Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Wick House and Farm Garden

The Wick House and Farm Garden in Morristown, NJ, are maintained by the National Park Service. The house was built c. 1750 by Henry Wick, a Long Islander, who became the owner of 1400 acres in Morristown. The legend that continues to live on is about his daughter, Tempe, who in 1781 was stopped by several mutinied PA soldiers demanding that she give up her horse. She refused and galloped away. When the soldiers came looking for the horse they searched the barns and the woods, never thinking to look in the house. Tempe had put a feather bed on the floor to deaden the sound of the horse's hooves thus preventing the thieves from stealing her horse.   

The one-story Wick House was restored to near-original condition in 1934. During the Revolutionary War the house was open to Capt. Joseph Bloomfield (later 4th governor of NJ) who stayed there during the winter of 1776-77.

The kitchen with its large fireplace and wood plank walls. Even during the day, the house is extremely dark inside. 

Behind the kitchen are several rooms including this small bedroom with a rope bed, dresser, and chest. 

 The main room features Henry Wick's writing desk which dates to 1770. At one time two rooms were rented out to an officer and his aides who used them for their office, dining room, and bedrooms.  

This very small bed is in the same room as the desk.

The second bedroom also features a rope bed. 

A pair of lovely old latches on these interior doors.

The Wick Farm Garden sign.  

 This meticulously cared-for garden is to die for!

All plants are identified for their medicinal or culinary purposes. Marguerites were used for yellow dye.

Wild Marjoram was used for a "cooking seasoning." 

 One of my all-time favorites--Bee Balm :)

Monday, June 18, 2012

A is for Aprons

I've been collecting aprons for a long time and store many of them folded on a shelf in the laundry room. Every once in a while I'll go through the piles to see what's there--just for fun. My favorites, however, are hanging over the door in my sewing room. They are the embroidered aprons from the thirties.

This is our laundry room where I keep most of my collection. The curtain on the window is actually an apron and the valance is an embroidered tablecloth folded in quarters and hung over a rod. I made the small quilt from vintage tablecloth scraps that a friend sent me from CA. 

Here is a full view of the apron "curtain" with a patchwork waistband, ties, pocket, and decorative lower edge.

This full embroidered apron has straps that criss-cross in the back and fasten on both sides with snaps.  There are no pockets.

Here is a detail of the embroidered floral basket. Lots of black floss used in this design.

A full bodice and flared skirt trimmed in blue.

The scalloped design is embroidered in blanket stitch; the horizontal lines in outline stitch.

I love this skirt with its dainty flowers and large scallops.

This half apron is gathered at the waistband with embroidery at the lower edge. Most likely from the 40's--or even the 50's.

Lovely shades of aqua, pink and green. Note the pink and white gingham fabric above and below the embroidery.

Another full apron with lots of blue and yellow embroidery. All the outer edges are top-stitched by hand using yellow floss.

Heavily embroidered blue flowers with yellow 'x's scattered throughout the lower portion.

A child's apron with embroidered figures a la Sunbonnet Sue--or is it Colonial Lady--or something else??

And here is my grandmother, Etta Strubbe Bower, as I remember her. Always wearing an apron and always in the kitchen making something good to eat. (c. 1950s)

Monday, June 4, 2012

Hello Darlin'

Every time my great Aunt Leila and Uncle George came to NJ for a family gathering, Uncle George would greet me with a big "Hello Darlin'!" I just thought about that the other day and had to laugh as it seemed so out of character for someone who lived his entire life in the Bronx, NY. Thanks to Aunt Leila for saving oodles of family memorabilia, I thought it would be nice to honor Uncle George for his military service during World War I.


On May 17, 1918, George received his orders to report for active duty at Newport, RI. He was 27 years old.

He had a slight build and was only 5' 5-1/2" tall. 

Dated Feb. 1, 1919, Gibraltar. "My home for the present. U.S.S. Maury, Torpedo Boat Destroyer No. 100, U.S.N.  Length 315 ft.; breadth, 30 ft.; Heigth [sic] from water to deck at bow, 12 ft; Heigth [sic] from water to deck at stern, 6 ft; Power - two curtiss turbine engines, 27,000 hp; Steam plant - four tubular marine boilers; Speed with two boilers - 27 knots; Speed with four boilers - 39 knots; Armed with four 4-inch guns; Armed with two one pound anti air craft guns; Armed with one depth charge Y gun; Armed with two depth charge racks; Armed with four triple torpedo tubes, 12 torpedoes; Crew of 130 men - destroyer sailors. I am yours truly, one small spud. George"

George was assigned to the 3rd Section of the Landing Force. 

"We're paid in currency of whatever port we were in. In Turkey we received gold coin and exchanged $5.00 gold for $7 in American money."

Dated Dec. 2, 1918. Dear Leila, I am sending you this now and hope you receive it before Christmas or New Years and hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and better still I hope I can wish this to you personally by that time. Be happy dear and I'll see you soon. George"

One of several postcards that George acquired on his travels.

Dated Jan. 1, 1919. "Hello Toots: I don't know what it says or means on the other side of this postal, but I guess it's allright. Be good dear. Georgie xx."

Uncle George and Aunt Leila on their 55th wedding anniversary, June 1, 1973. Mayor Alfred B. DelBello sent a letter of congratulations on behalf of the City of Yonkers. How times have changed :)