Monday, February 29, 2016

The Golfers

(From the Internet, courtesy of Bob Ellis)

A foursome of golfers, all in their 40's, discussed where they should meet for lunch.
Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Hooters because the waitresses were young, great looking, and wore short-shorts. 

Ten years later, at age 50, the golfing buddies once again discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Hooters because the food and service was good, they had many televisions to watch the games on, and the beer selection was excellent. 

Ten years later, at age 60, the foursome again discussed where they should meet for lunch. Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Hooters because there was plenty of parking, they could dine in peace, and it was good value for the money. 

Ten years later, at age 70, they discussed where they should meet for lunch.
Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Hooters because the restaurant was wheelchair accessible and had a toilet for the disabled. 

Ten years later, at age 80, the friends discussed where they should meet for lunch.
Finally it was agreed that they would meet at Hooters because they had never been there before.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Playing for Keeps

Can you imagine how embarrassing it would be for you if you had just won the championship in a popular sport and were being hailed by the newspapers as "probably the "Best in the World,"....

and almost before the ink had dried......

your Mother protested, telling the world,,  "Champion, my patootie....he ran away from home!

And drove her car up to New York...and brought you back.

13 year old Vincent Sullivan
Well, That's what happened to Vincent Sullivan, winner of the New York Newsboys Marble Championship in 1930.

"He had run away from his Massachusetts home in May 1930 to “see the world.” Vincent came to New York City and had been making a living selling newspapers and residing at The Brace Memorial Newsboys Home, 224 William Street. During his time in New York, Vincent had incredibly won the newsboys marbles championship. James Lee the national marbles champion, was going to play Vincent at Ocean City, NJ in an exhibition match on board The Ecuador, a steamship.   At the last minute Lee’s managers refused to let Lee play the match, so his title would not be jeopardized.  Sullivan’s ability to shoot marbles resulted in the photograph above. Newspapers across the country ran the photo of the freckle-faced boy with the missing front teeth.
The notoriety of this story made national headlines and was followed with offers for jobs, trips and even a movie contract for the urchin marbles champion.  Vincent and his mother left for a tour of South America on July 20, 1930 playing exhibitions in many countries as a guest of the Panama Line, the steamship company."
But Vincent was never the same.  He was badly defeated in just about all his matches after 

He just never "Knuckled Down" to his old winning self.
Poor boy. My guess is that the humiliation was enough to 
cause him to lose his marbles.

More than you ever wanted to know about the game of Marbles

Aggie either a marble made out of agate or a glass marble that looks like it's agate. A glass or imitation aggie is also called an immie.
Alley A marble made of marble. Alley is short for alabaster.
Bombsies Dropping your shooter on the target marble.
Histing Lifting your knuckle from the ground while shooting.
Keepsies Playing for keeps. You get to keep all the marbles you win.
Knuckle down To put one knuckle of your shooting hand in contact with the ground. Most players put the knuckle of their index finger on the ground. You position your shooter in the crook of the index finger and flick it out with your thumb.
Lagging A way of choosing who shoots first. Players roll their marbles toward a line in the dirt (the lag line). Whoever gets closest without going over gets to shoot first.
Mibs The target marbles in a game. Another name is Kimmies.
Playing for fair All marbles are returned to owner after the game.
Playing for keeps The winner keeps all the marbles after the game ("winner keeps, loser weeps").
Plunking Hitting the targets on the fly.
Taw Another name for a shooter. Shooters are often slightly larger than target marbles. In some games you shoot from behind a taw line.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

I Thought I heard a...

...Tweety Bird.

 I did!

(However, in the interest of "accuracy in blogging,"  what Tweety Bird himself (herself?) actually said was,

Tweety Bird

"I tawt I taw a puddy tat!" "I did! I did taw a puddy tat!" )

One thing that still works pretty good on my almost "used up"

 body are my ears.  And this morning I woke up to a sound

that I haven't heard since last year at this time:

The chirping of birds returning from their winter vacation

down South.

 And how do they know that it's time to leave their tropical 

vacation paradise and return North?

Because it's getting warmer up here?


It has nothing to do with the temperature.  It's because the 

length of daylight is increasing.

Anyway that's what the experts say.  Furthermore they say the 

reason the birds take the long return journey back, instead

of staying in their tropical paradise, is because it ain't really 

so great down there...for birds:

'Unfortunately, despite what the Jimmy Buffett song indicates, life in the tropics is not as ideal as it might seem. For one thing, the tropics are not chock-full of unused food resources. The migrants from the north have to compete with a huge variety of tropical species that live there year-round. A more subtle issue is that warmer climates also tend to be home to a great many more infectious diseases and parasites.
It also turns out that there are some real advantages to making the trip north. Spring migrants time their return to coincide with a virtual explosion of food resources. As New England emerges from the grip of winter, virtually every local plant and animal begins to reproduce, and it’s not long before there is a huge abundance of seeds, fruits and invertebrates. Migrant species take advantage of these resources to have their own young.
What’s more, day length is more favorable during northern summers. In the tropics, there is little seasonal variation in the number of hours of daylight. As you travel farther north, summer days get longer and longer—in fact, above the Arctic Circle, there are weeks when the sun never sets. These longer summer days mean that there are more hours of daylight in which migrant birds can gather food and feed the hungry mouths of their rapidly growing young. ' -Bird Expert

ELCOME, welcome, little stranger,
Fear no harm, and fear no danger;
We are glad to see you here,
For you sing "Sweet Spring is near."
Now the white snow melts away;
Now the flowers blossom gay:
Come dear bird and build your nest,
For we love our robin best.
-Louisa May Alcott


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Beginners Class

(This is another chapter from "MY STORY," Diana Carpenter White's personal and family history. A work in progress.)

By Diana Carpenter White

     (Introduction:     When we were kids, Cathy and I had a couple of handmade quilts from Grandmother Carpenter.  One set of two quilts was old velvets and silks and sateens, in crazy-quilt blocks, with all sorts of embroidery stitches at the block edges, feather stitch and lazy daisy and blanket stitch.  Another set was made of velveteen rectangles, deep greens and blues and reds, laid in rows like offset bricks, with a flannel backing in a kind of grayed blue, tied rather than quilted.  Flannel back and velveteen front, nothing is cozier than a soft quilt to snuggle under on a cold night.  Or a quilt to put across your lap when you put your feet up and read.  Or later something to tuck over a napping child who got suddenly tired the way little ones will, and dropped deep into sleep where he sat.  I always knew the kind of sewing I intended to do someday for the joy of it would be quilts.  Someday. )

The Beginners Class

          And in 1991 I saw an ad in Quilters Newsletter Magazine, the classic first major quilt magazine to which I had subscribed for a few years.  It was about a new quilt shop opening on Main Street in Tucker, a shop called Dream Quilters.  I was still teaching special ed at that point, with a self-contained BD classroom in a regular school – and my school was Henderson Mill and it was in Tucker!  This was maybe the September issue of QNM, arriving in August; and so sometime in September, as school was settling into a rhythm, I left Henderson Mill one afternoon and drove the few blocks into downtown Tucker and found the store, and parked and went in.

          I can remember walking away from the parking lot between two buildings, with car parking spaces painted up against the old brick walls on one side and against the painted-over brick and plaster on the other side, and one double row of paint-denoted parking places in the middle.  I walked up toward Tucker High School, past an insurance office, to find the quilt shop, hoping it was going to be a good place.  It had somehow become quietly urgent that I get on with making Someday happen.  The shop windows had been painted cheerfully by some wonderful wizard of a friend of the shopkeepers, with the name Dream Quilters in painted calligraphy, twined with grape vines, maybe, with blue-violet ribbons and great purple clusters of grapes hanging down, and curling green tendrils and leaves.  In the window there were sample quilts draped to be seen to best advantage from the street.  There was a bell over the door that tinkled when I went in.  The two owners, Pam and Libby, looked up and greeted me, and made me free of the place.  I remember fabrics on bolts, notions, samples, a round card table and folding chairs where they were working as I came in, their books of fabric samples spread about with their yellow legal pads, and pens and tape measures.  Oh, and cans of Tab!  Tab drinkers can bond over that alone, even if nothing else offers; we told each other where one could still buy Tab, for starters.  We chatted, I looked, they showed me things.  I liked them, and I liked the feel of the place.  I introduced myself, told them I’d always known I was going to be a quilter, and I was ready to start.  

          The owners of the store Dream Quilters were Libby D. Carter and Pam D. Cardone, two of five sisters (maiden name Deaton, I think, or Deason).  Their husbands Walter and Bob had agreed to back them and support them in their dream of owning a quilt shop.  It was a great partnership and a great shop.  It lasted until the late 90s, maybe 1997, when family changes meant that Pam and Bob were moving to Arizona, and Libby and Walt were thinking about his retirement.  They sold the shop to a quilter named Jan Huff, who kept it going for awhile but eventually closed it.  The magic had been the two sisters, and those of us they gathered around them, and how much we all loved the whole context and community of quilting. 

          Libby was the machine quilter; her philosophy was, she could hand piece and hand quilt a few heirloom quilts in her lifetime, a very few, or do machine piecing and quilting and make all the quilts she wanted.  Pam was the hand quilter, as much for the sheer physical pleasure and contentment of the task, as from a reverence for the original methods and their celebration, and however many or few quilts she got done, it was fine with her, it was a joy to be doing handwork (she machine-quilted too, of course).   They were always hunting out a new technique or finding a great quilter to come in and teach classes.  That first fall they had a beginners’ class scheduled for a series of evening lessons at a time I could make it to a class after the school day was over.  They told me about it on that first visit, and I signed up right then and there. 

          The teacher was Barbara Woolard, whose hair was soft and fly-around and mostly white, and whose face lighted up when she talked quilts.  She was not tall, neat but not exactly tidy somehow, slim, light and quick in her movements.   She wore a quilter's chatelaine around her neck on a black silk rat-tail cord.  She sewed on an old portable Pfaff.  It had the first walking foot I ever saw, a real dream machine.  She loved making things, loved quilting, loved having us newbies all together to teach.  Loved it!  I remembered having seen her in the shops I haunted before Dream Quilters, knowing she was connected with Marti Michell’s Yours Truly, a small brick-and-mortar quilt shop fronting a mail-order quilt supplies business, on Broad Street near the Post Office in Chamblee.  We'd bought a house and moved to Chamblee in 1976, and in the late 70s and early 80s I loved to go into old town Chamblee and into Yours Truly, and look, and touch, and plan.  I remember posters there for a big quilt show in Bell Buckle, Tennessee.  What a great name for a town, I thought.  Someday I'll go to a quilt show, I promised myself.  Someday I'll be a quilter.  And now in my first quilt class, I was making Someday happen.

          In the beginners’ class at Dream Quilters there were six or eight of us.  I can remember some of the other beginners, or rather, the fabric array they'd brought.  Their fabric arrays are clear, their faces more vague, in memory.  Our supply list had told us how many fabrics and the yardage, and suggested we balance values and scale.  I worked hard at doing that, and I was pleased with the variety and unity of color and pattern and scale, okay for a newbie, I thought.  I remember one pair (mother and daughter, maybe) who had everything in primary colors, very saturated, all the same scale prints, not much contrast.  Barbara rather gently nudged them toward one more print, one with the primary colors in tiny figures on a white background I think.  I can't remember whether they got it but I thought they needed to.  Another beginner had chosen a group of several reds and whites, a monochromatic scheme that looked great.  I really liked one array that depended on black for a background and had flowers of different scales and some wonderful colors, made more dramatic by the black surround.  Every quilt class was an education on how many viewpoints there are, and ways of approaching the project, and how very individual is a sense of color.  My sense of color is one of my great pleasures.  The world is full of colors.  I like putting them together.

          We made a tote bag in that beginners' class, with main panels of flying geese blocks, separated by side panels in coordinating prints.  It was a lined bag that had pockets and padded handles;  mine was greens and rosy pinks and white, one major print with all the color notes, six different fabrics, and I loved it dearly.  I struggled with learning a scant 1/4 inch, and I truncated what should have been sharp points at many seams and intersections, but I got better.  Straight seams are still not ruler-straight when I do them, but they're okay, and I can get sharp points on triangles anytime, and I'm pretty good with the quarter-inch seam, and really good with the color and design process.  Only occasionally have I put a zipper in a quilt project, and only when it was really needed, like in a tote bag, but so far I've gotten them in right.  In no quilt project have I ever matched that four-times-wrong record of that one zipper in that one skirt – I got it upside down, then inside out, and set in too high, and set in too low, and (finally) just right.  I can't remember whether that skirt made it past the first laundering.  I did at least finish it, but I just never liked that skirt for some reason.

          That first quilt project, the pink and green tote bag, is one I’ve never given away. Mama refused to let me give it to her and insisted I keep it, so I will have it forever.  I don't regret any of the giveaways, some made on purpose to give, and I rejoice in each of them, but I am glad I kept that first piece.  


Saturday, February 13, 2016

Number 6 and Counting


That's the latest score Bob Ellis has racked up in his obvious quest for ....well maybe not the world record, but certainly the CHS54 Record!

Gideon Noble Stayton
Here are the statistics:

  His parents are Colin and Lindsay (grandkid)  Stayton.  He was 8lb 10oz.  Was born 2-8-16.

Congratulatons Bob!

...and of course, Colin and Lindsay.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Rubbng Elbows

 Reflecting on our many years on this good Earth, I firmly believe we were born in a time and place that has few equals in the "Best Time and Place Ever Be Born" conversation.

It's too bad that fact didn't become obvious to most of us until our journey is almost over.

But, that's the way it always is.  Some things that seem perfectly ordinary and mundane at the time, often become much more memorable in hindsight.

As meaningful and personally significant my move to Washington and working up here was to me, there was also a little bit of "history" involved.  It's talked about a lot at the old "Broadcaster Reunions" I attend. It's called  "Rubbing Elbows" with history.

No matter how good, or how bad a reporter for a major newspaper or radio/TV station was, an interview with the President or Senator or  an important government official...or"covering" news events of significance, etc. had the aura of history about it. The Network reporters were most likely involved in the major events of the day, but even guys on the mostly entertainment end of the media chain, like me, often became involved. I'm thinking specifically of my interview with William Greer, the driver of the Presidential Limousine in Dallas that fateful day our President was assassinated.

I don't believe anybody thinks about "history" as we were go about our daily routines;  just doing our jobs.

Looking back, unknown to me, my first small "brush" came less than a week after I moved to this town. That was Spring of 1961. My employer, WTOP-TV CHS...hadn't even changed my name.  I had hardly unpacked.

 Someone had mentioned to me that if I loved good music, jazz in particular, I should check out a small obscure night spot called "The Showboat Lounge"  It featured a very fine local guitarist by the name of Charlie Byrd. 

Charlie Byrd

Well, it didn't take more than 10 minutes of sitting in that small room listening to the soft and rhythmic sounds of his acoustic guitar accompanied by bass and get me totally "hooked."
I became a regular at that little establishment, and would insist on showing off my "discovery' to a number of my friends from Charlotte who were passing through town.

They usually agreed with me that there was something unique and different about many of the tunes Charlie performed.

There was.

It was the rhythm.  It was kinda like a "samba beat"...but....different.  Charlie, who later became a good friend,  told me that he first heard it in Brazil, where he, and Washington Jazz DJ Felix Grant, had just returned from a State Department sponsored tour of South America.
Charlie Byrd and Felix Grant

Felix and he were both intrigued . Felix talked about it endlessly on the radio....and Charlie played it at that little club on 18th Street in Washington, DC.

He called it simply, Brazilian music.  But he said, down there that call it "Bossa Nova."

That's the name that stuck. 

And, the rest, as they say, is history.

It became THE music of the 60's.  The record album he recorded with Saxophonist Stan Getz, to whom he had also introduced the Brazillian music, became one of the best selling albums ever. 

I'm proud to say that Charlie honored me by appearing on my first TV talk show and a number of times after that.

And what did I personally do to be involved in this small, soon to be forgotten, moment in history?

Not a damm thing.

But, I was there.


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Over the years at the Laurels...

(This is another chapter from "MY STORY," Diana Carpenter White's personal and family history. A work in progress.)

By Diana Carpenter White

Over the years at the Laurels, leading up to the big 100th, Uncle Bob had written bits and pieces of stories, memoirs, and re-tellings, and Sue had helped him put the first version together (for his 90th birthday), What Makes Bob Tick,  and it was a stapled document that some of us got at that birthday party.  Then there was the second collection, incorporating the first, called Along the Way.  Of course he kept writing.   In 2011, his 100th year, he had Sue meld all versions of his autobiographical and other writings into what was the third and final version, Bob Capps: My 100 Years.  During the course of the writing of the three versions over the years,  he'd used yellow legal pads, 3×5 cards, pieces of paper torn off something else, whatever came to hand.  He had even cut legal pad pages apart and separated the bits and taped an additional paragraph or two into the space, written often on different paper.  I saw this pile of papers, with bits sticking out in several sizes and colors, in the fall after one of the Labor Day picnics – and I thought with a kind of writer's horror, who's gonna organize that?   And of course Sue did.
Each time her father presented her with a stack of papers, Sue helped give it order.  In this third major and as it turned out final version, Sue included the latest articles Uncle Bob had done for the Steele Creek News and his annual Christmas letters, all his writings collected into one book, with many photographs.  Sue did the transcribing, typing and editing, layout, research,  gathering photos, and desktop publishing.  It was a masterwork.  When it was finished, she took it to a Kinko's or somebody, to make a number of copies, somewhat over a hundred copies I think, with slick covers and a plastic binder spine.  Sue got it printed and bound and brought it down for the birthday weekend from Ohio to North Carolina in a couple of huge boxes.  She and Uncle Bob had worked on the list of possible recipients, with a few extra copies for sudden realizations that you'd left somebody off or when you rediscovered someone you hadn't expected.  At the big party in March 2011 Uncle Bob gave one to each of his 100th birthday guests or families.  He's a Capps, and Cappses re-invent customs; he thought giving presents to people on your own birthday was a great idea, and when better than your 100th!  Living a century somehow gives you license to do what you wish anyhow, of course.  Everyone was charmed and delighted, and what with the requests for, “Do you have an extra copy I could send to my daughter away at school?  She's always been a fan!” - well, nothing would do but to have an extra press run.  I'm not sure just how many copies of Bob Capps: My 100 Years were eventually printed and distributed, but there are quite a few out there, and they are treasured.  And God send that I can write with the same care and felicity as he did (only with my own style, of course).

In the spring of 2011, a few weeks after having gone to Uncle Bob’s 100th birthday in March, Ivan and I were visiting in South Carolina with Ivan’s kids for Ivan’s birthday weekend in April.  I was regaling JoAnn with my version of the events of that wonderful weekend in Charlotte with family.  I brought out my copy of Bob Capps: My 100 Years to share with her, telling her about his gift of a copy to each family who came to the birthday party.  JoAnn asked if she could have it to look at and skim.  Well, of course.  JoAnn started reading it at once.  She got about halfway through it that evening, getting into the parts about Uncle Bob's working life at General Motors and then with Buick; on Sunday she finished the rest.  She pushed herself a bit so I'd have the book to take home, otherwise, I think I'd have had to leave it there, in simple mercy, or stay there with it.  (I'd have elected to stay with it).  She thinks it’s wonderful.  And I told her, laughing, I’d have to start on mine, or face more suggestions from my children; indeed, their suggestions were not far from urgent petitions, and perhaps not very far from nagging.  Reid and Kay have been suggesting it strongly since they each got a copy of the first of the three versions of Uncle Bob’s autobiography when he was 90.  And then after the second one they mentioned it again.  I had already been thinking on it for some time.  I treasure life stories – or, as Cappses do it, life as stories.  And now with all of them having a copy of Uncle Bob’s book and pressuring me about it, I knew I needed to get serious and quit chuckling about the task as a Someday thing.  You don't want to mess with all my children when they seriously want to get something done and decide it’s my job to do it.  They have Capps blood too.

I wonder a bit about the timing, and I'm developing the particulars.  Uncle Bob set the path, of course.  He had started writing down his story quite some time ago, in those oddly assorted bits and pieces.  Shortly after he and Muriel moved into the Laurels, I think it was the Activities Director who asked Uncle Bob to write about something in particular to share with the residents, growing cotton perhaps.  He was one of the handful of really old people in their small community, and she knew him to be a walking local history, with a long memory of days and knowledge and ways of doing things that are otherwise almost gone, with a wealth of life experiences and a depth of understanding that would be a resource indeed, if he could write his stories as well as he could talk them.  And so she asked him for some article or maybe even proposed an occasional column for the in-house newsletter.   I don't know whether the specific request was for one or for a series of articles, or perhaps the first one went down so well, she asked for another.  Her name was (I think) Laura Blackwelder, and there's a lovely irony in that surname, so far as I'm concerned; that was my married name, 1957 to 1982, and my children are Blackwelders.  It was a risk; even people who speak fluently can be plodding on paper, and storytellers often aren't skilled equally in written and oral forms. 

Whatever the initial request, the first article was well-received, and was followed by others, and some of them became the inclusion of his annual Christmas letters, and there was not only a series of articles for the newsletter, there were even several articles for the Steele Creek Community News.  I think Miss Blackwelder was the one who initially contacted someone from the local paper.  Bob gathered many of the articles together, roughly connected them, and gave it to his daughter Sue to organize, and it became the first versionThis was about the time he was turning 90, and some of the family got a copy, as I remember, a stapled collection of pages.  Having begun to write down what he remembered, he continued to remember, and to write, and to send bits to Sue.  There was another more polished version, the collected and revised version of his writings between 90 and 10; I have that one in my hand, and it was What Makes Bob Tick? And the next line says, Includes Additional Memories from Along the Way, and it's dated 2007 on my copyThat one is a very beautifully self-published book, plastic binding, green covers.  Since I can't locate my copy of those first stapled pages from 2000, I'm working from the 2007 volume, and that puts What Makes Bob Tick the first, in 2000, and Along the Way, I think Sue says, came to her in 2004, and the two were then compiled into the 2007 volume.  With more stories to tell as he thought of things, as Uncle Bob approached 2011 and his 100th birthday that gave him an end goal time-line. 

Also in 2011, the year Uncle Bob turned 100 I turned 75 and Kay turned 50 (neat pattern, that),  and while I think I still have a long way to go and a long time to do it in, I also know there are no guarantees, and it's counter-productive to put things off until Someday.  I did that with quilting, and finally got to the point when I had to make Someday happen.  I comfort myself that it's not such a big job when you do the piece that's right in front of you, at any given moment, even of the biggest job. 
That's what Bob did.  When the request was made, he agreed to try it, and he got to
writing down things as he thought of them or as someone asked about some particular aspect of the old days – possum-hunting, or hoeing corn down on The Island, or what Christmas was like in the 1900s.  He got great feedback from anyone who read what he wrote, and he enjoyed it, so he kept doing it.  For the last several Christmases of his life, his Christmas cards have included a copy of one of his articles.  It was my great delight one year to find I'd received his re-telling of a Christmas in the 19-teens that was a significant Christmas I'd heard about from my mama years ago, so I had in my story-hoard two only slightly different versions of a much-loved story!  Do children still ask, “Mommy, what was it like when you were a little girl?”  We did, often, and she always responded with stories.  Some of them we heard often, and we liked to hear them over.  When a new one appeared, perhaps in response to a new question, we welcomed it.


Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Disturbing News at the LDL today

By Jerry Gaudet

Jimmie Pourlos

Classmate Ronnie (Rallis) and husband Jimmie Pourlos were missed at "LDL" today.  How can we go to Jimmies Restaurant and have no Jimmie?

We were sorry to learn the Jimmie suffered a stroke last week and is rehabbing at The Peak, 3223 Central Ave., in Charlotte.

Encouragement can be sent to:
Ronnie and Jimmie Pourlos
1722 Birchcrest Dr.
Charlotte NC 28205-4908

Hopefully we will see them next month...if not sooner.

Monday, February 08, 2016


It's time for the February LDL!  A gathering of CHS 54 graduates and friends, all time tested, honed and approved by the Greatest Generation during the Greatest days of the Greatest Country on Earth!
Hey, that's YOU!

Meet with some of your fellow celebrities at Jimmies of Mint Hill,  where 50 years from now there will be a metal placque declaring the spot a National Monument.  A tribute to the monthly get togethers of a dwindling group of the "Last George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Alexandar Hamilton, Americans."

Don't miss the chance to be a part of history.....AND....have a great time with your fellow historical figures.

None of whom have wooden teeth.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 11:30 AM
at "Jimmies" Restaurant in Mint Hill.

Sunday, February 07, 2016

Super Bowl Sunday Again

Woody Robertson
It was Super Bowl Sunday four years ago, when my good friend and former TV director Woody Robertson passed away at age 78.  A sudden heart attack was the cause. Woody had been hired by the network for their Super Bowl coverage, to help coordinate TV player interviews with stations around the country. He was one of the best TV directors in the country as well a supremely competent administrator.

He was my Director on the morning interview show I hosted for WTOP-TV in the mid 60's, CADENCE. The show was 30 minutes in length, broadcast each weekday morning Monday through Friday. That doesn't sound like much work, but believe me, it was a full time job for several people; but especially Woody and me. Woody owned a yellow Cadillac in those days, and if the cliche goes...that car could talk..........

Well, actually, in this wouldn't be talking;  it would be laughing.

There were many times that Woody would meet and pick up celebrities who were to be interviewed on the show as well as escorting them after the show to their hotel or next appointment...This personalized service made a big difference in our getting more busy celebrities visiting our city than any other of the Washington stations.

I'll never forget that day after the show when I rode with Woody to drop our guest off at his hotel.  You may not remember him, but he was BIG back in the 60's. He was a Danish Comedian named Victor Borge. Back then just about everyone knew his name.

Unfortunately, there was one name Victor didn't remember:

the name of the hotel he had been registered in.

That sounds like a problem, right?

Nope.  What a blessing,....for Woody and me!

It was almost dark when we finally found the right hotel (remember, there were no cell phones then) and, sadly I might add, the most "laugh filled" day of our lives came to an end.

There was one serious topic Victor mentioned a couple of times, and that was his concern regarding his hands. They had been "bothering" him for about six months and of course he was concerned since the piano was such an important part of his success.
That was over 40 years ago, but like most of us, generally, the vast majority of our worries are about things that never happen.

Take a look at what his "old fingers" could do on his 80th birthday!


Friday, February 05, 2016

Let's Talk About Quilting and Someday

By Diana Carpenter White

For some years now I've been thinking that if anybody ought to know she has the resources
to tell some stories or even to tell a life story, I guess it's me, one of a long line of Capps
story-tellers.  It's just the getting ready to do it that's been the problem, not what to do it
with.  Uncle Bob is my pattern for that too, since he wrote it a bit at a time, as it came.  No
rush, do the job in front of you.  Show up, pay attention, do the next right thing; that's my
Life How-To Advice.

It'll be hardest blending it all together, and making the seams come out to be invisible.
Wonder if Cousin Sue could be talked into being my editor, since she has experience in the
job.  Or maybe she can consult with my children, to whom the task will otherwise fall.  I can
hear them groaning now!

It’s Like Quilting

  For years, I thought about quilting.  I read about quilting.  My friends
and family pointed me to articles, saved me news clippings, and recorded quilt stories on TV,
because they knew I was into quilting. I subscribed to a quilting magazine.  I often bought
other quilting magazines.  I tucked away ideas for patterns.  I had files of ideas.  I didn't quilt
yet, you understand.  I was preparing.

I collected quilting items.  When I'd visit in Charlotte, I managed always to stop in and
look around in a little quilt shop on East Boulevard near where Kenilworth intersected it.  One
summer while I was visiting my folks, that shop had some basic quilter's items offered as a
set for about $20 – a self-healing mat, a rotary cutter, and a clear plastic ruler by Olfa/Olipfa
with yellow markings every eighth inch and a special edge.  Rotary cutters were still fairly
new, having appeared sometime in the late 1970s. I fell in love with the tools.  Wonderful
tools! I've always been a sucker for good tools, a heritage from my Daddy, the handyman.

During the 1970s, to my great delight, there had been a renaissance of quilting, thanks
to Jonathan Holstein and some other writers, researchers, and quilt historians.  There was a
major celebration of old quilts at a curated exhibition, and a few artists and writers and
quilters got further energized, igniting this quilting revival, all within the same time frame.

So many of the world's great quiet revolutions are begun with a group of folks in a relatively
small geographic area experiencing a relatively simultaneous reawakening, who get excited
about exploring something they passionately care about – and it catches.  I think of the red
barn gang in Dayton in the late 19th century, and the rise of what became DELCO (Dayton
Electric Light COmpany) and then there was NCR and business, and spark-gap starters and
automobiles and flying machines – the Wright Brothers started with a bicycle shop in Dayton,
you remember.

So in the late 70s, during this quilting efflorescence, Michael James was turning color
theory on its head.  Dorothy and Jeffrey Gutcheon were developing ways to cut diamond
shapes, minding the bias, and taught techniques for stitching bias edges.  Nancy Crow was
doing glowing geometrics that were like nothing anyone else had ever done.  I collected
every picture of Nancy Crow quilts I found, and read every article.  She was the first artist I
knew whose medium was quilts, as compared to a quilt artist or an art quilter.  It opened
quilting up as an art form, for me, a serious endeavor with joyous possibilities.   I tore out
and saved every article about Nancy Crow that I found. Later she came out with a book or
two, which of course I had to have.

I had the James book and the Gutcheon book, and a book Kay gave me one Christmas, A People and Their Quilts by John Rice Irwin.   Reid and Alex discovered the same
book later, in Malaprop's in Asheville, and knew I'd love it; I gave this second copy to Cousin
Sue, with their blessing.  The study of the History of Quilting has become another sideline of
mine.  And to my great joy both cousin Sue (Sue Capps Leet) and cousin Mattie's daughter
Patsy (Patsy Capps Brandon) are now quilters.  We three mean that quilting is now officially
part of the ongoing Capps heritage!

I spoke of loving good tools.  In 1979 Olfa came out with the rotary cutter, easing the way for
cutting quilt pieces.  Olfa's rotary cutters were yellow and black.  They were superb tools.
I've always been a sucker for a good tool.  So to return to this small quilt shop in the Dilworth
section of Charlotte, they had this three-piece set of quilter's basics, for taking brand new
cloth and cutting it up into small pieces and combining the pieces into bigger pieces, a bizarre
behavior modern quilters display.  Oh, I had scissors, several pairs, some just for sewing.  My
children as adults still know to look for the tassel, when something needs cutting – to check
whether it's scissors for fabric or are they all right to cut paper with; you dassn't get it wrong.

I had yardsticks.  I had pins.  I had a measuring tape.  But no real quilting tools.  I didn't
have a rotary cutter or a self-healing mat or a ruler with an edge you could use to keep the
rotary cutter straight (try it with a yardstick and you'll have splinters, not to mention that
yardsticks generally don't have grids which include eighth inch markings).  And then at that
little quilt shop in Dilworth, suddenly here they were in a set!

I had the James book and the Gutcheon book, and a book Kay gave me one
So I bought the set, when $20 was a major outlay, over against someday, The
Day when I would start being a quilter.  In our extra bedroom in Eastwyck, which was my
sewing room and the kids' playroom and the family TV room, I had long kept a basket in the
closet where I stashed scraps of good cotton cloth that I would have on hand Someday when
I was ready to begin to piece quilts.  Maybe when the children are older, I'd think.  Maybe
when I have a little more time of my own.   I always knew I was going to be a quilter.  But
that was for Someday.  I blithely ignored the fact that someday was a bit nebulous as a date,
being the name of no day of the week, belonging to no month, and therefore hard to pin

Next – I Learned to Sew...

(This is the second in a series of excerpts from CHS54's Diana Carpenter White's personal and family history. A work in progress.  -Ed)

Dancing With the Stars?


But, it ain't bad.

In fact, it's VERY GOOD!

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Make Plans Now

The Violet is the official flower for February
By Jerry Gaudet

Well, You know what happens on Tuesday, February 9, don't you?
That's right!
This month's "LDL" (Let's do lunch) will be held on
Tuesday, February 9, 2016, 11:30 AM
at "Jimmies" Restaurant in Mint Hill.
We're sending you this personal invitation to join in.  We'd like to see you.  Help us spread the word! Invite other classmates to come! Even better, bring someone with you! Just be sure YOU, come!

"Surely as cometh the Winter, I know
There are Spring violets under the snow."
-  R. H. Newell

My Favorite "Violets" song     -Ed

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Flinal Words

Mister News

Much have I seen and known; cities of men
And manners, climates, councils, governments,
Myself not least, but honour'd of them all;
And drunk delight of battle with my peers,
Far on the ringing plains of windy Troy. 
I am a part of all that I have met;
- Ulysses  by Alfred, Lord Tennysonpro

How fortunate I have been to have met and known so many truly remarkable people!  Many of them go way back to....oh....the first grade or so.  Maybe earlier.  And of course, the many truly outstanding students of those incomparable Central High School years 1951 through 1954! Anyway, what reminded me of that is the fact that today, February 2, is groundhog day and an especially good friend, and important influence in my life, Julian Barber, broadcast a feature on one of his Washington newscasts in the 1960's that "bounces off" the Ground Hog Day theme.  

Julian Barber (L) 1953 and Tina
I first met Julian in 1952 when he came to WGIV as its first "NewsDirector."   He had just returned from active duty in the Korean War and the station he had worked for before he was drafted, WAYS, refused to hire him back.  But WGIV did.  And our boss, Francis M. Fitzgerald gave him the title of "Mister News."

No one ever called him that, but indeed it's what he became in later years in Washington and Chicago. For many years, his TV newscasts were almost always rated number one!

Rest in Peace, old friend.