CHRISTMAS SCENES AT BergiesPlace

—————————————————————————————–

The Christmas decorations are up.  The process always brings back memories from lots of past Christmases.  The picture below is of houses and toys from the Christmas Garden or train platform I grew up with beginning in earliest memory.  They were on the platform for my brother before me so, presuming he got them by age five, they’re around 87 years old now.  The items are a little chipped here and there, one of the cars has lost a wheel, and one of the houses is leaning a little.  I’m kind of in the same shape.

Image 01

I have more of the items including the Lionel freight train set from the 20’s but they’re stored away in the basement.

————————————————————————-

Here is a city comprised of models based on buildings found in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, particularly with the emphasis on half-timbered construction.  I’ve built these models over the past thirteen years from kits made by Faller, a German company.   The prototype for the six buildings together on the right is in Frankfurt and I’ve visited there.  Known as the Römer, the square was heavily damaged by Allied bombing but since rebuilt.  The model city being arranged on my coffee table, I think of it as Stadt Kaffeetisch.

Image 02

——————————————————————————————-

Here is a closeup of the building fronts showing the great detail in these kits.

Image 08——————————————————————————————–

Below is a more contemporary, classic small town winter/Christmas scene.  Grandma Moses and Norman Rockwell are in there somewhere.  It includes two of the ceramic houses from the Snow Village line of Department 56.  These are a pretty good scale size next to O-gauge trains so I began to buy these in ’87. 

Image 03 

I soon had some 44 buildings plus accessories on my old 200+ square feet, O-gauge, three rail, three mainlines layout seen here.  My daughter, Sigrid, used to say that she’d like to live in the village.  It seems like a world where there is peace, no stress, no poverty, no disease, and everyone’s nice all the time.   As a part of my move, however, the residents were evicted by right of eminent domain: the layout was disassembled and the houses packed away but I pulled out eight of them for the living room this year.

Image 13——————————————————————————————-

In the years before I plunged back into photography I did a lot of stained glass work.  Here’s an original design that has just been hung again for the holidays.  The creche set next below was from a 70’s pattern book and I still see them from time to time.  I made a number of them over the years but lavished special care on the last three sets, one each for my daughters and one for me.   I visited Sigrid this week and was pleased to see her set out amongst the greens.  (For more of my stained glass work you can click on that title at the top of the screen.)

Image 04

Image 06

———————————————————————————————

Finally, I still struggle with a real tree.  (N.B.  It’s not a holiday tree; it’s a Christmas tree.)  It’s a chore getting it home and into the house and into its holder and stringing the old fashioned lights with the foil reflectors I found on ebay.  Then my friend, Barbara, helped me hang the ornaments.   A few carry tags as from my grandparents’ or my parents’ trees;  others were accumulated by us over the years, typically from the Wanamaker Christmas Shop after seeing Santa.  Of course there’s the late Vince Guaraldi’s “Charley Brown Christmas” or Julie Andrews’ “Christmas Treasure” albums playing while we do the trimming.  The tree is then dressed with glass icicles and tinsel from my dwindling supply that I hide from the EPA.  (I think I still have a lifetime supply.)

What a joy it is to see it done, glowing softly and filling the house with its fragrance.

I understand the ecumenism and inclusivity that has led to “Happy Holidays” and I certainly wish them to all.

But, I also have to say (borrowing from Clement Moore) … Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Image 05

THE HOLY INNOCENTS

———————————————————————————————————

Re the kids

——————————————————————————————————-

SANDY’S SAND (AND OTHER DEBRIS)

The streets and lots closest to the beach were left covered with sand, as much as two feet and more in spots and looking somewhat like snow drifts…but it wasn’t going to melt.  Amongst the many contractors who have arrived at the island to help out are those who are specializing in removing the sand, using front-end loaders which dump to trucks.  In Beach Haven, Taylor Avenue at the beach was designated as the transfer point for collected sand.  Here’s the process.

Image 01

Contractor’s trucks arrive from the right and dump onto the long sand pile in the background.  The orange clam shell dumps loads of collected sand into the hopper forward on the green truck.  From there it passes through the rotating brown-colored screen, falling down onto a conveyor which takes it to the beach on the left.  Debris in the sand which doesn’t fall through the screen moves on the conveyor belt on the right to a pile on he street.  There it will be picked up by the orange front end loader and trucked away to a debris consolidation site.

The cleaned output is then transferred to another truck which distributes it along the beach to restore the protective dunes.

Image 06

——————————————————————————————————————

There is still much, much debris to be picked up elsewhere.  Here are the shops on the bay side of Bay Village.

Image 05

————————————————————————————————————–

Much of the debris from Beach Haven (and probably Holgate) is brought to a transfer station at the bay end of Taylor Avenue.  Trucks arrive and have their contents screened by an inspector who scissors his cubicle up to look into the trucks (for what?).

Image 04

They then move into the transfer area and have their contents transferred to an interim pile.

Image 03

On the other side of the pile, two Star Wars creatures grab bucket-fulls of the stuff and place it in other trucks which then head off to the landfill in Stafford Township.   If you threw something out by mistake that’s where you’ll find it.

Image 02

———————————————————————————————————

Meanwhile, immune to the tragedy for a moment, here’s a testament to the future of Beach Haven.

Image 07

HURRICANE SANDY …..THE BEAT GOES ON

Bobby, Sigrid and I got back down to the house the weekend they first allowed us back on to work.  The sights that greeted us were even more upsetting.   Earlier there had been a monstrous pile in front of the Acme.  That had been disposed of but a new pile created in front of the adjacent theatre.

Image 06

————————————————————————————————————-

At the house we opened up the double doors that lead into the storage area which underlies the whole house.  It was like the worst dream of a high school party aftermath.

Image 01

I cannot imagine the violence outside let along in this enclosed space.  How terrifying it would have been had we chosen to stay at the property as some friends of ours did.

————————————————————————————————————–

We set to work and hauled most to the curb but some to be cleaned up with Bob’s pressure-washer.

Image 02

—————————————————————————————————-

When we had finished for the day we had not lost nearly as much as others.

Image 03

————————————————————————————————–

My friends and neighbors Nick, Tim and their mother lost almost everything from their home.  It is being picked up in the picture below.  They are also the owners of the boat landing which was heavily damaged as shown in my previous post.  Nick, however, is beginning to feel a little more positive about getting the boat landing ready for summer.  As to the impact on his wholesale bait business he notes philosophically that the bait shops he supplied are out of business anyway.

Image 04

Other friends of ours had two boats stored in their under-house enclosure.  They didn’t get away but they were buried in sand when it was over.  One had a boat under their house which was thrown against the breakway siding and the siding … broke away.  A neighbor had a modest pile of trash at the curb such that the destroyed five foot tall wine cooler stood out.  The streets are all a depressing sight but flags fly here and there.

Image 05

——————————————————————————————————-

My October 14th end-of-summer post concluded with this seagull picture.  I wrote that he was sad that I was leaving.  I now wonder if he was sad becase he somehow knew the terrible events to come.

Image 04

————————————————————————————————–

For some more snapshots of the storm damage CLICK HERE.

———————————————————————————————