Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Some family history

This is the fourth post with photos from our trip.  We visited family cemeteries -- his paternal, my maternal.

Williamstown, New Jersey

Harry and Winnie were Stevens' grandparents. The Pricketts were Winnie's parents. (Older headstones are less legible.)

East McKeesport, Pennsylvania
My great-great grandparents, great-grandparents, grandparents, and uncle and aunt.

My dad began his career at Westinghouse Air Brake Co. in 1941. WABCO was headquartered in Wilmerding, PA.  The Westinghouse Castle, as the HQ building is called, is a museum-in-the-making. It was not open the Saturday morning that we were there.  Dad and other engineer-trainees lived in a boardinghouse called the Tonnaleuka Club that was across the street from the Castle. (No excuse for being late to work!)   The Tonnaleuka Club has been torn down. We saw the vacant lot that corresponds to the address.

You can read more about Westinghouse and the Tonnaleuka Club  here  

 Side entrance. Dave Blaine walked through this door!

 My parents were married in the First Methodist Church of Wilmerding . (I never asked them why, but it's curious because my mother's family were active members of the Lin-Way Presbyterian Church just down the road from their house.)

September summary (for real, this time)

Several months ago a friend and her sister wrote to ask if I could quilt a top for them. Their mother (now deceased)  made it for the sister's son. I said I'd give it a try. I named a price that was agreeable. The top/batting/backing/binding arrived about six weeks ago. On Sunday I finally opened the box. My heart sank. It was large (90 x 90 or so). The blocks were large (16"). The fabrics were read-as-solid, including the backing.  That meant that any quilting deficiencies would be very, very obvious.  This was beyond my skill.  I prayed and slept on the matter and had my decision.  Yesterday morning I sent the quilt back to the sister.  I wrote her that she will get far better results if a professional long-arm quilter does the work.

I took care of that millstone obligation.  I had a nagging need for a boost of confidence that I can machine quilt [especially when the front and back have busy prints].  So, twenty-four hours later, here is Dots and Dashes: quilted, bound, labeled!

The back is a bed sheet, one of my thrift shop bargains.

I have two quilts to make for Christmastime raffles.  These 9"
Ohio Star blocks came from a swap a couple of years ago. High time to make them into something.  

Fabric acquired in September:  26-1/2 (including a gift from my cousin whom we visited in Pennsylvania)
Fabric used in September: 39-7/8 (including a donation to a guild project)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

DWM: September summary and looking ahead

I threw caution to the winds and indulged on souvenirs on our September trip.  There was no worry about luggage weight limits because we drove.

I am gradually covering my backpack with iron-on patches. I intended to buy *one* to exemplify the entire trip but we went to other places....

Salt water taffy (delicious!), a spoon rest, note cards, a redware squirrel ornament.

There is something about buying postcards that is just part of vacation.  I took pictures of some of these very sights.  I forgot to take the list of names and addresses of the people to whom I usually send postcards. These will be added to the box of postcards for use at some future date.

I also bought fabric, but not very much. I've already put it away, so no photos. (You know what fabric looks like, anyway.)  The first purchase was in Bowling Green, Ohio. Fat quarters just $2.50, including batiks. I bought five. Hey, it was the first day of the trip!  En route from Cape May to Lancaster we had lunch in Vineland, New Jersey. The Pin Cushion is a great shop.  I got two half-yards of alphabet prints for a project I am planning.

Lancaster County is a center for quiltmaking and fabric stores.  As I posted in the  travelog our group went to a Mennonite gift/quilt shop (Family Farm Quiltswhere there were many quilts for sale along with a selection of fabric.  We also went to Kitchen Kettle Village .  Zook's Fabric is right next door. I could have spent a couple of hours and many dollars there, but I had only 20 minutes. Two more alphabet prints and a flatfold.

To compensate for the absence of fabric purchases on the trip, I stopped at Quilt Corner in Morton, Illinois. That's next door to Peoria, where I was Thursday night and Friday for a library system board meeting.  I have managed to buy fabric after many of these system meetings and this was no exception. It is a great shop and the sale room had batiks at half price!

So, what did I accomplish in September?
I finished Noteworthy. The pattern is by Hilary Bobker (find it here).  This is a donation to the Full Score Orchestra 10th anniversary gala October 4.
It is 79 x 79. I bought some of the fabric line (block and border backgrounds) but used fabric from my stash for the rest of the quilt.

This past week I wanted to get back to my sewing machine but I didn't want to tackle anything in particular. I made 48 blue-centered HeartStrings blocks and by Saturday evening I had finished that 54x72 quilt.  I even sewed on a label!

At church this morning I was reminded that I agreed to provide a book review for the United Methodist Women on October 9.  I was also asked if I could donate a quilt to raffle at the church chili supper this fall.  Retirement, did you say?

I'm linking up with other quiltmakers for Design Wall Monday at Judy's Patchwork Times .

Travelog: before, between, and after

Note:  This travelog is presented in four parts.  Two posts are about the Road Scholar courses we attended. This post is about the travel discoveries before, between, and after those courses.  
It has been years since we (well, since I) have added extra time for sightseeing to a Road Scholar trip. We made the most of the opportunity afforded by our 2,472-mile drive. 

The town of Dover, Ohio, popped up when I looked for motels along our route. The website said, "Home of the Warther Museum." We like to visit small museums so we decided to stop in Dover.   
WOW.  The Warther Museum is worth the visit.  When Ernest "Mooney" Warther (1885-1973) was five he found a knife in a field. He began to whittle. That began a life of artistry, from his signature wooden pliers (32 cuts from a single piece of wood) to walking sticks to 64 detailed, 1/12 scale models of steam locomotives. He was declared a national treasure by the Smithsonian, but he never sold his work.  The family business, Warther Cutlery, makes kitchen knives. The factory is adjacent to the museum. (Our souvenir:  two steak knives.)  

www.warthers.com is the website. If your travels take you to eastern Ohio, add this destination to your itinerary!

 Scale model of the steel mill where Mooney worked. All the figures move.   

Mooney used ebony and walnut, with ivory inlays.   This is Lincoln's funeral train.  

 Frieda Warther collected buttons. 73,000 of them are on display. 

Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob
Fallingwateris a must-see for Frank Lloyd Wright fans, which we are.  (See these posts:  here and   here )   In 1935 the Kaufmann family commissioned Wright to design their country home in the mountains southeast of Pittsburgh. The house was completed in 1939. It is reinforced concrete and stone built into the mountain over a stream.  As with his other buildings, Wright was not very concerned about practicalities like maintenance.  Our tour guide said that water is a constant problem. 

The setting is beautiful. The house is extraordinary! 

Living room at Fallingwater

 Kentuck Knob is just down the road from Fallingwater. The Hagans, another Pittsburgh family, commissioned Wright to design it in 1953. It is a one-story Usonian house (in which the furniture was designed expressly for the house).  Anecdotes: the Hagans were advised to tell Wright that their budget and their timeline were half what they actually were, since Wright notoriously spent far more than he quoted and took far longer to build. They also insisted that Wright design to accommodate their 6'2" son. (Wright was 5'8" which he considered ideal, and designed accordingly.)

The house is now owned by Lord Peter Palumbo .  Because the artwork is from his collection interior photography is not allowed.  I could, however, take a picture of the patio.

Battlefields and Historic Sites
We visited two battlefields and two national historic sites:  Antietam (9/7), Valley Forge (9/13), Gettysburg (9/14), and Johnstown (9/19). All are operated by the National Park service. Their visitor centers provide a wealth of information (including film presentations) and of course bookstore/souvenir stores.   

Dunkard Church at Antietam
The Battle of Antietam was September 17, 1862. 100,000 soldiers were engaged of whom 23,000 were killed, wounded, or missing.  The Union victory gave Lincoln a much-needed boost (after defeat at Manassas). Clara Barton brought bandages and food to the field hospital and was christened the Angel of the Battlefield. (See below for our next encounter with her work and legacy.) 

Lord Stirlng's headquarters 
In December, 1777, 12,000 soldiers and 400 women and children arrived at Valley Forge, west of Philadelphia. The winter encampment in the cornfields became the fourth largest city in America, with 1500 huts.  We purchased tickets for a one-hour bus tour which was both informative and efficient.  Stevens remembered visiting friends of his parents who owned Lord Stirling's headquarters. The privately-owned farmhouse is not on the tour, and the friends are long gone, but we stopped to see it. 

Demonstration of loading/firing a musket

Washington's headquarters

Little Round Top
It can take a week to see all of the Gettysburg battlefield. We didn't have that much time. We opted for the tour-and-museum package. That provided a ticket to the movie, to the restored 19th century Cyclorama (a picture-in-the-round of the battle), the museum, and a two-hour escorted bus tour. There are monuments to every military unit from every state -- more than 1300.

The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club was an exclusive club for "sports" on the artificial Conemaugh Lake 14 miles upriver from Johnstown, PA, east of Pittsburgh.  They inadequately patched holes from an earlier dam break, lowered the top of the dam to provide better access for carriages, and put fish screens over the spillway.  8" of rain fell in late May, 1889. The fish screens clogged. The only way for water to get out was over the dam.  The dam failed completely at 3:15 p.m. releasing 20,000,000 tons (3,600,000,000 gallons) of water.  Small towns en route were destroyed and the city of Johnstown lost 1600 homes and 2,209 people, with $17 million in property damage.
This overlooks the site of the dam

Clara Barton's recently-established American Red Cross spearheaded the Johnstown relief effort. [In grade school I read a biography of Clara Barton. Seeing both Antietam and Johnstown helped complete the story for me.]

The South Fork Club House. 

 The South Fork Club said that the storm and the flood were acts of God so they were not liable for damages. The courts found in their favor. But the club went out of business and the river was not dammed again.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Road Scholar: Lifestyles of Faith in Lancaster County

Note:  This travelog is presented in four parts.  Two posts are about the Road Scholar courses we attended.  One post is about the travel discoveries before, between, and after those courses. One post is about family history.  

Lancaster Market 
Here is the official description of the second Road Scholar course on our fall trip. 

The course of study was learning about the faith groups who settled in central Pennsylvania.  Prof. Brinton Rutherford provided an excellent overview of the Anabaptists (Amish, Mennonites, Brethren, and Hutterites) and other Protestants and dissenters (Moravians and Quakers).  Brinton teaches theology at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and University.  He kept the historical roots untangled so we could keep the denominations straight.
·         Anabaptist means “rebaptized,” meaning that the early believers (who were baptized as infants) had to be baptized as adults to be church members. (The German and Swiss governments wanted infant baptisms as a way to document citizens and thus to levy taxes.) Nowadays Anabaptist denominations practice believer-baptism (age 12/13 and up).
·         The Mennonites came to the colonies in 1683. The Amish arrived in 1693.
·         Most Amish are Old Order.  There are varieties of Mennonites, from Old Order (fewest) to conservative (more) to progressive (most).
·         The Amish are in the world, but not of the world.

Ephrata Cloister 
We had field trips each day in glorious early autumn weather.  

·         Ephrata, site of the Ephrata Cloister.   Founded in 1732, the original members were celibate pacifists who anticipated the imminent Second Coming.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephrata_Cloister  In the 19th century married members could join and the church became known as German Seventh-Day Baptists.  The Cloister consists of the restored buildings of the original colony. 
·         Lititz, founded by Moravians. The denomination was established by Jan Hus in the early 15th century in what is now the Czech Republic.  Moravians came to the colonies in the early 18th century (1735 in Savannah; 1741 in Bethlehem, PA).  The church building in Lititz was consecrated in 1787.  The congregation is active today, with over 600 members. (There are 65,000 Moravians in 162 US congregatioins, and 650,000 Moravians worldwide.)
·         A guided walking tour of historic downtown Lancaster (pop. 60,000).
·         A shopping trip in the heart of Pa. Dutch tourist kitsch.  [I went to Zook’s and bought fabric. But not much. ]
·         A tour of Lancaster County farmland with a Mennonite (born Old Order Amish) guide.
quilt display at Family Farm Quilts 
·         Dinner at an Old Order Amish farmhouse.   Chicken and dressing, mashed potatoes, creamed corn and lima beans, egg noodles, and pie for dessert.  The daughter and granddaughters served us.  The house was big and, well, plain. All the furniture was utilitarian.  The Amish do have electricity, provided by diesel generators.  I had to use the bathroom and it was just….a bathroom.  [One telephone serves several families and is kept in a phone booth at the end of a driveway.]  The grandchildren sang for us after dinner – in English.  (This Little Light of Mine; If You’re Happy and You know It; I’ve Got the Joy Joy Joy Joy.)   We got up close to a buggy – with brake lights, emergency flashers, and windshield wipers (and a pricetag of $6000).  We could take pictures of the children but not the adults.
If you're happy and you know it clap your hands!


Amish big wheels

Hans Herr House
·         A tour of the Hans Herr House, built in 1719 and the oldest Mennonite house in Lancaster Co.
Stevens and Stevens
·         Underground Railroad sites in Lancaster Co., including Thaddeus Stevens’ house in downtown Lancaster.  (Thaddeus was a cousin several times removed.) 

·         Wheatlands, the home of President James Buchanan.  We did not know much about him but after seeing his house we are much better informed.  He was a career statesman (representative, senator, ambassador) criticized for a too-soft stance on secession (Lincoln was elected in 1860 but Buchanan was in office until March, 1861). He never married. His niece was his hostess and the term “first lady” was coined for her.
Black Rock Retreat is a Christian camp and conference center in the small town of Quarryville southeast of Lancaster, PA.   Our quarters were modern, motel-style, though the room had a double bed and two twin beds.  There was no television on the premises. (We did not miss it, but I did notice its absence.) Our meals were served cafeteria-style in the dining hall. The food was bountiful and very good.

There were 39 people in the group from as far as southern California and Nova Scotia and as close Pittsburgh.  One man had attended more than 90 RS/Elderhostels and there were a couple of newbies. This was our 30th Road Scholar program and we enjoyed it very much.  We say that about each RS, and we mean it!  RS provides expert-led instruction to enhance touring. Even as we reflect on what we learned in Lancaster Co. we are already considering what trip to take next.

 We twisted pretzels one evening!

Black Rock Retreat sunrise