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Posts Tagged ‘Emily Dickinson’

By ten thirty AM on Thursday, Carol and I were ensconced in the luxurious Colette room at the Sylvia Beach Hotel.  My friend had slept poorly the night before, so she took a nap.  Then our plan was to go to the historic bayfront in Newport and have lunch at the Local Ocean restaurant, highly recommended.  While Carol slept, I read in a comfy plush dark red chair.  I still had a journal or two to read from our first night room, Emily Dickinson.

Emily's room

Emily’s room, real and recreated at the SBH

Emily's room

Emily’s room at the SBH

During my 2008 visit I had read ten room journals from the Colette room…before I had the notion that I could photograph my favourite entries.  Had I the time, I would love to reread them all.  However, the room journals all have a different flavour and Colette’s tends to be about love, passion, and honeymoons.  Given a short reading time I would much rather read the journals of the more reflective, even angsty rooms:  Jane Austen, Emily, and best of all, the dorms that used to be on third floor.

Emily

Emily

When I finished the Emily journals, and Carol still slept, I got a room journal out of the nearest room, Dr. Suess.  Someone has been marking certain entries with yellow post its.  One of the marked entries was by Pat Henderson, a frequent visitor and journal writer.  I look for his entries and last time I visited, spent quite awhile putting together in my mind some of the story of his life; at that time, I read one of his entries that revealed he also noticed and wondered about frequent writers, especially Patricia Lent, who might be in her 80s now, or older.

Pat

Pat

The Suess room journals are mostly filled with happy children’s scrawls, so I turned to the more recent Colette journals:

another poignant memorial

another poignant memorial…and magic

another journal addict

another journal addict

Shelley is the sweet hotel cat of this decade.

Shelley is the sweet hotel cat of this decade.

In two pages, enough of a story for a novel:

a romance

a romance

a romance

And someone all the way from France:

Marie

Marie

Again, the healing power of the SBH:

the only way out is through, through, through

the only way out is through, through, through

Imagine my thrill when in the stack of Colette journals I found one from the old dorm room!  It used to have bunk beds….now has five? singles.   I read somewhere that the health department did not like the bunk beds.  That may or may not be true.  The other dorm room has been turned into a retreat for hotel owner Goody Cable, who often visits.  In the dorm journal, I found an entry that I am sure refers to my long distance SBH friend, Destiny.  (Later:  She tells me that it does, and is thrilled that it is by her grandmother!)

desert friends

desert friends

Another entry hints at a great and painful drama:

the key to my father's heart

the key to my father’s heart

I would imagine that my stepdaughter, who stayed here for one catastrophic month in 2011, feels this way and cannot understand that I do not stand between her and her father.

I found deeply moving this woman’s two-page story of her father’s sadness:

page one

page twoSomeone wrote a four or five page reminiscence of his college years and how he came out of loneliness and learned to make friends:

just the first page

just the first page (His life got better!)

I wish now I had photographed all five pages even though the first was the most moving to me.

More on healing:

no longer broken

no longer broken

the quest

the quest

On this one, I rather maddenly cut off the last line.  I was feeling a sense of urgency that Carol would awake and then my journal time would end for the day and I would have to leave the hotel on our touristy excursion to the bay.

journal appreciation

journal appreciation

loving the oddballs

loving the oddballs

I found another entry from my faraway SBH friend, Destiny.  (She spent days, maybe two weeks, at the hotel this past February ( think it was).

a last visit

a last visit

This so reminds me of that poignant entry I read years ago by someone who knew it would be her last visit because she was too aged to get up to the library (third floor, see my entry called house of stairs).  I also remember an entry by someone who visited, as many times before, with her husband, whose Alzheimers made it impossible for him to play the game (Two Truths and a Lie) at dinner.  She also wrote it would be their last visit together.  My heart broke.

As I read another entry by Destiny (who, like me, very much hopes that even in the electronic blogging age people continue to put pen to paper in these journals)…

Destiny, with Colette room backdrop

Destiny, with Colette room backdrop

….my friend Carol awoke at a quarter after noon.  I thought it would be time for us to leave the hotel as planned.  On previous trips together, one in stormy autumn and one in a rainy April storm) she knew I would not leave the hotel because of my room journal fixation.  She completely supports me in this!  This year, because of the nice weather, I had brought up the possibility myself.  I have a hard time staying indoors in nice weather.

So….Carol awoke and we looked at each other and listened to the cold wind and looked at the sunny day outside.   I asked her if she wanted to go out.  She asked me if I wanted to.  I asked her if SHE wanted to.  We both mentioned the cold wind…and then we decided to stay in.   We repaired to the library, and while she did take a walk later (through the Nye Beach neighbourhood, too windy to enjoy the beach), I did not set one toe outside for the rest of our visit.

When we visited a perfectly nice lodging in Cannon Beach in March of 2011, we explored the beach and the town at length and had three meals out.  Most hotels….in fact, I can imagine that no hotel in the world has the pull to stay in and read that the SBH does.  That trip to Cannon Beach occurred because the SBH seemed like such a long drive.  I note that in the two years since, we are wholeheartedly back to the SBH for our yearly trip.

Next: an afternoon of readng journals.

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I am obsessed with the Sylvia Beach Hotel room journals, and I can’t get back to writing about gardening till I share some of my favourite entries with you.  I want to preserve them for posterity (at least WordPress posterity) in case something happens to them.

Almost as soon as we checked in, I immersed myself in the journals written by guests in our Wednesday night room, Emily Dickinson.  A few other entries from the same room are in my room journal entry from last year (including a beautiful drawing a man made of his sleeping wife on their honeymoon).   I took the journals up to the library, where I read from 5:25 to 6:47 PM.

journals from Emily

some journals from Emily

I was quite excited to find this entry from someone who is writing a book about the SBH and its room authors.

Kelly's book

Kelly’s book

We met Kelly at breakfast the next morning and indeed, the book is a serious project.  It will focus more on the authors and not especially on the room journals, I gathered.

In the journals, I am always deeply moved when I read of grandmothers and granddaughters traveling together.    My grandmother liked nowhere better than her own home and was not much of a reader so it’s not as if I wish we had traveled together; I just like to see a close relationship like we had.

granddaughter and grandma

granddaughter and grandma

A long distance friend whom I met at SBH in perhaps 2008 cherishes this journal entry by her grandma.

guest from Utah

and the granddaughter writes:

granddaughter

granddaughter

Sometimes I have to skip a few pages because the handwriting is illegible, although if I can tell that the entry is a fascinating one I will struggle to read it.  I even saw one from our local author Robert Michael Pyle but could not decipher most of it!  And then I run across an entry like this:

handwriting

handwriting

You can see the south end fireplace of the library around the edge of this two-page entry about the healing power of the SBH:

entryentry page two

“Time is more valuable when there is so much less of it to waste.”

praying to the Emily

praying to the Emily

A running theme in the 1990s journals:  Jersey tuxedo cat got cranky with age.  Sometimes a hotel cat does become too cantankerous and is then found a private home, but Jersey was at the hotel for years and I remember Jersey sleeping on my bed in 1991.

Jersey poem

Jersey poem

I love the phrase, below:  “Still trying to figure it out as though we were kids, still.”

figuring out love

While reading many of these over again I still become weepy with emotion about the human condition.  I rarely feel such deep emotion as when I am reading the SBH journals and connect with the commonality of the sort of person who loves staying there.

second time around

second time around

My soul wants to stay forever.

My soul wants to stay forever.

the longing for solitude

the longing for solitude

At 6:50, I tore myself away from journals so that Carol and I could tour some empty rooms (the doors are left open if the room is unoccupied) and then went to dinner at April’s (delicious and right across the street).

At ten PM, I was back in the library reading more journal entries.

like a lazer

like a laser beam

I well remember reading this moving entry from last time:

six months since I lost her

six months since I lost her…

appreciating Emily

appreciating Emily

at the Fishermen's Memorial

at the Fishermen’s Memorial

Some people grace the journals with their art, from children’s scribbles to elegant works like these:

art

cats

Sometimes I find an entry that reveals how much someone has fallen in love with the journals:

journal addiction begins

journal addiction begins

People reveal so much of themselves and I want to read every word of every journal in every room.

understanding Emily

understanding Emily

At the bottom of the blog entry of a visit some years ago, I have added some thoughts about the journals from the Sylvia Beach Hotel Lovers Facebook group,  so check it out if you would like to read more about journal addiction.

At 11:15, we repaired to our room; we were the last ones out of the library and so we turned out all but one lamp.

goodnight

goodnight

The journal reading would recommence on Thursday.

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