December 31, 2016

Victorian New Year's Eve Resolutions

Lenore and Archibald had enjoyed a busy day. They'd attended two balls and danced with exuberance every waltz and quadrille until they could dance no more. Cousin Myra and Aunt Minnie had finally departed after a month's visit and their little ones were tucked in for the night, leaving just the two of them to toast the New Year in. With champagne tickling their noses, they were quite content with the cozy arrangement.

"Dearest, I think 1840 was such a lovely year!" Lenore exclaimed. "We were finally invited to tea with the Vanderbilts and lawn tennis with the DuPonts."

Archibald tweaked his mustache. "Indeed, a brilliant coup. I'm certain the acquisition of our very smart brougham went a long way in elevating our social standing."

Lenore topped off their glasses. "I think we should decide upon our New Year's resolutions. Goals to better ourselves."

"I'll go first," Achibald offered. "I shall forgo my snuff. I think it considered very old fashioned these days. Don't you? Smoking is much preferred. They say it's healthy for the lungs, especially for asthma."

"A pipe?"

"Yes whenever I'm at home. Of course, I'll always ask leave of you to have a smoke. It is the gentlemanly thing to do."

"I'll sew you a fine velvet smoking jacket," Lenore sighed. "One with a satin collar. Or better yet, I'll buy you one on High Street. And slippers too."

"My darling girl, I think you are perfect in every way, so you need not rattle your brain over any resolutions."

"But I've already given this much deliberation. Now that our family is complete..."

"Complete?" Archibald bellowed. "I don't consider nine children the end of it. I'm one of a eleven and by God, I aim to match my father's efforts."

Lenore gave her best pout. "But darling, shall you have me completely worn out before I'm thirty-five?"

"Of course not, my sweetie, but ..."

"Back to my resolution for the year. I plan to tight-lace my corset to reach an enviable 15 inch waist. Dottie has achieved it and I aim to also."

"I've heard it on good authority that corsets constrict the organs."

"That is what smelling salts and a fainting couch are for," Lenore countered.

As the clock struck twelve, Archibald took his wife in his arms gave her a kiss that weakened any resolve she had of curtailing their family.

Lenore smiled contentedly. "Happy New Year's, my love."

September 28, 2016

Endless Days and Nights in Fat Alley

Endless Days and Nights in Fat Alley

Fat Alley was a notorious red light district in Galveston Texas. Photographs from that era rarely show the terrible plight of the women involved in that trade. This is one poor girl's story.

Lottie was only ten when her mama died and her good-for-nothing pa sold her to Madam Kitty in an alley off Postoffice Street. Her job was to fetch clean water for the basin next to the bedstead in between Johns. She kept her head low and learned to stay out of reach of lecherous men who fancied the virginal blossom of youth.

It seemed overnight her breasts grew and soft hair sprouted between her legs. The changes did not go unnoticed. Lottie was all grown, they declared, and she was given her own crib with a rag filled mattress and a lamp draped with a red scarf. Her lips and cheeks were painted and her hair curled.

She did not know what to expect. She had seen the tears and bruises, and unborn children carried away in the middle of the night. But she could not imagine the pain of the endless days and nights that were to come.

May 30, 2016

Bathing Beauties

written by Rosa Morgan

Temperatures are rising and it's time to take the plunge.
Ah, but we must be vigilant in our modesty.
Perhaps a gentle stroll at water's edge?

Or dare we disrobe in the sanctity of the bathhouse.
Emerging in our woolen finery to be goggled by the passerby.

But we are braver yet.
With ankles hidden in dark stockings and coquettishly crossed, we shall demurely make conversation with the handsome swim instructor. Dear, I do need another lesson.

These fine specimens of manhood
are demurely wearing skirts over their swimming trunks. 

While these gents are erring on the side of caution
with their life preservers on.

It's all fun at seaside

That is until the fashion police make a raid.
Lady you went too far! That's a lot of ankle you're showing!!

March 3, 2016


written by Rosa Morgan

At first glance the purpose of a door knocker is simply to allow people outside a house to alert those inside to their presence. Such as the delightful moment the postman delivers a sweet missive from a friend. 

If this were the door knocker’s only purpose, the design would have remained fundamentally a ring for the hand to take hold and a striking plate to create the resonating sound. However, it is the homeowner’s intent to convey a message that has led to the knocker’s artfully intricate evolution.

The earliest designs were figures with distorted features, 

thought to ward off evil spirits or witches.

This woman, perhaps a maid who is accustomed to entering only through the servant's entrance, is now delivering a message on behalf of her mistress. Feeling the importance and wealth of the homeowner, she is intimidated and timidly raises her hand to announce her arrival.

The lion has always been more popular in England 

and was roundly looked down upon in America during the Revolutionary period. It's replacement was the patriotic eagle often with warring arrows clasped firmly in its talons.

Some door knockers proclaimed the occupants' religion. The hand shaped door knocker was thought to symbolize the Hand of Fatima, which protected the house from evil and declared the occupants of the house were Muslim.

While others like this masonic inspired knocker proclaimed the resident's occupation.

Perhaps it was a favorite author that was portrayed, such as this image of William Shakespeare.

And who wouldn't love to be greeted by a playful pup?

I'm certain Tom Cat would approve!