Saturday, October 25, 2014

Salem's Witches and Miller's The Crucible (Repost/Update)

Arthur Miller wrote The Crucible to criticize both New England's Salem's Witch Trials and McCarthyism. The phrase "witch hunt" is still widely used today.  Photograph from our personal archives.

Now hell and heaven grapple on our backs, and all our old pretense is ripped away - make your peace.

- John Proctor, in Arthur Miller's The Crucible

A staple of many New England prep schools' curricula, especially this time of year, is Arthur Miller's The Crucible.  We have all read it, seen it, discussed it, written papers about it, taken tests on it, and likely acted in one or more productions of it.  What makes it more interesting is how many classmates had ancestors that were involved.

In our family trees, we have direct ancestors who played many of the roles (using the elegant language of web site Miner Descent) "in the 17th Century Witch Trials: Accused, Accuser, Witness, Neighbor, Jury and the Law."

Our 9th Great-Grandparents who were accused witches and convicted witches include: Susannah Martin, Mary Perkins Bradbury, Frances Alcock Hutchins, John and Joan Carrington and Jane Walford.

Salem today is replete with references, historical and other.

Single Image: Mahalia Jackson (October 26, 1911 – January 27, 1972) at Woolsey

Photo from our personal archives
Tomorrow is the birthday of Mahalia Jackson (October 26, 1911 - January 27, 1972), Queen of Gospel, Grammy Winner and Civil Rights Activist, shown here at Yale's Woolsey Hall.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fall Beasts

This time of year, it is hard not to be aware of animals.  They take more risks as they come closer to prepare for winter.  These pictures, from our property, are just some of the beasts that have made themselves known.

This recalled the following quote from the Reverend Francis Higginson from 1629.   Reverend Higginson, Cambridge educated, arrived in New England with several hundred settlers at the behest of The Massachusetts Bay Colony,  a year before the arrival of the Winthrop Fleet.  He was the first minister at Salem.

Questions for the Community: Which Gilet?

Gilets / waistcoasts are useful this time of year. (Photos from our archives.)

Dear Mrs. Aldrich,

First of all thank you for your lovely blog and my daily dose of civility.  I have a question about tweed gilets.   Any advise on where to look first?

Thank you.


I am wondering about your take (and that of your readers) on Barbour's gilet offerings. I am looking for a new quilted vest, but have not tried one from Barbour. Ideally, I would like something I can wear alone during transitional weather, and then can be worn as added warmth under another jacket once it gets colder.

Any advice?

K in NC

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Quiet Walk Through a Salt Water Cemetery

One doesn't need the advent of Halloween to appreciate a beautiful graveyard or cemetery, but it does serve as a well timed reminder.  Overlooking the East Branch of Johns Bay, this has long been one of our favorites for a quiet walk.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Great Gatsby Award? Which clothing and accessories companies are the most brazen in misrepresenting themselves through their marketing?

Where might a potential customer believe their products are made, reading the "About Us" section of their site (Link)?  They tuck away their "Made in China" tag (on the inside of the shoulder seam) with a certain aplomb.  

Monday, October 20, 2014

Homemade Popovers and Grape Jelly

We were invited over for homemade popovers and jelly making.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Robert Crichton and His Glen Plaid Sport Coat

Photographs of author Robert Crichton from our personal archives. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Haddock Chowder and Music Night

Highly Recommended Haddock Chowder from Larson's Lunch
Crowds are inevitable.  There will always be airports, supermarkets before a storm, Westminster, and the Department of Motor Vehicles.  Yet when in a crowd, one can get the nagging feeling that with better planing, it could have been avoided.  This feeling of penance is especially sharp with discretionary time.

However, the corollary is true.  And this was one of those easy days.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Single Image

1970's photograph from our personal archives

Same Old Clothes (i.e. L.L. Bean Fall Resupply)

Note: The "Traditional Fit" tag, added this year to the L.L. Bean flannel shirt, is most irritating on the back of the neck.

In this era focused on Wall Street and Silicon Valley "disruptions", sameness - at least in some areas - may be under-appreciated.

There is some research to suggest that the healthiest diets are more similar day to day than different.  (One of the first national facts that emerged about David Souter was that for lunch he usually had yogurt and an apple at his desk.)

And while's Steve Jobs' identical wardrobe may have been branding, Albert Einstein (reportedly) bought identical suits so he wouldn't have to waste time thinking about what to wear each day.  Most Presidents as well buy a collection of identical suits.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (October 15, 1881 - February 14, 1975)

Trad Alert: In the olden days, television shows came on laser etched plastic discs.  
Tomorrow is P. G. Wodehouse's birthday. While some may have more creative ways of noting his birthday, a good default option is re-watching the delightful classic take by Fry and Laurie. Stealing the helmet off of a bobby is not recommended.

Amazon Link: Jeeves & Wooster Complete Collection (pre-order)

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Lotuff Men's Leather Bifold Wallet

The Lotuff Men's Leather Bifold Wallet in Chocolate
We have been using a variety of Lotuff products daily for several years now.  They have been completely satisfying and there is every reason to be believe that this new wallet will follow suit. We will have these products, made in New England, for decades.

Single Image: Rowing, 1968

Kent School, 1968    (Photo from our personal archives)