Couple of weekends ago I was sitting at the Harvey House Diner inside the almost empty Union Station, drinking a strawberry milkshake and reminiscing. Not that long ago this place was crowded with thousands of people as the second largest train station in the country, filled with sounds, voices and emotions. Today it spends it’s days quietly, ironically populated by the dead. I am not old enough to remember the glory days of the Union Station but in another place and another life I rode my share of rails. There is something special about traveling by train. It’s an experience rather than just a means of transportation. On a long train ride you have time to relax, to think, to read, to sleep, to talk, to eat, play cards, meet people, sleep some more, and, most importantly, to look outside the window. You actually travel to your destination; you see changing landscapes; unknown places slowly pass before you; you wake up in the middle of the night at some station you’d never heard off, its sleepy inhabitants getting on the train and you can hear them walking through the rail car; you see a sunrise and then a sunset hundreds of miles later and the train keeps chugging along making that rhythmical sound that only a train can make and gently swaying from side to side. Finally you arrive, your train is greeted at the station by the sounds of a brass band and waving crowds trying to see a familiar face through the dusty window. You are tired and continue swaying even on the solid ground. A happy reunion or a new adventure awaits.
Many of my trips started at this train station:fun trips, work trips, trips that I loved and some that I didn’t, like the one to the army, or a trip to the unknown country when I left one last time, not knowing if I am ever coming back. Many times my parents or friends were there to wave good-bye or to meet me when I was coming back. I may not remember every time but I do remember the feeling, feeling of someone waiting for you. I think at least once in a lifetime everyone should travel by train, even for no other reason than to experience it.
In the meantime, you can always spend a slow lunch hour at the Union Station and imagine all the hustle and bustle of the past, the tears of joy or sadness, emotionless voice of the announcer, the constant hum of the crowd, whistles of the conductors, in other words life that used to be there and and now is not.
Union Station,Continue reading →
Old walls still remember
Sounds of life.
I could’ve used my 800th post on something worthwhile like my thoughts on health-care or bitching about the first day of school moving even closer to the last day of school, but I’ll post another recipe. After all, the health-care is not going anywhere and school already started, but the eggplant season may be over at any time.
This is probably the simplest recipe you will find on this blog. You will need only 6 ingredients: eggplant, tomatoes, flour, (olive) oil, garlic and salt.
When picking an eggplant try to get an evenly shaped one so the slices are similar in size. Slice the eggplant in about 1/4 inch slices.
Dust with flour on both sides…
…salt lightly and place in the skillet on medium-low heat with a pretty decent amount of oil in it. If you salt the eggplant beforehand it will start losing liquid and shrivel.
Cook eggplant on both sides. It doesn’t need to brown, just poke it with a knife or a fork, if it easily goes in – it’s ready. Remove on paper towels and cook another batch.
The eggplant seems to soak up great quantities of oil, keep adding as needed. While the eggplant is cooking, slice some ripe tomatoes.
Assemble the final product-a slice of eggplant, a slice of tomato, pressed garlic to taste.
I ate everything you see on this plate by myself in one setting.
Now pour yourself an aforementioned shot of vodka, drink it, eat an eggplant-tomato sandwich. Do you still want to argue about health-care or schools? Repeat. How about now? I didn’t think so. At this point you would start singing a Russian folk song but since you can’t how about this one, it sounds equally stupid.
The rest of the photos:Continue reading →
Chanute is located on U.S. Route 169 between Iola and Coffeyville and is definitely worth a detour. While we didn’t have time to stop at the Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum, we drove around downtown, stopped at the The Chanute-Wright Brothers Memorial and unknowingly crossed the default center of Google Earth (for Mac). That would be this painting in the middle of the intersection. If I knew it was significant I would’ve tried to take a better picture.
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Few words before this post. No, I did not become a fan of weddings, but I thought that the fact that this wedding happened exactly 63 years ago today is the neatest thing; people in these photos should be in their 80’s so it’s not impossible that someone would remember being there or hearing about it. None of the text below belongs to me, it was reproduced from the Life Magazine article from July 14th, 1947, which has many additional photos and a detailed description of the preparations and the ceremony. Although my friend Hyperblogal was already operating his photography business in 1947 these photos were not taken by him; a famous Life Magazine photographer Nina Leen gets the credit for them. Lastly, this is going to be long, so keep scrolling. More photos can be found here.
The boom in weddings, which was set off at the end of the war is still going strong. Last month it was responsible for a bumper crop of brides throughout the U.S. Some of the weddings were big and grand, others small and quiet, but every one was a major event in the lives of the participants. As a tribute to this burgeoning romanticism, Life herewith presents a picture album of a U.S. wedding which took a place in Kansas City, Mo. on June 21 (*1947).
The bride was blue-eyed, blond Barbara Winn, 23–year old daughter of Mr.and Mrs. Edward Lawrence Winn of 1022 West 64 Street Terrace, Kansas City. Her father is well-to-do contractor. The groom was Thomas Ferrel Bailey, 23, of Topeka, Kan., whom Barbara first met at a New Year’s Eve party in 1945. Tom had just been discharged from the U.S. Army Air Forces as an air cadet and was returning to complete his studies at the University of Kansas, from which Barbara graduated in 1945.
When Barbara and Tom announced their engagement, they decided that they wanted a big wedding to entertain all their friends. Barbara’s mother particularly liked the idea because she had eloped herself and had missed the excitement of a big church ceremony. And since Barbara was his only daughter, her father was anxious to make the wedding a resounding success. For the groom the wedding preparations were pretty hectic because he was being graduated form the University of Kansas on the Monday before the Saturday ceremony and was piloting his owe plane back and forth to his home in Topeka on countless last-minute errands.
A large wedding like Barbara’s is one of the modern society’s elaborate rites. In staging it Barbara was constantly helped by her parents and her brother Larry, but like most American girls she made all the decisions herself. It was in fact a full time job. How she brought it to a happy conclusion is shown below.
On my rare visit to Barnes and Noble, a store that encourages consumer to buy books online, I discovered a new batch of books containing vintage photos of Kansas City and other nearby places of interest. While I admire the effort to collect and annotate enough historic photos for a book, I don’t see myself paying over $20 for one of them. I am afraid many of these will be read at the coffee shop upstairs.
Luckily there are plenty of old photos online to entertain a cheap person like myself and even some books that can be read and downloaded for free. For example, check out A Birthday Book Of Kansas City 1821-1921 by Charles Phelps Cushing (obviously you should do it at work). The following photos and captions are taken from this book.Continue reading →