Aug 31 2011

They say all things are connected. I have found that to be true.

Life is amazing sometimes: the way things work, or don’t work or when they work, or how they work. For instance, when I was in junior high school, I was lucky enough to be friends with two girls who were sisters, Laurette and Julie. And they were amazing people, so much so, that I have always remembered them fondly, for what is now, almost fifty years.

In fact, while most other memories have faded, having lost their importance and receded with time’s advance, Laurette’s infectious laughter and Julie’s wry smile are easy to recall and respond to in kind. Whenever I think of those two girls, I can’t help laughing, half a century after the giggles of junior high lost moments. And because Laurette and I were in more classes together, we became closer and good friends.

Laurette and Julie were special because their family was special, and their family was remarkable, tied together by cooperative efforts to get along and get the best out of life. I was lucky enough to be included in the fun as Laurette, Julie and I became friends. It was a very special time in junior high school, which was 7th, 8th and 9th grade in the 1960s. As the years went by, those three years became even more special because Laurette and Julie both went to a different senior high school than I did when it was time. I never saw them again, although the memories of many outings, sleepovers and a week at the ocean were often recalled with pleasure.

Spring is time for housekeeping, inside and out.

Life just has a way of going forward, so, it was strange when I kept thinking of Laurette in the fall of 2010. I didn’t know why then and I don’t now. The fun we had together kept coming back to me and I wanted to find Laurette and Julie and say, “Hi!” I had done Internet searches before, never finding either one. I was determined that this time, I would sit at the computer and look until I found them. But, life was complicated in the fall of 2010 and so, I didn’t get to it. Thinking, “Well there is always tomorrow,” pressing matters came first and finding Laurette went to the back burner.

So, finally winter was over and with the exhilaration of spring, I decided to find Laurette, once and for all. I looked and looked, following many “Laurettes” on the Internet, none of them mine. But then! One day I was staring at the names Laurette and Julie along with the names of their parents and siblings. My quest was ended, I had found Laurette.

The problem was, the article spoke of her in the past tense. I was in shock. Could it be that Laurette had passed away?

(To be continued next Wednesday, September 7, 2011….)



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Life as it was in Upstate New York circa 1845.

When I think of fall, I think of the Harvest Festival at The Farmer’s Museum in Cooperstown, New York. The Farmer’s Museum is a living history museum, much like Williamsburg, Virginia or Plimouth Plantation in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In living history museums, the culture of another time period is faithfully represented by period interpreters who interact with visitors as they wander through period surroundings.

The Farmer’s Museum showcases our national agricultural
heritage, specifically that common to upstate New York.

The Farmer’s Museum is a part of the New York State Historical Association, NYSHA, complex located just north of Cooperstown, NY. This well appointed history of agriculture museum sits across the road from the Fenimore Art Museum, the NYSHA Library and the Cooperstown Graduate Programs. All of the visiting options at NYSHA are well worth the time and money for the delightful experiences, both intellectual and aesthetic. And, did I say, “FUN!?!” While the NYSHA library houses rich reference materials and the Fenimore Art Museum is renown for its American Folk Art and Native American Collections, the Farmer’s Museum is a hands-on experience in the farming “way back machine.”

Distinctive architecture from all over New York State
has been moved and reassembled at the Farmer’s Museum.

Agricultural technology from all aspects of a working farm in the 1840s is displayed and explained by costumed interpreters. Hard work inside and outside the home are depicted as well as the hard play of games and diversions. Merchant life, tavern life and the interweaving thread of religious devotion are readily experienced by every visitor to create a vivid image of rural living when our country was young.

Go to The Farmer’s Museum and celebrate the bounty
of the harvest on September 17 & 18th, 2011.

My two favorite visits to The Farmer’s Museum are the Harvest Festival in September and Candlelight Evening during the Christmas holidays. Look for a Sunbonnet Smart post on the Candlelight evening in December, but  focus on the Harvest Festival now, because it’s just around the corner! Saturday and Sunday, September 17th and 18th, 2011, should find you in Cooperstown, ready to ride on a buckboard wagon, spin a hoop across the village green, enjoy old time refreshments or shop at a well stocked general store. If you like penny candy, want to play a game of checkers on a barrel or ride a carousel, then The Farmer’s Museum is for you and the Harvest Festival is a great time to enjoy it. For more information go here.

This family enjoyed their visit to The Farmer’s Museum’s
2010 Harvest Festival so much, they shared it on YouTube.

If you have ever been to Cooperstown, NY, you will remember it as a small village with one traffic light. Cooperstown is located at the base of Lake Otsego, the spring-fed mouth of the Susquehanna River. If you haven’t been to Cooperstown, then try watching the following video to take a tour of a most beautiful and engaging vacation destination:

Cooperstown was named after the family
of James Fenimore Cooper.



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