Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Betty MacDonald, The Egg and I and Vive la France

Linde Lund shared Ragonneau Pierre's photo.

Gertrude Rose Talbott
Gertrude Rose Talbott Lovely, Betty would hate it...ROFLMAO


Betty MacDonald fan club fans,


by Brad Craft

I am listening to Handel.  Specifically, I am listening to "Eternal Source of Light Divine," from his Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne, Choir of King's College Cambridge.  An odd choice, perhaps, given the events of the last few hours in Paris; a German composer, an English choir.  Odd besides I suppose for being what an atheist would want to hear at such a moment, but here we are.  Handel's Ode was written in celebration of not only the Queen's birthday, but also to mark the conclusion, in 1713 of the  the Treaty of Utrecht and the end of the War of the Spanish Succession. As the reader of history will know, Marlborough's triumph was not a happy outcome for France.  In my defence, I would only say that Handel's music transcends the history that occasioned it's composition and that what I needed most tonight was to hear voices raised in something other than either anger or grief.  

I'd already listened to the crowd from the soccer stadium singing La Marseillaise as they left the interrupted game.  And of course, I'd spent the evening listening to the news reports, watching the live coverage from the streets of Paris, heard that first, chilling volley from inside the Bataclan concert hall.  I do not doubt that was the weekend goes on, this horror will become as familiar as the last, and yet I will feel compelled to watch it all again, to read the newspapers and the magazines, to argue with the analysis, to wonder at the the resilience of the survivors and to curse the fanaticism of the murderers.
But just now, I need beauty, balance, grace.  I need the solemnity of Handel and the purity of an English choir.
Meanwhile, and in better keeping with events I took up a French author to read something, anything to remind me of Paris.  The book, much read, fell open to a passage from Book Six, Chapter 1.  It begins:
"Twenty years ago there was still to be seen, in the south-east corner of the Place de la Bastille, near the canal-port dug out of the former moat of the prison-fortress, a weird monument which has vanished from the memory of present day Parisians but which deserves to have left some trace of itself, for it sprang from the mind of a member of the Institute, none other than the Commander-in-Chief of the Army in Egypt."
And so I spent an hour with Hugo.  I clambered with Gavroche and the little ones, up the ladder and into the belly of the Elephant of the Bastille; that "crumbling, scabby monster."  I wanted reminding of the passage of history, the value of even a brief life, of life, and joy, and suffering, and of art.  I wanted the light of another Paris, which has of course survived worse and will endure so long as art and life endure.  I wanted a reminder too that Paris is more than light, and history more than a record of wars and the hubris of violent men.  As Hugo says a moment later, "A touch of roughness is salutary to weak nerves."
I read on and on, the story familiar even to the feel on the pages between my fingers.  
It was important, somehow, to be in the company of  great souls tonight, and to be not just with France -- if only in my study, Les Miserables in my lap -- but with humanity.

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In the footsteps of Betty MacDonald: New owners take on rural life with Egg and I Farm

Phil Vogelzang takes down cattle fencing on the Chimacum farm where "The Egg and I" author Betty MacDonald lived in the 1920s. Vogelzang purchased the property with three family members in mid-March 2008 from Pat and Jess Bondurant, who raised beef cattle. --

By Jennifer Jackson, Peninsula Daily News, March 25, 2008

CHIMACUM — If you had asked Phil Vogelzang a year ago if he'd ever heard of Betty MacDonald, he'd have said no. Ma and Pa Kettle? Rings a faint bell, he would have answered. So when Vogelzang, 49, saw a listing for a 20-acre farm for sale on Egg and I Road, he had no clue where the name came from. "I thought, 'That's a funny name for a road," he said. Vogelzang is now a lot more familiar with Betty MacDonald, having purchased, along with family members, the farm where the author of The Egg and I lived in the late 1920s. The new owners have named their purchase the Egg and I Farm after the book, and in some ways, are following in the footsteps of its former owner. Betty MacDonald the daughter of a mining engineer, she was born Anne Elizabeth Campbell Bard on March 26, 1907, in Boulder, Colo. After graduating from Roosevelt High School in Seattle, she moved with her mother to the Chimacum Valley after her father died. In 1927, she married Robert Heskett with whom she had two children. They divorced in 1935, and she married Donald C. MacDonald in 1942. The couple moved to Vashon Island, and starting with The Egg and I, published in 1945, MacDonald wrote three other books based on her life, plus the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series for children. She died of cancer in Seattle in 1958 at age of 49. Flash forward 50 years to 2008 and the new owners of the homestead that inspired MacDonald to write The Egg and I. "We're rank beginners," Vogelzang said of farming. "We have no experience."Located on a ridge between Beaver Valley and Center Road, the farm was a homestead with 40 acres when 19-year-old Betty Bard married Heskett. Heskett's dream — to become the egg czar of Puget Sound — crashed and burned along with the marriage, an experience his ex-wife turned to humorous account in a novel 20 years later. The goal of the new owners — Vogelzang and spouse, Katy McCoy, her sister, Melinda McCoy and husband, Peter — is less grandiose. They want to grow as much of their own food as possible. They're thinking vegetable gardens, fruit trees, maybe even a cow. And of course, chickens. "Certainly eggs and chickens will be in the mix," Vogelzang said. The house that Betty lived in is long gone, but Egg and I fans continued to knock on the door of Jess and Pat Bondurant, the farm's former owners who lived there 32 years. The book is especially popular in Europe — they have the largest Betty MacDonald fan club in the world — and Pat Bondurant has had phone calls, inviting her and her husband to fly over and help celebrate the author's birthday. Last fall, BBC Radio 4 sent a program staff member from England to Chimacum to tape interviews with Pat Bondurant and longtime Chimacum residents, Aldena Bishop and George Huntingford.Family members movingMembers of the family who has purchased the farm will move there this summer, when Peter Walchenbach, a special education teacher at Ocosta High School, finishes the school year. He'll be moving with his wife, Melinda McCoy, daughter Flora, 7, and son Oscar, 5.Vogelzang, a radiologist, and wife, Katy, a physician-turned-artist, plan to come over from Seattle as much as possible, he said. "Peter and I have been looking for property where we can farm on a small scale," Vogelzang said. "It's sort of our dream. "Vogelzang said he never considered that their "quiet little parcel in the country" would have a theme other than local, sustainable food production. But since learning that the farm had a literary history, he has been learning more about Betty MacDonald, and he has been thinking about ways to work with the heritage she left. "Peter and Melinda are the kind of people who will embrace it, and welcome people," he said.
MacDonald connectionsVogelzang was also surprised to find a connection between MacDonald and his wife's family. Both lived in Laurelhurst, a Seattle neighborhood where the McCoy family settled. And on his side of the family, who are Dutch, he does have some agricultural background — he comes from a long line of pig farmers, he said. The son of a Dutch Christian Reform minister, he spent his high school years in Sheldon, Iowa, where he did menial labor on farms, mostly with livestock. While Vogelzang has not seen "The Egg and I" movie yet, he has read the book with an eye to what kind of vegetables and fruits the family grew in the 1920s. "If you read what they produced on the farm, it's quite remarkable," he said."If they can do it, we can do it. "Vogelzang said that, in the end, the farm is a legacy for his niece and nephew, who he hopes will get involved in 4-H, as well as take an active role in the farm's operation. In the meantime, he and the adults plan to enjoy the peace and quiet, the fresh food and the sense of accomplishment that comes from growing your own food. In other words, they plan to find the peace and happiness that eluded Betty MacDonald when she came to the farm as a young wife with no idea of what she was getting into. "We've thought it out," Vogelzang said, "and we plan to be here a lot longer than Betty. 

                                   The End 

Have a nice Wednesday,

Vita Magica

Betty MacDonald fan club

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Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( French )

Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel 

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I 

Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund

Betty MacDonald Fan Club proudly presents:

The amazing, very witty, charming, intelligent story written by our brilliant Betty MacDonald Fan Club Honor Member - artist and writer Letizia Mancino.


Copyright 2011/2015 by Letizia Mancino
All rights reserved
Translated by D. Tsiaprakas

Betty, I love you! Your books „Anybody can do anything“ and „Onions in the Stew“ are really outstanding! I take them into my hand, and at a stone's throw I am right away in America ! Columbus and the egg: The great discovery!

Your bestseller „The Egg and I“ the greatest discovery. And you and I! I know America: It's true what you are writing: That's America: Absolutely right! No, even to the least detail! The landscape and the passion: Do you know the country where pistols blossom? Brava, Betty, you are describing the Americans vividly, genuinely, insufferably, brushed upon paper. If I like to read your works? To read doesn't even express it! I can even hear and see everything: Nature, culture, subculture.

America has almost remained unchanged! O those cool Americans! Calculating, stockmarket, Wall Street, the financial crisis (even back in 1930), the gamblers, the bankruptcy of companies! The swarming of dodgers and cheaters. People left without money. Dispair und hunger! A terrible „Worst Case“ (when I knew but little English I thought it is sausage with cheese).

Still how impressive is the ability to adaptone self of the Americans: They know how to enjoy life, acrobats of survival! In the twinkle of an eye they achieved to adapt themselves and effect the work of pioneers: In the morning you are a cleaningwoman, in the evening a brothel woman! No problem!

„The insufficient, here it's becoming an event; The indescribable, here it's done;“ Mary Bard Jensen, your sister, was the treasure trove of procuring work: My word, what a power woman with unlimited imagination! She has recommended you everywhere: Betty can do everything, also write novels! Go ahead, sister, hurry up! The editor wants to see your manuscripts! Up to that point you had not written a single line! Wow! And if still everything goes wrong? No problem: When you dream, dream big!

Just look, you have become famous.The Egg and I You know that, Betty? I'll slip into „The Egg and I“ and come and be your guest! I want to get to know your chickens. I hate chickens! I'm a chickens slave from North America! O Betty, without these damned animals, no chance of you becoming famous! „The Egg and I“ you would never have written! How many readers you have made happy!

Your book is so amusing! Your witty fine (almost nasty) remarks about your family members and roundabout neighbours made me laugh so much! You have been born into a special family: Comfort was not desired: I can't but be amazed: What did your father say to your mother? After tomorrow I am going to work elsewhere: Thousands of miles away...He sent her a telegram: LEAVING FOR TWO YEARS ON THURSDAY FOR MEXICO CITY STOP GET READY IF YOU WANT TO COME ALONG – That was on Monday. Mother wired back: SHALL BE READY, and so she was.That's America! Improvisation, change, adventure. You show no weakness: Let's go! Your descriptions, Betty, about the tremendous happenings in nature have deeply frightened me.

Continent America, I'm terrified by you! I feel so small and threatened like a tiny fly before an enormous flyswatter! Your novel is very many-sided! The reader may use it even as a cook book! „The Egg and I“ starts straight away with a recipe: „Next to the wisdom that lamb meat doesn't taste good unless it has been roasted with garlic“. Do you enjoy the American food?

O Betty, it's too fatty for me and I hate garlic! (Betty is presently cooking lunch for Bob. She's continually talking to „STOVE“: STOVE is Bob's rival; in the beginning I thought it was being himself). She turns round and says: Well, so no garlic for you. No lamb either, Betty. I don't eat any meat! I'd actually prefer only fried eggs. Betty, let me make them myself. Then you try it!

Blow! „STOVE“ out of order! I don't succeed in turning it on! Damned! It's got more of a mind of its own than „STOVE“ of my friend, Hilde Domin! Bob's coming! He must eat directly! „Men eat anything, the swines! Says your grandmother Gammy“. Is it true? Do you like my chickens? Bob asked me without introducing himself. Yes, Bob (rude) I love them! I'm vegetarian. Do you want to clean the henhouse with me tomorrow? A, you're always getting up so early at four o'clock! Bob, that's not a job for me! He looked at me disdainfully! A Roman cissy! You need a reeducation at once! Help, Bob's attacking me! I rather change the novel immediately and move to the „Island“! 

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