Category Archives: Baltimore

After the Ball is Over…

Just a few pics from the Regency Harvest Ball benefit at Hopkins Homewood House Museum last night.

The Museum , which is open for tours from 11-3:30 Tuesday through Fridays, and from Noon to 3:30 on Weekends, is located on the Hopkins campus at 3400 N Charles Street in Baltimore.  It was built in 1801 by Charles Carroll, Jr. (largely with funds from his father) and cost roughly 4 times the original estimate. But it was worth every penny. This is a gem of a Federal building and it is beautifully kept.

The ball took place at the beautiful Homewood . [Image couratesy:]

The ball took place in and behind the beautiful Homewood . [Image courtesy:]

I spent most of the evening in the master bedroom  — a lovely room with a four-poster bed and 19″ ceiling — in my role of the girl’s “governess” I took on the added duties of “helping” the guest primp for the festivities. I offered the gentlemen gloves. If they happened not to have come in proper neck attire — shocking! — I offered them a cravat and helped them tie it in period fashion. For the ladies I had fans. [Click here to read my blog on fans] I gave them a quick tutorial on how to open the fan and how to attract a gentleman (or repel a cad).

Besides meeting the guests I very much enjoyed interacting with the “family” as portrayed by members of the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory.  Like a good “governess” I helped out where necessary and started my evening by fixing hair and altering costumes at the Factory’s home at St. Mary’s Community Center in Hampden.

Lorraine Imwold  and Shaina Higgins look  out over grounds of Homewood House.

Lorraine Imwold and Shaina Higgins look out over grounds of Homewood House.

Tegan Williams, Brendan Kennedy and Shaina Higgins get into character.

Tegan Williams, Brendan Kennedy and Shaina Higgins get into character.

Ian Blackwell Rogers  and Katharine Vary

Ian Blackwell Rogers and Katharine Vary prepare to go up to the entrance and greet guest.

Chris Ryder portrayed the Butler.

Chris Ryder portrayed the Butler.


As the guest finished up their $250 a plate dinner (proceeds benefited the Museum) The Chorégraphie Antique ensemble performed period dances.


Dancers from Chorégraphie Antique which meets at Goucher performed for the guests. (As a humble governess I kept to my place — well in the back of the assembly. But I still enjoyed the festivities.)

It was quite fun to step back into the Regency / Federal period for the evening. The only question in my mind is… now that we know how wonderful everyone looks in their Regency finery… when will the Factory tackle a Jane Austen drama/comedy? (PLEASE!!!)

Yours, most humbly,

The governess…


Please note, I was going to authenticity, not glamor.


Fan-tastic — Prepping for the Regency Ball

Period print. [Image courtesy:]

Period print. [Image courtesy:]

When you are a middle-aged, middle class, American woman you don’t get invited to many balls. It just doesn’t happen. I’ve reconciled myself to that small fact of life.  Unlike Emma Woodhouse I don’t scan the mail looking for invitations. However, when Johns Hopkins announced that they would be hosting a  Regency Harvest Ball my heart did a little flutter.

I have my own Regency dress, long gloves, shawl and reticule, if ever there was a ball at which I was destined to dance… this is it. I will be attending with the Baltimore Shakespeare Factory. We’ll be adding period color by portraying real life Federal men and women from the Baltimore area.

I quickly fessed up to the fact that my dress, while authentic down to the material and the covered buttons,  is more  everyday dress and less ball gown. I will definitely be attending in my ” ‘Country’ fashions.” So I’ll be portraying a servant and helping the ladies (those who are spending $250 a ticket for this fundraiser) with their hair in the Fan Room.

This is super awesome [two words I will not be using at the ball] because I love Art of the Fan and doing “costume” hair.

jane austen fan 2008

jane austen fan 2008 (Photo credit: Owen Benson Visuals)

The language of the fan was often the most direct means of communication between a two people. It would be unthinkable for a young woman to come up to a gentleman she didn’t know and engage in conversation. But if she ran her fingers through the ribs of her fan in his direction, and he was perceptive enough to get the cue, he knew she had just said “I want to talk to you.”  Other fan gestures indicated jealousy, love, desire, and attachment to another.

A replica Brise style regency fan found on

A hand painted, wooden replica Brise style regency fan. This fan, which is painted on both sides, can be found for sale on

Silk on Ivory fan from the Victoria and Albert Museum

1820-1830 Silk on Ivory fan from the Victoria and Albert Museum

An assortment of fans found on

An assortment of fans found on

Mary Katherine Goddard 6.16.13 Thought of the Day

“He carries every point, who blends the useful with the agreeable, amusing the reader while he instructs him.”
the English translation of the Goddard family motto.

[Image courtesy: The Baltimore Sun]

[Image courtesy: The Baltimore Sun]

Mary Katherine Goddard was born on this day n Groton, Connecticut, USA, in 1738. Today is the 275th anniversary of her birth.

She was elder of two children born to Sarah Updike Goddard and Dr. Giles Goddard. Mary Katherine and her brother William learned to read and write at their New London, Connecticut home. Their mother also taught them “Latin, French, and the literary classics.” [] Shakespeare, Pope and Swift  were favorite reading assignments.

When Mary Katherine was 19 her father passed away. The family stayed in Connecticut for a few years while William was apprenticed to a local printer, but in 1762 they moved to Providence, Rhode Island, and  Sarah Goddard lent William the money to start his own printing business. All three members of the family pitched in to help establish the business.

William was ostensibly in charge, (but) he traveled a great deal, and it was Sarah Updike Goddard who was the true publisher of the Providence Gazette and Country Journal.  Mary Katherine took a great interest in the business and forewent many of the usual activities for young ladies to work as a typesetter, printer, and journalist.  The mother/daughter team made their print shop a hub of activity at a time when newspapers exerted great political influence.  They added a bookbindery, and in addition to the Gazette, printed almanacs, pamphlets, and occasionally books.[]

In 1765 William left Rhode Island for the more metropolitan Philadelphia.  Mary Katherine took over the printing operation in Providence.

…Left with a burden upon her shoulders, Mary Katherine acquired the skills she needed to print a successful publication. “It was probably during the years of [William’s] absence… that his sister… learned the practical side of typography and journalism… ” Lawrence C. Wroth wrote.[University of Rhode Island web site]

Three years later William asked the two women to sell the Providence business (They sold the Gazette,  press and building for $550) and move to Pennsylvania to help him with the Philadelphia Chronicle.

Upon their arrival they ran the newspaper and press and William headed to Baltimore, Maryland  on a new venture.  Mary Katherine followed him again in 1774 when she took over her brother’s weekly publications the Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser as he continued to travel.

With her mother dead and her brother prioritizing his political inclinations, Mary Katherine Goddard finally assumed the title of publisher of the Maryland Journal and the Baltimore Advertiser.  She put “Published by M.K. Goddard” on the masthead on May 10, 1775 — and it remained there even when William returned from his New Hampshire-to-Georgia travels in 1776.  []

She also became a postmaster in 1775 — the first woman in the colonies to do so. As postmaster she was at the  “center of the information exchange.”  [Ibid] and was privy to the news before her competitors. The Journal broke important news stories  (like the skirmishes at Lexington and Concord).

[Image courtesy the Library of Congress]

[Image courtesy the Library of Congress]

Mary Katherine kept the tone of the Journal professional. Other newspapers — and William — editorialized and included op eds that advanced political agendas. “Mary Katherine Goddard used a more objective, impersonal, and professional tone.” [Ibid]

She was a shrewd business woman who accepted alternate forms of payment when the taxes or the War made cash subscription payments difficult.

These included beef, pork, animal food, butter, hog’s lard, tallow, beeswax, flour, wheat, rye, Indian corn, beans and other goods she could sell in her shop. [University of Rhode Island web site]

She ran a stationary and printing press where fine printing was produced. She also had a local paper mill.

Mary Katherine biggest scoop as a newspaper woman came in January of 1777 when her press printed the first official copy of the Declaration of  Independence to include the names of the signers.

Goddard's published copy of the Declaration of Independence with all the signers identified. [Image courtesy McHenry Country Turning]

Goddard’s published copy of the Declaration of Independence with all the signers identified. [Image courtesy McHenry Country Turning]

She successfully ran both the publication and the related printing and paper companies AND served as postmaster through out the long Revolutionary War. But things changed in 1784. She had a falling out with William and he forced her off the paper’s staff. Then in 1789 Mary Katherine was forced to give up her postmaster position. As a woman — it was as argued — she could not handle the traveling the job would demand. Her appeals — backed by a petition of endorsement signed by over 200 Baltimore businessmen — went to President Washington and Congress but got nowhere. She resigned her self to running her bookstore.

Mary Katherine Goddard died att he age of 78 on April 12, 1816. “A copy of the Declaration of Independence printed by her is at the Maryland Hall of Records.”[]

Summer fun with Baltimore Shakespeare Factory

The BSF's Summer with Shakespeare: Performance Workshops take place  July 29 - Aug 16.

The BSF’s Summer with Shakespeare: Performance Workshops take place July 29 – Aug 16.

If you:

  • live near Baltimore, Maryland,
  • are kid about to start 3rd to 12th grade,
  • and you like Shakespeare

… boy do I have a deal for you!

The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory is offering three, one week long workshops that will allow kids to experience what it might be like to travel back in time to the 1600s and be a part of the fun and excitement of Shakespeare’s acting company–The King’s Men. The BSF’s  “Summer with Shakespeare:Performance Workshops” will help students develop acting skills, make friends, build confidence, and develop an appreciation and understanding of Shakespeare’s work.

The campers will:

  • Work one-on-one with professional actors and educators
  • Learn and practice the same acting techniques Baltimore Shakespeare Factory uses in its productions
  • Study Shakespeare’s poetic language in ways that make it easy to understand, and learn how to use to enrich performance
  • Bring some of Shakespeare’s most famous characters to life!

“Shakespeare is a wonderful platform to get the kids active and engaged in group activity that stretches their imaginations as well as their ability to interpret complex language.  And it is a ton of fun!” says Wendy Meetze, Director of Education for the BSF.

This is the second year for the camp in Baltimore City (the camp is held in the Meadow at Evergreen House on Charles). The group, which began in Carroll County, hosted a similar camp starting in 2006 and have taught over 500 students. That Carroll County camp is still going strong on the campus of Century High School.

Students come in all shapes, sizes and from various backgrounds and skill levels. “Kids who are interested in theatre are especially attracted to the workshops” says Meetze, but “we truly believe there is no “typical” Shakespearean student or audience member. Shakespeare wrote for EVERYONE in his time, from peasants to princes.”

The camp will offer a small group setting with lots of one on one coaching. As a non-musical theatre performance camp the focus is squarely on the script, something that sets this camp apart from other performing arts camps in the area. “While the outcome is a production, the curriculum is a healthy mix of various skills needed to make that production a reality,” said Meetze. The campers perform their production prior to the professional company’s Friday performance. “We find the kids learn so much more by comparing and contrasting their version to a full production. There have certainly been occasions where our professional actors have discovered something new during the student’s performance!”

For more information on the camp, including a link to register  CLICK HERE.

Summer clipping

The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory  is dedicated to bringing the works of William Shakespeare to life for audiences of all ages and backgrounds. In Shakespeare’s time (1564-1616), the theater was accessible to everyone, and The Factory prides itself on continuing that tradition by presenting professional quality work at affordable prices.

This year, the group, which is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, will present Hamlet and Mid Summer Night’s Dream this summer in the Meadow at Evergreen House on Charles Street and at other locals around town.  Click HERE for Hamlet’s schedule. Click HERE for Mid Summer’s Schedule.

Factory productions bring Shakespeare’s works to life in a way that is accessible to modern audiences without compromising the cornerstone of their artistic and literary merit—Shakespeare’s original language. The Baltimore Shakespeare Factory is built on a love of language, and productions are designed to not only help audiences understand Shakespeare’s words, but to love them, too.

This year the BSF launched it’s “4 free, 4 ever!” campaign which hopes to raise $750,000 by April , 2016–the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s Death> This will allow the group to present its shows at no cost to the public the following season.

Play on 4 free

5.7.13 Johnny Unitas Thought of the Day

“There’s a big difference between confidence and conceit.”– Johnny Unitas

00930 Golden Arm

00930 Golden Arm (Photo credit: nickhall)

John Constantine Unitas was born on this day in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1933. today is the 80th anniversary of his birth.

Unitas grew up in the suburb of Brookline where he played halfback and quarterback at St. Justin’s High School. He became a Louisville Cardinal in college when he attended University of Louisville in Kentucky. In 1952 the school tightened academic standards and reduced athletic aid, so the football team lost players on the roster. The coach changed strategy and went with two-way football, and Unitas stepped up his game by playing both defense (safety or linebacker) and offense (quarterback and special teams).

“In his four-year career as a Louisville Cardinal, Unitas completed 245 passes for 3,139 yards and 27 touchdowns.” [Johnny]

He was the ninth round draft pick of the Pittsburg Steelers, but the team — who already had 3 quarterbacks — released him before the season started. Unitas found himself working construction to support his family. He kept his arm in shape by playing semi pro ball with the Bloomfield Rams (at a whopping $6 a game.)

Baltimore Colts AAFC/NFL logo

Baltimore Colts AAFC/NFL logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1956 Unitas and another Bloomfield Ram player, lineman Jim Deglaum, tried out for the Baltimore Colts. He stepped into the role of first line quarterback after George Shaw broke his leg a few weeks into the season. After a rocky start the rookie settled in and took control on the field. Unitas was the Colt’s quarterback for the next 15 years.

If you say the number 19 in Baltimore every one knows you mean the man who led the Colts to two NFL World Championships (58 and 59) and brought home a Super Bowl victory in 1970. It broke many a heart in Charm City when he was traded to San Diego Chargers in 73 (his last playing year.)

After retiring from football he did color commentary on CBS and, when the Colts bolted to Indianapolis, he was leading advocate in getting the city of Baltimore a new NFL team. He was often on the Raven’s sidelines when the team came to Baltimore.

(Sorry Indianapolis)

Unitas died of a heart attack on September 11, 2002.

Rub Johnny U's Shoe

Rub Johnny U’s Shoe (Photo credit: Au Kirk) A statue in honor of Unitas in front of M & T Stadium, the home of the Ravens.

Frederick Douglas 2.14.13 Thought of the Day

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

A sketch of Douglass, from the 1845 edition of...

Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey was born on this day in Talbot County, Maryland, USA in 1818. Today is the 195th anniversary of his birth.

The exact day and year of his birth is unknown, but he decided on February 14th, 1818.  He never met his father, a white man,  and almost never saw his mother.  He lived with his grandparents in their cabin west of the Tuckahoe Creek. In his first autobiography he wrote:

“I do not recollect ever seeing my mother by the light of day. … She would lie down with me, and get me to sleep, but long before I waked she was gone.” [Narrative of the life of Frederick Douglass, an American slave. Written by himself. (1851)

At seven he was sent to Wye House plantation near Easton, in Talbot County, Maryland. Soon he was sent to Hugh Auld a Baltimore carpenter. Auld’s wife, Sophia,  taught him to read until the master (her husband)  stopped her. Hugh Auld thought teaching slaves lead to rebellious slaves. Frederick practiced reading and writing in secret. When he was in Baltimore he heard about Abolition for the first time, and in 1831 he  read an article “on John Quincy Adams’s antislavery petitions in Congress” [Frederick Douglass Timeline]

At 13 he was sent to the shipping town of St. Michael’s, Maryland to work for Thomas Auld. When Auld discovered that Frederick was teaching other slaves to read he rented him out to a brutal slavebreaker, Edward Covey.”The treatment he received was indeed brutal. Whipped daily and barely fed, Douglass was “broken in body, soul, and spirit.” “ []

In 1838 he was back in Baltimore hired out to work as a caulker in a shipyard. He made his escape to freedom by…

Travelling by train, then steamboat, then train, he arrived in New York City the following day. Several weeks later he had settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts, living with his newlywed bride (whom he met in Baltimore and married in New York) under his new name, Frederick Douglass. [Ibid]

Douglass became active in the Abolitionist movement. He became a “licensed preacher for the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.” [Frederick Douglass Timeline] In 1841 he spoke at an antislavery meeting in New Bedford about his life in Maryland. The Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society hired him as a speaker.

English: Portrait of Frederick Douglass as a y...

English: Portrait of Frederick Douglass as a younger man (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some people didn’t believe that a former slave could speak so eloquently and assumed Douglass was a fraud. In response to that criticism he wrote Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass. In 1845 he toured England and Ireland to raise money to buy his freedom. (Auld  manumitted him for $711.66.) Douglass used the remaining money from the Great Britain tour to buy a printing press and began to publish the North Star, a weekly Abolitionist paper. The paper later became the Frederick Douglass’ Paper and is joined in 1859 by the Douglass’ Monthy.

In 1855 he published his second autobiography, My Bondage and My Freedom. During the American Civil War Douglass was a recruiter for the all African-American 54th Massachusetts Infantry.

After the ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution (which outlaws slavery) Douglass continued to fight for civil rights and woman’s rights. A fringe political party, The Equal Rights Party nominated Douglass as its vice-presidential Nominee in 1872.

The title page of the 1845 edition of Narrativ...

The title page of the 1845 edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1881 he published his final autobiography, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.

He was appointed to the post of US Marshal of the District of Columbia and the Recorder of Deed of the District of Columbia before becoming Minister Resident and Consul General to the Republic of Haiti in 1889.

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Frederick Douglass died on February 20th, 1895 of heart failure.

The gravestone of Frederick Douglass located a...

Babe Ruth 2.6.13 Thought of the Day

“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” — Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth

Babe Ruth (Photo credit: carloscappaticci)

George Herman Ruth was born on this day in Baltimore, Maryland, USA in 1895. Today is the 118th anniversary of his birth.

He was one of eight children born to George and Kate Ruth. Only he and his sister Mamie survived.  His parents ran a saloon  at 426 West Camden Street, a job that took much of their time. So George, Jr and Mamie were left to their own devices. As an adult Ruth reflected that he ran the streets as a kid, skipped school, chewed tobacco and drank beer while his father wasn’t looking. He was “incorrigible,” and that’s what his parents recorded on his entry documentation to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys when he was sent he was just 7 years old.

St. Mary’s was part reformatory, part orphanage, part school and part work house. It was run by the Xavier Brothers and it served boys from ages 5 to 21. Ruth learned to make shirts as well as carpentry skills at the school. He lived there for 12 years. His parents seldom had the time to visit the school.

Ruth (top row, far left) at St Mary's Industri...
Ruth (top row, far left) at St Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, Baltimore, Maryland, c. 1912 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fortunately for Ruth, the prefect of discipline at St. Mary’s, Brother Matthias Boutlier, took him under his wing.

Ruth particularly looked up to a monk named Brother Mathias, who became a father figure to the young boy… Matthias, along with several other monks of the order, introduced Ruth to baseball, a game at which the boy excelled. []

Brother Matthias worked with Ruth to hone his hitting, pitching and fielding abilities. Ruth showed such promise that …

the Brothers invited Jack Dunn, owner of the Baltimore Orioles, to come watch (him)  play. Dunn was obviously impressed, as he offered a contract to (Ruth) in February 1914 after watching him for less than an hour…. Upon seeing (Ruth) for the first time, the Orioles players referred to him as “Jack’s newest babe”…[]

The nickname stuck and he was known as Babe Ruth from then on.

Babe Ruth pitching with Boston Red Sox, Comins...
Babe Ruth pitching with Boston Red Sox, Cominsky Park, 1914 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

He started as a pitcher. First for Baltimore and then for the Boston Red Sox. By 1915 he was a “permanent fixture in the Red Sox rotation, …accumulating an 18-8 record with an ERA of 2.44.” [Ibid] Both his pitching and hitting game improved over the next few years and “In 1918, Babe Ruth pitched his 29th scoreless inning in a World Series. That record stood for 43 years!” []

English: American baseball player Babe Ruth in...
English: American baseball player Babe Ruth in 1921 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The following year he shifted his focus to his hitting game and earned a new record. This time for a whopping 29 home runs in a single season. Ruth was traded to the Yankees in 1920 and topped his home run tally (coming in at 54 for the year.) In 1921 he broke the record again with 59 home runs.  In 1927 Ruth, as part of the Yankees famous “Murderer’s Row” hit an amazing 60 home runs for the season — a record that stood for 34 years.


Over the course of his career, Ruth went on to break baseball’s most important slugging records, including:

  • most years leading a league in home runs (12);
  • most total bases in a season (457)
  • and highest slugging percentage for a season (.847).

In all he hit 714 home runs, a mark that stood until 1974, when Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves surpassed him. []


Baseball player Babe Ruth
Baseball player Babe Ruth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ruth helped the Yankees win seven pennants and four World Series. He wore pinstripes until 1934. He was ready to retire from the active roster and wanted to manage, but his off-field hijinks — he was almost as famous for his love of alcohol, women and food as he was for his ability to swing a bat — made owners think twice about placing him in a supervisory position. He was traded to the Boston Braves for his final season where he hoped to have both playing and assistant-management duties, but he soon realized the “management” part of his job was mostly P.R., public appearances and giving autographs.

Ruth with the Boston Braves in 1935, his last ...
Ruth with the Boston Braves in 1935, his last year as a player (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


On May 25, 1935, an overweight and greatly diminished Babe Ruth reminded fans of his greatness one last time when hit three home runs in a single game at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The following week, Ruth officially retired. []

The Sultan of Swat, The Bambino, Number “3” (Babe’s number in the Yankee batting line up and eventually the number on the back of his pinstripes) was inaugurated into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.

Babe Ruth
Babe Ruth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A decade later doctors discovered a tumor on his neck. Ruth had cancer. He died on August 16, 1948.

Babe still remains the greatest figure in major league baseball, and one of the true icons in American history. The Babe helped save baseball from the ugly Black Sox scandal, and gave hope to millions during The Great Depression. …He continues to be the benchmark by which all other players are measured. Despite last playing nearly 75 years ago, Babe is still widely considered the greatest player in Major League Baseball history. []


#4 Gehrig and #3 Ruth were the heart of Murderer’s Row and the Yankees.


Sigh, it kills this Baltimore Orioles girl to write “Y – A – N – K – E – E -S”  so often in a post. Please know I could only do it for the Babe (and for Lou Gehrig when it is his turn). When is Brooks Robinson’s birthday?

RIP Earl Weaver

RIP Earl Weaver. The Earl of Baltimore passed away yesterday while on an Oriole themed cruise.

“On my tombstone just write, ‘The sorest loser that ever lived,’ ” he once said. [The Baltimore Sun]

Here’s the ritaLOVEStoWRITE bioBLOG that I posted on his 82nd Birthday on Aug 14, 2012.


“I became an optimist when I discovered that I wasn’t going to win any more games by being anything else.”

Earl Weaver

Earl Sidney Weaver was born on this day in St. Louis, Missouri in 1930. He is 82 years old.

Weaver managed the Baltimore Orioles from 1968-1982 and again from 1985-1986.  He became a Hall of Famer a decade later.

He played second base for 13 years in the minor leagues, then he managed for another dozen years in the minors before making it to the Show as a first-base coach for the Orioles in 1968. He took over as Manager in July of that season.

He wore #4 on his Oriole’s jersey and had a .583 winning record while managing the club. The team won 6 American League East titles, had 5 100+ win seasons, won 4 A.L. pennants, and won the 1970 World Series under his leadership.

Weaver didn’t want to bunt or sacrifice to advance a runner, according Hall of Fame player Frank Robinson, “He didn’t even have a hit and run sign…” Earl was all about the three run home run.

He pioneered the use of radar guns to track fast balls in 1975’s Spring Training season (according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.)

He was famous for his heated arguments with umpires that often ended with the manager kicking Memorial Stadium’s infield dirt at the official. Weaver was tossed from 91 regular season games.

Locals also remember the “Tomato Wars” he had with groundskeeper Pat Santarone. Santarone had a patch of plants in the left field foul area, Weaver grew his maters at home. The two argued (good naturedly) for 17 years over who had the best tomatoes in Baltimore.

After he left the O’s he worked as broadcaster for ABC television providing color commentary during the 1983-84 baseball seasons. He also did Manager’s Corner with Tom Marr while he was with the O’s (some times to very colorful effect.)

He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.  A bronze statue of the manager was erected at Camden Yards (the “new” home of the Orioles) in June of this year.  At seven feet the statue towers over the real life Weaver, who is only 5’7″.  Weaver quipped “I guess there will be a lot of kids looking up at me…saying, ‘who is this?'”

Zora Neale Hurston 1.7.13 Thought of the Day

“I have been in Sorrow’s kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and sword in my hands.”
Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston Photographer: Carl Van Vech...

Zora Neale Hurston Photographer: Carl Van Vechten. Silver geletin print, 1938 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Zora Neale Hurston was born on this day in Notasulag, Alabama, USA in 1891. Today is the 121st Anniversary of her birth.

Hurston was fifth of eight children born to John and Lucy Ann Hurston. Her father was a preacher, a tenant farmer and a carpenter. When Hurston was three the family moved to Eatonville, Florida. Hurston saw Eatonville as utopia where African-Americans could “live as they desired, independent of white society and all its ways.” [Women In History — Zora Neale Hurston] Her father was mayor of the town for a while, and Hurston enjoyed a happy childhood. While her preacher father tried to control his daughter’s exuberant love of life, her mother indulged her joyous nature.

“Mama exhorted her children at every opportunity to “jump at de sun.” We might not land on the sun, but at least we would get off the ground.”–Zora Neale Hurston

Her idyllic  childhood ended at thirteen with the death of her mother. Shortly afterward her father remarried. Hurston said she was “Passed around the family like a bad penny.” They sent her to  a boarding school, but when they stopped paying for her tuition she was kicked out.

Zora worked a series of menial jobs over the ensuing years, struggled to finish her schooling, and eventually joined a Gilbert & Sullivan traveling troupe as a maid to the lead singer. In 1917, she turned up in Baltimore; by then, she was 26 years old and still hadn’t finished high school. Needing to present herself as a teenager to qualify for free public schooling, she lopped 10 years off her life–giving her age as 16 and the year of her birth as 1901. []

Hurston finished Morgan Academy and in 1918 she went to Howard University in Washington, DC where she began pursue her literary career. She had her first story, “John Redding Goes to Sea” published in The Howard University literary magazine The Stylus. More stories followed and Hurston began to be noticed by the literary set of the Harlem Renaissance, like Langston Hughes. She transferred to Barnard College in New York and earned her degree in 1928.

The Harlem Renaissance was a period during which black artists broke with the traditional dialectal works and imitating white writers to explore black culture and express pride in their race.  This was expressed in literature, music, art, in addition to other forms of artistic expression.  Zora and her stories about Eatonville became a major force in shaping these ideals. Additionally, she combined her studies in anthropology with her literary output.  [Women In History — Zora Neale Hurston]

She received a Rosenwald fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship to do anthropological field research int he mid 1930s.

Zora Neale Hurston, beating the hountar, or ma...

Zora Neale Hurston, beating the hountar, or mama drum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Her first novel, Jonah’s Gourd Vine came out in 1934.  She followed that up with Mules and Men , a folklore classic based on her anthropological work in the South.

In 1937 she traveled to Jamaica and Haiti on a Guggenheim Fellowship to conduct field research on African rituals and voodoo. While in Haiti she wrote her most famous novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God, in seven weeks time.

Cover of "Their Eyes Were Watching God"

Cover of Their Eyes Were Watching God

Janie, the protagonist, returns to her home town at the beginning of the novel. She

recalls all the crucial moments of her life, from t he time she first discovers that she is a “colored” little girl…to the moment she returns to Eatonville, Florida, from the Everglades, not swindled and deceived, as had been expected, but heartbroken, yet boldly defiant, after having toiled in the bean fields, survived a hurricane and lost the man she loved. [Their Eyes Were Watching God, Forward]

Hurston prose is rich and colorful while her dialogue is dense with authentic slang. Here’s how she drops you into the story near the beginning of the novel…

So the beginning of this was a woman and she had come back from burying the dead. Not the dead of sick and ailing with friends at the pillow and the feet. She had come back from the sodden and the bloated; the sudden dead, their eyes flung wide open in judgement….

Seeing the woman as she was made them remember the envy they had stored up from other times. So they chewed up the back parts of their minds and swallowed with relish. They made burning statements with questions, and killing tools out of laughs. It was mass cruelty. A mood come alive. Words walking without masters; walking altogether like harmony in a song.

“What she doin’ coming back here in dem overhalls?  Can’t she find no dress to put on?– Where’s dat blue satin dress she left here in? — Where’s all dat money her husband took and died and left here? What dat ole forty year ole ‘omen doin’ wid her hair swingin’ down her back lak some young gal? …. [Their Eyes Were Watching God, Chapter One]

It takes a few pages to get used to, but the novel is more than worth the effort.

Portrait of Zora Neale Hurston: Eatonville, Fl...

Portrait of Zora Neale Hurston: Eatonville, Florida (Photo credit: State Library and Archives of Florida)

Other Major Hurston works include Tell My Horse, Moses, Man of the Mountain, Seraph on the Suwanee and her autobiography Dust Tracks on a Road.

Sadly, “Hurston never received the financial rewards she deserved. (The largest royalty she ever earned from any of her books was $943.75.)” [] As the 40’s waned so did her career.

Never in her works did she address the issue of racism of whites toward blacks, and as this became a nascent theme among black writers in the post World War II ear of civil rights, Hurston’s literary influence faded. She further scathed her own reputation by railing the civil rights movement and supporting ultraconservative politicians. [Women In History — Zora Neale Hurston]

She opposed the New Deal and the Supreme Court’s ruling on Brown v. Board of Education. She struggled to get published, and took on jobs as a maid and a substitute teacher to try to make ends meet.

In 1959 she suffered from a stroke and had to enter the St. Lucie County Welfare Home. She died there in January of 1960 of hypertensive heart disease. Hurston was buried in an unmarked grave.

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