Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The House Known as Silverhayes or Silver Haze


On New Road in Clifton, Bedfordshire (England). This is a better scan than in a previous post. My grandparents had the house built in the late 1930's and raised three daughters here. Some time in the 1960's, after the three girls had grown up and moved away to live with their husbands, Grandma and Grandpa West moved to 96 Shefford Road, a small row house. (See previous post for more details concerning Silverhayes.) My mother tells me that one of her sisters had a camera and took this photo.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Our Bungalow


on Herlwyn Avenue, Ruislip, England. Some time between 1964 and 1967. This was very close to the curve in Herlwyn Avenue which passed by the park. Sacred Heart Primary School, my school, was visible over the back fence.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Uncropped version of next photo



(Note to family, friends: I'm including this one in case it prints better than the cropped version.)

Found a photo of Ollie and me together in a way...



Spring 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I'm still here.

Not wallowing in nostalgia. Well, not all the time. We understand that nostalgia can be dangerous, because we tend to wax about good things and forget about how some things have improved. I miss some childhood acquaintances on both sides of the Atlantic, though I've reconnected with some on Facebook.

Hurricane Irene is still strong in memory here in Maryland. There was also the small earthquake that rattled most of the eastern US shortly before Irene. Since Irene passed and dissipated, we've been having a weird spell of constant rain which continues as I post here and which caused water intrusion and damage in homes that stayed tight during the hurricane. My own basement areas were not unscathed, but my damage was minimal compared to some other places nearby. Still, it was a signal that some runoff problems outside my home need to be addressed. (A condominium board and a property management company come into play with this.)

During Irene I stayed in touch by phone with relatives in eastern North Carolina, not far from the coast. They were being hit hard and losing a lot of trees and roofs. And beach cottages. I have to admire the stamina of a close relative, 70 plus years old, who weathered the storm in her new apartment while watching shingles flying off the roof and water stains appearing in her ceiling. Way, way back in the 20th century in a village not very far from London, her reality included the air raid shelter in the back yard and the sound of Nazi flying bombs overhead on their way to the city.

I just turned 51 last spring. Walking around some of the local waterways near me in Columbia, Maryland, this summer -- this brought flashbacks of walking around the canals on Homestead Air Force Base in south Florida during the 1970's. I was catching sailfin mollies in a net (while keeping an eye on the small gators that sometimes showed up in the canals) to take back home for my aquarium hobby.

If you find this "message in an e-bottle", I'm blogging over here about opera, gardening and other things that I enjoy now.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Silverhayes, an ancestral home of sorts



This is a scanned photo sent to me by my mother, and this is the largest display I can get with it. (It's like this in my own files, too.) [Addendum: A better scan of this photo appears in a new post, February 24, 2016.]

Silver Hayes* (I always heard it as Silver Haze as a child) was built for my grandparents on New Road, Clifton, Bedfordshire, shortly before World War II. My mother and her two sisters grew up here. Down the drive beyond the house is a brick barn where soldiers were quartered during the war. Somewhere on the property was a bomb shelter. My mother recalls being able to hear the Nazi doodlebugs or flying bombs overhead at night on their way to hit London. She also tells the story of how, when the family had to use the shelter, Grandma refused to put the youngest sister, then a baby, into the bag-like contraption designed for children too small to wear a gas mask. From happier times, there are stories of family pets and the young sisters going off on day-long adventures in the surrounding countryside.

Grandpa apparently stopped raising zinnias and other flowers in the yard for selling to florists by the time the grandchildren began showing up on visits during the 1960's. He still had chickens, though, and I remember a botched attempt to help feed them -- couldn't understand the business of scattering the seed for the birds, and I thought it expedient simply to dump the whole bucket on the ground.

Across the fields behind the house, towards the village of Henlow, there is an airfield where some of the filming for "Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines" was done. The local villagers reportedly were able to watch the vintage flying machines going "up, down, flying around".

Some time in the late 1960's, after all three daughters had married and moved away, my grandparents moved to a small, modern rowhouse on Shefford Road in Clifton. (We lived there for a whole year with them, Mom and us four kids, while Dad was stationed on Shemya in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska with the U.S. Air Force.) I last walked down New Road for another look at Silver Hayes around 1990. It belongs to someone else now and has changed quite a bit in aspect.

*My mother informs me that the name was always run together as one word, "Silverhayes". I recall that it has some literary origin significant to my grandmother. The new owners reportedly render the name as either "Silverhaze" or "Silver Haze".

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Military Brathood -- Places Where I Lived

Posts on this blog could be sporadic. Rather than delete the whole blog, I'll leave it alone in case the mood strikes me to visit memory lane on the web again. Just for search purposes, for benefit of previous acquaintances who might be looking around as on Facebook, following are places where we lived during my 1960's and 70's formative years and my schools:

~~ Shefford, Bedfordshire, England. My very first home. I've been shown the bungalow where we lived. I have the vaguest memories of visiting Great Grandma down the road.
~~ Niagara Falls, or whatever air force base was in that area of New York State.
~~ Ruislip, Middlesex, England. Another bungalow, Herlwyn Avenue. Sacred Heart Primary. Quite vivid memories, and I've posted earlier about some of them.
~~ Grissom Air Force Base, Indiana, with a few months in Nead down the highway before getting a base house. Nead Elementary and Randall Elementary. I drove through the area a few years ago while in Indiana for the Bloomington Early Music Festival.
~~ Clifton, Bedfordshire. Mom's home village. We visited frequently before and now were spending a year with my grandparents while Dad was stationed at Shemya Air Force Base in the Aleutian Islands. The parish school in Clifton. A few months at the American school on Chicksands AFB. We also visited cousins in East Harling, Norfolk, during our stays in England.
~~ Homestead Air Force Base, Florida. The elementary school just off the base; Mays Junior High School; South Dade Senior High School.
~~ Kinston, North Carolina. Dad had retired from the US Air Force (he was a fireman), and he took us to settle in his home town. Kinston High School. Duke University.

Link to my other blog: Here's what I'm doing these days.