Saturday, April 28, 2012

Family pets

Bingle, ca late 1890s

Our family heritage includes a love of animals.  All the branches of the family have had pets.  Some of these beloved animals even had professional portraits.  I think this white dog, named Bingle, was the first of several dogs called Bing.  There were at least two German Shepherds that carried that name both owned by Walt Lorig.  The dog below named Charlie was Walt Lorig’s first dog. 

Charlie, ca early 1900s

Petra, I.C. and Topsy, ca 1910

Miss Topsy was well know by all the friends of Petra and I.C. Lee and even received written invitations to parties.  Topsy looks a lot like the dog that was the Fire House dog when I.C. worked for the Fire Department.  There has been speculation that she was an offspring of that dog.  The Fire House dog was considerably slimmer but Petra was a very good cook and undoubtedly Topsy got extra table scraps from time to time.  At least she looks like she did.  She was a great favorite with both the Landaas and Lorig families.  She could do a number of tricks and was well behaved.

Fire House dog with the firemen.  I.C. Lee is 4th from the left in the back row, ca 1900

Bing, ca 1930
This is one of the dogs named Bing with Edd & Maggie Lorig, Lizzie Keller (Edd’s sister) Robert Ward and MayBell Keller Ward.  Clara Lorig (Walt’s wife) is petting Bing.  There was another Bing in the 1950s and 60s.
There were cats too, like Mrs. Gooberdust or more commonly called Dusty but cats are not as cooperative about having their pictures taken so we don’t have many early photos of them.

Archie Foo Evans, 1950s

This one of Archie is so cute I couldn’t resist putting it in even though he is a more recent addition (1950s) to the pet file. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 36

Avenue l’Opera in central Paris, ca 1900

Unlike many of the avenues in Paris the Avenue de l’Opera has few trees aside from those pictured here and is not what could be termed tree lined.  This was the result of a compromise between the designer of the avenue (Haussman) and the architect of the Opera House (Garnier) so that an unobstructed view from the Louvre would be possible.  Today the avenue is filled with shops and cafés.  Before the Opera House was built, however, the area was made up of narrow streets that were considered unhealthy and dangerous.  Those streets were replaced beginning in 1854 but the avenue was not completed until 1873.  During part of that construction phase it was called “avenue Napoleon” for a few years but renamed Avenue of the Opera in 1873.  The last of the buildings along the avenue were built in 1879.  There is a lovely painting by Camille Pissarro, one of the famous French Impressionists, titled "Avenue de l'Opera" that was done in 1898.  For more information see:’Opera

This is where Mrs. Gimlet and I got lost despite clear instructions from our guide, Angelique.  We exited from the Louvre looking for the avenue that should have been directly to our left.  We are still not sure what happened but we went too far, then returned and went too far a second time in the opposite direction.  There were what seemed like hundreds of small stalls camped out on the sidewalk hawking all sorts of wares for tourists.  It was crowded.  After going back and forth a couple of times we crossed to the other side and stopped to sit on a convenient ledge, pulled out the meager city map, and tried to get our bearings.  Mrs. Gimlet walked down to the end of the current block to see the name of that street and we trudged back the other direction once again only this time on the less crowded side of the street.  Since we had been warned repeatedly about pickpockets we were glad to be away from the crush of people, the small stalls and also where we could see where we were heading. 

Finally we found the avenue and all the stores.  This was supposed to be our Paris shopping afternoon but by now we were tiring, had used up a good portion of our free time and still had several stores we wanted to visit.  We did get into one boutique and successfully made a purchase hopped outside and found the shoe store but there was a doorman limiting access to the store because it was pretty crowded inside.  We were supposed to meet the rest of the group for dinner, had yet to find the Metro station, would need to change trains, and meet up with everybody in the square by the Moulin Rouge in a short while.  We couldn’t take the time to stand in line waiting to get into a store so we left.  Sadly we were unable to get to the needlework shop Mrs. Gimlet wanted to visit or to the Ladurée store to get macaroons.  But we knew there was another chance for Ladurée at Versailles the next day.  We were still a bit fearful of getting lost once again so we hurried on to find the Metro.  Apart from being packed in an extremely crowded train car with a group of British girls dressed like cows* the Metro ride was uneventful, transfers successful and arrival at Moulin Rouge well ahead of schedule.  We sat and people watched feeling like Parisians while waiting for everyone else to arrive.

Moulin Rouge, Paris


*  It took a small child on the train to ask the girls why they were dressed like cows.  The girls said that one of them was getting married and this was the equivalent of a stag party, a sort of scavenger hunt, they were laughing and smiling while their cow bells tinkled cheerfully. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

The "Lock Bridge" in Paris, France

 Some of the many padlocks on the bridge.

 Locks are now being attached to the opposite side of the bridge.

We returned home from France today and I am trying to stay awake long enough to go to bed at a normal time.  That is proving to be difficult because we had a 3:30 am wake-up call in Nice and it is now 5:00 am Nice time the next day but only 8:00 pm the same day we left Seattle time.  Rather than post strictly travel log style I’m going to mix some of that with a few of the pictures we took and stories we were told by our wonderful tour guide, Angelique. 

Near the beautiful old cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris is a bridge over the Seine River that is called the “lock bridge” or “padlock bridge.”  Here is an abbreviated version of the story behind the bridge.  Some time ago a man fell in love with a beautiful woman.  He loved her so much he never wanted to be parted from her.  To keep her in Paris with him he took a padlock and wrote her name on the lock, tied a ribbon to the lock and then attached both to the bridge so that she could never leave him or leave Paris without him.  The story touched many other young lovers and soon one side of the bridge was covered in locks.  At first only that side of the bridge was covered now the opposite side is also being covered with the padlocks. 

A tiny corner of Notre Dame can be seen at the upper right.


Traveling with 40 teenagers, walking at a very brisk pace up and down hills and twisting cobblestone roads is not for the faint of heart.  Even with all the rich, unbelievably delicious French food we ate we probably lost a little weight.  

The two small photographs are courtesy of the Gimlet Gallery.

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 35*

La Place des Vosges, Paris, ca 1900

Place des Vosges is 140 by 140 meters square (459’ 3.81”) or about 100 feet longer than a football field in the United States. It took from 1605 to 1612 to build and is the first example of royal city planning. It is considered to be the prototype of residential squares in European cities.

The square is arranged symmetrically with buildings all of the same height along each side with two taller buildings, the Pavilion of the King and the Pavilion of the Queen facing each other on the north and south sides of the square. The exterior of the buildings, nine on each side for a total of 36, is brick and stone for a strikingly colored red with cream insets. The steep roofs are of blue slate and contain dormer windows. There are mature Linden trees in the center of the square and clipped Lindens along the perimeter, benches, fountains and some statuary can also be found in the park. Even today it is considered one of the most beautiful squares in the world.

During a five year period from 1605 to 1612 Henry IV, who had this square built, also ordered the Place Dauphine laid out, had additions made to the Louvre, the Pont Neuf, and the Hôpital Saint Louis. Although no kings or queens actually lived here the wedding of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria was held on the grounds in 1612 and included a three-day tournament, several notable persons have lived in the apartments that line the sides of the square. During the 17th century duels were fought in the center of the square.

For additional pictures and historical information please see:


This is posted on Friday because the WiFi at the hotel in Nice was down so I had to wait an extra day.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 34

Musée de Cluny, ca 1900

The Musée de Cluny shown on this postcard is a place we hope to visit while in Paris. Since it is supposed to be located near our hotel it should be within walking distance. I was told by friends that it is requisite to get lost in Paris at least once and because I do have a habit of getting lost this may prove to be yet another adventure that goes awry.

Musée de Cluny was built in 1334 on the partial remains of third century Gallo-Roman baths it was at that time the town house or hotel for the abbots of Cluny. It was then rebuilt in 1485-1510 and is currently supposed to be the best example of medieval civic architecture in Paris. It combines both Gothic and Renaissance elements. The amazing 15th century Lady and the Unicorn tapestries are on display here. Since Mrs. Gimlet has her own tapestry stand and does beautiful embroidery this museum is one of the things on our free time must see list.

Trivia facts: Mary Tudor the sister of Henry VIII and widow of Louis XII lived here. Several papal nuncios lived here at different times during the 17th century. Charles Messier used it as an observatory. At one time it was owned by a physician who used the Flamboyant chapel on the first floor as a dissection room. In 1833 Alexandre du Sommerard moved here and installed his large collection of medieval and Renaissance objects. After his death the collection was purchased by the state and the building opened as a museum in 1843.

For more see:ée_de_Cluny

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

"Berry picker, pie maker" park bench

Park bench dedicated to Mom & Dad

It was such a beautiful sunny day today and those are somewhat rare around here so amid the packing, laundry, and general housekeeping, I just had to take a walk in the sun to see if the park benches were up yet. What a wonderful surprise! The bench my brother arranged to have installed dedicated to our parents was there with the plaque and everything.

The plaque for the bench

It is located on a slight hill just under a tree. In the summer it will have shade. I even got to sit down and listen to the birds for a few minutes.
This is right on a public access to the trail and is a high traffic area that needed two benches. The other bench has been there for a year or two and is heavily used. The nice part is that the location is very near to the house Dad built and we lived in. It is also not too far away from his secret berry patch where we all picked blackberries from which Mom made those delicious pies.

Across the trail from the bench the Friends of the Burke Gilman Trail have been planting Huckleberries, Thimble berries, several different types of native ferns, Hawthornes (black and red), a few other berries and flowers. Very appropriate considering the message on the plaque.

Looking north along the trail

Informational marker about the plantings

All along the side of the trail where they have been planting the new shrubs, berries, ferns, and flowers there are informational signs telling about the plants. It was a lot of fun to walk along and read the notes and see if I could identify any of the tiny new shoots.

Bopa's bench isn't up yet but I did not start the process to donate that bench as early and really have not expected to see it installed until May. After it is up I will take some pictures and post them too.



* There are several markers clustered together
all in a row beside the trail identifying the various plants and I originally thought this shrub was the red Hawthorne. Red and black Hawthornes have also been planted nearby and we had one at the foot of our driveway that looked very much like this plant. Kate Schroder said she thought it might be a native northwest red-flowering currant instead. Sure enough it is a currant. I had no idea that currant bushes got this tall. The photo is deceptive, the plant is already about 6 feet high.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Postcard Thursday bonus

Provence, France, watercolor

Several years ago Else Marie Roland sent me this watercolor card of a rural scene in Provence, France. It is difficult to read the artist's name written in the lower right corner but I think it is signed as M. Jacques or M. Jacquey. The title in the lower left corner looks like Un Mas en Provence but once again it is difficult to make out the letters. I have had it in a little frame ever since she sent it to me.

Else Marie lived nine years in France most of that time in Provence and loved it. Mrs. Gimlet and I will only have just a couple of short days to enjoy Provence but I wanted to share this card and my great affection for Else Marie who has since passed away. She was a wonderful woman who lived life to the fullest. We corresponded by letter for many years but never met in person. Else Marie was one of the grandchildren of Marie Mikalsdatter Hornnes.

This is also a test to see if I can pre-load a post and then publish it from an iPad.

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 33

Le Boulevard Saint-Martin, Paris, ca 1890

Intersection of le boulevard Saint-Denis and Saint-Martin with the Saint-Martin gate, ca 1900

Front view Porte Saint-Martin, Paris, 2006
[photo courtesy of Wikipedia]

Unlike some of the other postcards that I have collected most of the ones printed in France do not have the printer-publisher’s name on the reverse. Both cards above show a picture of the intersection of the boulevards St. Denis and St. Martin with the St. Martin’s Gate photographed from almost the identical angle. I did find a front view of the gate on Wikipedia and have included it here as well.

The top postcard shows only horse drawn conveyances while the second card shows a mixture of mostly horse drawn vehicles but a few motorcars and bicycles as well; therefore, they were probably taken some years apart. Notice what looks like a Mercedes emblem on the front of the automobile on the left side of the second card.

The original gate from medieval times was replaced at the order of Louis XIV. It was built in 1674 and later restored in 1988. It is constructed of limestone and marble with relief artwork and stands 18 meters high (59 feet). That would be about the height of a four or five story building. Paris was at one time a fortified city and this gate and the St. Denis gate were part of the fortifications. The St. Denis gate is located within walking distance to the west of this one.

For more information see:

If we have enough free time and can figure out how to use the Metro perhaps we will be able to visit this spot and I can put up a current photo later.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Alfhild Thompson Skage

(Harriet) Alfhild or Alfhild Dorthea Thompson, ca 1891

Alfhild was the youngest child of Didrik Andreas Thompson and Sigrid/Serine Berentine Andersdatter. She was between the ages of 8 and 12 when her mother died in 1901. She remained in Norway until 21 October 1911 when she left to join her brother, Didrik “Dick” Thompson in America. She traveled from Norway to Scotland leaving from Glasgow on the ship Grampian and arriving at Quebec, Canada then went by train to Seattle. Like her brother she originally stayed with her Aunt Gjertine Elisabeth and Uncle Halvor Gjurmundson Strandrud who lived in Seattle. She did attend Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma for a period time taking classes to learn English.

Alfhild, ca 1908

I am not certain but I think Alfhild may have met her husband through her brother and his connections with the Bergen Club. Dick was very active in the Club and also sang with the Norwegian Male Chorus. There were quite a few people who came from Bergen who had settled in the Ballard area of Seattle. They had a lot of activities and it seems reasonable that he may have asked his sister to accompany him on occasion. Olaf Pedersen Skage left Norway in 1910 following his older brother Samson Pedersen Skage who came in 1906 and preceding his younger brother Anders (Americanized to Andrew) Pedersen Skage who came in 1914. All three brothers were carpenters.

As I start to really dig into this everything begins unraveling but I think I have figured out what is going on here. Since the participants are now all deceased perhaps they will forgive me for pulling their secrets out from the closet. It does appear that there is only one Alfhild and her name was Alfhild Dorthea not Harriet Alfhild as is written on the photograph of her as a young child (above). She was born 3 December 1889 and christened on 6 June 1890 at Mariakirken, Bergen, Norway. On the passenger list her age is given as 21 years and her birth year is said to be 1890. After she meets and falls in love with Olaf who was born in 1892, however, she all of a sudden becomes a year younger than he is, or born in 1893. She remains consistent with her age the rest of her life saying that she was born in 1893. I couldn’t quite understand why she would travel by herself from Seattle to Helena, Montana to get married until I looked at her daughter’s birth date of 28 August 1917 or only five months after her marriage to Olaf. Her daughter, Helen, alternates between 1917 and 1918 as her birth year on various documents. It probably wouldn’t make that much difference today but apparently it did then.

Olaf and Alfhild were married in Helena, Lewis & Clark County, Montana on 22 March 1917. By June of 1917 they were living in Great Falls, Montana where the World War I Draft Registration papers show Olaf working as a carpenter for the Anaconda Copper Mining Company. His brother, Sam and his family, are also living in Great Falls at that time. Olaf was probably already working for Anaconda and traveled about 90 miles to Helena to get married before returning to Great Falls where their only child, Helen Louise was born a few months later. They were still living in Great Falls for the 1920 census but in 1927 the city directory shows that they have moved to Oakland, Alameda, California. They remained in the Bay Area of California for the rest of their lives. Olaf died in 1959 and Alfhild in 1974.

Alfhild and Dick had a half-brother named Gjert Didriksen. I did receive a photograph of Gjert from his granddaughter. We both think there is a resemblance between Alfhild and Gjert. What do you think?

Alfhild, ca 1911

Gjert Didriksen as a young man
[photo courtesy of Johanne Sognnæs]

We are piecing together a list of all the children of Didrik Andreas Thomsen that I will post as another update later. Thanks to Johanne Sognnæs for helping compile and verify the family information and for the picture of her grandfather.