Good morning, Everyone.
It’s been a bit brisk and chilly here on Hilton Head Island. I guess this is winter on the coast of South Carolina.
Pour your coffee. Let’s catch up.
If we were having coffee together, I would tell you that my granddaughter, Lily, is jealous of her cousins in New York, where they have been building giant snowmen and sledding down backyard hills. I have brightened her station by biking around our little community and venturing to the amazing Coligny Celebration Park after school on most days. One cannot bicycle in the snow nor sled off of giant pirate ships. Personally, I do not miss the wet, cold, and shoveling.
If we were having coffee together, I would mention that I am excited about a morning writing marathon. I was invited to participate in Good Morning Writing sessions. We are to Zoom in at 7 am on Monday, greet each other, and sit down to write for two hours, complete with bedhead and coffee. I think this may be a brilliant way to get my writing day started and be accountable for the time. I’ll let you know how it goes.
If we were having coffee together, I would add that Daily Bread and Becoming America’s Food Stories will be on the Island Bookself’s book cart at the Art Center, Hilton Head Island on February’s Friday and Saturday afternoons. Come on in if you are in the neighborhood.
If we were having coffee together, I would catch you up on my latest research for Sluggers and Singers. The Henry Street Settlement House (HSSH) plays a vital role in the story. Lillian Wald, the founder and incredible driving force of the Henry Street Settlement House, believed cultural art and music were necessary for new immigrants to preserve. Many HSSH performances reflected the beauty and diversity of the Lower East Side melting pot. I have been getting familiar with traditional Italian, Polish, Greek, and Chinese folk dances circa 1911. The dances are a very small part of the story, but are necessary details to create authentic settings. HSSH programs also featured American music and performances. I imagine the young HSSH music teachers included modern songs in their choruses. Without radio and the common availability of phonographs, music was made popular by live performances and sheet music sales. Tin Pan Alley was a group of music publishers and songwriters located on West 28th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. Patriotic and the Rag Time songs were on top of the pop music charts. My protagonist, Songbird Lily, will be experiencing the thrill of performing and singing beyond rigid school assemblies.
Here are two links of 1910 recordings of America the Beautiful sung by opera star Louise Homer and 1908 version of Take Me Out To The Ball Game sung by Edward Meeker. Thank you, YouTube!
If we were having coffee together, I would hope everyone is staying safe and well. Yes, the vaccine is a powerful solution, but while we wait for the masses to get inoculated, masks and social distancing should continue. I may be eligible to get my shots in New York when I return in March.
That’s it, Everyone. Thank you to Natalie the Explorer for keeping the coffee share up and running.
Be well. Be safe. Be smart.
Have a good week. Make it Funtastic.
Take a picture of you with Daily Bread and/or Becoming America’s Food Stories, and I’ll send you Reader’s Swag and add you to the Becoming America’s Stories Readers slideshow, coming soon! Kid pics are welcomed with parent or guardian permission. Don’t forget to leave a rating and quick comment on Amazon and/or Goodreads.
Daily Bread is set in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, 1911. The story follows nine-year-old Lily, an American-born child of Sicilian immigrants, who wants to prove she is not a little kid. To be a big kid in the crowded tenement neighborhoods, she must tackle bigotry, bullies, disasters, dotty bakers, and learn to cross the street by herself.
Hope you are hungry. Becoming America’s Food Stories recalls the tales that have been told around my family’s dinner table. The histories explain the motivations over bowls of macaroni, antics play out while slurping soup, and laughter echoes throughout the dining room. Pull up a seat. There’s always room.
“If you don’t cook with love, you have to get out of the kitchen.” Florence Messina