Unless and until we have some laws or standards which require LMMs and their chatbots (or other TDM/ML wankers) to obtain pre-ingestion permission for uses of material such as that found here, I can’t see my way clear to post anything else from my Works in Progress.

April 5, 2023:

Authors Guild Meets with Legislators Over Generative AI Concerns

March 20, 2023

The case for slowing down AI

March 1, 2023

AG Recommends Clause in Publishing and Distribution Agreements Prohibiting AI Training Uses

April 7, 2023

Someone keeps accusing fanfiction authors of writing their fic with AI, and nobody knows why

—with maybe a little Pilgrimage-like Spirit-stuff added for good measure

Quite a long time ago (1982), I participated in a seminar course focused on the history of medieval pilgrimage.[1] The travelers of those times followed ancient paths to sites they considered holy for many reasons, including spiritual ones but also for secular ones —tourism, recreation, entertainment and so on. Were they really so different from ourselves?

With a good friend (Jonathan W.) along to share the experience, I recently took some time out of the daily grind to soak in an excursion to some of the ancient sites, mostly within the nation of Israel but including short visits to the West Bank —specifically, Jericho and Bethlehem. The trip organizers —Biblical Archeology Society, in cooperation with TUTKU Educational Tours[2]—focused our itinerary on the history and archeology of the sites we visited, such that we had a very full 8 days of near-immersion in the a few of the many sites in the Biblical land of Israel.[3]

Near-immersion, because there are still television sets and cell phones. And security checkpoints and modern plumbing.

Since I still retained at least a little bit of what I learned of the experiences and travails of those old travelers, I thought it might be useful and interesting, to myself at least, to jot down some reflections on the similarities and differences between their experience and ours.

A few notes and observations on this theme follow.

§ § §

Day 1— Caesarea, Mt. Carmel, Megiddo.

After a travel day, we arrived in Tel Aviv and took a taxi to our hotel in Netanya, where we stopped for the single, pre-launch evening. [4]The view of the Mediterranean shore of Israel in those parts the next morning was beautiful and refreshing. We met the rest of our group at breakfast —a bountiful spread indeed— and got on the bus.

Caesarea Maritima was a port city foundation of Herod I —called the Great, and the same person referenced in the nativity narratives of Matthew and Luke. The ruins of his constructions are all over the country, recognized and protected by the Israeli Antiquities Authority (sort of their Interior Department). As we went on through the eight days of our tour, we heard and saw a lot about Herod and his family —many of whom he executed when he perceived them as threats to his power. A great builder, but not a success as a family man.[5] The site itself is amazing in its complexity and the outline of the original plan is clear through examination of the remaining ruins.

As I mentioned, the flight was long and we flew economy class (on Turkish Air), which was pleasant enough but not luxurious. Air travel, hotels and tour arrangements do not come cheap, in our time or perhaps any time. Medieval people also invested significant sums towards making their spiritual journeys, sometimes sponsored by their villages or local religious institutions. I think facing some degree of difficulty or at least inconvenience may be an important part of making a pilgrimage —a casual stroll or drop-by to the historic sites of your own neighborhood hardly fits the bill. To get some mental space outside yourself and your common routine, to see some unfamiliar parts of the world with fresh eyes — that experience may well demand some minimal degree of mental, and probably physical, distance from quotidian concerns. In other words, when one stands at the place of the Dome of the Rock, or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre[6], and has a mindfulness and awareness of the history entailed there, the occasion offers many points for contemplation. Perhaps it is best not to miss them entirely.

Mt. Carmel hosts a chapel on a hill near the site where the Beatitudes (‘Blessed are…’ ) of Jesus were given, according to tradition.[7] There is also a commanding 320° view of the surrounding area available from a platform at the summit.

“Blessed are you poor ones! God’s domain belongs to you.”

“Blessed are you hungry ones! You will have a feast.”

“Blessed are, you who weep now! You will laugh.”

We heard much more about the activities of this Jesus fellow, a marginal Jew of the first century CE as some have called him, throughout our visit. He seems to have caused quite a stir in this region.

Tel Megiddo[8] is the height-of-land located near the anticipated site for Armageddon, a final battle spoken of in one or more of the New Testament documents, as well as in a Hadith from the Islamic tradition. As has been true for more than 1900 years, nothing happened while we were there. I don’t think an interest in such matters is psychologically healthy, although obviously many of those in my faith tradition disagree.

By the end of the first day, we had gotten acquainted with a few of our fellow travelers and had a better sense of the two tour guides: Prof. Carl R., an archaeologist with significant field experience in the region; and Ofer D., an Israeli native who knew the ‘lay of the land’ to an uncanny degree. We learned from each of them throughout the tour.

Day 2 —Tel Hazor, Tel Dan, Banias/Caesarea Philippi, Golan Heights

My traveling companion watched a few minutes of TV on the first night, but I had little interest in the news for the duration of the trip, even during US midterm elections. My thought was that the opportunity of “away time” like this ought to be augmented by an observed period of low distractions, of which our own time has in abundance. Reflections — perhaps on scripture or perhaps on other works of literature —I thought preferable. While we were busy all day, the sort of un-booked time we had after dinner is hard to come by in the usual crush. A pause doesn’t need to be a visit to the historical holy sites of one’s own culture, or anywhere really, except in one’s mind. But a quiet place helps —a forest will do, or somewhere by the roar of the ocean.

By the way, the MET (in New York) has a lovely little essay on medieval pilgrimage; it talks about its development over the long centuries and provides many illustrations from among the Museum’s collections. I recommend you give it a few minutes of your reading time.

Tel Hazor is a national park[9], its site being identified — with good reason —with the Biblical ‘Hatsor’ referred to in 1 Kings 9:15 as among the cities fortified by Solomon. The legwork necessary to get up to the top of this site —and the next one, Tel Dan —was challenging, and one or more of our group opted not to climb the old stone steps. The option of a winding ramp would have been most welcome.

Tel Dan Nature Reserve is a similarly ancient crossroads of trade, in the northernmost parts of the Nation of Israel, within sight of the border with Syria. It was an area the Israelites contested with the Canaanites. An important 9th c. BCE stele was excavated there containing text that refers to “the House of David.” This site, too, included some very steep walking, some of which I skipped. Nearby Mt. Hermon provides the principal headwaters of the Jordan River, and the rivulets which spring up on this slope are amble, vigorous, and noisy. The contrast with the somnambulant lower Jordan, below (south of) the Sea of Galilee, is striking.

I found Banias/Caesarea Philippi exceptionally interesting. Situated near a small, but well-watered cirque in the Golan Heights, this site is was the second of the two major sources of the Jordan River we visited.[10] In previous times it was also a pagan shrine (dedicated to Pan, no less!); in Jesus’s time —he is reported to have visited this small city selected as a regional capital by one of the lesser Herodians. Perhaps he only walked in the park and rested for a few days; there’s no knowing.

As we later saw at Magdala, the intermixing of monotheistic and polytheistic motifs in many of these structures indicated a less doctrinaire separation of the faiths and practice than later generations might have it.

We took a side trip up to the border regions of the Golan Heights[11] and walked around a former IDF guard post. One supposes it could be activated again at any time; a cold peace can also be a very fragile one; and, post-civil war, Syria is now a colony of Putin’s aggressive regime. We could see the suburbs of Damascus as well as a mountain in Lebanon, reminding us that Israel is quite a small country, geographically.

Day 3 —Capernaum, Sea of Galilee

Medieval people would sometimes write of their experience upon approaching Jerusalem as one of “going up,” reporting on their feelings of “ascent.” Even if the journey had been simply ‘travel’ to that point, there was something commonly felt, but hard to describe, as they came over the hill and within sight of the holy city. In pilgrimages to Rome, they spoke of approaching the threshold of the apostles (ad limina apostolorum). [12]  An early post-Constantinian writer, the author of Peregrinatio Aetheriae (386), describes several sites that were already frequented by pilgrims in her time.

By Day 3, we were getting to the threshold of landscapes more notionally familiar from our reading of the New Testament documents.[13] The Sea of Galilee[14] – also sometimes referred to as Kinneret (modern) or the Sea of Tiberias (Roman)— might also be considered a simply as a large, wide space in the Jordan River, which gushes in at its northern end, and exits lazily at its south. The more technical term for this flow arrangement is “fluvial lake,” i.e., a lake produced by water running over a low and wide spot in the terrain. Nazareth, traditionally accounted the growing-up-place of Jesus, is 20 miles (32 km) to the south and west of the Sea; I don’t recall any account of why he might have relocated, but several significant NT events occur on or by the water.

This third day was probably the least physically challenging. First, I think, we visited Capernaum. This seaside village (also spelt as ‘Capharnaum’) refers to itself as “The Town of Jesus” and has a reasonably good claim upon this honorific. The foundations of a house, quite likely, on the evidence —owned and inhabited by Simon Peter, the Big Fisherman himself, has been excavated there. A modern Roman Catholic church, run by brothers of the Franciscan Order, has been constructed over the site, and includes an unusual, transparent ‘viewing station’ constructed in the central floor for curious pilgrims to look down into the excavation itself.

For lunch, we sat down at a Druze-family-operated restaurant and ate “St. Peter’s Fish,” which was a Galilean tilapia served roasted. I found it absurdly bony and nearly tasteless. No wonder he left his nets. After lunch we visited a small museum containing a first-century fishing boat which had recently been recovered from the mud.

We closed the day with a small-craft ride on the Sea of Galilee towards sunset, which was lovely. From our perspective, the sun set between the Horns of Hattin, the site of a major Crusader setback at the hands of Saladin, in 1187.[15]

Israeli parliamentary elections held on this day returned B. Netanyahu to a premiership for, I think, the sixth time.

Day 4 — Sepphoris, Nazareth, Jericho, Lower Jordan River[16]

Before he could travel in safety, the Pilgrim of Bordeaux (ca. 333) possibly had to wait for the Emperor Constantine to decriminalize his faith. The politics of the holy land has affected effected the experience of religious travelers from that day to this; mine included. There are soldiers here and there throughout, and especially near border crossings and the Temple Mount (in Jerusalem). Jericho is in the West Bank, as is Bethlehem.

In the early 1st CE, Sepphoris was a boom town, favored by the local rulers and located on a crossroads. Nowadays, neighboring Nazareth is the much more significant settlement. One of the points our guides made was that Joseph —and in one place, Jesus (Mark 6:3)—were identified as tektōn (τέκτων) —i.e, builder-craftsmen of some sort.[17] There would have been plenty of work for skilled housebuilders in Sepphoris. Maybe our guy learned Greek there.

On the other hand, Jericho (Tel-es-Sultan) bills itself (with good reason) as the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world. We spent a short while there, long enough to see some of the walls and hear an explanation of what might have happened in the incident with the trumpets. Key fact: Bricks were made out of mud in those long-ago days, and not fired into clay.

The afternoon was dedicated to visiting the traditional site where John baptized people in the Lower Jordan. The outflow there is slow and turgid, and the river’s width very narrow. The flies were fierce. Wading over to the Kingdom of Jordan would have been a trivial exercise; and also a big mistake of course. Several of our party took the opportunity to re-affirm their baptismal vows. I am confident that it took great faith to stand in that water for more than 10 seconds.[18]

Day 5 —Masada, Qumran, Dead Sea

By Day 5, we were about as immersed as we were going to get, but still had not visited the primary sites of ‘Christendom’[19] although they were coming nearer to hand in our itinerary. The night before, as we checked into our Jerusalem hotel, we had had a glimpse of the modern city, and glimpsed a tower or two, far off. The morning bus ride took us to Herod’s mountain fortress of Masada, a much-storied place. Famously, in the final act of the First Jewish-Roman War (CE 66-74), the Romans constructed an earthen ramp which provided the Legion with marchable access to the fortress, and the remaining defenders committed suicide rather than be taken in triumph by Rome – i.e., into death (after torture) or slavery. These events are described in detail by Josephus , writing only 5 or so years later — who was himself involved in the first year of the conflict. This war was remembered as a great success by Roman historians, who saw it as on the credit side of the ledger in the careers of the Emperors Vespasian and his son, Titus. Alternative evaluations remain available.

The Masada site today maintains a large 2-car gondola arrangement to schlep us tourists up and down; there are, however, well-maintained stairs to the summit and a few of our group hoofed it up. (Penitential?) I was especially wowed by the view of the Roman ramp, and Herod’s water collection & storage system. For a ruthless killer, that guy was a genius at adapting his architecture to his landscapes.

Josephus (d. 100) is also remembered as an early non-Church writer who mentioned – and sometimes discussed at length —such New Testament figures as Ananias and Caiaphas (important temple priests in Jesus’s time) as well as James the Greater, John the Baptist, and Jesus himself.[20]

We drove by the Qumran Caves where, in 1948 ff., the document collection known as the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) were found. The little visitors center at Qumran itself is not extensive, and it is focused mostly on the monastic (Essene?) site on the coastal plain between the Dead Sea and the caves, which rise into mountains to the east.[21] Whatever we make of them, the DSS are a critically significant discovery for the domain of Biblical studies, both of the Baptist’s time and about 100 years before.

That day’s excursion concluded with a stop at the Dead Sea, which is dying. Several of our group floated in its super-saline waters — my travel partner and I instead enjoyed a beer at “The Lowest Bar in the World,” (elev. -420 m.) and cheered on those brave/foolhardy souls. [22]

Day 6 —Jerusalem: Gethsemane, Old City, Holy Sepulchre[23], Garden Tomb

For that long-ago seminar I mentioned, I wrote a research paper[24] entitled “Bones and Bishops.” It focused on a particular incident involving St. Ambrose, Archbishop of Milan (d. 397) and the discovery (L. invenere) of some putative relics —i.e., bones—of two martyred 2nd c. saints, Gervase and Protasius. One might be forgiven for inferring, in skeptical mode, that good Saint Ambrose umm… amplified his facts a little, as part of his struggle with the emperor at that time, Theodosius.[25] Chalk it up to clerical savvy of a political kind.

I bring this ancient artifact (my paper) up because part of the draw of the holy sites was and probably is, by some, thought to be a lingering presence of a holy person.[26] Medieval people, and some modern ones, seek the aid and comfort of a saintly person in a place strongly associated with them. Of course, sites associated with the career, trial and state execution of Jesus would fall in a similar category.

Gethsemane (a garden and a chapel): A lovely walled-in area managed by the Franciscans, it still has olive trees. A spot of quiet in the midst of a noisy city.

Old (Ottoman) Jerusalem was divided into four (or five) quarters, among them the Jewish Quarter, the Muslim Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, and another one.[27] Math was still a newish concept in those days, perhaps. We enjoyed a little break as shopped a bazaar-like area in the Muslim Quarter, all tight in on narrow streets and wall-to-wall shops, and lunched on falafels and shawarma.   

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is based on a discovery (that word again) by the redoubtable St. Helena, the Emperor Constantine’s Mumsie when she visited the area in 326 and went around looking for Biblical sites, of which she found some.[28] She was aided in this effort by Eusebius of Caesarea (remember Caesarea from Day 1?) and Macarius of Jerusalem, each of whom was a big deal in their own way and lived in the area. The church itself is massively built/rebuilt, and is dark and feels ominous inside. It was probably the main site the pre-Crusader westerners demanded access to and were torqued off when they did not get. The facility is run by representatives of four Christian denominations, who squabble about stupid shit.[29]

Garden Tomb: While the Holy Sepulchre is the most popularly attributed site for the short period of time Jesus is thought to have laid in his grave, as with so many holy sites and relics, there is a second option. The Garden Tomb is small – it could have been hand-hewn —and has a nice little channel for the closing-stone (mentioned in Mark 16:3) to roll in. The site’s curators have thoughtfully imported a substitute stone.

Plaza of the Dome of the Rock: Islam gained control of Jerusalem, taking it off the hands of the Byzantines, in around 636. Not long after (691) , a large scale Muslim shrine was erected on former site of Herod’s Temple – also the former site of a Temple dedicated to Zeus – and who knows what else besides; it is not worth fighting over. This octagonal building is beautiful, and its blue outer walls and gold dome are visible from most everywhere in Jerusalem and some points beyond.

Even passing through three inspection points, our non-Moslem group not able to enter the Shrine; instead, we could perambulate the plaza. Which we did. A case of their house, their rules I guess.

A Vignette:

Before our group could enter the plaza surrounding the Dome of the Rock, the women amongst us had to pass “modesty tests”—no visible knees, shoulders, elbows allowed. No ankles either, it seemed; also, a scarf required for their heads. Those who did not pass were offered covering skirts and, ummm, sarapes? in order to pass muster. These had the appearance of yellow and brown flour sacks to me, or racoon suits. The temperature was around 85 ° F and after a while at least one of our companions did show initial signs of overheating—but this was towards the end of the plaza circuit and she rallied after ditching the stupid getup.

Anyway: We sat to take a group picture, and our group leader —the guy with the camera —said, “Say, Cheese!” I said “Say, Fight the Patriarchy!”

At least half the group laughed. You may guess which half.

Day 7 —Bethlehem (West Bank)/Church of the Nativity, Herodium

By Day 7, we began to be aware of the approaching conclusion of the trip, and home-related concerns started to creep back in. This is probably inevitable, as we are blessed (or cursed) with some metacognition, and most of us are planning-oriented sorts of creatures. Like the Beatles in India, I suppose; it is good to be away and have interesting experiences, but it is also comforting to know who is picking you up at the airport.

Church of the Nativity:  In the morning, we were driven to Bethlehem for our second visit to the West Bank. The Church of the Nativity is said[30] to be the oldest Christian church in continuous operation, having been spared from the ravages of a Persian invasion (614) due to a mosaic depicting the potentially Zoroastrian Wise Men (Matt. 2:12 μάγοι; ‘wise men’ ) on one of the walls. Although this narrative does not appear in the nativity sections of Luke[31] —neither does the “flight to Egypt” —that does not mean Matthew’s account lacks historical foundation. It does mean that I doubt parts of it.

We had no difficulties in entering or exiting the West Bank. Perhaps there is currently a period of relatively low tensions. I should also point out that the Gift Shop was gob-stoppingly full of a large number of enticing things. Also, that I allowed a street vendor to prevail upon me to buy three nice scarves from him, for cash.[32]

Herodium: Herod, like most other humans before him, knew he was going to die at some point. He therefore had a lovely tomb area prepared, and it has been recently provided with modern stairs and some signage. The site was later used by partisans at the time of the Bar Kochba revolt, with the usual result: Romans 1: Zealots, Nothing. As it turned out, by order of Emperor Hadrian, Jewish families soon were turned out of the Jerusalem area entirely — and the city paganized and renamed —after this (final) revolt, in yet-another devastating diaspora.

Day 8 —City of David (excavations),

Western (‘Wailing’) Wall,

Shrine of the Book/

Israel Museum

Our final full day, and last day as a group, was again busy. It was a gorgeous day, weather-wise. We walked through ongoing excavations in the “City of David” section of Jerusalem, visited a portion of the Western Wall (up close this time; I left God a little note); and, if I am not overlooking a site, closed at the Yad Vashem (a Holocaust Museum, which should be visited by all) and the Shrine of the Book at the Israel Museum, a place I have long wished to see. This is where the Dead Sea Scrolls are normally kept. They were out that day, maybe someone borrowed them for a school project?[33] This site also features an outdoor model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period, at a 1:150 scale. In other words, huge, the size of an actual city block.

On the ride back to the hotel, everyone started saying their goodbyes. Our taxi pickup to the airport came at 5:45 AM, and we were off on our return trip.

§ § §

And In the End…

Having been privileged to experience all this, and now having taken the time to encapsulate my recollections, I’m still left wondering what I might make, or ought to make, of it.  History and archeology are their own reward, I suppose, for those of us who appreciate the benefit of knowing a little about the past, even the ancient past. But none of my previous trips (Canada, Spain, Ireland, England, Wales) felt like this. I therefore suppose that I had additional motivations, which I can only characterize as spiritual ones. And so, and despite my anti-effusiveness, I’ve tried to include all of what I have to say about that.

There was, for me, a strong & positive value in coming to the hallowed places of my own tradition. In some contrast with ancient religious tourism, I conclude that medieval pilgrims, by and large, gave a credence to the power (Aristotelian energeia) of the place and the saints/relics who rested nearby —a specific form of belief that I as a modern don’t share, and probably can’t. At least, not at all in the same way. I’m too aware that there are relics of the three wise men said to reside in Germany, and the two (four?) heads of John the Baptist are still rolling around somewhere; perhaps someone even has the silver charger Herodias had it/them served on, and uses it as a charcuterie board.[34] Also, that all the sites we visited had electric lights and modern plumbing. Even so, I think it valid to observe similarities between their experiences to ours, and to frame them as best understood on a continuum, rather than as some sort of conceptual, and unbridgeable, schism.

I’m glad I went.

/DDD Nov 17th, 2022

5,150 words

[1] Primarily of the Christian variety, although I recognize that there are similar practices of long-standing for those of the Jewish and Moslem faiths, and indeed, worldwide.

[2] Whose staffs I cannot praise enough.

[3] We were informed that there are more than twenty-five thousand designated archeological sites in this country – one whose total square miles — or meters, if you prefer — approximate those of Vermont.

[4] Jonathan befriended some semi-feral cats who were also resident at the hotel. This was a recurring motif. The stray cats of Israel found a fast friend in Jonathan.

[5] “It is safer to be Herod’s pig than to be his son.” Cum audisset inter pueros quos in Syria Herodes rex Iudaeorum intra bimatum iussit interfici filium quoque eius occisum, ait: Melius est Herodis porcum esse quam filium (Attributed to Augustus by Macrobius, in his Saturnalia).

[6] This proper-noun spelling is correct, even though Word appears not to agree.

[7] ‘According to tradition’ covers a multitude of uncertainties. The versions of Matthew and Luke vary. If Jesus indeed delivered these sayings (Gr. logia), he must have said them somewhere. Perhaps in more than one place.

[8] The term ‘Tel’ refers to a human-made mound resulting from successive settlement, over centuries. Troy is a well-known example of a Tel, as is Jericho. Tels are often of high archeological value, providing information not otherwise available. One thing about a Tel, however, is that in digging into them, some parts are inevitably destroyed. Some of the 19th century excavations were became a jumbled mess, their informational results highly uncertain. Contemporary archeologists are trying to mitigate this issue with improved techniques. The future will always be better at it —a fact which puts everyone now working in a bit of a pickle.

[9] The Israeli Nature and Parks Authority provides handy and detailed maps of all of these major sites, although I did not find PDF’s of them online. I did, however, find this.

[10] I also learned that several of the mountains in that region are small (nearly) extinct volcanoes.

[11] This mountainous area is the source of nearly all the naturally occurring potable water in the area. This supply is now supplemented by desalination facilities.

[12] Car or bus travel may well mitigate against that ‘threshold’ feeling. You just get out of the vehicle and trot up. At Lough Derg in Ireland, pilgrims used to crawl the last mile or so on their knees.

[13] A careful reader will note that we did not approach Jerusalem in NT narrative order. As it turns out, approximately equal time was allocated to BCE sites as to Herodian and 1st CE sites, and in order of travel convenience. We did not focus on Crusader-era (or later) sites much at all.

[14] A freshwater lake, and the largest such anywhere in this region.

[15] Part of the original 11th c. motivation for launching the Crusades involved restoring access to the holy sites for pilgrims. It is a long, complicated tale and I won’t get into it here. Runciman’s books about the Crusades are still an enjoyable read, if no longer up-to-date in a scholarly way.

[16] My chronology may be a little munged in here, but I don’t think it matters much. I’m not on the witness stand under the eye of a hostile prosecutor. The timestamps on my iPhone snaps are the best guide I have, if it comes to it.

[17] Thus, the AV says, “carpenter.” Jerome’s Vulgate has “faber” – i.e., worker.

[18] Actually, no one is quite sure where the J-Man was baptized. https://www.baptismsite.com/the-place-where-jesus-was-baptized/

[19] An old term, which I hope you will forgive in this context.

[20] In two places, one including significant expansion/textual corruption by a later Christian copyist.

[21] The scrolls probably weren’t walked far from their place of origin. But the unity of the Qumran Community with the Essenes – who are mentioned in 1st c. texts – is not completely established. N.B., the folks who produced the video are a little on the J4J side. Caveat videantur.

[22] The most southerly parts of the Dead Sea are already land-ish, and are mined for minerals by heavy machinery. The dismal example of the (former) Aral Sea comes to mind.  

[23] Despite what MSFT Word thinks, this is the proper spelling for a site that is older than the English language, and so is not up to us.

[24] Which I still have. I like to think my style has improved, at least a little, if not my methodology.

[25] I think that is about happened.

[26] “Pray for the dead and the dead will pray for you,” as the old chestnut goes. Good Roman Catholics venerate the saints; they do not worship them. Whatever the Calvinists may say on the matter.

[27] The antique names no longer represent the resident population of these areas.

[28] For extensive details about pre-Helena Christian pilgrimage activity to the Levant, I recommend reading Pierre Marval’s “The Earliest Phase of Christian Pilgrimage in the Near East (before the 7th Century)” (2002); accessible through JSTOR.

[29] In order to more adequately address circumstances such as these, I sometimes wish Twain were still alive.

[30] With good reason.

[31] Luke does report J.’s circumcision on the 8th law, as required according to the law. So he had that going for him.

[32] I am not heartless, and I recognized in him a person skilled in the art of the hustle. It was a fair deal, and worth it for the story.

[33] Well, actually—we were told there was an issue with the super-sealed display cases they are normally housed in, and so they had been temporarily relocated until this could be addressed.

[34] Too soon?

[Pat]: She used to always try to follow my brothers and she was walking on the radiator and she hit the radiator and she busted the tooth, didn’t she, that night?

[Dave]: When she fell off? I guess Nancy did a couple of thing like that, huh?

[Pat]: No, that was Betty.  Nancy was daredevil too. 

[Nana]: Oh, gosh.  When my kids got anything wrong with them, it had to be the worst.   I always had them all laid out and everything, I’m telling you. Judy had the polio-

[Pat]: I’ll never forget the time I went to camp and my mother had to come up and get me or they had to send me home because I busted my tooth.  I was sad because they had to send me home, they got more scared about my cracked tooth.  And I hadn’t been- like I was saying, you don’t get out of the city that much and I didn’t want to go home, and they were having a fit, “Oh, we got to get this kid home so they can go to the dentist,” you know?  And I was crying ‘cause they were sending me home.  Everyone’s all concerned about me.

[Dave]: Everybody’s breaking legs and arms and everything, huh?

[Nana]: Oh, yeah.

[Pat]: I guess my mother’s seen her share of blood. Between my brothers coming in –

[Nana]: I remember when Peggy used to have the nosebleeds. 

[Pat]: We were talking about that the other day.  Somebody had tonsillitis, or- we heard that Rainey had her tonsils out.  Mary took ‘em out one day and she brought ‘em out to our house, and Rainey was talking real funny.  And it’s the only thing that crossed my mind, I said, “Rainey, did you have your tonsils out?”  She said, “yeah, I just got out of the hospital day before yesterday.” Cause she was in that- [high pitched voice] “Hiii”, you know how it’s real high and it’s cracky?  Dave and I were talking about that just the other day.  How kids were growing, you know, and he was talking about Rainey.”

[Pat]: So I said, “Boy, are you kidding me?” Cause I asked her, I said, “were you sick?” So she said “no, I just got sore throats.” And Dave and I were talking about it, I said “Boy, she was lucky.” I can remember when my sister Peggy was little and we had our tonsils out.  She used to sit and fill a bucket- have a bloody nose and fill a bucket of blood. 

[Nana]: Oh, God yes.  Used to have to bring her down the hospital and have it cauterized, to stop it.

[Dave]: That’s painful, isn’t it?

[Nana]: Oh yeah, they used to have to plug it up with cotton and everything.  Ruined more towels, more bathrobes…

[Pat]: I used to get a bloody nose, but nothing like that-

[Dave]: I only get a bloody nose when I get punched in the nose.

[Pat]: So when one had to go in, she just I guess, shipped the two of ‘em in and got them over and done at once.  But I’ll never forget- I can’t remember to this day what Peggy had- but I’ll never forget when Peggy got sick.  She wouldn’t eat, she wouldn’t walk, she wouldn’t talk, she wouldn’t do anything at all.

[Nana]: That was what they called Chorea- but you spelled it with a “c-h.” And you lost all coordination in that, you know.  And she was in the hospital almost one whole summer.  That was the day they came home from school.  You were going into fifth grade I think.   And all in that fourth year, fifth year- whatever it was, Sister kept saying, “if you don’t do better, your sister will go ahead of you and leave you behind.” Well, when she knew that she had been promoted, when she got home, she just collapsed.  That was it.  She had made the grade and she had to learn to walk, she had to learn to talk, and do everything all over again.  I’ll never forget when they brought her home from the hospital-

[Pat]: You’ll never forget, I’ll never forget.

[Nana]: I said, “You’ll have to be very careful; she can’t talk, so watch her eyes.”

[Pat]: They didn’t want to release her.  She talked around us, but she said, “You’re not doing a thing, this kid’s gonna get better.  I’m taking her home.”  Because they didn’t want her to go home- she couldn’t function at all!  She had to carry her in the bed.  She couldn’t even write her name! 

[Nana]: They’d carry her upstairs on the chair.  So I said to them, “you can go up and talk to her.”  This was on the afternoon- remember [Katie McKinnon]? And they came up and the pair of them came out of the room and they felt so bad.  And that Monday morning, she was sleeping, I remember Nana had come down, stayed overnight.  And she was going away the next day on vacation.  I think that was the year she took Betty and Barbara up to Halifax or up to Montreal.  So anyway, we were having breakfast Monday morning, and my mother said to me, (it was about nine o’clock,) “you better go up and see if she’s all right.” So, they were all out in the kitchen and I started hollering up- why, not screaming, but I called my mother and I said, “come here.”  So she comes in the room, and I said, “say hi to Peggy.” So she says, “Hi Peggy,” Peggy didn’t move.  Well, when I walked in, she was sleeping, and then I started to do something, I had changed my room around, and I had started to make my bed or something, and all of a sudden I heard, “ooh.”  I thought I was dreaming, and I looked, and she was talking! And so I called my mother and my mother come up and she began talking to her, and that’s how she started talking again. 

[Dave]: Just started up again and that was it.

[Nana]: Yeah.

[Pat]: And you know those plastic sheets? You buy them in the game store, in the Five and Dime.  You lift the sheet, you write something and you lift the sheet.  

[Nana]: Oh yeah, magic marker.

[Pat]: Yeah, that’s how she learned how to write.  We used to all say, “come on! You can do it, you can do it!” And we’d do it, and it was terrible, she’d go … and you’d say, “no, this is what you do.” And you’d do it all over and lift the paper and that’s what she did, everybody just kept-

[Dave]: Didn’t you say you got sick one time she got sick? 

[Pat]: No, I got all the symptoms. I didn’t get the sickness.  

[Dave]: Did you get sick in school, or what?

[Pat]: When she come home-

[Nana]: No, that was her appendix.

[Pat]: Oh, you mean when she had the sickness, or whatever it was?

[Dave]: When she got sick, did you have the symptoms before you knew she was sick? 

[Nana]: No, that was when she had rheumatic fever.

[Pat]: Oh, I don’t know.  Yeah, they called it Saint Vitus dance or whatever. 

[Nana]: No, that was what that Chorea was. 

[Pat]: Oh, okay.  So anyways, I remember being in school and feeling lousy, whether she was missing then or not.  No, it must have been after she came home, I remember going to school and I felt lousy.  And every day, I used to have to come home, and the doctor would be there.  And I used to have to get up in the bed, and he’d check me all over, and I had what they call sympathy pains.  If she had a cramp in her stomach, I had a cramp in my stomach.  If she had headaches that day, I had headaches that day.  And the doctor told my mother, “there’s nothing wrong with this kid, she’s just what they call sympathy pains.” 

[Nana]: Well that’s it, they were so close.

[Dave]: Yup. Anything else?

[Pat]: The only other thing is when I had appendicitis.  Peggy didn’t feel too [swift].  But then, neither did I. 

[Nana]: Well as I say, when my kids got something, they really got it.  Like one time I had taken the kids- one of the nuns’ mother had died- it was Betty’s sister, and I took a bunch of the girls up to the wake.  And we came home, and we were all sitting at the table having supper, that was one thing at my house, you had to be at that meal table.  We all ate together.  Of course, that was when families were families.  And so anyway, she said, “Mama, I don’t feel good.  May I go up in my room?” So, I figured, well this was an experience, and yes, all right.  So then, all of a sudden, I said, “shh, everybody keep quiet.”  And I could hear the bed going up and down, and I could hear, “It’s no ordinary pain, it’s no ordinary pain.” And I went up the room, and here she is, jumping up and down on the bed, screaming with pain! And, Jackie was working down the City Hospital at the time as an orderly, you know? After school, and on Saturdays.  She was in the seventh grade then, so he was older.  Anyway, I called him and I said, “what do you think?”  And he said, “you’d better get her down the hospital.”  Him and I walked the streets of Roxbury that night.  Her appendix had ruptured, and we didn’t know whether she would live or die, but they wouldn’t let me stay in the hospital.  So they said, “We’ll be in touch,” and we walked- oh God, and then, we’d walk back to the hospital, and then walk again.  I’m telling you-“

[Pat]: Well, when mine ruptured, they ruptured around the liver and up around the bowels.  Three days of [?] you know.  And then this lady in the hospital- it was severe.  And I was getting better, but I never liked the food.  So my mother would bring me in stuff.  She used to bring me good eggnog- homemade, fresh.  She’d say to me, “put this in the refrigerator. When she doesn’t want something, give her this, at least she’s going to get the nourishment.”   So I guess this woman saw that they brought me something besides what they were giving to somebody else- all she was, was a cleaning lady.  But this one day, somebody had come to visit me and my slippers ended up way under the bed where I couldn’t- instead of being on the side and walking into them.  So I said to her, “would you please get those?”  So she said, “What do you think I am, your maid?  What are you, a spoiled brat?” She said, “get under the bed and get them yourself.” So I waited and I waited, and I said, never mind.  And I just waited for someone to come, ‘cause that’s the first thing they told me when I even woke up- you don’t move any more than- I couldn’t bend down and get those things, I probably never would have got up! “

[Nana]: No!

[Pat]: That’s funny though, the different things that happen to you. 

[Nana]: These kids used to love to go over to Rosemarie and Tony’s house when they were first married.  And then, was it Tony’s christening, that Warren was giving you kids the peaches and the wine? 

[Pat]: It was probably.  First time I ever tasted rhubarb was when she lived in [? Neck?].  I never tasted rhubarb.  They used to have fields and fields and fields of it.  Like, her house would be here, and right across the street was fields of it.  I don’t know, but they must have been giving the stuff to Rosemary because she used to make different stuff [?]. 

[Nana]: I used to love that. 

[Dave]: It’s funny, when you look back, you say, “I wish I had always taken more pictures.”  Ma’s always saying she wish she took more pictures of this or that that happened.  

[Pat]: We got a movie thing we gotta get-

[Dave]: You gotta use that more.

[Nana]: I got about four rolls of film in there I have to take out.  

[Dave]: What, ones that haven’t been developed yet? 

[Nana]: Yeah.

[Dave]: Do you got, old albums and things too, though? Of yours?

[Nana]: Oh yeah, I got loads of pictures.  Oh God help us, yes.  It’s too late now to get them out.

[Pat]: You used to have boxes and boxes of them.  You gave a lot away though, didn’t you?  No, I divided them up among the kids, yeah.  

[Dave]: I think that’s the thing, though, everybody can look back at pictures and stuff. 

[Nana]: Oh, yeah.

[Dave]: That’s the best part of it. 

[Nana]: So have you been looking into these post-graduate stuff? 

Yeah, I wrote away.  We just finished that tax thing today. 

Interview with Nana Phillips, 1977 [Part I]

[Nana]: My mother and my brother Jim, my sister Anne, my sister Elizabeth came over from England. I don’t know what year but-

[Dave]: Like in the 1910’s?

[Nana]: Oh, for heaven’s sakes, I was born in 1908.

[Dave]: Yeah, and you were born here.

[Nana]: So that was a good many years before I was born.

[Dave]: Okay. So it was in the 1890’s or so.

[Nana]: It maybe was. Or maybe wasn’t that long. Because wait a minute now- there was Helen, and Agnes and Frank were born after they got here, and myself, so it may have been in the 1890’s or something, I don’t know.  But anyway, they came over on the ship and they came steerage? First class?

[Dave]: Which one? Steerage?

[Nana]: Yeah, that’s when you’re down below I guess?

[Dave]: Yeah, that’s steerage, when you’re underneath.

[Nana]: Yeah, and when they got into East Boston, they came right to East Boston on the Cunard Line.  And when they came to East Boston, my father was supposed to be there to meet them.  And he wasn’t, and they had to stay in the place like a police station overnight. And then he came the next morning ‘cause he was working and he didn’t know they were there.  So, he had an apartment all ready for them on Clayton Street in Dorchester.

[Dave]: So, he was already over here? And they were coming over.

[Nana]: Oh yeah, he had his job and he had sent the passage money for them.  And my mother brought her canary all the way from England.  I don’t know how many years she had it after she got here.  They brought a lot of things over from England.  And they had quite a trip I guess, you know.

[Dave]: Yeah, it’s a long way.

[Popcorn popping slowly]

[Nana]: Oh yeah, I don’t know how long it took them then.

[Dave]: It’d take a long time- three weeks, at least.

[Nana]: It used to take them two and a half to three weeks, yeah.  To come over. And he worked on the- do you know where Freeport Street is in Dorchester?  You know where you turn to go on the Expressway now? And there’s-

[Dave]: Freeport Street? Yeah, yeah, where the gas tanks are.

[Nana]: No-

[Dave]: No, the one before that?

[Nana]: No, when you’re going in from Dorchester to go on the Expressway.   You know that street? And there’s a factory right aside of it?  That used to be a pumping station at that time.  As they called-

[Dave]: Of water?

[Nana]: I don’t know whether it was water, or what it was.  It was something to do- I guess it must have had something to do with water, but they called it the pumping station anyway, and he worked there.  He was a stationary engineer.  And I know-

[Popcorn popping quickly]

[Nana]: And now it’s burned, but I don’t want to-

[Pat]: You can tell, you’ll still-

[Dave]: Pops up a storm though, doesn’t it?

[Nana]: Oh, yeah.  But ‘cept when it starts, and then you take it out-

[Dave]: Ma, you see all the condensation in there? You see all the water in there?

[Nana]: Yeah.

[Dave]: Yeah, the reason the popcorn explodes is inside each kernel of corn, there’s water.  When the water boils, it turns into steam.  Steam takes up a lot more space, that’s why it blows open.

[Nana]: Ohh.

[Nana]: So, when they came here, he had this apartment on Clayton Street in Dorchester and they went to the Gibson School. 

[Dave]: Where’s that?

[Nana]: It used to be on the corner of Dorchester Avenue and Gibson Street.  You know where it is in Dorchester there at the town fair?

[Dave]: Yeah, I know where that is.  It’s not there now.

[Nana]: Noo, it’s an American Legion Hall or something.

[Dave]: Oh, down over that way.

[Nana]: Yeah, you know where the bus comes around to go there up the street, Neponset.  Right there.  And then they moved to Neponset after that.  Or did they? Yes, they did.  Yeah, my uncle had a duplex house and my mother lived in one side and her brother lived on the other with his wife.  And that’s where I was born, that’s where my father died, there.

[Dave]: So he came over before then, I guess from England, though?

[Nana]: Oh, yes.  He came over and worked and got their passage money, and sent it over and they came.  And then they made their home here and they had three that were born in England and six that were born here.  And I was the youngest of the nine.

[Dave]: How long was he here before they came over?

[Nana]: I don’t know exactly.

[Dave]: A couple years?

[Nana]: It must have been at least a year to get- or even more, maybe.  I don’t know how the money was in those days, you know.  And they-

[Nana]: And there was a strike on at the telephone company, and I was a strike-breaker.

[Dave]: Ah, you were a-

[Nana]: I was a scab.

[Dave]: A scab, that’s it.

[Nana]: That’s it.  My brother got me a job.

[Dave]: Being a scab?

[Nana]: Uh-huh.  I went to work every day, and the styles were long dresses, and my mother wouldn’t put me in long dresses.

[Dave]: She wouldn’t let you wear ‘em?

[Nana]: No. 

[Dave]: What’d you have to wear?

[Nana]: And what I used to do was- mind you, they used to have to wear them at knee length, and they were wearing them down to their ankles! So, what I used to do, was take my mother’s dress, and when I got downstairs in the outside hall, I’d switch and change and I’d go to work thinking I was Madame Godiva! And I had my mother’s dress on.  But, I wasn’t going to be left out. 

[Dave]: So what’d you do for the phone company?

[Nana]: I was a telephone operator, that’s right.

[Dave]: You worked a switchboard?

[Nana]: Uh huh.  And I’d say “operator?”

[Dave]: How long did that last?

[Nana]: Well, full-time it lasted about two and a half years and then I got married.  But then when your grandfather had his appendix out-  no, when Winnie was nine months old, when she had the osteomyelitis, I had to go back to work to help pay for her bills.   Cause you couldn’t go into the Children’s Hospital to visit them on Saturday- or during the week- but every Saturday was the day that that bill had to be paid in advance.

[Dave]: Oh, if you hadn’t paid the money, you couldn’t go see her?

[Nana]: And you couldn’t go see them, no sir.  I used to meet him in Park Street, and he’d give me his pay, and then after she came home from the hospital, he was rushed to the hospital and had his appendix out.  They were wrapped around his kidney.

[Dave]: She had appendix trouble too, right?

[Nana]: Oh yeah, and [?] did too.  And so I went back to work for the telephone company and my mother watched Winnie.

[Dave]: Where was Dad working then?

[Nana]: He had his own trucking business then.

[Dave]: Oh, trucking?

[Pat]: When did you and daddy work in the shipyard? Or did you?

[Nana]: That was after Judy was born.

[Dave]: That was later?

[Nana]: Judy was six months old after he got out of the army.  That was the beginning-

[Pat]: Weren’t you both welders?

[Nana]: I don’t know what he was doing.

[Dave]: You welded? What’s that, World War II?

[Nana]: I was Winnie the Welder, yeah.

[Dave]: Winnie the Welder! 

[Nana]: And I worked there when he was in the army.  See, what happened was, he wanted to get back in the navy.  It would have been the grace of God if he had, but the time for him to be taken in to the army came before his papers- he had lost his originals, and he had sent to Washington for them- and, on the Saturday he was sworn in the army, and on the Monday his papers from the navy came.  And he never forgave me for that.  It wasn’t my fault, but that was it. 

[Dave]: So, where’d you work welding?

[Nana]: Hingham Shipyard.

[Dave]: In the Hingham Shipyard?

[Nana]: Hingham Shipyard, and then he got a job there and I couldn’t stand working the same place with him, so I quit and went over South Boston Navy Yard. 

[Dave]: I guess they needed everybody to work then, huh?

[Nana]: Oh yeah.

[Dave]: So what’d you do welding? You putting ships together?

[Nana]: Sure, pieces you know.  

[Dave]: I know, sections.

[Nana]: They set them up and you weld that section.

[Dave]: You just do the line?

[Nana]: Oh, yeah.

[Dave]: How long was that for?  Just through the war?

[Nana]: Oh, yeah.

[Dave]: You do that for four years?

[Nana]: Oh, no, no.  He went in I think in September, and I went to work after that.  And then I quit in April because he got discharged in April.

[Dave]: He got discharged in April?

[Nana]: Yeah.  He was only in six months.

[Dave]: That was in the army, right?  He was in the navy before that?  When did he start in the navy before that?

[Nana]: He was in the navy when I first met him.

[Dave]: When you first met him?

[Nana]: I went to a farewell party for this redheaded kid. Should’ve said farewell!  But, you know how it is.  But, anyway.

[Pat]: Was my grandmother born here?

[Nana]: My mother? She was born in Liverpool, England. And your father’s people were born in England.  My father was born in County Monaghan, Ireland. Which father is he?

[Pat]: How did they meet?

[Nana]: I didn’t ask them.  He was in the English navy still.  She lived in Liverpool, it’s a shipping place.  She is a direct descendant from the people that own the Cunard Line shipping company.

[Dave]: So, was he a Catholic?

[Nana]: My father? My father was a Catholic.  My mother wasn’t.  She was a convert at nine years old.

[Dave]: At nine years old? She was Anglican before that- I mean British?

[Nana]: She was British, sure, but she was Protestant.  And when her parents died, her grandmother brought her up and she had her baptized Catholic.

[Dave]: So he was an Irish Catholic?

[Nana]: Mmhmm. I always used to say to Jim, “You limey, you.” I’m Irish, my father was Irish.

[Dave]: But he’s a limey.

[Nana]: But he was born in England. 

[Dave]: Oh, but he lived in Ireland.

[Nana]: No, my brother Jim.  Jim, Elizabeth and Anne were born in Ireland. [?]

[Pat]: So did Jim have to take out papers here?

[Dave]: No, he’s still a citizen of England, or what is he?

[Nana]: When he became 21, he had to take my father’s papers and my mother’s papers down and had them turned over for him.

[Dave]: So he became naturalized?

[Nana]: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

[Dave]: Dad’s gonna wait till he’s 75, then he’s going to become naturalized.

[Pat]: He’s permanent, what else would you need.

[Dave]: He’s an immovable resident, he’s not a permanent resident.

[Nana]: [?] leave him alone.  Have you heard any more about going to school?

[Pat]: I lost the ball.  And she said, “well, is it one of these?” I’ll never forget.  These are things I can’t forget.  She had a whole basket.  She used to collect all the balls that all the kids lost in that park.  And I guess when some poor soul like me come along looking for a ball to play with, she’d give it to me.  But that stuck in my craw because how many people go around collecting kid’s balls that they lose in the park.  But she lived down there.

[Dave]: You don’t remember when the war started, though.

[Pat]: The only thing I can remember was we lived in some house in Neponset, it had to be in Neponset, and we had a porch in the backyard and we used to all sit out there after supper.  And my nana had long, long silver gray hair.  And we used to take turns brushing her hair.  It was so beautiful.

[Nana]: Oh, yes, she had such wonderful patience.  She’d let them put ribbons on her and put it in rollers and put it in curls.

[Pat]: And braid it. Her hair was so long she could wrap it and wrap it.

[Dave]: How old was she then?

[Nana]: Oh, about 75 maybe.

[Pat]: Must have been in her 70’s.  But it was so long and it was thicker [she had it thick in a hair net], too.

[Nana]: Oh, she only had it cut a couple of years before she died.

[Dave]: She lived to be what, 93?

[Nana]: She was 93 when she died, yeah.

[Pat]: But things like that I remember.  I don’t remember hard times.

[Dave]: Yeah, you remember when the war started?

[Nana]: Do I remember?  Yes, sure.  I remember the big Depression too.  That was when my Winnie was a baby. 

[Pat]: And the other thing I can remember about when we were all home is  my mother used to put that Oleo margarine or whatever kind of margarine it was in a bowl and we used to have to sit and color it.  They used to give you these tubes and you put the grease in and then you put the color in and that was your butter.

[Nana]: And you had to mix it all up with your hands. 

[Dave]: Yeah, rationing too, huh?

[Pat]: Yeah, she used to cook and she’d say okay, I’m making the supper, somebody set the table and you sit there and you get that ready.

[Dave]: What’d you do for rationing? Did you get tickets or what?

[Nana]: During the- oh yes, that’s when I stopped using sugar in tea or coffee or anything.

[Dave]: Because you didn’t have enough sugar?

[Nana]: No, I figured my kids needed it more than I did.  Things got too bad.

[Pat]: When they rationed it?

[Nana]: Oh yeah, it was rationed.

[Dave]: I guess everything was rationed, huh?

[Nana]: And I’ll never forget, I was telling Dottie [Hawkin] that I wasn’t taking sugar in my tea or coffee and this was when Dick went in Korea, so anyway, he had bought the television and she used to come up and want to watch the wrestling matches.  It got to be a habit and then I said the heck with that.  But anyway, I’d make coffee and I told her that I had given up sugar, and she said, “well try this.”  Oh gee, you could hear me screaming everywhere.  I said, “my God, you poisoned me!” – saccharine. Oh God.  I said, “If I’m not gonna have sugar, I’m not having sugar.  But I’m NOT having substitutes.” Oh, God, it’s terrible.

[Dave]: So you’re better off, right?

[Nana]: Yeah, so I’ve never used it ever since!

[Dave]: So she didn’t have a TV and you did?

[Nana]: No, we did, yeah.

[Dave]: When’d you get a TV?

[Nana]: When Dick went in the service for Korea.

[Dave]: 51? 52?

[Nana]: I don’t remember when he went in.  Judy was about eight or nine and she was born in 42, so yeah, it might have been 51.  Let’s see, when Jack went in, he bought me a mixer.  Billy bought me the washing machine and Dick bought me a television.

[Pat]: What’d you do, you bought that wringer washing machine?

[Nana]: Oh no, yeah.  No, that was the one.  Yeah, that was it.  Oh my God.

[Pat]: The wringer washing machine. That was the most unbelievable.  My mother caught her arm- was it broken, or?

[Nana]: Oh no, see the difference in these two hands?

[Dave]: That’s what you did to it?

[Nana]: I pushed this right through the wringer.

[Pat]: See, there used to be like two wringers, and you’d push the sheet through, and if you didn’t get it right on the other side, it would go up the other wringer and everything would just keep rolling and rolling.

[Dave]: No, it was electric! I see.

[Nana]: Yes, it was electric.

[Dave]: I was trying to think how you could roll your own hand in it.  I couldn’t figure that one.

[Nana]: Oh no, I had one of those, you used to hook it on to the wringer and wring it by hand, but this was an electric machine, yeah.

[Pat]: And sometimes when you put the stuff through and if it was thick, like a blanket or a heavy towel or something, the whole top would pop, so she’s [tied] her hand and she’s standing there with the thing in the machine and she’s screaming, “help! Help!”

[Nana]: I’m saying, “pull the plug out!” Rosemary’s standing there, taking things out of the bag from the convent with a platter full of hamburgers she tossed them up in the air, I said, “take the plug out!” And finally, she got the plug out, and the hamburgers were on the floor.  But they picked them up and ate them that night.

[Pat]: Kiss them up to God.  Every time something happened, my mother would say, “Kiss it up to God.”

[Dave]: Kiss it up to God, can’t waste.

[Nana]: You know who I get a big kick out of sometimes, is the [?] We’d be sitting at the table-

[Dave]: You got a quarter of your own to spend? Out of twenty-one dollars?

[Nana]: But I got my carfare money every day, and, you know-

[Dave]: Well, I mean 21, you got a quarter?

[Nana]: But that was my spending money.

[Dave]: How much could you spend a quarter on?

[Nana]: Well, it went pretty far in those days.

[Pat]: Well, Daddy told us you used to go to the movies with a dime?

[Nana]: Sure.

[Pat]: Till back before my mother was born.

[Nana]: It cost a nickel for the movies and five cents for your candy.

[Pat]: Yeah, but then you got a bag.

[Nana]: Oh, yeah.

[Pat]: How many kids did she bring up?

[Nana]: Who, my mother? I was the youngest of nine.

[Pat]: And he was in the service most of the time, wasn’t he?

[Nana]: Oh, not after they moved here.  No, he worked in that pumping station on Freeport Street.

[Dave]: Oh, the whole time?

[Nana]: Yeah, I guess. And then, my father died when he was only 35 years old.   He had ulcerated legs and varicose veins.

[Pat]: He died of that? I guess they didn’t have the medicine back then.

[Nana]: Oh, they didn’t have the stuff in those years, no.  You know, if you ever want to know folklore and know your history, you ought to get him over to see Mary [Hulse?].  She’s got all kind of pictures over there for me.  And that, and I haven’t gotten over there to get them.

[Pat]: I know, we should get back to them.

[Nana]: I know, well, with the warmer weather I must call them, see how they’ve made out during the winter.

[Dave]: So, what, he died in like, the 20’s? He was 35?

[Pat]: So, she did more or less raise you guys.

[Nana]: Who, my mother? Oh, yes.  Sure she did.  I was only a year old when my father died and Frank’s about three and a half years older than me.

[Dave]: So what did she do, did she work part time, or-?

[Nana]: My mother was a nurse.  She put us in- I was in St Vincent’s, well it was called St Vincent’s Orphan Asylum but, it was like, working mothers could put-


[Nana]: She’s off, yeah.

[Pat]: It sounds funny.

[Nana]: It was down on- it wasn’t on Harrison Avenue, it was further over, but working mothers could leave little children there you know, and she went and trained to be a nurse because Frank and I were babies.

[Dave]: Where did she work? Do you know what hospital?

[Nana]: She trained in the Grace Hospital out in Newton.

[Dave]: And so, she worked at being a nurse?

[Nana]: Oh yeah, for years and years and years.  It was a doctor up in Dorchester on Bolton St, Doctor Kelly, and if anybody hated anybody, I hated that man- when I was a child.  Because in those days, when women had the babies, they had them at home, you know.  And they’d have a nurse come and stay with them- a week or sixteen days or whatever it was, you know.  And my mother would come home and she might have a day off on Sunday, and she’d only be home for a little while, you know, you didn’t see her that often.  And, if she’d be home for a couple of days, the first thing you know, who’d be ringing the bell, but Doctor Kelly.  And I’d say, “He’s here again, Ma!”  And she’d say, “what’s the matter with you?” “Doctor Kelly!” Oh, God.  I remember one Christmas he came and he had all kinds of things for me.  I didn’t want any part of it.  You’re taking my mother!

[Pat]: She probably thought, “Oh, good, here comes money.”

[Nana]: Oh, sure, that was our livelihood.  I didn’t know.

[Dave]: So, you stayed at- what was the name of it again, the orphan asylum?

[Nana]: St. Vincent’s.

[Dave]: St. Vincent’s. Till you started school?

[Nana]: I don’t know how long I stayed there.  Maybe I did. Yeah, I first started over at St. Joseph’s in Roxbury and when I was in the second grade, we moved to Blue Hill Avenue and I went to St. Patrick’s then for the rest of my school.

[Dave]: And then, where’d you go to high school?

[Nana]: St. Patrick’s. They had a three-year commercial course.

[Dave]: That’s what you took?  So you did typing and stuff?

[Pat]: What was that academy thing you told me?

[Nana]: Oh, that was during the First World War.  I was up St. Anne’s Academy in Marlborough for a year.

[Dave]: That was after high school?

[Nana]: No, that was before. Sixth/seventh grade.  Because they were all working in munitions factories, Frank was able to take care of himself you know, and I wouldn’t go in the house by myself so I was supposed to put the potatoes on and get things ready for supper.  I’d be still sitting on the steps when they all got home from work. So it was cheaper for my mother to put me in the boarding school.  Cause they were all making big money.

[Dave]: Working in the factories?

[Nana]: Oh, yeah.  Munitions factories.  That was a French academy, you could speak English one hour a day.  I can’t remember hardly any words in French now.

[Dave]: Oh, you had to do French, though?  So you learned some French while you were there?

[Nana]: Oh yeah, all the time. 

[Dave]: That must have been fun, speaking in French.

[Pat]: What was it, the nuns?

[Nana]: Oh, yeah.

[Dave]: So, you had all parochial education then.  So did all the kids?

[Nana]: Mmhmm.  Oh yeah. Yes, God love us, as I always said, people used to say to me, “Oh, it must have been awful hard” and all this stuff.  I said, I had a very good teacher. Because my mother sure was a wonderful person.  She took care of us, gave us the best.

[Dave]: She must have seen a lot of different things in her time, huh?

[Nana]: Oh, she sure did.

[Dave]: Now, she came over from England, right? Then she lived over here.

[Nana]: She couldn’t have been over here- well, she was for a few years, yeah. I was gonna say she couldn’t have been over very long, but there was Helen, and there was another Winnifred you know. I’m the second Winnifred in the family.  Hard luck me.  And so I always say to my kids, “don’t ever name after anybody- like, if you have one, don’t name another one after that.” Cause people have done that- look at me.  But, my sister was Winnifred Mary and I’m Winnifred Margaret.

[Pat]: What’s the sister’s name that become a nun?

[Nana]: Agnes.  And my sister Elizabeth died at 13.  She had heart trouble. And she was the one- when I was born, my mother said, “I don’t know what to name the baby,” and she said, “well, name her after the other Winnie.” So, that’s how I got my name.

[Pat]: So, how many years was she a nun?

[Nana]: Agnes?  I can’t remember.

[Pat]: How old was she when she died?

[Dave]: Was she the one up in Halifax?

[Nana]: Yeah.

[Dave]: She was there during the explosion, right?

[Nana]: No. No, Agnes wasn’t there.  She was gone then.  I was married and had my kids when the explosion-

[Dave]: No, it was in the First World War.

[Nana]: No it wasn’t.

[Dave]: It was in 1917.  Which explosion are you talking about?

[Nana]: No, no, no.  It was something big.  Oh, no it was the fire that went [out].  Oh yeah, yeah yeah, I remember.

[Pat]: It was that ship-

[Dave]: A munitions ship blew up, knocked down half of Halifax.

[Nana]: Oh yeah, in the harbor.  My mother’s brother Vernon- Barney, they called him, he-

… Listen! Among the many struggles and catastrophes associated with the return of the Draconis, not all were stories of honorable struggle. Some, although reckoned by blood as counted among the Noble, chose to turn craven in their obeisance to the new Powers in the land.

Among these were the leaders of House Draejan, those stemming from Constantine’s Branch. In exchange for petty commercial concessions from the new overlords, Draejan’s forces cooperated in the hunting down and extinguishing of their traditional rivals, House Raylinth, until none were known to still be abroad in the land. The Draekjan, as they were now called by many, had complete concession over the lucrative tanning, mining, cartage, and gate rights — a sizable portion of which they handed over to their masters with extreme precision and regularity.

Herodian the Younger might have been mistaken for a townsman, a grasping merchant by his dress and demeanor. He was fat, and covered his belly with a wide belt of fashioned gold, inlaid with gaudy jewels. But he stood in true generation from Constantine and he from Falheim. Herodian had never seen a battle he couldn’t buy his way out of. He was not known to have seen any battles at all.

At this time, he was bent on adding — to the other accounts of his tollage — the lumber rights and grain millage from the great wheel on the river. This was steady income, and of no interest to his Draconic masters, or their lesser servants, and he coveted the additional coins. Even in such times, food-growers and herders needed wood for their barns and fencing, and would find a way to pay. In not in coin, then in service. Herodian did not scruple at demanding any form of service, many of them vile or simply cruel.

The mill was situated at a fall of water by the eastern edge of the Savage Woods. In those times down to our own, no one enters (and few ever leave) the Woods, fearing what dwelled within A few members of House Dilathi were thought to survive within, relatively safe from the predations of the Draconis due to the resistant wood of the native trees, and the efforts of a few greater Druids. If the Fae had portals within, they were never spoken of. 

The millkeep was a fair, respected half-orc named Glum. He ran a fair mill, a brisk business day and most of the night, and kept everything in order.

On a fair day in September — I recall it in full, said the Chronicler —  Herodian rode, or rather,  rolled, up upon the mill, with a dozen spear-carrying henchwards in tow, bypassing the line of peasants and demanding to speak at once to Glum.

With a deep, rumbling grunt, and heave of his arms, Glum disconnected the mechanism that spun the grindstone, and it slowly spun to a halt.

“What is it?” he bellowed as he came out. 

“You are Glum, the Miller?” queried Herodian, speaking through a lackey. 

“I am. State yer business, I have orders to fill, and ye see the line.”

“Very well. Upon examination of the accounts, my Master finds that you are 10 years in arrears on this operation. How will you make satisfaction?”

“WHAT? Outrageous. Everything on this side of the river is House Dalathi, and has been for years uncounted.”

“The Dalathi are all dead,” murmured Herodian. “And these are new times. I could have this stream redirected, and whom would your mill serve then?”

Just then, three wagons emerged from the forest, the drivers hooded and cloaked and the horses huge and ringed with fog, or perhaps it was sweat from the effort of their labors.

Herodian thought he saw a chance to gain some profit. “Seize them!” he ordered, and his henchwards pushed forwards, ready to seize the wagons and the horses. By force if the woodmen were inclined to fight.

A screeching came from the woods beyond, as if from the rubbing of great treelimbs in a gale. A dozen Treants emerged, striding between the wagons. With their long limbs, they grabbed the frontmost of Herodian’s men, two apiece, and continued marching towards the river.

Herodian stood upright in his stirrups a moment, in shock. And then he turned his horse and made to ford the river, to safety. 

A laughing voice from the shadowed woods was heard, “Thus Herodian abandoned his odious claim.”

A few of the henchwards managed to sprint, and swim, into the river and back to their homes.

Glum laughed. Turning back to his work, he offered a terse observation to those of his customers within earshot.

“Dalathi survives.”


Getting the Bauble Back:
A Simple Stealth Module for Draconis
Dave Davis
It is nighttime, misty and dark. The Violet Thorn is busy
with customers.
A hooded person enters, orders a drink, and asks if
Aloysius is nearby.
“Why yes, he’s right over there.”
The Barkeep points to the table where Aloysius is sitting,
enjoying a drink with his friends.
“Thank you, good sir.”
HOODED PERSON drops a few coins on the bar, then walks
quietly over to Aloysius’s table and coughs into her hand,
apparently in order to get his attention without attracting
that of others in the tavern.
“Might I ask for private word with
you, Aloysius?”
Aloysius looks the Hooded Person up and down.
“Very well, I’ll back in a moment
Together they walk into a private room. About a minute
later, Aloysius exits the room and returns to his table,
while the Hooded Person leaves by the front door.
(He lowers his voice)
“Well, my friends. It seems we
have an opportunity to make a
little coin at minimal risk. IF we
act fast. Would you like to hear
more about it?”
“Well, that lady, hmmph, is an old
colleague of mine from an earlier
part of my career.
(In a low voice)
“Brynne, We’re here.”

Driving home, Scofield recalled how he and Bob Thompson had first put together what became the Kronsys calibration unit about a dozen years ago.

Calibration, in this technical area, is a rare talent. It requires — almost — someone with Asperger’s syndrome-like skills in attention to detail. Bob Thompson had this — the ability to pick up on the slightest disharmony among the instrumentation.

As with traditional piano tuners and their set of forks, there was in their sort of instrumentation a physical, ‘ground truth’ to what they did.  That empirical ground truth was located in a specific, custom-modified six-amphere wire from a standard microwave gun that Bob had devised. It was Scofield who had figured out a means of putting a company together, the traditional garage-and-credit-card based startup.

Thompson’s hack was reliable, clever, and (unfortunately) unpatentable. And considered a trade secret by Kronsys, once they had brought bought them out to acquire their technology. They hired on Thomson and Scofield to run the new product group.

Coming back to the present as he pulled the car into his driveway, Scofield guessed that Bob and the others had been unceremoniously RIFed. In other words, fired. His old friend had probably been seen out the door with nothing but his pictures of his kids in a box under his arm. They had built that unit from nothing, and now it was gone.

Once he was back in his apartment, it didn’t take Scofield long to dig out Bob’s old AOL account and open it to a chat window. Then, he popped open a beer to wait.

At 9:30, Bob logged on.  He sent over a few lines of text:


Coffee? Now?

“I must have Moscow Rules”



…and then the daughter window closed, a little ‘hung-up phone’ picture taking its place

James looked at the screen a moment, leaned back and cracked his knuckles as he was wont to do when puzzling something out, and then got up. Time for him to visit the local Dunks’, it appeared.

But Bob never arrived. It turned out, as he learned late that night, that Bob Thompson was dead.

Just about the time Scofield was thinking of walking out and dumping the whole business, he heard the sound of a cart coming down the corridor. He looked, and saw a young man bringing what he could only guess was a PC of some unknown brand, the ‘workstation’ he had been expecting.

“Scofield, J-7? right? This setup is here for you,” said the fellow, who looked and sounded like “Desktop Support” was his chosen line of work.

“Yes. I’m Jim. Your name?”

“I’m just an outside contractor, here for the day. Call me Jay if you like. I’m her to set this up for you.”

“OK, Jay. Well, I’ll get out of your way and head to lunch, then.”


Not the talkative type, Scofield thought.

Jim got up from his chair, and retraced his steps, all the way back to his car. He got in, drove the short distance to the closest Dunkin’ Donuts, and bought a coffee and a muffin. He sat down to contemplate the whole crazy business.

While he was sipping his coffee, Scofield spotted the facade of the big, old 19th-century public library building. He wondered if it might be open, and then realized, of course it would. On a whim, he decided to burn up a few minutes of his break with a little quick and dirty-style research on their Internet PC’s.


He first searched for mentions of Kronsys as covered by the local news media. There weren’t any, at least not since the building had gone in, a dozen years ago. Next, he searched for hits on his ex-boss and ex-colleagues. He knew, for instance, that Bob had competed in bridge tournaments, and that Skip was fond of get-togethers for tasting freshly made craft beers. And, come to think of it, hadn’t Jon submitted — successfully — a technical paper for a recent Statistical Signal Processing Workshop put on by IEEE? About waveform transformations or something?

It took a few minutes, but he did find a couple of likely-looking e-mail addresses for his colleagues. He fired off a quick “Hi from Jim, I’m back” to each of them before logging off (after checking to erase his browser history) and returning to Kronsys.


The reminder of the day was nearly as tedious as the morning had been. His workstation, that nondescript, no-label PC, was up and running as he sat down. And, glory be! There was an Excel file of the call log records. That much was a relief.

There was also a phone on his desk. It appeared, however, to be unpowered and unconnected.  The whole shebang still felt so alienating and impersonal.

Scofield worked until it was nearly 5:00, poking around the seemingly endless rows of call data, still without finding anything that seemed like a pattern. At the stroke of 5:00, in walked Severin again; he noted that he was still here, and suggested that he would see Scofield tomorrow.