To say history comes alive at the Morristown & Township Library is a gross understatement.
Just ask the large crowd that gathered on Friday to celebrate the publication of Ordinary Days, Extraordinary Times, a history of the Irish in Morristown written by Cheryl Turkington, assistant archivist at the library.
The Dicey Riley band lent Celtic sounds to the festivities (our thanks to Linda Stamato for her video clip), and many copies of the book were sold.
But the icing on the cake–or was it the butter on the soda bread?–was courtesy of two folks raised a couple of blocks from the library in the town’s “Little Dublin” section.
Please click icon below for captions.
John Murphy, introduced by emcee Rich Smith as the “Poet Laureate of Little Dublin,” recited some charming original poems. Our video clip includes The Haunted House and Mother’s Day. (See you next year at WordPlay, John?)
And Pat Ayres Morong shared warm memories of sleigh rides down Madison Street–and the hilarious tale of a fellow who gave new meaning to Roll Out the Barrel.
“We didn’t have much money, but we had a great time, a really great time,” she said, recalling a World War II childhood where the closest thing to crime was having your sleds borrowed by visiting servicemen.
“In [Little] Dublin, we didn’t have ‘play-dates,’” said Pat, who married a fireman and now boasts 10 firefighters in her family.
“We grew up on Madison Street, and if you fell on the street and scraped your knee, the mothers would take care of you, wherever you were, a mother would take care of you. You didn’t have to go running home to your mom. It was great.”
Cheryl said she was surprised, during her research, to discover “how ‘Irish’ people still are,” and how involved they are in their community and their history.
They are not disposed to let any dust gather on that history. As George Bernard Shaw puts it in the book’s opening epigram:
“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”
The Morristown & Township Library doesn’t just collect books… it writes them, too.
Cheryl Turkington, assistant archivist, explores the history of Morristown’s Little Dublin community in Ordinary Days, Extraordinary Times: Morristown, New Jersey’s Irish Immigrant Past.
The library is throwing a party to celebrate this new publication–Cheryl’s third book–on May 10, 2013, at 7 pm. The band Dicey Riley will perform, and Cheryl will have copies of the book for sale.
Her are more details from the library.
FROM THE MORRISTOWN & TOWNSHIP LIBRARY
MORRISTOWN, NJ—The Morristown & Morris Township Library is hosting a special ‘after hours’ program to celebrate the publication of the Library’s new book Ordinary Days, Extraordinary Times: Morristown, New Jersey’s Irish Immigrant Past, written by Cheryl Turkington, on Friday, May 10. One of the highlights of the evening is a special ‘after hours’ performance of traditional Irish music by Morris County’s own Dicey Riley. Copies of Ordinary Days, Extraordinary Times will be available for purchase and the author will also be available to sign copies for the public. The free program begins at 7 p.m. and is supported through funding from the Friends of the Morristown & Morris Township Library.
Ordinary Days, Extraordinary Times––written by Cheryl Turkington, an assistant archivist in the Library’s North Jersey History & Genealogy Center––takes a fresh look at the story of Irish immigration to Morristown and the vibrant Dublin neighborhood that nurtured generations of residents for over 100 years.
How did the Irish community live, work, worship, celebrate and sustain itself in a new world? And how did these immigrants and their descendants impact the town they chose to make home? People who share an interest in our community’s history will enjoy reading about this segment of Morristown’s population whose contributions to society have stayed in the shadows for too long.
Turkington conducted numerous interviews and relied on the vast resources of the Library’s History Center in order to put together this wonderful history. Copies are available for $15.95 (plus tax) the night of the event (cash or check) or from the History Center on the Library’s lower level.
Dicey Riley has been performing traditional Irish music in Morris County, NJ, since 1998. The group covers traditional jigs, reels, and hornpipes, as well as ballads, folksongs, and sing-alongs.
The band’s four musicians––Kevin Johnson, Tommy Johnson, John McGoldrick and Lou Timney––interchangeably play fiddle, mandolin, guitar, bodhran, penny whistle, and Irish flute, while also creating pleasant vocal harmonies. They have played for pubs, restaurants, churches, private parties, weddings, and corporate functions, as well as playing previously at the Morristown & Morris Township Library.
Cheryl Turkington has been the assistant archivist in the North Jersey History Center at the Morristown & Morris Township Library since 1989. She earned a B.A. at the University of Connecticut and continued her training there in the Public History & Archives Management Program. She is the author of Setting Up Our Own City: The Black Community in Morristown (1992), and Greeting the Past: A Walking Tour of the Dublin Neighborhood in Morristown, N.J. (2006).
Had she lived, would Amelia Earhart have become the grande dame of the Women’s Liberation movement?
“I think she probably still would have been working in aviation, and the space program,” answered Monica, who has inhabited the Amelia Earhart character so completely that “I’m not sure where she ends and I begin.”
That means eggs for breakfast, but no tea or coffee–per Amelia’s flight routines. Monica has taken some flying lessons, too, just to experience the rapture Amelia described in her books. She even visited the Kansas farmhouse of Amelia’s tomboy youth.
The Women’s Lib daydream isn’t so far-fetched. Amelia Earhart would have been in her 70s when the movement was taking off in the late 1960s.
She already had staked her claim as a founding feminist, parlaying her 1930s aviation records into book deals, fashion lines and speaking tours. She figured out how to play the media game a half century before Madonna made it an art form.
Speculation about Amelia’s fate has included rumors that she secretly lived out her years in New Jersey, but Monica doubts such scenarios.
Amelia “always told herself that she was going to stop flying and go home to be ‘just a woman.’ But I don’t think she ever would have given up on pursuing her goals. I don’t think she would have gone into a quiet retirement,” she said.
Trained at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theater, Monica was hunting for a project in 2009 when a mentor sized her up and said: “You should be Amelia Earhart.”
It clicked, and not just because of Monica’s resemblance to the wispy icon. The history of the 1920s and ’30s always has intrigued her. And her father was a pilot.
Monica read Amelia’s books, watched old newsreels on YouTube and scoured the website of Purdue University, where Amelia had been a visiting professor. Like generations of women before her, Monica was inspired.
One of her career highlights was depicting a fly-girl in the 2010 documentary Breaking Through the Clouds: The First Women’s National Air Derby.
An irony of Amelia Earhart’s tragic mystery came after she and navigator Fred Noonan went missing in their Lockheed Electra while circumnavigating the globe.
Amelia’s publisher husband, G.P. Putnam, kept receiving dispatches his wife had mailed from earlier legs of the doomed flight. She had completed 22,000 miles and only had 7,000 more to go.
Monica prefers to focus on the first part of that equation.
“I like to wallow in how happy and proud she was of that accomplishment,” she said.
During the 40-minute performance, “Amelia” exhorted the library audience to soar with her.
“I’m not truly missing if you find me in spirit,” she said, in her crisp leather flight jacket. “Be brave. Seek beautiful experiences. Be tenacious in achieving your dreams.”
By Robyn Quinn
Do you get an urge every Sunday to have high tea in the afternoon? Do you sit on the edge of your seat each Sunday night just waiting to hear the next zinger from the Dowager Countess of Grantham (played by Maggie Smith)?
“Of course it would happen to a foreigner. No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else’s house.”
Did you cheer for Thomas Branson, the young Irish chauffeur who won the love of Lady Sybil? Don’t you just love to hate O’Brien? Were you not surprised when “Poor Lady Edith” was left at the altar? Were you torn between cheering and jeering when O’Brien orchestrated one of her dirtiest tricks on the despicable first footman Thomas Barrow?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then never fear, there is hope for you. The Morristown & Township Library held its second Downton Abbey Support Group session last week, hosting an evening of tea, scones, and highlights from the past season’s episodes plus lively conversation.
Photos by Willie Quinn. Please click icon below for captions.
Members of the support group shared with each other all the latest news of the comings and goings of the cast, mainly the goings. There was a huge cast turnover, with three characters leaving at the end of Season Three of the PBS series, which traces the ups and downs of the privileged Crawley family and its servants at Downton Abbey.
One fan, Lorraine Rosenberg of Rockaway, dresses in the period costumes with her hair done up in waves. Lorraine’s red hair and porcelain skin make her the spitting image of Lady Edith. Lorraine is so devoted that she watches the episodes with her friends in England instead of waiting for them to air in the states.
Fans of Downton Abbey need a support group to survive the roller coaster ride they experience each Sunday night. This season began with the wedding of Mary and Matthew, a huge event even for the cast. Security was tight to ensure no pictures were published of the wedding dress before the wedding. It was rumored that there was an offer of 25,000 pounds for such a photo.
Pulling the wedding off was no small effort. Dan Stevens, who played Matthew Crawley, said, “It’s the longest wedding I’ve ever been to. It started at 6 am, it’s now 5 pm and I’m still not married.”
Lady Sybil commented, “It’s the wedding that never ends.”
If the wedding of Matthew and Mary had us over the moon, then the season finale left us singing the blues. This episode was a shocker when Matthew Crawley, the heartthrob of the show, had a car accident and was killed coming home from seeing his newborn son for the first time. This episode was viewed in England on Christmas Day. leaving many of the European fans saying it ruined their holiday.
The Crawley family progressed into the Modern World of the 1920s this season. The cast’s wardrobes have gradually emerged into the new more comfortable style of the ’20s.
Along with the new fashions there are also the new gadgets, such as the toaster and Hoover. This new era is bringing about the beginning of the end of the separate classes. Until now, ladies sat quietly waiting for a gentleman to speak to her. Now they wear waves in their hair, rouge on their cheeks and even drink. These liberated ladies are not only drinking, they are dancing and even working! The show’s writer, Julian Fellowes, said, “The family has to adapt to the change. The servants adjust to the change.”
Season Four of Downton Abbey will not air in the United States until January of 2014. Can’t wait that long? No worries, there are others out there that are going through the same thing you are. You can catch the latest news on the new cast members and discuss what the residents of Downton Abbey will be up to next season at the next support meeting. Join library staff members Chad Leinaweaver, Mary Lynn Becza, Jim Collins and the rest of us devoted fans at the library on June 13.
FEMA provided some aid to the library to repair damage from Hurricane Sandy.
It takes more than a superstorm to stop this resilient institution; the library has weathered two potent explosions. Curiously, the video does not mention those momentous events, which reminded the community how essential the library is to our daily lives.
When Season Three winds down at Downton, many souls will feel bereft.
The Morristown & Township Library is there for you.
Join the Downton Abbey Support Group on March 14 at 7 pm for tea and scones and gossip about the Dowager. Period costume is welcome, though not required.
The library’s Chad Leinaweaver explains:
Weddings, babies, and more Thomas Tomfoolery? It must be season 3 of Downton Abbey and the Library’s Downton Abbey Support Group (to support the show’s fans during the long breaks between new episodes) is here to help by sponsoring its next program. Come and join the Morristown and Morris Township Library staff as we delve once again into this award-winning PBS series. Tea and scones will be served along with a lot of conversation about Mr. Bates’s imprisonment, Mrs. Levinson’s free-speaking manner, and Lady Edith’s eternal search for true love!
By all accounts, Tom and Sandy Doyle were a hit on Sunday with their tribute to the late Les Paul and Mary Ford at the Morristown & Township Library.
The Sussex County couple performed for about an hour; we will make sure to keep an eye out for their full two-hour show when they return later this spring from a Florida tour.
The Morristown & Township Library is ready to make some noise this month, heating up the winter with three rock and roll presentations.
On Thursday, Feb. 7, longtime rock critic William Westhoven will give “A History of Rock ‘n’ Roll as Seen Through Fiction.” The talk starts at 7 pm and admission is free.
At 2 pm on Sunday, Feb. 10, the musical contributions of the late, great Les Paul and Mary Ford will be remembered with a performance by Tom Doyle and Sandy Cory. Tom, a luthier who customized guitars for Les Paul, Jimmy Page and many others, has performed with Sandy at Iridium, the Manhattan jazz club where Les played on Monday nights for years.
The Beatles, forever Fab, complete the trifecta with a screening of A Hard Day’s Night on Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7 pm. February was a huge month in Beatles lore–they conquered America on The Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964–and the group’s first film captures Beatlemania in all its innocent glory.
The library is at One Miller Road in Morristown. Here are more details:
FROM THE MORRISTOWN & TOWNSHIP LIBRARY:
MORRISTOWN, NJ— Who said libraries are always quiet? The Morristown & Morris Township Library is offering a series this spring featuring an author, a film and a set of performers tied to the history and ongoing influence that is rock ‘n’ roll. On February 7, author and journalist William Westhoven will examine the history of Rock ‘n’ Roll through the lens of literary fiction. Westhoven has covered the performing arts as a newspaperman, but has also written his own fiction on the subject including One-Hit Willie: A Classic Rock Novel. On February 10, Tom Doyle and Sandy Cory will perform and talk about the influence of guitarist Les Paul and vocalist/musician Mary Ford. They will perform some of the songs the duo did together as well as talk about the innovations they had in electric guitars, sound recording, and many musicians who came after them. On February 21, the iconic and critically-acclaimed, Beatles film A Hard Day’s Night will be shown. The program series is supported through funding from the Friends of the Morristown & Morris Township Library.
Thursday, February 7, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
“A History of Rock ‘n’ Roll as Seen Through Fiction”
With author William Westhoven
Sunday, February 10, 2013, 2:00 p.m.
“A Musical Tribute to the Great Les Paul and Mary Ford”
A Performance and Talk Featuring Tom Doyle and Sandy Cory
Thursday, February 21, 2013, 7:00 p.m.
Film Showing: A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Starring the Beatles in their first motion picture!
William Westhoven is an award-winning journalist, editor and newspaper columnist who has covered the performing arts since 1989. Recently laid off from his newspaper job, his recent freelance work has been featured in Guitar World Online and the Huffington Post. His interview subjects range from show-business legends such as Bob Hope, Dick Clark, BB King and Les Paul to dozens of Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductees. His columns and reviews have won both state and national honors, including seven first-place awards from the New Jersey Press Association for Critical Writing. He is the author of Eric Clapton: Career of a Rock Legend (Zinn Publishing Group/Barclay House Books, 1996). One-Hit Willie: A Classic Rock Novel is his first novel.
Tom Doyle’s inventive mind has made him experiment, design, and tinker with guitars. As early as the 1960’s, Tom began developing his own pickups and he also began making modifications for other guitarists and doing their repairs. He started his own Luthier business in 1970, has been so for over 40 years and currently runs his own guitar building school in New Jersey. He has customized, repaired, and modified guitars for such artists as George Benson, Sting, Bucky Pizzarelli, Al Caiola, Al Dimeola, Tony Mottola, Jimmy Page, and Les Paul. Tom now plays his own handmade “Doyle Guitar” featuring his own low impedance pickups.
Sandy Cory is a great talent and began doing gigs with Tom soon after he first saw her perform. Since the passing of Les Paul, she and Tom were the opening act at the Les Paul room in the NYC Iridium on Monday nights. They perform their own songs as well as those of Les Paul and Mary Ford. They have also received rave reviews of their performances at the Chet Atkins Convention (CAAS) in Nashville. Tom and Sandy combine beautiful instrumentation of guitar, vocals, flute and drums, which they perform regularly at various clubs, private parties, and benefits around the country.
Beat the winter blues by checking into a nice hotel…or at least, a nice hotel movie series.
Admission is free, the screening room doors open at 6:15 pm, and light refreshments will be served.
February 6: Separate Tables, 1958, starring Burt Lancaster, David Niven, & Deborah Kerr.
February 13: Psycho, 1960, starring Janet Leigh & Anthony Perkins. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock.
February 20: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, 2012, starring Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Tom Wilkinson.
Nowadays, if you get a hankering for art you can pop into the Morris Museum, or spend a day in New York at MoMa or the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
“Early New England burial grounds were the first public art galleries in the New World,” according to the Morristown & Township Library. “Even today, many of these tranquil sites display the remarkable artistic, cultural and religious changes of this region. Old gravestones or markers often explained how entire families lived and died.”
Learn more about Gravestone Art & Symbolism at 7 o’clock tonight, Jan. 23, at a free talk by Lorna and Phil Wooldridge of Wise Owl Workshops.
The library is at One Miller Road in Morristown, and light refreshments will be served. Here’s the full scoop from the library:
FROM THE MORRISTOWN & TOWNSHIP LIBRARY:
MORRISTOWN, NJ— The Morristown & Morris Township Library is hosting a presentation on gravestone art and symbolism on Wednesday, January 23 featuring Lorna and Phil Wooldridge of Wise Owl Workshops. The free program begins at 7:00 p.m. and refreshments will be served. This program is supported through funding from the Friends of the Morristown & Morris Township Library.
Early New England burial grounds were the first public art galleries in the New World. Even today, many of these tranquil sites display the remarkable artistic, cultural and religious changes of this region. Old gravestones or markers often explained how entire families lived and died.
This presentation will cover the progression and interpretation of early symbolism or iconography, from those seen in family burial plots to the more elaborate ones seen in the “rural” and lawn park cemeteries of the Victorian era and, later still, in the Memorial Parks of the 20th Century. Modern examples of memorialization and symbolism will be included, as will the changing techniques and skills required by the early slate and sandstone carvers, contrasting with today’s techniques such as laser etching. They will also tell the stories of the people that these stones commemorate.
The presentation will also cover gravestone restoration and conservation, and means of recording and retaining gravestone artwork through photography, rubbings and foil impressions. Lorna and Phil Wooldridge of Wise Owl Workshops will speak and also present examples of rubbings, casts and foil impressions.
Lorna and Phil Wooldridge make up Wise Owl Workshops, which was created to teach a group of young people about the migration of the Monarch butterfly, at the Franklin Branch of the Warren County Library but has grown into teaching workshops about gravestone art, native gardening and other topics. Lorna has a British teaching degree and specialized in the teaching of specific learning difficulties and Dyslexia. She taught for ten years in Britain as both a classroom and special needs teacher, and currently tutors privately, specializing in teaching children with dyslexia. Phil worked for over 20 years in software development and is now running a home and garden equipment repair business, Wise Owl Repairs.