Friday, November 30, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Governor Morehead School

I love visiting those civilized places where time has slowed just a little bit. The Governor Morehead School is a delightful, quiet spot across the street from Pullen Park, which USED to be one of those places but happily has been tranformed into a family destination where Moms and Dads can treat their kids to fun adventure for a pittance (less than a pittance, actually).
The Governor Morehead School is a shady brick enclave in the midst of the city. It is the mission of the Morehead School for the Blind to educate, advocate and provide resources for all North Carolina students with visual impairment, their families, and the professionals who serve them. -Seems like a worthy endeavor to me and a great environment in which to do it!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Trailer Trad Thanksgiving: Oyster Stew Breakfast Tradition

Thanksgiving is about tradition and memories. For me, my family's best Thanksgiving tradition is oyster stew for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. This we have done my entire life and my mom probably has had oyster stew for Thanksgiving (and Christmas) breakfast since she was a little girl. Why oysters? Why breakfast?
 Virginia has a proud oyster producing history and, no doubt, the succulent bi-valves have made their way up the Rappahannock River by flatboat to the rest of the state for hundreds of years. Even more than that, oysters were one of the few 'exotic' foods available in the country because they were canned early on and so where available in country stores when other things (like overnight shipped lobster, free-range filet mignon, etc.) were not available. This is just a guess but I'll bet that my grandfather Troy picked up a gallon before Thanksgiving because they were special. Making oyster stew out of them made them more special. How could you up the anty any more than that?

By serving oyster stew for breakfast. Having the sea tang of oysters serves as a fine counterpoint to another Old Domion delicacy- country ham. Don't know about 'country ham?' Before people connected sodium with negative health consequences, folks in Virginia (and North Carolina) enjoyed ALOT of country ham. It's very salty and delicious. Now, it's a treat to maybe have a few times a year. You combine country ham, oyster stew and my mom's homemade biscuits and you have perhaps the best meal that you will ever eat. I know that it is probably mine.

In addition to how well it compliments biscuits, a few eggs-over-hard, country ham and the rest, there is something about walking into the kitchen with frost still heavy on the windows and wood smoke in the air. Autumn. Another steaming bowl of stew with oyster crackers and pepper please. And just one more biscuit.

Trailer Trad's Family Recipe for Oyster Stew

12oz. oysters & liquid (or 'liquor')
3 tbsp. butter
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp.salt
1/2 tsp. celery salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika

Simmer oysters & liquid in butter for 3 minutes or until edges begin to curl.
Scald milk in separate saucepan over low heat, add oysters & seasonings.
Serve hot but do not boil.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Trailer Trad Attire: The Postage Stamp

When is less more? How about when labels didn't need to include a laundry list of washing instructions or a geography lesson instead of 'Made in The US.' I distinctly remember back in the Late 1980s, early 1990s fretting about the state of Brooks Brothers buttondowns with friends. I liked the old postage stamp buttondowns!

By 'postage stamp,' I'm referring to the old pre-1990s Brooks Brothers button down labels. The old ones were small, square and basically just stated that it was made in the US and not to wash them with bleach. That's it."It's just the not same, we'd lament."
And they weren't. Don't get me wrong. Later Brooks Brothers shirts weren't junk then and they're not junk now. However, we complained because they were not the same as before! The roll of the collar. The dense, tightly woven oxford cloth fabric. -Seriously, have you felt ANY shirt, at any price that duplicates the weave that yielded that collar roll? I hope that there is a dusty, dark abandoned textile mill decaying in some small, forgotten Southern Gothic village that contains a few of these oxford cloth weaving machines and that it will be discovered. Until then, grab these 'postage stamp' button downs when you see them at thrift stores or on line. They ain't coming back soon.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall Junking Finds

Good ol' tin signs from the 1950s are just getting rarer and rarer. That's why I jumped on this nice clean sign that advertised cotton twine. From what I gather, this twine was popular with tobacco farmers who tied off dried tobacco with it. The Oakdale mill was one of those ancient Southern textile concerns that were so important to small-town Tarheels back in the day. The mill closed down relatively recently and this was one of a group available for sale. - I bought two but I really should have bought them all.
As you know, I like old oars but most are in kind of uninteresting shades of gray or brown. These two aquisitions have great color; one weathered white and the other a rare blue/red combination with just the right amount of weathering.
I really like old printing blocks and this sailor one is quite large and unusual.
How cool would this US-made Tonka have been back in the 1970s? Complete with CB antennae, pin striping and sun roof, this would have been perfect for the old full-size GI Joe to use when taking Barbi around the town when on home on leave.
Even though old restaurant silverware is often inexpensive to buy, I think that they are cool little collectibles that you can really use! I have no idea what kind of restaurant Profile House was but I bet that I'd like it!
I found this sweet little photograph at the flea market and picked it up for a dollar.
I love anything tennis related and this British publication from 1964 has a lot including hall of famer Billie Jean King with great period advertising. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Woodcut Library Stamps from the 1930s

Recently, I came upon an old, forgotten volume (my favorite kind) that described the wood cut printing process as it was in the 1930s. It mainly showcased examples that were used as library stamps. Back then, books were more highly prized and rare. Those with bunches of books had 'libraries.' Those with the money sometimes had beautiful woodcut stamps made to forever imprint their ownership upon their volumes. I love'em. -Note the Robert Frost stamp!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

They're Smarter Than You and Me

Before hitting the Pullen Park tennis courts, I did one of my favorite things and went across the street to the NCSU College of Design to look through all of the great resources that are available. New and old periodicals and books having to do with everything from publishing to architecture to furniture design line the shelves. Cool, hard-to-find magazines and newspapers also beckon readers.  
It was a nice surprise to find that it was open house weekend where student projects were displayed along the hallways and entry atrium to prospective students to look at. I left feeling very impressed.
In fact, I felt more than impressed with what these kids were able to produce. In terms of feelings, I scored the trifecta. The projects on display made me feel:
1. Old
2. Dumb and
3. Woefully out of date, technologically
I'm sure that you'll feel the same way.