Saturday, December 21, 2013

Writing a book...and celebrating

Just two of our 68 horses
Twenty-five years ago this month, my husband Peter and I flew to a New York auction and bought the former Minnesota State Fair carousel. We carried a letter of credit from US Bank for more than a million dollars; it was a loan to our nonprofit organization backed by the City of St. Paul. If we hadn't pulled off that purchase (and a lot of fundraising to repay the loan), the 75-year-old carousel would have been broken up and its 68 horses sold to private collectors. Instead, our volunteers have restored the carousel and operate it for the public under the name Cafesjian's Carousel. We'll celebrate its 100th birthday in 2014.

By many measures, we should not have been able to succeed.But we did, and now, all these years later, I'm writing a book about the history of the carousel including our campaign to save it. I put off this project for years, but we want the book published before the carousel opens for its centennial season on May 1. So I won't be writing a lot of inspired blog posts in the near future, but I'm trying not to disappear entirely.

for Thanksgiving.
Making pumpkin pie...
So I'm indulging myself with one sweet grandchild story. We picked up the kids after school yesterday (Friday) and brought them to our house, where their parents would pick them up an hour or two later. Both kids do lots of real cooking, but they still enjoy their toy food and make-believe cookware. Augie had decided Wednesday that we would have a tea party Friday afternoon.

Having holiday tea...
In preparation Augie laid out a scarf and a doll blanket near the Christmas tree, and on them he placed our tiny plastic tea party settings. He hauled in the big ceramic pot that he uses as a soup kettle and tossed in toy vegetables, which "cooked" for two days. We cut a real tea cake and brought out some grapes, and we used holiday mugs for individual beverage choices. Augie was so excited to stir the soup and serve the cake and make sure everyone was having a good time.

and dancing The Nutcracker
ViMae decided that her contribution would be to act out part of The Nutcracker, using the big nutcracker from our mantle. She danced with grace and joy, and then Augie joined in as the Toy Soldier and Daddy became the Mouse King. The Toy Soldier lost his sword, "Clara" threw her shoe, and the Mouse King was vanquished. Hurrah!


I relished all of this, knowing that the light was too dim to get good action shots but that the memories will live forever in the hearts of the lucky "audience." Whatever your holiday circumstances, I hope that you will rediscover some sweet memories from the past and make a few new ones to carry you forward. 


22 comments:

Pauline Persing said...

Sounds like you have been busy. Good luck with your writing project. Everyone will be happy to have that history. The past can get lost without writers like you.

Stephen Hayes said...

I just know you'll get your book written and it will be a tremendous success. And your grandchildren are treasures.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Merry Christmas!
So glad to hear you are working on your book! I wish you the best of luck..and much success! It will be wonderful to get all the history in one spot!!! :)

Midlife Roadtripper said...

Wow! What a story. What a fun story to write. You just never know what people are harboring and not telling in their blogs. Ha! Excited to hear how the book comes along. Which is why you should still blog. Tell of your progress - good and not so good and wonderful and all that. Best of luck with this writing.

Enjoy your Christmas up there in the north. Stay warm.

DJan said...

I do hope I will get a chance to read that book, too. It was a labor of love, and it actually happened, against all odds. I love the pictures, the story of your grands, and I'm sending you all lots of love for the season. :-)

Grandmother (Mary) said...

The book sounds like a story needing to be told- good for you for telling it. And I love the photos and story of your grands in the holiday spirit. Hope yours are happy! Love and hugs, Mary

Jeanie said...

What a wonderful story to tell and no one will be able to tell it better than you. Great pictures of the Friday afternoon tea party.
Have a Merry Christmas and have lots of fun with those cute grandkids.

troutbirder said...

I have the fondest memories of riding this carrousel at the State Fair, placing our two sons on it later and then later yet our eldest grandson upon it at the St. Paul zoo. I shall assume it is still there and a trip to my favorite childhood zoo is long overdue. Next summer for sure and I'll wait with great anticipation to read your book.....:)

Deb Shucka said...

What an amazement the carousel story is! I can hardly wait to read the book. I love your grandkid stories, none more than this one. Wishing you productive writing days ahead, and a happy holiday season.

Red Shoes said...

WOW!!

I am impressed!!!

I didn't know this!!! It's wonderful that the carousel remains intact and generations of children of all ages will enjoy it for years to come!!

Merry Christmas to you!!

~shoes~

Meryl Baer said...

Good luck with your book. The purchase and restoration is a wonderful project. Keep us posted.
Happy holidays!

Indigo Roth said...

Hey Nancy! I'm not sure I knew about the carousel, but what an amazing thing to do! As for the grandkids, they remain amazingly cute =) Good luck finishing the book off! I've recently got mine out, and know what a bunch of hard work it is. Indigo x

Linda Myers said...

What a memorable project, and such a fine idea for a book!

Kc W said...

I am so glad you indulged yourself and us with a grandchild story and even thought you couldn't get lots of pictures you certainly painted them well with your words! What fun! Amara loves to cook real food, too but there is just as much fun in a tea party! Merry Christmas!

Paula Wooters said...

I hope the grandkids never tire of pretend tea parties! You are blessed, Nancy! Good luck with the book. I know you'll enjoy writing it!

laurie said...

how exciting! and i walk past that carousel every day. good luck with your project.

Ms Sparrow said...

Congratulations on your book project! I know you are up to the task and I look forward to its launch next year.

Have a lovely holiday, Nancy!

Jeanie said...

First of all, I am hugely impressed by your carousel project and I look forward to many wonderful updates!

And your little guys are so darned cute. I wish I could have "attended" your very private "Nutcracker." You would have seen a giant smile on my face!

Merry Christmas!

The Loerzels said...

Congrats on your carousel project!

Green Monkey said...

I'm soooo excited for you. What a worthy endeavor. Just the act of saving the carousel gave me chills, I can not wait to read about it. How glorious!

Retired English Teacher said...

I don't know if I'm more impressed by your carousel project or the grandchildren you helped to mold so wonderfully. Actually, both projects are worthy of great praise, but I must say the grandchildren certainly have great creativity and confidence. Bravo to you for both. Best to you on the book project.

Thom Brown said...

Congratulations on the carousel. What a wonderful and worthwhile accomplishment!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails