May 17, 2012

Circus Day

On May 19, 1884, Ringling Brothers Circus gave its first performance.

A few years ago, when my grandchildren were still let's-play-circus age, I decided the four of us would celebrate Circus Day with a special circus dinner and a video (Dumbo).
The tablecloth is a fabric piece from a church bazaar.
A jar dipped in yellow paint was used to make the circles.

The balloon centerpiece was copied from a picture I saw on the internet.

Candles are Christmas pillars atop upside down stemware.
Place cards were made from a graphic on the internet.

Sponge clown noses rest on yellow napkins.

Turned out, it was too hard to eat dinner and wear the nose at the same time.
Still fun, though!

Dinner plates were found at a summer yard sale. This was the first time I’d used them. Got the salads too, but there were only two of them - all six for $5.
If I would have had some of those dishes that look like ice cream cones, I would have used them in place of the plastic juice cups. Every summer I say I’m going to buy a set.

The small Playmobile figures were part of a box of leftover items I used when teaching an animation class in middle school. After retirement, I gave them all to my grandchildren. A week before Circus Day, I asked the children to go through their toys and bring me "all the people and circus animals you can find." I went to the store and bought a clown. What’s a circus without a clown???

The yellow booklets tied to the backs of the chairs contained circus themed pages
I found on the internet: dot-to-dots, word searches and coloring pages.
Animal crackers were meant for lunch boxes the following day.

Chicken on a stick (I have a grandchild who doesn’t like hot dogs.),
corn on the cob,
a watermelon slice,
and lemonade in a box,

Then we all took our vanilla ice cream cones
to eat in front of the TV while we watched Dumbo.

I 'm joining
PhotobucketA Stroll Thru Life
for the 116th Table Top Tuesday
100Between Naps on the Porch
for 194th Tablescape Thursday

May 7, 2012

National Train Day - May 2012

May 10 is the anniversary of the golden spike ceremony joining the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railways.
RRCrossingSmalltrainThere are certain sights and sounds that instantly transport a person right back to her childhood. One of the sounds that does it for me is the distant sound of a train whistle. In my hometown there was a massive, curved, wooden trestle that loomed over the edge of the park. Oh, boy! What a marvelous racket the trains made as they barreled through. They were fast and powerful, and when my friends and I stopped playing long enough to watch one
pass overhead, we knew it was bound for someplace wonderful.


It was a train that brought me home from college my freshman year, pulling into the station at two in the morning,
where I knew someone who loved me would be waiting.
It was a train that first deposited 13-year old, California-born me in Grand Central Station,
and launched a life-long love of travel.
It was a train that carried my mother and me, twice yearly, into Jack London Square, just a short ride over the bridge to San Francisco. At the age of five, that meant I was headed for the zoo and the cable cars and Macy's Christmas windows. By the time I was 10, it meant visits to museums and tickets to the theater and dinners on the wharf. But every trip meant taking the train. When the train pulled out, I didn't have to wait for our arrival in The City to start my adventures. I could feel my vacation had begun right then and there, right at the point of departure.

On the return trip home, we'd visit the dining car. I can still taste the cherry pie.

PhotobucketAbove is a picture of the Southern Pacific Railroad's Shasta Daylight dining car. The Southern Pacific's Daylight was dubbed "The Most Beautiful Train in the World." It was the train I road and the dining car I remember.

This tablescape celebrates National Train Day, those San Francisco trips on the Daylight, and in particular, the visits to the dining car. DiningTrain2012

Upon sitting down, I saw more flatware than I'd ever seen in one place. To this day, I don't think I've ever been in a restaurant that had a bigger display of knives, forks, and spoons than that dining car had. The waiter would begin to ask my mother questions. "Would you like coffee, Ma'am?" "Will you be having soup today?" With each "no" from my mother, more items were cleared from the table. Our table would end up looking something like this, or more often than not, even more sparse.

The suitcase is the one I used as a little girl. It isn't a make-up case, but rather a regular suitcase sized for a small child. It has leather decorations around its edges and a bakelite handle.

The Daylight Menus were copied from ones I found on the internet.
You can see Mount Shasta framed between the trees.

DaylightRoundTheBendThe YouTube clip below is an ad promoting DVD sales. I only offer it as roundabout reinforcement of a story I heard as a child. My uncle was a railroad engineer (the guy who actually stands at the throttle). He said that Southern Pacific gave engineers poppy seeds to scatter along the tracks as they sped along. There aren't many patches of poppies left these days (The Golden Poppy is California's State Flower), but they were quite plentiful years ago. At any rate, look for the poppies about twenty seconds into the video.

She was a beauty!

Dinner plates, salad plates, stemware:: Moonspun (1968-1995), Lenox, wedding china
Sterling: Burgundy, Reed and Barton
Coffee server, creamer and sugar: M601, silver plate, Wallace Melford
Cruet set: No markings, gift

I 'm joining
PhotobucketA Stroll Thru Life
for the 115th Table Top Tuesday
100Between Naps
on the Porch
. . . off on my tangent . . . for Alphabe-Thursday's LetterY
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