Posts Tagged With: home


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I love being on the road. And, I had to come home, but my first duty home was to stop by my local grocery and grab a six-pack of Black Butte Porter. I was only out for a short stay but a girl’s gotta have access to a decent dark, chewy, hoppy beer once in awhile.  (Jim calls it motor oil.) Even the stores where we shopped didn’t have a decent craft beer I could buy.

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Another thing they didn’t have was an olive bar. Those little French picholines, dark green, spiced Scicilians, Greek, kalamatas,  Spanish sevillanos, luccas, manzanillos,  yummmy.

My trip home was smooth. My cameras was deep in my carry on and I didn’t take pictures from the plane, but the rice fields and canals and flooded fields from the air, gave the impression there is no water shortage in California. All the lakes and reservoirs had yellow soil lines showing how low the levels are. We had never heard of a 500 year drought record until this year. Now we know what it is like. Summer in winter. Not good. So little snow. Time to deepen my well.  Get ready to pay higher food prices as the drought continues.

A group of Churches and faith healers are up on a nearby  peak as I write to send up prayers for rain today. I’m not a believer in such things, but I don’t oppose the effort. Jim’s son is quite willing to send some snow our way, but, as we know that doesn’t work either. Time to move to Alaska, but they don’t have olive bars or BBP there. Whatsa girl to do?

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Touring the town where I had my first date, my first kiss, and attended both grammar and Jr. High Schools was a nostalgic trek for me. The people who live in this house were not at home to speak to. My sister and I and three brothers all slept in one big bedroom upstairs in this two bedroom one bath house. A porch once ran the width of the front. I amazed myself at how many memories came floating back just seeing the place. If you’ve never done a trip like this, I’d recommend it.

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Two houses away still lived Mrs. Clifford Jensen. Her husband Clifford and his sister Julie were very young,  Bob and Nancy, both deceased, were close to my age.  She kind of filled me in on changes in the neighborhood over the years. Too many friends gone. DSC08499 (Copy)

From that house I attended St. Patricks Catholic Church, a beautiful old cathedral style church of which there are many in Escanaba. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get inside, it was boarded up, trees are growing out of the bell tower and it had been hit by lightening  a week ago. The building is for sale.  I sang in the choir here, two masses most Sundays.  I talked to the nuns about joining the convent and when  my father fund out he whisked us out of Escanaba to nearby Danforth  to get me away from that Parrish with these words:  “No daughter of mine is going to make a decision like that at age 11.”

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When we returned to Escanaba, we lived in this duplex which also had a front porch shared by both parties. Mrs. Niderost, our landlady lived in the right half. This house had a full basement.  Here I got my first kiss at age 13 from a boy named Bob Morin. (I still attended St. Patricks Church, but the subject of  a novitiate never came up again.) This house is only half a block from Lake Michigan and a neighbor facing the water would let us swim off his dock and taught me to water ski.

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On my one and only date, we went to a Sunday matinée at this now closed theater in town. .

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After the “show”, no one said movie, we went to Saykillys Sweet Shop for a tin roof sundae. My visit to Sakilly’s saddened me. The counter was removed three years ago. The booths you can barely discern at the left side of the room, long gone. The juke box, gone, but the only constant in life is change, so I shouldn’t have been surprised.  Sakillys still makes home made candy and a sells gifts,  much expanded from those many years ago.  I moved to California in 1954, shortly after my first date, and I thought the world would end.

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Mrs. Sakilly weighing candy. She is long gone, as is her sister, Angela Kabasic. Angela and Pete owned and ran Kabasics store where we shopped for penny candy and groceries as kids. In those days we had credit at the store. Mom would send us for a pound of sugar or something and we’d say “put it on the bill.” No question. Everyone knew who you were.

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The store is much expanded, modernized, and still run by a family member, George Kabasic.  It at one time had a counter running the full width of the store. You walked up to the counter and Pete would go get what was on your list one item at a time. Talk about sloooow! It amazes me how they could wrest a living from the place. Kabasic was a butcher and he had good meat and they still have fresh meat in a case at the back of the store which is now twice as long as it once was. Necco wafers, bird bubblers, walnettos, candy cigarettes. dots…a nickel went a long way.

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Downtown, the Ludington Hotel was considered the “Ritz”. It had bellmen. They were dressed in red uniforms similar to the little guy  who “called for Philip Morris” in the cigarette ads.  I remember wishing I could go into the hotel just to see what a hotel was like, it was so beautiful. It is on the State Historical Register, but it has lost its luster. Now, renting apartments and only a few rooms are rented out as a hotel, with a downsized dining room and bar. It was closed so I never did get my peek except through the door and a window.

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Another place that fascinated me was Just Ask…

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Gust Asp. Gus and I think his wife’s name was Dena, no longer own the business. I knew it was a cigar shop, or men’s shop. I never went inside. This time I did. It is a liquor store, fast food sandwiches, meat, cigs and all sorts of “stuff”. I shopped my babysitting dollars at Kresges  and Woolworths.  Woolworths had neumatic tubes that took your money to the cash handlers visible  upstairs. Then the neumatic tube delivered your receipt and change to the clerk downstairs bagging your purchase. Both stores were gone and the signage covered over.  (I made Jim take me back right after the sun set to capture this picture of the sign flashing its dual message.)

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We went looking for the schools I attended. Escanaba Jr. High, expanded on the back side was still there. Escanaba High School the one we knew, no longer exists. My sister graduated from it. My Grammar School, likewise, completely gone.

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A jut of land on Little Bay de Noc uses a crib light to warn boats and ships away from danger. It took over for the Sand Point Light House in 1939.

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The Sand Point Lighthouse has been refurbished and is now a museum with fully furnished living quarters. The most fascinating thing about it is the light keeper, Mr. John Terry, died the day before he was supposed to go to work in 1868. His wife, Mary Terry took over and lit the light until 1886 when she died in a mysterious fire. This complex included the lighthouse, a rescue boathouse on rails that could be pulled to the nearby water for rescue operations; a coast guard memorial, and a wonderfully done museum and archives in a separate building, all for the family price of $5. I got a line on people I knew, (one of the docents was my older sisters age) and a newspaper picture of Pete Dube, an olympic skating trainer. He died in 1963. My dad took us out to Little Bay de Noc to see Pete Dube Skate across the bay and back when he was in his seventies.

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We stopped for a beer at the Eagles Club. A brewpub on the street was closed.

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There are many historical buildings in this town and the Elks Club is one of them, imprinted on the building, 1925. It has a 6 lane bowling alley upstairs according to some folks at the Eagles Club. (The Elks Club wasn’t open.) We are on picture rationing, so I’ll be doing a part two on Escanaba, tomorrow.

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Ivoryton, Connecticut – Day 2

The motorhome is parked at my son’s home where I’m expected to remain until July 17th.

Mary is in Las Vegas, Nevada for her grandson’s high school graduation. Yesterday it was 113 degrees! Today’s forecast is for 110 degrees! Yowee! I’m glad I’m not there!!

Tropical Storm Andrea has finally moved on. Here’s an indication of how hard it rained…

As always you may left click upon an image to see an enlarged view and then click once again to see an even larger view…


The driveway to my son’s home…


My current set-up…


Enjoying visiting with family is another joy of the full-timing lifestyle!

The red dot on the below map shows our approximate location in the State of Connecticut. You may double left-click the map to make it larger…


Enjoying 65-75 degree temperatures most of the year is a primary joy in the RVing lifestyle!

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving”…Albert Einstein


On October 27, 2012, I created a two-minute video titled America The Beautiful. The music America The Beautiful is by Christopher W. French. The photos, which I randomly selected, are from the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Tennessee, Washington and West Virginia (not shown in that order)…are mine. Yup, That’s me standing in front of the Post Office in Luckenbach, Texas…Y’all!

Click this link to start the video. Make sure you have your speakers turned on and go to full screen asap.

If you have not checked out my Ramblin Man’s Photos Blog, you can do so by clicking this link…

All original material Copyright – Jim Jaillet 2013
For more information about my three books, click this link:

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Palacios was such a pleasant stay. In the book store, a man was rocking a baby while the owner went to do an errand. At the Chamber, they called City Hall to see if there was a dump station in town. And, they invited us to a free “Winter Texans Welcome Dinner and Dance.”  Why  some places are accommodating and friendly and comfortable and others are stiff and unfriendly, is hard to figure. There used to be an Army installation here and when they left town after the war, the population went from 15,000 back to 5,000. Maybe they are more grateful for what they have. DSC01296 (Copy)

We ambled toward the waterfront and came across this immense old hotel and wandered in to have a look.

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The Luther Hotel was built in 1903 and is on the State Historical Registry. Jack, the owner, is a member of the family  by marriage and gave us a tour. What used to be the library is now a library and breakfast room. The history resides here and it is impressive.

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Charlie Luther was a friend of LBJ’s. He stayed at the hotel often and the family donated his letters to them, about 120 exchanges, to the state historical society. This picture is signed to his daughter May Meyers Callan who ran the hotel after her father’s death.

From WWII-Only phone in town

This old phone booth in the lobby without the original phone, was once the only phone in town. Jack told us during the war, men would stand in a line that went clear around the block to get their five minutes of time on the phone. I hated to leave. I wanted to listen to Jack tell stories.

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The Luther Hotel faces the water front, pretty and blue.

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As we walked along, we saw a first. A sign warning you of oyster shells. We guessed they are sharp and can cut your bare feet.

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Then we laughed even more at the second sign altered a bit.

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We walked to the local Museum. A beautifully restored building with metal rings to tie horses still embedded in the cement.

It too was very homey, with two friendly women, a mother and daughter who talked our ears off about the town they love.

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One major exhibit here was about hurricane Carla from 1961. Click on the image to make it large enough to read the comments.

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People helped each other dig out. Store keepers had to bulldoze their goods out the back door and start over. The banks were open within a couple days, but half the people in town couldn’t get there. One woman reported she found a drip bucket in the attic full of water and washed her hair. Yet, few people move. The earlier hurricanes were designated by year. There is bound to be another.

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Museums often have items of great value, or not,  locked in glass cases. This museum had few things one would consider valuable. Like these magazine covers of presidents, and the ladies of the Temperance Society and a quaint valentine. I  found the place quaint and homey.

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We moved on around town, looking at old, beautiful buildings and then headed out to visit the shrimp fleet. On the way, off in a distance I finally got to see the elusive whooping cranes, five of them. We tried to get closer and they flew. They are magnificent to see in flight. We knew they had to land, so we drove around and found them at another spot.

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Still not close enough to get great pictures, but I was just thrilled. They are beautiful, beautiful birds.

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Then an evening at the Texas Chili dinner with cornbread and homemade deserts. It reminded me of a hoedown.

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The Shiner Hobo Band.

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The band leader was a hoot.

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They played polkas and other lively dance tunes that were familiar to everyone in the room.

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Palacios knows how to put on a good party. I’d recommend anyone to stop and visit this place if you are traveling the coast.

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Most of us have several families, children, siblings, cousins, or pets.  I have a family of plants. I didn’t start out to name them, but  each one is a story. This is Kristanne, who had me baby-sit her plants when she was moving out of her apartment. It almost created a border incident as we traveled to Southern California, picked up her houseplants, with a much smaller version of this giant, returned home by way of Arizona, and re-entered California. The border guard wanted to know what all those plants were sticking out of the windows in the back seat,  and poking out of an uncloseable trunk.  After a suspicious examination he said:  “Do you always take your plants with you on vacation?”

Now, what to do with it?  Damaged by frost while the tile floor was redone after a flood in December, it has lost some of its beauty. It is full of sharp, points. Nearly impossible to move. It needs re-potting. Its gotta go.

Uncle Charlie is a split leaf philodendron, given to my best friend, Betty, (now deceased). She named it and lovingly cared for it, split it,  and shared it many times in defiance of her husband’s family who rejected and ostracized his gay brother Charlie.  I need to nourish that statement for Betty.

My mother-in-law Alta, gave me many plants, and two survive, this soft begonia…

…and this very fitting mother-in-laws tongue. It is twisted and woody and old and should be tossed. But, Alta has been with me for so many years. How can I do that to her, no matter how sharp her tongue was?

My mother had a black thumb, so she often bought plants for me so she could enjoy them at my house. This lipstick plant is about three feet long, and very plain when not in bloom. Do I really need to keep it?

Then there’s moses-in -a-boat from my dear friend Anne.

And a rosary plant from Aunt Kathleen.

My Jeannie, hoya, I’ve had for 51 years.

And, a fiddle-leaf philodendron that is nine feet tall and spreads another seven feet along my dining room ceiling. It, too, struggles with a too small pot and neglect. It’s time. But…they’re family!


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Personal letter writing is becoming rare as we use our computers. My mother had a huge correspondence and always found a fun or appropriate quote to put at the bottom of each letter.

“The problem with people who have no vices is that generally you can be pretty sure they’re going to have some pretty annoying virtues.”  unk.

“A useless life is an early death.”    Von Goethe

“Pick out a girl for me, I’m on the marry.”   Walter Knight to his brother.

“After love,  book collecting is the most exhilarating sport of all.”   A. Rosenbach

“Politicians beware. Words have a longer life than deeds.”    And….Truth may be stranger than fiction , but is never as strange as lies.”    unk.

“Good judgement comes from experience, and often experience comes from bad judgement.”  Rita Mae Brown

“The best time to plant an oak tree was 25 years ago. The second best time is today.”   James Carville

“The happiest life  is that which constantly exercises and educates what is best in us.”    Hamerton


A weekend is synonymous with fun or time off, even when you are retired.   Monday morning is synonymous with back to work.  Neglected paperwork and appointments take center stage today.






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