Sunday, February 19, 2017

Betty MacDonald and washing day on Vashon Island

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In case you think that Winter lasts too long look at this very nice photo of Betty MacDonald and one of her grandchildren
on Vashon Island. 

My washing day will be tomorrow!

Washing Day

The Muses are turned gossips; they have lost
The buskined step, and clear high-sounding phrase,
Language of gods. Come, then, domestic Muse,
In slip-shod measure loosely prattling on,
Of farm or orchard, pleasant curds and cream,
Or droning flies, or shoes lost in the mire
By little whimpering boy, with rueful face —
Come, Muse, and sing the dreaded washing day.
Ye who beneath the yoke of wedlock bend,
With bowed soul, full well ye ken the day
Which week, smooth sliding after week, brings on
Too soon; for to that day nor peace belongs,
Nor comfort; ere the first grey streak of dawn,
The red-armed washers come and chase repose.
Nor pleasant smile, nor quaint device of mirth,
Ere visited that day; the very cat,
From the wet kitchen scared, and reeking hearth,
Visits the parlour, an unwonted guest.
The silent breakfast meal is soon despatched,
Uninterrupted, save by anxious looks
Cast at the louring, if sky should lour.
From that last evil, oh preserve us, heavens!
For should the skies pour down, adieu to all
Remains of quiet; then expect to hear
Of sad disasters — dirt and gravel stains
Hard to efface, and loaded lines at once
Snapped short, and linen-horse by dog thrown down,
And all the petty miseries of life.
Saints have been calm while stretched upon the rack,
And Montezuma smiled on burning coals;
But never yet did housewife notable
Greet with a smile a rainy washing day.
But grant the welkin fair, require not thou
Who callest thyself, perchance, the master there,
Or study swept, or nicely dusted coat,
Or usual ’tendence; ask not, indiscreet,
Thy stockings mended, though the yawning rents
Gape wide as Erebus; nor hope to find
Some snug recess impervious. Shouldst thou try
The ’customed garden walks, thine eye shall rue
The budding fragrance of thy tender shrubs,
Myrtle or rose, all crushed beneath the weight
Of coarse-checked apron, with impatient hand
Twitched off when showers impend; or crossing lines
Shall mar thy musings, as the wet cold sheet
Flaps in thy face abrupt. Woe to the friend
Whose evil stars have urged him forth to claim
On such a dav the hospitable rites;
Looks blank at best, and stinted courtesy
Shall he receive; vainly he feeds his hopes
With dinner of roast chicken, savoury pie,
Or tart or pudding; pudding he nor tart
That day shall eat; nor, though the husband try —
Mending what can’t be helped — to kindle mirth
From cheer deficient, shall his consort’s brow
Clear up propitious; the unlucky guest
In silence dines, and early slinks away.
I well remember, when a child, the awe
This day struck into me; for then the maids,
I scarce knew why, looked cross, and drove me from them;
Nor soft caress could I obtain, nor hope
Usual indulgencies; jelly or creams,
Relic of costly suppers, and set by
For me their petted one; or buttered toast,
When butter was forbid; or thrilling tale
Of ghost, or witch, or murder. So I went
And sheltered me beside the parlour fire;
There my dear grandmother, eldest of forms,
Tended the little ones, and watched from harm;
Anxiously fond, though oft her spectacles
With elfin cunning hid, and oft the pins
Drawn from her ravelled stocking, might have soured
One less indulgent.
At intervals my mother’s voice was heard,
Urging dispatch; briskly the work went on,
All hands employed to wash, to rinse, to wring,
Or fold, and starch, and clap, and iron, and plait.
Then would I sit me down, and ponder much
Why washings were; sometimes through hollow hole
Of pipe amused we blew, and sent aloft
The floating bubbles; little dreaming then
To see, Montgolfier, thy silken ball
Ride buoyant through the clouds, so near approach
The sports of children and the toils of men.
Earth, air, and sky, and ocean hath its bubbles,
And verse is one of them — this most of all.

Don't miss The real story behind…A boy left his bike chained to a tree when he went away to war in 1914

( see below )

Take care,


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The real story behind…A boy left his bike chained to a tree when he went away to war in 1914

The famed "Bicycle Eaten by A Tree" tucked in the woods right off the Vashon Highway on Vashon Island, Washington.

We have all seen this picture on the internet a thousand times. A tale of a lad that went off to war and left his bike against a tree.
He never returned from the war so his parents left it there as a memorial. We know this story, right? You have to love the internet for its eccentricities and this story is another example (remember the catfish that swallowed a Nazi?).
The headline itself is the biggest clue – the USA did not enter WWI in 1914. It entered in 1917. They also never sent boys off to war – looks like a 10 years-old bike.
Furthermore – this isn’t a bike from the early part of the 20th century. So lets have a look at the real story behind this picture.
Vashon Island Bike Tree.We don’t have to go back to 1914 for the beginning of this story – in fact we just have to go back to the 1950s. You see, this is a bike from the 1950s and it belong to an 8 years-old boy called Don Puz. According to The Seattle Times.
The story of how the bike came to be in the tree is told by a retired King County deputy sheriff, Don Puz, who now lives in Kennewick. The only bike he rides now is a stationary one. He grew up on the island and lived here until 1992. Puz tells how, in 1954, his dad died in a house fire, leaving his mom with five children.
The island came together and donated various items to get the family going again.
Among those items was a bicycle for young Don. “I never liked the bike. It was like a tricycle, but with two wheels. It had hard rubber tires and skinny little handlebars,” he says. Puz says eventually the family moved to a home near what became Sound Food, but which then was a swampy area. “We liked playing there, catching polliwogs. We’d get into ponds and mud. It was a good place,” he says.Sometime in the mid-1950s, says Puz, he forgot the bike in that swampy acreage and never bothered to get it back. Good riddance.
Then, in 1995, when visiting a sister still living on the island, she took Puz to see the local landmark. “The first words out of my mouth were, ‘That’s my bike!’ ” he says. “There was no doubt in my mind.” He still holds no love for the bike or its current decrepit state. Says Puz, “A bike itself doesn’t have any feelings.”
“I don’t think I own it anymore,” Don Puz says a little wistfully, a little bit in awe, perhaps, of how time makes up its own stories. “I threw it away a long time ago. I think the tree owns it now.”

The handlebar has been ripped off. The front wheel is gone. The one pedal that was sticking out of the tree (the other is presumably somewhere inside the trunk) also is gone.
The handlebar has been ripped off. The front wheel is gone. The one pedal that was sticking out of the tree (the other is presumably somewhere inside the trunk) also is gone. source

There are tourists who make a special ferry trip just to see this peculiar attraction, on this island with the unofficial slogan, “Keep Vashon Weird.”
There are tourists who make a special ferry trip just to see this peculiar attraction, on this island with the unofficial slogan, “Keep Vashon Weird.” source
It has now become a major tourist attraction and also a target for souvenir hunters and very littler remains of the bike. Local are trying to keep it alive by replacing the stolen parts but it is getting harder and harder to find replacement parts for a bike this old.  How the bike ended up in the tree probably wasn’t a case of a young fir sapling growing under the bike and swallowing it, says professor Elizabeth Van Volkenburgh, of the University of Washington’s Department of Biology.“That bicycle would have been too heavy for a young tree,” she says. More likely, says Van Volkenburgh, when the tree was older, “somebody hung that bicycle on the tree.

“The parts are hard to find. It’s a low, low-quality bike. It’s like a starter bike you’d find today for $50 at Target,” source

The BBC reported:

A spokeswoman from Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park said: “The mature sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) has significant cultural and historic heritage which is recognised locally, regionally and nationally.
“The tree has been recorded on a number of veteran tree surveys such as Loch Lomond and the Trossachs Countryside Trust 2013 and Woodland Trust ‘Ancient Tree Hunt’ 2009.”
The Park Authority says a tree preservation order would protect the tree in the event of any future change in land use in the area.