Welcome to Maryland, my home state...
They don't call Baltimore "Charm City" for nuttin'.
It has illustrious places to visit, like the arts district on Charles St. where I got my first Chinese hammered dulcimer for Christmas when I was 17. The shop was one of those old timey music stores with instruments hanging from the ceiling in the basement. It was next to the Peabody Conservatory of Music where my mom went for ballet and my grandmother went for voice. She sang with Arthur Godfrey live on the radio in the 30's and 40's. I almost went to the Maryland Art Institute but went to Scripps instead.
Due to Maryland's Mason-Dixon status, it was uniquely important in the Underground Railroad. I give you the Blacks in Wax Museum. There was a slave ship and a lynching room. Boy, was it a drag being all chalky white trapsing through there.
The perils of inner city drug use. I know all about it although I only saw 30 seconds of 'The Wire' Episode 1 before the DVD froze up.
The culmination of progress. Obama looks fresh.
My hometown is Ellicott City, MD. It's a mill town dating back to the 1700's. It has cobblestones and is very historic. B & O Railroad started it's first trip here. It's also insanely haunted and now hosts Ghost Tours. My aunt ChiChi has some stories about the ruins of 'Patapsco Female Institute' that she worked to get protected. My first house 'Spring Hill' (until I was 2) was written up in a few articles as being haunted and every member of my family have tales to tell on that subject. Some that even involve me. More on that when I go back to visit 'Spring Hill' next summer.
Here's my second house, built in the 1700's by General Marriott. Mrs.Steiner, an artist, was our only neighbor. She loved to draw with me and gave me a set of lifelike little fuzzy zoo animals. Her house has been demolished and the whole area is in conservancy. Last year, I saw a dozen deer bounding all around the lawn. The lawn would get so tall sometimes when I was kid, I'd ride my St. Bernard, Duke, through it like I was on a safari. I used to love playing make believe in the woods, pretending I lived in the trees or ran a saloon or could talk to the animals. I honestly believed I was a cat in my past life without ever learning about reincarnation. When my dad would take me motorcycling, I'd see lots of deer and fox. The place did have a creepy vibe at night though.
I loved hanging on the side of my mom's VW Bug down the long driveway.
My aunt ChiChi lives in a cabin in the woods by a lake. I love her so much, we are very kindred.
My cousin Ryon, her man Eric and their wee one Gunnar live in my grandmother Mimi's old house. Ryon and I made a trip to my favorite place in the world a few years ago. 'The Enchanted Forest' was a fairytale theme park from the 50's in Ellicott City, blocks from my house. I went for every birthday or any opportunity I got. John Waters filmed parts of 'Cry Baby' there. It was beautiful and they built a strip mall over it. However, there were lots of abandoned parts of it left and we snuck in. I'll post pics once I scan them.
On Mimi's property I would follow the rows of pines for miles. I'd see lots of little effigies like in 'Blair Witch Project'. That movie really weirded me out when I saw it. Maryland's forests really are enchanted and haunted.
Sunny Ocean City, Maryland never struck me that way. We went every summer cuz my grandparents had a place on the water.
In Ocean City, God...
guts and guns are what made it great.
Nowadays, the boardwalk is chock full of bored, working Russians and tourist yahoos, like me and my pals.
Sam threatened to wear a sign around his neck that said "Open", then completely freak out.
Some of Trimper's Rides are circa 1900 and they all take me back to my childhood. I got a little wistful that I wasn't taking pictures of my own kid on these rides, but not wistful enough to have one.
Shield thine eyes children, this lady won this huge Spidy and no matter what she does, it's awkward.
Things got racy on the Himalaya where they pumped up the autotuned jams and spun us "faster and faster".
Sam, the Skaritzas and I were really feeling all the garbage we had ingested at that point.
and the Guinness-
and the steamed crabs-
and all the candy-
now ya tell me!
Poppy loves his new recliner. It's like a blue marshmallow cloud.
Here's Poppy when he was a top turret gunner on the B-17s. Inside the book, I have yet to finish the shadowbox cut-out of the pages showing him shooting out of the turret during a dogfight. He flew 31 missions over Europe which made him a member of the "Lucky Bastards" flying club. He kicked live bombs out of the bomb bay and saw friends become human debris. This man deserves the puffiest recliner ever and nightly ice cream on demand.
Now we say goodbye to "Maryland, my Maryland, oh how I love my Maryland" (sang to the tune of O Tannenbaum when I was in Kindergarten)
and hello to our friend Speck in Brooklyn. She has quite a view...
and quite a cat. Meet Pumekl. He saw deep into my reincarnated cat soul.
Sam and his pops in Quincy Market, Bostontown.
Sam and pops at the JFK Museum. Two diverse architectural marvels (buildings and humans).
O to live in the days of Mad Men...
This is the era I pine for...
Except for this (look at Californie)...
H.I.M. Emperor Haile Selassie gave this platinum Lion of Judah to Jackie Kennedy.
Every year we try to make it to Maine to see family and clear our heads. Here is the house Sam intends to buy when he's a millionaire.
Here's the one I love and it's a stone's throw away. Guess it will be my art studio.
Saw this deer more than once that day.
Here I am on Sam's dad's back porch where I helped move logs in for Winter.
We took a motorboat to Wood Island.
This boardwalk runs for 1/2 mile across the island and through the trees.
At the end of the boardwalk is a lighthouse and its caretaker's house. Some years back, I had been pushing to move to some lighthouse on remote Galloo Island. Dash that idea. I got a real feel for how isolated and scary it could be.
Sam's up there waving.
Inside the caretaker's house were some articles about how it is haunted and the seance that had been conducted there. One of the guides was there and although she had been a skeptic, she was now a believer. She said that during the seance, the room grew cold, the medium's body temperature went down perilously, and that someone identified themselves as John, a castaway from a pirate ship that died with 10 others on the island. I definitly felt some dark presence in this house.
This closet had been identified by a former caretaker as "inhabited by the supernatural".
I ascended to the lighthouse.
Wood Island's light signal is green and white.
Inside this little building, I took the picture of the house with the lighthouse and it was very forbidding. Whatever was in there, wanted me out.
On the way back, the evening twilight turned everything postcard perfect.