Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One year ago: Day 9: New Year's Eve at the Field Museum, Chicago

Day 9 Union Station

Day 9 Union Station bauble
Today, it was off to the Field Museum, via Union Station, Chicago, with Cousin Lynn!

Day 9 Field Museum
Click HERE for a slideshow of the exhibits.

Day 9 Stuff

Day 9 Monkeys
The Andorian sock monkey checks out his simian competition.!

Monday, December 30, 2013

One year ago: Day 8: Blasts from the past in Chicago!

Grace 1939
My Mum's Aunt Grace Sutcliffe (fourth from left), working in Japour's haberdashery store in Parramatta in 1939.

Aunty Grace, the younger sister of my maternal grandmother, married a US sailor, Bob Stern, was voted "Most Beautiful War Bride", and went off to live in America. It always seemed like a bit of a fairy tale come true to us. Her annual Christmas cards, always with a golfing theme, were eagerly awaited each festive season, and we were excited to finally meet Aunty Grace and Uncle Bob in the mid 70s, when they made a trip back to Sydney. I returned the visit to Florida in January 1984, catching up with their son David in Chicago on the same trip. In 1991, I stayed briefly with their daughter, Lynn, also in Chicago.

I was able to squeeze in a brief detour through Chicago on my US adventure of one year ago. It turned out to be a very nostalgic trip, with Lynn and I going through her now-deceased mother's photo albums, and making some amazing discoveries.

The above photo was posted to the "Lost Sydney" Facebook group, and those members of the collective who knew about historic Parramatta were thrilled about the pic. One poster confirmed the name of the store was Japour's. (Now that did ring a bell!) "That was how it was said and I can remember struggling over the letters of the sign and their sounds. My grandmother, Winifred Stoney, used to make ornate crochet coathangers using silk and cotton from there. They also sold balls of wool and much else. It was even interesting to go to when with her as a 5-year-old. I remember it being there for a few years after that. I am nearly 59yo. I can't shed much light on the exact location, but there were shops on either side."

Another person said, "When I was a kid... there was a drapery/haberdasher called Japours... which was somewhere around 333 Church (right next to the bridge). IIRC, with an old style milk bar next door."

Another said, "I think it was Japour's - we caught the bus home from St Pat's primary school to Carlingford outside their door - the owners were related to the Bokeyers and Tannas who I went to school with!"

And "I certainly remember the drapery as late as 1977, perhaps as late as '80 or '81. Whether or not it was the one in the picture above (which is obviously long before the 70s)..."

Another recalled, "Japour's was not drapery really. It was haberdashery, although the photo has the sign HOSIERY on it."

It seems that the term "jabour"/"japour" is a type of sheep wool, thus the name? Now, what is really weird is that three elderly Parramatta sisters, now all deceased, whom a friend used to mow lawns for as a young kid, would have all visited this haberdashery shop often. He remembers them talking about it and buying stuff there in the 1960s. One of the women, Phyllis, actually owned a milk bar in Parramatta, although her store was next to a cinema, not right near the bridge. Small world!

3D Grace and Bob Stern
Grace and Bob Stern, Naples, Florida, 1984

The second blast from the past, also found in my American cousin's photo album, was my missing Santa portrait from 1963! My mother had sent it to her Aunty Grace in a Christmas card, assuming that she'd be able to order an additional copy at some future date. Just before my mother passed away, she mentioned thinking that that's why there was a blank space in her own album. I mentioned it to Cousin Lynn while visiting her in Chicago... and she remembered having only recently gathering together her mother's albums. Sure enough, there it was!

So, now 50 years after it was taken, here's to Christmas 1963, at Grace Bros. Broadway. I'm on the left:

Christmas 1963

Also in the album was a photo taken, by Aunty Grace, of Uncle Bob showing me around their tropical backyard in Naples, Florida, in January 1984. I'd never seen this shot before. I'm wearing a beloved "Get Smart" T-shirt, which I later lent to a friend (and never got back), so it was nice to have a copy made of this shot, too:

Bob & Ian 1984

Sunday, December 29, 2013

One year ago: Day 7: Saying farewell to Ann Arbor. But not goodbye...

Alas, this was my last full day in Ann Arbor for this trip, and plans have now been made to return next Spring, so that I can see Michigan without snow! Including the beautiful old hotel on Mackinac Island, filming location of the 1979 movie, Somewhere in Time, which starred Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.

Day 7 photos:

Charlie Brown Christmas tree
A Charlie Brown Christmas, plus Andorian sock monkey

Day 7 Ian and Dorothy
Ian says goodbye to Dorothy!

Day 7 ST Poster

Day 7 ST Trek

Day 7 ST Nero
The Andorian sock monkey explores Reed's amazing garage sale bargain!

Day 7 Hello Kitty
It was definitely a Very Hello Kitty Christmas for Olivia!

Day 7 We Three
When shall we three meet again?

Day 7 Icicles
I shall miss watching these icicles grow!

Reed & Olivia
See you soon (I hope), Reed & Olivia!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

One year ago: Day 6: More sights of Ann Arbor

Day 6 Borg Cube

The plan for the day was yet another away mission, roaming around the sights of Ann Arbor and enjoying the falling snow. But what's that the Andorian Sock Monkey has picked up on the main viewscreen? A Borg vessel? We must investigate!

Day 6 photos:

Day 6 Icicles 2

Day 6 Icicles

Day 6 Cube and Ian

Day 6 Snowflake

Day 6 Barber pole

Day 6 Barbers

Day 6 Barbers 2
Snowman window art, Arcade Barbers, in Ann Arbor

Day 6 Ice cream Rocky Mountain

Day 6 Ice cream Washtenaw>

Day 6 Graffiti 3

Day 6 Michigan Theatre
Streets of Ann Arbor, and Michigan Theater

Day 6 Dawntreader Seven of Nine
Dawn Treader Books, Ann Arbor

Day 6 Mural
Literary luminaries on this mural by Richard Wolk, painted 28 years ago, near the corner of
East Liberty & South State Streets. With Woody Allen, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Hese (Hermann Hesse),
Franz Kafka and Anais Nin. It was recently restored by the original artist.

Day 6 State Theatre

Day 6 State Theatre Psycho

Day 6 State Theatre 4
Ann Arbor's beautiful State Theatre

Day 6 Stuff 2
A good day's haul of goodies.
Reed and I unwittingly started a feeding frenzy with reduced-price Hallmark "Star Trek" ornaments!

Friday, December 27, 2013

One year ago: Day 5: Trudging around Ann Arbor, gleefully!

There was a flurry of activity just after breakfast on this brisk morning, one year ago, as Olivia's team of "snow men" turned up with their equipment. In the summer months they mow the lawn; in winter they clear the paved areas of snow. No phone call needed; it snowed over the holidays, so here they are! They probably aren't used to excited Aussies peering through the window and photographing them as they work, though. Driveway cleared, it was off to the mall (Briarwood), hopefully to buy a few US-themed T-shirts in the post-Christmas sales, and to find somewhere nice for lunch!

Day 5 photos:

Day 5 Snowplough

Day 5 Snow

Day 5 Snowplough
In come the snow blowers!

Day 5 Seal
Santa's seal of approval?

Day 5 Moose
Too much eggnog?

Day 5 Party panda
Definitely too much eggnog

Day 5 Party animals
More party animals at the mall

Day 5 Max & Erma's

Day 5 Snowman
This cute snowman was built the day before by Max & Erma's wait staff.
(They had the boss's permission; it had been a slow day.) He was right outside our window table.

Day 5 Snowman
I amused them all by going outside in shirtsleeves to take more photographs of him!
Everyone kept asking - all day: "Aren't you cold?"

Day 5 Pomegranate ale
Dinner with the Kaleidoscopes (Jeff and his wife, of Kaleidoscope Books). Jeff brought pomegranate ale!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

One year ago: Day 4: A White Boxing Day

And the snow kept falling! I really should give a plug for the lightweight New Zealand Merino long underwear, which was perfect for lumbering around in the snow of the streets of Ann Arbor, while staying comfortably warm.

Day 4 photos:

Day 4 Snowy Ian & Olivia
Ian and Olivia: in the snow!

Day 4 Straddle jump
We were satisfied to wander the paths of County Farm Park, and to ignore the Straddle jump.

Day 4 Squirrel nest
Squirrel nest!

Day 4 Nature trail squirrel
Nature trail squirrel

Day 4 Milkweed pods
Remember the wings of Day 3's homemade Christmas angels? Milkweed pods, growing wild!

Day 4 snowfall

Day 4 pot and snow

Day 4 snowfall

Day 4 snowfall
Snowfall in Ann Arbor's CBD.

Day 4 Vault of Midnight door

Day 4 Vault of Midnight
Reed and Olivia in the Vault of Midnight!

Day 4 Street squirrel
Squirrel attempts to enter Jeffrey Pickell's amazing Kaleidoscope Books & Collectibles!

Day 4 Kaleidoscope Books door

Day 4 Kaleidoscope Books

Day 4 Stuff
Kaleidoscope Books - and my haul! Thanks so much Jeffrey! What a great shop!

Day 4 Microbrewery
Either the vats through the glass are a microbrewery, or I found JJ Abrams' Engineering set
for the new "Star Trek" sequel. Enjoying Arbor Brewing Company's Milestone Cask Porter beer.

Day 4 Snow in Covington Drive
Snowfall in Olivia's street.