My Library Shelf — F

Today’s book has the honor of being the first autographed book I purchased.

The author was not present that day. He’d been to the store recently and I was fortunate enough to pick up the last copy in stock.

Flight of the Enola Gay by Paul W. Tibbets

If you have an interest in World War II and the beginning of the Atomic Age, this is a must-read.

As an autobiography, this book necessarily focuses on the background, training, and experiences of one man. The fact that this military pilot was selected to fly the first atomic bomb makes it unique.

You may need to go hunting for this one. I’d suggest you start at the library and then check the used bookstores or the gift shops of museums with flying or military themes.


An Invitation

It’s an annual St. Louis event. Unlike many who have lived her over a decade, I’ve only recently discovered it. And managed to attend two of the last three years.

Residents of the American Midwest understand that winter can get a little dreary. Cloudy days appear plentiful. Temperatures drop. Streets and sidewalks vary from day to day – dry, slushy, ice, or impassable.

So if you live in the St. Louis area, and could use a dose of warm, fragrant, and pretty — come admire the blooms at the Orchid Show.

This lovely pair lives in the Climatron at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. The annual orchid show is held in a separate building — showcasing many colors and varieties. A welcome break from winter.


My Library Shelf – E

My mother didn’t understand why my brother wanted to take me to this movie.

This was a few years before I read the book. And I didn’t know much about what we would see. But — it’s hard to turn down a chance to go to the movies when a young teen.

Exodus by Leon Uris

I read the book a year or so after the event above. Like many good books — I learned a lot. Some of it delved into topics never discussed around the dinner table. Like many people, my parents didn’t often talk about recent history except for their own personal participation. (And the occasion and company had to be right for some of that.)

While the movie is good — I own a copy and have watched it multiple times — I recommend the book to obtain depth and background. For it is the characters past (and our own) which shape personalities and guide decisions – both positive and negative.

A modern classic

Careful – you might learn something.

Childhood Keepsake

Once upon a time… not all children’s toys were electronic – or even plastic.

Yes, my child. There was a time when plastic was new. And expensive.

My child size tea set was make of the same material as an adult one – breakable china. We learned to handle things with care. Oh, yes. Accidents happened.

And then we learned to sweep up the pieces.

Many pleasant hours passed while I served my dolls, friends, and myself from this set. It’s incomplete — the cups suffered in the previous mentioned accidents.

My Library Shelf – D

Before you think I only have serious history books in my home — here’s a fiction selection.

Drums Along the Mohawk by Walter D. Edmonds

I was an adult before I discovered this novel of the Revolutionary War. As I turned the pages I kept thinking — This is good. The best I’ve read in ages.

Adventure, danger, and little slices of domestic life in 1770’s New York are within these pages. Men go to war. Women are left behind, easy prey for Indians. Or perhaps not such easy prey when they gather within a fort. This tale has stood the test of time.

Check your local library or bookstore.

Kitchen Gift

A couple is getting married. You want to give them a gift. One that will last. Perhaps it will need to survive a move (or two or more) and children.

In the decade when many of my friends (and myself) were taking the step of marriage several wedding gifts were popular. Toasters and blenders electric frying pans found their way into every new household. Linens were always popular and appreciated. But let’s go back to the kitchen.

Remember these?

A person would run out of numbers trying to tally the number of times these have gone from over – regular and microwave – to the table. And they travel well to pot-lucks. And store left overs in the fridge.

Do I still use them after all these years? Well, I needed to wash one before I staged this photo.

My Library Shelf — C

Several years ago, on vacation, I ended up in a bookstore.
While this is not a rare occurrence, it does not always lead to the discover of a gem. Today’s choice, for the letter C:

The Coldest Winter by David Halberstam

I purchased it to increase my knowledge of the Korean War. It turned out to be an excellent choice. Well written. Pleasant to read. Sufficient maps.

It remains on my shelf as a reference. I have no doubt that I’ll continue to consult the index when a particular place or personality from that chapter of American history is mentioned.

This volume prompted me to look for others by this author. I found them at the library. Unfortunately, this was after his death. But I do urge others interested in 20th century American history to try at least one of his volumes.

Available wherever fine books are sold. Also at many libraries.

Cook’s Bouquet

Kitchen arrangement should be left up to the cook. Moving into a new apartment or home. Let the primary cook set up the cupboards and drawers. And decide witch items will be left in full view on the counter.

I’ve moved and set up several kitchens during my life. A few things are constant: the toaster is on the counter, dishes to the left of the sink, and cookie sheets in the oven drawer. Many more things are flexible and dependent on the type of storage available.

For years the slow cooker shared the counter with the toaster. Now that spot is taken by a coffee maker. When toddlers lived in the house the plastic storage containers were under the sink – beside the liquor. (I had my reasoning.)

And until I moved into my present home, a good many years ago, a drawer held the large mixing spoons, ladles, and spatulas. But due to the size of the available drawers, I needed to make a change. So I took a hint from kitchens visited and grace the room with a year around bouquet.

Within reach. Minimum tangle.

My Library Shelf — B

The Brandywine by Henry Seidel Canby.

Several years ago, on my first (and so far, only) visit to Delaware, I found this to be an enchanting small river. This historical study of the river makes a good read either before or after your introduction to the water rushing from Pennsylvania through Wilmington, Delaware to the larger Delaware River.

My only caution to the reader is to stay aware of the copyright date – 1941.

The shores of the river have been changed by man in these last decades. And while the river itself continues to wind through the land – the use of the land has changed from forest and scattered agriculture to sub-divisions and industry. (Not that industry is a new thing to the river. It’s water has powered many mills of many types through the years.)

History took place here. In the 18th and 19th centuries. And the 20th if you include the building boom which has taken place since publication. This book gave me a reminder that this nation is filled with moderate size rivers of great local importance.

Available at major on-line retailers and special order from your favorite bookshop.

Flexible Name

They dub it “Christmas” cactus. It’s best to use that in the broad sense of timing.

This year I have a new plant at my home. The friend of a friend was moving and unable to take her houseplants. So I went into this season without much information or expectations.

But first a step back. A previous plant – featured on this blog at least once – bloomed on it’s own schedule. As early as Halloween and around Valentine Day after a pause.

So consider my pleasant surprise when this new plant opened the first bloom a week before Christmas. And now when I scan the plant for buds, I figure I’ll have a bit of cheerful color in my bedroom well into January.

What’s the timing at your house? Is it a Thanksgiving cactus?                 Christmas? Valentine?