Adventure; Jane Austen

Attending the Jane Austen Festival in Bath England prompted me to do some research.


Novels– The Watsons (1801-unfinished), Sense and Sensibility (1811), Price and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814), Emma (1815), Sandition (1817-unfinished), Northanger Abbey (1818), Persuasion (1818)

Short Story – Lady Susan (1794)

Write up below about Miss Austen from https;

Jane Austen was born on December 16th, 1775. She had a public baptism several months later, on April 5th of 1776. Rather than being reared by her mother in her family home, Austen was sent to live with a nearby woman named Elizabeth Littlewood, who cared for her a year or more. According to the tradition of the family, Jane and her sister, Cassandra Austen, were sent to Oxford to be educated. Unfortunately, both girls came down with a case of typhus, leaving Jane near to death. Subsequently, she was sent back home to be educated until the age of three, when both she and Cassandra were once more sent away, this time to a boarding school. While there, they studied French, needlework, spelling, music, and dancing, all considered a necessity for a girl at the time. By December of 1786 when Jane was eleven, they returned home, as the Austens did not possess the necessary funds to send them both to school.

The remainder of Austen’s education came from a combination of reading, and impromptu tutelage by her father and older brothers. Her father encouraged both Jane and her sister to learn to write, providing them with unlimited access to his personal library, as well as supplying them with the materials needed for their writing. It is thought that from as early as 1787, Austen began to write poems, stories, and plays.

In adulthood, Austen remained at home with her family and partook in the common activities of a lady in her time, including playing the piano, attending to female relatives during their childbirth, supervising servants, attending church, practicing her needlework, and socializing with family, friends, and neighbors. She also continued to read and write avidly. She began writing one of her earliest pieces – a comedic play called “Sir Charles Grandison or the happy Man” – which was completed in 1800. Not long after, Austen made the decision to begin trying to write for profit and turned from writing satirical pieces to more sophisticated writing. This new tactic produced what is considered to be her most sophisticated – and most ambitious – early piece, a short novel entitled “Lady Susan”. It featured the first of many of Austen’s leading ladies known for their intelligence; the titular character is a sexual predator who uses her cunning, rather than her so-called feminine wiles alone, to manipulate and betray those around her.

Once finished, Austen began work on her first full-length novel, “Elinor and Marianne”. It was later published anonymously in 1811 under a different title, which became one of her most famous works – “Sense and Sensibility”. With only a brief break in-between in which she harbored a crush for a visiting nephew of neighbors, Austen promptly began working on another novel, “First Impressions”, which would later become another of the stories she is most famous for, “Pride and Prejudice”.

“Sense and Sensibility” features the lead heroines Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, who are sent into crippling poverty following the untimely death of their father. While Marianne finds herself torn between John Willoughby and Colonel Brandon, Elinor struggles with her love of Edward Ferrars, who happens to be engaged to another woman.

In “Pride and Prejudice”, Elizabeth Bennet lives with her family and, as the oldest sister, is put under increasing pressure to find a man suitable for marriage. She is introduced to the off-putting yet handsome Mr. Darcy, and while it is obvious that there is a connection between the two, Darcy’s inability to speak to his feelings for Elizabeth remains a constant threat to end their blossoming relationship.

In 1804, Austen’s father was suddenly and fatally struck by illness, leaving Jane, Cassandra, and their mother in a bad financial bind. Though Jane’s brothers offered to make yearly contributions to the three women, for the next four years it was plain to see that the women were in monetary straits. They were forced to either rent from a small apartment, or to live with nearby relatives.

In December 1809 she received her first – and only – marriage proposal, made by the brother of old friends, Harris Bigg-Wither. Though she was not attracted to the man, the marriage offered many advantageous opportunities, such as the provision of extensive land for Jane to ensure the Austen family could settle down on. Austen never did record in either a letter or a diary what she herself made of the proposal. Surprisingly, though, the marriage proposal eventually fell through, and – ironically – for the remainder of her life one of the most celebrated romance authors lived without a significant other.
By 1811 Austen successfully published “Sense and Sensibility”, which became completely sold out by mid-1813 given its widespread praise and high acclaims. Given its popularity, she was also able to publish “Pride and Prejudice”, “Mansfield Park”, and “Emma”, additional titles which are still very well-known today.

In early 1816, at the still relatively young age of 41, Jane Austen began feeling unwell, and eventually deteriorated further in a long, painful, and drawn-out death. Despite being unhealthy, Austen continued to be productive, finished one novel before beginning on another. She refused to acknowledge the disease as anything worse than rheumatism, either to delude herself into thinking she was fine, or to keep her family and friends from worrying. Eventually as the disease progressed, she found it was a struggle to do once-simple tasks such as writing or even walking. Sadly, she passed away by mid-July 1817 at Winchester Cathedral, in whose graveyard she was later interred. She was given a retrospective diagnosis of Addison’s disease in 1964, but this was later changed to a different pronouncement of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Several other claims have been made regarding what sickness killed her, including bovine tuberculosis, which is contracted by consuming unpasteurized milk, and Brill-Zinsser disease, which is a recurrent form of typhus, relating back to the illness of her early childhood.

Following her death, her siblings had two more pieces of her work published, “Persuasion” and “Northanger Abbey”. Her brother Henry was the one family member who went public about Jane being the one who had written all of the previous famous novels. Surprisingly, though we view Jane Austen as one of the most prolific female authors of her time, she was not well received by the members of high academia until the mid-20th century. Prior to this, she was only popular among the general population.

In popular culture, Jane Austen features herself as a character in 2007’s “Becoming Jane” starring Anne Hathaway, the television movie starring Olivia Williams of the same year entitled “Miss Austen Regrets”, “JANE, the musical”, and as the narrator of the video game “Saints Row IV”. “Sense and Sensibility” became a television mini-series in the years 1971, 1981, and 2008, and was made into a movie in the year 1995, starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. “Pride and Prejudice” was adapted for the television in 1952, 1957, 1958, 1961, 1967, 1980, and 1995, and was made into a feature film in 1940, 2004, and the 2005 version starring Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.

Poetry; Mother’s Day Tribute

Gretchens USO desk

Mine to Hold — A Collection of Verses

Created by Gretchen Rickel Wolf in 2004 — Compiled by Elsa Wolf in 2018

At an advanced age of ninety-two, my mother could no longer see well enough to read or write due to complications connected to Macular Degeneration that began in 1994.  She could recite the verses she created over and over without a single word out of place without reading from a text. Eventually, she painstakingly recorded them in a melodic tone that truly conveyed her intended feelings. In the end, I transcribed them into the written word. She was not able to review the transcript, so the proper sentence breaks are based on her recorded inflections; (her life 1913-2005).

GRETCHEN BEGINS — An Introduction

These verses are mostly lighthearted and nonsense, except for the first two and the last three.  A Land Far Away and A Woman Speaks express a point of view.  As for the last two;  A Memory, and A Lament for Joe are in honor of my husband.


I dedicate the recording to my daughter whose interest, encouragement and love have inspired me.


On a hillside, a boy lay in a land far away from his own under an apple tree. Its blossoms white shinning in moons silver light.

Awakening now from a sleep, which had been long and deep, he knew not where he was or why he was there or how long in this place he had lane.

And from whence, oh Lord oh Lord, came his terrible pain.

He wanted now only to go back into a sleep, which would be long and deep for there would be no pain – but sleep came not as he thought of another place and another time under an apple tree.  Its blossoms white, shinning in the moons silver light.

And of the girl who had been with him there.

The girl with the long, fair hair –  she was so gentle, her face so sweet.

But then, with a startling suddenness, he knew where he was now and why he was there.

For a time during the night all had been still and quiet, but now once again great streaks of light were flashing high in the sky and from the mouths of the cannon came the thunderous roar.  Yes, he knew where he was now and why he was there.
It was the War.

And the blood from his terrible wound and that of his children, and his childrens’ children was seeping deep into the earth of a land far away from his own.

He put out his hand as though to touch once more the girl with the long fair hair
She was not there in this alien land so far from his own   He was alone. And all around him, the moon’s light grew dim as death walked up the hill to him.


Women of the world today – relax.  It would seem that for your self-esteem you wish to be just like a man and do everything just as he can – how strange, men and women were meant to be different, don’t you know.  You diminish your womanhood and all that you do and all that you could when you wish to abandon your ways and take on those of a man and so desperately need to do everything just as he can.

I am a woman, but I feel no desperate need to drive a tank or achieve military rank and a fighter pilot I am not.

And I don’t expect to beat at basketball a man who is eight or ten feet tall.

And I am not upset that I have not yet been sent to be president of Harvard, Princeton or Yale – there are some things in this world which are still essentially male.

I am a woman.

I have a good brain, which I like to use.

And there are hundreds of ways to do it from which I can choose, but I feel no need to compete with a man. In some things I excel in others he does so as well.

And then there are all those which we do and achieve together.

But I am me and he is he, and that was natures plan for a woman and a man.

We complement each other.

We do for and care for one another.

Man is my friend, my love, my husband, my father and my brother.

And I need him, and he needs me.

And that is the way it has always been, and shall forever be.


Oh, the more I have heard of the old-fashioned times, the more I feared they were very weird.  The sign of the hex was on sex, and that was the day when women raked hay and got their milk out of a cow – somehow –  instead of a carton like now.  And their eggs they got, not at the store, but… oh, what a chore from under a hen in a chicken pen.  And there was no Internet or television set, so you would need to open a book and read! Uch!  And there was no thermostat, so you never knew where the heat was at. And pity the poor teenagers in all the world they were so alone, there was no telephone –and how would you feel if you had no automobile and you had to walk to school – oh how cruel!  Oh, yes, the more I have heard of the old-fashioned times, the more I feared they were awfully weird….


It makes me very sad and also mad that so many of you girls out there today think that men are all so bad – it’s not true, I want to tell you most of them are really very nice – so why don’t you give them a chance once or twice.  Get rid of your resentment, and stop thinking they are all bent on sexual harassment. For instance, should a man of your acquaintance to you sometimes say, “Wow, you look really great today!”  Don’t jump to conclusions. Stop having delusions and obsessing that you are being harassed. What the man meant was a compliment not sexual harassment.  Yes, most men are really very nice –  bad they are not and I like them a lot.


(Based loosely, very loosely on Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’)

When to your house you do invite a guest to spend the night, it is not nice into little pieces him to slice until he is dead in his bed.  But, Lady Macbeth had delusions of grandeur which she sought to achieve with a dagger.  For she had long since known that if the King, that old bore, exists no more, she and her husband would sit on the throne.  So, the King she did invite to their house to spend the night, and she slaughtered him dead in his bed. But poor Lady Macbeth she did not know what trouble it would make or what a problem it would create.  For on her pretty little hand she had a spot she could remove not – tis true t’was of blood royal blue “Out, out dammit spot, out, out dammit spot!” she cried, and she cried.  Lysol and Clorox and Tide she tried, but the spot she could remove not.

And poor old Macbeth, lord of the manor, was quite taken by surprise by his wife’s enterprise.  He had a bit of a conniption fit and took a whale of a slug of ale, “Is this a dagger which I see before me?” he would shout, as he staggered about.

Then he went and sat in a tree from where he did see witches three stirring up for him a most unusual stew.  Not the French cuisine he was used to, but more of a witch’s brew.

Of leg of lizard – fillet of a snake – tong of a tiger – the webbed wing of a bat – eye of newt – foot of a frog – Tail of a dragon and a toad.

When this recipe Macbeth did see, he did not feel well, and out of the tree he fell.  And as quick as he could, took a whale of a slug of ale.  But, oh no, there was old Banquo who not two days past had breathed his last – great friend to the King he had been, so he too got slaughtered dead in his bed.  With eyes all aglow and blood spurting from the hole in his head, down the street he went Macbeth to meet.

Now of all the things in the world Macbeth feared the most was a ghost – so off to the woods he did flee, to hide behind a tree.  But when he got there, he thought he did see that all the trees were walking about.  Yes, t’was true all the trees were walking about as Birnam Wood to Dunsinane came, and Macbeth did not know what to do, so he took a slug of ale, and thus fortified he cried, “Now off I must go to the war I can delay no more.”

He shook his fist in the air, his cheek he did bare, and onto the battle field he did stagger.  Brave was he and bold, waving his dagger at his foe of old old… Macduff the tuff.  But Macduff soon got rough and on that very same day, without delay, he did send Macbeth to his end. And that is the tale of the life of strife and wow of the lord Macbeth our noble hero.


Peter Rabbit had a very bad habit. Every night, just at dinner time, he raced across the peak to his girlfriend Molly’s place.

One day his mum said to him, “Peter it’s not right that every night you race to your girlfriend Molly’s place. They are just about to dine, and Molly’s mother who is very polite must say to you, “Oh, Peter won’t you stay and have dinner with us tonight?”

“Oh mum,” said Peter, “don’t get all uptight, it’s alright, cause I too am very polite to Molly’s mum, I always say – yay, its okay, sure I’ll stay.”

“Oh, dear – oh, dear, are there no manners anymore?” Peters mum would deplore.

“Listen mum,” said Peter, “every night to Molly’s place to dinner I gotta go, cause her mum cooks different from you, don’t you know.  Mum, do you remember succotash stew?”

“Oh yes Peter I am afraid I do, I do.”

“And mum, carrot surprise?

“Oh, yes, what a shame, such a nice name, but something in the recipe book I think I must have mistook.”

“And Mum, cabbage casserole?”

“Oh, Peter all that icky sticky goo.”

“And Mum, sassafras Soufflé?  And Parsnip pate?”

“Peter please, no more, no more!  For I am off to Paris, France.”

She tied on her bonnet, kissed Peter goodbye and out of the house she tore not to waste a moment more. She hoped into her plane, slammed shut the door, stepped on the gas – the engine did roar. And off she flew to L’Ecole Cordon Bleu in Paris, France there her cooking to enhance.


In the light of the moon, one could see the prune in the tree, said June to Harry, “When do you think it will come down?”

“Oh, I do not think it will,” said Harry to June, whom he did hope to marry soon, but the prospects did not look good. For when they met each night in the light of the moon, so far apart they stood. But why?

Because Harry was shy, said June to herself– it would be so much more fun if between us the space was considerably less, possibly none. Their conversation was becoming such a bore. June thought she would be able to stand it no more. Each night she would say to Harry, regarding the prune… when do you think it will come down? And Harry would say to June, “Oh, I do not think it will.”

But then in October when the weather grew colder Harry got bolder. One night in the light of the moon he did drape her cape over June’s shoulder. He was so close he got a good dose of her perfume and into a spin his head went.

He looked deep into her eyes, and to his surprise, he found he was a guy who was no longer shy and very soon after that they did marry.

Harry and June in the light of the moon under the tree with a prune.


History, as you will soon see, is to me a mystery.  I want to know why Caesar divided all of Gall into parts of 3 and who cut down the cherry tree and how was it found that the earth was round and did Napoleon is as rumored really say to her, “not tonight Josephine” – I wanted to know if Napoleon could actually be so mean.  And as to the President of the United States – the one who acted mighty funny and therefore got sued a lot of money will he, old Bill Clinton, now go down in history best remembered for his very special most unpresidential and favorite activity?  And will the oval office, once a place of great respectability and dignity, now go down in history as some sort of amusement parlor?  Filled with fun and games and dames and where the president of our nation found frequent recreation as he brought disgrace upon this long time-honored place.


I called the waiter over and asked him to please remove the alligator from underneath my table because my lunch, I was not able to eat, with an alligator on my feet.

“Are you an alligator hater?” asked the waiter.

“I will talk to you later,” she said to the waiter, “right now just please remove the alligator.”

“But madam he seems quite content, and I do not have his consent.”

“Let’s have no more conversation,” without further hesitation; I said to the waiter, “please remove the alligator.”

“But madam this I cannot do for I am an alligator hater, I will call the zoo, and they will come and do this thing for you.”

“No,” I cried, “do not call the zoo it will take them too much time to come and do. I am getting very hungry, and my lunch is getting very old and cold.”

“Waiter,” I said, “at once remove the alligator.”

“Madam I will call the zoo for you.”

Now I was getting very mad that the service at this restaurant was so bad that you were not able to get a waiter to remove an alligator from underneath your table.

So, myself, by the tail I did pull him out.

He looked all about and finally spied the nasty waiter, the alligator hater.

He chased him round and round, and finally caught him, and ate him up for lunch – crunch, crunch.


Now Kitty was a girl who was very, very pretty.

She had the most adorable little nose and wore the cutest clothes and a poet she wished to be, but at home, she could not write a poem because of the telephone.

All day long it rang and rang with Bill and Phil, Larry and Harry, Mat and Nat, Don and Ron, and so on, and so on.

Oh, how immature she thought they were.

Don’t they understand; I am a woman intellectual and not an object sexual.

And don’t they know, that if you wish to write a poem, you must be alone and not talk all day upon the telephone.

So from her home to a distant meadow, she did go, which had no telephone. She was alone, and there she sat down to write a poem but soon found herself in a situation very tight, for if a poem you wish to write you must meditate and concentrate. And now Kitty could not meditate or concentrate because of a great big problem of which she had. If she was not at home to answer the telephone would Bill then call Jill – Larry call Mary – Mat call Pat?

And when she thought of all of that, she very quickly hurried home to answer the telephone instead of writing a poem.


Mini Moose was on the loose looking for her little papoose who jumped off the back on her back it was time for his juice and time for his nap and time to be rocked on his Mummies lap.

Oh, where or where could he be, she looked in the cookie jar. He was not there under his chair. She did moo, and she did bellow.  Where, oh where, is my dear little fellow. He was such a good boy, his mum’s pride and joy – not like his dad, Mickey Moose the Bad. Who was very ferocious.

Baby moose was quite precocious on the day he was born. He had said to his mom, “Mom when can I go to c-o-l-l-e-g-e? I wanta acquire knowledge.”

And at last, when she found him, he was sitting on a stool attending classes at Moose Country Day School.


On a nice day in May Tim came to town from down on the farm to spend the day.

He said to the man at the parking lot can I park her here?  “Why of course,” said the man “We would be glad to park a horse.”  Tim kissed Bess goodbye, told her he would be back not to worry he had a lot to do but he would sure try to hurry, then he went on down the main street of the town where he had his boots all polished and shined to be more refined and then he made a stop at the barber shop where they cut his hair in a nice new style and when he looked in the mirror he did smile for he thought himself so much more handsome than when his mom went chop, chop, chop all over his head and then some with his new haircut and his boots all shined up Tim went on down to the main street of the town where Tony’s Bar and Grill he dropped in to see his girlfriend Lill and have a nice lunch so Lill served him a big bowl of chili and a drink of Gin and that was a real neat treat because back down on the farm amongst his own kith and kin he’d never ever have a drink of Gin, that would be a great big sin.

Tim paid his bill, said good bye to Lill and on down the main street of the town he went to buy his Mum a birthday present, now most boys buy their Mum perfume, but Tim decided on a nice new broom.

It was getting late, but Tim went on down the main street of the town to the fishing tackle store to buy some bait from his old pal Hal.  They had a big bear hug and hearty handshake, and they laughed, and they joked about what each one did when he a kid.

Then Tim had one more stop to make so on down the main street of the town he went to the candy shop to buy Bess a great big sugar-coated lollipop, and then he had to hurry back to the parking lot before Bess did think she had been forgot. He paid he parking ticket at the gate and there came Bess at a great rate galloping down to meet him and to greet him she whinnied, and she neighed she tossed her head around and pawed the ground just to tell Tim how glad she was to see him.  He put his arms around her neck and held her close for a moment or two.  And then how much they loved each other, each one knew.  Tim was soon in the saddle – they were together – and into the sunset homeward the boy and his horse did travel.


Oh, darling, you were so amorous when you told me I was so glamorous and luscious and delicious and wouldn’t I please be yours. I didn’t say yes, but I didn’t exactly say no — your dark eyes did so plead as you told me how desperately me you did need — your voice was filled with emotion as you spoke of your devotion and said you thought you’d go mad if me you soon didn’t have.  You expressed your passion in such a romantic fashion – you laid a long-stemmed red rose on my lap and put a kiss in the palm of my hand and closed it tight in yours and softly you whispered couldn’t it be tonight?  Oh, darling, you don’t understand.  And I said, “oh, yes I do” because I love you too.


So many things you knew and of so many things we fought and talked, but then there were the moments when there were no words were needed or spoken when we let all the world pass us by when beneath the moon and under the sun there was only you and me. But now my love, the time has come when all between us is said and done, so as Shakespeare said to Hamlet I say to you, “goodnight sweet prince.”

Mysteries of the Washington National Cathedral

Written by Graham Meyer | Published on September 1, 2007

There aren’t many places that bring together Darth Vader, a dead president, a moon rock, and a 12-ton bell.

Washington National Cathedral—officially the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul—has them all, as well as a 53-bell carillon, nine chapels, hundreds of stained-glass windows, thousands of works of needlepoint, the area’s largest pipe organ, and stone carvings too numerous to count.

And that doesn’t begin to catalog the wonders of the place. Constructed of Indiana limestone in the style of English Gothic cathedrals—in the shape of a cross, with ribbed vaults, pointed arches, and flying buttresses—it was completed in 83 years, the blink of an eye compared with the centuries it took to build the great cathedrals of Europe. More than 500 feet long from west to east and rising to a height of 301 feet, it’s the world’s sixth-largest cathedral.

The cathedral close, the 51 acres on which the cathedral sits, was designed by the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. It’s now also the site of an elementary school, a boys’ school, a girls’ school, a parish church, a conference center, a library, and the offices of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the laying of the cathedral’s foundation stone. Although the building was completed with the placement of the final finial atop the southwest tower in 1990—“the last jewel in the Lord’s crown,” as mason Billy Cleland put it—work of all kinds continues both inside and outside the cathedral as it enters its second century.

The cathedral continues to define its place in the world—how to both be a building and build a community, how to cater to tourists and to pilgrims, how to be a religious institution and still serve a secular nation. All sorts of questions, delights, and curiosities reveal themselves on a walk through the place.

The idea of a national church goes back to Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s 1791 plan for the federal city, in which he suggested the construction of “a church for national purposes, such as public prayer, thanksgiving, funeral orations; and be assigned to the special use of no particular denomination or sect; but be equally open to all.” He placed the church in the area of DC that is now Gallery Place. But no church was built as part of L’Enfant’s plan.

A century later, in 1893, largely as a result of efforts by civic leaders such as Riggs Bank president Charles Glover, Congress granted a charter to the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation to establish a cathedral “for the promotion of religion and education and charity.” President Benjamin Harrison signed the charter into law.

The project got rolling under the first Episcopal bishop of Washington, Henry Yates Satterlee. After rejecting several sites, one near Dupont Circle, Satterlee jumped at the chance to buy 30 acres on Mount St. Alban, where a small parish church already existed.

Despite the word “national” in its name and its designation as the National House of Prayer, the cathedral receives no money from the government. It is also the official seat of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, currently the Most Reverend Katharine Jefferts Schori, and of the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, currently the Right Reverend John Bryson Chane, but it doesn’t receive funding from the church, either.

The cathedral was built with private funds, and its operation today is funded by donations, gifts, and revenue from its shops and other endeavors.

The first activity on the new land was the raising of a Peace Cross to mark the end of the Spanish-American War. The cross stands south-southwest of the cathedral, across from St. Alban’s parish church.

In 1900, even before ground had been broken for the cathedral, Bishop Satterlee and Phoebe Apperson Hearst—wife of US Senator George Hearst of California and mother of publisher William Randolph Hearst—founded the National Cathedral School for Girls on the property. St. Albans School was founded nine years later to educate boy choristers at the cathedral.

The building of the cathedral began on the east side of the site with the laying of the foundation stone on September 29, 1907. The stone is a composite of two stones: A small stone quarried from a field beside the Church of the Holy Nativity in Bethlehem was inserted into a larger piece of American granite. At the official ceremony, President Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech blessing the future work of the cathedral. In the construction that followed, the foundation stone was covered over, symbolizing the foundation of the Christian faith on unseen mysteries.

Bethlehem Chapel, the first part of the cathedral, was built on top of the foundation stone at what is now the crypt level. A worship service has been held there every day since it was finished in 1912. The chapel was dedicated to Bishop Satterlee, who died in 1908. An alabaster sarcophagus containing his body can be seen behind the altar.

Also on the crypt level are three other chapels and a meditation center for visitors. The Good Shepherd Chapel, a tiny space accessible through an entrance off the courtyard, is open from 6 in the morning till 10 at night. A wrought-iron door by the artist Albert Paley separates the Good Shepherd area from the rest of the cathedral.

In the Chapel of St. Joseph of Arimathea, a mural depicts Jesus’s burial scene, including St. Joseph, who, according to the crucifixion story, donated for Jesus a tomb he had bought for his own body. The floor is slightly lower than the rest of the crypt level, symbolizing the low point of Jesus’s life.

Across the corridor is Resurrection Chapel. Joyful mosaics adorn the walls and the dome of the chapel’s apse. The mosaics in the back were designed by one of the most prolific and long-lived cathedral artists, Rowan LeCompte, and his wife, Irene.

LeCompte became enchanted by the stained glass on a visit to the cathedral at age 13 and took up the craft. He later met the cathedral’s main architect, Philip Frohman, at a project Frohman was working on in Baltimore. Frohman told him he wanted to install stained glass of great clarity and richness at the cathedral so that bright beams of colored light would shine on the inside. LeCompte longed to create a window for the cathedral—it had struck him on his visit as “a magic place”—and was thrilled when Frohman agreed to look at a panel of stained glass he had done for Goucher College.

LeCompte created a window design and brought it to the cathedral for Frohman to show to the building committee. Just before the meeting, Frohman asked LeCompte how old he was. Sixteen, LeCompte admitted. His design was approved and installed in a crypt chapel, starting a career of art-making for the cathedral.

Since then LeCompte has designed more than 40 stained-glass windows for the cathedral, including the great West Rose Window and all of the clerestory, or top-level, windows in the nave. At age 81, he is working on his last cathedral project, revising a window he created 26 years ago to make it brighter.

One of the best-known stained-glass windows—not by LeCompte—is the Scientists and Technicians Window, also known as the Space Window, located on the south side of the nave. A piece of moon rock brought back to Earth by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on Apollo 11 is embedded in the window in a clear glass bubble to keep it from oxidizing.

Look up to the ceiling and around the nave on a sunny day and you can see the fruits of Frohman’s stained-glass principles. Each window throws a splash of colored light on the ceiling and walls like a collection of Easter eggs.

As cathedral literature points out, the iconography of the building—the thousands of works in stone, stained glass, wrought iron, wood, and fabric—tells the story of humankind from west to east: from creation—as seen in the West Rose Window, entitled “Creation,” and the three tympana designed by sculptor Frederick Hart depicting the creation of day, of humankind, and of night above the west portals—to redemption through Jesus Christ, the central figure in the carved-stone wall behind the high altar at the east end.

Some of the most engaging works of art—and some of the hardest to see—are those of the stone carvers who worked for dec ades creating and decorating the structure, part of a legendary community of artisans and workers who dedicated their lives and careers to the cathedral. As master carver Vincent Palumbo put it, surveying the cathedral after three dec ades of work on it, “This is my world.”

Much of their work is best viewed with binoculars. High up on the ceilings, at the tops of vaults where the ribs meet, are giant carved stones called bosses. Each of the more than 600 in the cathedral is different, and they show all sorts of things: Bible scenes, an abacus, even an abstract representation of the horrors of modern warfare, including a mushroom cloud.

Stones are still being carved. Some were left uncarved during construction to allow future generations to make carvings to represent their times. In the narthex, the entrance area on the west side of the cathedral, an area called the Human Rights Bay is about to acquire two new statues, of Rosa Parks and Mother Teresa.

The stone carving on the outside is equally intricate. In the medieval tradition, many of the structures that keep water away from the limestone building are carved in the forms of fantastic creatures. Called grotesques, the carvings range from hideous to humorous. The grotesque of Darth Vader, located nearly at the top-center of the northwest tower, is the result of a children’s design competition.

Some carvings are representations of the carvers themselves. On the north exterior wall, a gargoyle—a grotesque that spouts water out of its mouth—depicts master carver Roger Morigi as a devil, complete with cloven hoof and pointed tail, carrying carving tools, a pistol, a dagger, a flask, and a set of golf clubs. A grotesque on the southwest tower shows carver Vincent Palumbo with curly hair, a bushy mustache, and a cap topped with a flagpole, commemorating the time he bent the cathedral’s flagpole in an accident with his pickup truck.

On a flying buttress on the north side of the nave is a memorial to stone carver Joseph Ratti, who died from a fall when scaffolding gave way. The stones he was to work on have been left uncarved. There’s also a representation of him carving an unfinished gargoyle on a balcony in the south transept.

Legend has it that a stone carver’s wife died and the carver wanted her buried in the cathedral. The cathedral said no. Late at night, the carver crept into a work area and mixed his wife’s ashes with mortar, so she was interred in the cathedral after all.

Above the crossing of the cathedral where the transepts—the “arms” of the cross—meet, the central tower rises 301 feet above ground and 676 feet above sea level, the highest point in Washington. The tower was built in the 1950s and ’60s, just after the east end and transepts but before the long west end, or nave; the dean thought the inspiring sight of the tower would open more wallets.

Above the crossing, staff and visitors on special tours can gain access to the areas atop the apse and the transepts. There, between the ceiling and the roof of the cathedral, it’s possible to step off the wooden planking and walk on the stones that top the 102½-foot space beneath. People come out here to raise and lower the chandeliers, coordinating with people below through walkie-talkies, or to check very sensitive devices that measure the settling of the cathedral.

On a special tour you can walk outside onto the narrow walkways overlooking the flying buttresses; there you’ll see dec ades-old graffiti by boys at St. Albans School from the days when keys to nonpublic areas of the cathedral were easier to steal.

Above this first level in the central tower is the carillon, a musical instrument in which bells are rung by pounding a keyboard with one’s fists. Each key connects with a system of levers and pulleys that activates a clapper, which swings and hits a bell. Each of the carillon’s 53 bells is inscribed with a Bible verse. The largest bell, called the bourdon, is 8½ feet wide and weighs 12 tons. Bearing the inscription the lord he is god, it’s rung alone on mournful occasions.

The room housing the carillon has tall openings in the walls to let the sound of the bells reverberate into the neighborhood. The room affords views for miles in any direction, but the carillonneur is usually the only person who sees them from this vantage. Visitors are afforded similarly impressive views from the Pilgrim Observation Gallery in the west end.

Above the carillon is the ringing room for the ten peal bells. In the center is a raised circular platform with ten ropes ending in loops dangling above it. The ropes are connected to bells on the floor above that range in size from 600 pounds to more than 3,500.

When peal bells are played, the whole bell rotates from mouth upward to mouth downward, instead of staying stationary like the carillon bells. After the bell is played, a mechanism returns the bell to the mouth-up position to be played again.

Because the mechanism takes time to reset, notes can’t be repeated in close succession, so peal bells are played in mathematical patterns rather than tunes. A specific number of bells is selected, and with one ringer per bell, each is played in a predetermined sequence. Then, according to the method selected—many of which have odd names—a new sequence, generated from the previous sequence, is played. Each sequence is called a change.

Example: If ringers decide to play six bells in the method called Plain Bob Minor, the first sequence is 123456 and the second is 214365, swapping each of three adjacent pairs. The next change is 241635, leaving the end bells the same and swapping two internal pairs. The ringers go on until someone makes an error or quits. If they play all the possible arrangements, which would be 5,040 changes with seven bells, that’s a full peal. Not many more than 100 full peals have been rung on the cathedral bells in the 43 years since the first one. Anyone can become a ringer (with practice) through the Washington Ringing Society.

The most familiar—and impressive—instrument at the cathedral is the Great Organ. A 1938 Ernest M. Skinner instrument, the organ originally had 8,015 pipes and reached its current size of 10,250 pipes when its second revision was completed in 1975. It’s the largest single pipe organ in the Washington area. The organ console, where the organist sits to play, is on the south side of the Great Choir, just east of the central crossing.

A major project to design and build two new organs for the cathedral is under way. Because the nave of the cathedral didn’t exist when Skinner installed the organ in 1938, the sound doesn’t travel well to the farther seats, creating problems with congregational singing. A new organ in the choir will be connected to another new organ in the west gallery, allowing the sound to fill the nave.

The Great Organ is a marvel to behold and to hear—which doesn’t have to happen only during services. Organ recitals are often held on Sunday afternoons, and on most Mondays and Wednesdays an organ demonstration and mini-recital are given from 12:30 to 1.

Music is a major part of the life of the cathedral. Two accomplished choirs—one featuring men with boys from St. Albans School, the other men with girls from the National Cathedral School—provide music at many services. The cathedral also serves as performance space for the Cathedral Choral Society, a 240-voice chorus that performs oratorios and other large works under the direction of J. Reilly Lewis. A summer music festival brings top names in choral and chamber music, organ, jazz, blues, and Broadway; admission is free for many performances.

The West Rose Window, “Creation,” designed by Rowan LeCompte, was installed in 1976, the year the nave was completed, in time for US bicentennial celebrations. The window is an abstract representation of the creation story. Many of the more than 10,000 individual pieces of glass are faceted to reflect light differently at different times of the day—the dominant color changes from blue to pink as the day latens.

If you stand under the rose window and face east, toward the high altar, you might notice that a line straight down the center aisle doesn’t point directly to the center of the altar. You have to make a slight left at the entrance to the Great Choir area to stay in the center of the church. The reason for this is debated. Among the notions put forward are that the asymmetry reflects the tilt of Jesus’s head or his broken body on the cross, that it is intended to remind worshippers that only God is perfect, or that is the result of a drafting error.

In the first bay on the north side of the entrance, a statue of Abraham Lincoln and the text of his farewell address to the citizens of Springfield, Illinois, as he left for the White House pay tribute to the slain president. Lincoln-head pennies are embedded in the floor. Opposite Lincoln on the south side is a statue of George Washington. Flags of all 50 states line the walls of the nave.

The third president represented in the nave is Woodrow Wilson, whose body is interred in a stone casket about halfway down the south side. Flags of the United States and of Princeton University, where Wilson also served as president, are tucked into the corners of the bay. Wilson is the only US president buried in the District of Columbia.

Helen Keller is also buried in the cathedral, along with her teacher, Anne Sullivan. Admiral George Dewey, a longtime trustee of the cathedral, is buried there, as is cathedral architect Philip Frohman, who was killed when he was hit by a car on the cathedral grounds in 1972.

Also killed on the cathedral grounds was Catherine Cooper Reardon, an assistant librarian murdered in the library building in 1944. Her murderer, a handyman and janitor named Julius Fisher, choked her and clubbed her with a fireplace log, then stuffed her body under steam pipes in the basement. Newspaper accounts of his initial confession say Fisher attacked Reardon after she criticized the job he had done sweeping under her desk. He was sentenced to death by electrocution. In appeals that reached the Supreme Court, Fisher claimed Reardon had used a racial epithet that sent him into a rage, so the crime was not premeditated and therefore not deserving of capital punishment. Fisher lost his appeals and was executed.

As lively as the lore of the cathedral is, life on the close revolves around worship, education, and ministry. Describing itself as “an Episcopal church for people of all faiths and beliefs,” the cathedral hosts five Eucharistic, or Holy Communion, services most weekdays—six daily in the summer—and six most Sundays. Prayers for peace are said every hour the cathedral is open. A choral evensong—a service of readings, prayers, and choral music—is held at 5:30 pm most weekdays and at 4 on Sundays.

In addition to being a house of worship, the cathedral is, as Dean of the Cathedral Samuel T. Lloyd III puts it, “a sacred place to celebrate events that have shaped our country, to mourn in times of loss, and to address the pressing moral and social issues of the day.”

It’s the site of memorial services for presidents and other prominent figures, most recently Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. It hosted interfaith services after September 11, 2001, after Hurricane Katrina, and for the hostages in Iran in 1980.

The cathedral has been at the forefront of social-justice issues for many years. Martin Luther King delivered his last Sunday sermon from the cathedral pulpit in 1968.

The Cathedral College, headquartered in a separate building northeast of the cathedral, conducts conferences and educational programs for clergy and laity from all denominations and faith traditions; it also runs interfaith initiatives devoted to social justice and reconciliation and alleviating poverty and disease. Current initiatives include efforts to eradicate malaria in Mozambique, promote gender equality worldwide, and stop human trafficking.

Closer to home, the cathedral’s efforts to increase connections with DC communities east of Rock Creek Park include a program called Cathedral Scholars in which promising students from District public schools undergo three years of academic enrichment, college preparation, and internships. Worship services often feature African-American choirs and music.

These programs are foundational parts of the “generous-spirited Christianity” articulated in “A New Century, a New Calling,” a document produced by a committee charged with discerning the cathedral’s direction after completion of the construction precipitated a “what now?” moment. Central to this ministry is building a faith—and interfaith—community that is at once local, national, and global. Dean Lloyd says this means a commitment to ideals of compassion, respect, intellectual openness, hospitality, and tolerance—including tolerance of those whose views some at the cathedral might view as intolerant. Leaders of the cathedral say they strive to welcome all points of view, even those they disagree with.

The cathedral long ago welcomed gay men and lesbians not only into the life of the church but also into the clergy and church hierarchy, a position that puts it, along with the Episcopal Church of the United States, at odds with more conservative members of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Some churches, including several in Virginia, have broken with the Episcopal Church and allied themselves with a Nigerian bishop who is a leading opponent of the participation of gay people in the church.

A major change is the decision to build a congregation of the cathedral’s own. There have always been regular worshippers, but until recently there was no mechanism for becoming a member of the cathedral congregation and little focus on such traditional parish concerns as pastoral care. Leaders anticipate that many new congregants might be newcomers to the city—perhaps even to Christianity—and hope a regular congregation will create greater intimacy at the church and erase perceptions of it as an elitist institution.

The cathedral welcomes 700,000 to 800,000 visitors each year, many of them tourists who come not entirely for a religious experience but also to see the gargoyles and the moon rock. They often wander up and down the aisles while services are being held.

Most eventually make their way to the Museum Store on the crypt level, which sells cathedral-themed T-shirts and ties, antiquities, games, miniature gargoyles, CDs of cathedral choirs, books, and at least six versions of the Bible. One of the most popular items is an umbrella bearing the likeness of LeCompte’s “Creation” rose window. Gifts for the home can be bought at the Herb Cottage just outside the west entrance. The Greenhouse just down the close sells flowers, plants, and garden accessories—including live ladybugs, praying mantises, and earthworms.

Opportunities to take part in the religious life of the cathedral are posted for visitors, but no one is pressured. Dean Lloyd says visitors who ask are told about the cathedral’s message of welcome and reconciliation without making it feel like a Sunday-school lesson. Tours focus on the beauty of the building rather than on theology or worship.

There’s much more than can be covered in a single visit. The more you go, the more you discover. Explore the place for yourself and you might find something you didn’t know you were looking for.

Short Story – Escape by Elsa Wolf

“Hold it in… Hold it in…” A surge of anxiety gripped Luna’s chest. She tried to soothe herself. “Don’t cry again! Not now!” Cities made her uneasy, but there was nowhere else to go. Her soul felt hollow and empty without her husband by her side. Losing Will and his crew in the mining accident was almost too much to bear. There was no one left and nothing to do but move on with her life. Luna loaded her worldly possessions into her old Buick and drove away from the mountain with her antiquated map.

Lost in the unfamiliar roads of New York City, she wove through the traffic lanes, around orange barriers and spilled containers of garbage from last week’s power outage. Without warning, the clutter she’d piled on top of the boxes in the back seat began to fall as she swerved this way and that. A stuffed bear that had been a gift from Will tumbled off the top of a box onto her lap—she picked him up and kissed his nose. Distracted she swerved and barely avoided a cat racing across the street after an oversized rodent. The rancid winds howled through the narrow streets into the car; she rolled up the window to escape the smells. Feeling rather conspicuous, Luna wished she had a more modern electric car.

Arriving at the intersection closest to her final destination in Manhattan, she parked in the first available curbside spot near an alleyway. Getting out of the car proved difficult since she’d pulled too close to an oversized light post. Each available inch was covered with cards and posters. Above the halogen light, she read a sign; all is well. She very much doubted that. The address was on Park Avenue, and she hurried along in search of the number. The building was much taller and narrower than any she’d ever seen before. It appeared to vanish in-between the surrounding wider structures. The only entrance door seemed to be made of a textured stainless-steel material. When knocking produced no result, Luna pushed on the cold door, and it swung open against the adjacent wall.

Dust particles floated through streams of light from the windows that stood fifteen feet off the floor. The light highlighted some areas and left others completely dark.

“Hello? Is anyone here?”

“Yes, come forward.” The woman was dressed in a long-ragged multi-colored skirt with wavy dark hair piled askew on top of her head. She looked larger across the middle than her gaunt extremities implied, due to the quantity of fabric coiled around her like a snake.

“Hello.” Luna shivered. “Um, this building isn’t quite what I expected. I’m supposed to start work in clothing distribution. The man who interviewed me—Mr. Snit—didn’t tell me much. He just said I should come and find a woman.”

“That’s my name. Sorry, I wasn’t in the video, but I don’t like modern gadgets.”


“I am one, so as I said, that’s my name.” Without further explanation, Woman handed Luna a pile of miscellaneous items. “Here, take this stuff, organize it into categories and bins. There’s lots more over there against the wall. It’s all donated for my projects. I have urgent business elsewhere at the hospice facility. Time is of the essence. Lots of transfers to load.” Woman turned away and walked out the door.

“What? I don’t understand,” Luna mumbled to herself. She gazed down at the colored cloth.  On top of the pile sat spools of thread and a collection of brass jewelry. She moved forward to an empty table and let the items tumble off onto the bare surface. Spreading everything out she realized they were pieces of clothing. In the corner to her left, sat massive mounds of garments that formed the shape of upside-down ice cream cone.

A voice spoke from behind her. “Hello, I’m Finn.”

She spun around, paused, and then extended her hand. “I’m Luna.”

“My hands are covered in oil, can’t shake, sorry.” The dark-skinned man smiled, and his brilliant teeth glistened in the dim light.

“Woman said something about transfers. What was she talking about?” Luna frowned.

“It’s not my place to explain, Woman will tell you more at some point.”

Not knowing what else to do, Luna excused herself and found a bathroom. Locking the door, she pulled her cell phone out of her overalls and auto-dialed Mr. Snit. He didn’t answer. After some meditational deep breaths, Luna unlocked the door and began to wander around. She saw thirteen dark wood school desks. Six lined one side of the room and six the other, with a massive desk at the head of the class. In each chair sat a stiff figure with an arm extended over the surface. At the end of one arm, a hand grasped a pen which hovered above a pile of paper.

“Excuse me?” Luna feebly inquired.

None of the figures moved or said a word.

“They’re not alive, yet.” A voice echoed behind her.

She looked over her shoulder, “Oh, Finn, you startled me. I’m not sure what to make of this place. What are these things?”

“They’re life-size dolls. I felt the same way when I first arrived. Aren’t their eyes awesome?”

“I guess,” Luna replied. Walking further down the aisle, she looked to the left side to what appeared to be the female section. On the right side, there were only men. Focusing back on the female in front of her, Luna peered into her eyes. They weren’t glass, but a solidified jelly with vivid hazel irises. Its skin seemed to be a tinted polymer, the complexion was practically flawless with thin brown eyebrows and a full head of auburn hair flowing down the back. The fingers were long and lean, with every joint creased and authentically painted to perfection. But then, without warning, the hand holding the pen moved across the page. Luna jumped back a few steps. She moved closer and examined the writing. It was the letter ‘B’ with stylized curves.

“Gave you quite a start.” Finn’s nose wrinkled as he laughed. “We need to get back to our assignment before Woman returns. A day’s pay is only given if we do our work.”

“I never expected this place, it’s weird. Maybe I should have asked more questions, but I’m out of money, and it’s all I could find.”

“You’ll get used to it. The rooms in the back loft are pretty sweet. One of them has your name etched on a piece of wood on the floor. If you’re nervous, lock up at night.” Finn slicked back his curly mop of black hair and then pulled two containers of food out of a metal cabinet. “This slot is yours from now on. It gets stocked each day, but I don’t know who…”

“Thanks, I’m pretty hungry.” She interrupted, took the container and began eating. With her mouth a little full she said, “I’ve got a lot of sorting to do. Where’s your workstation?” Luna thought the guy seemed normal compared to everything else.

“Through that door.” Finn gestured behind him. “I lube and maintain the machines that make the dolls. No one other than me and the artist—I call him that but I think he’s more of a scientist—can go in there without Woman’s permission. Don’t know why, it’s just her way. She’ll be back soon with new transfers. Don’t know how she does the transfer, she kicks us out of the room.”

Luna went back to her sorting tables without delay. She wondered what this place with so little light, held beyond Finn’s doors. Not liking her dark thoughts, she put a dress in its matching pile, then a few blouses, and on and on. After several hours passed, she heard a noise. It came from the other side of the room; the head desk was empty. The occupant stood at a blackboard writing. Luna walked a little closer and noticed another figure across the room in the shadows. The letters on the board curved up and down in straight lines across the surface. The first formed a string of words written in a neon yellow chalk — ‘not what I expected this would be. I’m Professor Brandice.’ Under that, the professor began writing the letters of the alphabet. The doll’s voice came out from somewhere deep inside as she read the letters out loud. Then Luna understood. Her new employer was a Soul-Grabber. This doll, now Professor Brandice, was a teacher before her soul traveled out of her body at death and into Woman’s storage vial. She shuddered to think about the possibility of her deceased husband being trapped inside one of these dolls.

@elsa wolf

The Farm Women’s Market

The market remains in 2018 – An inspiration to share from my hometown-


Adapted from “The Montgomery Farm Women’s Cooperative market

by Mary Charlotte Crook

The Montgomery County Story, Volume 25, No. 3, August 1982 —

On busy Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, in the shadow of a modern, high-rise office building, stands a low, white building which, in its almost 80 years, has become a Bethesda institution. This building is the home of the Montgomery Farm Women’s Cooperative Market, Inc., one of the remaining vestiges of the agricultural community that was Montgomery County.

In 1930, at the time of the Great Depression when the farmers of Montgomery County were already hard hit by decline in farm prices, a drought brought further disaster. Mortgages were being foreclosed, plumbing was rusting, roofs were leaking, and taxes were going unpaid. As the bad times got worse, a group of farm women sought some means of alleviating their plight. These women belonged to Home Demonstration Clubs sponsored and operated by the Extension Service of the University of Maryland in cooperation with Montgomery County and the United States Department of Agriculture. Miss Blanche Corwin, the Home Demonstration Agent for Montgomery County, met regularly with these clubs to provide information on new developments in agriculture and home economics, and to demonstrate crafts and sewing methods. Miss Corwin took the women’s problem to the Council of Home Demonstration Clubs. This group, together with the Extension Service, decided that the farm women might be able to sell their farm produce to the residents of the District of Columbia and its growing suburbs as a way of generating an additional source of income.

For two years the women worked to prepare themselves and their products for the market place. At their club meetings, the women, with the help of specialists in nutrition, poultry, dairy products, and animal husbandry, worked to standardize their products. Potential products were brought to the meetings to be checked and graded. The first sale day finally took place on February 4, 1932, in a vacant store in the 6700 block of Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda. Nineteen women participated during the first market, each providing her own display counter –which was usually a card table. The women sold meat products from their farm; cakes, pies, and cookies from their ovens; and canned fruits, vegetables, jellies, and jams from their cellars and pantries. Advertisements were placed in Washington, D.C., and county newspapers and handbills were distributed in near-by residential neighborhoods. When the day was done, almost everything had been sold!

The market became so successful that by June it was being held twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays. For most of the summer the market was in a building leased by Corwin located at 4606 Leland Street. After the lease had expired, and with a growing number of women wanting to sell goods, the market moved in September to a tent at the corner of Leland Street and Wisconsin Avenue. Soon it was obvious that a more effective organization and a more permanent home were needed. The attempts to find a site for a permanent market, however, stirred up controversy. The women were anxious to secure a site at Edgemoor, a community west of Wisconsin Avenue. However, the citizens of Edgemoor strongly opposed the market. As all of this was happening, the future of the market faced another battle. Blanche Corwin’s superiors at the Extension Service felt she was devoting too much time to the market at the expense of other parts of her job and she was fired. As a result of the controversy, the farm women split into two factions. One group chose to continue working with the Extension Service and the new Home Demonstration Agent, Miss Edythe M. Turner. This faction formed the cooperative that still operates the Farm Women’s Market today. The other group was composed of women protesting the dismissal of Miss Corwin, and for a short time formed a competing farm market.

Politics notwithstanding, the market in Bethesda continued to bring in a profit. However, the first autumn at the market was still difficult due to the conditions imposed by operating from a temporary, outdoor location. The tent the market used was 45 feet by 90 feet and was put in place by some of the husbands. Sawdust was spread on the ground and the first purchase by the Market was for an icebox that held 600 pounds of ice. Miss Turner used to carry this ice in her own car on market days. Sometimes the block of ice would drop off her front bumper and splinter into a thousand pieces. Since there was no water available in the tent, she also brought a tea kettle of hot water to scald and clean the inside of the ice box at the beginning of each market day. The fall of 1932 was relatively mild but there were chilly days when it was difficult to operate outside. Miss Turner used to keep an extra supply of overshoes and mittens handy but she insisted the best method for staying warm was to simply keep moving.

Despite these and other trials, the Farm Women’s Market continued to thrive in Bethesda. By December the number of members had increased significantly and it became obvious that larger and more permanent quarters were necessary. The building, which the market still occupies today, was built in late 1932 especially for the association by Leon Arnold, one of the owners of the property at Wisconsin Avenue and Willow Lane. The new building, which the coop rented for $125 a month, opened on Friday evening, December 2, 1932, and drew a crowd of 1000 people.

In a few years the owners of the building received a good offer for the property and wanted to sell. The women decided they did not want to move again so they took the bold step of trying to borrow money to purchase the building and land. Mrs. Julian B. Waters, then president of the market, described the attempt to borrow money:

 “When I went over to the cooperative Bank in Baltimore and asked to borrow $50,000 the bank officials thought I was crazy. They told me that was a lot of money. They didn’t believe a group of farm women could make that amount in a market. The president said he would take it up with his board and I would hear from him. This was in September, 1935. Two weeks went by and we didn’t hear anything. I spoke to the president again. This time it was another excuse, and more time slipped by. I contacted him once more. Finally a man was sent out to look the place over. I had previously told the president that all I wanted him to do was pay us a visit himself some Saturday and see the business we were doing. I was beginning to be a mite discouraged when one Saturday just before Christmas, I looked up and there he was in person. After a cheery greeting, he said, ‘You may have the money.’ By Christmas the property was ours. Within 10 years, in 1945, at their annual meeting in Rockville, the Board of Directors burned the mortgage.”

The building itself has remained much the same throughout the years. The 105 feet by 45 feet building is a simple rectangular frame structure on a concrete foundation. Located at 7155 Wisconsin Avenue, it is surrounded by a parking lot and shaded by two giant sycamore trees. Each member of the cooperative sells her own goods, conducts her own sales, and disposes of anything left over at the end of the day. As a matter of policy Wednesday’s leftovers are not brought to market for sale on Saturday, and customers must arrive early to be sure that the items they desire are not sold out. The money the farm women have earned from the market has paid off mortgages, modernized kitchens, and put many farm children through college. The women also set up a scholarship fund from which children of members could borrow money for their education.


Event; March 23 and 24 MWA Conference

Attention fellow writers, the Maryland Writers Association conference is coming up fast. Last year’s event was a great success. There were many helpful speakers and I suspect the same will be true for 2018. I’m looking forward to attending and hope you will too. As a side note, the image I’ve included doesn’t represent the conference but is a support on my part of all authors everywhere. Love to read, love to write…


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