Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Sunday Salon: Easter Edition


Happy Easter to all those Sunday Saloners who are celebrating today!  (Or, Happy Passover or Happy Spring or just Happy Sunday.)  For us, today was a different kind of Easter. We moved into our new house on Monday (more on that in a separate post or two; got lots to tell you, but the bottom line is that we love it and it already feels like home) and my in-laws arrived on Thursday afternoon to celebrate the holiday weekend with us. Their visit was planned before our move, but it has actually worked out pretty well because they've kept the kids occupied while we've unpacked and even slept in a couple of days. They've also been treating us to dinners out every night, so no cooking for me, which is a major bonus when settling into a new house!

Because we didn't have any relatives' homes to travel to nor any cooking to do, the day was pretty open. I took my mother-in-law and Betty to the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens here in Pittsburgh, where we took in their Spring Flower Show and several other exhibits.  It was actually a perfect way to spend Easter. The flowers were gorgeous, as always, and definitely put me in the mood for spring. I bought some seeds (cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes - cherry and Brandywine, peas, and pumpkins) for our new vegetable garden in the gift shop.  (I couldn't resist).

On the reading front, not too much has been happening in that area. Most of my time that I would otherwise be spending reading has been unpacking all my books that have been in storage and setting up the room that is now the new office/library area. (One of my friends asked if I had gotten any new books for my birthday, which was Tuesday. I replied that it felt like I had gotten 30 new boxes of books, as all of mine came out of storage and we were reunited again for the first time in nearly a year. Only a book blogger could understand how that could be just as good as a new book.)

But what I HAVE been reading, slowly but surely (and that is OK, since this is a book to be savored) is The Storm at the Door by Stefan Merrill Block.  I haven't seen this one getting much attention on many of the blogs (although, admittedly, I've been more out of the loop lately than usual, so maybe it has) but this one is so intriguing. It's based on the true story of Stefan Merrill Block's grandparents, Katharine and Frederick Merrill. While he admits to taking some fictional liberties with their story, he keeps their names (and those of his aunts and his mother) the same. (It's kind of like The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien; it's hard to tell what is true and what is fiction in the story.)

And what a story this one is! Frederick's behavior has become a bit erratic, a situation that tends to intensify when he drinks a bit too much. Katharine hardly recognizes the man she fell in love with and she's tired of covering for him in front of their friends and their children. So, when his shenanigans get a bit out of control one evening (inebriated, Frederick wanders out to the highway and begins flashing people), Katharine has him committed to a local, well-known "mental hospital" for "a little rest" instead of dealing with fines or jail time.

Oh, and did I mention this is set in 1962?  And that Stefan Merrill Block writes the poet Robert Lowell into the story as one of Frederick's peers who is also at the mental facility at the same time?

Yeah.  Definitely one that I need to spend more time with this week, now that things are (hopefully) settling down a bit.

Hope you are (or have been) spending some time with the people and things you love this Sunday!


copyright 2012, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

1 comment:

Lisa Gradess Weinstein said...

How did I miss that it was your birthday. Happy belated and lots of love and happiness in your new home!
Lisa