Jimmy Stewart and the Real Bedford Falls

 

Seneca Falls, NY - angel

By Judy Berman

The actors packed up long ago. The cameras and props are no doubt in storage. But I believe the setting for “It’s a Wonderful Life” remains intact.

Many believe that Seneca Falls, New York, is the inspirational backdrop for Bedford Falls. That iconic movie is now celebrating its 68th anniversary. As I walked the streets of Seneca Falls with my family one Christmas evening, I was convinced it was as well.

Amid a gentle snowfall, angels playing trumpets light up the village’s main street. Streets named “Bedford Falls Blvd.” and “George Bailey Lane” reinforce the connection to the movie.

Another indicator that George Bailey and his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody (played by Henry Travers), might be just around the corner is the village’s steel truss bridge over the canal.

We took this road trip – about an hour from our home – to stroll along the streets that we believe Jimmy Stewart (George) ran down in the movie. We stopped on that bridge and looked over the icy-cold water below. There, it’s easy to feel Stewart’s/Bailey’s anguish about wanting to end his pain. George, who had always put everyone else first, now feels the world would be better off without him.

It’s Christmas Eve, and it’s up to Clarence to change George’s mind. If he succeeds, Clarence will earn his wings. Clarence’s plan is to show George what life would be like if he’d never been born.

As Clarence tells Stewart, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives, and when he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”

It's a Wonderful Life

George comes to realize that, despite some bad turns in life, there really is much to enjoy. The movie’s message – since it first came out in 1946 – is that we just need to stop and consider what we really value. For George, it was his family and friends.

What a wonderful legacy for a community to have. While some dispute that Frank Capra had Seneca Falls on his mind when he made this movie, there are some amazing coincidences.

The script mentions Rochester, Buffalo and Elmira. They are close to this village which was – like Bedford Falls – a mill town back in 1945 when this movie was shot.

There’s one other intriguing note. On that bridge that I stood on, there “was a plaque honoring Seneca Falls resident Antonio Varacalli, who had leaped into the icy waters of the canal in April 1917 to rescue a girl who had just attempted suicide by jumping off the bridge. Varacalli saved her but was overcome by fatigue from the rescue and drowned,” according to The Real Bedford Falls website.

That’s not a huge leap for a director to make from one heroic gesture to George jumping in to save Clarence, who pretends to be drowning.

Whether or not Capra did, we felt like we were part of movie history when we were in Seneca Falls. That night, we felt that Jimmy Stewart and Clarence were there with us. Maybe it was just wishful thinking, but I’m sure it was him who shouted “Merry Christmas” as he ran by.

It's a Wonderful Life - Donna Reed, Jimmy Stewart and Karolyn Grimes

 

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Video: Movie Trailer of “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJfZaT8ncYk  

Thank you to Marian Beaman for nominating me for the Lovely Blog Award earlier this month. Marian writes about growing up in a Mennonite family in Pennsylvania, her experiences as an English professor, community activist and writer. Plus she shares many wonderful recipes. Please check out her blog at: http://plainandfancygirl.com/

This story is an encore from December 17, 2011 because “It’s a Wonderful Life” is my favorite Christmas movie. What is your favorite holiday movie?

Main Photo credit: Seneca Falls, New York, Margaret McCormick (2011)

Photo: Screenshot of Donna Reed (as Mary Hatch Bailey), Jimmy Stewart (as George Bailey) and Karolyn Grimes (as Zuzu) in “It’s a Wonderful Life” (1946)

Photo: Guardian Angel Clarence Odbody (played by Henry Travers) and Jimmy Stewart

For more information on The Real Bedford Falls “Too Many Coincidences to Ignore,” click on the link below: http://therealbedfordfalls.com/therealbedfordfalls.php

Ancient Beasts

 

Dinosaur store and museum - Cocoa Beach - Nov. 15. 2014 009

By Judy Berman

Skeletal remains of one of the largest meat-eating dinosaurs tower overhead, just a few feet from me.

At 43 feet long and 12 feet tall at the hips, the Giganotosaurus, or Giant Southern Lizard, is terrifying. It’s one of the many impressive exhibits in a museum in Cocoa Beach, Florida, that hopes to open to the public next summer.

Steve Cayer, curator of the Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures, acquired one of six castings of the “original (Giganotosaurus) found in Argentina in the 1990s.”

Dinosaur store and museum - Cocoa Beach - Nov. 15. 2014 007

Giganotosaurus stomped across South America’s swamp land about 100 million years ago, during the mid-Cretaceous period.

That’s 30 million years before Tyrannosaurus Rex made his appearance in North America. It weighs 8 tons, 3 tons more than T. Rex. One in pursuit of its prey is scary enough. But it’s believed Giganotosaurus hunted in packs.

Dinosaur store and museum - Cocoa Beach - Nov. 15. 2014 031

At the time dinosaurs ruled the Earth, Florida was under water. We’re millions of years removed from these ancient beasts.

Still, I shiver when I spot a Velociraptor chasing a juvenile Gallimimus over a fallen tree above the Giganotosaurus.

It’s a scary reminder of that scene in the movie “Jurassic Park,” when one of those predators outwitted park ranger Bob Peck (Malcolm) and slashes the ranger with its terrible long 3.5-inch retractable claws.

Donna Cayer, the museum’s education director, says their dinosaur museum will attract old and young alike.

“They know (dinosaurs) once lived. They come to life in their minds,” she said.

What about people who question that the dinosaurs ever existed?

“There are enough fossils found on every continent,” Donna Cayer said. “When they lived … we can debate that. All I know is they’re older than dirt.”

The Cayers and artist Al Rao help bring those scenes to life with dioramas that depict the period the dinosaurs lived in.

Dinosaur store and museum - Cocoa Beach - Nov. 15. 2014 018

In the Jurassic diorama, a killing machine, the Allosaurus (“different lizard”), attacks a Diplodocus. The Diplodocus, the largest dinosaur skeleton in the museum, is about 90 feet long.

The Cayers hope to open the $3.7 million museum project to the public next summer to coincide with the premier of the movie, “Jurassic World.” Their complete dream will become a reality with additional funding from corporate and individual donors to their nonprofit museum.

The movie will feature a hybrid dinosaur – as if the real ones weren’t scary enough. Steve Cayer said “the original movie, ‘Jurassic Park,’ has people all messed up. They brought (dinosaurs) back from different ages and they all lived together.”

The Cayers plan to have a museum that is lifelike, colorful and fun. The dinosaur exhibit will be housed on the second floor of their building. The third floor will feature ancient cultures.

Dinosaur store and museum - Cocoa Beach - Nov. 15. 2014 004

On the building’s first floor is the Dinosaur Store. There you can compare your foot to the size of a T. Rex’s footprint and check out other artifacts and replicas on display, and some for sale.

“One little boy was just walking around going: ‘Wow. Wow. Wow,” Donna Cayer said, chuckling as she recalled the 3-year-old’s reaction.

I felt the same way myself.

 

Do you have a well-kept secret in your neck of the woods? Are you looking forward to the new Jurassic World movie? Would a museum like this one intrigue you?

 

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Movie video – premier of “Jurassic World” due out in June 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFinNxS5KN4 

Main Photo: T. Rex skull – Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures, Cocoa Beach, Florida

Photo: Giganotosaurus – Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures, Cocoa Beach, Florida

Photo: Velociraptor chasing prey on a fallen tree scene above the Giganotosaurus. Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures, Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Photo: Allosaurus attacking a Diplodocus – Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures, Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Photo: compare the size of a T-Rex footprint to man’s. Steve Cayer, curator of the Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures, Cocoa Beach, Florida.

 

 

Links to Dinosaur sites:

For more information on the Museum of Dinosaurs and Ancient Cultures in Cocoa Beach, Florida: http://www.museumofdinosaurs.org/

LiveScience – Giganotosaurus – Facts about the Giant Southern Lizard http://www.livescience.com/24642-giganotosaurus.html

Velociraptor Mongoliensis – National Geographic http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/prehistoric/velociraptor-mongoliensis/

LiveScience – Diplodocus – Facts about the Longest Dinosaur http://www.livescience.com/24326-diplodocus.html

LiveScience – Allosaurus – Facts about the “Different Lizard” http://www.livescience.com/24815-allosaurus.html

 

Oh, Bother … Relax

 

Winnie the pooh and piglet1

By Judy Berman

How could one lovable, somewhat-confused, philosophical bear get into so much hot water?

Usually, Winnie the Pooh’s downfall is linked to honey pots.

But there he was getting dissed in a small Polish town because of a scandalous lack of clothing on his lower extremities.

He did have his little red jacket on. But no pants. Come to think of it, many of my stuffed animals are also “sans” pants.

It’s not the first time Pooh has had a brush with the politically correct police. He and his friends have come under fire before.

Town councilors in Tuszyn opposed naming a playground after Pooh because he was half-naked, and that was “inappropriate” for children.

One town official said the author, A. A. Milne, was a disturbed man for creating a “hermaphroditic, nudist bear,” according to an article in “The Washington Post.” Milne’s “bear of very little brain” was introduced in a collection of stories, Winnie-the-Pooh, in 1926.

Later, the Polish official said he was just joking.

NPG x19574; Alan Alexander ('A.A.') Milne; Christopher Robin Milne and Pooh Bear by Howard Coster

How could you ever be upset with a bear who says: “Sometimes, the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

Pooh can hardly be considered controversial. But some consider him and the characters in another beloved children’s book to be subversive

“The same parent group in Kansas that objected to Charlotte’s Web in 2006 also cited the talking animals of Winnie the Pooh as being an insult to God in public arguments during their quest to ban the novel by E.B. White,” according to “Banned Books Awareness.”

As Milne said, “Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That’s the problem.”

Winnie the Pooh, Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Snowman1

Even little Piglet has been targeted by groups that want to censor him.

“Several institutions in Turkey and the U.K. (United Kingdom) have also banned the book, claiming that the character of Piglet is offensive to Muslims,” according to BuzzFeed Books.

“The Muslim Council of Britain formally requested an end to the “well-intentioned, but misguided” policy, and for all titles to be returned to the classroom,” according to Banned Books Awareness.

There’s no shortage of conspiracy theories, including claims that Winnie the Pooh is linked to a radical political group.

This makes my puzzler sore just thinking about such things.

 

What are your thoughts about book banning?

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Video: Hot List: Children’s Books You Won’t Believe Are Banned   http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/05/01/hot-list-childrens-books-you-wont-believe-are-banned/

Main Photo: Winnie the Pooh and Piglet, from A.A. Milne’s “The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh,” with decorations by Ernest H. Shepard (1994). Original copyright 1926 (from a book in our family’s library).

Photo: Rocky and Bullwinkle, Winnie the Pooh, and The Snowman. Some of the beloved PANTLESS characters in my stuffed animals’ collection.

Photo: Winnie the Pooh, author A.A. Milne and his son, Christopher Robin, 1926 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/ce/Christopher_Robin_Milne.jpg

Link to source: “14 Classic Children’s Books That Have Been Banned in America.” (from 1900 to 2010) http://www.buzzfeed.com/spenceralthouse/classic-childrens-books-that-have-been-banned-in-america

Video: Dav Pilkey, the creator of Captain Underpants, stars in a banned books week video. When one of my seventh-grade students tell me they want to do a report on this book, I groan and tell them to choose one with more challenging vocabulary. BUT I would NEVER tell them they can’t read it on their own time. http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/dav-pilkey-stars-in-a-banned-books-week-video_b90729

Taking Shortcuts

Cheating - using illegal cheat sheet on exam

By Judy Berman

Plans imperfectly conceived and carelessly executed. That’s usually the downfall of those who decide to cheat.

Cheating comes in all forms. The kind that leads to broken hearts or empty bank accounts. Or, in this case, the type related to academic shortcuts.

I confess. When I was in high school, I did some book reports for a boy in my class because I liked his brother.

His teacher knew something was odd. Suspicion was that he didn’t know where the library was in our two-story, smallish building.

He was caught. End of caper.

Some might dismissively write this off as a childish prank. But it’s not funny if you’ve ever had your work ripped off, and someone else took the credit for it.

In 11 years of teaching, I’ve stumbled on some lackluster schemes and foiled the culprits. No doubt, I’ve missed more than a few.

There are missteps to avoid, for those like Maynard G. Krebs, who cringe any time they hear the word “work.”

Cheating - crib notes

My first year of teaching a student handed in his report about hurricanes. I was really blown away (pun intended) by his phrasing and observations about the storm.

“Rory’s” group was one of the ones that used a poster board for their presentation and posted his essay on the board, despite me encouraging them NOT to.

One day, Rory and his teammates rushed into my room and began routing thru the trash. He told me they were looking for his essay.

Later, as I’m grading the essays that were turned in, I realized that one of them looked awfully familiar. Turns out, I was right. It was Rory’s.

Another student liked it so much that she tried to pass it off as her own. When quizzed about it, she didn’t deny it.

Other situations require the suave skills of a Sherlock Holmes.

For one project, students were to write a five-page journal about a country they “visited.” The writing was supposed to be based on research they’d done over a few weeks.

One student’s writing was very impressive – too much so. The vocabulary was definitely higher than middle school level. I did a quick Google search, and found that she had taken her “experiences” directly off a blog. Word for word.

Cheating - cheat sheet in a roller pen

When you try to pass someone else’s work off as your own, that’s plagiarism. Students are warned not to do it.

When I called the Mom, Mom insisted her daughter did the report on her own.

I told the Mom that I had the blog up on the screen, and offered to read it to her. She declined. The student had to re-do the project.

Some suggestions on how to avoid getting caught when you cheat:

  • Remember to get rid of the blue highlighting of words that link you to another source.
  • Different-size fonts in the same report are a tip-off that it was copied from various sources.
  • Spelling is another red flag. Not only do the British pronounce some words differently, they also spell them differently. (example; “color” – United States; “colour” – British)

OK, I left out a few tips. Also, at some schools, teachers have access to a program that quickly detects plagiarism.

The downside is: If the lesson is not learned early, the consequences for those caught can range from failing a grade, being kicked out of college or fired from a job.

What cheating scam – business, school or life – ticks you off?

 

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Music Video: “Baby It’s You” by The Shirelles (1961). This might seem an odd choice, but the lyrics … ‘cheat, cheat’ … were calling me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8clnxViHdp8 

Photo: Cheating – using illegal cheat sheet on exam – Photo taken May 30, 2007, by Hariadhi   http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5a/Cheating.JPG/640px-Cheating.JPG

Photo: Cheating – crib notes – cheat sheet in a juice box. Taken Sept. 20, 2007, by Stmichael. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c4/Spicker_trinkflasche.jpg/400px-Spicker_trinkflasche.jpg

Photo: Cheating – cheat sheet in a roller pen – Photo by ABF – taken Jan. 27, 2008. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8c/Spickzettel_im_Kugelschreiber_2.JPG/640px-Spickzettel_im_Kugelschreiber_2.JPG

Gone Missing

London Underground

By Judy Berman

Every morning, “Melissa” drove the same route to work. All day, she just typed stats. She was in a rut, and it was really getting to her.

What if she ditched her boring routine and took a detour?

That’s what a New York City bus driver did in 1947 and a famous author did about 20 years earlier.

“Melissa” parked her car near the airport, and watched as planes landed and others took off for parts unknown.

What would it be like to be on one of those flights?

She glanced over at a book on the passenger’s seat, and smiled as she looked at the author’s photo.

The author, a famous mystery writer, went missing for 11 days after a fight with her philandering husband. Archibald Christie wanted a divorce and left to spend the weekend with his mistress, Nancy Neele.

Agatha Christie - 1925

That same night, Dec. 3, 1926, Agatha Christie vanished. Her car was found abandoned, and it’s believed she boarded a train to London.

For 11 days, there was an intense search for her.

Her disappearance made front-page news, across the pond, in The New York Times.

What happens when a well-known author goes missing? Police seek out the usual suspects. The spouse is usually the first to fall under suspicion.

For Christie, the author of many who-done-its, it had the makings of a plot from one of her novels.

For such a recognizable woman, Christie managed to hide in plain sight at the Swan Hydrophathic Hotel (now “Old Swan Hotel”) in Harrogate. She had registered under a pseudonym.

Still, a man staying at the hotel recognized her, and reported it to police.

Some thought she wanted to frame her husband for murder. Others thought that her disappearance was just a publicity stunt.

Agatha Christie

In an article in The New Yorker, “Queen of Crime,” “It was hypothesized that (Christie) had experienced fugue, a form of amnesia, in which a person travels to another place and assumes another identity.”

Christie and her family seemed to have accepted that. “She claimed to have no recollection of what happened, and her autobiography says not one word about the incident,” according to The New Yorker article. (Aug. 16, 2010)

The Christies divorced in 1928. Two years later, she married archaeologist Max Mallowan, who she met at an archaeological dig.

For the writer who loved to keep us guessing as we read her novels, the mystery remains. Why did she decide to run off? Christie never did say publicly.

New York City bus driver, William Cimillo, had a similar urge in 1947. But he was quite clear as to what drove him to it. He got tired of the same old routine on his route – same people, same stops, same transfers.

One day, after nearly 20 years on the job, Cimillo decided to take a busman’s holiday. He said in an interview that aired on “This American Life” that he “decided to make a left turn instead of a right.”

Cimillo drove his bus out of The Bronx, stopped for some sight-seeing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Then, he headed for a beach in Florida.

It wasn’t until Cimillo was running low on money that he contacted his company. He hoped they’d wire him some money. Instead, they sent the cops, and he was brought back in handcuffs.

Bus driver - William Cimillo - who took a detour from the Bronx to Florida

For Cimillo, the publicity surrounding his escapade made him a hero. The company dropped the charges, and he got his job back.

“Melissa” could identify with that desire to get away from it all. She also wanted a change of pace.

She put her car in reverse, backed out of the parking lot. “Melissa’s” bags were packed. She was ready to go, and headed toward the airport.

Her final destination was uncertain, but not knowing was energizing and exciting – an abrupt departure from the same old, same old.

Would you take a leap and risk it all just to start fresh in a new setting?

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Music Video: “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by Peter, Paul and Mary   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8jEapecSqc 

Photo: London Underground – taken March 16, 2014 – Author: Au Morandarte, London, Middlesex, England http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/da/Au_ Morandarte_Flickr_DSC00925_%2813231942933%29.jpg/640px-Au_Morandarte_Flickr_DSC00925_%2813231942933%29.jpg

Photo: Agatha Christie – British writer of crime and detective fiction. (1925) Source: http://www.themakeupgallery.info/lookalike/writers/christie.htm  http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e2/Christie1925.jpg

Photo: Dame Agatha Christie (1954). (Photo by Walter Bird/Getty Images)    http://history1900s.about.com/od/people/a/Agatha-Christie.htm?nl=1

Photo: Bus driver – William Cimillo – who, in 1947, took a detour from his bus route in Bronx, New York, to Florida. http://www.radiodiaries.org/busmans-holiday/

Sources:

Queen of Crime, The New Yorker – Aug. 16, 2010 http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2010/08/16/queen-of-crime

Agatha Christie – Official site – (videos and more) http://www.agathachristie.com/about-christie/christies-life/a-difficult-time/

This American Life radio show – “The Leap” – Ira Glass tells the story of William Cimillo, a New York bus driver who snapped one day in 1947, left his regular route, and drove his company’s municipal bus to Florida. http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/539/the-leap?act=0#play

Buried Treasure

Treasure hunter

By Judy Berman

A beachcomber shuffles along the sand, shifts his metal detector slowly left, then right, in search of something shiny or black.

He scores a few bottle caps, loose change … and, then, he spots pieces of eight (gold), and silver that has a black silver sulfide patina on its surface.

It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.* Treasure hunters today hope to strike it rich like Kip Wagner did in the 1950s.

Wagner, a retired Florida contractor, frequently went to the beach in search of driftwood next to the Sebastian River. Instead, after a hurricane, he found a piece of eight – also known as a cob, a Spanish silver coin dating back to the 1700s.

He wondered why gold and silver kept washing ashore near his home. None of the coins were dated past 1715.

He began working with his friend, Dr. Kip Kelso, in researching shipwrecks from that time.

They discovered that the treasure came from the 1715 Spanish Treasure Fleet. During a violent hurricane, 11 of 12 Spanish Galleons and one French ship sank between Sebastian and Fort Pierce.

About 700 people – crew and passengers – lost their lives, and the fleet’s precious cargo of gold, silver, jewels and jewelry now lay on the ocean floor.

Some 1,500 survivors struggled to shore and set up camp while awaiting rescue. This site, now known as the Survivors’ and Salvagers’ Camp, is in the Sebastian Inlet.

Treasure Island - book cover - 1911

Help did arrive within weeks. “Over the next four years, official Spanish salvors, Indian divers, English pirates, and privateers and river pirates of various nationalities flocked to the area to retrieve – or steal from each other – as much treasure as they could,” according to the McLarty Treasure Museum in Sebastian, Florida.

“Less than half the material originally listed on the ships’ manifest reached the Spanish treasury. The rest, so recently pried from the mountains (of Mexico and South America), now lay buried in sand and silt of the shore.”

Wagner purchased a $15 Army surplus metal detector. That led to finding the encampment, cannonballs, swords and artifacts from that site. Later, he took his search to the ocean and discovered remnants of one of the ships.

With the aid of their subcontractor, Mel Fisher, Wagner’s group – the Real Eight Company – salvaged the wreck of El Capitana from the 1715 Fleet.

By the mid-1960s, they hauled in “silver pieces of eight, gold doubloons, bars and plates of both metals, pearls, jewelry, and rare Chinese porcelains.”

Efforts continue to “coax from the seabed what 18th century divers left behind.”

Mel Fisher's Treasures, Sebastian - Oct. 2014 (4)

There are still untapped treasures and areas to explore along the Treasure Coast. Who knows what the next major storm will stir up from the ocean?

But some try to resist that siren’s call as young Jim Hawkins did in the last lines of Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel, “Treasure Island”:

“The bar silver and the arms still lie, for all that I know, where Flint buried them, and certainly they shall lie there for me. Oxen and wain-ropes would not bring me back again to that accursed island, and the worst dreams that ever I have are when I hear the surf booming about its coasts, or start upright in bed, with the sharp voice of Captain Flint still ringing in my ears: “Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!”

 

Have you ever searched for treasure? Gold? Books? Memorabilia? What was your best find?

 

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Video: The Spanish ship Atocha Shipwreck Found – Gold Treasure Discovery – Mel Fisher Story. It also includes search for the 1715 Spanish Fleet.     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNdi4pbUIwc 

1.Main Photo: Treasure Hunter

2.Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – book cover (1911) – Illustrator: N. C. Wyeth (1882-1945) http://www.openlibrary.org/details/treasureisland00steviala http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/77/Treasure_Island_title_1911.jpg/436px-Treasure_Island_title_1911.jpg

3.Photo: Mel Fisher’s Treasures – 40 pound “clump” of about 500 silver coins as a diver would find them on the ocean floor.

* Quote: “The, eh, stuff that dreams are made of.” Humphrey Bogart (Sam Spade) telling Ward Bond (Detective Tom Polhaus) what the black statuette is in the movie, “The Maltese Falcon.” (1941)

Link to: McLarty Treasure Museum at Sebastian Inlet State Park – http://www.floridastateparks.org/sebastianinlet/activities.cfm

A Grand Weekend

Connor and Kaitlyn at the McLarty Treasure Museum, Sebastian, Fl

By Judy Berman

Gold was within our reach. But we walked away empty-handed.

To some, that would be mighty disappointing. For the grands, Kaitlyn and Connor, it was just one of the adventures we had during their visit in October.

All great excursions involve food. Right? We stopped for lunch at Capt. Hiram’s Restaurant in Sebastian, Florida. While we ate, we sat on an open deck and watched plovers and sea gulls scurry back and forth hunting down their meal.

Mel Fisher Treasure Museum, Sebastian, Florida

Then we went down the street to Mel Fisher’s Treasures Museum.

After searching for 16 years, “a salvage team led by Mel Fisher recovered the mother lode of the Atocha” in 1985. The Atocha, which sank in 1622, met a similar fate as the eleven Spanish vessels that sank in 1715 in a storm near present-day Sebastian.

gold bar at Mel Fisher's Museum, Sebastian, Fl

Seven hundred lives were lost and more than 14 million pesos worth of treasure went down with the eleven Spanish Galleons. No wonder this area is referred to as the Treasure Coast

It’s typical to take the sites and attractions for granted. In our role as tour guides, we discovered the many treasures close to us.

The next day, we were transported from visions of gold, silver and jewels hauled from the depths of the sea to a ride up a seven-story tower overlooking Port Canaveral on the Space Coast in Brevard County.

Exploration Tower, Port Canaveral - Oct. 2014 (24)

What is it like to navigate a boat? The “pilots” made it looks easy, but I bet it’s harder to do than parallel-parking a car.

On the fifth floor, Connor, and then Kaitlyn, safely steered their vessel via a simulator through Canaveral Harbor to greet a cruise ship. Not a dent or a scratch on either boat.

We shifted our course from the present to the past. It was all just a touch screen away.

Where did early native populations live? Where did the first European settlers land? We discovered this and more thru an interactive map.

Exploration Tower, Port Canaveral - Oct. 2014 (44)

When you enter the Exploration Tower, and when you leave, visitors are reminded of our fragile environment via the exhibit, “Embrace,” by Sayaka Ganz.

Vivid blue and white right whales, red jellyfish and stingrays can be seen from the lobby and second floor. It’s remarkable not just by its size, but from the elements used to create it. Ganz recycled items that people toss away: kitchen utensils, plastic toys and bottle caps.

From trash to treasure. That, too, is worth more than gold.

What attraction near your home do you want to see or return to?

 

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-14. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Video clip: Wallace & Gromit’s “A Grand Day Out” – ‘We Forgot the Crackers.’ (No, we didn’t forget the crackers, but we did have a Wallace & Gromit video marathon … and we had a grand time.)  http://www.spike.com/video-clips/czwml1/wallace-gromit-a-grand-day-out-we-forgot-the-crackers

Music Video: Jimmy Buffet singing “Cheeseburger in Paradise” (with apologies to our vegetarian granddaughter) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jBsPZV14I-k 

1.Main Photo: Connor and Kaitlyn outside the McLarty Treasure Museum which is part of the Sebastian Inlet State Park in Florida.

2.Photo: Mel Fisher’s Treasure Museum, Sebastian, Florida – photo taken by Ebyabe on April 25, 2011 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/67/Sebastian_FL_Fisher_msm04.jpg/640px-Sebastian_FL_Fisher_msm04.jpg

3.Photo: Gold bar from Mel Fisher’s Treasure Museum

4.Photo: Exploration Tower – Port Canaveral, Florida – Connor and Kaitlyn piloting and navigating a boat using a simulator thru Canaveral Harbor to greet a cruise ship.

5.Photo: Exploration Tower – “Embrace” exhibit by Sayaka Ganz. She captures the movement of right whales, rays and jellies out of discarded objects such as kitchen utensils, plastic toys and bottle caps.

Links to sites:

Mel Fisher’s Treasures in Sebastian, Florida http://www.melfisher.com/Sebastian/Sebastian_Museum.asp

McLarty Treasure Museum at Sebastian Inlet State Park – http://www.floridastateparks.org/sebastianinlet/activities.cfm

Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral - http://www.explorationtower.com/