A Journey for Miss Ruby, Chapter Seven: A Connecticut Kind of Summer

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Everything about Ruby’s journey had been delightful! Yet, she couldn’t think of a better reason to travel than to visit family. Even though she was “born” in Connecticut, she was now a “West Coast” girl. How fortunate she was to have an “East Coast” clan to welcome her back! Ruby thought that Oregon City where she lives was incorporated a long time ago, in 1844 (as the first incorporated town west of the Rocky Mountains), but the town where she was staying, Colchester Connecticut, received its charter in 1698–almost 150 years before Oregon City. My, that is old!

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This house has been sold since this photo, and is no longer a shop. Miss Jennie wishes she was the buyer!

Of course many of the houses and buildings in Connecticut are older than in Oregon, too. Ruby liked looking at all of these old buildings.

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A historic Colchester house, facing the town green.

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This interesting Victorian is near the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam.

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Connecticut is also noted for its beautiful stone fences; even like this one that is unused and hidden away now along Judd Creek.

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After shopping for awhile, Ruby stopped for a rest on this stone wall in Old Mystic Village.

Shopping is always interesting in Connecticut. Everyone likes stopping at Nature’s Art along the way to Old Mystic Village.

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Ruby was quite taken with this large malachite stone. She found that it soothed her spirit.

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“This room with dinosaur skeletons is a little bit scarry–it gives me the shivers. But I still like the fish.”

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“What do you mean, we already have Citrine at home? I want to put THESE in my suitcase!”

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Harry’s Place doesn’t look quite like this any more, but it’s still THE place to hang out on summer evenings in Colchester! (Photo by Dave Stewart)

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Burgers, chili dogs, and onion rings were the favorites with all of these Stewart girls. (Photo by Dave Stewart)

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And of course ice cream for the whole family is the perfect ending for a summer evening. Coneheads had Miss Jennie’s favorite–espresso bean! (Photo by Dave Stewart)

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Ruby liked dressing up in her white summer dress for church in Manchester.

Even this delightful journey eventually came to an end. The dolls in her bedroom were beginning to miss Ruby most dreadfully. When she came home, she petted the housecats, then she sat on the little Windsor chair next to Little Davie. Now all the bedroom dolls could sit or stand for days and days listening to Ruby share story after story about her journey to the East Coast.

THE END . . . is just another beginning!

Red dress girl with flag circa 1850s

East or West, Home is Best

 

 

 

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A Journey for Miss Ruby, Chapter Six: Special Joys

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After so many fun days in Maine, Ruby was glad to be back at her home-away-from-home in Connecticut. Miss Jennie was getting ready for her all-day antiquing trip to Brimfield Massachusetts, but Ruby wanted to stay home for that one.

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Uncle David likes to shop for wooden boxes and burlap bags at antique fairs. (Photo by Dave Stewart)

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Miss Jennie found a few interesting things at Brimfield including a wee Steiff bear, a rag doll, and some girls’ and ladies’ small clothes. She liked this sewing machine, but it was too big to fit in her suitcase to take home.

After Ruby was all rested up, she couldn’t wait to go to Special Joys Doll & Toy Shop! She had heard so much about it, and knew that it was a favorite with her cousins, the antique Izannah Walker dolls. She put on her best red dress, her silk stockings, her red leather shoes, and her sunbonnet. She was ready to go!

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Miss Joy shows Miss Jennie an auction report about a rare Izannah Walker doll which sold for more than the usual amount of many, many dollars.

Inside the shop, Joy Kelleher met them, and they made introductions. Ruby felt warm in her heart when Miss Jennie introduced her to Miss Joy, and Joy took a special interest in her. Joy had met Paula Walton, Ruby’s birth/artist mother who also lives in Connecticut. Joy said that Ruby was one of the best Paula Walton Izannah dolls she had seen. My, was Ruby proud! She stayed with Miss Joy and got to know her better while Miss Jennie explored the shop and all of the special dolls who lived there.

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Miss Jennie especially liked these early 19th century dolls in Miss Joy’s personal collection, including the papier mache Lydia hairstyle on the left.

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Many of the dolls had amazing old, old dresses, including the brown and blue cotton dress on this large early 19th c. Voit Pauline type doll with teeth!

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Can you tell that Miss Jennie is especially fond of the early papier maches?

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Of course, she likes china dolls so much, too. Especially when they are wearing old appropriate cotton dresses and have kitties who sit next to them!

Miss Joy seemed as delighted to have them there in her shop as they were to be there! She especially enjoyed getting to “play dolls” with someone who knew about and appreciated the older dolls the way Miss Jennie did.

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The wax-over-papier mache doll in the blue dress blinked at Ruby when Miss Joy pulled on a lever that opens and closes her eyes.

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Now, which one of these early 19th c. papier maches with Apollo knot hairstyles will come home with us. Both so lovely . . . Of course Miss Jennie chose the one with the old cotton print dress! (And also a wooden body Lydia china!–but that is a different story.)

Ruby was basking in the attention given her by Miss Joy. Joy said in the kindest way that Ruby was a country girl, and that she would be better served with dark stockings rather than her fancy silk lace ones. Joy didn’t find black or brown or red striped socks that would fit her, but she did find blue stockings for Ruby.

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Miss Joy gets to know Ruby better.

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Ruby admires her new blue stockings.

“Now you are a bluestocking!” Miss Jennie told her. “What is a bluestocking?” asked Ruby. “She is an educated, literary, and intellectual woman who preferes to wear worsted blue stockings rather than the more formal black ones.  There were even Blue Stocking Societies in the 18th and 19th centuries.” “Oh. I think that means that I’m smart, like you!” Miss Jennie blushed politely.

Miss Jennie found so many things to take home to the dolls in the bedroom, and dolls were chosen to come home with them. After the purchases were made, it was time to leave. They were so glad to have finally visited Miss Joy and her astonishingly charming shop. Everyone hoped that they would be able to come back again during another visit to Connecticut.

Now that all of the special planned events were over, they could enjoy the company of family who they came to visit, and have fun being in Connecticut!

To be continued . . .

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Girls like large papier mache dolls when they are new, as well as when they are old.

 

A Journey for Miss Ruby, Chapter Five: Lobsters and Moccasins

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What do you mean. I can’t take my whole chocolate lobster catch home with me?

When Ruby woke up Friday morning, the sky was grey and the hotel parking lot was wet. They visited Max, the omelet chef, in the dining room again; then they were travelling in the Salsa Red Pearl van north from Portland just a little way to Freeport Maine, home of L.L. Bean.

L.L. Bean was like a shopping center all on its own with five different stores. It has been in Freeport for over a hundred years! They went in the door of the Hunting and Fishing store first where they saw racks stacked high with canoes, and racks and racks of rifles standing in rows on the floor. Then they looked at taxidermy animals under an open staircase. The animals were so still in their make-believe forest. Ruby thought that they should get their taxi and go back to the real forest.

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“Look, she’s dressed like me! Can I go to that beach?”

Next they went into a corridor with lots and lots of pictures of L.L. Bean catalog covers through the years. Ruby found the ones she liked best–the ones without guns.

At the other end of the corridor was the clothing store. Miss Jennie tried on pants, shirts, and pajamas. Ruby became very bored. There were no clothes her size, not even dungarees. They looked at the gigantic L.L. Bean boot outside the Clothing Store entrance. It was so big that Ruby didn’t want to have her picture taken there.

When they were finally outside again, there was an ice cream shop, but they didn’t go there. Instead, they went across the way to the L.L. Bean Home Store. “Oh, no!” thought Ruby, “I’m going to be bored for longer!”  But just inside the door, she found something fun–toy log cabins, just her size.

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“Looky, looky, a whole log cabin village!”

Then there were more things that caught her attention!

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“I could take a bath in the bowl with the pretty blue fishes, but I would be afraid in this one with the lobster claws.”

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“I didn’t know they would have boots my size!”

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“What do you mean I have to choose just one pair?”

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“All right, I choose the moccasins. They are sooo soft inside!”

After the L.L. Bean stores, there were more fun shops to explore. Ruby didn’t have to wait too much more for the big people to look at clothing. They went into a fabulous art store called Abacus, where they found sea shell art, recycled broken glass made into pottery dishes, and tiny cars and trucks made out of tin cans.

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“I think I could drive this one!”

They did finally go in an ice cream store, and Ruby especially liked the chocolate lobsters (with soft claws) and chocolate blueberries at Len Libby Chocolate Store.

Ruby thought of Little Davie in her room at home in Oregon City, and about how much he liked his toys. She brought home a little tin can car for him.

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“Thank you, Ruby! I’m glad you’re home.”

Touring and shopping in Maine for four days had been the best of times! It would soon be time to return to Uncle David and Aunt Lynn’s home in Connecticut. And there was a very SPECIAL shop that Ruby was looking forward to visiting there, where she would feel right at home.

To be continued . . .

Five vintage girls shopping

Girls having fun