Posts Tagged ‘Marble’

Thursday morning the alarms went off and we were out the door to meet Tina ( our friend from Molise/Campobasso), who was kind enough to join us on our trip to Caserta, but also to drive.

Tina is gracious, generous and the kind of Italian mother you’ve heard about….She has two sons who she loves dearly and within two minutes in her company, Joel became a prince.  If he wasn’t finished with his coffee, we would wait, because this was to be a free fun day with no rules!  You know that was music to his ears after 3 days with me, who was trying to get him up early to eat breakfast before noon!

We got in the car to go and Joel thought he should go back in the bar to get water.  Not necessary – Tina has bottles of frozen water packed, along with lunch for a picnic on the grounds of the Royal Palace.

Finally I was making the trip to Caserta to see The Royal Palace, the House of the Kings of Naples. Up until today, I thought the king was in Naples because Naples was the capital of Italy at that time. WRONG!  There was no unified country known as Italy, there was a kingdom that bordered just south around  Rome then looped northeast to what  might now be Abruzzo or Molise and included the entire southern peninsula and at times the Island of Sicily.

It was a warm sunny day and surprisingly there were no crowds at the Palace. We were so lucky.  Hot as it was outside, it was nice and cool inside and walking on marble floors within marble walls makes for a pleasant temperature on a hot day.

First picture of the day taken by Tina


I can’t believe you want me to walk up all those stairs!


Joel and Tina on ONE of the magnificent marble staircases

Did you know?  That this palace was designed in the style and fashion of Versailles? That it is the LARGEST royal palace in all of Europe?  Bigger than Buckingham Palace and bigger than Versailles and it has this magnificent garden planted in the shape of a violin.  I tried to get a good image of the garden which surrounds the Palace but was unable. Here is a photo taken as we traveled up the neck of the violin.


Angels adorn the neck of the violin and fish swim in the water.

And inside the grandeur continues to excess…


It might be a little much for our apartment.

For such an important king, such a small throne,


The King Of Naples throne

If you were not Michaelangelo, no one knows who painted al these magnificent ceilings.


Every Ceiling was a Masterpiece

All that glitters is not gold BUT IT IS MARBLE underneath!


All That Glitters…

And what could be better than a picnic on the Royal grounds?


Tina, A Wood Nymph

Joel hardly enjoyed his pizza.


Chowing Down a Slice.


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It’s not that it seems like yesterday…but hard to believe it was more than a half a century ago that as a young girl growing up in the ’50’s, my friends and I played and amused ourselves with toys and pastimes from a simpler time.   I know I sound like a cliché and an echo of my own parents telling me of their childhoods in the early part of the 20th Century.  My youth was spent in the second half of that century and now I’m observing the toys, games and amusements of my granddaughter- born in this, the 21st Century.

I don’t know how big a part economics played in the toys we played with as children but  I’m sure it it did. Things are different with my granddaughter as they were when my daughter was raised.

aggies, dibs, clearies, slags, swirlies


Let’s step back in time to the 1950’s, to a neighborhood populated by WWII veterans and their families;  My friends and I were post-war babies; future boomers in a simpler time and place.

red ball,

Paddle Ball

  1. Baseball cards A nickel a pack with a sheet of pink cardboard that passed off as bubble gum.  Yes even us girls had some baseball cards – ok well I may have had few more than my girlfriends because I was tomboy.  Anyway, each player leaned a card against a wall; then we would stand back and take turns tossing a card into the leaners, the cards that missed stayed on the floor and became part of the pot which would go to the winner.
  2. Paddle BallA really simple and extremely common toy.  Consisting of a wooden paddle with a small red ball attached to it by a long piece of elastic.  The idea – keep the ball in the air by whacking it with the paddle, the winner was whoever hit the ball the most times consecutively.
  3. Water Pistols –  The best summer toy on a hot day.  Colorful plastic guns; some in the shape of derringers and space guns.  NO large gatling guns, no blasters or rocket launchers – just a small pistol packed full of surprise and fun.
  4. Bubbles I know the kids today still play with bubbles, I’ve seen Finley (my granddaughter) get so excited over the magic of  blowing that produced iridescent globes floating in the air.   Today I was in a Dollar Store and saw quarts of bubble liquid for sale.  Maybe for the little old lady who lived in shoe. However, when I was a kid and your bubbles ran out, you tried to make your own solution from Mom’s liquid dish soap – it never really worked very well.
  5. Kites Kites were the harbingers of Spring along with jump ropes.  Our kites were the usual kite shape and made with richly-colored tissue paper usually with black lettering and I think most of us had Hi-Flyers. Once in a while I would see a box kite and as I got a little older, the kites were sporting designs such as stars and stripes and there were plastic kites too.  Now the good part (for me); my father used to make kites for me.  He had a super workshop in the basement, he would cut the wood and fashion the kite body out of road maps.   They were bigger than the store bought ones  with really long tails.  Then he would string it, balance it and make me  a wooden handle to wrap the kite string around.  Now, that was love…the time he spent making the kite and making sure I was involved in some aspect.  He could have just gone to Woolworth‘s or S.S. Kresge’s but then I would have never had this wonderful memory.
  6. Sledding – I mean on a real sled!  All of us had sleds with red runners, wooden slat seats, the best being a Flexible Flyer.  Hours and hours and then some more hours were spent hauling our sleds up Spencer Drive which had a huge hill.  I guess the town snow plows didn’t get down to blacktop because we always seemed to have enough snow to slide.  Snow days meant sledding until you were wet and cold and then having hot chocolate at one of our houses.  And then…well because we were all future baby boomers with post-war fathers, our dads were young enough to think it was fun to go sledding at night.  Young and the fact that most of them had the kind of job that didn’t require them to work late and they didn’t bring the job home with them either.  So after supper, we would often meet up again and go sliding with our dads.  Priceless memories of shrieking at breakneck speed on a mixture of ice and snow holding on tight to Dad.
  7. Flying a Wooden Airplane – Balsa wood Gliders were another Springtime and Summer treat.  Often a party favor or a reward for being good…these ubiquitous and ingenious little airplanes were everywhere.  The kit cost 10 cents! No need to read the instructions because all you had to do was rip open the packaging, slide the wing through the slot in the body and insert the tail fin and you were ready to pilot your plane through loops, nose-dives and distance races with your friends.  The Guillow company perfected a mass-production process and distribution to the chain stores like J.J. Newbury’s, Woolworth’s, Kresge’s etc.
  8. Punks – Not exactly a toy but truly a summer evening pastime.  I’m not sure where we got the Cattails, there must have been some swampy area nearby because we used to light the Cattails which we called punks and probably pretend we were smoking  keeping mosquitoes away.
  9. Shooting Marbles – Collecting them, trading them and playing with them, marbles were great fun.  I loved aggies which for me was the catchall name for any marble that wasn’t one of the new Cat’s Eyes marbles. The marbles were opaque with brilliant colors and designs;  they were swirls, clearies, slags and solids. I remember two games we used to play; one involved a circle drawn in the dirt or if you were inside, you could  make a circle out of string and the idea of the game was to use your shooter  and knock the marble out of the ring thereby winning them.  We also used to play a game which was like marble golf – you had to shoot your marble into a small hole in the ground.
  10. Parachute Blow Tube – You might get this really inexpensive and cheaply made toy at the 5 cent &10 cent or as a party favor! A little paper man was attached to a thin red plastic parachute .  The man and parachute fit into a narrow cardboard tube and you blew him out and up in the air.  You could also make your own.;  my father made me a parachute out of one of his white handkerchiefs and instead of a paper man, he strung a metal nut on it.   I could toss it high up in the air and it would come floating down beautifully.
  11. Check out a previous blog post about the Top Ten Toys from my childhood, https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/thursdays-top-ten-toys-from-my-childhood/

sledding, sliding in the snow, snow days,

Flexible Flyer

balsa wood glider, glider kit

Balsa Wood Glider

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