Leaves of Grass – A Special Edition

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While looking for something to read next, I came across a signed copy of “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman published by David McKay (Copyright 1900). On the front matter, there is a picture of him with a handwritten note on the bottom “David McKay from his friend Walt Whitman”.

 

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I browsed through the book and a page was earmarked and there was the poem “O Captain! My Captain!”, one of the favorite poems of our class in Literature in high school. I didn’t know who Walt Whitman was at that time. I was thirteen and English was not my favorite subject. For me I like Math the best. I had no idea why the class loved the poem so much except for the fact that our English teacher, Mrs. Brual, read it to us with so much emotion that we began to like it. She was the principal of the school and the best English teacher we had. Little did I know that someday I would be living in Long Island in a town very close to where Walt Whitman lived and finding out that he was one of the best poets in the U.S.

Read on. It got interesting later.

O CAPTAIN! my Captain, our fearful trip is done,

The ship has weather’d every rack, the prize we sought is won,

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;

But O heart! heart! heart!

O the bleeding drops of red,

Where on the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen cold and dead.

 

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up–for you the flag is flung–for you the bugle trills,

For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths–for you the shores a-crowding,

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;

Here Captain! dear father!

The arm beneath your head!

It is some dream that on the deck,

You’ve fallen cold and dead.

 

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,

The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

Exult O shores and ring O bells!

But I with mournful tread,

Walk the deck my Captain lies,

Fallen Cold and Dead. 

But that’s not all. Inserted or rather attached inside the book are onion skin papers (three of them) with Biographical Note of Walt Whitman written in his own handwriting from May 31, 1819 to 1888 where he wrote “Mr. Whitman is now in his 70th year”. The paragraph ends with “He resides in Mickla St, Camden, New Jersey”.

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There is another piece of paper attached somewhere in the middle of the book where he addressed sending a couple of copies to David McKay’s children.

Few years ago, I took the book to an Antique Roadshow in Charleston. We had the ticket for the late session. When I showed it to the appraiser, he took one look at the book without opening it and gave me $10 for the book. I was very disappointed to say the least. He must be so tired and in a hurry since they were doing the appraisal since early in the morning. It was a long day for them and there was still a long line and it was almost closing time. At that time, I was not aware of the handwritten notes inside. The book has a rough edges and if you flip the pages, it does not really come out unless you go page by page individually. It somehow clings to the other pages. It’s really hard to find it right away. I had to be careful and thorough. I did not see the biographical note till today. I saw the note about the copies to the children a week ago.

When we went to the Antique Roadshow, I did not know what to bring. We have so much antique in the house so choosing one which is easy to carry is what we wanted to do. I just saw the book in one of the bookshelves and since it was an old book and Walt Whitman was a famous poet, I decided to bring it over.

I only discovered the notes recently. There must be a value to it since it looks like this is a special copy intended for his publisher with all the written notes in Walt Whitman’s own handwriting. I’m intrigued and would like to find out if it is worth anything. If not, I still have a special book signed by a famous poet.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda Morgan

Long Island Vineyards Produce World Class Wines

Looking for a place to go on a weekend?

I know. The week just started. But what a better time to start planning for the weekend. Weekend is a great opportunity to make a trip to Long Island’s East End and discover the award-winning wines of Long Island. Long Island wines are both grown on the North Fork and the South Fork on the East End of Long Island.

Critics_Challenge Banfi

 

So if you are going to New York or its vicinity, it will be a great idea to go to the East End. At this time of the year, it is even better. Less crowd means less traffic.

 

Not only will you be rewarded with the great wine experience, the drive is exhilarating. Out east, you’ll find out that you are really in the back country. There are farms everywhere. Years ago, these farms were mostly potatoes farms and cornfields. Nowadays, they are sod farms and landscape trees farm.

 

How things change. But still, you’ll see historic towns, fishing villages, seafood restaurants, bed and breakfast establishments, flower and farm stalls and a proliferation of vineyards that dotted along the only main thoroughfare, the Main St. (Route 25). While you are there, you might as well go all the way to the end to Orient Point, the end of the North Fork. If you’re inclined, you can take the ferry which can transport you to New London, Connecticut. Before you head back home, you can cap your trip with a dinner at Claudio’s Restaurant in Greenport. That’s on the North Fork.

 

However, traveling to the South Fork on the weekend is horrendous. Everyone seems to be going to the Hamptons. My husband and I went out east to the South Fork once during the week and it was a pleasant day trip. No traffic. There are also some wineries on the South Fork but not as many as in the North Fork.

 

Grapevine

The first grapevines were planted 45 years ago in Cutchogue on the North Fork of Long Island. Today the area boasts of so many vineyards that they are able to compete with California wines and French wines. The early vintners found that Long Island has the best climate and soil and growing conditions for excellent ingredients for quality wines. The vintners here used the age-old growing techniques with the state-of-the-art technology to produce the award-winning wines.

 

However, there is a hidden vineyard located around the most expensive neighborhood of Long island. Villa Banfi Vineyard is located in Old Brookville. One can see their vineyard on Hegeman’s Lane off Route 25A going east toward Brookville Country Club. Although they do not have a vineyard tour, sometimes, they will open the main house for special private fundraising events like those held by the Oyster Bay Historical Society years ago when I was its treasurer.

 

Below is the 60-room manor house which is Banfi’s headquarters, originally known as “Rynwood” which also served as a country retreat for a branch of the Vanderbilt family. It sits amid squared lawns and formal English gardens on a heavily landscaped 55-acre estate in Old Brookville. A unique boast of the manor is a wine cellar that houses some 6,000 bottles of rare vintages.

 

Villa Banfi - Old Brookville

 

Going to the North Fork is a snap. You take the Long Island Expressway to the end and then take Route 25. Once you’re on Route 25, at the second light, turn left to the end which is Sound Ave. By doing this route, you’ll also avoid the traffic congestion at Riverhead. You might like to drop at Briarmere’s Farm Stand and buy some pies. They are out of this world but I caution you, they are very expensive. Then follow that road and you’ll find vineyard after vineyard scattered about the road.

 

Go to Martha Clara Vineyards first since you are already on that road before you turn right and head back to Route 25 where you’ll see more vineyards. Check out other vineyards. I found some vineyards have friendlier staff than others. All in all, you’ll have a pleasant trip.

 

I like Pindar Vineyards very much and I like Viognier wine the best. I tried to order it online and I was disappointed they cannot ship Viognier to SC. I also have not seen Pindar wines sold in SC or for that matter any New York wines. I wonder why.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda

“The Rose Lady”

www.rosalindarmorgan.com

More facts about Long Island

 

Planting Fields State Park

Planting Fields State Park

Long Island, NY has 26 state parks.

 

East Hampton Coastline

East Hampton Coastline

Long Island’s picturesque coastline is 1,180 miles long.

 

Charles_Lindbergh_and_the_Spirit_of_Saint_Louis_(Crisco_restoration,_with_wings)

Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of Saint Louis

Charles Lindbergh began his famous non-stop flight from New York to Paris from Long Island’s Roosevelt Field airstrip in the early morning of Friday, May 20, 1927.

 

Apollo Lunar Module - NASA

The Apollo Lunar Module (LM) that landed on the moon was built in Long Island, NY by Grumman Corp.

 

The Great Gatsby

F.Scott Fitzgerald wrote the Great Gatsby (which described Long Island’s “Gold Coast”) while living in Great Neck.

 

The Vanderbilt Planetarium, located in Centerport, NY is one of the largest and best-equipped in the United States.

The Long Island Railroad provides more than 303,000 rides to customers each weekday.

Long Island, NY has several national award-winning schools including more than 14 leading colleges and universities.

Long Island has world leaders in biotechnology.

Long Island has leading research and world-renowned hospitals.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda, “The Rose Lady ”

www.rosalindarmorgan.com

 

 

The Battle of Long Island

 

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Photo credit: History.com

 

The Battle of Long Island, which took place on Brooklyn Heights, Aug. 27, 1776, is the most important event in the history of the island with one of the largest expeditionary forces ever launched against an enemy in the history of Great Britain – 32,000 troops. The immensity of that military effort was a tribute both to the fighting skills of the Americans and the grand strategy of the British high command.

George Washington, anticipating an attack on New York, moved his 19,000 raw and poorly equipped soldiers, setting them to work building fortifications on the southern tip of Manhattan and in Brooklyn Heights.

On the morning of August 22, 1776. American stationed at Gravesend (near the present Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn) awoke to see an armada approaching from Staten Island, ships loaded to the gunwales with British troops. The invasion was on. The American fled and soon joined the bulk of Patriots soldiers who were aligned either behind the Brooklyn Heights fortifications or along a ridge that ran from near Gowanus Bay eastward toward Jamaica. The ridge, called the Heights of Guan, was thickly wooded and formed a natural barrier, penetrable only through four openings, the easternmost of which was called Jamaica Pass.

After several days of skirmishing, the British took up positions in front of the three other passages, engaging the attention of about 2,500 American militiamen defending the ridge. While Washington waited for the attack, General Howe led his main force of 10,000 on an all-night march to Jamaica Pass, where only five Patriot officers had been posted. Capturing the five before they could warn their cohorts, the British learned that the pass had been left undefended and quickly poured through. Howe’s strategy worked to perfection. He had positioned overwhelming forces both in front of and behind the American lines; the final blow was to be coordinated with a naval bombardment of Brooklyn Heights from the East River.

However, nature intervened. A stiff north wind and an ebbing tide prevented Howe from moving his fleet northward. Yet the situation was still desperate. Patriot troops, caught in the British pincers, suffered severely and were barely able to retreat behind the fortified Brooklyn Heights positions. There, they faced a force, superior in every regard, that was prepared to win victory by seige or assault.

Confronted by this terrible dilemma, Washington conceived and executed a brilliant strategem – to retreat to Manhattan. After sustaining incessant fatigue and constant watchfulness for two days and nights, attended by heavy rain, exposed every moment to an attack by a vastly superior force in front, and to be cut off from the possibility of retreat to New York by the fleet which might enter the East River, Washington commenced recrossing his troops from Brooklyn to New York on the night of Aug. 29.  

Moments before its completion, with Washington on the Long Island side, British scouts, suspicious of the silence, infiltrated the Patriot lines and discovered what was happening. But before they could act, a fog rolled in and concealed the departure of the remaining boats, one of which had Washington on board.

The evacuation resulted in the extrication of some 9,500 American soldiers out of 10,000 American actively engaged in the Battle of Long Island with their equipment and supplies, from positions only 600 yards from the British lines to safety in Manhattan. This was one of the first American defeats in the Revolutionary War.

Long Island remained a British stronghold until the end of the war in 1783.

 

Until next time. Stop and smell the roses.

Rosalinda, “The Rose Lady “

www.rosalindarmorgan.com