A forever home and a husband to help take the grandbabies for ice cream cones every day after supper when they come to visit. A lunch of whatever one wants as long as you remember to check the icebox before you make your list.
Smiles all around and the same pew at church with the same child holding the incense boat. Not the same child but not like Christmas with a new child in each place.
Better it is but only sort of. The train into the city to shop every few months and the big city station with a place to get tea with chairs with caned bottoms and ice cream with chocolate sauce in dishes.
Knees that ache in the rain and ears that don’t hear so well but a memory in flood. A lounge for ladies to sit with their babies with a long-ago vision of a mother sitting up all night waiting for the early morning express, a child at either end of the bench, and two more towards the middle kept warm with their coats.
Wanting to leap on the next train when the man calls the stations. The express to New Orleans or maybe Los Angeles or Chicago. None of that mattering except for the train part. A married lady name now but little Flossie Shepard back then telling stories behind the limelights and banging on the drum with every sister on her violin with Burtie blowing away on his tuba. Mother and father smiling after in the dressing room. The next train to the next place and a hop, skip and jump to another contract touring on the vaudeville circuit.
Elmira, Charleston, Baton Rouge, and tiny places that blur with the hotel up over the restaurant and an opera house up over the Masonic Hall. Big places with four opera houses and elevator hotels with bellboys.
No vaudeville anymore and everyone gone. But something to remember forever and that every time a freight train whistles along its track. . .
Originally from Lawrenceville, New York, the Shepard Family Band toured throughout the Northeast in the 1880s and 1890s, eventually settling in South Royalton, Vermont. All members of the family were apparently musically inclined: “In addition to Minnie (mother and matriarch Mary “Minnie” Shepard), and her husband, patriarch James Monroe Shepard, all of the children were pressed into service. Daughter Laura Belle, the ‘violiniste,’ was getting better all the time, under the instruction of a ‘competent master.’ (Her fans “will be astonished at the improvement in style, tone and expression.”) It was said of little Lessie that, ‘Among lady cornetists she has no equal.’ The darling little son of the family, Master Burtie, could not help but please, for he was well-known to be, ‘The youngest Tuba soloist in the world; only nine years of age; scarcely larger than the instrument he plays.’ He was also a ‘clever comedian, singer and character artist.” The baby, little Flossie, “a sweet little miss of four summers,’ was said to be a “wonderful mimic and impersonator…a veritable little fairy.’ Daughters Kittie and Georgia were also part of the troupe.” Henry Sheldon Museum.
On a voyage to see how much mileage I can get from the creative ability and eye for images that my family thought was useless. On line art curator, fiction writer and now blogger. Historian's daughter. Follow me . . .even I have no idea where I'm going next.
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