AUTUMN 2020

Featured Item: Fruit Decal Lamps

Article:  Holiday Reminiscing B.C. (before COVID-19)

Original Artwork  by Cal Haves

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Greetings!

‘Tis autumn! - my favorite time of year. A time when trees don their bright rustic colors, basking in the last rays of afternoon sun, a season that makes me feel cozy and safe.

In this month’s newsletter we present two Bent Panel Lamps decorated with decals of fruit vignettes, perfect accents for an autumn themed sideboard. Check them out in the Featured Item section.

Autumn gives us two major holidays – spooky Halloween and homey Thanksgiving. This year, however, traditional celebrations are verboten. Come along with me as I escape via my memories back to a time when celebrating the holidays was a lot less complicated. See this month’s Article: Holiday Reminiscing B.C. (before COVID-19).

Happy Autumn Holidays,

Lorena & Crew

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Featured Item
Note: Each item presented is a one-of-a-kind work of art available for purchase. Should any item sell, there are no duplicates.   Contact us about any similar items. 

Large Fruit Decal Table Lamp or Hanging Fixture 

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As family and friends gather together to celebrate the traditional Thanksgiving feast, make this one-of-a-king lamp decorated with seasonal harvests a central piece to your holiday home decor. 

Medium Fruit Decal Table Lamp

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A charming, one-of-a-kind table lamp with illustrations of Mother Nature’s fall bounty of fruits and vegetables so appropriate as a home décor item for this season or for any time of year.

Article

HOLIDAY REMINISCING B.C. (before COVID-19)

 

But first – just a brief catch-up from my last newsletter, COVID-19 Madness, Spring 2020 edition:

I am still sheltering in place, staying busy, amazed at how quickly the days are flying by. I continue taking walks for exercise, snapping photos. I see myself in reflections of store windows looking like the Goodwill bag lady dressed against the chilly San Francisco summer weather and COVID-19. Is that me?

For us San Franciscans weather is an issue. When summer comes it gets cold here. The fog hides the sun for days and at night we listen to the foghorns. You can get a bad case of the blues if you don’t watch it.

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Going out for a walk.

I was once glamorous.

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A mid-August summer afternoon captured from my second story apartment window looking toward S.F. Bay 

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8 P.M. that evening, same view.

The Golden Gate Bridge is out there on the horizon, somewhere.

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Summertime luncheon alfresco in San Francisco.

This summer an unprecedented heat wave hit our state and for weeks California went up in flames. Even San Francisco suffered over 100-degree weather. We were advised to stay indoors because of the poor air quality outside. Typically, because of the cool summer fog, San Francisco does not have air conditioning, so we sweltered in place.

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No fog means I can see the lighted Palace of Fine Arts from my apartment window on an October evening.

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September 9, 2020, San Francisco.

9AM. Woke up. Is the City on fire?

Autumn has arrived and we should be getting our nice Indian summer weather. But who knows? With COVID and everything else being thrown at us dumb clucks, expect anything. My photos say it best.

Halloween – A holiday for kids, young & old

Growing up in the 1940s and 50s there was no such thing as purchasing a Halloween costume. We created our own. It was an event kids looked forward to every year; to trick-or-treat in something imaginative and outlandish we put together ourselves. Boys wore their father’s oversized suits and hats and became scruffy hobos. There were lots of those. Or they cut two holes in a bed sheet and spooked the other kids out as scary ghosts.

Girls donned their mother’s clothing. One year, in the 2nd grade, my mother dressed me in her black and gold-trim skirt, white blouse, draped me in lots of costume jewelry and scarfs and took me to school as a Gypsy girl. I won first prize that day for best costume at the schoolyard Halloween costume parade.

Mostly my mother would fashion my costumes from stretchable, crinkly crepe paper she bought at Woolworth’s 5 & 10c store. Remember crepe paper? It came in tall rolls in assorted colors. With my mother’s imagination the costumes turned out nice, but I just hoped it would not rain that day on Halloween.

Reminiscing about the good old days with my 90-year-old upstairs neighbor, he told me one year for Halloween he cut up his mother’s best umbrella and wore it over his shoulders as batman. Boy, did he get it!

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Happy Halloween!

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Calcagni sisters celebrate Halloween in homemade costumes. San Francisco, 2015.

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Not quite Halloween costumes. The Calcagni sisters in the Bronx, N.Y. 1949. That’s me, the eldest.

Eventually in the 1960s Halloween became commercialized with shopkeepers promoting candy as the thing to pass out on that day. By the 1970s, no need for creative imagination anymore; ready-made plastic costumes plugging cartoon characters were now hanging on racks in variety stores for parents to buy for their kids. By the 1980s glitzy Halloween lawn and home decorations were attracting crowds to the neighborhoods to see who put up the biggest, scariest displays.

Today, because of highly infectious COVID-19, instead of walking their kids door-to-door trick-or-treating, parents are organizing neighborhood car parades for drivers to toss candy to costumed kids waiting in their front yards – can you believe it? But you-gotta-do, what-you-gotta-do to stay safe these days.

Halloween was really a day that kids owned. Whether living in a big city or in the suburbs we ran around the streets, day and night, free of grownups, dressed in our costumes, clutching our satchels, knocking on doors. We didn’t say “trick-or-treat” back then. That started in the 1950s. In the Bronx we had our own singsong chant for begging - “Anything for Halloween?!!” we cried out to the person(s) who opened the door.

When we returned home, our satchels full, the grown-ups were excited to see what booty we little beggars had amassed. On the kitchen table we dumped out an assortment of nuts, oranges, candy, and sweet treats that were typically home baked. We could expect to get coins dropped into our bags too. I remember one year my cousin Larry counted five dollars’ worth of pennies, nickels and even a few dimes! Holy cow! That was a small fortune to a kid back then when a bag of M&Ms cost only 5 cents.

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Halloween home and lawn decorations.

I remember the 1953 film, H.G. Well’s War of the Worlds. It scared everybody when it came out in movie houses. Same as today - a mysterious, deadly alien ascended upon Earth intent on annihilating us earthlings. In this story it turned out the hero was a little microscopic virus – but a good virus. It was the only thing that could kill the invaders from Mars and saved our planet. Yeah!

Happy Halloween! and stay safe from all invading viruses.

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Today Lorena still dresses in gypsy costumes - ready for a flamenco performance.

Thanksgiving – a day of feasting with family and friends.

Dressed in our holiday best we kids were expected to behave likewise. Thanksgiving wasn’t as exciting a holiday to a kid as Halloween was. Streets were quiet - nothing much was happening outside, and it got dark early. Snow was on the ground as the first snow of the season usually fell on Thanksgiving. It was mostly a holiday for grownups; for them to get together, to eat and gossip about who just died, who got engaged, who’s having a baby, who moved out of the neighborhood to the suburbs, you know - the usual stuff with lots of loud yelling.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

For us kids, it was fun catching up with each other again, seeing how much we were all growing up. Cousins were proud to show off the latest toys and things their parents bought them. My cousin Judy got the first Barbie doll when it came out in 1959. We never saw a doll such as that! How much is a first edition Barbie worth today? She also got the first giant box of Crayola crayons – 48 colors! Boy, were we impressed!

Readying for the Thanksgiving dinner, sawhorses were set up with long planks of wood balanced on top and covered with white tablecloths to accommodate all the aunts and uncles and cousins and anyone else who stopped by to pay their respects. By the way, those who did stop by were hit with a barrage of insults. That, of course, meant you were welcomed as family. The young ones sat at the small kid table, but I was now 14 and could join the grownups at the main table and be privy to all the family gossip.

There was no such thing as rushing off from the Thanksgiving table to go bargain-shopping. How sacrilegious is that? In those days, stores were closed on Sundays and holidays. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, was the traditional day for shopping till you dropped.

As the afternoon sun went down, the men slouched in sofas, stuffed from Thanksgiving feasting, staring at the TV like zombies, my father jingling coins in one pant pocket, the women cleaned up and put out the homemade pies and holiday deserts and coffee. (Hey, where’s the cannoli?) It was getting to be that time of day for us to head on home to Long Island. But first we needed to do our traditional duty; make a few stops, pay some respects, get some insults - typically aimed at my father; “what - no boys, Joey?” was the usual “comment.”

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Holiday Buffet

So many families today have long since moved far away from each other. With COVID, and who knows what else, celebrating Thanksgiving as I remembered it, is not the same anymore. I am thankful for the memories I own.

Happy (safe) Thanksgiving to all!

Lorena Calcagni

Shades of Tiffany,  San Francisco, CA