Cartagena, Columbia – 2018

Mom and I visited Cartagena, Columbia, on November 16thon the Vision of the Seas. We are on the second deck of the ship in an ocean view cabin. There is a photo of the cabin below to show you how we have had the furniture arranged.

The thing to see in Cartagena is the walled city, which was built by the Spanish to protect the ships full of gold and other treasures they were sending from the New World back to Spain. The cruise port at Cartagena is about 3 miles from the old walled city, and the Ho-Ho bus, at $45 a person, is quite expensive plus it doesn’t go into Old Cartagena. (You would have to hop off for a walking tour, and Mom’s walker is not up to that.)

For our outing, we walked to the shops near the docks and the cruise terminal building and then visited the aviary and park near all the taxi drivers and their sales people. There are interesting, attractive, overpriced goods in the shop all of which are said to be made in Columbia. The shops are about 300 feet from the end of the dock and the walk is in full sun. It was 88F and very humid (rather like an August day in Maryland, and I will not assign adjectives to that – you can do that yourself.)

The aviary contains an open habitat for a large number of parrots, mostly blue with a few red and fewer still green ones. About 5 wandering peacocks were also in the open habitat. There was also a large walk-in caged area containing toucans, some kinds of ducks and other tropical, mainly ground-dwelling, birds. (The cage may be for their protection from varmints rather than to keep them from straying.)

Next to the aviary paths were concessioners selling rum punch and soft drinks. Mom and I got diet Cokes and sat at a table in the shade to drink them. I wandered the paths and walked through the cage taking bird photos, and Mom met Ronald and Solfred from Norway, and got to know them. Solfred declared that Cartagena is “too hot for Norwegians.” Ronald was a captain from the Norwegian merchant navy, so was not surprised by the weather – but not thrilled with it either.

Here is Mom with her hand on one of the ship’s cables.

And here is Mom with three big blue tugboats in the background. 

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Snow, Leaves and Art before Panama

We’ve had a wet year in Maryland, and got more rain last week. In my 11 day turn-around between the Transatlantic and the up-coming Panama transit, I thought I might have enough time to get several chores done around the house, but hadn’t figured in the wet weather, a 2-day volunteer stint, the election, and a family visit. Packing for travel is becoming more of a habit, but it still needed to be done in a bit of a flurry this time.

Thursday was the first dry-enough day to take care of the first tranche of leaf-fall in my yard. At the end of Thursday, most of these leaves ended up in the compost bins in the back yard, but since they were damp, they were not particularly cooperative. Much as I like yardwork (and I do), this could have been more enjoyable.

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Friday, Gary and Cindy reunited with 3 couples in WDC, old friends from younger working days, and we and their friends took an excursion to the Smithsonian. We began our tour at the Air and Space Museum, which lots of visitors, including busloads of school kids, do. Then Cindy and Gary and I went to the art museums across the mall, starting with the beautiful old masters in the National Gallery of Art and moving on to the amazing modern art in the East Wing gallery. Below are Cindy and Gary in the Air and Space, standing in front of mannequins of well-dressed air travelers of earlier times.

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The interesting sculpture below looks like it might be made of paper. (It is resin.) From different angles you see different suggested images, of birds, horses, faces. And the structure has windows through it. From this photo, I see Stonehenge, a gaping-mouthed spook, a giraffe – and Gary, with one arm of the Calder mobile hanging above his head.

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The rooms of the East Wing are organized by date and origin. The works in the room representing European artists after WWII reflected on the destruction, confusion and disarray of their post-war world. Below, Cindy is standing by a sculpture resembling a signpost, but a signpost that is disorganized, incoherent, without direction. In this room it was easy for me to project on the art my present sense of cultural unease.

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Cindy and I both were taken by the painting below by Joaquin Torrez-Garcia, an Uruguayan artist, with its color, rhythm, and balance. It was painted in the late 1940’s. There is a tension in the “containers”, like cells, preventing freedom of thought and movement.

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Last night (Saturday) I took an uneventful flight to Denver. It was cold in WDC, in the 30’s, but mild in Denver, in the 50’s. However, early this morning, a large weather system started dropping a steady, moderate snow that stuck on the lawns and cars but mostly melted on the sidewalk and street. It has been snowing for hours, foggy, slushy, cold, wet, and by dark, freezing slickly. What a fitting prelude to a cruise through the Panama Canal.

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Tonight, in Colorado, we are having family dinner, brought to us by Yvonne and Mike, – ribs and sides. Among family and friends there is much joy and comfort to be taken. And you have to admit, Andi rocks those pink ruffled socks.

Mom and I will be leaving at 7AM for the airport to fly to Miami. We are excited and trying not to drive each other nuts with our pre-trip jitters.

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Alice Marie Henriette Lassonde – 1891 – 1977; a Genealogy Report

Alice Marie Henriette Lassonde was born on September 13, 1891, in Two Harbors, Minnesota, to Napoleon David Laurent Lassonde and Henriette Julia Gervais. The midwife at her birth was Mrs. Charles Floathe. She was the oldest of 12 children, a year and a half older than my grandfather, Joseph Jules Alexander Lassonde. While Alice’s family originally lived in the small town of Two Harbors, Minnesota, on 6th Avenue, her father bought an old logging camp outside of the railroad station of Waldo, Minnesota, before 1902. Alice would have been about 10 years old then.

The family used the logging camp buildings for shelter, workspace and animals. Waldo is about 5 miles from the town of Two Harbors. Alice’s father and later her some of her brothers, worked for the Duluth, Mesabi and Iron Range railroad that carried iron ore from Minnesota’s Iron Range to Two Harbors to be loaded onto oar ships and sent to Cleveland. They walked to work from Waldo, and went to church by horse-drawn wagon.

Alice-undatedBeing the oldest of 12 children and living on a farm, Alice must have shouldered a lot of childcare, housework, and farm responsibilities. There is a newspaper article about how Alice was injured attempting to rescue a sibling from a burning building – one of the lumber camp’s cabins that was being for the family home. Alice believed her toddler brother Philippe was in the burning cabin and was she was burned attempting to rescue him. Fortunately, it turned out that Philippe has wandered off to the barn where his mother was milking the cow, although it must have been horrific for Alice at the time to think her brother was lost in the burning building. Philippe was born in 1907. Alice was probably about 18 at the time of the fire.

In the 1910 Federal Census, Alice is shown as an employee of the railroad, and a block station operator. A block station controls the use of a section of railroad track between one station and the next station. The operator manually operates signals between one block station and the next.

Below is undated photo of Alice with her brother, my grandfather, Joseph Lassonde. The Alice-and-Joephoto was probably taken on the old Lassonde farm in Waldo. (Joe had red hair. Alice’s was brown.)

There is a gap in our records for Alice between 1910, where she’s found in the 1910 Federal Census living in Waldo, MN and 1927, when she’s listed in a city directory living in Portland, Oregon, and is a nurse.

 

 

To the left below is a photo of Alice dated March 21,1926, and the inscription says it was taken in Fargo, North Dakota.

Nursing was a growing occupation in the 1920’sAlice-in-FargoND-March-21-1926, with programs of training established at hospitals, and the foundation of nursing schools associated with hospitals. The training programs were not baccalaureate programs, but more like Normal Schools for the training of teachers; they included classroom work and long hours of work in hospitals. There were several hospital-based schools in the Portland area that combined to become the Multnomah County Training Program to train nurses. This may have been where Alice received her nurses training.

 

AliceMarieHenrietteLassondeAlice’s nurse’s cap looks somewhat like those in photos from the Multnomah County Training Program. The photo of Alice on the right seems to be a nursing school graduation photo.

Alice is listed in the Portland City Directory for 1927, 1929 and 1931, and is in the 1930 Federal Census as a resident of Portland. Her address in 1929 was 715 Johnson; This was a house. In 1930 and 1931, her address was 735 Hoyt Street, which was called a boarding house, and had 33 residents of mixed gender and occupation, plus the landlady.

Alice’s sister Florence also lived in Portland for about 3 years (found in the 1929 and 1931 directories) and perhaps longer, working as a stenographer for Sherman Williams.

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To the right is an undated photo of Alice with “one of my patients.”

Alice married Walter George Hostrawser on May 18, 1931, when she was 40 years old. Walter was born in Hanford, Kings County, California, July 17, 1892, and was a warrant officer in the Navy in 1931. After their marriage, the couple moved several times. In 1933, they lived in San Diego, California. In 1937, they lived in San Pedro, California. In 1940, they had moved to Minnesota, and were living in Duluth. Walter had left the Navy by then.

 

The photo on the left of Alice is dated 11/3/1931. It appears to be taken at the same location as the undated photo of Walter to the right. If the date of November 3rd is correct, Alice may have continued nursing after her marriage. Nurses were often dismissed after marrying, but since there was a shortage of nurses, that was not always the case. Alice, as many nurses at the time were, was a private duty nurse rather than a hospital nurse.

Hawstrawser-house-California-April-1933The photo on the right is dated April 1, 1933, and is Alice and Walt’s house. In 1933, the couple lived in San Diego, California.

 

 

 

Alice-and-Walt-December-22-1934To the left is a photo of Alice and Walt, taken December 22, 1934. They may have moved to San Pedro by then or may still have been in San Diego.

After Walt retired from the Navy on April 13, 1938, he was enlisted in the Naval reserves. Alice and Walt moved to Duluth around 1940, and afterwards were visitors to the farm residence of Joe and Emily Lassonde in Waldo. My mother, Dorothy, who was living in Duluth at the YWCA, frequently look the streetcar to their house for to visit and for dinner on the weekends. (It was a 15-cent streetcar ride, Mom recalls.)

Alice-and-Walt-Easter-April-22-1946The photo above was taken April 22, 1946, apparently at Joe Lassonde’s farm.

For some years, Walter and Alice lived in a house in Duluth on Wadena St (in Woodland) and lived on Walt’s pension.  They sold the house in Duluth and moved up to the old (Napoleon) Lassonde farm, where there was no running water or indoor plumbing (but there was electricity.) Florence and Rose Lassonde owned the farm after their mother Julia died.

Alice-and-Walt-Lassonde-farm-undatedOn the right is an undated Winter photo of Alice and Walt at the Joseph Lassonde farm. (The electric light pole on the driveway is visible in the background.)

Walter died November 28, 1955, and was buried in Two Harbors, Minnesota at Lakeview Cemetery. He was buried in the Church, because Alice baptized him when he died. Alice was a pious, although not self-righteous, woman, so it is interesting that she married an unchurched man, and that he remained so. Since she didn’t drive, he’d drive her to church and wait for her outside.

Alice moved downtown to the apartment on 1st Avenue some time after Walt’s death. It was a tiny place. My grandfather was very concerned about Alice’s welfare, and told my mother she didn’t have anything to live on. The Navy gave her a pension of $25 a month. He worried that she didn’t have enough to eat. My grandfather and grandmother visited her very often, perhaps weekly. My mother took us to visit Alice every couple of months. Alice was very interested in all her nieces and nephews, and enrolled me in the youth brigade of the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima, which involved a magazine and some devotions I was supposed to do.

Alice died February 1, 1977 at the age of 85, and is buried in the Lakeview Cemetery in Two Harbors, Minnesota.

The Newest One

It is baby time in our family, by which I mean there are a bunch of them. Please meet the newest member to join our family. Welcome to Sophia Ann, born today at 12:55PM. Sophia, from Greek, means Wisdom, and Ann, from Hebrew, means Grace, Favor. She is already adored by hundreds of family and friends, and joins a cohort consisting of cousins Sammy (almost 2) and Andrea (5 months) and big brother Luke, 2 years and 10 days her senior. Sophia, we are excited to see you grow up and become the person you will be.

Sophia Ann

 

 

What is she doing in Colorado??

I have only been in Colorado 24 hours, so there’s not that much to report. It is unseasonably warm here for September: only a few trees here in Lakewood are starting to turn color: Mom’s cacti are blooming again.

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This morning we visited my sister who is recovering from back surgery, and brother-in-law who was babysitter-in-chief of granddaughter, Andi (or Andrea, your choice.) Andi has gorgeous huge hazel eyes and an adorable smile, and at 5 months of age is learning quickly how to use her gifts. And, while getting the hang of that, she’s just starting to sit up and working on crawling. She’s adorable. She’s adored. She also has a death-grip when she gets ahold of a hank of your hair.

 

 

This afternoon I had a much-needed and much-anticipated appointment with my very favorite hairdresser, Kim, of Costcutter’s. Kim is the Best!

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Tomorrow, Mom and I will do some shopping, cooking, mending, and maybe some photo scanning. If the day does not get too hot too soon, we will do some weeding, to get a couple flower beds ready for the winter.

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Mom’s birthday is on September 21st. She will be 94 years young, and has plenty of wisdom to share.