CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

November 4, 2014

Defy Gravity: Descend Gravity Hill Road in New Paris, PA

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

DEFY GRAVITY: DESCEND GRAVITY HILL ROAD

IN NEW PARIS, PENNSYLVANIA

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 Sometimes (no, most of the time) I arrive at places when I’m unprepared. Sometimes it’s my mental condition, sometimes it’s that I arrive at a place unexpectedly.

This happened on October 28, 2014. The latter, that is—arriving at a place unexpectedly.  I had no water in the car (I usually do) and no exercise ball (I usually don’t). Nonetheless, my husband Monte and I had an extraordinary experience on Gravity Hill Road in New Paris (Bedford County), Pennsylvania.

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The publicity flier I picked up at the motel we stayed at asked Have you ever wanted to defy gravity? Being married to a former physicist this sounded like an unmanageable challenge. I showed the flier to Monte, telling him it might be interesting to take a detour deep into the Bedford County mountains en route home. After all, it was a delightful Indian summer day with miles of (more…)

October 7, 2014

Traveling on a Greyhound Bus with Children

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

TRAVELING CROSS COUNTRY ON A GREYHOUND BUS

(WITH TWO SMALL CHILDREN)

Our trip of a lifetime almost didn’t happen. You’ll understand after reading about its first two laps.

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In 1974 my husband Monte received a grant to attend an energy conference in Berkeley, California. Our children, Sandy 4 and Nolan 2, stayed in Slippery Rock with me for the first five weeks. In the sixth week we traveled to California, from where the four of us would travel back to Slippery Rock.

Our mode of transportation — Greyhound bus, which offered a 30-day Ameripass ticket for $50, entitling purchasers to unlimited riding to any destination served by the company.

Shirl, Diane, Nolan & Sandy (l-r)

Shirl, Diane, Nolan & Sandy (l-r)

Our good friend Shirl Murray drove us from our Slippery Rock home to the bus station , which was an hour away in Youngstown, Ohio. We made it with time to spare. The kids waited anxiously for “their” bus to arrive, then waited in line to board. A youngish man wearing the Greyhound uniform punched our ticket.

It was a cross country bus, so we settled in for our long journey. The passengers were a mix of humanity. A young couple and an elderly man seated themselves up front. Several teenagers seated themselves in the back of the bus. A frail woman sat in the middle. Most of the seats were filled with passengers boarding in towns the bus drove through en route from New York City to Youngstown.

The driver boarded, set his briefcase on the floor, situated himself in the driver’s seat, and shut the door. Suddenly the bus engine purred and he skillfully backed out of the parking place. All was well in the small community encased in what only can be described as an oversized tuna can.

The kids occupied themselves watching the Ohio country speed by while I arranged their things so they could entertain themselves when they tired of the scenery.

I sat back in my seat and pulled out a magazine, hoping I could finish an article before the kids needed me. The animated conversation interspersed with laughter coming from the young girls provided a pleasant backdrop.

At first I didn’t notice the frail woman, several rows down, but gradually her under-breath muttering pierced (more…)

March 29, 2014

WP photo challenge 3/28/2014: street life

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS
WP PHOTO CHALLENGE 3/28/2014:
STREET LIFE

The WP Photo Challenge for March 28, 2014, is street life: document the movement (or stillness) of a street: tell a story with your snapshot, capture a scene

I took the following photographs when we visited Boston on September 12, 2013.

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(more…)

March 25, 2014

Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

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Hug for my mother’s Lithuanian cousins,

HILL OF CROSSES  (Kryžiu Kalnas)

IN LITHUANIA

Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

It’s an ever-changing never-defeated religious folk art gallery, a historical and architectural monument in an unlikely place that attracts people savoring its peace, spirituality, authenticity, and sacred nature.

The Hill of Crosses (Kryžiu Kalnas) is a stunning complex that consists of thousands of crosses of various materials and sizes brought and left there by the people, mostly Lithuanians.

Hill of Crosses, Lithuania

Hill of Crosses, Lithuania

An oblong mound, once the location of a castle of Semigallian tribe (until it was burned down by the Crusaders), sits next to a former ancient village dating to the 13th-14th. The mound, somewhat similar to a saddle, stands on a plain surrounded by the valleys of Kulpė Stream and its nameless tributaries. It measures only 8-10 meters high and 40-50 meters wide.

The Jurgaičiai-Domantai mound, located in the countryside 9 miles outside the small northern Lithuanian city of Siauliai, is covered with crosses.

There are conflicting stories about the origin of the Hill of Crosses:

  • Many crosses appeared after the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus appeared on the mound in the 7th decade of the 19th century. It was Mary who supposedly encouraged people to put crosses at this place.
  • Crosses first began to appear at this spot in the thirteenth century, shortly after the city of Siauliai was founded in 1236. The city was controlled by Teutonic Knights during the 14th century. The tradition of placing crosses seems to date from this period and may have risen as a symbol of Lithuanian defiance toward foreign invaders.
  • The first crosses were erected on the hill by the next-of-kin of the rebels who fell in the 1831 rebellion against Russia. Family members were not permitted by the Tsarist reign to pay proper tribute at the graves of their relatives. The Hill of Crosses became a place of vows.
  • There was a Lithuanian tradition of leaving the crosses on the road and most beautiful sites. The story is that each person who put his own cross on this mountain would become a (more…)

December 10, 2013

Revisiting Providence, R. I., 70 Years After My Birth

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

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Hugs for Darlene and Peter, birthed by my mother 10 and 20 years after me. She had a baby every decade: 1943, 1953, and 1963.

 REVISITING PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND

70 YEARS AFTER MY BIRTH THERE

St. Joseph Hospital, now closed

St. Joseph Hospital, now closed

It was a cold and snowy December 9th evening in 1943, when a cab stopped in front of the doors of St. Joseph Hospital. The driver helped a woman, perhaps screaming in pain, up the snowy steps. He probably didn’t know that her water had broken in his cab, ruining her fashionable fur coat. Was this the first time he had transported a pregnant woman to the hospital who was so close to giving birth? Did the severe snowstorm delay his getting her to the hospital? According to the woman she was mighty close to delivering her child in the taxi.

In the excitement and urgency of the moment did she even pay the taxi driver?

 

Hospital entrance

Hospital entrance

 

It was 1:15 a. m. on December 10th that Dr. Monroe Rosembloom, in the service of the U. S. Naval Air Station, delivered a 6 pound 12 ½ ounce baby girl whose mother named her Carolyn Virginia Cornell.

Her father, Chief Navy Photographer Robert William Cornell, wasn’t present for the birth of his daughter. It is likely he was on duty somewhere with Navy business. IMG_5396

Fast forward to September 7, 2013, when my husband Monte and I traveled up the New England coast during a 32 day trip.

Two of my goals were to see the hospital where I was born and to locate where my first home, 11 Neville Street, was. We visited the Cranston Library for help.

Monte and librarian Lisa Zavodi studied old and recent maps for (more…)

November 22, 2013

Retro Diner & Lifesaver in Gouverneur, N. Y.

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

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Hug for

RETRO DINER AND LIFESAVER

IN GOUVERNEUR, N. Y.

(A NaBloPoMo post)

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 At the beginning of )ctober 2013, en route home from our New England travels, we stopped at Gouverneur, New York, my husband Monte’s hometown. We ate at the Retro Diner.

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(more…)

November 17, 2013

Wallis Sands Beach, New Hampshire (Sept. 2013)

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS Movicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hugs for Brenda, Maureen, Foster and the Tirrells

WALLIS SANDS BEACH, NEW HAMPSHIRE

SEPTEMBER 24, 2013 IMG_3246E

September 24, 2013, our last day in New Hampshire, began slowly. We packed up the car, not expecting to return to that particular motel since it was time for us to move up the Maine coast.

At 10:40 a. m. we drove down route 1A to Wallis Sands Beach in Rye, New Hampshire. It was a road familiar to me from the days of my childhood when my grandfather, Albert Briskay, drove my sister and me, or my mother, who caught the bus, took my sister and me, to this small beach in Rye.

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When we arrived there was an empty bus in the beach parking lot but only two people sitting at the far end of the beach. IMG_3794E

Determining that the tide was coming in and the sand area would disappear quickly I wrote “Goodby Wallis Sands” in the sand. I neglected to photo it.

Then Monte wandered to the southern breakwater rock wall while I shed my red pants to my bathing suit and took off down the beach.

Although the morning was crisp and  cool the sun poured its energy onto the sand and warmed my uplifted face. I walked the beach’s short length, partly on the damp sand, partly in the water. Half-way across were two smartly crafted sand castles, just above the high-tide water line. They reminded me of the temporary art my older sister and I used to create when we were on the beach over fifty years ago. IMG_3643E

At the far end I captured these birds:

IMG_3254EWandering deep into the water I realized I was overloaded with my towel and a small bag, so I walked to the dry sand to set them down. That’s when I noticed the couple sitting by the cement stairway wall.

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The man was using a movie camera, and I realized I was probably a star in (more…)

November 7, 2013

Haskell Free Library and Opera House a.k.a. Bibliothèque et salle d’opéra Haskell

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS is now located at Carolyn’s Online Magazine.

After reading about Haskel Free Library I invite you to visit the new site.

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CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

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Hugs for the staff of Haskell Library and Opera House

HASKELL FREE LIBRARY AND OPERA HOUSE

A. K. A.

BIBLIOTHÈQUE ET SALLE D’OPÉRA HASKELL

Crossing the Canadian-USA Border Without a Passport

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TWO RIDDLES

Where in the United States is there a library without any books?

Where in the United States is there a theater without a stage?

The tales we heard about these riddles:

You must go to Derby Line, Vermont. It’s the furthest north you can go in the state. There is a library there but be careful. You must enter the correct door. If you don’t, the Border Patrol will get you, since the library there is in two countries—Canada and the United States. A squiggly line, following the actual border, crosses through the library.

The Border Patrol gives you freedom to cross into Canada and back into the United States inside the library. But if you exit the wrong door, watch out.

The tale above, told to us by a guest at a motel, is partly true. There is a library located in Derby Line, Vermont—and in Stanstead, Quebec, straddling the Canadian/United States border. Although the tale is rife with error, the fact that a structure encompasses two countries sounded intriguing to my husband Monte and me.

We were traveling through New England in September, 2013, when we heard about the Haskell Free Library and Opera House. We decided to detour an extra 50 or so miles to visit this library.

We made it to Derby Line on October 3rd and found a road blocked by large flower vases. And signs instructing us NOT to step beyond these floral decorations without going through customs, because the street on the other side of the planters was in Canada.

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The building was impressive. Welcome to the Haskell Library and (more…)

October 20, 2013

WP Daily Prompt for October 19, 2013: Home Sweet Home

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

Movicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hug for Monte

WP DAILY PROMPT FOR OCTOBER 19, 2013

HOME SWEET HOME:

WHILE TRAVELING, WHAT I MISS THE MOST ABOUT HOME

The wordpress daily prompt for October 19, 2013, is Home Sweet Home: When you’re away from home, what person, thing, or place do you miss the most?

Coffeeperked.
Newspaper fetched.
Stereo programmed.
Cats accounted for.
Couch (or porch swing in the summer) cleaned off.
Footstool in place.
Blanket and telephone nearby.

NOW I can wake up.

Not arise from bed, but wake up—something I’m slow in doing, something I take my time doing. I’ve learned that this slow start energizes me for my activities of the day.

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In September 2013 my husband Monte and I traveled up the coast of New England starting in Groton, Connecticut and Newport, Rhode Island, then up the coast to East Lamoine, Maine, on Frenchman Bay.
The most difficult part wasn’t living out of the silver/blue tin can (automobile). It wasn’t too much togetherness, since we managed to get through the travel without slaughtering each other (after 47 years of marriage we’ve managed to learn how to negotiate many of the bumps of relationship).

My most difficult adjustment was the disruption of my (more…)

October 3, 2013

Autumn Leaf-Peeping, Shopping, and Touring in New England

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

Movicons2-hugsandkisses(3)

Hug for Kerry

AUTUMN LEAF-PEEPING, SHOPPING, AND TOURING IN NEW ENGLAND

Jay Peak, Vermont

Jay Peak, Vermont

I find it strange that through the years I’ve been asked two questions concerning my after-summer trips to New England:

  • Are you leaf-peeping?
  • Are you going to the outlet malls?
  • Are you doing the “touristy” things like visiting the mansions in Newport, Rhode Island or Nantucket off the shores of Cape Cod?

My response is

  • I can step out my front door and leaf peep, and I can see the most gorgeous leaves right here in Southwestern Pennsylvania. In fact, autumn leaves in Southwestern Pennsylvania rival Maine’s display any day.
  • Why would I travel to New England to shop at outlet malls when we have superior outlet malls close to home on Rt. 208 in Grove City?
  • Most of our New England visits have centered on researching my genealogy, researching information for my historic romance novel, or visiting friends and relatives, and making new friends.

On our last visit to New England, five years ago, I suggested to my husband Monte that we (more…)

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