily. 19

Or

Memoir of Margurite Wilkinson: My Experince as a Farmerette

 

Chop,chop,chop went our hoes. Down the long field in the hot sun we trudged slowly, hilling up those sprawling plants. Sally could very nearly do two rows while I was doing one, but she cheered me along kindly and tactfully, telling me that I was doing very well indeed for a new girl and that it would be a lot easier when I had grown accustomed to it. Bertha did not work much faster than I, but she was steadier and did not have to stop for breath so often.

Chop,chop,chop. Birds were singing in the trees that bordered the field, Bumble bees buzzed along on their way to neighboring patches of wild flowers. But after a while I was only conscious of the fact that my back, my right wrist, and my left elbow ached like mad.

We went to the house for a pail of water. We took long draughts of it, left the pail under a big tree to keep cool and went back to work. We were painfully conscious of profuse perspiration. They have another word for perspiration on the farms which is more vulgar, vigorous and appropriate. Big drops of moisture were running down our foreheads into our eyes, down our necks into our clothing, down our legs into our mute, protective boots. But for the rest of the morning we kept an honest pace, stopping occasionally for a drink when our progress down the rows took us near the big tree and the tin pail. And at last came noon and the chance to rest.”

In those hours of the afternoon the heat was at its worst. The air seemed to be vivid with it and quivered about our faces. We felt it rising from the soil against the stiff, leather soles of our boots. We were aching, and dripping wet. Little shivers ran up and down our spines occasionally. But we did not stop. We just thought of the boys in the trenches who have much more to bear. Sometimes we spoke of them.

“You see, it is a course in many things besides agriculture, and the camp is a democracy, and cosmopolitan at that. Across the furrows at her weeding, a little Russian tells of her recent voyage to America. Further in among the celery beds a French girl and an Irish girl exchange consolation for the lover and the husband who recently started ‘over there’. College girls, important in their senior years, and women weary of degrees and world travel, wisdom or teaching, come here and take the kink out of tired nerves by straining their flabby muscles a bit. There are violinists in the camp, and singers, too, that the world will yet hear from. ..The war is not talked about thought it lies deep in the hearts of the sweethearts and sisters who are trying to do their bit to increase the country’s food supply.” 20

From the Spring of 1917 through the Fall of 1919, these women saved the day by raising crops in America. These crops fed the U.S. and contributed heavily to foodstuffs for Europe.  They certainly “did their bit” and did it very well!  We would have been hard-pressed to feed ourselves without them. As the “Great War” ended and the men came home, the WLA gradually packed up its’ shovels and rakes and turned the soil for a last time. The WLA was absorbed into the Department of Labor, but, for all intents and purposes it ceased to exist.  21  It was, however, revived during World War II, but that is another story for another day.

Elaine Weiss, Smithsonian.com, “Before Rosie the Riveter, Farmerettes Went to Work,” May 28, 2009

Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, pp. 3

Ibid, pp. 4

Ibid, pp. 17

Ida Clyde Clarke. American Women and the World War. Chapter XIV. http://www.gwpda.org/wwi-www/Clarke/Clarke14.htm

Ibid

Ibid

Ibid

9.Rodney Carlisle, “The Attacks on U. S. Shipping that Precipitated American Entry into World War I”

10.First World War.com Primary Documents -…Declaration of War with Germany, 2 April, 1917 m/source/usawardeclaration.htm

11. Ida Clyde Clarke. American Women and the World War. Chapter XIV.  http://www.gwpda.org/wwi-www/Clarke/Clarke14.htm

12.World War I — United States Food Administration U.S. Food Administration http://histclo.com/essay/war/ww1/cou/us/food/w1cus-usfa.html

Wikipedia, Woman’s Land Army of America, World War I,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woman%27s_Land_Army_of_America

Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, pp. 159

Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War

Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, pp. 160 – 161

  17. Richmond Times-Dispatch,1918 June 2

Randolph-Macon

[Special to The Times-Dispatch.]

Lynchburg, VA., June 1.             ( https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/)

18. Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, pp. 83

FARMERETTES – Looking for Mabel Normand. www.freewebs.com

Ibid 

Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, pp. 269

 

 

Between 1917 and 1919 roughly 20,000 women served in the Woman’s Land Army of America (WLA). Known as “Farmerettes,” these mostly young ladies came from all backgrounds and regions of the United States.  They helped keep food on the tables of everyday Americans throughout the Great War. 1

 

A Bit of Background…

It’s 1915, and, imagine, if you will, a chilly July afternoon in London, where throngs of women are marching, demanding “their right to serve” their country during the war. 2

Although Emmeline Pankhurst, the famous suffragette leader, is at the head of the crowds, the event was put together by the British Government. David Lloyd George, Chancellor of the Exchequer, organized this rally because he knew that Britain was going to need help on the home front during this “War to End All Wars.” 3

Emmeline Pankhurst, Famous British Suffragette

An ocean away, the United States was not completely isolated from the growing storm in Europe.  By 1916, America was sending food to France. And, many citizens foresaw the rising conflict overseas, and anticipated that the United States would become involved.  The National Security League was one of the organizations that arose before our entry into World War 1 and was focused on defending America. 

Miss Grace Parker, who had joined America’s National Security League, went to England to visit with members of the Women’s Land Army of Great Britain, which, ultimately became a model for America’s Women’s Land Army of the United States. 4

 

Upon her return, she addressed the Congress of Constructive Patriotism, an event that was held in New York in January 25-27,1917. 5

Her speech, entitled,“Woman Power of the Nation,” was lauded by the more 3000 businesspeople, Senators, Governors, Mayors, Generals and others who attended the Congress, inspiring them onto action. One of the outcomes of this event was the formation of The National League for Women’s Service, a group designed to galvanize this  “Woman Power.” 6

Their mission was:

“To coordinate and standardize the work of women of America along lines of constructive patriotism; to develop the resources, to promote the efficiency of women in meeting their every-day responsibility to home, to state, to nation and to humanity; to provide organized, trained groups in every community prepared to cooperate with the Red Cross and other agencies in dealing with any calamity-fire, flood, famine, economic disorder, etc., and in time of war, to supplement the work of the Red Cross, the Army and Navy, and to deal with the questions of “Woman’s Work and Woman’s Welfare.” 7

Their organization’s slogan was “for God, for Country, for Home.”8

On January 31, 1917 the German Government announced that, on February 1, 1917, it would no longer restrict their submarines from firing on any ship (merchant ships from neutral countries, passenger ships, etc.) that sailed in the war zone around Britain, France and in the Mediterranean Sea. On February 3, the United States broke diplomatic relations with Germany.  True to their promise, the high command gave orders for the submarines to attack, and before April 6, 1917, they had sunk 9 American ships, and caused the U.S. to lose another due explosion by underwater mines.  9

All this began less than two weeks after Grace Parker addressed the Congress of Constructive Patriotism about harnessing the “Woman Power of the Nation.”

The sinking of the ships was the final straw. On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson addressed a joint session of Congress requesting a declaration of War on Germany.  The motion was passed by the Senate on April 4, 1917 and by the House on April 6, 1917.

 The United States officially entered World War 1 with its’ Declaration of War on April 6, 1917. 10

The newly formed National League for Women’s Service marshaled forces and got busy.  Working in conjunction with the Red Cross, they developed

“…thirteen national divisions, as follows: Social and Welfare, Home Economics, Agricultural, Industrial, Medical and Nursing, Motor Driving, General Service, Health, Civics, Signalling, Map-reading, Wireless and Telegraphy, and Camping. Definite work under these thirteen national divisions … developed through state and local organizations, the working unit being a detachment of not less than ten nor over thirty under the direction of a detachment commander.”11

   

So, it began, that American women began to take up the work of their men who were off at war, performing the duties of: dockworkers, bricklayers, coalminers, munitions workers, nurses, teachers, wireless operators, ambulance drivers, drivers, railroad conductors, farmerettes and other jobs as needed.

Food production had become a critical issue. In late February, 1917, Bread Riots broke out in New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. Shortages developed because the United States had been sending food to France since 1916. Subsequently, prices on staples had risen astronomically making it difficult for people to buy the basics. Agricultural support was deemed a priority at all levels of government. 12

 

Enter the Women’s Land Army of America (WLA). “Farmerettes,” as they became known, hailed from all over the United States, came from all walks of life and many, many of them had no experience with farming. But, they were anxious to “Do Their Bit,” and enthusiastic about their mission. Although the members of the WLA were of all ages, many were young and excited about the adventures that awaited them as they took their turn at farm life. Many were students who attended institutions such as Barnard College, Bryn Mawr, Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, Goucher, Vassar, Mount Holyoke and others throughout the United States. The Northeast, Midwest, West and some  Southern states embraced the WLAA. Camps where the women were housed and received much-needed training, included New York, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Michigan, New Mexico, New Hampshire, New Jersey,Virginia, Illinois, Alabama, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina and California.  13

         

They found out that farming was a tough business. Graduation from the Libertyville farm in Illinois was thusly described in a Chicago Tribune article:

“There was no organdy and lace, no pink ribbons and rosebuds about the graduation dresses of the girl farmers who met in the leafy grove on the farm of the Woman’s Land Army yesterday. The graduates wore overalls instead, garments which had obviously seen hard service.  A bright kerchief worn about the neck or the head, a feather placed Indian fashion in the hair–these were the only signs of ‘dressing up.’ They realized they were there as pioneers in a new work for women.” 14

Armed with knowledge and training, they were ready with rakes, hoes, trowels and shovels, in hand. The only problem was that the farmers didn’t necessarily trust them. Despite the great need for food production, in many cases it took enormous amounts of persuasion on the part of the WLA Camp Directors, local media, local politicians and business leaders to convince farmers to hire this new and very dedicated work force. 15

 

In an address in September 17, 1918 at the Illinois Training Farm for Land Army Women,  Illinois Governor Frank O. Lowden, explained to farmers:

“My old friend, the Conservative Farmer: I know that many of you think that these girls will not do on the farm. I welcome these young women into our ranks…These young women who shall help us to raise the food to feed their brothers on the battle front… And by helping us to raise the food we need, will become comrades of these heroic boys in the trenches of battle fronts of Europe.

“I hope that this movement begun here in a simple, modest but very effective manner, may communicate itself to other portions of this State and other States so that if need be we will match the irresistible army of our heroic men on the battlefront with an equally strong and equally patriotic army of women in the field and in the dairies of our land.” 16

 

At Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (RMWC), in Lynchburg, Virginia, Dr. Meta Glass, a young Professor of Latin, directed the school’s group of Farmerettes. Dr. Glass, herself, an alumna of RMWC, took her charges to farms around the Virginia Piedmont where they could work the land and help with harvests. 17

 

Likewise, Farmerettes brought in crops of peaches, apples, potatoes, tobacco, beans, corn and every fruit and vegetable conceivable. They plowed, raked, hoed, dug, built fences and coops, herded cattle, sheep and goats. They milked cows, tended pigs and chickens — in short, they did every sort of farm work available.

But, what did the ladies think? Here are some of descriptions:

 

Here are some thoughts from Helen Kennedy Stevens, a senior at Barnard College, who served at the Bedford Camp,

“…apple picking in an old orchard, where we had to use forty-foot ladders. Coming down a forty-foot ladder with a full basket of apples is a circus stunt, I can tell you.  Then there was cutting and loading corn for the silo, and potato digging was also a husky harvesting job. The corn cutting was picturesque, but the corn rash we got was not.  Preparation for a day in corn was chiefly putting old stockings on our arms.” 18

Letter from a farmerette in a Staten Island, N.Y Land Army unit, 1918:

This isn’t like any other camp for man, woman, or child. It is at times the jolliest, 

but always the most strenuous, ever. Rise 5:30; tumble downstairs in the dark for a hose pipe shower; overalls on. breakfast with a cafeteria rush; bed-making; grab a lunch; jump into the Ford with ten to twenty others whom a natty little chaufferette delivers at several farms within a radius of six miles by 7:30; hoe, weed, plant or gather and carry bushels of luscious tomatoes, until the noon whistle blows; lunch under the trees with perhaps a few minutes nap in the long grass; then farm work with the farmer till the long Ford comes with our driver in Fifth Avenue togs to take us home again. Can you beat it, the Woman’s Land Army Plattsburg Camp?

At home there is a rush for the porcelain tubs and hot baths, a rush for the laundry tubs to put underclothes and overalls to soak. Dinner at 6, dishes washed, lunches for the next day packed, and assignments made of next day’s work. A spin down to the beach for a salt-water swim, a coolish ride home with the girls hanging on anywhere the Ford offers a foothold and singing lustily. 19

Or

Memoir of Margurite Wilkinson: My Experince as a Farmerette

 

Chop,chop,chop went our hoes. Down the long field in the hot sun we trudged slowly, hilling up those sprawling plants. Sally could very nearly do two rows while I was doing one, but she cheered me along kindly and tactfully, telling me that I was doing very well indeed for a new girl and that it would be a lot easier when I had grown accustomed to it. Bertha did not work much faster than I, but she was steadier and did not have to stop for breath so often.

Chop,chop,chop. Birds were singing in the trees that bordered the field, Bumble bees buzzed along on their way to neighboring patches of wild flowers. But after a while I was only conscious of the fact that my back, my right wrist, and my left elbow ached like mad.

We went to the house for a pail of water. We took long draughts of it, left the pail under a big tree to keep cool and went back to work. We were painfully conscious of profuse perspiration. They have another word for perspiration on the farms which is more vulgar, vigorous and appropriate. Big drops of moisture were running down our foreheads into our eyes, down our necks into our clothing, down our legs into our mute, protective boots. But for the rest of the morning we kept an honest pace, stopping occasionally for a drink when our progress down the rows took us near the big tree and the tin pail. And at last came noon and the chance to rest.”

In those hours of the afternoon the heat was at its worst. The air seemed to be vivid with it and quivered about our faces. We felt it rising from the soil against the stiff, leather soles of our boots. We were aching, and dripping wet. Little shivers ran up and down our spines occasionally. But we did not stop. We just thought of the boys in the trenches who have much more to bear. Sometimes we spoke of them.

“You see, it is a course in many things besides agriculture, and the camp is a democracy, and cosmopolitan at that. Across the furrows at her weeding, a little Russian tells of her recent voyage to America. Further in among the celery beds a French girl and an Irish girl exchange consolation for the lover and the husband who recently started ‘over there’. College girls, important in their senior years, and women weary of degrees and world travel, wisdom or teaching, come here and take the kink out of tired nerves by straining their flabby muscles a bit. There are violinists in the camp, and singers, too, that the world will yet hear from. ..The war is not talked about thought it lies deep in the hearts of the sweethearts and sisters who are trying to do their bit to increase the country’s food supply.” 20

From the Spring of 1917 through the Fall of 1919, these women saved the day by raising crops in America. These crops fed the U.S. and contributed heavily to foodstuffs for Europe.  They certainly “did their bit” and did it very well!  We would have been hard-pressed to feed ourselves without them. As the “Great War” ended and the men came home, the WLA gradually packed up its’ shovels and rakes and turned the soil for a last time. The WLA was absorbed into the Department of Labor, but, for all intents and purposes it ceased to exist.  21  It was, however, revived during World War II, but that is another story for another day.

1.Elaine Weiss, Smithsonian.com, “Before Rosie the Riveter, Farmerettes Went to Work,” May 28, 2009

2.Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, pp. 3

3.Ibid, pp. 4

4.Ibid, pp. 17

5.Ida Clyde Clarke. American Women and the World War. Chapter XIV. http://www.gwpda.org/wwi-www/Clarke/Clarke14.htm

6.Ibid

7.Ibid

8.Ibid

9.Rodney Carlisle, “The Attacks on U. S. Shipping that Precipitated American Entry into World War I”

10.First World War.com Primary Documents -…Declaration of War with Germany, 2 April, 1917 m/source/usawardeclaration.htm

11. Ida Clyde Clarke. American Women and the World War. Chapter XIV.  http://www.gwpda.org/wwi-www/Clarke/Clarke14.htm

12.World War I — United States Food Administration U.S. Food Administration http://histclo.com/essay/war/ww1/cou/us/food/w1cus-usfa.html

13.Wikipedia, Woman’s Land Army of America, World War I,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woman%27s_Land_Army_of_America

14.Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, pp. 159

15.Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War

16.Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, pp. 160 – 161

17. Richmond Times-Dispatch,1918 June 2,Randolph-Macon[Special to The Times-Dispatch.]Lynchburg, VA., June 1.             ( https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/)

18. Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, pp. 83

19.FARMERETTES – Looking for Mabel Normand. www.freewebs.com

20.Ibid 

21.Elaine F. Weiss, Fruits of Victory: The Woman’s Land Army of America in the Great War, pp. 269

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GREAT PYRENEES ARE THE “BEE’S KNEES”

Recently, I spent a marvelous Sunday morning with Victoria Marshman and Celeste and Don Miller at Appalachian Great Pyrenees Rescue Kennel in Varina, Virginia. Nestled off the beaten path, this sanctuary is a haven for rescued dogs, where they are taken care of before being adopted to new homes. These great big balls of fluff, with happy personalities are mood-elevators, as they bound about, snuffling, walking, barking and playing.  We walked Michael, Bonnie, Sarah and Milo, Judge and Jury and I met Happy, Bones, Murphy, Gracie and four fabulous 10 week old furballs who wiggled their way into my heart.  Going to the dogs was the best time I’ve had in a long time!

Victoria Marshman and the puppies.

It was interesting to learn a little about the history of the breed.  I had always thought of them as being large, affable companion dogs, but they were bred to be protectors.  The Great Pyrenees Club of America has this to say about their history,

“…The breed likely evolved from a group of principally white mountain flock guard dogs that originated ten or eleven thousand years ago in Asia Minor. It is very plausible that these large white dogs arrived in the Pyrenees Mountains with their shepherds and domestic sheep about 3000 BC. There they encountered the indigenous people of the area, one of which were the Basques, descendants of Cro-Magnon Man. In the isolation of the Pyrenees Mountains over these millenniums, the breed developed the characteristics that make it unique to the group of flock guardian dogs in general and the primarily white members of that group. ….

A Peasant’s Dog

The Great Pyrenees is a mountain shepherd’s dog. Over this long period of time the Great Pyrenees developed a special relationship with the shepherd, its family, and the flock.

In 1407, French writings tell of the usefulness of these ‘Great Dogs of the Mountains’ as guardians of the Chateau of Lourdes. In 1675, they were adopted as the Royal Dog of France by the Dauphin in the court of King Louis XIV, and subsequently became much sought after by nobility. ….”

https://gpcaonline.org/history.htm

 

Don and Milo going for a walk.

 

Passion for the Pooches!

Established in 2006 the Appalachian Great Pyrenees Rescue is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization that is affiliated with the Great Pyrenees Club of America. Its’ mission states that it “rescues, rehomes and places Great Pyrenees dogs within Virginia, Maryland, D.C. and parts of West Virginia.” As a “rescue” chapter, they are focused on taking in and rehabbing the animals, as well as placing them in new homes.

Victoria and Celeste talk with beautiful Bonnie.

Passion for the Mission is evident in every aspect of the kennel and is a byword among the all-volunteer staff. When the dogs come in their histories are taken (as much as is possible), they are medically evaluated and receive appropriate treatment. All rescue dogs are spayed and neutered and they receive Shots (Rabies, Distemper/parvo, Bordatella, etc.) and are microchipped before leaving for their forever home. All of them are dewormed, groomed, checked for heartworms and, if necessary, medicated for them. Most of all, they get the love and attention that they need.

Victoria Marshman, Executive Director, lives close to the Kennel and is with the Pyrenees on a daily basis.  She always loved dogs and, thus, came to the organization a number of years ago as an interested party and, over time, became entranced with the wonderful-ness of the dogs. Since then the Pyrs have become like additional members of her own family.

Milo and Sarah are devoted to each other and love people!

According to Celeste Miller, AGPR Adoption Coordinator and Newsletter Editor, they assist roughly 100 pyrenees each year.  Getting to know their dogs well and developing an understanding of each animal’s personality is paramount in making sure that they are “well-placed.”  Not surprisingly, the dogs are adopted out at a pretty steady rate. AGPR’s high standards insures that every pet will be a perfect fit for its’ new home.  They are conscientious and attentive to detail when meeting potential owners and discussing each dog.  This makes for happy and secure futures for the adoptees.

Adoption Requirements include:

*having yards that are securely fenced-in

*current household pets are spayed/neutered and up to date on shots

*the ability to provide proper housing/shelter for the dogs (typically indoors)

*providing regular veterinary care

*understanding that the dog will live in the potential owner’s home and not be a gift for someone else

Veterinary Help is Key

Efforts on the part of the local Veterinary Community undergirds the work of the AGPR volunteers.  The animals often need surgery (major and minor) and basic services like Spay and Neuter.  They would be hard-pressed to keep the dogs healthy without the help of local Veterinarians like the Varina Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Erin Barron of Barron Surgery, and the New Market Veterinary Clinic.

Keeping the FUN in FundRaising

Bones is beautiful!

 

How Do they Do it?  Keeping a roof over the animals’ heads, maintaining the Kennels, feeding the pooches and meeting the medical and daily needs of the dogs is a tall order.

I was so impressed with the approach to raising money and awareness, obviously there is some funding that comes through small grants and there is lots of in-kind giving from previous adopters and supporters, but the fundraisers emphasize the Pyrenees’ warmth and joyfulness:

A Photo Calendar Contest that allows entrants to pay a small price for submitting photos of their fabulous furry friends garners lots of attention and donations.

The Great Pyr Picnic in the Fall sounds really fun! Held at the Kennels, AGPR charges a small amount per car so that anyone can come out and dine with the dogs!

Crowd-funding to assist with medical emergencies is another way that this organization spreads the word and makes much-needed money.

Any and All Volunteer Efforts are Appreciated!

As an all-volunteer organization, AGPR works very hard, but, also understands the demands that we all have.  Celeste told me that they have several work-groups come out from businesses to help at the Kennels. But they also welcome individuals to come out, walk and brush the dogs. This is a great way to satisfy your “big dog fix.”  Celeste told me that she had become involved a little while after they had lost their Samoyed.

“I missed the white fluff! We weren’t ready for another dog at the time, so when my husband mentioned going to the Kennel, I went along to ‘chaperone’ him to make sure he didn’t adopt one. After I saw these dogs, I was hooked.  We now have two!”

Here’s a link to their website, so that you check out these amazing animals and learn more about the breed:   www.apgrescue.org

I must admit, I’m going to need to go and visit the kennel from time to time, because they are just soooo CUTE and sweet!

This says it all!
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Mini-Mani!

Cracked nails, tough cuticles, dry hands, you know the drill! And, cold weather doesn’t necessarily produce this sorry state of dry digits.  Dehydration and damage can happen at any time of the year making our grabbers rough to the touch and nails more like flaky talons. It’s water that does the drying out!

This universal problem has been plaguing me for eons. But, recently, I discovered something that really helps — especially with the chronically calcified cuticles.

It’s regular old vaseline. And, you rub it into your cuticles every night before going to bed. In the morning your cuticles will be pliable enough to be pushed back and your nails will be smoother to the touch!

Voila! You’ve had an easy mini-manicure!

 

 

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DIY Home Decor Home Projects Lighting Uncategorized

Light Up Your Life, or, At Least Light Up Your Room!

 

SHINE A LITTLE LIGHT…..

I think it’s a pretty safe bet to say that the unadorned lightbulb, hanging from the ceiling casting harsh light is not a pretty picture. Memorable and stark, maybe, but not beautiful. We all want to suffuse our rooms with gracious lighting, but, lamps are expensive. There’s no doubt about it. Even when you go to purchase a light fixture at a discount store you can plunk down a lot of jingle. The one possible exception can be Goodwill or the Salvation Army, but, it’s often hard to find something that you want.

So, I have forayed into the “Land of Lighting” and stopped at the nexus of “self-reliance” to figure out and EASY and inexpensive way to make my own lamp.

I’m emphasizing EASY because I went in search of an attractive vessel that has a hole on both ends — because otherwise I would have to hollow out the middle from top to bottom. I can do that, but, BABY STEPS….

So, I found this glass wasp trap with a cork at the top. It’s PERFECT for a lamp! It’s a nice size, nice shape, has a hole in the bottom and has “feet” which lift it up from the surface.  This is important because otherwise I would have had to make base or some other accommodation for the cord.

Other ideas that I entertained were:

 

Vases

Flower Pots

Piggy Banks

Baskets (if the weave is large enough, you could slip the cord through…)

Wine Bottles (although you’d have to drill a hole through the glass)

But this wasp trap is a great place to start!

 

Next, I went to my local ACE Hardware and purchased this lamp kit.  I was THRILLED! They have done the heavy lifting for me! It really is sort of “Plug and Play.”

The cork in the opening of the wasp trap comes out easily and makes an excellent “base” for the neck of the lamp.

 

Here are the tools that I used:

A ruler

Pencil

Pliers

Knife

Philips head screwdriver

Regular screwdriver

Drill

Use the ruler to find the center of the cork.

 

Open the lamp kit and find the post that will fit into the cork. Drill a hole a hole into the cork that will accommodate the post.

Put the post into the cork.

Put the neck into post, using the washer (found in the kit) to set the height of the neck.

Screw in the socket.

Take the cord and

 

put it up through the hole in the bottom of the vessel.

 

Pull it up through the neck of the lamp.

Pull the cord apart, so that it you have two wires.

Wrap the wire around the screws on either side of the socket – going clockwise.

Using the Philips Head Screwdriver, tighten them firmly (but don’t overtighten) going clockwise.

Put the cap onto the socket. It will “click” in.

Screw in the light bulb and you have MAGIC!!!!

Shades….Another story!

I did a little research and basically, you should match the shape of the shade to the shape of the base. And, in terms of sizing, your shade should be about 2/3 the size of your base. The shade that I chose might be a little big, for the base, but, I still think it looks nice with the patterned glass.

When it came to attaching the shade, I opted for EASY again. This shade, which I purchased at Bed, Bath and Beyond, just screws onto the socket. Easy Peasy, Lemon-Squeezy!

Eh-VOILA!!! LET THERE BE LIGHT!!!

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Uncategorized

Death and Taxes, Literally, Part 3: Wrapping Up

Paying Bills

You will need to pay off the bills with monies from the estate account. You will also need to close out credit card accounts, etc. You must send them “your” documents, along with a letter telling them that you are the Executor/Administrator. I recommend sending each packet Return/Receipt or at least Registered Mail.

A couple of things that are important for you to know about bills and accounts:

*The debts should be paid first

*A decedent’s debts do not follow the heirs. That means, if you run out of money, you (or the other heirs) are not personally responsible for taking up the mantle and paying off the debts. If this happens, I would meet with an attorney to decide how to handle any remaining creditors.

Debt and Demand

In many states there is a procedure called “Debt and Demand” where the Commissioner of Accounts publishes an advertisement asking all creditors to come forward within a given period of time.  The Debt and Demand typically comes late in the process, not long before the estate is closed. It’s a last-ditch effort to pay off any bills that are hanging out there in the stratosphere.  If no one comes forward within this period, then they can’t come back and sue the estate (or the heirs).

Credit Cards, Insurance Policies, etc.

You are going to need to send your “documents” to each credit card company, insurer, AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, etc. so that you can close out the account and pay the balance.

This may take some time, because you may not be able to find bills, etc. right away. Just keep at it…..

Also, you will need to contact online sites such as Facebook and Genealogy.com to let them know that your loved one has passed away.  They may want to see the Death Certificate and your “Appointment” letter from the Clerk of the Court.

Taxes

I would recommend that you use a professional tax preparer or a CPA.

The IRS requires some specific documents, in addition to your documents (letter from the court, IRS EIN, death certificate), you will need to send them:

*Form 1310  Statement of Person Claiming Refund Due a Deceased Taxpayer

*Form 56 Statement of Person Claiming Refund Due a Deceased Taxpayer

These forms are available on their website, irs.gov and lets the IRS know that you are the Administrator or Executor.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to submit Forms 1310 and 56. Apparently the IRS is extremely concerned about estates and are unwilling to release refunds until they  have received these forms and your documents.

You can contact them by starting with the office in your state.  Those telephone numbers are available on the IRS website.

Two important tips: Have all your information in front of you when you call and call early in the day.  The offices open at 7:00 a.m. (in every time zone) and calling at 7:00 will reduce your “wait time,” etc. dramatically!

Commissioner of Accounts

In most states there is a Commissioner of Accounts (or the equivalent) for each locality.

You will need to supply that person with the valuation of estate and an accounting.  The valuation is typically required after about 6 months. In terms of finding the values of your loved one’s assets, you’ll need to research the values and total them to come up with a total amount.  Some ways to conduct this research are:

*hiring an appraiser,

*eBay is an excellent resource for finding items which are similar and then using their valuations,

*looking at Blue Book values for vehicles, 

*and, using the most recent real estate assessments for property. 

The Commissioner of Accounts will most likely have a form for you to complete and submit.

The Accounting will include every financial transaction that you have conducted for the estate. It is typically due 16 months after the estate is opened. You must submit it before you can close the estate.

KEEP ALL YOUR RECEIPTS AND COPIES OF YOUR CHECKS. KEEP COPIES OF EVERY FINANCIAL TRANSACTION! You will need to show exactly what came in to the estate account and what went out. This is a Very Big Deal!

Attorneys

It is absolutely ok to consult an estate attorney.  How to find one?  Start by asking your friends. You don’t have to go to a huge firm — there are many fine lawyers who will not charge you “an arm and a leg.” They can guide you through the maze of estate rules, regulations, disbursements and more.  You can do a lot of the legwork yourself, in order to save money, but I highly recommend working with an attorney at some level.

Last Words

I’m still working on my mother’s estate.  We have a large family and there are lots of opinions, which I am taking into account as we lurch forward. Grief is powerful and very often, not obvious — even to the people who are grieving.  It leaches silently into your (and everyone else’s) spirit and can make everyone defensive and snappish, causing behavior that is incomprehensible at the time.

*Be kind to yourself and patient with yourself.

*Everything can’t be done at once, nor should it be.

*Try not to say the mean thing that springs to your lips, try to maintain the  relationships.

*Do some nice things for yourself — and others — it will lift your spirits.

You may feel like your family or group is splitting apart. It’s amazing how powerfully the passing of a friend or relative impacts the people around them. It’s hard to anticipate how relationships change in a group when one of the members passes on, but the dynamic does change.  You hear folks say things like, “I don’t know if I’ll ever see some of these people again.”  Those feelings and the fog of confusion that descends after the your loved one has gone is completely normal. “The Orphaned Adult: Understanding And Coping With Grief And Change After The Death Of Our Parents” by Alexander Levy is a very good book about navigating the new dynamic among families and friends after the passing of a loved one.

Carry on and know that my heart is with you.

Categories
Death Estate Legal Documents Uncategorized Wills and Trusts

Death and Taxes, Literally, Part 2

POST MORTEM

Starting from Scratch-1

There is a lot to take in here, so, I’m breaking this up into 2 parts.

On the other hand, if you are like me, starting from scratch as Administrator, was entering more uncharted territory. Here are some basics that will be helpful. It is MUCH easier if there is a WILL and you are appointed Executor. It would be wonderful if your loved one had given you financial Power of Attorney, because it will speed the process for you.

Process

The hospital or hospice caregiver or coroner will send the death certificate to the funeral home. The mortuary usually will get a few (10 ?) copies for you. You may need more, and they are not cheap — approximately $12 each.

If you need to get additional copies of the death certificate you can go to the Bureau of Vital Statistics. Generally, this office is part of the state Health Department.

In many cases, the funeral home will send the death certificate to the Social Security Administration. It is very important that you know that they have done this for you, because if they don’t send it, you are responsible and you need to see to this right away.

Your other family members must petition the local court (locality where the decedent lived) and unanimously agree for you to be appointed Administrator and that you have complete ability to sell any of the properties and pay the bills. This is extremely important, because if you don’t have full responsibility, then every expense (bill) that is related to the estate will have to be equally divided among the heirs — meaning that each heir is responsible for paying her/his portion of each estate related bill. This is a nightmare scenario, because it is so logistically difficult. You need to have all the control over the estate account.

The court will require that you submit an accounting of the value of the estate at the date of death.You find this amount by looking at balances in checking and savings accounts, money market accounts, as well as the valuation of cars, homes, furnishings, etc. at the time of the decedent’s passing. The best way to figure those is to look at real estate assessments, and DMV records. In the case of household furnishings, you can look at EBAY or other prominent online auction sites.

The court will require you to pay them a percentage of the total value of the estate and require you to contact a bondsman and pay a bond.  Usually the court will have a list of approved bondsmen.

Bank Accounts

Once you have your “papers” (official designation and death certificate) you will need to close out all your loved one’s accounts and open an interest-bearing estate account (the fact that it is interest-bearing shows good stewardship on your part.)  An estate account is one that has been assigned an IRS EIN (Employer Identification Number). I asked “my” bondsman if he had any advice (I thought he might know because he was definitely a ‘veteran’ of thus process) and he told me that I should work go to a local bank to establish the estate account. He said that smaller, local banks tended to be less bureaucratic and easier to work with than large banks.

Anyway, take the counter-checks from the previous accounts and use them to establish an interest-bearing estate account. 

This estate account is CRUCIAL, because it will allow you pay the bills, the first one being the funeral home.

Here is additional information from Virginia Estate Law that gives more a detailed explanation of this process. I recommend you research your own state’s procedure for getting started. The address is: http://www.virginiaestatelaw.com/main/chapters/qualification/procedure.shtml

Place for Qualification. The personal representative must qualify in the Circuit Court located in the City or County where the decedent resided at the time of his death, or, if the decedent did not reside in Virginia at the time of his death, where the decedent owned real estate, or other assets estate assets in Virginia.

Who May Qualify. The personal representative must be an adult (age 18 or older) and must be able to obtain surety on their bond, if required.

A personal representative my be a nonresident of Virginia, but surety is required on the bond of a non-resident personal representative, unless a resident co-fiduciary is appointed.

The Clerk must also be satisfied that the person seeking qualification is suitable and competent to perform the duties of his or her office.

Preferred Person for Qualification. If the decedent had a will, the person(s) named as personal representative(s) in the will are normally appointed.

For intestate decedents (without a will) the law provides certain preferences within certain time frames. Generally, during the first 30 days after the decedent’s death, a sole distributee of the estate, or his or her designee, has preference. After 30 days, the first distributee who applies for qualification, or his designee has preference. After 60 days the clerk may grant administration to one of more creditors of the decedent, or any other person, provided that it can be shown that appropriate efforts were made to locate the preferred parties.

Factual Information. At time of qualification, the clerk will require information about the person seeking qualification, about the decedent, an estimate of the value of assets of the decedent’s estate, a list of the decedent’s heirs at law, and other information.

The clerk will also require proof of death of the decedent in the form of a death certificate or possibly an obituary published in a newspaper, if a death certificate has not yet been obtained.

Oath and Bond. The personal representative will be required to give their oath that he or she will faithfully perform the duties of their office to the best of their judgment, and if a will is probated, that the writing is the true last will of the decedent.

The personal representative will be required to give their bond in writing to secure their oath to property perform their duties, with penalty in a monetary amount at least equal to the value of the personal estate of the decedent, and if there is a will that authorizes sale of real property, the bond amount must include the value of the real property.

Surety. Unless surety on the personal representative’s bond is waived by will, corporate surety will be required (normally issued by an insurance company) to secure the bond. There are limited exceptions for banks, very small estates, and cases where all the beneficiaries of the residuary estate are also personal representatives.”

Funerals

Funerals are expensive. For a conventional funeral you can expect to pay anywhere

  from $7000 – $18000 depending on the casket, any services at the funeral home, etc.

  Here are some services that they may offer:

Providing facilities for memorial service or funeral

Dealing with necessary paperwork to enable burial or cremation

Providing information to family and friends

Placing obituaries in newspapers

Setting up a catered meal at another location following the funeral

Arranging special musical requests

Ordering and caring for floral tributes on behalf of family and friends

Accepting donations for named charities

Arranging for vehicles and staff for funeral and graveside services

Making arrangements for transfer of remains for funeral and burial services

Recording donations received

Keeping record of persons who attended any funeral or memorial service at the funeral home.

I am not sure about green funerals, and what is offered in conjunction with those rites, but, for me, the fact that the funeral home helped with some of the ins and outs of paperwork concerning the death certificate, etc. were extremely helpful.  I had way too much on my plate as it was. 

 

Next Up – Paying Bills, Closing Accounts and the IRS

Categories
Death Estate Legal Documents Wills and Trusts

Death and Taxes, Literally

Why you need a will, and what to do if you are appointed Executor or Administrator.

Part I

ESTABLISHING YOUR ESTATE – WILLS AND TRUSTS

A will is a roadmap for your loved ones to follow regarding your estate. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to provide them with directions regarding your money and property after you have passed away. You will save them an inordinate amount of time, upset and confusion in an already sad situation by taking care of this important and not necessarily difficult legal matter. I know because my own mother passed away without leaving a will, despite our pleading with her for many years before her demise.

We have been faced with a dizzying number of big decisions concerning everything from the most basic aspects of funeral planning to the disposition of real property.

My siblings elected me “Administrator” (a less powerful version of ‘Executor’ because she died intestate). “Intestate” is the legal term for someone who has died without a will.

LEGAL INSTRUMENTS

Every state has different laws concerning estates and trusts. Here is a link to a website with contains this pertinent information. It will be helpful for you to look at your state’s code on estate law.

http://estate.findlaw.com/planning-an-estate/state-laws-estates-probate.html

Basic Wills

You can go to Law Depot, Legal Zoom or any number of sites if you want to create a will quickly and inexpensively.  “Testator” is a legal term for the person who makes/creates the will.

You can also go to an attorney who specializes in Estate Law.

Holographic Wills

Or, you can write a holographic will, which is a will that is handwritten and signed by the testator (that would be you). Not all states recognize holographic wills, and, in states where they are acceptable, they must meet some specific requirements. The minimal requirements are:

*Proof that the testator actually wrote the will

*Proof that the testator was in full possession of her/his mental capacities

*The will must contain the testator’s wish to disburse personal property to beneficiaries

In many states a holographic will must contain the maker’s (your) signature. If you decide to go this route,  just go ahead and sign it the document….anything to make life easier for your beneficiaries.  Handwritten holographic wills do not have to be witnessed or notarized. If it is typed, you will need to have it witnessed. I think that the logic behind handwritten vs. typed is that it easier to commit fraud with the typewritten document.

Leave the holographic will in a place where it will be easily found. You don’t want your heirs to feel like they are in a mystery novel.

I took this definition from Investopedia, where they have defined various types of wills, too.

Here is a link:https://www.investopedia.com/terms/h/holographic-will.asp

Trusts

Elderlawanswers.com has a good definition of Trusts. One of the chief benefits of Trusts is that they allow for a seamless transition of financial responsibilities from the decedent to the trustee.

Here is their definition:

“One main difference between a will and a trust is that a will goes into effect only after you die, while a trust takes effect as soon as you create it. A will is a document that directs who will receive your property at your death and it appoints a legal representative to carry out your wishes. By contrast, a trust can be used to begin distributing property before death, at death or afterwards. A trust is a legal arrangement through which one person (or an institution, such as a bank or law firm), called a ‘trustee,’ holds legal title to property for another person, called a ‘beneficiary.’ A trust usually has two types of beneficiaries — one set that receives income from the trust during their lives and another set that receives whatever is left over after the first set of beneficiaries dies.”

https://www.elderlawanswers.com/understanding-the-differences-between-a-will-and-a-trust-7888

Household Objects

If for some reason you do not designate “who gets what” in your will, at least put pieces of tape on the bottom of items around your home, and write the name of the recipient of each piece.  This is an easy way of letting everyone know which item goes where.

Next Time – Starting from Scratch After Your Loved One Has Passed Away