An envisioning . . . 1950 and the house on the edge of Marseilles.

Oh to be here.

France, a morning sun smiling in the sky and a third cup of coffee. Too much, what with the doctor saying only two, but the cream so good and the croissants beyond delicious. Not here to see anyway.

Bad for one’s heart and an extra beat here and there but a need to live in a world constrained by everything. Well, not sunshine and food but the rest of it.

Husband gone up against the wall back in Petrograd and out with a baby under each arm and nurse with the others. Nothing but the rubies from mother’s tiara picked out and sewn into little girl pinafores.

Finland and then round and round like riding on a Catherine wheel from spoke to spoke. Gibraltar and a fellow but not the marrying kind. Living from spark to spark and pawn shop to pawn shop with a ruby gone in each place.

But all right in the end. A new husband and even nicer than the first one. Well, not an aristocrat but a lawyer who gets rich defending dukes and princes and that’s almost as good.

The children big with tiny children of their own and all down for Easter. A treat it is.

But still. Impossible to walk the cliff to the beach. People that want you to do things when all you want to do is remember.

Back and back. Saint Petersburg and Grandmama and the photographer. Hair bow forgotten but a little brother with a sash in tartan silk. Gone from diphtheria the next year but a treasure while he was there.

Someone to play with and someone to tend  . . . .a warm nursery and a mother that got all dressed up to go to balls at the palace coming up before bedtime looking like a princess in a fairy tale . . . all one needs . . .never mind what came later . . .good one didn’t know . . .

Romanov children Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich and his sister Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna the Younger. ca. 1892.
Romanov children Grand Duke Dmitri Pavlovich and his sister Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna the Younger. ca. 1892. Vintage photograph. via https://scontent.fphl1-2.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/58443772_2059595344139778_9113835669133721600_n.jpg?_nc_cat=106&_nc_ht=scontent.fphl1-2.fna&oh=ee59e6374245a95978e2c102f2b7806b&oe=5D751835
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Paintings of rooms on the other side of somewhere in houses in Scotland. Patrick William Adam, artist (1854-1929). Most tidy, one not.

"The Yellow Bed." ca. 1917.
“The Yellow Bed.” ca. 1917. Oil on canvas. Image © Richard Taylor Fine Art. Fair use license. via http://www.richardtaylorfineart.com/gallery/view-all/patrick-william-adam/the-yellow-bed
"Orange and Blue, The Library at Ardilea." ca. 1911.
“Orange and Blue, The Library at Ardilea.” ca. 1911. Oil on canvas. Private collection In the public domain in the United States because the artist has been dead over 70 years. via https://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?ID=88274
Adam, Patrick William, 1854-1929; War
“War.” 1915. Collection of the Dundee Art Galleries and Museums Collection (Dundee City Council). Image © Art UK. Fair use license. via https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/war-92121
"The Morning Room." Undated.
“The Morning Room.” Undated. Private collection. In the public domain in the United States because the artist has been dead over 70 years. via https://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?ID=338044

French Renaissance Revival jewels to sparkle up your Easter dress. Alphonse Fouquet, designer. Living from 1828 to 1911, he was the father of Georges Fouquet. From the collections of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.

Bracelet Diane. 1883.
Bracelet Diane. 1883. Gold in multiple tones, rose-cut diamond and enamel. Image © Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Fair use license. via http://collections.madparis.fr/bracelet-diane
Sphinx chatelaine. 1878.
Sphinx chatelaine. 1878. Melted, spun and engraved gold. Image © Musée des Arts Décoratifs. Fair use license. via http://collections.madparis.fr/chatelaine-sphinge
Watch with fighting chimeras. 1880.
Watch with fighting chimeras. 1880. Gold and glass. Image © Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris. Fair use license. via http://collections.madparis.fr/montre-combat-d-animaux-chimeriques

Landscapes with the promise of an endless summer. German. Heinrich Reinhard Kröh, artist (1841-1941).

"Angelnder Knabe am Bachufer." 1860.
“Angelnder Knabe am Bachufer.” 1860. Oil on canvas. In the public domain in the United States because the artist has been dead over 70 years. via http://www.artnet.com/artists/heinrich-reinhard-kr%C3%B6h/angelnder-knabe-am-bachufer-XN9Y9Io20fa-AUqpm2GLnQ2
Bergstraße-Lichtspiele. Undated.
Bergstraße-Lichtspiele. Undated. Oil on canvas. Image © echo-online.de. Fair use license. via https://www.echo-online.de/freizeit/kunst-und-kultur/ausstellungen/suedhessen/hofmaler-mit-heimatsinn_16028892#
Untitled and undated work but signed H R Kröh.
Untitled and undated work but signed H R Kröh. Attributed to Heinrich Reinhard Kröh. Image © 2008-2019 Bukowski Auktioner AB, Stockholm. Fair use license. via https://www.bukowskis.com/en/lots/828427-heinrich-reinhard-kroh-attributed-to-oil-on-canvas-signed-h-r-kroh

Castellani. Victorian gold jewelry with an Etruscan Revival spin.

Pendant/brooch. mid 19th century.
Pendant/brooch. mid 19th century. Gold. Image © 2019 Beladora Inc. Fair use license. via https://www.beladora.com/2013/01/castellani-jewelry
Diadem. ca. 1860.
Diadem. ca. 1860. Gold, agate, glass, pearls, and enamel. Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In the public domain. via https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/236765
"Campana" sun-chariot crescent earrings. ca. 1860.
“Campana” sun-chariot crescent earrings. ca. 1860. Gold. Said to have been inspired by a pair of 4th century BC Etruscan earrings in the collection of the Louvre. Image © 2010 S J Phillips Ltd London. Fair use license. via https://www.antiquestradegazette.com/print-edition/2017/june/2294/london-summer-capital-of-art/shopping-for-jewellery-and-silver/

Luxurious odds and ends from the collection of the Fabergé Museum, Saint Petersburg, Russia. One Fabergé, the others not but just as grand.

Punch set. 1887.
Punch set. 1887. Made by the firm of A.Kuzmichev, Moscow for Tiffany. Silver, glass, enamel and gilding. Image © Faberge Museum. Fair use license. via https://fabergemuseum.ru/en/collection/item/88
Pair of drinking glasses. 1900.
Pair of drinking glasses. Used by Tsar Nicholas II and Tsarina Alexandra to drink to the health of her regiment on June 9, 1900. Silver, glass, and guilloché enamel. Fabergé. M. Perkhin, workmaster. Image © Fabergé Museum, Saint Petersburg. Fair use license. via https://fabergemuseum.ru/en/collection/item/59
Tea and coffee set. 1848.
Tea and coffee set. 1848. Silver, ivory, cork and gilding. Sazikov firm, Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Image © Fabergé Museum, Saint Petersburg. Fair use license. via https://fabergemuseum.ru/en/collection/item/69

An envisioning . . . 1980 and the house in Florenceville.

Oh to be here.

New Brunswick and the heat of summer with potatoes growing ever further down into the earth and everything else headed up. Sunflowers in bloom in the garden and a farm stand every time you turn the corner.

River too cold to swim in and no pool but all right anyway. Paths to walk down with butterflies that swoop and almost sing as they rise into the sky. Even the rain smelling cleaner than it did back home and stars that shine in a sky blacker than anything back home in New York.

Well, Canada home sort of but not the same. Used to subways and all that and that it doesn’t have. Toronto on vacations but the rest in sneakers that lace up and a bicycle that almost seems to ride itself.

But not always like that. The Bronx in the winter and Long Island in the summer but swim teams to swim on at Miss Porter’s and Georgetown.

Team captain missed by one vote but a joy it was . . .practices that went on forever and races over in an instant but nothing else . . .no husband or children to tend . . . whatever one wants and that all day long.

Swimmers poised for the start of a race at the women's swimming pool in Fowler Hall, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC. 1950's.
Swimmers poised for the start of a race at the women’s swimming pool in Fowler Hall, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC. 1950’s. Image © Gallaudet University Library Deaf Collections & Archives. Fair use license. via https://scontent.fnyc1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/55554531_2384074218291650_8188146989939032064_n.jpg?_nc_cat=108&_nc_ht=scontent.fnyc1-1.fna&oh=04f0cfd993f7f83edd4309be6e8529c8&oe=5D089EDB