bucket list: tickets to antiques roadshow

Waiting in line to be “triaged” at Antiques Roadshow

It only took about 15 years, but I finally got tickets to Antiques Roadshow! Tickets are a lottery process – you apply and hope you get tickets. But 2019 was my year, and in February I got the magic email that said I had won tickets for filming at Winterthur, which was today.

The drive to Winterthur once you get off the highway is magical. My friend Amy went with me as my Antiques Roadshow plus one.

We arrived and wound our way through Winterthur and the Antiques Roadshow checkpoints along the way.

We parked in one of the lots and meandered down a shady path to a building where we checked in with our tickets.

When we reached the check-in building, we then had our tickets checked again and we got in a longer line to queue up for shuttle buses.

The shuttle buses took us further into Winterthur where we assembled in yet another line and waited to be “triaged”.

Being “triaged” means they preview the two items that each Antiques Roadshow ticket holder can bring with them. We then get our tickets that list the categories our items fall into. I bought a book and a little Chinese porcelain box I picked out of a barn. My friend Amy bought some other decorative arts category items to be appraised.

It was waiting in this line that Amy and I encountered our first few grumpy old women ticket holders.

I had taken a photo of the “triage” that we were waiting for and the Winterthur building rising beyond it that we would eventually go into and this super cranky old woman with her two cranky wing women had to point out the sign a good ways up ahead where we would be in a cell phone free zone. With filming and other things they wanted our phones off, which was understandable.

But honestly this group of three cranky old women with their fearless leader of multiple comments was a bit much. I smiled and said we hadn’t reached the point of turning off our phones yet and I was taking a picture of the line leading to the building because I was writing about my Antiques Roadshow experience afterwards. She mumbled some final huffy comment and they shuffled off to their “triage” x 3.

First stop post “triage” was having my book looked at. It was a 1950s Modern Library edition of Robert Frost poetry that Robert Frost had signed up at St. Paul’s School when he was visiting as part of I think their Conroy Distinguished Visitors Program.

I love Robert Frost poetry. I had picked up this volume out of a box of books marked 25 cents at the Christmas Bazaar at the Church of the Redeemer in Bryn Mawr at some point in the 1990s.

After I had given the book room volunteer their quarter, I flipped it open to check the table of contents so I could read The Road Not Taken. What I discovered next was Robert Frost had signed the book to a student. And then the book was stamped Waverly Heights Library (as in the senior living community in Gladwyne.)

I had always wanted to have this book looked at to see what it was worth. Not because I expected it to be priceless but out of curiosity.

So I stood in the book line until it was my turn. Ken Gloss of Brattle Book Shop in Boston appraised it. Mr. Gloss was kind of antiseptic about my book. He had to point out it was a student edition so the book wasn’t worth much. He didn’t love my book as I love my book. He valued it at $100 because of the poet’s signature.

Next stop was Asian Art. My appraiser was Robert Waterhouse. He and Lark Mason were doing appraisals in a courtyard in front of the Chinese Pavilion Folly. It’s actually part of a current garden art installation. He appraised a green and white Chinese porcelain box I have.

Mr. Waterhouse was very nice and my box which cost me the princely sum of $2 is a modern 20th century Chinese box worth about $20. So while my box might not be the next great artifact, it’s still a treasure to me! And Mr. Waterhouse took the time to explain to me what to look for if I ever found another box.

My friend Amy had her items appraised and was verbally accosted by yet another grumpy old lady. This one was concerned about her umbrella which was neatly folded up and not accosting anyone.

The Antiques Roadshow made for amazing people watching. And it was fun seeing everyone’s treasures while we were waiting in line. There was a couple ahead of me in the book appraisal line with a really unusual box who got whisked away by producers and there was a man to my left that show producers were talking to who had this crazy cool Civil War porcelain pitcher and some other Civil War memorabilia item that was a textile of some kind.

It was really interesting watching them do the show. We learned that for the folks they filmed although we will only see a couple of quick minutes when the Winterthur shows air, they actually take a lot of time with people. We certainly didn’t feel rushed. I didn’t get the warm and fuzzies from the book appraiser that was for sure, but he wasn’t as bad as all of the cranky old women.

Seriously – for all the excited happy people like us who were having a ball being at the one and only Antiques Roadshow, there were literally these legions of cranky old women. It was bizarre to watch. I am not a patient person and hate waiting in lines and I loved every minute! And the Antiques Roadshow staff? They were all so nice! It was amazing!

On our way into the gift shop and ladies room we met the current Ms. Maryland! She was my first beauty queen and couldn’t have been nicer!

We somehow missed the famous feedback booth and then were on our way back to the car. We both thought it was over too soon. It totally lived up to our expectations.

On our way home we were going to go to Buckley’s Tavern for dinner, but we ended up at Brandywine Prime.

Why?

Because when we pulled into the parking lot of Buckley’s walking into the front door was the first gaggle of cranky old women we encountered standing in the “triage” line! We looked at each other and burst out laughing and said with our luck we would get seated next to them and be under their disapproving stare for dinner.

We had a great dinner at Brandywine Prime and headed home. Amusingly enough, the Philadelphia Inquirer was there covering the Roadshow:

The 5 best finds from Antiques Roadshow’s Delaware taping

by Stephanie Farr, Updated: June 18, 2019 – 6:46 PM

Delaware News Journal was there too:

How many ‘Antiques Roadshow’ lovers can you cram into Winterthur? A lot

BETSY PRICE | DELAWARE NEWS JOURNAL | 5 hours ago

I highly recommend that people fill out the application for the ticket lottery if Antiques Roadshow is ever coming to your neck of the woods. It was so much fun!

the last ring home

I am constantly in awe of what some of my childhood friends have accomplished. A book arrived today, have started it and I am hooked.

It is called The Last Ring Home.

It is amazing and emotional and so darn well written.  This book, written by my friend Minter Dial is simply blowing me away.  It is a very personal greatest generation story, the story of his paternal grandfather. Bravo, Minter.

Allow me to quote from the book and documentary’s website:

The Last Ring Home is the story of Lt Minter Dial’s Annapolis Naval Academy ring, that miraculously made its way home 17 years after he was killed as a POW of the Japanese in WWII. The Last Ring Home is a tribute to Lt Dial, the producer’s grandfather, and all members of the Greatest Generation. It is also a journey of self-discovery, having an impact on the filmmaker, his wider family and many other people in its wake. This story, which took over 25 years of research, illustrates the importance of serendipity and the role of good and bad luck in piecing together a personal history of someone who died 70 years ago.The Last Ring Home is to inspire everyone to uncover their own personal history, to keep a foot in their past and the other in the future, and to be thankful for the tremendous present in which we live, thanks to the sacrifices of the those who fought in WWII.

I can’t wait to see the documentary premiere at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute in November.

14572226_1307359442610337_1560703277793001576_nNow this story was  featured in Smithsonian Magazine in 2011:

Minter’s Ring: The Story of One World War II POW

When excavators in Inchon, Korea discovered a U.S. naval officer’s ring, they had no knowledge of the pain and suffering associated with its former owner, Minter Dial

smithsonian.com
August 2, 2011

In the spring of 1962, the United States Navy was excavating a site in Inchon, Korea, when the discovery of human remains led officers to believe they had come across the site of a prisoner-of-war camp. More than a decade earlier, during the Korean War, General Douglas MacArthur commanded some 75,000 United Nations ground forces and more than 250 ships into the Battle of Inchon—a surprise assault that led, just two weeks later, to the recapture of Seoul from the North Korean People’s Army. But the 1962 Inchon excavation led to an unexpected find….the vehicle was speeding through the crowded streets of Inchon as the two men visited one pawnshop after another until they found the guilty laborer. The ring was in the process of being smelted. The admiral demanded that it be recovered. It had been partially melted down, but once it cooled and he was able to wipe away the grime, Pressey recognized that it was indeed an Annapolis class ring. Class of 1932. Pressey had been at the U.S. Naval Academy at the same time. His heart began to pound as he tilted the blue stone ring toward the light. Engraved on the inside was a name he knew: Dial.

Nathaniel Minter Dial had been one of Pressey’s best friends at Annapolis. They were teammates on the lacrosse squad, and Pressey and his wife had been members of the wedding party when Dial married his longtime sweetheart, Lisa Porter, in 1934. Pressey had just one thought—to get the ring back to Lisa.

Memories and sadness came flooding over the 51-year-old admiral. Minter Dial, the son of U.S. Senator Nathaniel B. Dial of South Carolina, was the quintessential all-American boy. He was affable, educated, terrifically athletic and married to a beautiful young woman who had given up her theatrical ambitions to start a home and raise a family. He was going places, and in the summer of 1941, he headed for the Pacific.

I have not finished the book yet.  I think I am going to need a box of tissues to get through it.

You can purchase the book on :

I purchased my copy on a pre-release via Amazon.

I have friends in Charleston, South Carolina, and I hope they see the documentary film at the upcoming  Charleston International Film Festival, November 2-6, 2016.

After that, the film is coming to the Philadelphia area, to the Bryn Mawr Film Institute for a screening in advance of it’s PBS small screen debut.

This will be an exclusive screening of the The Last Ring Home, presented by the filmmaker and author of the eponymous book. The event will consist of the screening, a talk and a Q&A, plus book signing.

Tue, November 8, 2016 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Bryn Mawr Film Institute, 824 Lancaster Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Buy your tickets on Eventbrite for $18 adults and $6 students.

This really is something quite extraordinary.

And yes, the screening is election day. So what. You will be out by nine as the returns start to come in and you will miss two hours of the ugliest campaign season in American History, for something worthwhile.  Actual American History about a member of the Greatest Generation.  A true American Hero.

Thanks.

dear new york times, kindly leave my downton abbey alone

Downton-Abbey-season-5-poster

I have loved every glorious second of Downton Abbey. For the past few years PBS has magically transported us to a different time to get lost in this series and their now defunct way of life. But all good things must come to an end, so this is the final season.

But along with the last season, come the critics more snarky than usual. And none of them are as obnoxious as author Louis Bayard of the New York Times.  It must be truly wonderful to be as superior as he thinks he is.

Mr. Bayard has been doing episode recaps for the New York Times. Except it is more like a hatchet job. Why dear Mr. Bayard, if I did not know better I would say you had a bad case of bitchy SOUR GRAPES. Maybe Mrs. Patmore can whip you up a digestif?

 

(READ HIS RECAPS HERE)

On Facebook the New York Times quips this morning:

“I couldn’t escape the feeling that tonight’s episode was devoted to bringing out the puppy in everyone,” our recapper writes of “Downton Abbey.” (Spoilers ahead.)

And then I read what Louis Bayard had written:

TELEVISION|Downton Abbey’ Season 6, Episode 7: Crash and Burn

By

Season 6, Episode 7

This recap contains spoilers for Sunday’s episode of “Downton Abbey.”

Send in the puppies!

And that is all I am posting. It’s obnoxious.  As a matter of fact most of his scribbles on Downton Abbey are obnoxious. (And apparently, he also doesn’t think much of the works of Jane Austen, which I also enjoy.)

Last week it was  ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 6, Episode 6: Does Lady Mary Have a Heart?

January 3rd he referred to “the dagger-mouth of Maggie Smith”

Ok wow. Dame Maggie Smith is one of the finest actresses alive and well who hasn’t loved how she has played the Dowager Countess these past few years? (Thanks to Maggie Smith and Julien Fellows we have some marvelous one liners to last us a few years.)

I guess the point I am trying to make is this: this show has been coming into our homes for the past few years and it has been a long time since we had something capture our imagination much like Upstairs Downstairs, The Duchess of Duke Street, Lillie, or the original Poldark (which has been reborn into a remake of the original series and it’s also terrific so Mr. Bayard will undoubtedly hate this series too.)

Television today is a lot of showing of body parts (usually female, and usually “enhanced”), guns, sometimes bad fashion, and darkness. A lot of darkness.  Downton Abbey instead these past few years has transported us to another place and time and gloriously so.

So why does the New York Times have to tear down every episode with obnoxious recaps masquerading as reviews?  Has it been such a trial watching a beautiful period drama? Would Mr. Bayard prefer endless seasons of ABC’s The Bachelor? Are mindless boobs (quite literally) more his speed?

With all the dreadful reality we deal with in our everyday lives in out everyday world  – you know like the terrifying array of potentially psychopathic US Presidential hopefuls (cue Ted Cruz), Downtown Abbey has been a pleasant respite. And why not?

But the New York Times? Wow. Are they that desperate to sell papers and online subscriptions that they can’t just enjoy Downton Abbey for what it is? They have to rip it to shreds weekly like proverbial blood sport? That is journalism? Is their some unwritten law where critics can’t like anything?  Or can’t review without a large dose of bitchy? That is really sad.

I will miss when there is no Downtown Abbey next season. Again, I have loved it from the setting, the age in which it is set, to the wardrobe. It has been so fun!

(And yes, spoiler alert I have seen the finale…I loved it.)

Carry on and happy Monday!

great music

ccdI saw this special on PBS about the Nashville music of today and the “Americana”  or “American Roots” movement music. (I think that is what they called it – I heretofore thought of a lot of it as simply indie music.)

Anyway, they featured in the music this band Carolina Chocolate Drops. They are amazing. Have a listen:

happy 100th julia child!

Julia Child would have been 100 today.  PBS Digital Studios did this fun tribute.

In celebration of her 100th birthday, Julia Child Remixed by John D. Boswell,  for PBS Digital Studios. Please support your local PBS station as they have many cool programs!

Visit pbs.org/food to join in the celebration, check out  recipes and more. You can leave your own tribute to The French Chef by cooking a Julia recipe and sharing it on Facebook and Twitter with #CookForJulia.

Special thanks go to the Julia Child Foundation for their support. The French Chef episodes used courtesy of WBGH/Boston. For more, go to http://www.wgbh.org/JC100

Follow them on Twitter: @pbsds.

I keep wondering what Julie Powell will say today – she is the author of the Julie/Julia project which I loved. It is a shame all the links are broken to what was her original Salon blog – I guess the original is gone now?   Her book was turned into a lovely movie with Meryl Streep. After the movie, she came out with another book called Cleaving.

Anyway, I grew up watching Julia Child on TV in black and white and I also have a couple of her books, including a vintage copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her memoirs My Life in France.

Incidentally if you can master a few Julia classics, you can cook.  She gives you bones.  Her roast chicken recipe is still the best on the planet.  My own roast chicken recipe uses hers as a base. – where my recipes are my own that I share, the basic techniques for my roast chicken recipe were learned from her basic roast chicken recipe.  You see, a lot of chefs forget the basics, which as a related aside is why I love Ina Garten so much (The Barefoot Contessa). Like Julia Child, she is a big believer in basics. And in order to develop your own recipes, professional or home chef, you have to master some basics.

Happy Birthday Julia ChildBon Appétit!