Mae's Real Stories

Memories for Miriam, Alice, Theo, Delia, Tessa and anyone else who would like to be here

Saturday, July 26, 2008


At the movies and elsewhere

"Imagine that it's 1935, and you are going to the movies on Saturday afternoon," I said to Miriam and Alice. "Besides a feature movie, you might see one episode of a series of movies called The Phantom Empire with a singing cowboy named Gene Autrey. It's about Radio Ranch, kids who are famous trick riders, and a huge underground empire called Murania with mysterious horsemen called the Thunder Riders."

"Would we go by ourselves even though we are only 5 and 7?"

"Yes, even little kids went to the movies then."

Miriam and Alice watched two episodes. The Thunder Riders wore strange helmets, and Alice decided that she would make her gift bag into a helmet while she was watching Gene Autrey get stuck in a tree.

In The Phantom Empire, a lot of things happened. Becky, the girl who lived on the ranch, could jump onto a quickly galloping horse and ride standing up. The radio show was on the air, and Gene Autrey sang a song about Noah's Ark. There was a plane crash, and Becky and her brother Frankie had to parachute out of it. They rescued Gene Autrey from the Thunder Riders. In underground Murania, robots did a lot of work. It was very complicated.

Miriam thought it was very good. "It's the oldest movie we have ever seen," she said.

Another thing we did today was to look at a sculpture on campus. When Evelyn was a little girl, she called it "The Amazing Cube." Miriam and Alice had fun spinning it around. When we got there, some men were climbing up onto the sculpture, which is very hard.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Art Fair Dolls

Many artists at the Ann Arbor Art Fair make dolls for collectors. Some dolls are more like statues, but many of them are soft dolls with clothing made of cloth. I think that lots of grown ups and also children really love dolls of all kinds, and that's why so many artists make them.

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Leonardo Paints

Leonardo da Vinci painted Mona Lisa more than 500 years ago, before anyone invented the camera. The painting is the only picture of Mona Lisa, and there are no pictures that show Leonardo for sure. There is one picture of an old man, but no one can be sure it's really Leonardo. In fact, no one is sure he drew it.

I have been putting up lots of pictures that show how various modern people imagined Leonardo looked and how he set up his art studio to paint Mona Lisa. But everyone is only guessing.


Saturday, July 05, 2008


2,500 year old dolls

In ancient Greece about 2,500 years ago, people made pottery and small figurines out of clay. They made pots for drinking, cooking, and storing food, and they made figurines of people, of pet animals, and of wild animals. Most of these figurines seem to have been used to decorate houses or for religious ceremonies.

Archaeologists dig in the ground, and find these old clay figurines. They try to understand how the ancient Greek people made them, and what they did with them.

A few of these ancient figurines had arms that moved. The archaeologists think that the jointed arms mean the figurines were dolls, and the jointed arms meant a child could move them and dress them.

One picture here shows two animals, one shows two dolls, and one shows a whole lot of figures including the dolls.


Dolls from Africa

Africa is a very big continent with many countries, tribes, and peoples. The people of Africa have many customs, artistic styles, and musical forms. Some people make beautiful cloth, baskets, and masks.

Sometimes African people make dolls for children to play with. Some Africans make dolls to have for collections. Other dolls and figures represent religious ideas, and are used in ceremonies among some tribes and peoples. Here in North America (our continent) there are many different people who make dolls for all the same reasons. In our family, we give dolls to children to play with, and we collect dolls.

Here are a few African dolls that I saw in the museum in Toronto. Two pictures show girl dolls, that are all dressed up in beaded costumes. Children played with these dolls.

The third doll is a very special doll. It is made to look like Nelson Mandela, a very famous leader of the country of South Africa. The South Africans think he is a very great man. He recently had his 90th birthday. -- maybe some people made more dolls to celebrate this birthday.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Eskimo and Indian Dolls

In the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, we saw a big room full of art works, clothing, and other things, like canoes, made by the native people of Canada. The exhibit is called "First People" because these were the first people to live in Canada. (Many other people have come here from Europe, Africa, and Asia, just like in the United States.)

The native people often made beautiful dolls, and we took some photos. Making doll clothes was very hard work, and could take a woman a few days of sewing, said the museum notes.

One woman named Evelyn Johnson, especially, gave the museum her family's doll collection. The dolls in the fur parkas are and the dolls in red dresses are not from Evelyn Johnson's family. The others are from her family.

Here's an interesting thing: the words parka and anorak, which we use to mean these kinds of jackets, are words that the English language borrowed from the Eskimo languages. We also saw a lot of fur clothing that the Eskimos used to keep warm in the very cold north winters.


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