Thursday, November 14, 2019

Harlan Bound: Kentucky Storytelling Conference

I'm heading for Kentucky tomorrow, for the 2019 Kentucky Storytelling Conference!

There is nothing quite like a gathering of storytellers--can you just imagine the tales that flow, the laughter, and the listening? I'll be presenting a workshop on Appalachian superstitions and omens, and I am so excited about it because it's one of my favorite topics. I expect my attendees will have plenty to share during this session!

So packing my bags, printing my handouts, and feeling a happy anticipation. I'll be travelling with storytelling friend Jo Ann Dadisman who is also presenting at the conference.

Oh, the stories we'll hear!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Booth Updates: Marietta

We got back to our Marietta booth yesterday to make a few changes.

First, we brought in this little dresser to replace a table and chairs we'll be moving to Ravenswood.

This little guy is so sweet, and the finis s beautiful, too pretty to paint.

I added more cameras and some vintage binoculars, as these items seem to be good sellers with the younger customers.

I added the little tea set in front in thie photo. It's just so sweet.

Glasses, glasses! I keep a constant stock of them in this cabinet. Today's addition was the orange Blendo juice glasses, which replaced something else that sold recently.

Just pretty!

Added the strawberry jar and the orange and white kettle today. I bought the kettle for me to use, but liked it too much to use it for every day, so it was just sitting on a shelf. Finally decided it was better to re-sell it.

Cast iron is a steady seller. These are really old pieces, except for the flat griddle, but they are priced right.

I have downsized my paperweight collection pretty drastically. I think I still have a half-dozen after adding these to the booth.

Don't you love this bright little clothespin bag? We get requests for them from time to time so I hope this one finds a home.

I really expected this big primitive cabinet to sell by now--the price is certainly right. It might have to come home for a paint job. Daggone it. I'd hoped to not have to paint it, but maybe that's what it needs to attract a buyer's eye. Sometimes I think that perhaps someone will want to work their own magic on a piece.

I finally got around to washing up all of the blue jars we got out of the first log cabin we moved, in 2003!These have been in a few totes in the cellar, believe it or not. This is the last of the them, a lot of half-gallon size.

Sales continue to be slower than usual for the time of year. The intense heat slowed things down earlier in the fall, then just as sales were picking up, it's turned cold and nasty. Weather has not been our friend this year--who wants to go browsing antique stores when it's not fun to be out and about in the weather?

That picnic basket is so cool. It has a "pie shelf"--a divider that is removable and provides protected space for a pie!

Tall wicker plant or fern stand. I really like this. Can't you just imagine it with a fern in it?

Old tools, uniforms, vintage handbags....this corner is certainly full of variety.

Lots of tea caddies! I swear I'd keep them al if I could in any way justify it--I love painted tins.

So that's the quick tour for this mall. I'll post pics from our Ravenswood booths tomorrow.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Three Book Reviews: A Tale of Birmingham, a Hanging, and Superstitions

It's been a l-o-n-g while since I wrote a book review on my blog, so here's three to catch up a little:

The Girl from Hockley: Growing Up in Working-Class Birmingham by Kathleen Dayus (Virago, 2006): Have you ever wondered what life might have been like in industrial England in the early days of the 1900's? Kathleen Dayus' book will provide all the enlightenment you could possibly want. Told from the point of view of her own childhood and growing-up, the book is a frank description of the abject poverty, cunning suvivor skills, and determination that marked her life and those of all the people she knew in her slum neighborhod of Birmingham, UK. Her rich language, poignant disappointments, puzzlement at her mother's refusal to love her, descriptions of the food (or lack thereof), clothing, and living conditions make this an absolute pageturner. The reader will follow young Kate from childhood to young womanhood, working in munitions and other industries, her disastrous first marriage and struggle to survive, and finally to peace and while not plenty, at least enough in her final years. Dayus became a legend in her own time, living to almost 100 years old. Her story was read aloud on BBC, and today a square in her old neighborhood is named in her honor. Truly a must-read.

Swift Justice: The Story of John F. Morgan and the Last Public Hanging in West Virginia by Merrilee Fisher Matheny (Quarrier Press, 2019):  Jackson county, West Virginia is the place I call home. It is also the site of one of the state's most horrific murders--triple murder, actually--that resulted in a tumultuous event that culminated in the public hanging of the murdered man. It's a story I explore annually in the Ripley ghost walk, and the author Merrilee Matheny, was a great help to me in developing the story by generously sharing her research. And now Matheny has put her compelling account of the murders, including extensive background material, new stories and photos of places and people involved into a book. Matheny's writing is clear and engaging, and she offers information that might cast doubt on whether or not John F. Morgan, the convicted murderer, did indeed act alone. This is local history at its best, but it's not only local people that will be fascinated by her gripping account.

Appalachian Magazine's Mountain Superstitions, Ghost Stories & Haint Tales by the publishers of Appalachian Magazine (Stately Ties Media, 2018). I admit, the title of this book caught my attention immediately. I tell many ghost stories, and am always interested in learning about superstitions. And since I am presenting a workshop this week on Appalachian Folklore and Superstitions, I was anxious for this book to arrive. I can't say it lived up to my expectations completely, but there are good stories here, and some of the background information is intriguing. The author grew up in southern West Virginia and is now a preacher in the area. Superstition is a personal thing; some believe in it, some don't, some believe one thing but not another. The authors trace some beliefs back to European origins, others to the need for some kind of explanation for life's traumas and mysteries. It's a good read, and while not an in-depth study the authors have included many out-of-print articles that are fascinating reading.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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