WAKE UP SINGING . . . with a Mind on Fire . . .💖

HI ALL! HAPPY JUNE!🌸🌸🌸 I’ll tell you what I’ve been up to, and then you tell me what’s been going on with YOU! I’ll start with MUSICA! We watched a great special on the Bee Gees the other night, and now I wake up singing this!

If you came to celebrate the little things in life, and for All Good News, you came to the right place!

Jack’s busy right now, but I know if it wasn’t for the excitement from the garden he’d be saying hello to you too! He smells bee feet and bunny whiskers. You can’t blame him for being distracted!

Our first rose is in bloom!

So is the Mock Orange . . .🧡

the Wisteria is dripping with fragrance . . . not trying to be a poet, acting strictly as garden reporter. Dripping. With. Fragrance. Wafting all over the place!

And our strawberries are ripe!


We’re making our favorites . . . crunchy cold slaw made with apples, raisins, cabbage, walnuts. . .❤️

And a dressing made of mayo thinned with any fruit juice: grapefruit, orange, lemon, lime . . .

Out to Sunday lunch in Edgartown (at Rockfish) for Caesar salad with lobster salad on top!Joe made us breakfast this morning… frittata with broccoli and bacon . . . Yum! Yup. Still trying to get weight off me. Fighting for every ounce! My new watch is so helpful. Gives me thumbs up when I exercise. Like gold stars!⭐️ Reminds me to get out of my chair, says “time to stand up!” Gets excited when I work in the garden and records every step and mile I walk! I believe now that the trick to losing weight (and being more healthy) is intermittent fasting. Like only eat two meals a day . . . both within an 8 hour time period. I am just telling you like a scientist. I don’t particularly LOVE this, since I am a born eater, like Pac-Man, I never thought I would be able to do this . . . but I’ve gotten used to it. Irritatingly, it seems to work ~ which nothing else did! I’m down 15 pounds so far …

Here’s my newest really easy new summer (diet-ish) recipe! You cut lots of cherry tomatoes in half, drizzle over like 3 TB of olive oil, lots of salt and pepper to taste, then stir it up until tomatoes begin to exude juice. Add about a quarter cup of creamy goat cheese, and stir well, until cheese melts into the olive oil to make a dressing. That’s it! Good on salad, good on fish or meat. And good alone.😋

I had to show you this little dog that was in the car next to us at the nursery the other day! Isn’t he adorable? Look how his little body is pressed against the glass! I almost had to become a dog-napper!😎

My niece Holly texted me from California with this photo . . . her message: “Revel with me for I have grown this zucchini from scratch!”🤣 I reveled the HECK out of it with her! She’s a builder, a producer! I know just how she feels! No zucchini will EVER taste as good as this one!🥰

We are out in the garden almost every day  . . . planting and weeding . . . when we bought this house I didn’t really understand everything we were getting . . . these lovely late evening hours in the garden for instance, and added bargain of the birdsong,  the smell of clover grass, the wind, the sea, the sound of the ferry boat horns, and the clanging of the church bell across the street. I don’t even think they charged for the wisteria! 💖 

My Happy Place . . .

Some roots from a large tree in the yard are trying to take over our little raised beds. . . that’s Joe back there digging them out.🌸

So it’s all greened up on our walk now! No more icy puddles or leafless trees. It’s all wild honeysuckle and beach roses lining the roadside, deer bounding through the woods, squirrels chasing each other up the trees.🐿️

My watch is very proud of me because we haven’t missed a day of walking in 22 days.🏆 That puts us somewhere between 27 and 33 miles of walking each week!! While listening to books on Audible! It’s a win-win!👏

Bumper crop of beach roses filling the air with fragrance…you would never imagine how ancient this landscape is with the way it looks right now! Younger than springtime . . .🌸

You can see why we haven’t missed a day . . . it’s heaven out there. Twirling weather. These are rhodies and nepeta in front of one of the old fishing shacks in the woods.

And of course this, the reward at the end of our walk . . .

At the end of walk, here in small town USA, we met these two girls all dressed in easter egg colors who asked us if we wanted to buy a bracelet . . .

They made them …they spread them out on the ground so we could make a choice . . .

And they let me take their pictures. Little entrepreneurs making their way in this big wild world . . .I predict they’ll be having a very fun summer!💃🏼

There’s the one I got!

So what else has been going on . . . Oh yes! This! More jewelry! I think I told you I found an old dime when I went to visit my dad’s grave a few years ago? It was right NEXT to my dad’s grave. I picked it up; I could see it was old, so I looked close to see the date. 1923. Yes! The year my dad was born! A sign. I finally took it to get this rim around it so I could wear it as a necklace. Isn’t it wonderful? And it came back just in time for Father’s Day!💞I wish I could ask him why I have that pencil!!

(Hmmm, maybe that pencil had something to do with this!) Something else I’d been meaning to do that I finally got done! This diary was by far my longest one, it went from 1996 to 2007 ~ a lot of good things happened in those years. I didn’t want to lose it. But I’d taken it with me to too many places and it was falling apart ~ the binding was done-for and the pages were beginning to come loose.

So I found an actual bookbinder on Martha’s Vineyard … we don’t have a McDonalds or a JCrew, but we have a bookbinder! So lucky!

I was excited when I got a call to go pick it up. I love to see people’s work spaces even if I don’t understand what everything is for! Mitzi Pratt ( M.E. Pratt) has had her studio here, up-island in Aquinnah where she started her bindery, since 1984.

Isn’t it beautiful and interesting? She made her own life . . .💞 and takes her skill with her wherever she goes ~ I found these words of what seem like a vision statement on her website: “In veneration of the transmission of knowledge, thought, and beauty through the object of the book . . .”🌸

See that that Eloise book? Mitzi told me it was sent to her for rebinding by one of our Girlfriends after I wrote about her in another blog post! Small world gets smaller every day.

Here it is, all clean and beautiful.

Perfectly done, she kept as much of it as she could . . . the two fringy black ribbon bookmarks, the color, she even put the dates in gold leaf on the spine. I left everything up to her ~ I figured she knew better than me!

Mitzi even kept the original cover . . . I don’t know how, but she did! I didn’t even know I wanted it until I saw it! My old friend was still recognizable!❤️ There are still a few blank pages in the back . . . I haven’t written in this since 2007, so it might be fun to do a little catch-up! I’ve been writing in other diaries, but this would be fun.🥰 

And of course the inside was all there, including the very first page . . .

We’ve been very busy at the studio lately! The cups finally came! Have you gotten yours yet? I’m hearing wonderful things from some of you, so I know you’re getting them! If not, it should be any minute now! We sold all our Queen Elizabeth cups, but we still have Birthday and Santa cups!

There they go!

Because of these wonderful people . . . Alfredo and Kellee!👏

Sheri brought her darling daughter, Maddie to help out,💞 and that’s another friend, back there in the boxes, Sharon!❤️

But that’s not all! We are keeping them busy! In case you’re new here  . . . look what just came in! YUP!

The reprints have just arrived! I have to celebrate this printing of A Fine Romance . . .💃🏼 It’s our 10 year Anniversary, hers and mine! Ten years since I decided to write something I’d never tried before… which meant I would have to go it alone, and publish this on my own. It was scary, Little Brown & Company had always published my books, but they thought this was too big of a change for me to make under their supervision ~ and I didn’t know how to publish a book! But it was either that, or stop writing books forever.🙀 The lemons lemonade thing. Rock in the road, step up, step over. And, needless to say, I’m so glad I did ~ it changed my life, and opened doors and doors of possibilities ~ I mean imagination is the only limit which is like saying there is no limit!! Yes, it’s a LOT more work when you do everything on your own, and much harder to tell the world about it 🗣️ ~ that part is almost as hard as actually writing a book! But the Independent Bookstores across this country have been so good to me not to mention your wonderful word of mouth, the most powerful thing I know 💋 . . . and there are other benefits . . . all mistakes are mine too which is actually a good thing! No one to blame. All the power too. Ribbon bookmarks! A must-have! As Jane Austen said,

And also because of you, we have over a thousand reviews on Amazon and still, after all these years, 5 stars!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ I can’t help it, I have sort of the same proud “Mommy” feeling about A Fine Romance, as I do about my very first book, Heart of the Home. My children. My children been berry-berry good to me.💞

I’m a diary kind of girl. Combining written words with watercolors and photographs is what I was born to do.✏️ I started adding a photo or two back in the 90s, and the idea slowly grew on me. And if a photo is worth a thousand words, and you add in the ACTUAL written words, PLUS the watercolor decoration in word form ~ these books are way much longer than they look! And as close to handmade as I could get! I love every kind of communication that leads to people-connections! I always made gifts for my family and friends when I was little, I wanted my books to feel just like that, a gift.💝

So both A Fine Romance AND A Fairy Tale Girl have been MIA ~ we’ve been sold out since just after Christmas! But they’re BACK! Both signed and at the Studio now ~ backorders on the way!📬

I asked myself in my diary years ago . . . how does a writer write? I’d been doing it for years, but didn’t know that what I was doing was writing!🤪 I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true. You think OTHER people are “writing,” but YOU are just fooling around in your diary. Totally different thing. Until you grow up and read lots of quotes that tell you differently. Reading back over these diaries I learned a lot about myself. And that’s kind of the message I wanted to give with everything I do. Like this:

Fairy Tale Girl brings back memories of all these post-it notes in my old diaries, reminding me where to go look for stories to include when I was writing Fairy Tale Girl and Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams. Research! I always did want to write a fairy tale . . . just never realized I’d be writing them for grownups! Life is such a good surprise! But of course. Who needs them more? Being a grown-up is hard!💖

And Fairy Tale Girl has been out on her own in the world now since 2015. Less people know about this book than the others, even though it actually came first in the trilogy, because I never got to go on a book tour with it. I had to finish Martha’s Vineyard Isle of Dreams before I started traveling to the bookstores. But despite that, Fairy Tale Girl also has 5 stars on Amazon! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ And that’s ALL you, because I only announced it here on the blog! Thank you 10,000 times. Means the world. You encouraged me to find my dreams. Both of the books on Amazon have comments on them that make me cry . . . they are so nice.💞 Little gifts left for me to find.💝 More thank yous.🌸 Lately there have been a couple of not-so-nice ones for Fairy Tale Girl😞. Someone REALLY hates Cliff 🤣… but it’s bound to happen in this crazy world ~ don’t worry, you know I’m fine . . . but if you go there, jump right over them, the rest of them are wonderful!💕❤️💕 And don’t forget . . . there are no rules around here . . . Guess what else came in? Kellee says a lot of you have been waiting for these!

The Giclees are finally here … I’m signing and numbering them today, and off to Kellee they’ll go! Then to you! As you know, the world still isn’t back to normal for shipping . . . it’s all been taking twice as long and costing twice as much to get it here! I thank you for your patience . . . Just like Abraham Lincoln, I know you know we’re doing the best we can and will do so until the end!❤️

I hope you Love them! The color came out just like it should!🎨Now for Must Watch TV: For years I have avoided the TV streaming of the Broadway stage production of Hamilton, which is the story of Alexander Hamilton inspired by Ron Chernow’s book. I was saving it, patiently waiting, thinking some day I would see it in person. EVERYONE says it’s wonderful, so I was holding out till we finally made it to a real theater. But last week, I realized we hadn’t managed to do it yet in the EIGHT years since its debut, and probably, knowing us, it’s never going to happen. Time to face it. I was tired of waiting, so I gave up, and we watched it on Disney+. I had very low expectations because we weren’t at the theater in person.


Me to Joe: I heard Hamilton is on Disney+. 

Joe to me: Do you want to watch it? 
Me: I don’t know. Yeah, maybe, what do you think? 
Him: I’ll watch anything. 
Me: Okay, let me get my tea.
So, you can see, we were very blasé. And as the play began, the first moments took getting used to. I haven’t listened to much rap music … and since the whole thing is sung in rap, understanding was my first challenge, which I got totally over in about 5 minutes, discovering later that it was just one part of the pure original genius of this play. We wanted to understand every word so we turned on captioning. The actual filming of the play was MUCH better than I expected! I felt the excitement of being there. The lights, the story, the singing and dancing, the costumes, the joy, the music, the orchestra, the originality, the appreciation of the audience.👏👏👏👏 And that’s all I’ll tell you except, OMG, go watch it. It is genius. After it was over I RAN to Google to learn more . . . and found out Hamilton won the Pulitzer Prize for the writer and star, Lin-Manuel Miranda!⬅️💘 My new discovery, I now adore him (always the last to know)! And 11 Tony Awards! Totally deserved!!! 🎯 Even this movie of it won tons of awards! 🏆 Who knew? I bet all of you did! But if not, it’s a must see! The creativity and brilliance will fly your heart to the moon. You will LOVE it! Now I guess we have to read the book that inspired the play…  which will be even more interesting now! One thing always leads to another!
Two other shows we have loved . . . First, A  Small Light, the true story of Miep Gies and the other brave and selfless folks who hid Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis. If you read Anne’s Diary you know the basic story . . . but this is another look from Miep’s point of view . . . we see the actual places where things happened. It’s very special. Explains everything. Actually it was TODAY, June 12, 1943 that Anne got a diary for her 13th birthday.🕯️ So now I have Miep’s highly recommended book “Anne Frank Remembered” all ready, waiting on my phone for walking!❤️
The other is ANOTHER show I’m late on. Been hearing forever how good Ted Lasso is. I watched it once, I thought it seemed dumb. But then I thought, all these Lasso-lovers can’t be wrong, it must be me, and decided to give it another look. It took me a while to GET it. There is quite a lot of swearing, but it’s not just any old sitcom, although it’s easy to think it is. There’s an important message which becomes apparent slowly, during all 3 seasons.  And in fact, it is NOW, our second time through, that I am truly getting it.😳 Every life depicted by the characters is changed due to their relationship with Ted. Turns out there is method to his madness. Ted would have forgiven Cliff too! 👏 The writers for this are wonderful ~ I’d love to hear a round-table talk with them telling how it all came about.🥇 We cried at the end. That’s all I’m saying. You don’t want to miss it. It even made me watch my first British soccer game without being forced.⚽️ This isn’t like me. And when Rachel and I speak on the phone today, I can’t wait to ask her what she thinks of Man City winning the FA Cup or whatever it’s called! 🤣 See how impressionable I am? It’s scary. It’s why I can’t watch horror movies. I’d never be able to sleep!👀
 As for books . . . This is the one . . . My guy.
After our trip to Lexington and Concord (as I wrote about in the last post), I was reminded how much I have always loved Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), have loved  his uplifting quotes forever, and have been promising myself practically all my life to read his life story . . . which I am finally doing . . .  Emerson,  A Mind on Fire,  by Robert D. Richardson. I have to tell the truth, I would not recommend this book to anyone who wasn’t already madly interested in Emerson. First off, it’s 27 hours long. Poor Joe. And written by a serious scholar. Poor me. In a nutshell, it’s hard to “read” …  in fact, if we weren’t listening to it I would have thrown it far, far, away a long time ago. But I began to look at it as a college course and something good for me, like eating spinach, or doing planks, something I could be proud of when I finished. Walking through the woods while listening was what made it bearable.🌳 I’ll just say, It covers the subject from soup to nuts, no stone left unturned. Till you would maybe like to kill Robert D. Richardson, softly, the way he is killing you. Which I’m glad about NOW that we only have one hour left, but definitely, 75% of this book is (looking for the right word) hideous, and the other 25%? Is PURE DIAMONDS. It’s diamonds and rust! Emerson is one of the Genius’s in Distilled Genius, of course.
And this biography is all about his search for a life he could build that he would consider worth living, and the people who inspired him, his connections with other geniuses, Lincoln, Whitman, Carlyle, Thoreau, and hundreds of thousands, almost millions, you have never heard of but will in this book because of this author. Emerson’s speeches, his children, his wife, his trees, his house, his town. You will feel like you personally know him. Another good thing, when I finally go visit his house, I will feel his magic there and my connection to it, and to everything, and it will make me happy. It’s a win-lose-win. Mainly win.

Between all this, I’ve been working hard on the new 2025 Calendar collection. I’ve been painting tons of new art, like this one above, and that one below , and writing stories I hope you like . . . and I will tell you right now so you don’t miss out, I think this will be one of my best collections of calendars EVER. Mozart says we have zero chance of being a genius without love. So that will be my chief ingredient.💖 Just in cases. A little preview of art, or playtime as I call it:

And the man who can cook is making my lunch right now! Time for me to go!💖 I hope you enjoyed your Willard for today, at least half as much as I enjoyed writing it!💞 Thank you for coming to say hello . . . and don’t forget to

Hearts on fire, from your pal for life! We’re in it together Girlfriends!💞

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Hello darling Girlfriends, Happy May! How have you been? I have MUSICA for you . . . and lots of story-time, about spring time and our Patriot’s Day, Concord and Lexington adventure, so grab some tea and . . . Here we go!

Some of our trees are just beginning to leaf out ~ I wish you could see them in person! They are the tenderest softest color, fresh and vibrant. It’s glorious being OUT of the house in the spring! Everything is so new! Spring fever is everywhere. 

Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat. 🌷 Laura Ingalls WilderI’ve probably been doing the same thing you have!! Looking for the rainbow connection and finding it everywhere! 

It started here with snow drops . . . like a little white meadow in the lawn. I realize now, spring comes from the bottom up. First the baby wildflowers, then the bigger bulbs, then the grass turns green. After all that, flowering bushes and trees compete for first place…

. . . yup, the slow lane where checking the garden and staring at the new growth is just part of what we do in the spring! The tiny blue Siberian Squill comes popping up everywhere . . . we now hove a little carpet of it out behind the barn, takes a while to pick them, they are so little, but they’re REAL FLOWERS! They didn’t come from the grocery store!!! Been a long time since we had that!

And then, in a world of still-leafless, colorless trees, suddenly, because of the fairies running ahead around here, fixing things for us, there are flashes of color in front of every picket fence, along side roads and rock walls.

All the while the perennials make a futile attempt to compete. . . only chives really come through. Actual FOOD in the garden!

But on the dew-drop mornings, perennials don’t stand a chance against  the bulbs. We’re so proud we got them all in last fall, our reward feels like magic! Joe parks the car further up in the driveway so we can see more of the garden from the kitchen window!

And then the trees join in the rejoicing, first the flowering pear, then our Magnolia . . .

Then the dogwood . . .

And now it’s May, and that’s lilac time! If you have ever smelled lilacs, mix that smell with a bit of cold salt air and you know what it smells like in our yard! It’s still chilly most days … in 50ºs or low 60ºs. Exhilarating, leaf-unfurling weather!

Spring is so Inspiring!!!

Something else from the kitchen window just yesterday … I have NEVER in all my years on this island seen an Eastern Bluebird … never. I saw western bluebirds, but not these! I heard they are here, and I was even whining about it to Joe just recently, and then . . . voila, yesterday!!!

I didn’t scream, I gasped, stood stock-still looking around the room for my camera, then I snuck up on him from across the kitchen… taking pictures through the window constantly, moving very slowly, and he stayed! I got him! A blue letter day! (Oops, I stand wildly corrected! Girlfriends to the rescue…THIS is an Indigo Bunting, NOT an Eastern Bluebird! Even better!😁)

I can’t let May go by (it’s already going too fast!) without mentioning that May 1st was the one-year anniversary of THIS … our trip across the ocean aboard the Queen Mary 2 with our Girlfriends. Exactly last year at this time, this is where we were. Hard to believe and want to go again! Want to go NOW!

Here is our first moment of seeing everyone as we arrived one by one (actually it isn’t everyone, we ended up having 102 come along, and some of the boys were shy), but lots of us. We met on the back of the ship before it even started moving!  Brave intrepid Girlfriends! It was SUCH an exciting moment! Seeing everyone for the first time! Putting faces to names we knew so well! We handed out these little pins we made so we’d all be sure to  recognize each other if we met in an elevator. The mark of the Corgi!

Some of us had met before at book signings, and some of us had only met here in the comment section of the blog. But one thing’s  for sure, we were kindred spirits. Connected by the things we have in common, home, nature, art, books, curiosity, tenacity, humor, empathy, and I would add, sweetness of heart. We had the most wonderful time!

Our English friends, Paul and Rachel flew over and met us in New York … their first time on the Queen Mary 2, and the first time we got to spend 7 whole days together right in a row! We trapped them! Ever since, we just Zoom, and then cry from homesickness for each other more than ever before.💞

And this was our first destination. The amazing gardens at Stourhead. Everyone got off the ship and toured around England for a week, making memories of their own ~ but we had plans to all meet back in this amazing place, Stourhead in Wiltshire UK, to reconnect, celebrate the fact that we DID this ~ and have a picnic before we said goodbye. 

And here we are, back after our adventures . . . It rained, so there was no sitting on the lawn after all, but a wet lawn and dripping trees did not stop us . . . there was this lovely space next to the pub in Stourhead where we could sit, have tea, eat lunch, share stories, and visit, so all was well . . . All those smiles were real!🌸🌸🌸

We were the picture-takingest bunch of Girlfriends you ever met!

Darling Girlfriends, I can’t believe it was only a year ago, seems like forever, and at the same time, I’m amazed, it was only a YEAR AGO! To all of you who were able to join us, Happy Anniversary!

Me with Siobhan and Ray . . . I never get to see these girls enough! Actually I’m not sure I ever get to see ANYBODY enough!

That’s what happens when you fall in love with people in another country! But I wouldn’t change a thing.💞

The UK probably looks like this in every village and town right now. Bedecked with bunting! Prince Charles is going to be crowned King on May 6th at Westminster Abbey, the same place they’ve been crowning their monarchs since 1066! History! I’ll be watching!

In case any of you are having a Tea Party ~ 👏👏👏 . . . here’s a poster I saw in a tea shop in England with ideas to make your party more traditional.🇬🇧 Rachel sent me bunting!!

And by the way . . . I need to thank all of you for your luv-lee birthday wishes! What a nice birthday I had! You can tell from this picture of me at Lowely’s house! I heard from so many of my beloveds ~ always my favorite part of a birthday. I went to lunch at Lowely’s house with my darling girlfriends . . . sat in a circle and talked and talked and drank champagne and ate Margot’s Tres Leche Cake, and this:

Everyone contributed ~ we had bowls of leafy greens with every kind of salad topper to choose from, Jaime made Green Goddess dressing, and Lowely made the salmon!

Late that sparkly afternoon, Joe and I took a walk to our most favorite place. We always feel gratitude when we are out there … that in this whole wide world of possibilities, we both accidentally ended up here on this island in the Atlantic, together! What luck!💞 (Those fairies again!)

There are very long shadows out there at the end of a day. We look quite lanky.🤣 But, for the record, I just want to ask whose idea these pants ⬆️ are? Short, flared, supposedly fashionable, but for some reason, they look consistently stupid on me. Good on others, adorable on my mom ➡️ ~ I’ve tried them with short tops, long tops (don’t do this), narrow, wide leg, with socks, without socks, with every kind of shoe, and I can’t get a decent balance. I just look like I’m expecting a flood. I keep trying, but so far, I don’t get it. I’m saving mine for walking, gardening, and maybe painting the house. Anyway, so yes, that walk with Joe was the frosting on the cake of a perfect birthday, and then … off to Lexington and Concord for our get-away Patriot’s weekend. It was even better than I imagined it would be!👏

⬆️ One local girl’s opinion! We don’t think it’s dull! Mostly because of the history she spoke of, and some she helped make! Driving through MA, especially this part ~ Lexington and Concord, about 10 miles northwest of Boston, is always fun because of the gorgeous old colonial homes and the HISTORY. BTW, that house above?

One of my Twitter friends said they grew up calling this style of house “five over four and a door” (talking about windows). Cute huh?

This was one of my favorite houses . . . with the cream colored trim and picket fence.

Catching a decent photo of it while driving by became my daily quest.

We stopped in to say hello at Orchard House . . . Just as charming as ever . . . the story of Louisa May Alcott and her family right there in Concord . . .

The festivities that surround events leading up to, and including the start of the Revolutionary War go on daily for almost the whole month of April. Costumed battle reenactments, tours of famous homes and taverns, parades, and demonstrations, ~  the whole area gets ready for it. Flags lined the street of Concord.

Of course everyone who comes to Concord tries to visit the restaurant in the famous old Colonial Inn built in 1716. One of the Inn’s original buildings was used as a storehouse for arms, gun powder, and provisions during the war. Here, history comes alive.

Such good advice from beloved Winnie. It’s perfectly normal, this time of the year, to see folks from yesteryear dining downstairs in the pubby part of the Inn.

If you go on a cool day, when it’s rainy or snowing, hold out for a spot downstairs in the cozy old part of the Inn … you can feel the past in this room…ghosts of EVERYONE in here . . .

The Main Event for Patriot’s Day is the reenactment of the first shots heard round the world at Battle Green in Lexington. You have to Be there at 5:30 am. Because everyone, by then, knows the Red Coats are coming (they call them “Regulars”), and this war waits for no man. There was something otherworldly and wonderful being out there so early in the morning with all these other happy people! It was exciting! 

. . . our guys, the Minutemen, were waiting for the Regulars on the Green, which is still surrounded by houses that were there that day in 1775, where some of these Minutemen lived. Yes, that white house right there belonged to a Minuteman. Inside the houses, wives and children were watching and not expecting what happened, nobody was. John Hancock was up the street, about to escape to Philadelphia with his friend Sam Adams, because they are one of the reasons the British were coming, they had orders to arrest them and take them, and then capture and destroy Colonial military supplies stored at Concord. In real life, the first battle began with 87 Minutemen and 300 Regulars. But thanks to Paul Revere and his ilk, the alarm was out. By the end of this first skirmish, there were hundreds of Minutemen on their way from “every Middlesex” (the county) “village and town” … and more British reinforcements were coming from Boston. The British were caught flat-footed at the way things had turned. But nerves were on a knife-edge. This was April 1775 . . . things had been going downhill since before the tea was dumped in Boston Harbor two years before. Colonists were still outraged by the Boston Massacre of 1770. That February the British Parliament had declared the colony of Massachusetts was “in a state of rebellion.” This day was a long time coming. Mostly, as we learned, there was a lot of stupidity and of course greed that led to this war, but a lot of inevitability too, with sparks of idealism and hope, and a whole lot of bravery and determination. Fate had a hand in it too. Plus the stupidity, don’t forget. 

So up the road comes the British military in overwhelming numbers . . . the world’s superpower ~ fife and drums, prancing horses, well turned-out in matching uniforms, thinking they are taking the town by surprise. They had never heard of “one if by land, two if by sea” and had no idea.

Our guys were waiting for them with their muskets  ~ I worried about that one Minuteman dressed in red ~ thought it was a dangerous choice for that day. As you can see, there was a large crowd of people from 2023 watching, but except for horse whinnies, squeaky leather, and a lot of yelling from the soldiers, you could hear a pin drop.

The Regulars lined up . . . looking like they meant business . . . my heart jumped, the British Colonel in charge warned his troops DO NOT SHOOT. NOBODY BETTER SHOOT. JUST MOVE FORWARD BUT DO NOT SHOOT. YOU WILL BE IN BIG TROUBLE IF YOU SHOOT. He didn’t whisper, he shouted, everyone heard him. Then he told them to put their bayonets on their muskets.😳 So nobody really knows who fired that first shot . . . here’s how it went.


Bayonets! Eeeek. I think I’d rather get shot! Not sure I would stand there and let them stab me. 

Muskets and cannons were firing, everyone was running and yelling in the smoke. It was LOUD, probably confusing there in the center of it. Shooting was definitely happening.

And suddenly in less than 5 minutes of guys talking to guys, there were DEAD people . . . eight dead and ten wounded, 18 bodies scattered on the Green, and the Revolutionary War had definitely begun. No putting that back into the bottle. The drums started up, calling the Regulars to stop immediately and move back ~ the British Colonel lined them up and yelled at them kind of like an angry dad, “I TOLD YOU NOT TO SHOOT, DAMN YOU! IT’S A DISGRACE!” He was so mad. Too late now. Then the fife and drum started playing Yankee Doodle Dandy (a British song and hard to hear at the moment, too jaunty with so many playing dead on the lawn) and the King’s troops marched around the bodies, off to North Bridge in Concord where (spoiler alert) they meet hundreds of Minutemen (there’s another reenactment of what happens there). The British lost the North Bridge battle . . . which inspired their difficult retreat, a running battle all the way back to Boston, wearing giant bright red coats, not blending into the countryside at all, sitting ducks, constantly attacked by Minutemen Militia from all sides. Our 2023 crowd stood there watching them march away, a little bit stunned and silent, while women and children from 1775 came running out of the surrounding houses in their caps and aprons and long skirts screaming and crying, throwing themselves on the bodies of their loved ones. It was really very sad. Thirty-year old Jonathon Harrington, fatally wounded by a British musket ball, managed to crawl back to his home and died in his wife’s arms on his own doorstep. By the time the British got back to Boston they had lost 273 men, the Militia had lost 93. The soldiers had plenty of time to think about what they were doing, it took forever to reload a musket. There was not one corny bone in this reenactment’s body. It was solemn and real. Left us torn between sad and proud. But to be honest, mostly sad.

“The thunderbolt falls on an inch of ground but the light of it fills the horizon,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson, when he attended the 100-year memorial of the Battle in 1875.

From Battle Green we walked over behind that beautiful church to visit the graveyard, called Ye Old Burying Ground 1690.

Beautiful and real and old and us, all of us … belonging to everyone who loves what this country SAYS it stands for and works within an imperfect (after all, it’s man-made) system to make us live up to it. System could use a little adjustment . . . it’s time, and it’s our time.

William Morris said that before the Industrial Revolution, every man was an artist. It’s true, you see it everywhere, in these gravestones, in the houses . . .

in the history . . .

And how it’s cared for and honored.

There was SO MUCH to see . . . we only had four days and it wasn’t enough! We’d been once before, and saw quite a lot, including North Bridge and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, but didn’t realize until this visit, how much there was. Here we are, in Buckman Tavern . . .

. . . Just across the street from Battle Green, the meeting place for locals and travelers, and where the Minutemen waited for the British to arrive  … 

We walked a block or two up the street for a visit to the house where John Hancock had been waiting that fateful day, having his porridge and sherry . . .

And where the Lexington Historical Society has taken great pains to keep it as it was, with many of the original items still in the house.

I wouldn’t mind having this kitchen right now! It’s perfect! My stove would look darling in here. We got to hear something about almost every piece in here . . . the table is original, and so are the chairs, the bowl, and the lantern on the table. . . the docents were costumed and happy to answer all our questions!👏👏👏

In one of the bedrooms I think I saw a Ghost  . . .

And out front, I looked down, and there was California! I’m sorry, I’m getting loopy, there is SO MUCH to tell, I’m leaving things out so I can finish and you can GO! I hope you come here someday and see it for yourself…

As you can see, it’s a great event for families (little ones should bring ear plugs)… I’m sure this running battle through the woods (that we walked alongside all the way up the street ~ about the length of 3 football fields) is something kids won’t forget. One of my favorite things is the 5-mile walking path (just like those between villages in England) tying Lexington and Concord together, with historical sites along the way. We didn’t have time to walk it, but we will make time on our next visit. The woods in the area are so evocative, you feel like you are seeing history when you’re walking through them. If you do bring kids, be sure to take them to Helen’s diner in Concord, and don’t miss The Barrow Bookstore around the corner.

Something else I don’t want you to miss is The Concord Museum. Besides the Revolutionary War, Concord is famous for something else ~ in the middle of the 19th Century, it became a hotbed for original thinkers and do-ers, writers, educators, artists, searchers, and experimenters ~ from Henry David Thoreau, to Louisa May Alcott, Daniel Chester French, John Brown, Horace Mann, John Muir, the Alcott family, the Peabody sisters, Nathanial Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller, and many more, people famous in their own time whose names we might not recognize ~ and it all centered around the genius of Ralph Waldo Emerson. That’s him above, and his home above that, the white one across the street from the museum, a hop, skip, and jump from Orchard house ~ ground that was crossed regularly by the young Louisa May Alcott whom Emerson had given full use of his amazing library of books.🧡

Besides the Concord Museum, there are several houses and other places connected to these people where you can go to learn more ~ many of these luminaries are buried in nearby Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. I’ve always been fascinated by this group, which is sometimes referred to as our “American Bloomsbury.” I’ve read a few of the hundreds of books written by and about them and the times they lived, always collecting quotes, taking the opportunity to learn something about the personal lives of such wonderful teachers, who are so willing to share ~ I ALWAYS learn something new about how I want to live my life, and about our history from these people  . . . which I definitely did here at this small jam-packed museum with everything from muskets to Paul Revere silver, Emerson’s entire study, Louisa May Alcott’s copper tea kettle, and Thoreau’s desk.

What lies behind you and what lies in from of you pales in comparison to what lies inside you. 💖 Ralph Waldo Emerson

I enjoyed reading about the local women and their place in the society  . . . definitely ahead of their time. Perhaps a little bit uppity even.❤️

At the 100 year anniversary of the Shot Heard Round the World in 1875, Daniel Chester French unveiled his very first sculpture (above) called The Minuteman. French was only 21! How’s that for talent!?! After that, he went on to design many beautiful statues, including the Lincoln Memorial in 1914. We loved visiting his inspiring studio in Stockbridge, MA. And PS. According to what Louisa May Alcott wrote below, the photo above must have been taken the day AFTER the formal unveiling.💞

Don’t mess with Louisa! Imagine what she’d be like today!

Before I go I want thank Peter and Beverly Kelley for the wonderful time they showed us in Lexington and Concord! Bev and I have been email pals for about 3 years, so when she invited us to share Patriot’s Day with them, we couldn’t even imagine saying no! Yes, please! They were both born and raised in Lexington . . . Everywhere we went, people were stopping them to say hello! The first couple of Lexington!

Bev and Peter met in high school, and live right around the corner from Battle Green! They know all the back roads (which is a really good thing on Patriot’s Day weekend), and history of their hometown in every detail. We probably would have seen only half of what we did without their help!

Walking around neighborhoods together, they shared memories of the old houses, and their history growing up . . . just wonderful. They were so good to us.💞

After Battle Green we came back to the Kelley house to have the delicious breakfast Bev made, visit, drink tea, and warm up . . . generosity personified. Busy busy people! I hope we get to meet again soon! I know they know what a good time we had, I just wanted to thank them one more time!❤️

So we’re home, and I’m back to work, inspired, and spending hours investigating historical things. I have SO MANY questions… and love that it’s all so accessible these days. If you think it you can get it!

And we’re back ~ and out walking our walk . . . look at this photo! Every once in a while my cell phone takes a picture that looks more like a painting! Right now Joe is outside in the garden planting the rose my “studio elves” gave me for my Birthday! It’s a David Austin shrub rose called Elizabeth! Pink! Fragrant!

OK, last thing…


We’re sold out of our Queen Elizabeth cup. I hope you all have yours ordered! . . . but we still have our new Birthday cup and … planning ahead, just in cases, we still have Christmas! I think they are leaving the UK today! Unless they decided to take the day off! Now all they have to do is get here, get through customs, then onto a truck and to us in California! And then, drum roll (but no fife), voila. . . to you! We all deserve an award for patience! 💖

Off I go! The sun is coming out and I want to go see what Joe hath wrought in the garden! And my hiney needs a walk! Jack is asleep next to me in his desk drawer. He gets better and better, more loving and cozier every day. Young cats are hilarious, but old kitties are love. He’s not old, he’s only 13 (I think) but he’s oldER, and has become much less me, me, me. 🤣

I couldn’t love him more.🌸🌸🌸🌸

Okay Girlfriends! Hope you are having a wonderful MAY! Sending all my love . . .🌷🌷🌷🌷🌷

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