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With all the stress of the flash floods in Boulder County, CO, AND a week of 4 interviews for SCF, listing these books has fallen behind on the great big list-of-all-the-things-to-do.

However, my Dad and step-mom Deborah are safe in Boulder with friends (for the time being; Dad is confused, they are both stressed and very sad about losing their four out-buildings and possibly their house); Talis and Serena are home; they arrived at Logan last night, and are now off to Savers (2nd-hand clothing store) to get new things to replace those that are in the car left in the Jamestown Elementary School parking lot. The roads to Jamestown are closed, rock slides and water, great forces of nature, have made the one road in and out of town impassable. Who knows when they will be able to get the car out. I have friends who live out there who have offered to perhaps get the car, or even maybe drive it East, eventually. It will be at least a month I think before anything can be done. None of the residents of Jamestown had flood insurance, and the insurance companies are being cold-hearted. There is some state aid (maybe federal as well), but I don't think it will be nearly enough to rebuild what they had.

Deborah was interviewed here (the older gentleman in the orange beret is my nearly-88-year-old Dad), and there was a picture of Talis and Serena coming off the army helicopter. One of their NBTSC friends Mom's knows one of their flight crew, so we can send them a thank you note. Somewhere there is a video of T and S when they came off the helicopter; they were on the first evacuation flight out of Jamestown. Deborah sounds just exhausted and sad, but their community support was awesome, and I hope they can rebuild that.

Here's the list of cookbooks so far. It's long, slightly over 100. Please let me know if you are interested in any.
list of cookbooks )
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So, the other day, I did not get out to be social with a whole bunch of people because I had had a week... part of which involved being transferred from one supervisor to another on one project, then not hearing from that new supervisor... plus very long intense interviews for the other project; all compounding into a weekend where I was just not coping with having to go OUT.

So, I did the first pass on the 20 or so boxes of cookbook from Mum's collection.

I have at least 5 bankers boxes, overflowing, so make that 6 or 7 bankers boxes, of cookbooks to catalog and give away. These are either duplicates of books I already have (Mum gave me a lot of cookbooks) or ones I am not interested in keeping, for one reason or another.

Tonight, instead of doing cataloging books, or doing two debriefs for SCF cases, I spent about 2 hours on a report call with the new supervisor (she's in California and just got 12 new field interviewers (FIs) and a whole bunch of new-to-her cases, all over the country), looked at fb, lj, and e-mail, and calculated how much mileage I spent on each project today.

I should go to bed now, as tomorrow is a farm day, and it is supposed to be hot and humid again, in the mid-80's.

Cookbook lists should be coming soon. Anyone who will be at OVFF should tell me if there is anything they want from these book lists, soon, so I can pack them into whatever car Spencer is driving out. sanyone else, either come for food at the Big Blue House, or we'll make other arrangements.
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I was listening to Amy McNally's new CD, Hazardous Fiddler (go buy it, its fabulous!) and the last track came on. I found myself with tears running down my face, it was A Capitol Ship, an old English folk tune, that Mum used to sing to me at bedtime when I was a little girl. Truly, it is fabulous, even thought I shall probably cry every time I hear that song for a while. It's the building choruses, that add voices with every one.
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My mother grew up in a time when people wrote letters to their friends, constantly. I am reading letters to Mum when she was in high school and college, during the 1940's. Paints a very different picture of war; the boys in college were joining up, there were Regimental Balls, and postage for letters from those already joined up was free. Things were not instantaneous, as they are now.

I've come across letters from my grandparents to each other, in the 19teen's and twenties, and to Mum from her parents and friends when she was at Half Moon Ranch in Jackson Hole in the summer of 1945.

Yes, there's an added weight of family history and insight into my Mum as a young woman, and into those times. Not ready to get rid of them yet. Need to decide what to do with them. In the mean time, they are something that need to be read by my Talis, and perhaps scanned or digitized for my nieces.

Later in life, she wrote more letters, and postcards. Somewhere, I have a pile that she wrote me, then to me and Spencer, then to Talis too. There's one on my microwave, from one of her visits to her sister Joanie, in Friendship, Maine.

Mum bought more postcards than she could ever write. If you would like a postcard from me, please let me know, and if I do not have your mailing address, please send it to me. Comment here at DW (will be screened unless you tell me otherwise), or LJ, in e-mail to persis at thorndike dot name, or in a fb message to me.


Sep. 25th, 2012 11:23 pm
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I have a bunch of things I want to do, but am finding it hard to concentrate these days. I know part of it it that I am finally done (sort of) with my responsibilities of Mum, and now have time to be not ON all the time, and, the weather has changed so I am feeling those effects in sinuses.

Today, I made a New Patient appointment with Tufts Dental School, as a second tooth chipped off a quarter, so now I have TWO teeth (# 30 and # 31, bottom left molars) that need crowns (but not root canals) right away. Each of them would be in the neighborhood of $1300 if I went to my regular dentist, because MA Health does not cover dental other than cleanings twice yearly and x-rays...

I also took Winnie tot eh vet to be weighed again; 50.4# today, and to get heartworm meds for the next year (there was a rebate if I bought a years supply).

I want to find time for the following, in no particular order:
dinners here with friends,
writing, several sorts: stories of Mum, cooking adventures, farming,
sorting thru: Mums boxes, my closet, my office,
training Winnie,

I am sure there are other things that should be on the list, but that's a start.
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My sister posted in her fb the following:

An update for you who couldn't be with us for my moms memorial weekend. All went well with the hike up Mt Monadnock. The weather couldn’t have been better..Gigi ran up in bare feet, as she repacked her suite case and took out the sneakers I put in!! Madeleine and her friend looked like they were going out on the town , not up a mountain and were very mad at me that it was such a BIG adventure…. all taken in stride we managed to accomplish something beautiful with lots of memories too. We, unannounced to everyone else there, let moms ashes blow away over the mountain on a non populated side up was unscripted and lovely. There were 15 of us and the weather was glorious. The memorial on Sunday was really a celebration of her life and the party that should have ended at 5pm went on until 9pm!! My sister Persis out did herself and had some friends work the whole thing. There were many pictures of mom during her lifetime scattered around the flat and Persis made a few nice boards with more photos and old newspaper clippings from her coming out days in Harvard Square. There was an abundance of delicious and amazing food and plenty of wine and scotch (mom’s old favorite) then Jimmy and Larry (a brother of Jimmy’s up from Philadelphia) played the grand piano and guitar and entertained us all before moving out to the porch to sing more old favorites as you can imagine. About 90 people came from all different times of Moms life. Many people told memories and I kept hearing in those stories a common theme; food, and how she introduced so many to the enjoyment of fine food..I saw many friends and quite a few from my past who mean a lot to me but have been out of touch with..I am very grateful for my life and good fortune....oh, and thanks for all the birthday wishes

Today I am working on PISA, and have a massive sinus headache that is making me feel very spacey. I think this is a nice summation of the weekend. Leslie does not know that my friends and I are used to entertaining on the grand scale... Mum taught me well to carry on her great tradition of throwing awesome parties. :-) Ah, well...
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I am tired and have work in the morning, but here are a few place markers from this weekend.

Yesterday was a very good day. Superb weather for climbing, sunny but cool. Climbed Monadnock, ALL of us made it up, even Spencer who climbed at his own pace, and Talis whose knees and other joints were giving her grief, and Madeleine, who is 13 and thought it was the worst idea ever to climb a mountain. She was not fond of her grandmother, to put it mildly... she is too young to have known her Noni before Noni got sick. Talis has that distinction. We scattered Mum;s ashes just below the summit, after we had all stepped on the benchmark (which is NOT the highest point... go figure) and ate some lunch. Leslie for some reason had only packed snacky types of food, instead of sandwiches. and protein. We went off to the left, and scattered her over some blueberry bushes. I have pictures, will add to the post later. Talis says we need to climb again, and why did we wait so long.

And every one came down. Took me an hour to descend, Talis and Dakota were waiting for me. Spencer arrived about an hour later, and David half an hour after Spencer. David's knees were not happy. He said that if he never saw the White Cross trail again, it would be too soon. I am really proud of Spencer for making it up and down in one piece, mostly. He slipped on a wet rock on the way down, getting left shoe and pants leg wet, but he saved his glasses, and iPhone... That elevator was just not there for him. ;-)

Today was another beautiful day. I love my friends. Rick and L came up early, D and G too. Leslie was all worried about people showing up exactly at one and we would not be able to get everything done in time...and kept reminding me about the time... you don;t have time to put the pictures on poster board, it will take too much time. In 15 minutes, D and G and I had populated 3 large boards of foam core, and the big mirror in the back living room. She is too rigid about things like this. We started the speaking part just after 1:30, when I expected it to happen, I started, and asked Leslie to say somethings, and then we passed the zooms around and heard some wonderful remembrances. And people kept coming in, even after we were done telling stories and went back to having a wonderful potluck party; there was music... harmonies brought tears to my eyes, I was glad I had tissues in my pocket. There was plenty of food, and drink, and punch! (two batches of it!) and people hung around afterwards and helped clean up. I think we were all done by 7:30. I got home at 9:30 or so, Talis drove, and did a wonderful job negotiating the various 128 and 95 and 90 road constructions.

Well, I guess I had more spoons than I thought... There's still more, but enough for now. I do have to say again, that I have wonderful friends. My sister kept remarking on it... saying, "you have such good friends who are helping you with this". And I said, "yes, I am very fortunate to have such good friends". So many people came up to me and said what a wonderful time they had, and that Mum would have liked it. Even my BIL, and his brother, and a whole bunch of Leslie's friends... and mine, and people I didn't even know very well.

Kudos go to Spencer and David, who helped out so much so I didn't have to worry about the details. David makes a mean punch, I just have to say. ;-) And Spencer took my lists and ran with them. Both of them went shopping last night at BJ's so I could run off to TJ's for the wins and items BJ's didn't carry. And Spencer took my last minute list this am; he's a great list man.

OK, enough for today. More later. Hugs to you all. :-)
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Loaded the Big Red Van with some stuff from home for Sunday, and drove to Manchester, collecting folding tables and chairs, and having some moments of self-doubt. Which were allayed by several friends. Thank you.

Survived unloading mostly by myself, but that is to be expected, as my sister I still don't think is entirely bought into this. I did get some help from my elder niece, Madeleine, as she is big enough at 13 to haul stuff. She also did a great job of sorting thru part of a box of picture finding ones of Mum as a baby, and growing up.

I ended up bringing a one box high van full of boxes of papers, and pictures (not sure we'll have any time to go thru them...), and some books, dishes, glass ware and pottery, and the contents of our games drawers from the living room. Someone is moving in October 1, ans Leslie wants it ready Monday morning. The rest of the stuff in the basement can wait til I've gone thru this haul.

My sister is very different from me. I have no spoons at the moment to describe. It's been a rough day. Thank you, [profile] sweetmmeblue and family for feeding me when I stopped by to pick up tables tonight.

We should be climbing the Mountain tomorrow morning. Mum always considered Jaffrey, NH to be home. While she loved the ocean, it was Jaffrey that she thought was home when she had her stroke in 1999, and Mt. Mondanock has always been her favorite. She just loved that mountain. We'll be going up the White Dot trail, and down the White Cross, not Mum's favorite trails; her favorite was Pumpelly Ridge, which starts in Dublin and is much longer, 6 miles up I think, instead of 4 miles round trip the way we are planning. She also like the Spruce Link, and some of the trails which went up the left side of the mountain.
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Honey, bee stings and reactions to said stings, Mum memorial celebration of life, PISA... a lot going on, and no spoons to deal with writing at the moment. My house is a disaster, with an end on sight, but not until after this weekend, and probably the end of next week.

I do love my friends. I have the best friends. Thank you, all, for giving me support and love and hugs, whether near or far. I do so appreciate you all.


Sep. 7th, 2012 01:32 pm
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I just got a call from the woman who runs the Alumni Office at Winsor, who was so very nice, asking if I had details on the memorial for Mum, as some of her class mates were asking and wanting to come.

So I sent her the long obit and the short form death notice, and now I am sitting in tears. Part of it is sadness, and part of it is just not understanding why my sister thinks of mum as insignificant.

I also got a really nice e-mail from a woman I know, who's husband used to work at Crocker's Boatyard, and in a sideways way, knew Mum.

This is really hard.

An no, I haven't gotten my hot pepper jelly made yet. I don;t seem to be able to get anything done today.

On the plus side, Winnie had a normal BM this am, but still no cheese wrapping.
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THORNDIKE, Marguerite Marean “P.T.”, died Saturday, July 28, 2012, in Petaluma, CA, of complications of Alzheimer’s; she was holding her Dr’s hand. She was 84 years old. P.T. was a long-time resident of Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA, and more recently of San Francisco, CA.

She is survived by her daughters Persis L. Thorndike of Milford, MA, Leslie J. Thorndike Goetz of San Francisco, CA, sons-in-law J. Spencer Love and James Goetz, beloved granddaughters Talis Marguerite Thorndike Love, Madeleine Thorndike Goetz and Julia Thorndike Goetz, her sister, Joan M. Comstock of Venice, FL, nephew Steven H. Comstock of C O, former husband David Thorndike of Jamestown, CO, and many friends around the world.

Born in New York City on April 24, 1928, P.T. was adopted by Endicott and Anna Marean, and lived in Cambridge, MA and Jaffrey Center, NH. Starting in October 1938, the family lived for 10 months in Surrey, England. She was a 1943 graduate of the Shady Hill School in Cambridge, a 1946 graduate of the Winsor School in Boston, and earned an AB in Government from Radcliffe College in 1950.

During college, P.T. worked summers at the Oribe Tea Barn in Jaffrey, earning just enough to pay her tuition of $300 for Radcliffe, with the exception of her last year, when the tuition went up to $450 and she had to take out a loan. She spent the following summer traveling in Europe, and after going to secretarial school, was employed at MIT as a Senior Clerk in the Digital Computer Lab.

She married David Thorndike in 1957, and they bought the house at 24 Bridge St., Manchester, MA, where she continued to live after the divorce in 1976. In 1999, P.T. had a stroke, and thereafter spent more and more time in San Francisco with her daughter, Leslie, moving there full-time in 2006. She enjoyed the stimulation and people of the Castro district, whom she met on her daily walks. On trips to the East Coast during the summer, she would stay in Milford, MA, with her daughter, Persis. In June, 2011, P.T. moved into the Alzheimer’s wing of the Evergreen Nursing Home in Petaluma, CA.

At an early age, P.T. began square and contra dancing in NH during the summers, and danced with Ralph Page’s exhibition New England square dance group for a number of years. She took her daughters to the weekly contra dance in Fitzwilliam during the summers from the late 60’s until the dances stopped in the late 70’s. She picked up contra dancing again in 1993, in Concord and Cambridge, when her daughter Persis began dancing again.

In the late 60’s and early 70’s, P.T. sang in the Choir at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Beverly Farms under the direction of Robert Chisolm, as well as in various performances of Mozart’s Requiem. She enjoyed pottery, taking lessons for years at the DeCordova Museum School, and playing piano. When her children were in elementary school, P.T. worked in the school library, and later, taught pottery in the high school art department. She built a brick kiln for firing Japanese Raku pottery, and fired the kiln with several of her high school students.

A passionate cook, she threw wonderful parties. She started Hunky Dory Custom Cooking in 1976, rowing her double-ended Gloucester Light Dory around Manchester Harbor, offering coffee cakes and the Sunday NY Times to boats visiting the harbor on weekends. With a licensed kitchen, she cooked meals at home and brought them to her clients’ homes, and had a following not only on the North Shore of Massachusetts, but also in Pittsford, NY, Pittsburgh, PA, and California. Her catering business was halted by her stroke in 1999, although she continued to cook for visiting family and friends.

P.T. was a member of the Women’s Culinary Guild (now the Culinary Guild of New England) almost from the beginning in 1979, and served on their Board for many years, as Culinary Liaison to other food organizations, and as the Guild President from 1996-1997. She has always had an interest in food and wine, art and architecture, music, traveling, and meeting people. She had an easy smile and was modest about accepting praise, though she was acknowledged to be very good at her chosen profession."

Later in life, P.T. traveled to England, Ireland, Hawaii, Italy and France, and made several barge trips in France with friends. She enjoyed the travel, and especially the food and wine.

Her family will celebrate her life with a memorial hike to the summit of Mt. Monadnock, in Jaffrey, NH, in September. Since P.T. loved food, wine and good parties (with or without music), there will be a Potluck Celebration of her Life on September 16, 1 pm, at the house at 24 Bridge Street, Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA. Parking available at Crocker’s Boatyard upper yard, two houses down Bridge Street from the house. Please bring a favorite appetizer or dessert to share. Questions; please call or text 508-282-0089, or send e-mail to

Condolences can be sent to Persis L. Thorndike, 11 Wayne Road, Milford, MA 01757.
If you'd like to send a story or remembrance to be posted on Petie's Memorial Website,, please send it to Petie@Thorndike.Name.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in her name to the Schlesinger Library, c/o Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, 10 Garden St., Cambridge 02138

Please enjoy this recipe that got Hunky Dory Custom Cooking started.

P.T.’s Sour Cream Date Nut Coffee Cake

Pre-heat oven to 350°F
Use greased and floured angel food cake tube pan

½ lb butter
1 C sugar
3 eggs
1C sour cream
3 C flour plus 2 tbs flour
3 tsp Baking powder

1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together butter, sugar. Add eggs, one at a time. Stir in 2T flour. Add sour cream.

Sift together: flour, baking powder, baking soda. Mix into butter mixture just until blended. Add vanilla.
Part one: ½ C sugar
1tsp cinnamon
Part two: ½ C walnut, chopped
½ C dates chopped

1st Layer 1/3 of dough
1/3 of sugar/cinnamon
½ of nuts/dates
2nd Layer 1/3 of dough
1/3 of sugar/cinnamon
½ of nuts/dates
3rd Layer Remaining of Dough
Remaining sugar/cinnamon
End with 3 ½ walnuts and 3 ½ dates placed on top of cake.

Bake for 1 hour.
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I am still here. Dealing with how to reply to an e-mail from my sister, in which she said she was uncomfortable with borrowing tables and chairs from people... Well, she is not running this show, I am, and *she* is not the one borrowing things. It has been pointed out to me that my sister is much more into materialistic and appearances, and always has been. My sister does not think I am capable of being successful... at anything.

Also pointed out to me that I need someone (or several someones) to keep me sane at Mum's Celebration of Life.

Details: Potlatch Celebration of Life for Marguerite M. "P.T. Thorndike,
Sunday, September 16, 1 pm
24 Bridge Street, Mancheater-by-the-Sea, MA 01944
Parking at Crocker's Upper Boat Yard (also on Bridge Street, towards Beverly Farms)

Please bring an appetizer, hors d'oeuvre, or dessert to share. Drinks will be provided.

Any questions? Please call or text me at 508-282-0089, or send e-mail to me at persis at thorndike dot name.
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The plan so far, is to have a brief spoken piece, hopefully in tents outside in the back/side yard of the house. Food and drink inside on banquet tables, small tables for some people to sit at, with chairs. Table for guest book, for people to sign, tell stories, etc. Business cards with memorial site and link to some of Mum's recipes which will be posted there.

So, I've been calling around to some rental places, and tents are expensive(!) My pockets are not that deep.

I am looking to borrow the following for use September 16, in Manchester-by-the-Sea, for a memorial Celebration of my Mum's Life.

4-6 pop-up tents (I have promise of 1 or 2 already)
6-8 banquet tables (I have promise of 1 8' and 1 6' table)
4-6 smaller card tables or rounds for general seating (I have two)
100+ folding chairs (12 from the Big Blue House) I think I can afford to rent these...

200 Wine glasses (probably better to rent these; I can get them for 35¢ each and avoid the delivery charge of we pick them up)

I own Mum's catering serving platters, and can buy paper goods and plastic glasses for soft drinks somewhere. I have plastic ware, probably enough.

I may have to amend these numbers, but I think this is good to start.

I still need to go looking for pictures.

On the plus side, the death notice is in for Sunday, Aug 5, and was in the Sunday Globe on page B10.

Downside, not being aware of issues at home. Not horrible, but not ideal.
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Just to be quick here, as I have to get up early to take Talis to her life guard course in Concord for 9 am.

Leslie and I had a phone conversation on Friday, where I told her that she had taken full responsibility for mum for e the past 6 years, and could she please let me do the planning and organizing of the memorial, as she seemed to be DONE (but did not say that she didn't seem to be able to let go of control). Leslie apologized in e-mail for not understanding what it was I wanted to do, and said she thought she understood what it was I wanted to do, and that she would stand behind me. (Except for the money... she doesn't have any to spare, and there is no estate.)

So, now to ask the architect who is renting the second floor of the house to please get me some measurements, and then to find out how much it will cost me to rent a tent, folding chairs, and banquet tables (and hope I have the money), and then we'll hold the event at the house, with tent for speaking, hopefully briefly), and food and drink in the house, so people can mingle from place to place. The house, first floor only, is not big enough for the numbers of people I think will come. If a tent, etc is too expensive, I shall have to turn to other venues. *sigh*

I think Leslie will come with her family, as they will be on this coast anyway, and it will be very good for her daughters to see that their Noni had a lot more going than they will ever know. If all goes well, we'll have a recording of the stories.

Last night I went to the contra and square dance at the Fitzwilliam Town Hall, in NH. I learned to dance there, when Mum brought us there every Saturday night during the summer, beginning when I was 10. I saw people I danced with back then, up until the late 70's. Hall was smaller than I had remembered (nostalgic), hot (always was), and full of people (how did we fit so many crazy energetic dancers in it back then?). On the way up, I caught glimpses of Mt. Monadnock, that David missed when I tried to point them out. Peaceful, not sad at all; grounding, homecoming.

There was a death notice in today's Boston Globe. If anyone local has a copy of Section B, could I please have it (several copies would not go wasted)?

I have to contact Winsor School, and once details are set, post both short death notice with picture, and longer obit (with recipe) to them.

More details to be posted here as I solidify them.
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April 24, 1928 - July 28, 2012

My sister called today, around noon, to tell me that our Mum had passed away last night. She was in hospital, recovering from a recently discovered UTI, when her blood pressure dropped. Since Leslie was unavailable, they did not give her cumadin, and she died with the Dr holding her hand. The Dr. did tell my sister that Mum had told her she had a nice smile. Typical Mum. :-)

More later.

Edit 14:41: There will be a memorial service, here on the East Coast, probably sometime this fall. First, I have to write an obit for the papers, then some sort of much longer memorial for me, and then I can think of the service.

My sister, I think, is DONE. She had the majority of Mum care while Mum declined into the Alzheimer's, until last June when she was finally able to put Mum into an Alzheimer's wing at a nursing home in Petaluma. And now I don't think she has anything left. Her family is only now becoming some semblance of back to normal.

Mum will be cremated, and Leslie is taking care of that part, and her ashes will be scattered on Mt. Monadnock in Jaffrey, NH.


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