Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I've been back in Atlanta for six days after my trip to New York and I've finally thawed out. I know you think I'm exaggerating, but the temperature didn't get over 50 degrees while we were there. But a little thing like freezing temperatures and hurricane force winds didn't stop us.

I met my sister, Janie, at the Atlanta airport with her friend, Shirley, who were changing planes to continue their trip to NYC. I joined them on the final leg of their journey. Shirley was going to visit her daughter and Janie and I were visiting my niece and Janie's daughter, Jennifer. We thought it was a perfect time to visit Jennifer because it was her spring break and she could spend the week guiding us to the right subway and pointing us in the right direction on the city streets. It was nice not having to have our AAA maps in our frozen hands at all times. We must have walked miles and I know we climbed hundreds of steps. Although it rained or misted most of the days, I was able to take a few shots on two of the days.

On Monday we met Shirley at the River Cafe located on the Brooklyn side of the East River. The restaurant is located near the Brooklyn Bridge and is steps away from an area called DUMBO (down under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). After lunch (which I might add I couldn't recognize many entrees on the menu...I had chicken) we set out on an adventure. I think Janie and 'em were looking for Jacque somebody's chocolate shop and I was looking for THE SHOT. After finding the chocolate shop and getting great hot chocolate, we found Water Street where I took these shots.

The next day we met my oldest sister, Ann, in the city. We had lunch at a really nice restaurant behind the New York City Public Library, followed by a tour of the library. As we were walking, before the rain began, I managed to get this shot. This house is located directly across from the Port Authority. I haven't cropped or enhanced any of these shots, so please be patient.
It was wonderful seeing and visiting with Ann. We ended our visit with a glass or two of wine at the bar in the Waldorf-Astoria. After putting her on the bus to Hartford, we managed to crawl to the subway heading to Brooklyn.

The last day, Thursday, April 16th, the sun appeared! We packed and then headed to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. The cherry trees were in bloom and the tulips were everywhere. As we walked along the paths we saw turtles sunning themselves. Here's a few of them.

I don't usually take photographs of landscapes (except the beach), but this was too beautiful to ignore.

Here'a a shot of my sister and Jennifer. FYI, they were standing in the shade so I used my flash. Until I took my last photography class, I had never used a flash outside. Who knew?

Here is the final shot. I asked a young woman who had a SLR camera around her neck to take this picture, thinking that she knew how to use it. Not so fast. Not only did she not focus the shot, but the composition is not so good. Whatever.

Looking back, I think it's a good thing that she didn't focus. It's hard to see the enormous bags under my eyes and the extreme pain I was in from the endless walking and climbing. Now I know why you rarely see older people ride the subways. Come to think of it, there really aren't that many overweight people down there in the tunnels. That's something to ponder Jenny Craig.
I must end this post by thanking Jennifer for allowing us to hang out with her for six days. She was a expert tour guide who showed extreme patience with her aunt and mom. She even let me use her Mac to check FB every day, okay twice a day. I bet next year during spring break, Miss Jennifer will high tail it out of the city to parts unknown. Who could blame her?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

He Said, She Said

I got the inspiration for this blog from my husband, Tom's, blog. (http://www.tommyhamrick.blogspot.com/) He usually writes about the happenings in the world of shag, but since there were no major events last weekend, he decided to write about his family vacations to Windy Hill Beach every fourth of July. He explains that the reason for the same week every year in July was because his father worked in the cotton mills and they always shut down for the week of the fourth of July. Newberry, South Carolina, was where he spent most of his childhood and he talks about what a great town it was to grow up. I think he said, "I wouldn't trade growing up in Newberry for anywhere else in the world."

So then I started thinking. I grew up in Huntington, West Virgina and I think my town was a great place to grow up. We had sidewalks and lots of grass with clover for the bees...just enough for us to get stung at least three times each summer. We had bikes and skates and played hopscotch on the sidewalk in front of our house. The only establishment that I know of that closed during the week of July fourth was Jim's Steak and Spaghetti House on Fifth Avenue, so the week of the fourth was just like any other week, except for the fourth and that was always fun.

My family didn't go to the beach in the summer or any other time, for that matter. My father worked for the C&O Railroad so we could take our vacations anytime during the summer, and it wasn't to the beach. My parents weren't beach people. Daddy was of Scottish descent and mother was Irish. Needless to say our skin was very, very, white and daddy always talked about how the sun wasn't good for our skin, and that was in the 50's before SPF 75. For some reason, my father liked to take his vacation over Labor Day. Since my oldest sister lived and lives in Connecticut, we rode the train to Hartford via New York City, where we had to change trains. He arranged it so that we arrived at Grand Central Terminal in the morning, took a cab to Penn Station, checked our luggage in the lockers, and set off for an adventure. My mother usually took my middle sister, Janie, and they went to sites unknown; while daddy, on the other hand, was stuck with me. I remember one trip when daddy took me to Hayden's Planetarium. Because he had one vodka drink too many on the trip from Huntington to NYC, he fell asleep and snored during the program. I was so embarassed. I could write lots of stories about our adventures in New York, but I won't bore you. My point here is that we never vacationed at the beach. In fact,the first time I went to Myrtle Beach was the summer after my freshman year in college. That was the first of several summers that my friends and I worked there.

Although I never made it to the beach as a child like Tom did, we still had fun in Huntington over the fourth because we had great food like hot dogs and potato salad and fun stuff like sparklers. I thought that was the best ever. I can still see the lightning bugs blinking as the bright sparks from the sparklers shot into the black sky.
Below is a picture of me (age 5) in my first two piece.
Here I was dressed and ready for the beach, but I just didn't know where it was! Ignorance is bliss. Tom and I are lucky to have grown up in two towns that we both love. We had normal childhoods where we could run and play with our friends and we were safe. But I have to say, I wouldn't trade growing up in Huntington with any other place, and that includes, you know where!