Friday, May 17, 2019

Chaperoning at Greenfield Village

A while back our granddaughter, Isabella, called and said her 8th grade class was going to Greenfield Village, and would Papa and I like to be a chaperone?  I asked for the day off at work, and today was her field trip.  

For blog followers who don't live in Michigan, Henry Ford created and opened historical Greenfield Village in October 1929 with the philosophy of "learning by doing."  It was a school for children before it opened to the public.  Henry Ford gave American children [and later adults] a chance to experience history firsthand when he relocated and preserved an unrivaled collection of 84 authentic historic buildings spread out over 80 acres forming an American Village of yesteryear.

We arrived a bit early and waited by the front entrance to the village for the Chelsea school buses to arrive.



Not far away was a statue of Henry Ford given by his great-grandson, Edsel Ford II and wife, Cynthia.


Around 9:15 a.m. the Chelsea buses pulled in.


We were chaperones for Izzy [R] and her girlfriends Natalie [L] and Kaylee [center].


Students entering the Village below.  Several other schools were there today too, so it was bustling with activity.  We had about 3 1/2 hours to tour the village before the students had to get back on the buses for home.  They're studying the Civil War right now so there were two places they were required to see:  Susquehanna Plantation and Hermitage Slave Quarters.  Other than that they were free to choose what they wanted to see.


As you can see it was an overcast day, but it didn't rain.  Temps were in the low 60's so it was actually very pleasant.  The last time I visited the Village was in August 2012 and it was hot and humid so I enjoyed today much better.

The girls wanted to begin the tour in the working farm area.


Firestone farmhouse that was renovated in 1882.  Harvey S. Firestone [tire maker] lived in it with his parents and siblings.  His granddaughter, Martha Parke Firestone would one day marry Henry Ford's youngest grandson, William Clay Ford.


I couldn't resist taking a picture of a baby lamb inside the barn.


The girls went inside the Cider Mill which is no longer operational.


The glass shop was very interesting.


Thomas Edison's Menlo Park Complex



Sarah Jordan Boarding House where workers from Menlo Park stayed.


Hermitage Slave Quarters [a required site]


[click on to enlarge]


Right next door was the Mattox home - an African-American family from Georgia during the Depression.



Then we went to the last required site - the Susquehanna Plantation.



I couldn't resist taking a picture of the Mother Robin who had built her nest on one of the front porch rafters.  She was being very valiant of her little one and was probably perturbed by all the intruders!


A docent telling the girls about cooking methods at the plantation.



We posed for a picture in front of the 1600's Cotswold Cottage that Henry Ford had dismantled piece by piece in Gloucestershire, England and shipped to Dearborn where it was reassembled.  On May 23rd it will open to serve Afternoon Tea on the patio, so we were a few days too early.


I took a picture of what I think is a tea caddy [center] inside a cabinet in the cottage.


The girls posed in front of William Holmes McGuffy School.  Henry and Clara Ford had a huge collection of original McGuffy Readers.  There was actually a class in session so we couldn't peek inside the school.



~ William Holmes McGuffey Birthplace ~



~ George Washington Carver Cabin ~



The Scotch Settlement Schoolhouse where Henry Ford attended from age 8 to 11.  There was actually a class in session.  It reminded Izzy and me of the Anne of Green Gables schoolhouse in the movie.




Martha-Mary Chapel where weddings are frequently held.  It's named after Clara Ford's mother [Martha Bryant] and Henry Ford's mother [Mary Litogot Ford].




Then it was time to get a bite to eat at the 'Taste of History' restaurant.  I was fascinated by the four pictures made from corn cobs inside the restaurant.  Very creative.



The last house the girls went into before rejoining their classmates to depart for home, was the birthplace home of Henry Ford.  It was built in 1861 and Henry grew up in that house along with his five brothers and sisters.



It was such a fun day and we were so glad Izzy invited us to be a part of it.  I hope you've enjoyed the Greenfield Village tour vicariously.  We didn't have time to see everything, but we saw a lot.


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Celebrating Julia Child

Last Saturday, May 11th, I was asked to speak at Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church in Dearborn, MI for their Ladies' Spring Luncheon.  They booked me months ago [before I started working at The Whitney], and even though the restaurant was booked full for Afternoon Tea, I had an obligation to keep my commitment.  I made 20 premeasured tea socks for The Whitney - my preferred method for preparing tea in large quantities - and they carried on nicely without me.

I arrived at the church shortly after 10:00 a.m.  This was the third time they've invited me to be their speaker.


The committee ladies were finishing their last minute chores before the attendees started arriving and the program began at 11:00 a.m.  The program was first followed by the luncheon.  I suggested a French menu to coordinate with my subject - Julia Child.


My display table is pictured below. I took a tin of Harney & Sons Paris blend. Julia particularly liked Harney & Sons tea.  Tins of it are sitting on the counter of her Cambridge kitchen displayed at the Smithsonian.  I don't know the origin of how Paris blend was created, but since Julia loved Paris and lived there from 1948 until 1953 and began her culinary cooking career there, it seemed like the perfect prop. Her favorite snack food was Pepperidge Farm goldfish crackers, so a bag of those sat on the table too.


You may recall from a previous post, I ordered a blouse, logo/badge designed by Julia's husband, Paul, and a chef's apron to wear for the presentation.  The Internet is a wonderful source for tracking down all sorts of things to coordinate with a theme.  Julia always tucked  a dish towel in the ties of her apron, and luckily I had one I bought when I visited Boston. The PBS television station where Julia's program The French Chef was filmed was in Boston, and the teapot on the apron was appropriate too because she was stationed on a tea plantation in Sri Lanka when she was with the OSS [Office of Strategic Services] during WWII.  It's where she started drinking tea and developed a fondness for it.


A yummy assortment of desserts made by the committee ladies.


The tables were set by different ladies, so no two were alike.  There were nine tables.



The table below is where I sat.  The china was Royal Albert and the pattern was Tea Time.








I peeked in the church kitchen where the tea station was set up.  They served English Breakfast tea.


Sherry Brown [below] is president of the Women's Ministry, and the one who has always contacted me about speaking.  She opened the program with two poems about Mothers from an Ideal magazine that was her mother's.  After prayer, she turned the program over to me.



I don't know what the count was, but the parlor was full.  These ladies are alway so attentive and responsive - a delightful audience.


Lunch Time:  Broccoli Quiche, a Garden Salad with French Dressing, and a Croissant.


Pecan Tarts,  Divinity, Mini Cherry Cheesecakes, and Fudge/Brownie Bars.



A bonus for me was reconnecting with a friend and her daughter from a church I used to attend 45 years ago.  Our paths took different directions, but Dottie now attends Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church.  She was surprised to see my name in the church bulletin stating I was going to be the guest speaker. Her daughter, Ramona, used to babysit my two oldest children.  


It was a lovely afternoon.  Thank you, Sherry, and ladies of Cherry Hill Presbyterian Church for inviting me back.