2018 Roundup: Remember Alamo Plaza

Every six months this blogger reviews what posts people have been reading most during the past year.

San Antonians’ Alamoobsessiveness was ignited by the state’s determination to fence in a designated city park – Alamo Plaza. Related posts dominate this year-end list. A battle lost. Time to move on as the plaza’s fate appears sealed. Hopefully the New Year will bring glad tidings about preserving historic landmarks on the west side of the plaza.

On a more upbeat note, cannot wait for the completion of Margarita Cabrera’s “Arbol de la Vida: Voces de Tierra” on the river near Mission San Francisco de la Espada.

The following list represents the posts you clicked on most, with the numbers in parentheses representing rankings from six months ago:

  1. Alamo CEO applying armtwisting pressure to secure gated plaza, 2018
  2. Forging consensus for the Alamo Comprehensive Plan: Don’t fence us out, 2018 (2)
  3. ‘Tree of Life’ bears bountiful crop of tales from the past, 2018 (4)
  4. King William Home Tour: Historic houses whisper stories of early residents, 2018

    523 King William Street, riverside

  5. The Madarasz murder mystery: Might Helen haunt Brackenridge Park?, 2012 (1)
  6. Please put this song on Tony’s pony, and make it ride away, 2010 (5)
  7. Street art entices venturing under the overpass, 2018 
  8. Marilyn Lanfear buttons up a collection of family stories, 2018
  9. Centenarian Santa still burning bright, 2018 
  10. Postcard from Rome, Italy: A numbers game sparked by the baths, 2018
  11. Postcard from Mexico City: Shimmering with colorful experiences, 2018
  12. Postcard from Genoa, Italy: Hey, don’t knock the peanuts, 2018

Thanks for visiting and your patience with my wanderings via this blog.

Would love to hear from you, so please feel free to “chat back” some. Every post has a comment box at the bottom.

All tuckered out now. Thinking I might need a post-eve-celebration nap.

Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno, Genoa, Italy

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere! (my trusty friend)
and gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willie waught, (good-will draught)
for auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak’ a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

“Auld Lang Syne,” Robert Burns, 1788

Centenarian Santa still shining bright

“‘Twas the night before Christmas….” Time to wake Little Santa Light up from his annual estivation/hibernation.

Covered with nicks as one would expect with his years, Santa spends 364 days carefully cradled in fluffy cotton to extend his life as long as possible. We are unsure of this Saint Nicholas’ actual age, but family lore passed down by the Mister’s grandmother, Virginia Lamar Hornor (1895-1988), traces his birth back before World War I.

With expensive early electric bulbs regarded as fragile and unreliable, Santa was treasured even at a tender young age. Grandma said the Lamar family would light him each night during the holidays, keeping Santa burning to guide her brother, Lucius Mirabeau Lamar, III (1898-1978), safely home from World War I.

Through the ensuing decades, the jolly old elf became regarded as a good luck omen – as long as he would light. And he has continued to do so.

Partially crediting Little Santa Light with his own safe return from World War II, Louis Hamilton Hornor, Jr. (1922-2005), coddled him for years. The Mister’s uncle bought Santa his own little Charlie-Brown-esque tree and found a sturdy box to serve as his bed. Uncle Louis fretted over the proper voltage for the aging family relic, so he attached a voltage attenuator to ensure no powerful electrical surge would knock the little guy out.

The annual Christmas Eve lighting is always tinged with excitement and a bit of fear. Suppose this is the year Santa refuses to rouse? What would a burned-out Santa signify?

Once again on December 24, family members took a deep breath as the Mister’s younger brother screwed Santa in tight. Sighs of relief and cries of good cheer burst forth as Saint Nick suddenly glowed.

Not wanting to exhaust the family’s oldest member for much more than a flash, he was quickly unscrewed and tucked snugly back in his bed. As we closed the lid once more on his lair, I am sure I heard him whisper as he went out of sight: “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

Clement Clarke Moore (1779-1863) wrote the enduring poem, “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” in 1822.

Edward Hibberd Johnson of the Edison Lamp Company first hand-wired 80 red, while and blue light bulbs and strung them around a tree in the shop’s window in 1882, according to an article in Smithsonian Magazine.

 

Recycling a few haunted posts to say “Boo” to you

So many “postcards” are backlogged on my desk that I am dusting off some old seasonal favorites for Halloween and Day of the Dead offerings.

First, a few ghost stories from Brackenridge Park to set the tone for Halloween. Her murderers never caught, surely you have glimpsed Helen Madarasz roaming the park at night seeking justice: “The Madarasz Murder Mystery.” The post even throws in a few bonus ghosts who joined her later, all four who died in the park within a one-year period. Or perhaps you have heard the midnight screams of the glamorous Martha Mansfield, whose billowing crinolines set her ablaze in the park during the filming of a Civil War romance in 1923: “The Curse of Mararasz Park: Another Ghost Wandering in Brackenridge Park?”

When our daughter Kate said I could us this circa 1997 photo of her being kidnapped by the Pumpkin Monster, I do not think she realized it would continue to float up to the surface years later: “The Best Halloween.”

Dia de los Muertos, Romerillo, Chiapas

And then move on to some Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico for All Souls Day and All Saints Day:

Finally, a few stops by graveyards in Europe: https://postcardsfromsanantonio.com/category/haunting-graveyards/

Happy Halloween!

Monumental Cemetery of Staglieno, Genoa, Italy