The Movie Will Be Even Better

Wow! I just finished reading a lovely story based in Venice, Italy.The author Rhys Bowen held me spell bound throughout. Her story titled, The Venice Sketchbook spans several generations of family in England and Italy and begins just before World War Two. Lately I have been enamored by tales that involve the Big One. Ms Bowen’s characters are real and believable. The heroine is someone I wouldn’t mind dating myself. The theme of using artists, art, and Venice together kept my interest in this page turner. The plot of young love between a middle class English girl and a very rich and titled Italian boy stretches into middle age love. Life in Venice seemingly was untouched by war, that is until the Germans invaded Poland, France, Belgium, and began bombing England. That is when the real story begins, life suddenly became different.

I am an amateur artist and I studied art appreciation in my early college years. I still have a bent for the medium and more than ever frequent showings, and galleries and appreciate good artistic ability. To me this plot to put the central character into an art school in Venice filled a void in my mind.

I also love knowing about Italy. Another favorite story of mine is Under the Tuscan Sun by author Frances Mayes. The bucolic scenes painted of the in Tuscan countryside make me want to live there or at least visit. When combined with my recollections of twenty-four hours in Italy back in the nineties these stories are fueling my desire to travel and roam the countryside on a bicycle, or at least a Maserati, Ferrari, or Fiat.

The Venice Sketchbook is filled with complex plots told using a time traveler theme. An modern day English niece inherits her great aunt’s estate, and begins a quest to learn of her aunt’s mysterious past as a covert intelligence agent in WWII while trapped in Venice. Intertwined in both the past and present stories are love interests keeping the aunt’s and her niece’s lives interesting and alive.

I give this story five stars. * * * * *

I can’t wait to see the movie version.

A Time To Remember; My Time

A Special Group – Born Between 1930 to 1945

   Interesting Facts: If you were born in the 1930s to 1945, you exist as a very special age group.

You are the smallest group of children born since the early 1900s.

You are the last generation, climbing out of the depression, who can remember the winds of war and the impact of a world at war which rattled the structure of our daily lives for years.

You are the last to remember ration books for everything from gas to sugar to shoes to stoves.

You saved tin foil and poured fat into tin cans.

You saw cars up on blocks because tires weren’t available.

You can remember milk being delivered to your house early in the morning and placed in the “milk box” on the porch.

You are the last to see the gold stars in the front windows of grieving neighbors whose sons died in the War.

You saw the ‘boys’ home from the war, build their little houses.

4.2.7

You are the last generation who spent childhood without television; instead, you imagined what you heard on the radio.

With no TV, you spent your childhood “playing outside”

There was no little league.

There was no city playground for kids.

The lack of television in your early years meant, that you had

little real understanding of what the world was like.

On Saturday afternoons, the movies gave you newsreels sandwiched in between westerns and cartoons.

Telephones were one to a house, often shared (party lines) and hung on the wall in the kitchen (no cares about privacy).

Computers were called calculators; they were hand cranked; typewriters were driven by pounding fingers, throwing the carriage, and changing the ribbon.

The ‘INTERNET’ and ‘GOOGLE’ were words that did not exist.

Newspapers and magazines were written for adults and the news was broadcast on your radio in the evening by Gabriel Heatter and later Paul Harvey.

As you grew up, the country was exploding with growth.

The G.I. Bill gave returning Veterans the means to get an education and spurred colleges to grow.

VA loans fanned a housing boom.

Pent up demand coupled with new installment payment plans opened many factories for work.

New highways would bring jobs and mobility.

The Veterans joined civic clubs and became active in politics.

The radio network expanded from 3 stations to thousands.

Your parents were suddenly free from the confines of the depression and the war, and they threw themselves into exploring opportunities they had never imagined.

You weren’t neglected, but you weren’t today’s all-consuming family focus.

They were glad you played by yourselves until the street lights came on.

They were busy discovering the post war world.

You entered a world of overflowing plenty and opportunity; a world where you were welcomed, enjoyed yourselves and felt secure in your future though depression poverty was deeply remembered.

Polio was still a crippler.

You came of age in the 50s and 60s.

The Korean War was a dark passage in the early 50s and by mid-decade school children were ducking under desks for Air-Raid training.

Castro in Cuba and Khrushchev came to power.

You are the last generation to experience an interlude when there were no threats to our homeland. The war was over and the cold war, terrorism, “global warming,” and perpetual economic insecurity had yet to haunt life with unease.

Only your generation can remember both a time of great war, and a time when our world was secure and full of bright promise and plenty.

You grew up at the best possible time, a time when the world was getting better…

     You are “The Last Ones.” More than 99 % of you are either retired or deceased, and you feel privileged to have “lived in the best of times!!!”

Murder, Kidnapping, Intrigue

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Finally, I finished another book that is not political. I found this book in the Frankfort library using the same system I used in Arizona this winter; walk in, scan the new releases, and take the first book that catches my eye. This time it was the cover art for a book titled The Yellow Packard. I immediately knew it involved old cars, and probably was about the period in history that matched the car.

The Packard car remains in my memory as one of the classier cars on the road. The styling characteristic that turned me on was the grill. Packard spewed elegance, opulence, speed and class.  One of the most popular customers for the Packard were funeral homes, they used them for hearses, flower cars, and limo’s.  I guess having your last ride in a Packard meant one had finally made it to the big time.

Once I began reading, the book held my interest until I completed it two days later.

The author, Ace Collins is someone I never heard of, but upon reading his bio it surprised me to learn he has sixty published novels. Collins is a master of character development, and his writing allows the reader to see what is happening throughout. He does an amazing job with details about the depression era.

I won’t get into details about the plot, because it is a mystery and talking about the plot may spoil the mystery. The plot has many sub-plots expertly woven into the main story. The central theme of the story details how people’s lives changed after the yellow Packard enters their lives. Some of the changes are very positive, and others not so.  Even though the Packard is an inanimate object, in this story the car has a life and becomes as central a character as the people who come to own it.

It was delightful not to read any foul language, nor be titillated by sexual content. Keeping true to form to the depression era the language and morals of the country were much different from what they are today. In fact, I enjoyed the story more because it was clean.

I thought Collins wrapped up the story in a comical way when he did a Perry Mason like ending with all the people who owned the Yellow Packard assembled in one place for a recap of the clues that allowed the FBI to solve the kidnapping, and to unveil of a surprise mystery.

This book is a must read for mystery fans, old car nuts like me, and those who want to learn what it was like during the First Great Depression, or for anyone who enjoys a genuine good story.

He Scares the Hell Out of Me!

Grumpa Joe Looks at FlowerMaybe it is just me, but I think there is a problem with one of the candidates running for the presidential nomination. I normally don’t get involved in political discussions like I am venturing to do now because I get too emotional. My logic fails me when I get emotional, and I will lose any debate I get into. The end result is that I know not to debate.

Last night I attended my Lions Club meeting. There were twenty five people in attendance. Their ages range from 30 to 75. I must confess there are more older members than younger ones. We open the meeting the same way each month. The Lion President calls upon Lion Tony to begin the pledge of allegiance to the flag. Last night, I looked around the room as we pledged. All of us had a hand over our heart as we stood facing the stars and stripes. All recited the pledge with reverence. Every single one of us had the right hand over the heart.  So what, you say, we all pledge that way. It is the way we were taught in school. That is right. If you went to school in this country. If  you are my age, you also learned to pray, to say the pledge, and you learned to respect the military. That is because kids my age grew up watching a world war. The friends of our parents, or in some cases our parents, were in the war. We were all affected. Even as children we felt the effect of rationing, and the continuous requests to buy  war bonds. Yes, we were asked to buy war bonds in school. We saved our money proudly, because it was helping our country fight a war against a dictator with a very evil belief.

Our country was isolationist before WWII. Our citizens did not want to get involved. Let the Europeans fight their own war we said. Ultimately our President got involved because a strong ally asked for help. The US agreed to build war materials for the allies. Later, we got involved again when we declared war on Japan, after they bombed our ships in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. That got us were really involved. I digress. All I’m trying to say is that I grew being taught to be patriotic. I am still patriotic. I fly the stars and stripes over my  home everyday of the year. So it really bugs me when a major candidate for the highest office in the land is caught on film with his hands folded in front of him while a number of his opponents are all pledging the allegiance with hands over the heart.

Did he ignore this simple sign of respect because he wasn’t schooled in the US? Is it because he is un-patriotic? What? The rest of us perform this simple act of love automatically when we proudly pledge our allegiance to the flag of America. I ask you, can you vote a person who cannot show a basic simple sign of love and respect for his country into the highest office of the land?

Another thing that bugs me about this candidate is his slogan, “Change You Can Believe In.” Just what kind of change is he planning to bring about? Is he planning to teach us all that the star and stripes do not deserve respect? Is he planning to change the Constituion to take away our current form of government? Just what is the “Change You Can Believe In?”

Quite frankly, this candidate scares the hell out of me.

Tracey J Boothe Publishing Blog

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