Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Trip to Florida

(Click on photos to enlarge)
Darlings, we're back from Siesta Key, Florida, where we had a swell sunny vacation. Siesta Key is an island off of Sarasota, and boasts a really beautiful beach which is made of soft white sand and bends around in a graceful crescent. The water is an aqua green color but when a cloud comes along and blocks the sun, the water becomes more blue.

The palette is white, blue, green, khaki sand: those are the colors I wear in the summer time.

We were visiting my parents, and also in the neighborhood is our friend artist John Pirman as well as my mother's sister Monica and brother Brian, so there were a lot of good old O'Donnell stories told about my grandparents, great aunts and uncles, and even my great grandparents. You know these stories are based at 611, the family homestead in Herkimer, New York. Though they are not all jolly, I love to hear the stories, and I always hear something new. It's an Irish thing I guess.

Monica gave me a wonderful gift – the bronze-color blotter which was on my grandmother's desk. Back in the day when people wrote with a fountain pen, they blotted over the written ink so that it would dry. The handle of the blotter is shaped like a dog's body which is topped with a gargoyle-like head. Its curving bottom would gently dry inked paper. Monica and my mother both thought it might originally have come from 611. I love it.

Here it is on my desk. The small bowl on the left is a gift from my mother, also from 611. The two snap shots in the frame show 611 and also the garden outside the house. The antique stapler you may remember I bought at the Pop Up Flea because it reminded me of the stapler my great aunt Zibby had on her desk at 611. Do you see a theme emerging here? Seriously, I like having things around me that resonate with memories and meaning.

Monica also gave me this photograph taken at 611.

On the right is my great aunt Milly and her groom Orange James Fikes on their wedding day in 1931. On the left is my great aunt Kay and my grandfather George Mumford, in the wedding party. Isn't this picture dreamy? So beautiful and poignant to me.


Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing your family trip and memories. Your desk is artfully arranged, like a tablescape. Details on the painting above your desk?
I have many photos of my family also going back many years.

Bart Boehlert said...

Hi Barbara, That is a post card tacked to my bulletin board. It is a painting of Louis Tiffany by Joaquin Bastida and I love it because it shows Tiffany sitting in a white suit painting at an easel and surrounded by flowers.

Unknown said...

Thanks. The blotter looks right at home.

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Errant Aesthete said...


The photo is, as you say, positively "dreamy". The matching cascading ruffles on the gowns are so delicately feminine, you can almost feel the rustle of them from the image alone.

And the groom, Orange James Fikes? What name did he go by?

I so understand your attachment.

Bart Boehlert said...

Hello EA,
He was called Jim Fikes I believe. He sadly died young of a heart attack in Brazil (he worked for Firestone Rubber I think) leaving his wife Milly and two young daughters Linda and Katie.