Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Weekend Book Signing Event

Barnes and Noble hosted a successful book signing event for me on Saturday, May 26th. The weather cooperated with a beautiful blue sky and temperatures about 70 F – perfect for a Saturday afternoon stroll. Many people appeared to be purchasing a book or two in anticipation of Father’s Day on June 17th.

It is always a pleasant surprise for me to see so many people in a store milling about, enjoying the books, stopping for a cup of coffee and listening to the live music – not a bad way to spend an afternoon!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Eternal Love or Eternal Misery

The locals tell of a legend that if a couple kiss as they float under The Bridge of Sighs, or Ponte dei Sospiri to give it its proper name, on a gondola at sunset – they will experience eternal love.

The other, less romantic legend associated with the 16th century bridge is that of misery and unhappiness. The bridge passes over the Rio di Palazzo and connects the old prisons to the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace from whence the guilty walked across the bridge to their ultimate fate.

In the 19th century, Lord Byron gave the bridge the ominous title of The Bridge of Sighs because he believed many prisoners sighed as they crossed the bridge assuming this would be their last view of their beautiful Venice before they were taken to the dungeons below.

The bridge was designed by a famous family member Antoni Contina. It was Antoni’s uncle Antonio da Ponte who designed the Rialto Bridge.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Transatlantic Brides and Parents Association (TBPA)

Seen here Louise Moore (left) Chairman and Theresa Pearston (center) Secretary. Two members from the Denver South Transatlantic Brides and Parents Association.

The Association was founded in 1946 in Great Britain by the parents of British girls who, during World War II, married American and Canadian servicemen. In March 1947 the exodus of approximately 70,000 British war brides began and the first ships arrived in New York carrying the brides to meet their GI’s. Some already had children and all had left their homeland and loving families behind. Over several months, 20 converted warships and cruise ships, including the Queen Mary, carried the brides to their new lives.

Many of these women were very homesick and the USA and Canada Division of TBPA, provided the opportunity for them to meet other British women all of whom shared a common heritage. Today the Association functions as a British Heritage Association with membership open to anyone of British birth and their descendants to future generations. There are branches throughout the United States and members meet as a group monthly, and every two years a National Convention is held, hosted by one of the many Areas or Branches throughout the US.

Jean McKinney
National President

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Village of Dedham

The Domesday Book reports that in 1086, Dedham had a population of over two hundred people and various livestock. The book was prepared by William the Conqueror after his invasion of England in 1066. His scribes were sent into the countryside to assess the population and livestock of each village so a tax could be levied against all the wealth in the land. So feared were the Britons of this inventory, they named the book after God’s final Day of Judgment.

Dedham is a delightful village. The name probably originated from the Saxon, Dydda’s Ham or possibly the name of an original family called Dydda. Dedham lay on a main road later to be known as The King’s Highway that linked Colchester and Ipswich. There are three ancient tracks in the village: Pound Lane, Manningtree Path and Pig Lane. Later, Pig Lane would become East Lane during the reign of Queen Victoria.

The Sherman family of Dedham, Essex, is located across the road from St. Mary the Virgin church. The Sherman’s were an influential family in the area and when at least six members of the family immigrated to America (1633-1640) they became the co-founders of Rhode Island, signatories of the Declaration of Independence, as well as becoming other notable dignitaries. Note the Freemasonry sign in the apex of the roof. (Extraordinary Places…Close to London. Page 22.)

Evidence of the importance of the Sherman family can be seen in St. Mary the Virgin church. There are pews in their name and also a tiny section of stained glass bearing the initials E.S. (Edmund Sherman). This is the last remnant of what must have been a beautiful stained glass window before Cromwell’s men let loose their cannons. They destroyed all that was beautiful in the churches of England preferring a more somber place of worship rather than the extravagant royalist’s way of life.