Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden

Eloise Butler was born on a farm in Maine in 1851. In 1874, she moved to Minneapolis to teach botany and took her students on field trips “botanizing”. In 1907, she persuaded the Minneapolis Park Board to set aside three acres for a wild botanical garden. After 36 years of teaching she retired and became the curator of the garden. In 1924, she spent $700 of her own money to expand the garden to a five acre fenced off area. The garden was re-named the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in her honor in 1927. She died at 81 tending the garden.

A mushroom the size of a volleyball!

School’s out for summer

School’s out for summer.

When I was 16, Alice Cooper blared out over the stereo.

School’s out forever.



Well… not forever.  But for the summer.  My parents flew up from Lagos, Nigeria to pick me up at boarding school in Switzerland.  We met up with my cousins and aunt and uncle and hopped a train to Genoa, Italy.  From there we made our way past Monte Carlo to San Rafael.  I bought my first bikini and found my patch of sand on the French Riviera.  How could life be any better than that?


Unfortunately we couldn’t stay there forever.  We spent time in Paris, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysee, the Palace of Versailles.  It was hot.  It was crowded.  It made me crabby.  Touring Europe with family.  How droll.  I was way beyond that.  I was 16, after all.












From Paris we split off and my cousins went to London and my parents and I went to Madrid.  I ran into some old friends at the Museo Del Prado.  I saw Las Meninas by Velazquez, one of the most famous paintings in the West.  I remember there was a mirror placed opposite so you could view the painting in its reflection.  The king and queen are painted in a mirror on the wall of the room.  It is a mirror within a mirror.  Anyway, it is a complex painting and I don’t remember all the details but I do remember what struck me the most about it was how apparent the inbreeding was.

We ate tapas, we watched Flamenco, we dined out.  We boarded a train to Portugal and traveled across the plains where the bulls were bred.  After a couple of days by the pool in Lisbon we headed to the beach at a resort north of town.  It was not the French Riviera as I recall, it was below par and possibly raining.  Also the end of the tour.



PanAm non stop to New York City.  From there my mind goes blank.


Berlin: Soviet War Memorial

Entrance to Memorial from Treptower Park









The Battle of Berlin marked the end of World War II.  It took place April to May 1945 and claimed about 80,000 Soviet lives.  Stalin was in a hurry to take Berlin because he wanted to get to their Nuclear research facility before the Americans arrived in order to find out what the Germans had discovered.  The Soviet Nuclear program needed a boost.  Because Stalin was in such a hurry, mistakes were made and an enormous amount of Soviet lives were lost.















There are three memorials to the Soviet Troops in Berlin.  One is the Tiergarten Memorial near the Brandenberg Gate.  It is relatively small and compact and was built in 1945.  Another is the Schonholzer Heide in the Pankow district.  It was finished in 1949 and covers 30,000 square meters (98,500 sq ft).  The third is in the Treptower Park.  It opened in 1949 as well and was the main war memorial for East Germany.  Five thousand Soviet soldiers are buried there.

We visited on a warm summer day arriving after walking for miles and miles not knowing how far it was.  The park was lovely and the memorial was impressive, built to a grand scale.




Mother Russia weeping over her dead children