We didn’t see much of the Hammonton Fourth of July parade this year because once again the kids were in the bike parade portion (all except Francis, who had a bad meltdown in the morning and stayed home with mom).
The bike parade was again sponsored by Toy Market, the independent toy store in town (supplier of much of our household’s Santa delivery). They had a table full of red, white, and blue bunting that we could apply to the bikes. We all had a lot of fun.
Notes for next year: a tandem extension on a adult bike looked like fun and then 7-yo Gregory will be a good age for this (we should dig ours out from the back of the garage). Also: the parade has a dog contingent so maybe a much-calmer Francis will be able to be part of that next year (we’re due to pick up the service dog in 12 days!, eeek!!!)
When we came here in fifteen or so years ago, Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden was a magical oasis tucked in the middle of a block in Key West, a small forest said to be the last undeveloped acre in the city’s Old Town neighborhood. Full of winding paths and trees it was the rarest of spaces: loved, carefully tended, and shared with the public as a gift of beauty. But even then it felt besieged. In 2012 taxes and expenses became too much and Nancy sold off parcels to developers. From an article in Key News:
The tucked-away entrance to Nancy Forrester’s Secret Garden off Free School Lane in the 500 block of Simonton Street will be closed to the public after today, as finances and property taxes have forced Forrester to sell the land parcels that have housed an artist’s cottage and gallery, parrots, orchids, rare palms, meandering pathways and a meditative garden for more than four decades.
These days the garden has been reduced to a small backyard on Elizabeth Street which Nancy uses as a rescue parrot refuge. In the mornings she gives educational lectures on the birds, full of facts about their brilliant behavior, the destruction of their native habitats, and gentle lectures about how we can all protect native parrot habitats by living more lightly on the land (hint: no red palm oil or beef). From behind the fence came the sounds of a swimming pool being installed in the cutdown middle of the former garden. Nancy has life tenancy on the ill-repaired house where she lives with the parrots.
I don’t know the details of the real estate transactions or Forrester’s finances but I find it incredible that Key West couldn’t rally around one of its living treasures. I’m glad that Nancy remains along with her parrots and I’m grateful my kids got a chance to meet her.
On our way down the Delmarva Peninsula we needed a break for food, stretching, and bathrooms. This free museum is situated in a nineteenth century almshouse and features the folk histories of the peoples of the barrier islands.
When I became an editor at Friends Journal in 2011, I inherited an institution with some rather strong opinions. Some of them are sourced from the predictable wellsprings: William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White’s foundational mid-century style guide and the editorial offices of the Chicago Manual of Style. But some is all our own, logically tested for consistency with Chicago but adapted to Quaker idiosyncrasies.
One of our most invariable (and contested) formats comes from the way we list congregations. Quick aside for non-Quakers: you will often see a Quaker meeting listed as Town Monthly Meeting, Town Friends Meeting, Town Quaker Meeting, etc. People often have strong opinions about the correct ways to write them out. Occasionally an author will insist to me that their meeting has an official name that use consistently across their publications, business minutes, Facebook pages etc., but after a few minutes with Google I can usually find enough counter-examples to prove inconsistency.
To cut through this, Friends Journal uses “Town (State) Meeting” everywhere and always, with specific exceptions only for cases where that doesn’t work (meeting is named after a street or a tree, etc.). Town/state abbreviation in parentheses/capital-M-meeting. This formatting is unique to Friends Journal—even other Philadelphia-based Quaker stylesheets don’t follow it. We’ve been doing it this distinctively and this consistently for as long as I’ve been reading the magazine.
Fortunately we have digital archives going back to the mid-1950s thanks to Haverford College’s Quaker and Special Collections. So a few months ago I dug into our archives and used keyword searches to see how far back the format goes. Traveling the years back it time it’s held remarkably steady as “Town (State) Meeting” until we get back to the fall of 1962. The October 15 issue doesn’t have consistent meeting listings. But it does announce that longtime Friends Journal editor William Hubben was to begin a six-month sabbatical, with Frances Williams Browin to fill in as acting editor.
It didn’t take her long. The next issue sees a few parentheses unevenly applied. But by the November 15th issue, nineteen meetings are referenced using our familiar format! There’s the “member of Berkeley (Calif.) Meeting” who had just published a pamphlet of Christmas songs for children, an FCNL event featuring skits and a covered-dish supper at “Swarthmore (Pa.) Meeting” and the announcement of a prominent article by “Kenneth E. Boulding, a member of Ann Arbor (Michigan) Meeting.”
I’ve tried to imagine the scene… Browin situated in her new temporary office… going back and forth, forth and back on some listing… then finally surprising herself by shouting “enough!” so loudly she had to apologize to nearby colleagues. At the end of the six months, Hubben came back, but only as a contributing editor, and Browin was named editor. Friends Journal board member Elizabeth B Wells wrote a profile of her upon her retirement from that position in 1968:
Her remarks usually made sparks, whether she was expressing an opinion (always positive), exerting pressure (not always gentle), or making a humorous aside (often disturbing). For in her amiable way she can be tart, unexpected, even prejudiced (in the right direction), then as suddenly disarmingly warm and sensitive.
This sounds like the kind of person who would standardize a format with such resolve it would be going strong 55 years later:
She was so entirely committed to putting out the best possible magazine, such a perfectionist, even such a driver, that her closest colleagues often felt that we knew the spirited editor far better than the Quaker lady.
It’s a neat profile. And today, every time an author rewrites their meeting’s name on a copyedited manuscript I’ve sent them for review, I say a quiet thanks to the driven perfectionist who gives me permission to be prejudiced in the right direction. Wells’s profile is a fascinating glimpse into a smart woman of a different era and well worth a read.