Posts Tagged ‘Julia Glass’

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Three Junes

We did not have any of the half inch of rain that had been predicted.  More high wind and freezing temperature made it a day off.  At last I had a bad weather day with few plans and no bulb sorting, thus with time to finish Three Junes.


I did not save many quotations from the book because the whole thing is such perfection that it would be hard to choose.  My favourite setting is the bookstore belonging to my favourite character, Fenno, a shop devoted especially to bird books.  Descriptions of the shop:


a bookstore named Plume


Tony, one of the characters in the second two parts of the book, housesits around the world.  I liked the description of a garden at one of his residences:


Because my new mission is to pick up litter around town, I was pleased by this reference to the amazing Bette Midler’s effort in the same direction:



Now, that makes me digress onto one of my favourite quotations about death:

“In one sense there is no death.  The life of a soul on earth lasts beyond his or her departure.  You will always feel that life touching yours, that voice speaking to you, The spirit looking out of others’ eyes, talking to you in the familiar things he touched, worked with, loved as a familiar friend.  He lives on in your life and in the lives of all others that knew him.” *Angelo Patri

Just about the time when I finished Three Junes, Allan returned from some errands with some bathing beauty photos:

IMG_1539 IMG_1536 IMG_1534 IMG_1518

He suggested we go to the Thursday free day at the museum and see their new exhibit.  While I knew it was about the depression, I did not expect it to bring back such strong memories of my grandmother.

Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum


From the museum website:

The Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum will host the special travelling exhibition Hope in Hard Times: Washington During the Great Depression.  Developed in partnership with Humanities Washington and the Washington State Historical Society, the exhibit focuses on the adversity and triumph of everyday Americans, comparing the struggles of the 1930s with those faced today.

The 1930s saw many changes to life here on the “North Beach” peninsula.  From man-made cataclysmic events like the fire that destroyed the Ilwaco High School and the fish trap ban that caused Chinook to lose its livelihood, area residents learned to rebuild and reinvent themselves.  Federal programs came to our region in the form of the Civilian Conservation Corps at Fort Canby and the WPA Documenting Communities in Oysterville. However, it was local ingenuity and generosity of spirit that gave our community hope in hard times.

The exhibit is built around 10 interpretive panels featuring stories, photographs and artwork from Washington’s Depression-era past.  Augmenting these traveling panels will be photographs, artifacts and information pulled from local collections to tell the story of the Great Depression here at the Beach.


Immediately, I was reminded of my grandmother’s kitchen:


On the floor next to the table sat a copper canner exactly like the one she used (that my mother later turned into a planter).

could be right out of my grandma's kitchen

could be right out of my grandma’s kitchen

In the background of the kitchen vignette hung some photos of old Peninsula gardens:



And then there was a small display of house dresses that brought tears to my eyes.


While my grandmother wore jeans and a work shirt to garden, and liked pant suits when they came into fashion, I remember her in an assortment of pretty and comfortable flowered cotton dresses, especially one with yellow daffodils with which she wore a daffodil pin.  (For many years, I had that pin; I hope it is still around in a little box of mementos.)

Here are my Grandma and her friends in the nicest tea party dresses:


Gram in her back garden with housedress and cat

Gram in her back garden with housedress and cat (making a piece of tin can furniture)

The sewing display reminded me of her, as she made many quilts on her treadle machine.


I inherited it, although it was so heavy to move that I left it behind in Seattle.  I sewed a few things on it myself and well remember the rocking motion and soothing sound of the treadle.

Give yourself time to peruse the exhibit as there is much text on display.


Inspirational:  “There is enough hate in this world today without making it worse.”  I found some of Ginther’s paintings online here.

The old newspaper, The Ilwaco Tribune, is featured in some of the wall displays.


I learned the first name of Mr. Howerton, of interest because of all the gardens we care for along Howerton Way at the Port:


I had not known that the old high school had burned down and been rebuilt (with a struggle as the insurance did not cover a new building):


Nor had  I ever heard the apt description of Cape D. being “the great black hook”, black because of evergreen trees:


The Ilwaco Tribune came out of the storefront on the left, below, which now houses Olde Towne Café:


The Whole World Over

Home again, I began to re-read the second book in Julia Glass’s trilogy.


Last time, I read the second book first (in 2007) and did not read Three Junes until 2009, so due to my bad memory I barely realized that Fenno, a major character in the first book, is a charming background character in the second.    Today, having just read Three Junes, it was much more wonderful to run across more descriptions of one of my favourite fictional bookstores in The Whole World Over through the eyes of a character nicknamed Saga (Emily):





The description of a bird map reminded me of the Tootlepedal blog with its glorious photos of birds:



One of the protagonists is a baker named Greenie.  The description of her delectable creations reminds me of our local Pink Poppy Bakery:


Greenie’s husband is not presented very sympathetically until one gets to the chapter written from his point of view.  I empathize with the way he handles problems because it is just about what I do:


I’m very tortoiselike at the moment.

Another new character buys some roses…


Because I have grown to love silence (after years, in the past, of always having some sort of modern pop music radio on), I identified with this passage; I’ve never liked watching or listening to the news.  (I like to read the news):

Apologies to MaryBeth: It's harder than one would think to photograph the book without curves.

[Apologies to MaryBeth: It’s harder than one would think to photograph the book without curves.]

My strongest memory from when I first read The Whole World Over is the haunting story of lost memory caused by a head injury to the character named Saga.  To this day, I credit the story with why I am so afraid to go into the bogsy wood or any place with trees during strong winds:





To lose memory like that is one of my worst fears, partly because of seeing the effect of a head injury on Allan’s father, Dale.  Formerly a university professor, a motorcycle accident robbed him of his short term memory and he would say to me sadly, “I used to be a really smart guy, you know.”  And my friend Carol drove a bus for the disabled for awhile and said it was possible to get a memory-destroying injury just from a small accident in a parking lot, as had happened to one of her regular passengers.  So I daily remember to treasure my ability to remember.




Dale could still read but had no memory of what book he had just read, so would read it again (or watch the same movie again).  For all that I love this quotation by Nietzsche: “The advantage of a bad memory is that one enjoys several times the same good things for the first time”, I hope I never lose what reading comprehension that I now possess:


I did not finish The Whole World Over today.  It would have been nice if Three Junes had come from the library during a spate of several rainy days in a row, but I’d had to wait for it through all the rainy days and now a batch of nice days are predicted: bulb planting weather.  Even though it had not been a work day today, we indulged in our usual Thursday evening treat.

The Cove Restaurant

In these dark evenings there is no view of the golf course from our table.  We sit by a window.  Across the other tables, the fireplace makes the dining room cozy.


Chef Jason Lancaster was surfing in Mexico, we heard, so the menu partly featured the usual courses rather than his “rotating Thursday night Chef’s Mercy menu”.  Allan tried the reuben and pronounced it good.

Reuben at the Cove

Reuben at the Cove

We shared some fried artichokes...

We shared some fried artichokes…

We had the marvelous apricot cider...

We had the marvelous apricot cider…

I had the beet salad and the fish tacos.

I had the beet salad and the fish tacos.

Then it was home, where we watched two episodes of the unnecessarily gory but cleverly written True Blood and I got in another hour of reading before bedtime.








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Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Nature had had her revenge:  When I had pulled wild grasses along the meander line a week before, I had cut my finger.   I thought it had healed well, but today it was sore and looked inflamed.  As a hypochondriac, I was quite worried; fortunately, rain let me stay in and read a book, because the sore spot was right where it would hurt to pull weeds.

much fierce rain

much fierce rain



  I became completely absorbed in the book  (with some guilt, as the weather improved considerably in the afternoon).  I should have got me arse in gear and hied us down to Cheri’s and Mike’s garden, both close to us, on the pleasant hours of the afternoon.  But I did not.

Allan was more ambitious.  I had pointed out, last time I weeded in the front garden, a limb that might be removed from the ornamental plum tree.  He had been thinking about it, and today he cut it.




after: more light for the shrubs underneath.  I do not especially like that tree.

He also hung up all our Halloween lights for the upcoming Halloween trick or treating extravaganza.

front porch

front porch





purple lights on the front arbour

purple lights on the front arbour

..and he hung two new pots (given us by our client Jo, I think) by the garage door.

..and he hung two new pots (given us by our client Jo, I think) by the garage door.

I went out to admire his handiwork, and noticed one plant blooming nicely in the front garden.

some sort of rudbeckia?

some sort of rudbeckia?

the front gate, ready for Halloween

the front gate, ready for Halloween

Now we just have to erect our spooky corridor of dead plants for the trick or treaters.  That will have to wait until later as windstorms would tear it apart.

Here is the book that had me so absorbed:


A couple of bits that spoke to me follow.  The first reminded me of stories I have heard about the end of life, including Jo’s dear mother who said something like “I don’t mind going but I’m not enjoying the trip”, as she died in her late 90s.



Why must death be so hard?  It is a mystery that plagues me; the concept of it being a passage, like birth, even though hard, is comforting, and I do hope it is toward something more than just the dark.

The following passage reminded me of my questioning about whether or not it was right for me to try to control nature in the far reaches of our property (and the revenge of nature that had my finger looking worrisomely weird and making me think of going to urgent care, although I can tell you, as I am writing this days later, I did not go and it turned out ok).



It’s a great book, and I recommend it so highly that on a scale of one to five I would want to give it a ten or a twenty.  I finished it by evening and was in mourning when it ended.  Sometimes Julia Glass has revisited characters in her novels (Three Junes, and then The Whole World Over, and now her new book And the Dark Sacred Night revisits the same characters).  I do hope she revisits the characters from The Widower’s Tale in a future novel.  I did not want to let them go.  Meanwhile, I am impatiently waiting for Three Junes to come from the library so I can reread the first two books of her trilogy before I read the third one.


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