Monday, June 01, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Marine Corrosion Testing Station



The Marine Corrosion Testing Station at Wrightsville Beach, NC  and an odd subject for a postcard. This card is postmarked Aug 6 1966. And it was sent to a lady in La Junta, Colorado. It says that the International Nickel Company operated this station, the largest of its kind in the world! Metals, paints, ropes and woods are being studied for their resistance to marine degradation. 

The message on the back of the card is also interesting: "Dear Mother, We just took off hardly packed- we had to get away for a few days. We called Donald this A. M.  He was in bed hadn't gone to work. Love, Grace."

Friday, May 29, 2020

May 2020 Books I read



Blue Mind by Wallace Nichols  The science that shows now being near, in, on and under water makes you happy! Loved it because I am so interested in this, but it is a little dry reading.
Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James (audiobook) I remember I read this years ago and did not like it, I was hoping that the audio version would make it come alive better. Eh, not so much
Becoming Bonnie by Jenni Walsh The origin story of Bonnie Parker (of Bonnie and Clyde fame) Clyde does not show up til the end of the book. This is a fictional account of how Bonnie evolved into someone who would commit those crimes with him. I liked it.
The Other Sister by Sarah Zettel psychological thriller, very dark, it was okay.
Columbo: The Hoffa Connection by William Harrington  based on the TV character. Do not waste your time. it was not good, the idea to link a rock star with the Union Boss Jimmy Hoffa was ridiculous.
Baghdad Without a Map by Tony Horwitz Travelogue from a journalist who lives in the middle east for a while, he was there in the late 1980's the book was published in 1991. I liked it.
The Golden Tresses of the Dead by Alan Bradley The latest Flavia de Luce book. Loved it as usual. I am just now realizing that the author is in his 80's and we need to appreciate every title in this series because there might not be many more.
Nightshade by Jonelle Patrick Murder Mystery set in Japan. If life had not been derailed by the virus, I might have been in LAX base and working trips to Tokyo by now, so instead I get to take a trip thru reading. I'm an armchair traveler now.
No Good From a Corpse by Leigh Brackett Noir mystery by Leigh Brackett who went on to be a scriptwriter of The Big Sleep, Rio Bravo and The Empire Strikes Back just to name a few, very hard-boiled noir --reading today, it is almost like a joke because we have seen it so much it is a cliche
The Oregon Trail by Rinker Buck I really enjoyed this one. It is about a man and his brother who take a wagon and retrace the route of the Oregon Trail in modern times. It is a fun read and he includes a lot of history about the trail as well as photos too. Highly recommend.
No Deadly Drug by John D MacDonald  I was hoping for more, but this was just a pretty dry recollection of the court case for this murder.
 

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Nancy Drew Hardy Boys Super Mystery a good one????

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys SuperMystery: Desperate Measures



Hurrah, Hurrah, finally a GOOD Supermystery. I was so happy to read this book. Finally there is a super mystery that is a true collaboration between the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. This book was published in March of 1994. It starts with Frank and Joe Hardy surviving a hurricane in Florida. The resort where they were staying was owned by a friend and it was built using defective siding and roofing materials. After the hurricane, there is so much damage and one employee is even injured. So the Hardy's decide to reach out to the manufacturer of the siding and see if anything can be done. They keep getting the run-a-round from the company.
Meanwhile Nancy Drew is asked to investigate the disappearance of the father of a good friend, Molly Keegan.  It turns out that Mr. Keegan is a chemist with the company that the Hardy Boys are investigating. So the sleuths end up on the same case. The company is called Tercon and has headquarters in Virginia.  The Hardy's were going to visit with Sheila Wyse, a lawyer for the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  Shelia gets shot and the father of Nancy Drew's friend, Lambert Keegan,  is found standing over her, so of course all the evidence points to Mr. Keegan as the shooter.
There is lots of conflict between Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. All evidence points to Mr. Keegan as being the prime suspect. But Nancy trusts her friend and is committed to prove that Mr. Keegan is innocent. The Hardy's are trying to get to the bottom of the Tercon company corruption, so they are focused on that aspect of the mystery.  When Frank and Joe are held at gunpoint and roughed up at the Tercon headquarters, it is Nancy Drew who comes to save them! Next, when Nancy is fighting the bad guys, the Hardy Boys show up to save the girls.
This book has both sets of detectives approaching the mystery as helping out a friend. There are instances where both parties save the other from the bad guys. And both are involved in physically fighting the bad guys. The girls are not just on the sidelines. The Hardy Boys do have access to a "Network" which reeks to me as a lazy author's device to provide information to the detectives. It sounds like they have a team of computer hackers at their disposal. The romance angle is definitely not as bad in other Supermysteries.  Joe ogles some girls on the beach in Florida and Bess has a crush on Molly Keegan's business partner.
My favorite quote in the book is: "I'd say good teamwork solved this case." Page 208.  All in all, I was very pleased with Desperate Measures. It is my favorite Super Mystery so far and it deserves the moniker.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Postcards 2020: Movie Screen on the beach at Lumina



This postcard is postmarked 1914 and on it, you can see the movie screen and grandstand set up on the beach for watching movies!

At the end of the Beach Car line was Lumina pavilion, built in 1905 by the Tidewater Power Co.; Lumina was constructed on 200 feet of ocean frontage at Station 7.  Lumina’s 12,500 square foot complex presented visitors with three levels of games and activities including a magnificent dance hall and a movie screen in the surf.

The next postcard is from a photograph by Arcadia Publishing which shows another view of the movie screen



A reminder to folks who are fans of my postcard posts. Coming in 2021, I will be highlighting the cards that you guys send to me. So send me a postcard! And you will see it on the blog in 2021.  Amanda Arkebauer PO Box 16131 Seattle, WA  98116

Monday, May 18, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Babies Hospital

Babies Hospital



Babies Hospital was operated from 1920-1978. This postcard dates from prior to 1956 because that was when a third story was added.  The hospital was built at the beach to take advantage of the idea that ocean breezes could cure childhood ailments.  It was the only purely pediatric care facility in North Carolina for almost 50 years. Nurses throughout North and South Carolina would come here for their pediatric training. The original wooden building burned down in 1927 and was rebuilt as the building seen in this postcard. This building was used as offices after the hospital closed in 1978 and finally was demolished in 2004.





Monday, May 11, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Oceanic Hotel

Oceanic Hotel:  I do not always show the backs of the postcards, but this one was interesting. It was mailed to Elmer in Pennsylvania from Edwin in Wisconsin and it is postmarked from Cameron, WI, so I assume Edwin mailed it after he had already come home from his Wrightsville Beach vacation. The vast majority of my cards do not have messages on them or were never mailed so I find that the messages are often a lot of fun and are very interesting to me.





One of the most popular hotels at the beach was the Oceanic Hotel. Folks would come from all over to make the Oceanic their home for the summer.
An article in the Wilmington StarNews  newspaper from the 1920's tells how popular the resort was:
“Much of the social life, gaiety and general life peculiar to the seashore resort is seen all day long in the capacious and attractive lobby of the Oceanic hotel where the guests assemble for conversation, card parties, concerts and impromptu dances. Usually in the morning from 11:30 o’clock til 1:30 p.m. and from 7:30 till 8:30 p.m., the lobby assemblage numbers 200 to 500 and it is there that the beauty and the gallantry ... of eight or ten states mingle. The Oceanic with its lobby life, its concert assemblages, its social functions, its tete-a-tete corners contributes one of the crowning features of resort routine.”
The Oceanic Hotel (located where Tower 7 Baja Grill is today) was destroyed by fire in 1934. It was never rebuilt. 





Monday, May 04, 2020

Postcards 2020: Wrightsville Beach, Kitty Cottage and the Great Fire

Kitty Cottage and the Great Fire of 1934







  The Kitty Cottage is infamous because it was the starting place of the "Great Fire of 1934"

The Great Fire

by Michelle Bliss
March 2010


In January 1934, the cold of the off-season, Wrightsville Beach was quiet, most of its private cottages and boarding houses empty. The island was waiting for summer, when visitors would come in droves to enjoy the beach, dance at Lumina and shop at Newells. On Sunday, January 28, however, the peaceful, sleepy winter was shattered by The Great Fire

At about 12:30 in the afternoon, smoke was seen billowing out of the Kitty Cottage, the well-known boarding house in which the fire began. Its rumored that a cigarette lit during a card game started the fire, but others believe it was caused by an electric iron.


On January 29, under the headline "Destructive Fire Rakes Wrightsville," the paper reported that"The fire, at first whipped by a brisk westerly wind, enveloped the Kitty Cottage and then lashed by a gale that shifted to the south-southwest, spread to the historic Oceanic Hotel, a rambling structure of several hundred rooms, and then leaped back to consume the handsome Sprunt, Bear, Wright, and Sternberger summer homes"
In another article that day, a reporter describes the scene from above, after taking an airplane ride over the island:"The dread god of fire tramped over the northern extension of Wrightsville Beach this afternoon and lighted the cottages one by one like so many tapers. When at last, his saga of destruction done, he folded up his wings and soared away, hundreds of cottages lay in smoldering ruins; at least a third of the popular resort was ashy waste, and scores of year-round residents were destitute."

As the fire raged, those on the beach began forming bucket brigades and pushing heavy carts with fire hoses. Wrightsville Beach had a volunteer fire department, established around 1915, with buckets and hoses as their only resources. Former Wrightsville Beach Fire Chief Everett Ward, who served from 1976 to 2003, says that back in the 1930s there were some water pipes used for hose stations, but Wrightsville Beach didn't have hydrants, a fire truck or large fire mains. Also, there wasn't any freeze protection, so in the winter, the pipes they did have might have been frozen.

The Wilmington Fire Department was called in, but since the drawbridge for cars hadn't been built yet, firefighters spent valuable time loading their truck onto trolley flat cars. Then, once the fire truck finally made it to the beach, it got stuck in the sand since there were no paved roads, rendering it useless.
With strong winds and inadequate protection, the fire easily spread from one building to the next. Wrightsville Beach resident Bill Creasy remembers watching this chain reaction from Harbor Island. "When the Oceanic Hotel caught on fire, it was such an immense fire that the burning embers from the heat rose up, and the wind was blowing out of the southwest, and it blew those burning embers down and dropped them on various houses and, by then, the whole beach was ablaze."

Creasy was six years old when he watched his familys summer home burn down. Like Creasy, many people saw the scene unfold from Harbor Island because the trolley was being used for the Wilmington fire truck and the walkway had been blocked off. Creasy still vividly recalls what he witnessed more than 75 years ago. "It burned an image in my mind because I can remember the smoke and the flames. The flames were very high because it was so hot, probably fifty feet." Creasy says that even from his vantage point, "You could feel the heat. When the wind would blow, it would blow a breath of hot air at you."
Luther "Tommy" Rogers Jr. was nine years old at the time and remembers actually crossing onto Wrightsville Beach with his father, Luther Rogers Sr., who had built the Kitty Cottage. "My dad took me over there. He built a large percentage of the houses on Wrightsville Beach, so he was trying to look out for his customers and save their houses."

Cecil Robinson, a year-round resident, was also on the beach that day. His wife, Silvey Robinson, says he was a part of the bucket brigade that saved a handful of cottages by climbing ladders to spray hoses and pour buckets of water onto the wood-shingled roofs, blocking the assault of burning embers. Silvey Robinson was in Brunswick County at the time, and she actually saw the smoke from there. "It was a big black cloud of smoke in the air," she explains, "and I remember my dad saying That's a bad fire wherever that's happening."
The Edgewater Inn, owned by Bill Creasys grandmother, was one of the buildings Cecil Robinson helped to save. After the fire, 10 families were left homeless and many stayed at the Edgewater Inn until they could rebuild. Along with the hotel, another four homes were saved as well.

Wrightsville Beach resident Betty Bordeaux says that just before the Ewing-Bordeaux cottage would have been engulfed in flames, the fires path was cut off by a large sand dune until the wind shifted away from the home. Hearing this story, the Wilmington Morning Startook a lighter tone: "If an historical commission is appointed in years to come to erect a monument to yesterdays Wrightsville Beach disaster, there is a sand dune on the northern extension sound side that deserves a little stone."

The tone was more serious in the Bordeaux home, however. Bordeaux was born after the fire, but she remembers her mother describing the dread she felt watching the blaze move closer and closer. "People were trying to save things they threw out the telephone of all things and a big marble sideboard," Bordeaux says. "But they just panicked, I guess, and threw them right out the window."
Other residents had a similar idea, but unfortunately, most items either burned anyway or were taken by looters who came by boat.
In less than three hours, Wrightsville Beach was forever changed. The fire destroyed most of the north end, sparing the south. "It was just a bunch of ashes," says Creasy of the aftermath. "There was nothing left. Chimneys were still standing and old iron beds. There were iron beds everywhere. The mattresses were gone, just the bed frames."
Even the wildlife didnt escape. "The fire was so hot," Creasy remembers, "that over on the ocean side, little sand fiddlers, little crabs, were all over the beach dead from being cooked by the fire."
Jim Wallace Sr. was 18 years old and in college at Wake Forest when his family called to tell him the news. When he returned home the next weekend, Wallace remembers kicking around the ashes, looking for anything. His family lost everything, including family photos. The only item he found was his grandfathers metal mustache cup.
"Some houses to the east did not burn," he explains, "but our house couldn't have been saved. Nobody back then could have stopped that fire."
The beach soon recovered with the help of the Federal Civil Works Administration, which rebuilt the boardwalks. The trolley line was repaired by the Tidewater Power Company, since power poles and trolley wires had been damaged. By 1935, tourists could drive their cars to the beach for the first time on the brand new two-lane drawbridge.
At the same time, private contractors, like Rogers Sr., worked to rebuild some of the cottages that had been lost. This time around, houses were made with asphalt shingles (instead of wood) and fire-proof asbestos siding. Finally, the Carolina Yacht Club saw a surge in membership from families who chose to join the club instead of rebuilding their properties.
Wrightsville Beach continued growing until the devastation of The Great Fire was just a memory. But Wallace Sr. still thinks about his family's home and wonders what could have been.

"I do sometimes think about what life would be like if that house was still there, if our house had survived," he says. "Some houses were saved and others weren't based on how the wind was blowing."
Wallace remembers a simpler time, before the drawbridge opened up the beach. "Back then, it was just the seagulls, sand pipers running along the beach, our dogs running free, and there were a lot of sand dunes still. We were all barefoot back then," he says, recalling life on Wrightsville in the 1930s. "It was kind of wonderful with the slow pace, but there was a lot going on too, with the Lumina and Oceanic going full blast."
Wallace says the best time to be at Wrightsville Beach was during the winter months, when the permanent residents had it all to themselves. Although the community rebuilt and prevailed, Wallace admits that Wrightsville Beach was never quite the same after The Great Fire.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

April 2020 Books I read




Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie This Christie is set in Petra and they made some really good movies of it, unfortunately they are not set in Petra (Syria and Trieste)
Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton  part of my paleontology obsession lately. I really enjoyed it. Call it Dances with Wolves with Paleontologists and Wyatt Earp! :-) Short read, it was published after his death and really feels like just the outline of what could have been a more epic book. And the ending was a little abrupt. But all in all very enjoyable and reads like a movie. You can just see them making it into a movie.
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (audiobook) this was read by Maggie Gyllenhaal. I love this book and have read it multiple times at many different times of my life. It was fun to listen to in the car. 
The Forgetting River by Doreen Carvajal Carvajal researches her family lineage and finds that when she was always raised Catholic in California, her family line can be traced back to Jews who were forced to renounce their faith during the Inquisition in Spain. So she travels to Spain to  investigate.
Fifth Avenue, 5 a.m. by Sam Wasson  Breakfast at Tiffany's and how it and Audrey Hepburn  effected fashion and the image of the fashionable woman circa 1960's.
The Dutch House by Ann Patchett (library) our neighbors are sharing their library books! I was on the list for this one, but was not able to get it before the shutdown. So I was excited when my neighbor offered it! I enjoyed it. A dysfunctional family drama centered around an odd "dutch house" in Philadelphia area.
Leave Only Footprints by Conor Knighton He visits every National Park in America (in one year) and this is his memoir of that time (with photos)
The Fire Line by Fernanda Santos Story of a wildfire tragedy from 2013 in Arizona
I Spy by Daniel Ribacoff a fun book about how to be your own private investigator
Crazy Salad by Nora Ephron a collect of essays that she wrote about women and being a woman in the 1970's for different magazines
The Mysterious West ed by Tony Hillerman a collection of western themed stories compiled by Tony Hillerman. Very good
Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child (audiobook) Action, Jack Reacher book. Fun to listen to in the car while driving thru for fast food!
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver Reminds me a bit of "The Dutch House" because of how a house is almost like another character in the book.
The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant (audiobook) I really enjoyed this one. By the author of The Red Tent. It is about a woman growing up in Boston in the early 1900's (they talk about the Flu Epidemic!!) This was read by Linda Lavin and I thoroughly enjoyed it!!
Masked Prey by John Sandford always a favorite, I heard that he is going to stop writing the books soon, (retire) which is a bummer.
A Memory of Murder by Ray Bradbury a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury, some of the first that he ever had published. Great if you are a fan and you can see how he evolved over time

Monday, April 27, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Surf Bathing some of my oldest postcards


These are two of my oldest postcards from Wrightsville Beach. The first is probably from 1901-1907 It is hard to pin down, because it was never used and there is not a postmark on the back. Being in black and white and not color makes it seem to be an earlier card. The second card is postmarked 1909, so we can be sure of that date.


 The first picture postcards still had the address alone on one side. If you wanted to write a message it had to be crammed in alongside the picture, around it and sometimes over it. This is why this card has blank white space to the right of the picture. The back of the postcard does not have a line down the middle, no messages were allowed on the back, only the address. Divided back postcards started in 1907, the card below has a divided back and the postmark of 1909. 


Friday, April 24, 2020

Nancy Drew Hardy Boys Super Mystery Courting Disaster



Courting Disaster 1993


This book starts without a hint of mystery. Bess and Nancy are invited to the Southern EXPOsure Festival in Charleston, SC by Kurt Zimmer, an old family friend of the Marvins.  Kurt is directing a rock musical, called Beauty and the Beat and starring a former child star, now a video deejay, named Terry Alford.  Terry immediately starts getting threats to leave the show and there is some sabotage to the theater as well, so Nancy Drew is on the case to protect Terry and find out who is responsible.
By coincidence, Terry is dating tennis professional "bad boy" Pat Flynn. Pat is playing in a exhibition match at nearby McCallum Island resort. Pat has been getting threats as well and the organizer of the exhibition tour has asked the Hardy Boys to protect Pat. Standard Super Mystery script of threats and sabotage.
This author had a fixation with height. We learn that Nancy Drew is 5'7", and 3 inches taller than Bess. Terry Alford is petite, barely 5'2" and Alan Lassiter, Pat's tennis rival is a gangly 6'4". I kept waiting for height to play some role in the mystery, but that never materialized.
There is a little bit of local Charleston, SC color sprinkled into the story.  They visit a restaurant on Shem Creek and walk along King Street and the Battery. They attend a garden party at a plantation along the Ashley River. All of the references could easily be written by someone who had never been to Charleston, SC.
At one point, Frank and Joe Hardy are actually fired from their case by the head of the Tennis Exhibition Tour. Pat Flynn does ask them to stay on as his bodyguards and he will pay them. Pat has a terrible temper and is very unlikable. The Hardys don't even like him, but they want to solve the mystery. I was very unhappy with the denouement of Pat Flynn's story line at the end. It seemed ludicrous to me and was contradictory to things that had happened earlier in the book.
The cliffhangers that ended every chapter got very annoying in my opinion. And some of the red herrings, were not so far off the mark. Many persons who were suspects did actually cause harm and make threats even if at the end, they were not the main villain.  All in all, another disappointing super mystery, not because Nancy Drew was not depicted well, but because of the lame story line and mystery.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Hotels at Night

 The Lumina at night

The Ocean Terrace at night

I just love the nighttime scenes on old postcards. Neither of these cards were ever mailed

Monday, April 13, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Watching Bathers from Lumina 1916



This postcard is from 1916....the message on the back says " Dear Edward, I am having a very nice time, I came down on excursion from Wilson. Wise says hello  Wellford"



Lumina, “Beautiful Place of Lights”, had a three level pavilion constructed by Consolidated Light and Power Co. for games and entertainment. It's magnificent ballroom had the first scientifically designed band shell on the east coast. It became known as the “Showplace of the Atlantic”.  Virtually every “big band” era band played there.  The last Big Band to perform at Lumina was Vaughn Monroe in early 1952.  Sadly, Lumina was demolished in 1973.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: The South End



Two views of the South End of Wrightsville Beach from the 1970's

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

March 2020 Books I read



Desert Queen by Janet Wallach (lbrary) The story of Gertrude Bell who in the early 1900's traveled all over the middle east and was instrumental in negotiating with Bedouin tribes and putting King Faisal on the throne in Iraq. One of my favorite quotes from the book is from an Arab chief, who considers women inferior to men and says of her, "if the women of the Anglez are like her, the men must be like lions in strength and valor. We had better make peace wtih them."
Louisa May Alcott: The Woman behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen (audiobook) I really enjoyed listening to this one in the car. I learned a lot about Alcott and her family (although I had been to Orchard House before!)
Processed Cheese by Stephen Wright (library) I wanted to like this one more, but it just did not do it for me. It is a satire about consumerism....I have read Carl Hiaasen that do it better.
The Longing for Less by Kyle Chayka (library) I enjoyed this one, about Minimalism and our current obsession with it. Spurred by the Marie Kondo movement. But he traces the roots of minimalism thru architecture and art and sound. Very interesting.
Wild Horses by Dick Francis Murder and a movie made about horse-racing. I really enjoyed the movie set location for this mystery.
The Language of Baklava by Diana Abu-Jaber (library) a memoir from a girl who has a Jordanian father. I was reading it for my Jordan trip. It is really good and has great things to say about how food makes us feel at home.
Hope in the Mail by Wendelin Van Draanen The story of how Wendelin became an author and her keys to a writing life.
A Spy in The House by Y. S. Lee (library) start of a series about a young girl thief who is trained to be a spy in 1800's London. This might be considered YA fiction. It was a fun read and I will be reading more of these when I can get them from the library again.
Silent Spring by Rachel Carson believe it or not, I had not actually read this book before! Published in 1962 and really has so relevance even today.  I highly recommend.
The Edge by Dick Francis A Train ride across Canada for Horse Racing enthusiasts and of course there is murder.
The Seashell on the Mountaintop by Alan Cutler part of my latest obsession with paleontology and geology. This is the story of Nicolaus Steno who first looked at the fossil record and decided to not continue with the idea of what the Bible and the church considered the age of the earth. He is basically the father of the science of geology.
Fast Times at Ridgemont High by Cameron Crowe The book that the movie was based on. Cameron Crowe was 22 when he went back to high school for a year to find out what really goes on with kids in high school.
Trudge by Lori Oliver-Tierney 50 year old Tierney decides to hike the John Muir Trail and this is her story. It was pretty good (I thought it better than Wild for sure)
The Victory Garden by Rhys Bowen (library) I enjoy the mystery series by this author so I was excited to see a stand alone novel by her. Set during the war
This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger (library) I just read Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead and this was very similar to me. Instead of black boys in 1960's Florida, we have Native Americans in 1930's Minnesota. And the Native American story is a bit diluted by the two main protagonists being two white boys at the Indian School, however I really enjoyed it.
Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie I was trying to get into the mood of the middle east and really enjoy Agatha Christie's murders that are set in that area.
Bad News Travels Fast by Gar Anthony Haywood  Cute mystery about a couple who are retired and living out of their RV to avoid living with their adult children. Fun
Sole Survivor by Dean Koontz I was actually looking for the Dean Koontz about the Virus and that one cannot be found for love nor money, so I settled on this one about the aftermath of a plane crash. I have decided that I should not be reading depressing books at this time and I need more light hearted fare.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Banks Channel



Banks Channel separates Wrightsville Beach from the mainland and gives a protected mooring space for boats. I learned to sail on a sunfish in Banks Channel





An example of a postcard (the one third from the top) that does not have a divided back and the message had to be written on the front of the card (It is postmarked 1906) The card on the bottom is later and has the divided back for both message and address.
Unfortunately, folks aren’t practicing their social distancing  while boating during this virus !!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Nancy Drew Hardy Boys Super Mystery: Dead on Arrival

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Super Mystery: Dead On Arrival




Dead On Arrival is a Super Mystery that was written in 1995. It capitalizes on the popularity of "Emergency" style tv shows involving Emergency Medical Technicians and combines it with the horror genre of body snatching. Bodies are being stolen from rescue squad ambulances and Frank and Joe Hardy have been asked by Chief McGinnis of River Heights to go undercover to try to foil the thieves.  In River Heights, they are staying at Nancy Drew's house and enjoying Hannah Gruen's cooking, while Nancy and Ned try to enjoy a candlelight dinner on their own.
Bess and George are away with their parents on vacation, so they do not make an appearance in this story, instead, we have Brenda Carlton. Brenda is an investigative reporter and a rival to Nancy. Brenda comes to Nancy to get her help in finding a missing reporter named Pam Harter. They need to find out what Pam was investigating and hopefully find her before it is too late. Brenda is a spoiled, annoying version of Penny Parker. Her father owns the newspaper and she just puts her nose into everyone's business, jumps to conclusions and throws her weight around with no consideration of consequences.
This book contains all sorts of clues as to the location of River Heights.  Pam Harter dates an architect who lives in Chicago. When Pam is found dead at a construction site that her boyfriend was working on in River Heights, he becomes a prime suspect.  Blaine, the boyfriend, was supposedly waiting on Pam at a restaurant in Chicago at the time of the murder. We find out that it is an hour and a half drive from River Heights to Chicago.  At another point in the story, after Nancy and Ned have been investigating at the restaurant in Chicago, it was only 2 hours later that they arrived at her house in River Heights.
They discover that Pam was investigating Margaret Cavallo, a state representative who is considering running for governor.  Cavallo's brother was one of the bodies stolen from a rescue squad ambulance after he died in a car crash.  So now the body snatching and the murder of Pam Harter are related.
Both Nancy and Ned and Frank and Joe Hardy get chloroformed by the bad guys. Frank and Joe try to rescue Nancy and Ned, but also get captured. Can Brenda Carlton, the obnoxious nosy reporter save the day? I will let you read the book and find out.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Fishing

In these days when you are supposed to keep your distance from other folks, I think fishing is a great way to pass the time. Even if you are on a pier with other folks, you can maintain your distance. Unfortunately, Wrightsville Beach has closed all beach access until March 31st.







The first postcard is a reproduction of a photograph from 1911 from Arcadia Publishing. The second postcard is what I consider a generic postcard of the time of a Big Fish...hard to tell if it is an actual spot on Wrightsville Beach and it is not used, so I have no message on the back and no postmark. The last postcard is from Johnnie Mercer's Fishing Pier --On the back it says, "For the best in fishing--especially Sheepshead, Blues, Drum, Mullet, Mackerel and Pompano. Tackle, Souvenirs and Refreshments shop at the Pier. Well lighted for night fishing. "

Monday, March 16, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Boat Racing




Two postcards representing the popularity of boat racing at Wrightsville beach from Canoe Races in 1912 to motorboats in the 1940's

On the back of the Canoe Racing postcard, the person says that they will be going out in a boat like that the next day!

Monday, March 09, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Arriving at the Beach




Both of these postcards represent the approach to Wrightsville Beach from Wilmington, NC.  The second one says on the back "One of North Carolina's splendid highways, from Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach skirts the mainland for two miles or more, and then extends directly along the beach for a considerable distance. Wrightsville Beach is a splendid island resort, eight miles east of Wilmington. "



Monday, March 02, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Surf







The Surf Postcard is from 1910 and the Lady in the Surf is a reproduction of a photo from 1937 made into a postcard by Arcadia publications. And the last postcard is from 1975

Friday, February 28, 2020

February 2020 Books I read



Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng I enjoyed it, very good about a Chinese-American family torn apart by the death of one daughter.
No I Don't want to join a Book Club by Virginia Ironside fun book highly recommend
True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey Australian gangster (much like our Billy the Kid) Ned Kelly and his family are the subject of this book, written as if it is coming from his diaries.
Decluttering at the Speed of  Life by Dana White (library) good book about wrapping your head around decluttering. Some nice tips...now to actually do it.
Institute by Stephen King (library) I really liked this one, much better than some of his other stuff recently. Special kids being taken from their families and used by a secret government agency.
The Wild One by Nick Petrie (library) The latest Peter Ash novel. This one is set in Iceland. Terrific.
Innocent Victims by Minette Walters two novellas read if you are a fan of Minette Walters
The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo (library) dysfunctional family drama, I am getting a little tired of these books, so did not enjoy this one as much as I might have if I was in another mindset.
Wild and Crazy Guys by Nick De Semlyen (library) look at the 1980's comedy masters from SNL and SCTV. Very good --I am a huge fan of that era of comedy.
And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander (library) Romance and mystery set in the late 1800's. I enjoyed it thought it was fun.
1222 by Anne Holt (library) good mystery.  Like murder on the orient express in Norway
The Dinosaur Artist by Paige Williams (library) loved it. But y'all know I'm on a paleontology kick.   About a guy who allegedly steals dinosaur fossils and sells to private collectors.  I found it fascinating.   It's a true story
Front Page Girls by Jean Marie Lutes (library) the story of the beginnings and evolution of female journalists. I enjoyed it and learned a lot
Blood Child and other stories by Octavia Butler (library) very good some sci-fi and she explains her process and intentions after each story, so very enjoyable for that.
The Story of Sushi by Trevor Corson thanks to Krista for recommending this one! I really liked it. If you are already squeamish about eating raw fish, it probably will not convince you!! But for fans of sushi, it is a very enjoyable read.
Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (library) really enjoyed this book, but it made me cry. It is about a Junvenile facility for boys in Florida and specifically about the black boys who went there. Based on true stories, this is a fictionalized account.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Silver Moon



Both of these postcards could be generic beach scenes, but both of these are used and were sent in 1948 and 1943 from Wrightsville, Beach, NC (and they have Wrightsville Beach printed on the front of the cards)  These are some of my favorites of my beach postcards and as a teenager, I was often out on the beach at night watching the moon and the phosphorescence.

The second card "moonlight tints the surf with silver"  was sent by a serviceman from Camp Davis, so it was FREE to send and it was the one sent in 1943--in the message he tells his friend that if he does not write back to him, when he comes home he will beat him up!! LOL

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys Super Mysteries in Mexico

South of the Border into Mexico!


Supermysteries,  Passport to Danger and Copper Canyon Conspiracy were both written in 1994 and they both take Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys over our southern border and into Mexico to solve some mysteries. This was back in the day when you only needed a driver's license to visit Mexico.

In Passport to Danger, Nancy and Bess are in San Miguel de Allende helping friends of Aunt Eloise who have an art school. The mystery is that the art school seems to be the source of fake green cards that are being circulated in the area. Nancy must find the forger.  In this book, Frank and Joe are on vacation and visiting Mexico City friends who own an art gallery in that city.  There is a little Bess bashing, when she is eating chips and salsa and they mention that she is always trying to lose 5 pounds.  The Mexican Police tell Nancy Drew to not interfere because this is a serious police investigation and very dangerous.  Nancy, Bess and Joe are held at gunpoint while the bad guy confesses all.  But, Nancy, Frank and Joe all fight the bad guys and Nancy uses a judo kick to subdue him!


Copper Canyon Conspiracy starts in Tucson, AZ with Nancy, George and the Hardys at the Cactus Marathon. George and Joe are participating and they all meet some amazing runners from Mexico,the Tarahumara Indians who run barefoot.  They are world famous for being amazing endurance runners.  The Tarahumara are also trying to protect their home land in the Mexican Copper Canyon from being deforested.  The Mexican Police are not as well represented in this book. They are shown taking bribes.  We are told that Frank is a pilot and he knows the Amtrak 1-800 number by heart!  The best message from this book, "When you are someone's friend you have to stand up for their rights, even if that means suffering for it."

I was pleasantly surprised to like BOTH of these books. They had the Hardys and Nancy Drew on equal footing as detectives and they let the girls and the boys work together to solve the mysteries and fight the bad guys with neither having an obvious advantage. Romance took a back burner, although there is this quote from Passport to Danger, "somehow Bess always managed to find just the right amount of romance wherever she went."  There were a lot of great descriptions of Mexico and Mexican cities! I am ready to take a trip south of the border!

Monday, February 17, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach Today

Here are two of the few modern, present day postcards that I have of Wrightsville Beach, NC





View from the Bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway


The Causeway crossing over Banks Channel to Wrightsville Beach

Monday, February 10, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Blockade Runner Hotel




In 1964 The Blockade Runner Hotel was built on the site of the Old Ocean Terrace Hotel (which had burned down in 1955)  I learned to sail on a sunfish at Wrightsville Beach just like in these photos of the boats in front of the hotel 

Monday, February 03, 2020

Postcards 2020 Wrightsville Beach: Ocean Terrace Hotel



The Ocean Terrace Hotel was destroyed by fire in 1955, at the time, it was the largest hotel on Wrightsville Beach. The site is now occupied by The Blockade Runner Hotel.

Friday, January 31, 2020

January 2020 Books I read




Catherwood by Marly Youmans the fictional story of a lady in 1676 America (the new world) who gets lost in the wilderness and how she survives.
The 39 Steps by John Buchan a spy story circa WWI
Flotsametrics and the floating world by Curtis Ebbesmeyer and Eric Scigliano Living in Seattle and beachcombing, you find crazy things sometimes. This scientist studies how things move in the oceans. Fascinating.
Winter Grave by Helene Turston (library) swedish thriller with a complex protagonist.
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (library) I did not think it was an "edge of your seat" read. It is a psychological drama more than a thriller in my opinion.
Wheat Belly by William Davis (library) great book about the gluten-free thing. Lots of great information.
Richard Potter by John A. Hodgson (library) The true history of America's first black celebrity 200 years ago in the early 1800's Richard Potter was the most popular entertainer in America.
Miss Zukas and the Raven's Dance by Jo Dereske I love this series of mysteries set in the PNW with a librarian protagonist.
Off the Beaten Page by Terri Peterson Smith (library) A travel book with suggestions on where to go with a Literary Theme.
Normal People by Sally Rooney (library) thought it was kind of sad, sort of dysfunctional relationship between a boy and a girl thru High School and College.
Prairie Fever by Michael Parker (library) 2 sisters in early 1900's Oklahoma and the man that comes between them.
The Dental Diet by Dr. Steven Lin (library) great book again about how our modern diet is bad for us...processed foods, too much grain etc.
Oxygen by Carol Cassella an anesthesiologist has a child die during surgery and faces a malpractice suit. Set in Seattle (attention Grays Anatomy fans!!)
McTeague by Frank Norris just rereading this classic, I first read it as a teenager, my Dad had recommended it to me about the same time I was reading stuff like American Tragedy by Dreiser and The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.. It is set in San Francisco, so has some great atmosphere of that city.
Being Mortal by Atul Gawande (library) Great book about aging and death and how it is dealt with in the USA particularly. nonfiction
Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald (library) If you liked Somewhere in Time or The Age of Adaline or The Time Travelers Wife, you might want to check this one out too. Interesting idea about time travel and loving someone who is out of your time.
While I am Falling by Laura Moriarty (library) story of a girl in college whose life falls apart as her parents are divorcing. Very good. I recommend.
The Man Who Invented Christmas by Les Standiford (library) Basically the story of the writing of A Christmas Carol by Dickens. I liked the history of how Christmas was celebrated and also the biography details about Dickens.
The People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks (audiobook) I really love this book and I caught different stuff during the listening of it.