Tag Archives: love

George & Louise…A Great Love by Valerie J. Patterson

George and Louise Boldt–their story is one of a great and deeply felt love.  It’s also a tale of tragedy and a future with a broken heart.  George was a poor immigrant in the late 1800s who managed to gain employment at the famous Waldorf Astoria, and later would own it and another hotel here in Pennsylvania.  It was while he was working at the Waldorf that he met Louise Kehrer and fell madly in love with her.  While vacationing in Alexandria Bay, more particularly, the Thousand Islands, he bought Hart Island, which he legally changed to Heart Island.  In 1900, he commenced building a castle there for his lovely Louise to live in.  In 1904, tragedy struck and Louise Boldt died suddenly at the young age of 41.  That same day, George sent a telegram to the island and ordered all construction to cease and all workers to leave the island.  The heartbroken George never stepped foot on Heart Island again.  He never allowed his children or their families to visit the island either.  Boldt Castle was 96% finished the day Louise died, and it would remain unfinished, too.  So great was his love for his wife, and just as great was his pain from losing her, that he could not bear to live there without her.

In 1977, the heirs of George Boldt sold the castle and Heart Island to the state of New York for $1.00 with the following conditions:  1) The castle was to be open to the public and every cent from the sale of tickets was to be put into restoring the castle, which had been vandalized over the decades it remained empty; 2) the restoration was never to go beyond 96% completion, which was the last Louise had ever seen; and 3) no one was ever allowed to live there or stay there.  To date, $38 million have been used in restoring the castle and only one and a half of the 6 floors have been fully restored.

Beginning at the top left corner and continuing clockwise, the photographs are: A view of 75% of Heart Island as seen from our hotel suite’s balcony; the Italian Garden at the rear of the castle with the castle’s power house (also a castle-like structure) in the background; the view of the castle’s main arch entrance where George imagined his guests docking their boats and visiting he and Louise at the castle–to the right is a 6 story playhouse he had designed and constructed for his children and their guests; a rear view of the castle; and, again, the arched entrance to the island.

Steve took me to the Thousand Islands for our anniversary trip, and I was instantly overtaken with the immense love George Boldt had for his wife.  I snapped over 500 photographs, and I apologize that I don’t have a closeup of the front of the castle for you, but those are on another camera card that I have not yet downloaded.

The entire time we were exploring the castle and its grounds on a self-guided tour, Steve and I discussed George and Louise.  All around us were visual signs of their love from heart-shaped flower beds to hand-carved granite benches with huge hearts carved out of the center of each bench’s backrest to the portraits of Louise to the Italian Garden with its carved granite statues.  We wondered what George would think of all the people tramping around the grounds and invading the castle.  We wondered how he would have looked upon the vandalism each room on each floor suffered from careless youths who didn’t know the story behind the castle or perhaps knew it and didn’t care.

As we sat on a magnificent porch, on a heart-shaped bench, I became weepy thinking about George and his immense love of Louise.  With all that Steve has been through this year, perhaps George’s story hit a little too close to home.  Or perhaps I’m just too softhearted and enjoy a good love story.  Maybe a little of both.  One thing I know for certain, George and Louise Boldt are now a part of my own history, and their love story reminds me to be thankful for my own love story!

Finally–so as not to leave on such a sad note–It has been my dream to own an island.  Strange dream, I know.  But ever since I learned that Raymond Burr owned his own island, I’ve wanted to own one myself.  During our stay in Alexandria Bay, we came to learn that there were 3 islands for sale.  The first one we saw had a price of $1.4 million.  The second one we saw had the hefty price tag of $5.5 million.  And the third one was selling for $80,000.  I’ll leave you with the photo of the third island, which is still swimming around in my thoughts as a possibility!

DSCN1396

It’s not the size of the house that matters, but rather the island itself that remains important to me.  <grin>

Until next time, may you be as loved as Louise!!  ❤

Boldt Castle

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I Ate Bacon and Eggs at 8 AM by Valerie J. Patterson

On April 15th that was the text my husband sent me.  Never before has such a simple sentence brought forth such varied emotion in me.  I laughed.  I cried.  I rejoiced.  And I gave thanks to my Heavenly Father.

Really?  You might be asking yourself.

Yes.  Really!

You see, he sent me that text two days post colon resection surgery.  March 22nd, Steve had a routine colonoscopy.  When the doctor came to get me in the waiting room, he very gently told me he found a tumor and believed it to be cancerous.  Immediately, my heart broke and I began to cry.  He placed his hands on my shoulders and told me not to cry, that Steve would be all right.  I asked him the survival rate and he replied, “Ninety-nine percent plus the Lord Almighty!”

Instantly, peace filled me and I believed right there that he was telling me the truth.  Steve didn’t know yet.  He was in recovery.  When he went into his room, I went in and as soon as his eyes locked with mine, the tears welled in my eyes.  How could I tell him?  How could I break this news to him?  First I had to calm down.

I drew several deep breaths, stood at his bedside and told him they’d found a tumor, but that he was going to be all right.  Steve’s dad came in and we three talked and tried to laugh.  Finally, the doctor came in and explained in more detail what he found and then he recommended a surgeon, stressing that surgery needed to be sooner rather than later.  And thus began our journey.  This blog article is not about the cancer.  It’s about the courage, the hope, the faith, the power of prayer, and the people placed on our path for this particular journey.

The Surgeon: A humble man who–upon hearing us thank him for his expertise–said, “Thank you, but I am not as good as [the man upstairs].”  When his eyes lifted Heavenward, I smiled because it was proof that God had placed him on our path.  I trusted him at first meeting.  He set us at ease as he explained exactly what would occur as well as the healing process.  He answered our many questions, and he took excellent care of my very best friend, my biggest blessing.  Just before he took Steve into surgery, he squeezed my hand and told me it would be all right.  When he came to get me in the waiting room, our eyes met, and he hit me with an enormous smile.  “It went very well.  Took a little longer than expected, but it went well.  I got everything.”  We are thankful that he is on our path.

The Oncologist:  A very sweet, very intelligent, very knowledgeable, very patient man.  He is perhaps the very first–and only doctor–to ever look at me and ask me what research I had done prior to arriving at his office.  I told him what I had read and he took the time to explain what I’d read, how it applied or didn’t apply to Steve, and then went on to not only explain his course of treatment for Steve, but also the science behind it.  He provided us with literature to back up his plan.  When he explained that Steve would not require chemo or radiation, tears sprang to my eyes because I and so many others were praying for this.  He never missed a beat.  He smiled understandingly before handing me a box of tissues.  Our journey with him has only begun, and yet I am thankful he is walking this path with us.  We’re trusting him with Steve’s health.

The Church:  Our church family has been standing in the gap from the beginning.  When there is an entire body of believers praying, miracles happen.  There is power in prayer.  Every night, Steve and I would hold hands and pray.  When two or more are gathered in His name, He is there in their midst.  There’s power between those two.  Imagine the power of hundreds of people joined in the same prayer!  Steve’s cousin’s church was praying.  Our church was praying.  Family and friends were praying.  I am so very thankful for each individual.  I am in awe of the love shown to us through prayers, cards, lawn mowing, offers of meals, hugs of support, encouraging texts, phone calls.  I cannot begin to show my appreciation.

Our Pastor:  Our pastor was with me at the hospital during the long hours of waiting while Steve was in surgery.  He was there to visit with Steve, to pray with him, to encourage him, and to bolster his faith.  He was in our driveway at the first sign of an emergency that put Steve back in the hospital for an 8-day stay.  He was only a text away.  He and his wife provided me with comfort, hugs, care, love, and encouragement.  They were the source of a smile when I needed it, too.    And their care has not ended.  I do not have words enough to express everything I’m feeling.

Our Family:  The glue that holds us together when we are facing the tough, the difficult, the heartbreaking things that life throws our way.  It’s easy to take family for granted, but truly life is too short to not tell those precious to you that you love them, value them, and appreciate what they bring to your life.

Steve’s journey will be long, but the hardest is behind us.  We are thankful.  We are grateful.  We are fully aware that we are not walking this path alone.  We are rejoicing for blessings small and great.

Like millions of people, I never wanted to hear the “C” word, but now that it’s out there, I’m genuinely thankful for the very special people who are on this journey with us.

I am thankful for proclamations like: “I ate bacon and eggs at 8 AM!”

Life got extreme, and we fell to our knees.

Until next time, may your journey be peaceful and may there be exceptional people walking it with you.

Wedding Report and Excitement!

The wedding was lovely and went off like clockwork. No boo-boos but some very sweet moments and a crying mamma, bridesmaids and maybe the officiant got a little teary as well. Of course, the groom said he always got these allergies that made his eyes leak. Funny, he had no other symptoms…

They are a super couple and not only are they in love, they are friends and companions. They are fun and always up and happy. The groom is so cute. He absolutely adores his bride and wanted to be married for so very long. He kept telling me that we needed to “get out there and knock this thing out so we can party.”  LOL

The bride is infectious, never met a stranger and so vivacious, she wears us out… but in a good way. 🙂  I love her dearly and have enjoyed watching her grow even more lovely as each year passes. I predict a very long and successful marriage for these two if they go on as they’ve started.

Many compliments were paid to me on the beauty of the ceremony and some even said it was the loveliest they’d ever heard. That meant a lot to me. I’m going to share some pictures of the couple as well as ones of me and the bride and her mom in the photo booth which was a lot of fun (That’s a picture of a picture so I hope it looks okay).

AND TOMORROW, EXCITEMENT!!!! I am going to be on a jet plane to go visit our pals, Lavada and Laurie. I need to put them on notice that I will be ready for lunch when I get there!!  It’s a long flight. LOL

Sha

August Already? Really?

Jillian here. Is it just me or is this year speeding by? I can barely believe it’s already the 8th month of the year. Wow.

Exciting things coming up this month. The first was I got my cast off and am healed and for that, I’m grateful. The second is that I’m heading out on the 13th on a mother/son adventure to Paris. I’m excited but a little torn about it since I always, always have some craziness at the  office before I take off on a trip like this so I’m wondering what that’s going to be (lol) and I’m also dreading that long overnight flight. I absolutely love being new places and exploring wonderful things  but man, I hate the getting there part.

Anyone have any advice on what not to miss in Paris? I know all the major things but maybe some hidden jewel? I’m looking forward to picking up some Napoleon research books as I may be participating in an anthology commemorating the 200th anniversary of Waterloo in June of next year. I’ve  been invited and I accepted but I need to write the story by December so we’ll see (no contract signed!) how I do. I think I can knock it out since it’s only 20,000 words (yeah right, ONLY). th

And pictures, of course I’m looking forward to playing with my camera and getting some great shots.  Son and I usually compete with our photography on trips. We both love it so.

Of Anniversaries, Exercising Cats, Hitchcock and Best-Sellers

September 15 was my parents’ 55th wedding anniversary. They married at 18 and have been together ever since. They’ve weathered the good, the bad and the ugly and are still together. I’m quite proud of them for sticking it out. We ate lunch at a burger and ice-cream place kind of like the malt shops of the days when they dated. It was fun and we had a lovely time.

My crazy cat has taken a liking to the stationery bicycle in our house. He’s still causing us to giggle and bringing us great joy. I’m so happy we rescued this little dude although as I think about it, maybe he actually rescued us from a dull, pet-less existence.

Turner Classic Movies has been playing Hitchcock movies this month every Sunday. They’re calling it Sundays with Hitch. I love it. I’ve long been a fan of his films and I absolutely adore that he has a cameo of himself in every film. It’s a fun game to spot him in the crowd or walking down the street. If you ever get a chance to see the play, “The 39 Steps” do it. It’s a comedy and all through it, they make puns and plays on words that are titles to his films. It’s hilarious.

My short story that I talked about last time, Enchanted Edinburgh, has hit #2 on my publisher’s best seller list in one day. Made my day for sure.

Is it Still 2013?

It seems as if the year 2013 is determined to beat me into submission or something. I’ve been lucky thus far in my life as far as my nuclear family being still all here and alive. We’ve had a couple of health scares with my parents in the last twelve months including two strokes (one kind of big and one small) for my mom and a quadruple bypass for my dad that doesn’t seem to have worked and now he has to have another procedure but they are both still alive and active and I’m blessed in that way.

Sadly, this has been a year of death for friends though. My dear friends have lost family members and some way too soon. One was a seven year old and one was forty-eight. The other lawyer in my office passed away at age sixty-three. I truly have had my share of funerals and sadness this year. My heart hurts for these families who are dear to me and I wish there was some comfort for them. So much of their heartache comes from the suddenness and inexplicableness of these losses.

The most recent one was from a bee sting. One sting was all that was found on his arm but he went into a coma about ten minutes after it happened and never regained consciousness. One minute, he was working in the yard and ten minutes later, he was non-responsive and effectively brain dead by about twenty minutes later.

This hit me hard. You know, you always hear that there are no guarantees of tomorrow and we kind of just gloss past that old adage but for some reason (and maybe it’s because I’ve known this person since I was 11 and he was 7) this one really hit home for me. I can’t seem to shake it off. One minute you’re here and loving life and the next, BAM, it’s over. No more playing with the kids, no more tinkering with your old truck, no more talking to your mom or sister and no more laughter.

I admire that he was an organ donor and others are being helped as a result of his gift but I know he’s going to be so missed here. He was always so full of personality and fun. From this loss, I’m taking on a new appreciation of the people I love, what I have in my life that’s good and how short our time really is here on Earth.

Hold your loved ones close and laugh with them as much as you can. Suck every second of joy you can out of your life. I love all you guys on this blog and hope you all know that. When my life is done, I sincerely hope that my loved ones and friends (same thing, right?) realize that I tried (even if sometimes I’m a grouch) to make my life one of thankfulness. I may not be perfect but like my friend who had such an outpouring of love at his funeral, I hope that my efforts to make this world just a tinier bit brighter won’t fail. His didn’t. He will live on in memory as someone who always brought joy with him into the room. Would that we all could leave such a legacy, right?

OOOPS!

Sorry I missed my day to post. Just put my head on the pillow and realized it was the third Monday of the month. That pesky first being on a Monday threw me off. Tomorrow is my father’s 73rd birthday and his gift is a possible bypass surgery. We’re not sure yet as he may be able to get by with just a stent or two but the decision won’t be made until tomorrow. So, I’m a bit stressed and discombobulated. Sorry.

Feeling very down about the whole Boston Marathon bombing as well as the Iraq bombing today. Why is there such evil in the world? It just don’t get that mentality. Hurting others even by words is something I try not to do. I can’t even fathom the kinds of things these monsters are thinking. Wow. I’ve been praying for the victims all afternoon.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful april weather-wise. I know it’s been rough all over and I hope the snows some of you are having have finally stopped.

Let’s all hope for sunny skies and good things to happen the rest of the month. I’m hanging in there and hope anyone who sees this post is as well. We must believe in better days, right?