Friday, March 27, 2015

Author Claire Dederer: Betty MacDonald and Anybody can do anything

 Preview


Dearest Betty MacDonald fan club fans,

 we celebrated Betty MacDonald's birthday yesterday.


We had some special Betty MacDonald birthday gifts for our Betty MacDonald fan club fans from all over the world.

You'll enjoy Claire Dederer's excellent essay very much.

Thank you so much for sharing it with us dear Claire Dederer!

Beat

Claire Dederer, Author of Poser : My Life In Twenty-Three Yoga Poses  lives in Seattle and writes about books and culture for the New York Times, Vogue, Newsday, and many other publications.

Dear Betty MacDonald Fans,

I knew of the Betty MacDonald Fan Club but didn't know its activities were so extensive.
 

That's wonderful.

I checked in with the magazine and they said please feel free to reprint or repost. 


I will keep you updated if I do any more pieces on Betty.

Thanks so much for all you are doing!

All the best,

Claire Dederer


Second Read — January / February 2011 Her Great Depression

Re-reading Betty MacDonald’s Anybody Can Do Anything, on the Northwest’s bust years

By Claire Dederer

From the time I was nine or ten, I carried a spiral-bound Mead notebook with me at all times. I wanted to be a writer, felt I probably already was a writer, and feared I would never be a writer. I was constantly looking for clues that would tell me that someone like me, someone from Seattle, someone who was a girl, someone who was no one, might be able to write a book. A book that got published.

I was always on the lookout for a message, something that would tell me that this thing could be done. I realize now that what I was looking for was an influence. Influence is a message about what is possible, sent by book from one writer to another. Different writers are looking for different messages. As a child, the message I sought was simple: This place is worth writing about.

Just as I was a nobody, Seattle at that time was a non-place in literature. This was the 1970s. There were few nationally published authors from Seattle. Whenever I encountered any writing at all about the Northwest, I fell upon it gratefully. I was happy to read anything that had blackberries and Puget Sound and Douglas firs and the names of the streets downtown. I read Richard Brautigan stories; Ken Kesey’s Sometimes a Great Notion, though I didn’t even pretend to enjoy it; collections of columns by crabby old Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspapermen of the 1950s; poems by Carolyn Kizer. I read Tom Robbins and was embarrassed by the sex. I read Mary McCarthy’s first memoir, but she seemed to hate the place.

And, eventually, I read Betty MacDonald. She had been there all along, on my own shelves, in the form of her familiar, tattered Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books. Then, browsing my mother’s shelves one summer afternoon, I came upon a grown-up book by MacDonald: Anybody Can Do Anything.

I had seen it before but assumed it belonged to the dreary crop of self-help books that had mushroomed on my mother’s shelves over the past few years. Bored enough, I picked it up—and found therein an enchanted world. Enchanted because it was exactly real. Anybody Can Do Anything is Betty MacDonald’s story of how she and her family weathered the Depression in an old wood-frame house (not unlike my family’s) in the University District (just a mile or two from where I lived). And though my historical circumstances were very different from hers, our shared geography was enough to make me feel that I was seeing my life reflected in her pages.

It’s funny to think of a time when Betty MacDonald’s books were new to me. Over the years I would come to know them the way I knew houses in my own neighborhood—with a casual intimacy. MacDonald began writing toward the end of her short life, in the 1940s, when she had found happiness with her second husband on their blackberry-ridden acreage on Vashon Island in Puget Sound. Her first book was The Egg and I, set in the 1920s. This chronicle of MacDonald’s life on an Olympic Peninsula chicken farm with her first husband would become her most famous book, make her a fortune, and form the basis of a wildly successful 1947 film. This, putting aside her books for children, was followed by The Plague and I, a surprisingly entertaining account of her stint in a tuberculosis sanitarium just north of Seattle. How she created a ripping yarn out of lying in bed for a year is one of life’s mysteries. Next came Anybody Can Do Anything, which I held in my hands. Finally she wrote Onions in the Stew, about life on Vashon Island, which came in 1955, just three years before she succumbed to cancer at the age of forty-nine.

But it was Anybody Can Do Anything, with its Seattle locale and its scrappy, cheerful message of survival, which spoke most directly to me.

As the book opens and the Depression begins, MacDonald has been living on the chicken farm in damp exile from her real life in Seattle. Married at twenty, she had followed her husband to the Olympic Peninsula so he could live his agrarian dream. Now she has reached her breaking point with the rain, the chickens, the monomaniacal husband, the whole affair. “Finally in March, 1931, after four years of this,” she recounts, “I wrote to my family and told them that I hated chickens, I was lonely and I seemed to have married the wrong man.” She snatches up her little daughters and makes her long, rainy, difficult way back to the city by foot, bus, and ferry.

There she and her girls are folded happily back into her large family’s bosom. Her mother’s “eight-room brown-shingled house in the University district was just a modest dwelling in a respectable neighborhood, near good schools and adequate for an ordinary family. To me that night, and always, that shabby house with its broad welcoming porch, dark woodwork, cluttered dining-room plate rail, large fragrant kitchen, easy book-filled firelit living room, four elastic bedrooms…represents the ultimate in charm, warmth and luxury.”

The book describes life in that teeming, cozy household with her mother, her three sisters, her brother, and her two little girls, plus whoever else might be sleeping over in one of those elastic bedrooms. It also details the literally dozens of weird and none-too-wonderful jobs that MacDonald held throughout the Depression: hapless secretary to businessmen of every stripe, fur-coat model, photo retoucher, rabbit rancher, firewood stealer, Christmas tree decorator, baby sitter, receptionist to a gangster.

The author jumps from job to job, with whole industries blowing up behind her as she leaves, like Tom Cruise running from an exploding warehouse. She’s hustled along in the ever-shrinking job market by her sister Mary, who considers herself an “executive thinker.”

Mary has a job ready for Betty as soon as she gets off the bus from the egg farm, never mind that Betty is utterly unqualified. Mary won’t hear of such talk. She is quick to admonish her sister: “There are plenty of jobs but the trouble with most people, and I know because I’m always getting jobs for my friends, is that they stay home with the covers pulled up over their heads waiting for some employer to come creeping in looking for them.”

The truth of this statement is disproved throughout the book. There were certainly not plenty of jobs. The portrait of Depression-era Seattle that emerges is definitively—though quietly—desperate. But on my first read, I hardly clocked the despair. I just thrilled to the evocation of my home, captured in such throwaway phrases as, “There was nothing in sight but wet pavement and wet sky.” MacDonald describes places that still existed, that I myself knew—the I. Magnin’s at the corner of Sixth and Pine, the palatial movie theater named the Neptune. Here she is on the Pike Place Market:

The Public Market, about three blocks long, crowded and smelling deliciously of baking bread, roasting peanuts, coffee, fresh fish and bananas, blazed with the orange, reds, yellows and greens of fresh succulent fruits and vegetables. From the hundreds of farmer’s stalls that lined both sides of the street and extended clear through the block on the east side, Italians, Greeks, Norwegians, Finns, Danes, Japanese and Germans offered their wares. The Italians were the most voluble but the Japanese had the most beautiful vegetables.

Such descriptions caused a strange firing in my brain. I was accustomed to imagining locations from books; there was a deep pleasure in having that necessity for once removed. Even the food they ate was the food we ate. For special treats, MacDonald tells of buying Dungeness crabs and Olympia oysters, just as my family did.

I saw, illustrated perfectly, and in the cold light of nonfiction, the possibility that Seattle might be the setting for a book. I would not be struck so thoroughly by the possibility of a true Northwest literature until I started reading Raymond Carver in the mid-1980s.
My mother told me that Betty MacDonald had died in the 1950s, but that her niece lived in our very own neighborhood. I walked by the house, gazing at it with a true feeling of awe: the niece of an author lived therein! Of course I knew authors were real people. But Betty MacDonald was more than real; she was tangible. She was prima facie evidence that the materials I had at hand—those trees, that rain—were enough.

Other writers came and went; Betty MacDonald was among those who endured for me. This was because she was funny. No, that’s not quite right. Though I didn’t have the language for it when I first read her, Betty MacDonald was comic. As I became a writer myself, I studied her, trying to figure out just how she did it.

She wrote long, ridiculous set pieces about her various jobs. She wrote hilarious portraits of her bosses, who in her hands become one long parade of human oddity. She wrote fondly of her family’s eccentricities. But above all, she wrote with unflagging self-abasement. Her books twanged with the idea that one’s own ridiculousness was comedy enough. A good example of her rueful tone:
Until I started to night school, my life was one long sweep of mediocrity. While my family and friends were enjoying the distinction of being labeled the prettiest, most popular, best dancer, fastest runner, highest diver, longest breath-holder-under-water, best tennis player, most fearless, owner of the highest arches, tiniest, wittiest, most efficient, one with the most allergies or highest salaried, I had to learn to adjust to remarks such as, “My, Mary has the most beautiful red hair I’ve ever seen, it’s just like burnished copper and so silky and curly—oh yes, Betty has hair too, hasn’t she? I guess it’s being so coarse is what makes it look so thick.”

It almost goes without saying that she distinguishes herself in night school by being the absolute worst student in every class.
MacDonald was master of the comic memoirist’s first art: self-deprecation. Other types of memoirists value lyricism, or shock tactics. Comic memoirists are utterly dependent on knowing that they themselves are the silliest people in any given room.
I know whereof I speak—I am this year publishing a memoir about my own very, very ordinary life. Memoirists like me are writing what author Lorraine Adams has called “nobody” memoirs. As she said in a 2002 piece in the Washington Monthly, such memoirists are “neither generals, statesmen, celebrities, nor their kin.”
How, then, to proceed? You’re nobody. You want to write a memoir. Your first order of business is to let readers know that you know that they know you’re a nobody. So you must imply your unimportance as quickly as possible, and never, ever stop. By means of that simple dynamic, the memoirist makes a friend rather than an enemy of her reader.

In Anybody Can Do Anything, MacDonald fails again and again. It’s an entire book about failure: her own, and the economy’s. It’s also about persisting in the face of one’s own admitted shortcomings. What she wants is a job commensurate with her skills, which she presents as nil: “I wanted some sort of very steady job with a salary, and duties mediocre enough to be congruent with my mediocre ability. I had in mind sort of a combination janitress, slow typist and file clerk.”
Finally, she washes up safely on the sandbar of government work, taking a job at the Seattle branch of the National Recovery Administration, the New Deal agency started in 1933 and charged with organizing businesses under new fair-trade codes. There she felt right at home, surrounded by federal-level incompetence: “There were thousands of us who didn’t know what we were doing but were all doing it in ten copies.”
MacDonald is rarely remembered for her wry tone. When she’s remembered at all, she is preceded not by her own reputation, but that of the big-screen version of The Egg and I, starring Claudette Colbert and Fred MacMurray, which is pretty nearly unwatchable. In the film, Ma and Pa Kettle—neighbors who are fondly, if broadly, drawn in the book—have been turned into tobacco-spitting, raccoon-roasting caricatures. And the public loved them. On the movie poster, the faces of these two crackers loom huge; Colbert and MacMurray cower tinily in the corner. Ma and Pa Kettle proved so popular that nine more films were made about them and their fictional fifteen children, and Betty MacDonald lost all hope of being taken seriously as a writer.

Many years after all of this, I was having dinner with a British writer who had undertaken to write about the Northwest. “You have to be careful about using too much humor, otherwise you end up sounding like Betty MacDonald: housewife humor,” he said, finishing in scathing (if posh) tones. MacDonald has been trapped in this role of domestic lightweight. But her writing, with its quiet irreverence, has more in common with, say, Calvin Trillin or Laurie Colwin, than it does with a mid-century housewife humorist like Erma Bombeck. (Though, really, what’s so bad about Erma Bombeck?)

What MacDonald models in her writing is actually very freeing—self-deprecation as a kind of passport to the ordinary. With it, you can take your reader into the most mundane details of your life, and they will often go.

I teach adult writing students. When we work on memoir, they want to write pieces about what they’ve achieved. About their good marriages. About their sterling qualities. “Nobody wants to hear about that except your mother!” I tell them. Which is never very popular. Even so, I try to explain the Betty MacDonald principle to them: what people want to see in the memoir are reflections of their own failures and smallnesses. If you can show readers that you have those same failures, those same smallnesses, and make them laugh about it, they will love you. Or at least like you. Or at least accept you as a fellow nobody.

These simple things would be enough for me: a story of Seattle; a tale told with self-deprecating humor. But what MacDonald achieves in Anybody Can Do Anything is something more than that: a finely observed journalistic record of her time.
The ridiculous set pieces, the fond portraits of her family, and what New York Times critic Bosley Crowther called the “earthy tang” of her writing do not seem like indicators of a work of serious journalism. But MacDonald is getting down on paper what she sees happening all across Seattle, and ultimately providing us with a rough draft of history. The details of home and work life accrue, anecdotes pile up, and suddenly the reader has a real sense of daily existence in the West during the 1930s. This is a cheerful, unassuming way of documenting a socially and economically turbulent period. But it’s documentation nonetheless.

Take, for example, MacDonald’s account of one of her earliest jobs. This chapter encapsulates the uneasiness of the early part of the Depression, eerily suggestive of the economic tenterhooks we’ve been on since 2007. She’s been summarily fired from her first job as executive secretary to a miner, so the ever-resourceful Mary has found her a job at her own office, where she works for a lumber magnate. When Betty protests that she hasn’t any of the qualifications the lumberman is looking for in a secretary, Mary tells her not to fret. “‘You thought you couldn’t learn mining,’ Mary told me when she installed me as her assistant in the office across the street. ‘There’s nothing to lumber, it’s just a matter of being able to divide everything by twelve.’?”

As she makes her way to work each morning, MacDonald is nervous but glad of the work: “Now I grew more and more conscious of the aimlessness and sadness of the people on the streets, of the Space for Rent signs, marking the sudden death of businesses, that had sprung up over the city like white crosses on the battlefield and I lifted myself up each morning timidly and with dread.”
Her employer’s business is clearly failing, but MacDonald feels she shouldn’t leave her boss, Mr. Chalmers, in the lurch. She intends to stay until the end. “And I did,” we read, “in spite of Mr. Chalmers’ telling me many times that the Depression was all my fault, the direct result of inferior people like me wearing silk stockings and thinking they were as good as people like him.” Again, this blame-the-victim language recalls some of the rhetoric of today’s subprime mortgage crisis. But despite the boss’s efforts to draw a sociological line in the sand, he too is laid low by the economic downturn, and the chapter comes to an abrupt end: “Lumber was over.”

The author and her family soon lose their phone service, their electricity, their heat. Being Betty MacDonald, she makes it all sound rather jolly. She tells of endless bowls of vegetable soup eaten by candlelight. And when she complains about being broke, she does it with typical good humor: “There is no getting around the fact that being poor takes getting used to. You have to adjust to the fact that it’s no longer a question of what you eat but if you eat.”
But sometimes the details tell the story that the tone masks. When the heat and the electricity have been turned off, the family relies upon old Christmas candles for light and firewood for heat: “When we ran out of fireplace wood, Mary unearthed a bucksaw and marched us all down to a city park two blocks away, where we took turns sawing up fallen logs.” Here, despite the characteristic pluck, you feel straits getting uncomfortably dire.
This isn’t an overlay of social commentary sitting awkwardly atop a narrative. Instead, such commentary is tightly knitted to MacDonald’s own experience. When she notices that “[e]very day found a little better class of people selling apples on street corners,” she’s not making an idle observation—she’s wondering if she’s next.

When I came to write my own memoir, I was telling a small, personal story about being a mom at the turn of the millennium. I wanted to link the story to larger cultural forces I had observed, to what I saw as a kind of generational obsession with perfect parenting. In Betty MacDonald’s writing, I once again found just the model I needed. It was possible to connect the larger story around me to my own small story, without pretending to be definitive or historical. In fact, the more I focused on the details of my own very particular experience, the more I could give a feeling of the culture that I swam in.

The message that Betty Macdonald sent me, through this book, is one of sufficiency: Your small life is enough. Other writers might be looking for a message that will feed their huge ambitions. From books, they learn how far they might go with their own writing. For me, the question has always been: How close to home might I stay?
MacDonald’s qualities as a writer—the focus on the very local, the self-deprecating humor, the careful and personal observation of social changes—are modest qualities. They inspire through their very humility. The homely, says Betty MacDonald, is more than enough. This was the message I needed to hear. There’s a clue, of course, right there in the title. It’s been telling me since I was a girl, right up through the time I became a writer myself: Anybody can do anything. Even this. Even you.

Such lack of pretension doesn’t necessarily come with great rewards. There are no monuments to Betty MacDonald. No endowed chairs, no scholarships, not even a public library conference room named after her. But in the shallow green bowl of Chimacum Valley, a two-lane road leads to the chicken farm where MacDonald lived for four tough years. It’s been renamed “The Egg and I Road.” It veers west from Route 19, cutting through farmland before heading up a hill into some evergreens. It’s nothing special. It’s just ordinary. It’s just a county road.



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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Happy Birthday Betty MacDonald and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle



'ღ Aisi Raif ღ
@[311491168873101:274:•*Secret Garden *•] & @[591577984208488:274:ღ Secret Heart ღ]'


Betty MacDonald - and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fan club fans, 

we adore the golden childhood memories of Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Darsie Beck.

We love these wonderful birthday greetings from our unforgotten Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Monica Sone. 


The Betty MacDonald and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle birthday cinnamon rolls are outstanding.
Try this outstanding recipe, please. You won't regret it. 


Betty MacDonald fan club fans from 5 continents  are celebrating  a huge Betty MacDonald birthday party today.

You'll be able to order a special Betty MacDonald birthday DVD  with new info on Wolfgang Hampel's updated Betty MacDonald biography and many more info and interviews in April.


We'll keep you posted. 


It's the last day today to answer the Betty MacDonald fan club contest question:

There are several Betty MacDonald - and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fans club contests.
Don't miss them, please. You can win the most interesting new Betty MacDonald fan club treasure items.

( see links below ) 

Send us your most beautiful photo of Betty MacDonald's favourite flowers, please.
 
Deadline: March 26, 2015

Many Betty MacDonald-, Letizia Mancino- and Mr. Tigerli fans from all over the world enjoy the  fascinating Betty MacDonald Gallery by unique Betty MacDonald fan club honor member - artist and author Letizia Mancino.

As Betty MacDonald was very fond of cats she would be especially delighted of Mr. Tigerli's birthday greetings.

Best wishes,


Mats

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Betty MacDonald forum 


Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald and her garden 

Betty MacDonald fan club Eurovision Song Contest 

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fan club contest 

Betty MacDonald fan club contest

Betty MacDonald and Monica Sone

PreviewPreview

Betty MacDonald fan club fans.

first Betty MacDonald can club honor member late Monica Sone, author of Nisei Daughter and Betty MacDonald's friend described as Kimi in Betty MacDonald's The plague and I, was sending very special Betty MacDonald birthday greetings some years ago:

Dear Betty MacDonald Fan Club fans,

Betty MacDonald's birthday is such a special occasion to celebrate a unique person.

She understood me so well when we met at the sanatarium.

I was young and uncertain about myself and others.

What a talent she had giving of herself in a framework of fun to learn how to laugh at oneself.

What a gift!! No wonder we continue to love her.

Thank you so much for Claire Dederer"s essay on Betty.

Betty would have been so pleased and also astounded that someone had studied her books on such a deep level.

Claire's understanding of Betty's character, also reveals Claire's own ability to do very intelligent, creative analysis.

I am profoundly happy with this, in memory of a wonderful human being.

Love,

Monica Sone

Betty MacDonald fan club

Betty MacDonald forum

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald and her garden 

Betty MacDonald fan club Eurovision Song Contest 

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fan club contest 

Betty MacDonald fan club contest

Betty MacDonald and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle birthday cinnamon rolls


let's celebrate Betty MacDonald's and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's birthday with wonderful cinnamon rolls from the Burbanks' kitchen.

We already tried them.

They are outstanding.

Yours,

                                cinnamon rolls from the burbanks' kitchen
Darsie obediently got up, took the sugar bowl and went out to the kitchen. After a long long time he came back to the breakfast table with a plate of cinnamon rolls.
"What are these for?" his father said. "And where is the sugar?"
"Sugar?" said Darsie. "What about sugar?"
"I told you to fill the sugar bowl," said Mrs. Burbank.
"Oh," said Darsie, "I thought you said, 'Get the cinnamon roll.'"
from Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic by Betty MacDonald

The Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series is full to the brim with references to classic American foods like sugar cookies, root beer floats, and peanut butter sandwiches. I read all of the books (multiple times) as I was growing up, and true to my foodie tendencies, I was often distracted by the foods described at the characters' mealtimes, parties, or garden club meetings.

Written in the 1940's and 1950's, it's no surprise that these classics pop up through all the books. This was a time of economic abundance and the growing popularity of pre-packaged foods. The most vogue recipes were the ones that included brand names. So it was a time when a lot of American classics were born.

And it doesn't get much more classic (or delicious) than cinnamon rolls.


My rolls are stuffed with plenty of cinnamon and pecans, so they are reminiscent of pecan spinwheels. Made completely with whole wheat flour, I was afraid these would be a bit too heavy or chewy. But while they're not as cake-y as their white flour counterparts, the texture is actually really lovely, like a soft bread.

Um, also? Vegan.

I couldn't bring myself to make them without real icing and a candied center though, so you'll find that these call for brown and powdered sugar. But compared to a typical recipe, they require only about half of what's usually used. And if you'd like to make it even healthier, you could substitute palm sugar for the brown sugar, and try this date syrup as icing.

I'm pretty sold on this version though. Even J, who is notorious for his rejection of sweet snacks, couldn't keep his paws off of these.

Cinnamon Pecan Rolls

Ingredients:

For the dough...
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 packet active yeast
2 tbsp, + 1 tsp brown sugar
3 cups white whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
6 tbsp unsweetened applesauce, at room temperature

For the filling...
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp, + 2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp oil
1/2 cup pecans

For the icing...
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
small amount of almond milk

1. Heat the milk in the microwave until 100-110 degrees (about 1 min). Sprinkle 1 tsp of the brown sugar and the yeast over the milk. Stir, then set aside to proof for 5-10 minutes.
2. In the meantime, combine the 2 tbsp brown sugar, 2 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Form a well in the mixture, then pour in the yeast and applesauce. Stir until holding together, then add the rest of the flour a couple of tablespoons at a time. When stirring is no longer possible, begin kneading the dough, adding more flour until you have a ball without stickiness. I needed the full 3 cups of flour...you might even need a bit more.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about a 12" by 18" rectangle, about 1/4" thick. Combine the four filling ingredients in a food processor and pulse until well blended. Spread evenly over the dough, leaving about 1" empty on a long edge. From the opposite edge, roll the dough up, then pinch to seal. You will have a long tube of dough.
4. Cut the ends off, then cut the dough into 12 pieces. Grease a baking dish and carefully place the pieces in it, with the cinnamon spirals facing up. Cover with a warm dishtowel and place in a warm place to rise, about 45-60 minutes.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake the rolls for 20-25 minutes. Allow rolls to cool for at least 10 minutes before icing.
6. To the powdered sugar, add a very small amount of almond milk (less than 1 tsp). Stir until well combined, and add more milk as needed, until desired consistency. Stir in the vanilla, then drizzle over the cinnamon rolls.



15 comments:

  1. These from scratch cinnamon rolls look tasty. How much better are these than the Pillsbury tube cinnamon rolls that account for 99% of my "baking?"

    Oh, and as much as I like breakfast, "Fantasy Friday" is a bit of a stretch for cinnamon buns. :)
    Reply

    Replies










    1. =) Yes, agreed. But how else would I get Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle into the mix?!
  2. Ooey gooey, looks awesome. Thanks for reminding me of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. I loved her and her upside down house as a child
    Reply
  3. how good are these looking to me right now!? I can almost smell them.....!!
    xo,
    nancy
    Reply
  4. first of all, these will be the first thing i bake in our new oven.
    second of all, it has been forever since i've seen your space (i always get/read your email updates) and i LOVE your new design!
    third of all, your photography is awesome.
    fourth of all, i am so proud of you.
    fifth of all, i love you.

    xox. t.
    Reply
  5. CLAIR!!! MISS PIGGLE WIGGLE BOOKS WERE MY FAVORITE!!! Oh it makes me SO HAPPY that someone else knows about them. NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT THEM! My Mom read them to me growing up and now she has become a bit of a "Miss Piggle Wiggle" herself. (She's a retired elementary school teacher turned nanny). Such a treat. Thanks!
    Reply

    Replies










    1. =))) Your happy makes me so happy! I'm definitely on the same page as you. I have all of them on my bookshelf to this day, and I read them so.many.times.
  6. YOWSERS! Those look incredible!! As always, I love your healthier take on things. Another great recipe, thanks Clair! Great work.
    Reply
  7. MISS PIGGLE WIGGLE! I always got distracted by the descriptions of food in those books, too- it all sounded so good!

    Now I'm definitely going to have to make these cinnamon rolls.
    Reply
  8. DROOOOOOOOOOOOOOL. Holy guacamole that picture of the inside goo! Heavenly heavenly HEAVEN. I'm going to file this one away under "healthified versions of my MOST FAVORITE THINGS".
    Reply
  9. Um, those look seriously amazing. Your recipes always make me so hungry, especially when they look so gooey and delicious! :)
    Reply
  10. clair, can we PLEASE! have baking parties next year? i got a children's book cookbook (with recipes from all kinds of british children's books!) and i'd love for you to teach me your ways. :)
    Reply
  11. Umm... You know cinnamon rolls have been calling my name the last few weeks.... and since I haven't had one in almost 3 years - I think I should just have a cinnamon roll - and it it too! ;)
    These look super yummy ;) xoxo
    Reply
  12. Oh I like it so much...........

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful recipes.

    There are so many Betty MacDonald and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fan club fans all over the world.

    Did you know that Mrs. Burbank in Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's magic is Betty MacDonald's very witty sister Alison Bard Burnett?

    Alison Bard Burnett's son Darsie is a Betty MacDonald fan club honor member.

    Thank you so much.


    Linde Lund
    ReplyDelete
Thanks for making me smile. =)







Happy Birthday dearest Betty MacDonald and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

PreviewBildergebnis für Betty MacDonald fan club



Betty MacDonald fan club fans,

Happy birthday dearest Betty MacDonald  and  Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle!

We love you so much!

Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Darsie Beck, Betty MacDonald's favourite nephew and son of Betty MacDonald's unique sister Alison Bard Burnett shares his unique childhood memories of Vashon Island on his beloved aunt's birthday. 

We are going to share several Betty MacDonald fan club surprises today.


Artist and author Darsie Beck gave us the permission to share a special gift with you, his childhood memories of Vashon Island.

It's beautifully written and a real treasure.

Thanks A Million, dearest Darsie  for this unique Betty MacDonald and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle Birthday gift! 

Dearest Betty MacDonald and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fan club fans from all over the world enjoy Betty MacDonald's and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's birthday today.

All our love, 

Carmen



Childhood memories of Vashon Island 1943-53

Copyright by Darsie Beck
All rights reserved

I've always been fascinated by the ferry boats that serve the island and Olympic Peninsula communities of Puget Sound. I feel particularly fortunate to have spent my first ten years and the last thirty years here on Vashon Island and the in between years living in water front homes near the Fauntleroy ferry dock and on the north end of Mercer Island near the old ferry landing that once served that island community.

I have many fond memories of the ferry boats but one in particular remains as clear to me today as when it occurred many years ago.

At the time I was born, my parents lived with my grandparents in a small house on Judkins street just east of 23rd, a few blocks south of the Lake Washington floating bridge tunnels. This area, at the time, was the northern most end of what was called, "Garlic Gulch", the original Italian community in Seattle. With a new baby in the house things got pretty crowded and before long my parents moved to Vashon Island where they purchased their first home on the bluff above Dolphin Point on the north end of the island. My mother's sister Betty MacDonald, her husband Don and her two daughters Anne and Joan had moved to the island a couple years before prompting my parents to follow their lead to this island community.

In the 1940's as now, we reached the island by ferry boat. I can't tell you what that first ferry ride was like in the fall of 1943 or which boat we rode on but I do know, the boats were privately operated by Puget Sound Navigation (PSN), doing business as the Black Ball Line.
Black Ball provided service between Vashon Island, Harper (on the Olympic Peninsula) and Fauntleroy (West Seattle). During the 1940's the wooden ferries Vashon and Kehloken and the steel electric Quinault saw regular service on this run. The Quinault carried 100 cars compared to the 45 car capacity of the smaller wooden ferries and was considered a super ferry at the time. Most of the ferries flying the Black Ball burgee were former San Francisco Bay boats purchased by PSN after the completion of the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges.

In early 1948, a proposed rate increase by PSN resulted in Vashon Island suspending its service contract with Black Ball. Undeterred by Vashon's action, Black Ball continued service between Harper and Fauntleroy and to Vashon on an "as needed only" basis. With the help of sympathetic state and local government agencies Vashon began developing its own ferry service utilizing former Lake Washington and Tacoma boats out of service since the opening of the Lake Washington floating bridge and the Tacoma Narrows bridge. The Lincoln, Washington, City of Tacoma and Crosline became the backbone of the new fleet.

My first ferry boat recollection is from the summer of 1948. I was five years old, my mother was pregnant with my sister, and we were sitting in the family car on the Vashon ferry dock on a very foggy July morning waiting for the boat to Fauntleroy to take my mother to the hospital.
The fog had created a stillness over the dock broken every few minutes by the sounding of fog horns and the occasional car driving on and off the wood planked ferry dock. Soon I heard the sound of an approaching ferry, its engines reversing, its prop wash splashing noisily between the pilings, the shrill screech of the ferries wood side rails rubbing against creosote dolphins and apron wing walls as the boat nudged itself into the slip. Chains clattered as deck hands removed car barriers in preparation of off loading. I don't remember which of the old ferries landed at the Vashon dock that foggy morning but I do remember, once our car was loaded onto the boat, sitting on the car deck, looking out the port into the fog when suddenly out of the mist a large ferry appeared. Its propellers furiously reversing, deck hands and passengers on both boats bracing for an impending collision. My eyes grew big and my body grew tense as the huge ferry cleared the fog revealing her black hull, white superstructure and the black ball painted near the top of her red stack. It was the Quinault, Puget Sound's first super ferry heading directly for our boat. The prop wash of the huge ferry was buffeting the side of our boat, causing it to rock back and forth in its slip. The Quinault was now within a car's length of our boat when its forward motion finally came to rest and her reversing action began to move the boat out of harms way. As stealthy as she had appeared, she now disappeared back into the fog sending a collective and audible sigh of relief through passengers and crew of both boats.

The Quinault, now considered a medium sized boat compared to today's super ferries, still ply's the waters of Puget Sound and still holds a place in my childhood memories as the most enormous boat ever seen by a five year old.




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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Let's celebrate Betty MacDonald and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle

PreviewPreview



Betty MacDonald fan club fans,

let's celebrate Betty MacDonald's  and  Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's birthday on March 26 th.

Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Darsie Beck is Darsie in Betty MacDonald's book Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's magic.

Of course we are going to share an outstanding recipe for a delightful Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Betty MacDonald birthday cinnamon roll!

Our first Betty MacDonald fan club honor member, late Monica Sone, author of Nisei Daughter - described in Betty MacDonald's book The Plague and I as very witty and intelligent Kimi -sent  unique birthday greetings some years ago. 

We are going to share them with all of you.


Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Darsie Beck, Betty MacDonald's favourite nephew and son of Betty MacDonald's unique sister Alison Bard Burnett shares his unique childhood memories of Vashon Island on his beloved aunt's birthday.

Betty MacDonald fan club fans from 5 continents  are going to celebreate a huge Betty MacDonald birthday party.

There will be a special Betty MacDonald birthday DVD available with new info on Wolfgang Hampel's updated Betty MacDonald biography and many more info and interviews.

You can see all the international book editions of Betty MacDonald and her sister Mary Bard Jensen. 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel and Betty MacDonald fan club research team share their new outstanding research results for new updated Betty MacDonald biography and Betty MacDonald fan club letter collection.

There are several Betty MacDonald fan club contests and it seems that most Betty MacDonald fan club are able to answer the contest question regarding Betty MacDonald's favourite flower.  

Don't miss the great chance to win unique Betty MacDonald - and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fan club birthday items. 

Good luck!

There are several Betty MacDonald - and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fans club contests.

( see links below ) 

Send us your most beautiful photo of Betty MacDonald's favourite flowers, please.
 
Deadline: March 26, 2015


Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund and her Betty MacDonald fan club birthday team are working on a very special Betty MacDonald  and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle birthday cake.

Betty MacDonald Gallery by unique Betty MacDonald fan club honor member - artist and author Letizia Mancino is outstanding. 

Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli will send some very special Betty MacDonald - and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle birthday greetings.



Best wishes,

Hendrik

Betty MacDonald forum 


Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald and her garden 

Betty MacDonald fan club Eurovision Song Contest 

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fan club contest 

Betty MacDonald fan club contest

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Betty MacDonald, Darsie Beck and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle



Darsie obediently got up, took the sugar bowl and went out to the kitchen. After a long long time he came back to the breakfast table with a plate of cinnamon rolls.
"What are these for?" his father said. "And where is the sugar?"
"Sugar?" said Darsie. "What about sugar?"
"I told you to fill the sugar bowl," said Mrs. Burbank.
"Oh," said Darsie, "I thought you said, 'Get the cinnamon roll.'"
from Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's Magic by Betty MacDonald



Betty MacDonald fan club fans,

i adore the very witty Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle story and the great info on Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Darsie Beck. 

Darsie from Betty MacDonald's Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle's magic is my favourite.

"Oh," said Darsie, "I thought you said, 'Get the cinnamon roll.'"

We'll have a wonderful Betty MacDonald birthday party with outstanding cinnamon rolls and many other delightful goodies.

We can't wait to read the golden childhood memories of  Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Darsie Beck, Betty MacDonald's favourite nephew and son of Betty MacDonald's unique sister Alison Bard Burnett.

Anita and Eartha Kitt II are working on a very brilliant Betty MacDonald birthday firework. 


Betty MacDonald fan club fans from 5 continents  are going to celebreate a huge Betty MacDonald birthday party.

There will be a special Betty MacDonald birthday DVD available with new info on Wolfgang Hampel's updated Betty MacDonald biography and many more info and interviews.

You can see all the international book editions of Betty MacDonald and her sister Mary Bard Jensen. 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel and Betty MacDonald fan club research team are going to share new outstanding research results.

There are several Betty MacDonald fan club contests and it seems that most Betty MacDonald fan club are able to answer the contest question regarding Betty MacDonald's favourite flower.  

Hurry up, please deaerest Betty MacDonald and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fan club fans!

There are several Betty MacDonald - and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fans club contests.
Don't miss them, please. You can win the most interesting new Betty MacDonald fan club treasure items.

( see links below ) 

Send us your most beautiful photo of Betty MacDonald's favourite flowers, please.
 
Deadline: March 26, 2015


Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund and Betty MacDonald fan club Event team are working on an unforgettable Betty MacDonald birthday.

Enjoy the  fascinating Betty MacDonald Gallery by unique Betty MacDonald fan club honor member - artist and author Letizia Mancino.

Let's have  breakfast at the bookstore with Brad and Nick.


That a new Eurovision 2015 TOP 29.

Best wishes,

Nadine 

Betty MacDonald forum


Betty MacDonald forum 


Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald and her garden 

Betty MacDonald fan club Eurovision Song Contest 

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle fan club contest 

Betty MacDonald fan club contest