Sun-Burned Days

June 13, 2014 at 6:03 pm (Education, In So Many Words) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

P1020224We went to the beach yesterday.  It was amazing.  We played in the sun, splashed in the waves, built sand castles with moats and walls and invading armies.  We applied sunblock every 30 minutes to our fair-fair skin – spf 50.  And in between those moments sprayed another kind of sunblock over our whole body to ensure that I hadn’t missed any spots.

Nonetheless, today we are burnt.  Really burnt.  Ok, so kiddo is moderately burnt and my legs look like lobster legs.

These are the days when being a reader and quasi hermit come in handy… we are sitting in the cool of the house watching book-based movies (The Rise of the Guardians) and patting our body parts down with home remedies.

So far, it has been a steady application of vinegar water (to take the heat out), egg whites (to minimize the blistering), aloe vera (because everyone knows to use aloe!), and at some point today I plan to try out a black tea poultice but that will require me to go purchase some Earl Gray.  Frankly, neither one of us wants to leave the house.

Prior to all this excitement (or miserable post-beach adventurism) however, I was seriously looking into the idea of moving closer to the shoreline.  (I’m still thinking I want to add this to my bucket list.)  If only for a 6 month lease someday.

1900 flood statueGalveston in particular is full of a rich history that I was briefly introduced to in school, mostly surrounding the epic flood of 1900 and the statue memorializing that event.  I remember studying the great September 8th flood in both fourth grade and seventh grade.  I even wrote a fictional diary of a girl caught in the flood as part of a required creative writing exercise.  With 145 mile an hour winds, near total destruction, families lost and killed, I sort of believed it wasn’t a viable living option.  Despite it being a great place to visit for the day, when Ike hit, I was still surprised to learn that people actually live on the island year round.  I grew up believing it was a Houstonian’s day trip destination and nothing more.

Galveston statueOne in particular that amazed me this weekend was the statue regarding the Texas Revolution.  It’s huge, and gorgeous, and well worth a child’s research paper.  Despite all the intense Texas History a child is submitted to as a ward of the Texas public education system, I had completely been unaware (or merely forgot) that Galveston was the Republic of Texas’ capital city.

I definitely want to incorporate more beach trips into our lives – despite our fair skin and my current severe sun burn.  But if I were to ever live there for a few months or so with our kiddo, I have so many cool lessons plans already half built around what would become our daily schedule.  Just the architecture alone is worth a good week’s worth of study.

The whole day was a gentle reminder to be a tourist in your own city from time to time.  It can be highly educational.

moody-mansion

Until then, maybe we’ll check out some Books about Galveston Island.

 

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Parnassus on Wheels – Can I Have One?

October 10, 2012 at 8:02 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Title: Parnassus on Wheels

Author: Christopher Morley

Publisher:  Akadine Press

Length: 160 pages

“[…] When you sell a man a book you don’t sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue – you sell him a whole new life.  Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night – there’s all heaven and earth in a book, a real book I mean.”

Parnassus on Wheels is both sweet and clever.  It is adorably romantic.  After reading this, I want desperately to peddle books from a horse-drawn early 1900s RV.  Morley has captured a tale of an adventure that is every book lovers dream: to travel in a cozy carriage with a dog and horse, spreading the love and joy of literature to everyone you meet.  What could be better?

Mr. Mifflin is a middle-aged ginger, evangelizing about the religion of books as a way of life, when he meets over-weight Helen McGill.  Helen is tired but spunky, she’s been a ‘house-wife’ to her brother for years on the farm they share.  Her brother, a famous author doesn’t really treat her as though she’s her own person, and 6,000 loaves of bread into life, she buys Mifflin’s whole operation for $400 on a lark.  Of course, everyone thinks Mr. Mifflin is taking advantage of the lady, but in reality he has offered a whole new life, a new way of seeing the world, and an absurd amount of joy.

As a bookseller, this story speaks to me.  I ran the literature sections for several years, and I received an intense amount of satisfaction from finding books for my customers.  The idea that you could deliver books straight to someone’s doorstep in such a homey but noninvasive manner sounds so enticing and whimsical to me.

Peddlers are well-known concept:

THE PEDDLER’S CARAVAN

[46]

I wish I lived in a caravan,

With a horse to drive like a peddler-man!

Where he comes from nobody knows,

Or where he goes to, but on he goes!

His caravan has windows two,

And a chimney of tin, that the smoke comes through;

He has a wife, with a baby brown,

And they go riding from town to town.

Chairs to mend, and delf to sell!

He clashes the basins like a bell;

Tea trays, baskets ranged in order,

Plates, with alphabets round the border!

The roads are brown, and the sea is green,

But his home is like a bathing-machine;

The world is round, and he can ride,

Rumble and slash, to the other side!

With the peddler-man I should like to roam,

And write a book when I came home;

All the people would read my book,

Just like the Travels of Captain Cook!

—WILLIAM BRIGHTY RANDS.

But a book peddler is a fairly unique idea, and I love Christopher Morley for sharing this idea with the world.  Clearly, he didn’t invent the concept, but one wonders if he encountered a caravan such as R. Mifflin’s Traveling Parnassus, or is it merely a dream he had for himself? Parnassus on Wheels was Morley’s first novel, first published in 1917.  Mr. Mifflin returns in the book The Haunted Bookshop, a sequel I am strongly looking forward to, but what I find most interesting is that Christopher Morley wrote over 100 novels.  Have you heard of any of them?  I had not, I was only aware of Morley because he was pressed on me by a fellow bookseller.  I rarely come across his work in bookstores, and I have never seen a title of his in any library.  I now plan to collect his work more vigorously.

Morley apparently wrote a number of essays and poems as well, and lectured at University.  One adorable little factoid is that he married a woman named Helen shortly after studying history in college.  I can’t help but wonder how much Helen McGill, of Parnassus on Wheels, resembled his own wife whom he loved.

Have you read anything by Christopher Morley? Please leave comments.

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