Rewind – Three Things Episodes 18 – 19

1970 Metropolitan Nashville Airport, Berry Field

Metropolitan Nashville Airport, Berry Field circa 1969

Welcome, my friends.  Have I told you how much I appreciate your visits? Well, I do — a lot.

Before I present Three Things, here’s the promised update on my National Novel Writing Month progress.

Well, there hasn’t been a lot of progress. As of right now, I’m barely on schedule to finish on November 30th, and the weekend is nearly over. Maybe more caffeine…

Today I’m showing you a few pictures from the late 1960’s of places my Guitar Mancer characters visit. One of the first scenes is in fictional Blaylock Sound Magic Studios. Here’s an example of equipment a recording studio of the era. All that could be on one tiny device now.

1969 Studio

I can’t say anything as spectacular sounding as top last week’s “I killed a basilisk.” However, most of my main characters had their first big confrontation with the arch villain. And our heroine, Luci, showed that she’s got plenty of spunk!

Old Hickory Lake campfire

Old Hickory Lake State Park

The Guitar Mancer will touch multiple locations. As I’ve mentioned, it begins in Nashville, Tennessee and the Old Hickory Lake area.  I don’t think this composite image is vintage at all, but with the exception of the stadium, most of the buildings would have been around in the era. From top left: 2nd Avenue, Kirkland Hall at Vanderbilt University, the Parthenon, the Nashville skyline, LP FieldDolly Parton performing at the Grand Ole Opry, and Ryman AuditoriumNashville Composite

One character I got to spend a lot of time with last week was Frejya, a red tailed hawk. She’s developing more firmly in my imagination than I expected and I enjoyed writing about her.

Frejya is a “spirit animal” and in the mythology I’ve created for The Guitar Mancer she is also a magical totem. Maybe I’ll tell you about her “person” next time — that’s Bodaway Thunder.  Though he’s not the main character, I beginning to wonder if he might not need a book of his own!  Bodaway is one unique guy.

Frejya Red Tailed HawkFrejya has been very hard at work this past week.  Ask her about B. B. King’s guitar, Lucille if you want, although I don’t think she’s talking about her part in that escapade. But she sure is being smug…

I’ve given all the important characters names with meanings related to their nature and/or capabilities. If you enjoy name meanings you’ll like that. If not, then it won’t bother you either way.

Now, on with our 1920’s mystery “rewind” of Three Things!

***

18. Punctilious, Train, Diary

A beautiful phonograph stood in the corner.  It was surrounded by a little track with a clockwork train.  Frankie stooped down to investigate the train.  It was painted red with yellow trim, and the coal car had a Hornby logo.  In a second Frankie had it chugging around the little tracks.  His eyes lit up like a child’s.  He blushed in a cute way when he realized I was watching him, murmuring something about the workmanship.Hornby Clockwork Train Ad

I wanted to rib him about it so bad that I had to bite my lip to stop myself.  Frankie was really the cat’s meow, but I hadn’t known him that long, and I wasn’t sure how much teasing he could take.  So I played it as seriously as I could manage.  “Yes,” I agreed.  “The attention to detail is quite punctilious, isn’t it?”

Frankie tore himself away from the model and stepped over the tracks to get to the phonograph.  The fireman gave the handle a few cranks and the sound of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” filled the air.

Flavio was sitting next to Mona on the chaise lounge, whispering things that brought gales of giggles from her.  Frankie looked over at me and I made a derisive face at the other two.  This shindig was going to give Mona plenty to write about in her diary.

***

Introduction Episode-19

While I was browsing around the New York Times, I stumbled upon “The Janeiac Quiz.”  Since I’ve always enjoyed Jane Austen‘s books, I took the quiz — and failed miserably.  I’m sharing it because many of you enjoy those classics.  Emma is probably my favorite of Austen’s works and it is also the source of today’s Three Things.  I’ll take them from the first sentence of the book.

Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.”

And now, three Emma things.

19.  Comfortable Home, Happy Disposition, Vex

Ringling-Zalophus-Ca-d-ZanI told myself not to feel vexed with Mona for acting silly with Flavio.  Then I told myself again.  When I told myself the same thing for the third time Frankie chuckled.  There was no telling what kind of expressions had gone across my face.  He raised his eyebrows and made a mock-hopeful puckered face.  I grinned at him and said, “Sorry fella, the bank’s closed.”

“Dr. Banting said to make ourselves at home.  Why don’t we look around?  I don’t know about you, but I doubt I’ll ever be inside a yacht like this again,” he said with a smile.

He was right.  And I needed to get back to business.  Where was that microscope?  We left Mona and Flavio still giggling.  The next cabin we came to was open, but Frankie knocked on the doorframe just in case and called out cheerily.  The fireman really did have a happy disposition.  I squeezed past, under his arm.  Frankie actually was a very nice height.

Then I spotted it sitting on a table in the corner, all brass and shiny – the microscope.  It was hard not to look at the beautiful estate in the painting that hung above the device.  The place looked like a Venetian palace, and the yacht moored there looked like the one we were on!

Frankie gave a low whistle.  “That looks like a… comfortable home.”

Ca d Zan-1

“You’ve really got a gift for understatement,” I agreed.  The house in the picture was huge and in a beautiful setting.  “That place is the berries all right.”

I took the ornate but bent key out of my purse and carefully placed it under the microscope.  However, I couldn’t make out any words – and I was afraid to move any of the settings.  I could only guess how expensive the thing was; scientific things were always pricy.

The engraving looked like it might be just a pretty design, but with the damage it was hard to tell. I held my breath and barely moved one knob on the microscope.  A word came into focus, but it was hard to make it out amid all the swirls of the engraved pattern.  “Ring… Ringing?  No.  Ring-ling.  Does Ringling make any sense?”

“Ringling?” Frankie repeated in an incredulous tone.  “As in circus?  That Ringling?”

“Applesauce!” I exclaimed in an awed whisper.  “Do you think this key is for the Ca’d’Zan mansion in Sarasota?”

Our speculation was interrupted by the sound of a scuffle.  A man’s voice boomed.  “You’ve got what you wanted, now be off with you!  If you ever think to pull a stunt like that again, it will be your last!”

We hesitantly peeped out the door in time to see two men leaving right after those ominous words were shouted. There was a man in the doorway of a cabin, shaking his fist at the departing backs of the men.  Then someone shrouded in an old quilt pushed past the man.  I heard a muffled sob.

John Ringling

John Ringling

The man lowered his head and said, “Don’t worry.  They aren’t going to hurt anyone else.  We’ll see to that.”The quilt covered shape turned toward him.  The tattered covering fell back to reveal an older woman, who was still elegant despite her somewhat disheveled appearance.

It was the white-haired woman.

***

Tune in again next weekend.

 Same flapper time.  

Same flapper channel. 

Copyright © 2013 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.  Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

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Three Things: 29 – Cypress Tree, Mosquito, Gams

Happy December everyone!1920s Typist-2.jpg

Now that National Novel Writing Month is over, I’m back with our Three Things Serial.

Without further preamble, here is episode 29 of the Three Things Serial:

29.  Cypress tree, Mosquito, Gams

All the Fabro cousins stood on one corner of the deck, apparently just beating their gums about nothing in particular while they fished.  Frankie swung his fishing line out into the water, and then looked up at me with that adorable lopsided grin of his.  Okay, so it’s just the way my pop raised me, but I don’t talk a lot about these things, but I had gotten pretty sweet on Frankie.

In case you’ve forgotten, the yacht was on the way to the Ca’ d’Zan mansion in Sarasota, the rich circus magnate having invited everyone for the trip.  We barely had enough time to hurry back to the office building where most of us lived (except the Fabros) and grab a few personal things.  Andy and Mona were below decks talking to Ringling about the Astronaute man’s short film idea, which was the impetus for the generous invitation to all of us.

Life October 1929As I walked across the deck toward Frankie and his cousins I pulled my sweater closer.  Around Sarasota it was 61 Fahrenheit (°F), still warm compared to most places.  But out on the open water it felt a lot cooler to me.  My gams were freezing and I wished for some thick wool stockings, or — the flapper in me hated to think it, but maybe a longer skirt!

The boys didn’t seem to notice the cold.  All of them had their shirtsleeves rolled back.  That was the first time I paid any attention to the tattoos.  They all had the same one on their forearms.  Once I had asked Frankie about his, but he seemed shy about it and conveniently put his arm around my shoulders where I couldn’t see the tattoo.  It was of a Maltese cross inside a triangle and it had a spear through it.

The men abruptly stopped talking when I walked up.  One of the twins elbowed the other, Fred or Fedel — it was hard to tell them apart.  Flavio shot me a funny surreptitious look, but that was just him.  Charming as he was, he did have sort of an odd way about him.  For the first time I felt kind of awkward around the guys.  I shivered dramatically to cover my self-consciousness and commented on the weather.  “At least it’s too cold for mosquitoes!  Catching anything?” I asked.

Fred (or was it Fedel?) held up an impressive string of fish, and I made a big deal over them.  Frankie waived toward the shore.  I could make out some cypress trees and realized that there must be a stream or lake just beyond my view.  The yacht wasn’t too far from shore.  “My grandma always said that there’d be good fishing if a cypress tree was within sight,” he told me.1920s Cosmo Fishing cover

Frankie seemed to really love his grandma.  That was one of the things that endeared him to me.  I remembered the time he threw his shoe to stop the guy who broke into Boris’ place.  He had proudly said “Good thing I’ve got big feet!  I get them from my grandma!”

I chuckled at the memory.  He gave me a funny look for a second, but his smile never faltered and he reached out and pulled me closer to him.  I snuggled up under his arm — after all, it was kind of cold out on the deck.

Three Things: 28 – Sublime, Dragon, Funds

BBCA Doctor Who 50th AnniversaryToday is the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who.   As a long time “whovian” I had to give a nod to the television show, because it is sublime.  If any of you are not familiar with this phenomenon, it is a BBC science fiction television series about a “time lord,” known as The Doctor.  He travels in what looks like a blue police box called the TARDIS.  The sound this time machine makes reminds me of a dragon coughing.  Apparently in the early days the series didn’t have a lot of funds for special effects.  However, I loved the old campy episodes with their low budget special effects.

“Doctor Who?” you might ask.  My favorite Doctor has always been the fourth incarnation, Tom Baker.   The late Jon Pertwee, the third Doctor, is dear to me as well.  If you like vintage fashions from the early 1970’s you should take a look at some of those episodes.

If you need a refresher of where our 1920’s serial left off, go to the Three Things Serial page.  So today I give you three things supplied by Provincial Lady that I have just taken the liberty of turning into…

Three Doctor Who Things

28. Sublime, Dragon, Funds

Boris leaned on Andy heavily as they boarded the yacht.  As they got closer I noticed cuts and bruises on the faces of both men.  Poor Mona looked like she didn’t know which way to turn.  She was as conflicted as ever over the two men.  She fluttered between them, trying to help both.  Mr. Ringling sent for a doctor.

Countess Babikov sat back down looking like she was still a bit dizzy.  I picked up the blanket Ringling had brought earlier and tucked it around her lap.  Everything on the yacht was luxurious, even the blanket.  It was soft to the touch and embroidered with a Chinese dragon.  A thought suddenly popped into my mind — the bent key.  It had some kind of design engraved on it, but it was distorted by the damage to the key.  Could it have been a dragon?

The expression in Countess Bepa’s eyes was sublime as she looked at her grandson.  Something seemed to have been settled between them just with that eye contact.  She was gracious, despite her own injuries and calmly asked for introductions.  By then all the Fabro boys were onboard as well.

“Pip dear, who are these fine young men?” she asked and I supplied all the “F” names of the Fabro brood.

They were all polite, even Andy.  Our poor little Astronaute man, who was so sweet on Mona watched sadly as Mona tended a cut over the Russian’s eye.  However, when I introduced him to John Ringling, his face lit up.  I gave a glowing description of the science fiction stories Andy liked to write.  The next thing I knew, Andy boldly pitched an idea to the circus magnate.  I was stunned, because I had never heard of anything like what he described.

“It’s a kind of advertisement, Mr. Ringling.  A very short film clip… of course staring Mona,” Andy said with a glance at the brunette and a blush.  “It could be shown just before a film.  Imagine this if you will…  A young woman sits on a swing, day dreaming of performing on the trapeze at the circus.  Then the film segues through a fog, and then shows a brief clip of one of your trapeze acts.”

I was fascinated by the idea.  Everyone had gotten quiet. Ca d Zan-1

Andy offered a bit of encouragement.  “The funds required to produce it would be minimal.”

The circus millionaire gave Andy a blank look and I was half afraid he might throw Andy off the yacht.  But then he tilted his head to one side, looked from Andy to Mona and pursed his lips as he studied the two.

“Oh, why not,” said Ringling.  “Now that I have Bepa and Boris both safely onboard I’m ready to go back to Ca’ d’Zan.  You could come with me and we’ll film this advertisement there,” he said.  Then he spread his arms wide and added, “All of you could come.  There’s plenty of room.”

You should have seen the look on Andy’s face!

Three Things Serial: 21 – Underwear, Tasteless, Limestone

1920s_photoplay-health-for-beautyWhen I researched ways to illustrate this episode I noticed that media topics of interest in the 1920s were much the same as they are now. I saw headings about sex, diet, scandal, fashion, and other things that you’d see today.  Like they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

The “things” for episode 21 come from a friend in the southwest who is positively gifted at refurbishing things.  I think she could give new life to any old item she might find.  When I saw “underwear” as one of the things, I really hoped I’d do something funny with it.  But everything that came to mind was just “tasteless.”  Har-dee-har… a play on words or rather things.  However, I admit that I had to put some thought into “limestone.”

Come on everybody — send me three random things to keep the story going.  Remember, if you need to look back at something that already happened, go to the page where the story lives.

Underwear, Tasteless, Limestone

1920s Girdle adI swallowed hard, unable to escape the feeling that I had been caught doing something 1920s Underwear for Men adthat I shouldn’t.  That was silly of me, I know.  After all, we had been invited onboard.  Just the same, I was as uncomfortable as somebody with twisted underwear.

The white-haired woman turned to us with a haunted expression in her eyes.  “These children,” she began, speaking to Mr. Ringling in an accent I recognized.  “They are familiar.”  She took a trembling step toward Frankie and me.  Her bright eyes zeroed in on me.  “You were there when I was taken.  You were there with my Boris!”

Then she paled and swooned.  Frankie Fabro, fireman, rushed forward and scooped her up as if she weighed nothing at all.  John Ringling, circus magnate, motioned him into the cabin.  Me?  Paisley I. Peabody, palmist?  I stood in mute astonishment for a second, but I snapped out of it when Frankie called my name.  “Pip?” came the fireman’s anxious voice.

I hurried into the beautifully appointed cabin.  I still thought my suite back at the office building was the cat’s meow, but that room made it seem tasteless in comparison.  The woodwork alone was stunning, and brightly polished brass reflected light from a small but glorious crystal chandelier.  An ornately carved table had a red marble top.  But no… that would be travertine, not marble.  I remembered travertine was actually a kind of limestoneHorsefeathers!  Why was I thinking about something like that during all the drama?

With a shake of my head, I gathered my scattered wits.  An etched glass decanter of what looked like brandy stood on the tavertine table.  Picking up the first glass I saw, I poured a little and held it to the elderly woman’s lips.

Johanna Loisinger; the Countess Von Hartenau

Inspiration for “The White-haired Woman,” Johanna Loisinger; the Countess Von Hartenau

“John, kindly introduce me to these lovely young people who know my Boris,” she said with a weak smile.

Frankie cleared his throat awkwardly, knowing we were strangers to that gentleman as well.  He introduced himself and then me to both of them.  “I’m John Ringling,” the man said, but of course we’d figured that out already.  “It’s my pleasure to welcome two clear headed young people aboard.”  Then he made a bow to the white-haired woman.  “I present the Countess Bepa Babikov.”

I bounced in place before I caught myself.  Then I blushed at my childishness.  But I had been right!  Boris’ last name was Babikov.  Maybe it was too forward to be polite, but I blurted out the question.  “Are you his… grandmother?  I mean Countess… ma’am…”

The woman nodded her head and smiled a hopeful looking smile.  “Please, dear one.  Call me Faith.  That is what Bepa means — faith.  If I may call you Pip, as this strong young man does.  The sound of the name pleases me.  It is like a little bird chirping.”  I nodded, speechless for once.  “Yes my dear Pip, I am his babushka.  Please tell me.  My Boris, he is well?”

Three Things Serial: 19 – Comfortable Home, Happy Disposition, Vex

Jane Austen's "power" in Hollywood c...While I was browsing around the New York Times, I stumbled upon “The Janeiac Quiz.”  Since I’ve always enjoyed Jane Austen‘s books, I took the quiz — and failed miserably.  I’m sharing it because many of you enjoy those classics.  Emma is probably my favorite of Austen’s works and it is also the source of today’s Three Things.  I’ll take them from the first sentence of the book.

Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.”

As always, you can do catch-up reading where the complete serial lives on the Three Things Serial page.  And now, three Emma things.

Comfortable Home, Happy Disposition, Vex

Ringling-Zalophus-Ca-d-ZanI told myself not to feel vexed with Mona for acting silly with Flavio.  Then I told myself again.  When I told myself the same thing for the third time Frankie chuckled.  There was no telling what kind of expressions had gone across my face.  He raised his eyebrows and made a mock-hopeful puckered face.  I grinned at him and said, “Sorry fella, the bank’s closed.”

“Dr. Banting said to make ourselves at home.  Why don’t we look around?  I don’t know about you, but I doubt I’ll ever be inside a yacht like this again,” he said with a smile.

He was right.  And I needed to get back to business.  Where was that microscope?  We left, Mona and Flavio still giggling.  The next cabin we came to was open, but Frankie knocked on the doorframe just in case and called out cheerily.  The fireman really did have a happy disposition.  I squeezed past, under his arm.  Frankie actually was a very nice height.

Then I spotted it sitting on a table in the corner, all brass and shiny – the microscope.  It was hard not to look at the beautiful estate in the painting that hung above the device.  The place looked like a Venetian palace, and the yacht moored there looked like the one we were on!

Frankie gave a low whistle.  “That looks like a… comfortable home.”

“You’ve really got a gift for understatement,” I agreed.  The house in the picture was huge and in a beautiful setting.  “That place is the berries all right.”

I took the ornate but bent key out of my purse and carefully placed it under the microscope.  However, I couldn’t make out any words – and I was afraid to move any of the settings.  I could only guess how expensive the thing was; scientific things were always pricy.  The engraving looked like it might be just a pretty design, but with the damage it was hard to tell.  I held my breath and barely moved one knob on the microscope.  A word came into focus, but it was hard to make it out amid all the swirls of the engraved pattern.  “Ring… Ringing?  No.  Ring-ling.  Does Ringling make any sense?”

“Ringling?” Frankie repeated in an incredulous tone.  “As in circus?  That Ringling?”

“Applesauce!” I exclaimed in an awed whisper.  “Do you think this key is for the Ca’d’Zan mansion in Sarasota?”

Our speculation was interrupted by the sound of a scuffle.  A man’s voice boomed.  “You’ve got what you wanted, now be off with you!  If you ever think to pull a stunt like that again, it will be your last!”

We hesitantly peeped out the door in time to see two men leaving right after those ominous

John Ringling

John Ringling

words were shouted.  There was a man in the doorway of a cabin, shaking his fist at the departing backs of the men.  Then someone shrouded in an old quilt pushed past the man.  I heard a muffled sob.

The man lowered his head and said, “Don’t worry.  They aren’t going to hurt anyone else.  We’ll see to that.”The quilt covered shape turned toward him.  The tattered covering fell back to reveal an older woman, who was still elegant despite her somewhat disheveled appearance.It was the white-haired woman.

Three Things Serial: 18 – Punctilious, Train, Diary

Provincial Lady sent three words that were very picturesque to me.  So I’ve gotten on many a tangent looking at images to go with this episode.  But that’s part of the fun.

As always you can do catch-up reading on the Three Things Serial page.  I hope to get lots of fun “things” from you in the comments, to keep the story going.

Punctilious, Train, Diary

Hornby Clockwork Train AdA beautiful phonograph stood in the corner.  It was surrounded by a little track with a clockwork train.  Frankie stooped down to investigate the train.  It was painted red with yellow trim, and the coal car had a Hornby logo.  In a second Frankie had it chugging around the little tracks.  His eyes lit up like a child’s.  He blushed in a cute way when he realized I was watching him, murmuring something about the workmanship.

I wanted to rib him about it so bad that I had to bite my lip to stop myself.  Frankie was really the cat’s meow, but I hadn’t known him that long, and I wasn’t sure how much teasing he could take.  So I played it as seriously as I could manage.  “Yes,” I agreed.  “The attention to detail is quite punctilious, isn’t it?”

Frankie tore himself away from the model and stepped over the tracks to get to the phonograph.  The fireman gave the handle a few cranks and the sound of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” filled the air.

Flavio was sitting next to Mona on the chaise lounge, whispering things that brought gales of giggles from her.  Frankie looked over at me and I made a derisive face at the other two.  This shindig was going to give Mona plenty to write about in her diary.

Three Things Serial: 17 – Associate, Challenge, Reality

Mary is not just a writer — she’s a brave woman to throw me a word like “Reality.”  There’s no telling where I might go with that!  These three things took me in directions I didn’t expect, but that’s the point of this serial — to let the words all of you supply drive the plot and characters.  By the way, you are most welcome to leave your own three things in comments.  Hint-hint…  🙂

And now, another episode of our little 1920’s story.  Remember you can do catch up reading at the page where the full story lives, the Three Things Serial page.

Associate, Challenge, Reality

1920s Dance PartyThe flapper in the sequins bounced away, the fringe of her dress dancing as she went.  She turned back, smiled, and waved to someone behind me.  She called, “Hey Doctor Fred!  Come on and Charleston with us!”  Then she looked at me and rolled her eyes.  “Those scientist types…”

Doctor was a title that I associated with dignity and age.  I found it hard to imagine any “Doctor” doing the Charleston.  However, a moment later a man in his thirties, wearing a tuxedo hurried past me.  “Good morning, Miss, and pardon me.  Please make yourself at home,” he said in a Canadian accent and motioned toward the yacht.

How could I resist?

I had never been on any vessel bigger than a fishing boat.  I certainly had never seen inside a luxurious yacht.  I spotted Frankie; then I saw Mona and Flavio.  I called out and motioned for them to come to the yacht.  It was a challenge to my patience, but I waited for them before boarding the gorgeous craft.

When Mona reached me her eyes were as big as saucers.  “Pip, I think that man was Dr. Fredrick Banting.  He won a Nobel Prize, and he’s the youngest to ever win it for Medicine!”

“That’s absolutely ducky,” I said with an impish grin.  “I bet there really is a microscope in there.”

They all looked at me like I was goofy.  I held up my pocketbook, even though they couldn’t know what was inside.  “Remember that key?  Maybe I can see what’s engraved on it with a microscope.”

Clara Bow***

Sure enough, the yacht was ritzy.  Mona plopped down on a chaise lounge, pouted her lips, and peered up at us from beneath her eyelashes.  She looked for all the world like Clara Bow.

Flavio grinned and bowed over her outstretched hand. “Just remember, toots,” he cautioned.  “This is all a fantasy world. ”

Mona sighed dramatically.  “But I want it to be my reality.”