Mickey and another Galveston Update Wednesday, Nov 19 2008 

Mickey on the Bed

18 November 2008

Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse!

Mickey turns 80 today!    I think that’s incredible, and it inspired me to shoot a colourful photo of the bed in our guest room—the room some of our guests have dubbed, “The Mouse Suite.”  Is it just me, or is this birthday being very overlooked?  I guess perhaps the powers that be at Disney, are saving their efforts for the big blowout that will happen in 2028!

On another subject entirely, here’s the latest article regarding Dickens on the Strand—scaled back, but still ON!


I sent a message out to the Yesteryear Enthusiasts Society group last night with some other update information.  Sparked by an email from Larry who was confused to have received a refund for his Galveston Historical Foundation Dickens Ball tickets, and needing to talk to her, anyway, I called the GHF offices and spoke with Molly late yesterday afternoon.

It seems that there were not enough advance ticket sales for the foundation to justify the expense of the event.  Our group alone, represented nearly half of what was presold.  The Galveston Historical Foundation Dickens Ball is cancelled for 2008.  And, Molly indicated it would seem logical to anticipate a much more intimate Dickens on the Strand, than we’ve seen in a very long time. 

To what can we attribute the presale of only 27 tickets to this event usually enjoyed by 150?  Are the usual Ball attendees Galvestonians who are too caught up in their own recovery efforts to be able to make time for Dickens?  Perhaps they’ve lost all their Victorian costuming in the flooding?  Are they too short on money?  Or, were they simply assuming the event was cancelled, thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Kyle and I discussed it last night, and we are concerned that that does not bode well.  We are a bit fearful that the “average joe” who normally thinks about attending Dickens on the Strand, may not actually bother to find out that the event is on.  Certainly, I’ve tried to do my part to spread the word, and the Galveston Historical Foundation website has been very clear from the earliest point possible that the event is happening.  And, there have been a few mentions of it in the local news, there.  But, if people don’t pay attention, the assumption could be made that Galveston isn’t ready, and that the event can’t happen. 

What those people are forgetting is that Galveston can’t afford for the event NOT to happen!

Dickens on the Strand is the largest annual fundraiser for the GHF.  Its ticket sales, and vending proceeds help monetarily power all the important restoration efforts of the foundation.  Over the years since the festival started in the seventies, the Historical Foundation, and a few special philanthropists have put Galveston Island back on the map of tourist spots and places to visit.  Even in the decade and half that we’ve been attending the festival, we’ve seen amazing growth and renaissance efforts in the beautiful little downtown area.  Antique stores, banks, museums, boutiques, condos, restaurants, and even a few tasty little national chain stores (like Chico’s!) had come in and turned the once forgotten downtown zone into a bustling little business center.  And, now, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, the hands of the clock have been turned back, and once again this charming Victorian era city is struggling to survive and needs help.

Hopefully, the Dickens on the Strand Festival will provide some of that help. 

Progress is slow, but it is happening.  I got word yesterday that a couple of downtown businesses have reopened, including the Emporium.  In our early years of doing Dickens that was always a favourite stop.  Kyle has purchased many a beer from that fine establishment.  I can remember befriending employees and being invited to walk into the huge room-sized refrigerator on hot Dickens days.  I’m glad they’re back, but so far, they are among the very few. 

Bravely, the GHF pushes forward with festival preparations, despite the obstacles nature has placed in its path.  This cancellation of the ball is only the latest disappointment.  The first difficult decision was to scale back the festival borders.  Usually two blocks wide and four blocks long, comprising a large, ladder-shaped portion of downdown, this year’s event will take place entirely on The Strand itself.  Then, recently came the realization that the over 400 lanterns used in the annual Candlelight Parade could not be saved from the badly water-damaged warehouse, and so the sparkling parade and evening hours of the event would have to be pulled from the schedule.  And on a purely financial level, some things just aren’t possible.  For example, this year’s event will not include the usual “snow hill” that is such a crowd-pleaser in our southern land of non-white Christmases.  The financial cost was just more than the foundation could pay.

In fact, much of what is going on in Galveston right now, is really all about the money.  Our nation’s government has not yet come through with the millions of dollars needed to relieve Galveston after Hurricane Ike.  The GHF finally got to have a meeting with FEMA this week.  I read where the Meadows Foundation of Dallas (big SMU money) has given $100,000, to the GHF restoration efforts, but that’s only a drop in the bucket, and won’t go far.

Everyone who’s heard me speak or read my writings of the last couple of months is familiar with my mantra:  Galveston needs us.  The island needs us to visit.  The island needs us to attend Dickens on the Strand.  Galveston needs our love—but far more importantly, it needs our dollars.  I know the economic climate we live in doesn’t allow for us to be overly “spendy” or careless with our money.  But, if ever there was a worthwhile cause for a little frivolity, this is it.  Go to Galveston.  Pay for parking.  Buy tickets to gain entry to Dickens on the Strand.  Buy food and drinks and souvenirs from the vendors, there.  Do your holiday shopping there.  Fill up your gas tank on the island.  Have dinner in one of the many restaurants on the seawall.  Stay at the Galvez.  Treat yourself to a fun weekend and the satisfaction that you’re helping. 

Kyle and I will be proudly promenading The Strand on the 6th and 7th of December.  We’ll be proudly carrying our new Galveston Historical Foundation membership cards.  We’ll be with a group of at least a dozen or two of our dearest friends.  It is my sincerest hope that thousands of other folks have similar plans!


Galveston Historical Foundation Plea Friday, Oct 31 2008 

Galveston Historical Foundation Plea

28 October 2008

After yesterday’s adventure, I found it to be rather poignant timing that this flyer arrived in my mailbox today.  The bottom of the page states that Dickens on the Strand will go on, and gives the dates. 

Whether it’s with a Foundation membership, a simple donation, or just the price of an admission ticket to Dickens on the Strand—the island needs our help.


I was wordy enough yesterday, to last us all a while, so that’s all you get, today. 😉


“I cannot live without books.” —Thomas Jefferson Thursday, Oct 23 2008 

"I cannot live without books." --Thomas Jefferson

22 October 2008

Inspired in the wee hours of the morning, to snap a picture of part of one wall of our “library,”  I’m afraid it’s not a great photo.  Those who have visited our home, know that we subscribe to the theory put forth by Roman philosopher Cicero, that “a room without books, is like a body without a soul.”  This room, and every other room in our house, certainly has a lot of “soul.”  Books fill every shelf, and the knickknacks that sit in front of the books do their own part to tell the story of who we are, as well.

With Galveston ever on my mind, I shudder to think at what it would be like to lose all one’s belongings to a horrific flood.  The businesswoman in me, thinks, my goodness . . . the fabric!  The book and antique and art collector in me simply weeps.

This one below, is not my photo, but here is an odd view of familiar places and things:


I expect those chairs will have new cushions the next time we see them—assuming they are salvageable.

Sometimes “knowing” a thing, and “seeing” a thing are two totally different realities.  We “know” things are bad in Galveston.  We “know” there was nine feet of water on the Strand for most of three days.  We “know” there is still no power there, no phones, few enough signs of life that it’s been labeled a ghost town.  But, it’s actually rather incomprehensible, don’t you think? 

As the old saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

Can we all please stop and observe a moment of silence for one of our favourite little antique stores?


Can a small, independent business actually recover from this?  Some will.  Many will not.

I also found a very disturbing photo of a huge pile of hopelessly damaged books. A pile bigger than a car.  I’m not pasting in the link.   I thought about sharing it, but the carnage is too shocking and too horrible.  In fact, more than all the damaged buildings, and salt-deadened trees, and empty piers, this photo made me cry.  It’s a guess, but I’d imagine based on it’s presence in the photographer’s Flickr stream between pictures of the Tremont and the Strand Theatre, that it might be the pile of debris from Midsummer Books—the little bookstore across from the Tremont.  Following that hunch, I located this fellow WordPress blogger’s entry: http://winkingbuddha.wordpress.com/2008/10/18/a-midsummers-dream-the-finale/.

I am so sad.


Red Straw Hat Wednesday, Oct 22 2008 

Red Straw Hat

21 October 2008

I am currently very annoyed.  Somehow the post I just spent an hour preparing has disappeared.  I’m going to attempt to recreate it, but it won’t be the same, and I am a little  lot pissed off.

The day is winding down and Kyle tells me his photo of the day is of my truck’s back end.  It seems the “assignment” this week is “red.”  Not to be outdone by my own truck’s tailgate, I snapped this photo of my red straw cowboy hat. 

I got an interesting phone call today from the gentleman in charge of this year’s Galveston Historical Foundation Dickens Ball.  He is a member of the board of directors, and a volunteer.  He called me on his cell phone because, like most of the island of Galveston, he still has no telephone service via land line. 

The reason for his call seemed to be to let me know that they were really hoping our group would be attending the ball.  He was also following up on some questions I’d asked in an earlier email.  We chatted for quite some time, and I came away knowing the following:  1.  They still do not know if there will be shuttle service from the Galvez to the Strand during Dickens on the Strand.  2.  The GHF will be happy to work out something for our group where we end up with wristbands, rather than having to deal with hand-stamping.  3.  Over 70 vendors have already committed to set up at DOTS.   Local area retailers (most of whom cannot have their regular retail spaces ready in time for this event) have all been given the option of setting up a booth with no vendor fee.  4.  Much of the contents of the badly damaged warehouse have been “saved.”  Some drying out time, and some paint and tender loving care, and voila!  5.  Perhaps the most important news of the day, is that the Dickens on the Strand festival this year will be confined to just that—the Strand.  A few tendrils off on side streets, perhaps, but the festival will not include Ship’s Mechanic Row (or Mechanic Street, as many call it). 

In our conversation he said The Strand “looks like a ghost town,” which is something I’ve also read online.  He promised to keep in touch, and let me know if anything developed that would affect us or our attendance.

I’m off to bed, now.  Our evening was a wonderful, relaxing one, spent in the company of our friend Damaris.  She met us at No Frills where we joined Brett and Jill for some trivia and burgers and beer.  Then, after convincing Demaris that driving back to TRF tonight would have been a bad idea, we retired back to our house, where we talked of religion and politics and movies and sex and pets and renfaires, and . . . well, pretty much you name it —we touched on it!  We had a great visit, and now, she is safe and sound, and well-ensconsed in the Mouse Suite, and she’ll head to TRF’s Toon Town on the morrow.


Happy Anniversary, Brett and Jill! Tuesday, Sep 23 2008 

Happy Anniversary, Brett and Jill!

23 September 2008

After another long day of working at home, Kyle came home from work and swooped me up for dinner at No Frills Grill.  We met Brett and Jill there, and had a fun evening of trivia and silliness.  As we were preparing to leave, we were reminded that tomorrow is their one year anniversary!   So, of course, we decided they needed to be the subject of our Daily KRuMB photos!  One down . . . a lifetime to go!

On the Galveston front:  here’s a link to a story with a slightly different slant—doesn’t sound like we’ll be having Oysters Rockefeller this December! <pout>


And another one that corrects my misconception that the island reopened yesterday—apparently, that happens officially tomorrow.