Sallie Satterthwaite's blog

Permission to leave tasks unfinished

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When my computer guy was getting ready to leave, I asked him if he could use anything in the big plastic bin in the corner of my office (mostly obsolete cables and the occasional keyboard or headset). This Mt. Vesuvius of once-relevant hardware has absorbed into itself at least 10 years of the detritus of down-loadable software. Stuff that was imperative in the sea of ever-changing upgrades no longer fits today’s equipment.

I read an article recently that fits up there in the idea-box sending me comfort in my growing short-term memory bank. Read More»

Carmen, revisited

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Ronda, in Andalusia, Spain 1990:

As we wandered the streets of Ronda, an ancient little city set on two sides of a craggy gorge in the southern Spanish highlands, we were struck again by the odd jumble of an old city’s architecture and ambiance.

Perhaps because I live in an essentially homogenous town, built in only about 30 years, I crave the diversity of older cities. Most are a fascinating mix of modern and ancient, their textures irregular, with carved pilasters and ornamented balconies delighting the eye with variety. Read More»

Romance at Middleton Gardens

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The hostess led us to a tiny table between two larger tables where diners were already seated. Maybe people always want the window – she didn’t ask us – but we both felt a moment of resentment to be placed so close to others when there were empty tables in the center of the room.

The gardens were fading with the twilight anyway. Pink camellias pressing against the glass would soon be our only view from the candlelit restaurant. It might have been more romantic were we not actually closer to our neighbors than to each other. Read More»

Lie to a gentle boy?

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He’s such a gentle boy, a kindred spirit of butterflies and anoles. Noisy at times, sure, but not one to back down from a challenge like scaling a fence and dropping on the other side. He’s 6 1/2 .

When he and his Mom and older brother were here around the 4th of  last July, he noticed the Beatrix Potter figurine on the coffee table. We bought it in Windermere, England, years ago, simply because we liked it. Read More»

Train travel in Germany nothing to sneeze at

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Since it’s a sure bet someone, somewhere is in the throes of an allergy season, this seems as good a time as any to tell a sneezing story. It’s an old one, but has retained its timeliness.

It doesn’t start out a sneezing story. It starts out a story of the only time I’ve ever known a German train to get off schedule. Not merely late – an unthinkable eventuality – but off the schedule altogether, then, just as mysteriously, back on. Read More»

An eventful letter after all

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In last week’s letter to Dave’s parents, Alice enjoys her Easter vacation and schemes early for her summer hiatus. I don’t know where she got such chutzpah in 16 years. She writes:

Oh, I just thought of something that made Easter eventful. Yesterday the Atlanta Dogwood Festival was celebrated in Peachtree City with a Balloon Festival! It was more exciting than the 4th of July! And so fun. About 15 balloon owners (hot air balloons –huge!) brought their balloons to Peachtree City, to the big open area behind the Medical Center [now Drake Field] and next to our church [1st Presbyterian]. Read More»

Another letter

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Your response to the columns on our family’s move to Georgia in 1971 was so positive that I was thrilled to discover one more letter in the drawer, and I think it’s the best.

This one is from Alice to Dave’s parents in (probably) 1974 when she was about 11. In a way, it also offers a glimpse into a moment of Peachtree City’s history.

Dear Nana,

I think it’s about time I wrote you and wished you a Happy Easter. Being that it’s Easter day itself, it is about time, so I’ll write and say “I hope you had a Happy Easter.” Read More»

Have you hugged your philodendron today?

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Riding a bicycle gives just the pace to cover the ground in a hurry, yet allows for leisurely visiting with joggers, porch-sitters, or passing motorists willing to pause a moment.( No, I no longer ride a bike, just one of the many losses this demon has cost me. I looked a long way back to find this contribution to the human condition, still relevant today.)

I was pedaling home from work, sifting among the dozen or so ideas competing for incarnation in print, when fellow-scribe Glen Allen waved and yanked his car to an abrupt halt along the edge of Willowbend.

We both began at once: Read More»

A German family becomes American

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The Bumer Family came from Germany to America in waves, and settled into several communities in the vicinity of Pittsburgh, Pa. Frank Bumer chronicles the establishment of  families and homesteads.  

Man’s Age

Sunday, February 12, 1888 I married Mary Auer, who was born May 1, 1864 in…Wuerttenberg, Germany. We were married in the Evang. Lutheran St. Paul’s Church, a quiet wedding celebration at our first home in Allegheny [County, Pa.]….

Our first child was born, December 5, 1888…and named Wilhelmine Franziska…. Read More»

German Family History Part II – To America, via Shipwreck

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Having followed the early history of the German Family Bumer, the narrative of Frank Bumer continues:

Youth Age

In Spring 1872 our oldest sister, Karoline, got married to Aston Hutzel of Berg. Sad, however, after eleven months she died, only being sick three days.

In 1874 I finished the Public School and was confirmed by Rev. Heinrick Frank. For two years thereafter I worked with my father in the field. In Winter I attended Night-School; in Summer, Sunday-School, as I always desired to get an education for a School-teacher or like occupation. No women ever taught school in Germany. Read More»