My friend Cindy (now Cynthia) knew I liked Rupert Bear and when she was travelling in England the year she and her folks lived in Spain she sent me a Rupert Bear puzzle and orange chocolate bar (possibly with Rupert on it) for my high school graduation. Cynthia graduated from high school a year early so she could go to Spain when her father took a year-long sabbatical from teaching. She wrote a colorful, slightly silly, slightly inspirational note on the back of the puzzle box.
June 29, 1975
Happy Happy Graduation!!
This isn’t much, but the thought behind it is!! I hope you have a super summer. And a good Fall & winter too! (why did I write that?? I’ll be talking with you before then!) Anyway, I’ll be thinking about you, struggling away on this 800 piece puzzle with sticky, orange chocolaty fingers.
Just keep a stiff upper lip & you’ll make all life’s ups and downs pass like porridge!
I’m not sure I have ever put the puzzle together, but I kept it nearly 40(!) years.
We lost touch for a while, but have reconnected on Facebook. She lives only a few hours from me and one of these days I hope to jump in the car and visit her. Maybe I will bring the puzzle and we can put it together. Together.
The other day I was checking out Facebook and saw that my friend Alison’s son’s girlfriend posted something on Alison’s wall about the Iona Marble Quarry which got me thinking about my Iona marble ring that Jeremy’s parents gave me for my 21st birthday the year we stayed a week in a caravan park on the grounds of Castle Sween. I remembered wearing my Iona marble ring to the most recent Burns’ Night at the aforementioned Alison’s house, but had not seen it recently. I assumed it was in one of my jewelry boxes, but went downstairs to check. It was not in either of my jewelry boxes.
I told myself to not panic and figured I would look through drawers over the weekend. I thought that perhaps I gave it to my daughter — the ring is slightly too large for my ring fingers. I texted Clare to see if I gave it to her along with a similar ring I found on the Internet.She replied, “Whooooa no you never gave me that whaaaaat.”
I was sad (but glad I didn’t give it to Clare after all) so I did check one drawer, thinking perhaps I put it there after Burns’ Night and never put it away. I dumped out the contents of the drawer but could not find the ring. I did, however, find Rupert.
I’d been a little worried that I’d lost Rupert, you see. I was worried to do a whole house search because if I didn’t find him, then he would be lost for ever and ever and that would be sad. Even sadder if I lost the ring. Rupert, if you don’t already know, was found by the aforementioned Jeremy in 2002 when we stopped by Todmorden to pay his family a visit.
I was so happy to have found Rupert that I stopped looking for the ring.
On Saturday morning I thought I would check my jewelry boxes one more time. This time I dumped out one of the jewelry boxes on my bed. It didn’t look promising, but I did find a pair of earrings I thought I’d given the aforementioned Clare when her earlobe piercings seemed to be closing up. The posts were a little smaller than most other posts and I thought it would help. You see, for the past several years I have been a little sad because my earlobe piercings seemed to be closed. I could not find a pair of earrings that would fit in the holes and was pretty sure I’d need to have them re-pierced, something I didn’t want to deal with. I tried one earring on — it went through the hole! I tried the other earring and it, too, went through the hole. While I was delighting in my earring success I glanced down at the bed and noticed my Iona marble ring.
All because Alison’s son’s girlfriend posted a link on Alison’s timeline.
Rupert was happy that his American family remembered to take him on their trip to visit colleges in the Northeast. Sometimes they forgot to take him along on their journeys and that always made him sad. He especially wished he’d been along for the Ireland trip.
Rupert was also happy that he had a warm and cozy place to ride when his American family toured colleges in the cold rain. While they were soaked, Rupert stayed dry — although he does regret not seeing Diane Lane. He thinks she’s hot.
On Wednesday, April 1, Rupert and his American family visited Middlebury College in Vermont. The day was cold, but not rainy, which made them all happy. At this point on the tour, at least for Dean and Dona, the schools began to blur together. They all had lovely campuses, lots of trees and perky and overachieving tour guides. Andrew liked Middlebury, but it is not at the top of his list.
After the information session and tour, Rupert and his American family had lunch at a cafe in the town of Middlebury. Andrew and Dona liked the food, Dean was not happy with his soup. Dona liked the friendly people who were behind the counter. That kind of thing doesn’t usually impress Dean.
Rupert could tell that Dona was excited, but nervous, about meeting Indigo Bunting and Lali. He thinks Dona was nervous because she felt she was overstepping an unmarked boundary — that some people like to be more anonymous than she does online and that Indigo Bunting and Lali might only be agreeing to the meeting because they were too nice to say no. He suspected Dona was also nervous because Dean was never comfortable meeting Dona’s Internet friends.
As soon as Dona phoned Indigo Bunting and heard her voice, Rupert knew that Dona was no longer nervous. It was exciting to turn that last corner and see Route 153 for real. She saw the post office and other landmarks she’d read about in IB’s blog posts.
Rupert and his American family arrived at Indigo Bunting’s house at exactly the same time as Lali did. When Indigo Bunting opened the door she hugged everyone, saying “I hope you’re huggers!” It was exactly how Dona hoped it would be.
Dona, Dean and Andrew had (delicious) coffee, cookies and pie with Indigo Bunting and Lali while enjoying a lively conversation about everything from college visits to birds to coffee to towns in Vermont. Rupert got a thrilling ride on the God Cod, some photos were taken and everyone drove over to visit Lali’s home where they met Bisou, Lexi, Wolfie, Lali’s husband and the chickens. They admired the wattle fence as well.
Indigo Bunting gave Rupert and his American family a loaf of Rupert Rising Bread which they tasted about an hour later as they drove to their next college town. It was delicious and they planned the meal it would compliment when they got home the next evening.
On the way back to Bethesda the next evening, Andrew answered Dona’s question, “So what did we learn on this trip?” with “We learned that blogging friends are really nice!” Rupert, Dean and Dona all agreed.
To make a hollyhock doll, pick a fully blossomed hollyhock flower from the stalk, keeping about 3/4 of an inch of stem (this will become the neck).
Now, pick a bud that has some of the color of the flower showing through the green sepal. Gently peel the green sepal from the bud, exposing the tightly closed bud and the white bit near where the stem was. Notice it has holes. Gently push one of the holes onto the stem of the fully opened flower. The other holes will create the effect of eyes and the part where the stem was attached is the mouth.
Your doll is now made and will last a few hours before closing up.