Wednesday Nostalgia

Ah, the fifth and final sweet bite of my Chocolate Saga to share with you.

After the beans are dried and roasted, they are ground to a paste and sugar is added. For milk chocolate, that is added. In that learning place, I studied this poster:

Did you learn something new about your likely-favorite sweet??

Wednesday Nostalgia

Chocolate. Milk or dark, or when all else fails, white, chocolate is almost everybody’s go-to candy. Who can resist?

Continuing with my Chocolate Education, this is Part 4 in my series.

That sweet lady is holding a bowl of dried, roasted cacao beans. After they are pulled from their pods (Part 3), they are spread out on trays to dry and they hot-dry roasted in a big swirling copper pot. The result is crunchy dry beans. She’s offering them to us to taste. Ever had a crunchy coffee bean? Tasted something like that but again with only a faint chocolate flavor.

Next week, Part 5, the end of my Chocolate Saga.

Wednesday Nostalgia

Ah, the smell of a warm chocolate cake. Grabs your nose and causes the mouth juices to start running, right?

Today is Part 3 of what I learned about chocolate.

On our trip in the West Indies, and visiting a working farm where they grow cacao and turn it into chocolate, our guide picked up one of those 8″ cacao pods, whacked it with his machete and held up what was left. (Compare the size to his hand.) Looks rather like corn kernels, right? They were whitish and a bit sticky, and he pulled them off and handed them out to us to SUCK. “Do not chew up the seed, it’s too hard and too bitter,” he counselled us. So we sucked and spat. There was a faint sweetness but no chocolate flavor.

Next week, Part 4.

Wednesday Nostalgia

Everybody loves chocolate! Well, almost everybody. Chocolate seems to be the universally favorite candy flavor, doesn’t it?

On our recent trip in the West Indies, I learned something about where chocolate comes from. First off, it’s cacao and cacao trees only grow along the equator.

The cacao pods grow right on the branches of fairly good sized trees:

See the green vines and long brown pods? Did you know that vanilla comes from pods produced by the Vanilla Orchid flower and vines? Nice growing partnership, don’t you think?

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week.

Wednesday Nostalgia

Who remembers the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle?

Or perhaps the World’s Fair in Spokane, aka Expo ’74?

If you did attend these events, or any other similar, have you written down your experiences there for your posterity??? All you have to do is Google the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893 and see the images and write-ups about all the new and fabulous technology shown there to realize that our two world’s fairs did exactly the same thing: Showcased new technology. So do, for the sake of your grandchildren, do scribble down your memories. They will be so glad you did.

Wednesday Nostalgia

Do you have a little something like this in the box of “old stuff” from Great Aunt Gertrude?? Any idea what it was used for?

All during the 1800s, women had long hair and when they brushed their hair, and long strands clogged the hairbrush, they’d pull it from the brush and stuff it into boxes like the one above. So what for, you ask?

During the 1800s, women would then take that hair and fashion it into astounding art such as the one above. Hair keeps its color but does become brittle with time. So such masterpieces were kept under glass.

Think of the time such intricate work took! And the ladies did not have those magnifying lights like we use today for crafts.

Wednesday Nostalgia

Did you have an ancestor that helped take one of the U.S. censuses?

My grandfather, Henry Melville Potter, was an enumerator in his little town of Ashley, Illinois, for the 1910 census. This was his silver badge. I even had the little pocket notebook where he wrote down the census info for his neighbors in the town…… a clearly illegal thing to do but oh so fun to find today. And since the census was handwritten, I have several pages written in his handwriting which is also such fun.

If your (male) ancestor lived in a rural town, is it possible that he was a Census Taker for that town? Have you looked?

Wednesday Nostalgia

Ever used the website This is a realty website for those selling and for those buying a house. But what’s so fun about this website is that you can type in the address of the house where you lived as a child. Here is my house on 311 Great Jones Street, Fairfield, California, as it looks today:

And to my happy eyes, it doesn’t look very much different from when I lived here in 1949 to 1950. In the back, my dad built for me a little playhouse and put the numbers “312” on it. Guess that’s long gone.

Go look for a photo of your childhood home…… if you can remember the address.

Wednesday Nostalgia

Among many others, I’ve been “Scribing” or helping to index Washington records with SCRIBE, the indexing program of the Washington State Archives. As I’m working, I cannot help but think “what happened to THAT family, to THOSE people?” Recently I indexed the family of Leander Monson who in 1904 and 1906 (according to the school censuses) lived in Langley, Island County, Washington. Doing a little Ancestry supplemental research I learned about the Monsons.

Leander Otto Monson (1854-1908) and his wife, Emma Johansson (1861-1934) were both born in Switzerland; they married near Chicago. He was a farmer and ended up in Langley having Esther, Elvira, Arthur, Ernest, Florence and Carl.

The stories of our ancestor’s migrations are wonderful to imagine and/or to find and read.