Category Archives: serendipity

Found Wonders

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Two weekends ago,

during our exciting

Arts Festival weekend,

I visited the library’s

Annual Book Sale

and Fundraiser.

Searching carefully,

sifting through dusty piles

and carts of tossed books,

I found ones tucked nicely,

waiting for just the

‘right’ owner.

Limited spaces

requires diligence

to limit additions.

In a unique and lovely book,

I discovered the perfect

June poem to share with you.

Serendipity,

kismet and karma

wrapped up into

the sweetest

bundle!

Always fantastic

to find treasures

in amongst forlorn

discards’ bin!

“Fancy’s Hour,”

Hardly-aged cobalt blue,

gold engraved witch

adorning the cover.

Scarcely read book?

While an engraved

gold fairy perches

on its binding.

The author, Norman C. Schlichter,

had written two other books.

One was called,

“Children’s Voices”

and the other one was,

“Voices of Joy.”

Oh, how ecstatic

I would have been

to have found those

other two books,

among those

tossed aside.

Publication date of 1922,

proceeds “Fancy’s Hour.”

What antiquities!

My brilliant blue book’s

copyright date is 1924.

The Publisher,

C. Winston Company,

Philadelphia.

Thumbing through book,

playful and exquisite,

this poem caught my eye

and enchanted my heart.

Instead of saving it,

for all the men out there

for Father’s Day,

Here is my own

Personal Dedication:

“This is for all those inquisitive boys

who grew up to play important roles in

the lives of curious children.”

By Robin Cochran, 6/1/14.

“When I Was Little”

by Norman C. Schlichter, (1924)

“When I was little, I wanted to know

The how and the why of the beautiful snow.

Why this was this, and that was that,

And all there was inside of my cat.

I wanted to find the giant purse,

That held the pennies of the Universe.

I wanted to know who lighted the stars,

And the destination of railroad cars.

I wanted to know what elephants knew,

And to see a mountain through and through.

I wanted to know why birds had wings,

And more than a thousand similar things.

And, now that I’m older, and grow to be

A man of ripe maturity.

There are things and things that I want to know,

And, like a child in the long ago,

No one can tell me them here below.”

This seems like a kind of Sunday message that fits our 84 degree

weather day. I walked in the brilliant sunshine, observing flowers

and green everywhere. Cars bustling and people sitting out on porches.

My oldest daughter had just stopped by to pick up the boys, heading

off to Mingo pool. The library’s coolness upon my warm arms, gave me

shivers. I sat for a moment, reflecting about the weekend and children’s

wonder of things. In their curiosity, over the Saturday hours we

spent together, Skyler and Micah had been interested in playing at

Mingo Park. They had wondered why people would run in half and quarter

marathons when you are ‘allowed to walk?’ For the cause of the American

Lung Association, Delaware had sponsored “The New Moon Half Marathon

and Quarter Marathon,” on May 31, 2014. During our normally short trip from

their home across town, we had been circumvented and rerouted, to get to the

park. The boys had been fascinated by an intricate spider’s web with its white

‘nest’ of babies found nestled in the low branches of a pine tree. They had

been picking up pine cones, seeking the coolness in the shade of the trees,

away from the Big Toy, where they had made friends and chased them, in

endless games of “Tag, you’re ‘It.'” Too many other questions and thoughts

to cover, the spider’s web led us to the subject of books. Skyler asked,

“Did you ever read the book, “Charlotte’s Web,” Nana?”

I smiled, nodded and responded back,

“Third grade was a perfect time to

read that book! I am so glad you

know about that, Skyler!

Please tell me about it.

Tell me all the things

I may have forgotten.”

Art and Utilitarian Wagons

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An interesting story I found in a ‘thrown out’ book is worth

listening to. Every year in May, on the second weekend, we have

the Delaware Arts Festival. Along with this activity, since car

loads of people visit our small town, the Delaware County District

Library holds its Annual Book Sale and fundraiser.

Last year, May, 2013, I found in the book discards’ bin, a lovely

small book titled, “Victorian Horses and Carriages, A Personal

Sketch Book” by William Francis Freelove.

It is serendipity to have found this book amongst ones that were

no longer serving a purpose on the library book shelves. I feel

a kinship with this man from the 1800’s who enjoyed the pastime

of drawing with his pencil, then detailing with his pen and ink,

and adding watercolors to his drawings. The artist, William F.

Freelove, was a solicitor’s clerk who lived from 1846 until 1920.

He was a Quaker and had six children. One way he liked to relax

and entertain his family, was producing pleasant drawings of a

variety of horses, carts and carriages.

William would observe passers-by in their utility carts and wagons

in Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey.

By 1873, he had captured over 70 drawings in his fine collection.

They apparently were tucked away, for ‘safe keeping.’

The best part of the story is that one hundred years passed, when

finally the horse drawn carriages, carts and wagons’ illustrations

were discovered; neglected in a dusty old attic. There was a box

found holding his precious collection of drawings. I agree with the

preface of the published book of his drawings that calls this a

“charming collection.”

The book, filled with the ‘found’ illustrations, was finally

published in 1979, by the Clarkson N. Potter, Inc./Crown Publishers.

This was printed by the Lutterworth Press in London, England. There

is no mention of where the book sale proceeds go to. I wonder if

there are descendants of William F. Freelove who benefit from this

publication of his art?

There is a picture of a pocket watch drawing, with William’s photo,

along with the initials, “W.F.F.” and the year of “1868.” Although

the watch’s enclosed date would make him only 22, he has a long,

but neatly trimmed, white beard and his face seems like quite a bit

older man. His face doesn’t seem to reflect his artistic nature,

because it appears quite stern. I have read that intaglios and old

photographs were serious, a tradition of capturing faces not smiling,

during this period of time.

William lived 74 years, with no remarks of his family having health

issues or reason for his not publishing his drawings. They were solely

created to amuse and entertain his family and friends. They never were

framed and put on the walls of his family home.

Thank goodness for attics, dry basements and cubby holes! For art

is found within these places. Sometimes people knocking down walls

will find newspapers and other hidden treasures, too.

I delight in looking at these intricately detailed drawings with

such unique names and uses of each utilitarian vehicle. William

also drew different kinds of carriages, like a “Brougham Carriage.”

(Several include the word, “waggon” with two ‘g’s’ included in

their old-fashioned spellings.)

Each vehicle is being pulled by horses. Here are some of my

favorite ones, which are so intriguing in their specific uses.

1. Miller’s wagon. (This looks like a hay wagon, to me!)

2. Plate glass wagon. (This is a long, narrow wagon.)

3. Tallow chandler’s cart. (I assume the candle maker’s cart?)

4. Brewer’s Dray. (This has barrels of alcohol with “X’s” on them.)

5. Fish Monger’s Cart. (This is smaller.)

6. Piano Cart. (This is larger!)

7. Three horse omnibus. (This is a double decker vehicle with

passengers, including gentlemen wearing tall hats on it.)

His collection has 66 other drawings and would be quite fun to have

copies or prints to put up in a child’s room. They are very detailed

and colorful, too. I am so glad that I found a twice-discarded art

compilation for my own private collection of books!

On the final page of the book, there is a simple verse, addressing

the owners of horses:

“Uphill, urge me not.

Downhill, hurry me not.”

William Francis Freelove gave us a valuable contribution to the

art world, along with depicting the history of utilitarian forms

of transportation. I enjoy the period of time when horse drawn

vehicles, especially carriages, were prevalent. My grandchildren

like the 4 inches by 6 inches’ size of the little book, carrying

it around and studying the drawings. Interesting how it was put

away, first by the artist and his family. Then, the library chose

to throw it in the ‘discards bin.’

Some may say, “Their loss, my gain.”

A Dip into Serendipity

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A journey that once had begun, had gotten swept

under the table. The story had included exciting

beginnings and abrupt endings. It could have been

a nice, safe trip along smooth railroad tracks in

a predictable direction. Instead it had been quite

dramatic.

The way it all began was discussed, along with

where it had become derailed. It seemed suddenly

urgent to get the passengers united to head into

the future, reconnecting ties that had been torn

and broken.

Seemingly impossible reasons, years ago, to ever

be healed, were forgotten and forgiven.

Ice cream was delicious at Graeter’s in Upper

Arlington, Ohio last night. The ice cream place

is a franchise started in Bexley, Ohio, in 1870.

The relationship had started in 1980, between four

close friends, two couples who were into natural

foods, a Lancaster co-op and a business together.

From friendship, sharing stories, then traveling

a long and winding path that took both couples in

different directions.

From the traditional beginning, which had led

into separated, fractured lives, arose a child.

It was an unplanned and unexpected event. It

would leave a lasting, hurtful impact on all,

from 1985 until 2014.

The strange story would include heartbreak and

some moments of crying. The redemption, found on

3/21/14, would heal most of the wounds.

Who would have thought the woman with the ‘white

picket fence’ background would have held such a

wild story behind her outwardly quiet demeanor?

The serendipity was the ties that brought someone

from a far distance, of St. Louis, Missouri, back

to Ohio. The trip originally had nothing to do

with the woman nor her golden child.

A letter, sent out like a beacon, had been mailed

over cyber-space. Previously sent, hand written

letters, over the years, had been met with

silence.

No answers.

A coincidental trip to a gravesite in Cincinnati,

was fortuitous for the people to be reconnected.

Death had been over a few years ago, it was in

the memory of that loved one, the journey had

been made back to Ohio.

Tears of happiness flowed. Sweet memories of a

happier time embraced the four people sitting

across from each other.

Stories of the past, including similar family

histories of international immigration; one

generation ago for the father and two generations

for the mother. Unknowingly, both parties had

heritage from Germany. This shared lineage filled

the minds of the people with wonder. Over twenty

or more years ago, they had not asked each other

such questions.

Other kindred moments, included a love of music,

one for an accordion, another for a clarinet.

Two hands that reached out, were held, showed

dryness of skin, smallness in size and arthritic

joints. Family physical traits passed down.

Personality traits, such as independent streaks,

with some admission on both parties, of being

rather self-centered between child and father

were exchanged.

Faded, tarnished memories of the Lancaster days

were renewed and explained. They lost their

rusty feel and became polished, smoothed over.

Time truly heals all wounds.

The ties are now beginning and reaching out.

They are beautifully becoming braided into a

circular wreath where the child now knows of

another family. Intertwining, growing and

letting go of the hurt and regret.

The family was a gift well received.

The failed attempts to have connections had been

shared with the child, over the years. The way it

disappointed her, had recently come to light.

The other family is filled with aunts, uncles and

cousins who long to know the estranged member.

I indulged in my favorite choice of butter pecan

ice cream, covered with Graeter’s ‘homemade’ recipe

sauce of butterscotch, real whipped cream and a

cherry on top.

The symbolism of a cherry on top was the real,

relieved feelings, bubbling to my soul’s surface.

My family member had a simple scoop of butter

toffee chip, while the father ate chocolate chip.

The fourth person had an ice cream cone with a

cup of freshly brewed coffee.

He was the observer, the in-law, who would be the

recorder of the tale to regale the Missouri folks

back home. He had captured all parties in photos,

sent via telephone, as soon as taken.

The observer was warm and welcoming and through

his part as the ‘new’ uncle, he introduced one

of the first cousins into our conversation.

A girl named Brianna, age 12, who will be part

of my child’s life forever.

One of many new connections…

The wise, well humored observer asked if this

would be included in the title of my next post

on my blog: Serendipity.

I was not sure, at that moment, if I would indulge

in another post. Sharing this may be too much.

I mentioned that I had written a “Carry On” post,

earlier in the week. After much reflection last

night, I chose to share this story here.

Albeit in a bare bones, no details’ way.

Pieces of the puzzle fell into place.

The ‘once upon a time’ heavy weight was removed,

thrown out the window, for good.

By myself, I drove up the road on 315, a curving

tree-darkened route that led to my adopted home

of Delaware.

I had fled from another small town, almost 28

years ago.

The last remnants of the weight, the ‘chips on my

shoulder’ were lifted.

Its breadth and depth, unable to fully explain

to others who had known me.

All I know this was no longer needed to be held

on to. The baggage had no necessary purpose or

reason to be kept anymore.

There still is a chance for this ‘white picket

fence’ woman with the ‘solid core’ and deep roots,

to have her happy ending. Her child could now

proceed with new ties that bind.

Not the way she had visualized from her childhood,

but still a fantastic way to close the book.