Breakfast at Tiffanys

Could there possibly be any woman alive who hasn’t seen Breakfast at Tiffanys? The film delivers what is often considered Audrey Hepburn’s most identifiable and memorable role.  Interestingly, she  regarded screenwriter Truman Capote’s imagined character as being one of her most challenging roles because Holly Golightly was so very the opposite of herself.

Situated firmly in its high place in American cinema, Breakfast at Tiffanys is required viewing for the cultured film buff.  Holly Golightly, along with her neighbor Paul (played by George Peppard), are two of the more unusual yet lovable characters to grace the screen.  Who can forget the opening scene with Audrey at Tiffanys? Or when she was  searching for “cat” in the rain?  For me, the work was a superb introduction to the breadth and uniqueness of Audrey Hepburn, and I think that you will agree.

Not to live for the day, that would be materialistic- but to treasure the day. I realize that most of us live on the skin- on the surface- without appreciating just how wonderful it is simply to be alive.   ~ Audrey Hepburn

There is an irrestible charm and elegance to Audrey Hepburn. She is one of those unique talents that transcends time, timeless in her films, her personal achievements, her style, and everything she represents. As you learn more about her, it is affirmed that the beautiful spirit that radiates  from the screen was as lovely, or perhaps even more lovely, than you see on celluloid.

Born in 1929, Audrey was a teenager when the Nazis invaded the Netherlands and occupied her town. It affected her in profound and lasting ways (how could it not?) and the memory propelled her passion for UNICEF, which to many of us she remains synonymous with even to this day.  As a young person, she studied ballet, drama, and later modeling before making her way to the stage and ultimately the silver screen.  As we learn more about her, Audrey is one of those “stars” that encourages us to live with passion, embrace compassion for others and especially children, create our own personal style, and to live each day as if it were a treasure. Such collective qualities may seem elusive in the hectic nature of our lives, but the words and inspiration of Audry Hepburn revealed in books and film can help us decouple from the routine and see what’s really important in life. And more.

Learn more about Audrey with these delightful books:

Audrey Style by Pamela Keogh. Drawing on original interviews with family and friends, Keogh offers an excellent glimpse into  Audrey’s life from fashion to how she lived.

Audrey Hepburn, Elegant Spirit: A Son Remembers by Sean Hepburn Ferrer. This poignant, heartfelt book is a loving tribute by her son Sean. An excellent choice for any Hepburn fan.

How to be Lovely: the Audrey Hepburn Way of Life by Melissa Hellstern. This is primarily a book of quotations by and about Audrey Hepburn. It is arranged by subject including  happiness, health, family, friendship, and more. For fans who want an insightful quote to start or end their day, slip this one into your library bag.

What Would Audrey Do? by Pamela Keogh. With exhaustive research, Keogh returns to Audrey Hepburn with a fun, insightful book. If you are interested in exploring the wisdom of Audrey, then this is the book for you. It is a witty combination of biography and commentary, and absolutely delightful to read.

Best of all, take these films home to enjoy Audrey’s creative genius and absorbing screen presence:

Roman Holiday (1953): This is the film that brought Audrey into the limelight. In this sweet romance penned by Dalton Trumbo (author of The Sandpiper and Spartacus), Audrey plays a young princess who wants to connect with the real world, so she hides in a car to get away from her protective handlers. Enter Gregory Peck, who plays a newspaper reporter and someone who helps her without knowing that she is a princess. When the story of the missing princess becomes the biggest newspaper headline of the time…. well, that’s all I’m going to tell you except to note that the film won three Oscars.

Sabrina (1954): This Billy Wilder film stars Audrey, playing opposite Humphrey Bogart and William Holden, as the daughter of the chauffeur of a wealthy family. Since childhood, she has had a crush on the youngest son but he never notices her … that is, until she returns from her education in Paris.  When the younger son begins to court her in her refined persona, we see that he isn’t the best choice.

Charade (1963): This is my personal Audrey favorite. Co-starring Cary Grant, it is screwball comedy at its best with whimsy and  fun and unpredictable twists. After her husband is murdered, Audrey returns home from a healing journey to find her home completely empty. Henceforth she learns that her late husband had a number of false identities, and then discovers she is being followed and threatened by four men who want the money her late husband apparently stole from them.  The film was an Oscar winner and both Grant and Hepburn received Golden Globes.

My Fair Lady (1964): If you enjoy musicals, then this is for you. With gorgeous costumes, classic songs, and superb casting, the film depicts Audrey as a poor, unrefined street urchin who is transformed into a proper lady blossoming with elegance and style. Winner of eight Oscars.

Two for the Road (1967): In this edgy romantic comedy with serious undertones,  a wife (Audrey) and her husband (Albert Finney) remember the ups and downs of their 12-year marriage while driving from London to the Riviera.  With a series of flashbacks, the film explores their early marriage and then later problems and their decision to commit infidelities.

Wait Until Dark (1967): This is an intense suspense story! Audrey plays a blind woman and wife of a photographer who finds herself trapped in her NYC apartment with a trio of evil men willing to murder to retrieve the heroin-filled doll hidden in her home without her knowledge. Unforgettable! Riveting!

The best thing to hold onto in life is each other. ~ Audrey Hepburn

~Ann Marie

Ann Marie is the Library Director at the Oliver Wolcott Library and someone who thinks that having breakfast with Audrey (or Audra) at Tiffanys would be a lot of fun, especially if someone lent her their credit card.

What Kind of Prince Are You?

I’m a hopeless romantic. Maybe it’s the constant stream of weddings my husband and I are lucky enough to attend. Maybe it’s the New Kids on the Block ballads that fill my iPod. But if I really think about it, the root of my problem began at a much earlier age. I discovered my many loves…all within the walls of the library. Whether it was a scene imagined in my head with the help of a paperback or an image burned into my psyche after repeated viewings, I’ve always been a sucker for the romance stories. Not any old romance, but the ones that involve true love or soulmates.

Let’s see if you’re a connoisseur in the love department, too. Play along to see if you can guess where the loves in my life (so far, anyway!) come from…

Once upon a time I met a farm boy named Westley. He battled an expert swordsman, a hulking giant, and a criminal mastermind to find his way back to me. He trudged through the fireswamp, snorted at a rodent (of quite an unusual size, I might add!), and lived through the pit of despair–all in the name of love! Ah, to hear Westley say, “As you wish,” melted my heart! If I had been born twenty years later, perhaps Tristan would have been my first true love. Chasing a fallen star, he had quite an epic quality about him.

But soon, I grew into a teenager and the fairy tale nonsense wore off with my teen angst. That’s when I met Lloyd. You know him. The good-looking, a bit geeky “individual” you always wanted to notice you in high school. (Yeah, he never noticed me either except when I was in his way in the hallway.) It didn’t stop me from stargazing out my window hoping to see him wearing that trench coat holding that boombox over his head. He never came.

Noah entered my life rather dramatically. We met at a fair on the ferris wheel to be more exact. He threatened to kill himself unless I agreed to a date. Of course, our social classes were completely opposite, which kept us on a constant emotional roller coaster with parental pressure. I needed something more than a summer relationship…

That’s when I finally met Damon Bradley. After all those years knowing my destiny, I finally met the man who the Ouija Board told me was my soulmate. We had an intense affair in Italy. It was cut short when I found out he was lying. I didn’t need that!

I finally got married in my twenties to Gerry. Our marriage was brief due to an unexpected illness. It didn’t stop our love, though. His love letters and instructions kept me going. Without them, I don’t know what I would’ve done!

I think his spirit was reincarnated into the body of Chris. Through triumph and tragedy, our love prevailed…until a horrible accident. Still our connection was not entirely broken. He loved me so much that he literally went to hell to save my soul.

As I age, I hope to keep my wits about me when it concerns matters of the heart. Occasionally, I have moments of deja vu. You know those loves that come in and out of your life? Hot and steamy one moment, but non-existent the next? That’s how it was with Benjamin. He was so sweet, but unreliable when discussing the future. Sometimes, I swear I see him watching me from afar. It can’t be him, though. Maybe it was Henry. He’s another one you can’t go ahead and plan the future with. Here one minute and gone the next. He’s just like Richard. At the height of our affair, he vanished. Maybe it was too passionate for him. I still don’t know the reason he gave up on us. I just remember that watch he used to carry around. Every time I think of it, I seem to be transported somewhere in a different time.

So? How’d you do? Let’s find out what kind of prince you are:

Meet Westley of The Princess Bride (DVD SCI-FI/FANTASY PRI and J GOL). Adventurous, daring and take charge kind of guy.

stardust

Meet Tristan Thorne of Stardust (DVD STA and YA FIC GAI and YA CD SPOKEN GAI). A daydreamer, a bit naive, has an epic quality about him.

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Meet Lloyd Dobler of Say Anything (DVD COMEDY ANY). Filled with angst, very unique, and makes a radical mixed tape.

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Meet Noah Calhoun of The Notebook (DVD DRAMA NOT and FIC SPA). Hard-working, relentless and romantic.

only you

Meet Damon Bradley of Only You (DVD COMEDY ONL). Great sense of humor, irresistible charm, believes in destiny, and sells fancy shoes!

ps i love you

Meet Gerry Kennedy of P.S. I Love You (DVD DRAMA PS and FIC AHE). Always thinking ahead, grounded, and has a great accent!

dreams may come

Meet Chris Nielsen of What Dreams May Come (DVD DRAMA WHA). Intelligent, practical, and financially stable.

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Meet Benjamin Button of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (DVD DRAMA CUR and YA FIT GRAPHIC). A go with the flow type of guy who takes life as it comes.

time traveler

Meet Henry of The Time Traveler’s Wife (FIC NIF and CD SPOKEN NIF). Educated, a bit unreliable (though it’s because of his medical condition), and a librarian (bonus points in my book)!

Meet Richard Collier of Somewhere in Time (DVD DRAMA SOM). Old-fashioned, easily smitten and believes in love at first sight.

Lisa Shaia is the children’s librarian who danced with her true love to Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” five years ago (minus the trench coat and boombox, of course).

Seals, Sun and Sand

Here I am back from my two week escapade in Truro, Cape Cod. Although I have been going to Truro nearly every year for about twenty years, it never ceases to amaze and relax me, and each year I discover something new and exciting. Cape Cod has such a rich and diverse environment from plants to animals. One of my favorite things to do is take my bike on a ride or my legs on a walk through the trails that weave through dunes, marshes and woods with the earthy pitch-pine fragrance. On my trip this time, I came upon the Wellfleet Audubon Society. We first entered into the wonderfully constructed “green” audubon center (noticing the huge array of solar panels on the side of the building) and were given trail maps and welcomed to browse their wildlife displays. We hiked Goose Pond Trail which took us through woods, marsh and down to the bay. We happened to walk it during low tide so as we walked out on the boardwalk towards the bay, and tiny holes in the sandy grasses could be seen along the way. I bent down for a closer inspection, and much to my surprise, there were thousands of tiny crabs that scurried into their holes with the slightest movement or wave of the hand. We found out later that they were fiddler crabs (named for their one large claw which they move around) and also saw the tiny pellets of sand that they produce near their holes.

Goose Pond Trail
Goose Pond Trail

Besides hiking I, of course, visited the beach. The National Seashore along the Cape is exquisite. There were two new adventures to me this year in my beach visits. First, I rode my bike to the beach and not only saved gas and money for parking, but enjoyed some exercise as well as the surrounding landscape. I can’t speak for my boyfriend who graciously volunteered to carry our backpack of beach supplies, the small lunch cooler, as well as two umbrellas which he strategically hooked onto the pack (don’t ask how they stayed or how he managed to ride through the hilly-landscape with all that weight…incredible!).

The second new adventure, and one of the best, was viewing the harbor seals resting on the beach. From our spot, we could see a black mass of creatures moving. As we walked closer we realized they were seals–probably close to three hundred basking in the sun on the sandbar and feeding in the water. We didn’t get too close so that we wouldn’t disturb them in their home, but we were close enough to hear their meloncholy calls (almost like mooing) and their interaction. Below is one of the pictures. I can’t describe how wonderful it was to see these magnificent mammals in their natural habitats.

 

Seal Friends
Seal Friends

 Lastly, the whales; the beautiful humpback’s that seem to show-off and dance for us out on the whale-watch boat. They came up very close, so close I could see their bumpy mouths and shiny bodies.

Saying Hello
Saying Hello

Although I’m happy to be back to my hometown, I miss the Cape already and the calmness it brings. How easy it is to forget troublesome thoughts when you’re surrounded by ocean…

If you’re planning on visiting the seashore before summer’s end, be sure to bring along one of OWL’s beachcomber and seashell guides, like A Guide to Field Identification: Seashells of North America (594 ABB). Impress your friends, spouse or significant other with your shell knowledge “It’s not just a shell, that’s a dekay’s dwarf tellin!”

Even if you’ve never seen a whale, some of you may be familiar with their song–often heard on relaxation CD’s. No doubt, their song, or way of communicating, is unique, beautiful and complex and is still being studied. If you want to explore it and listen in on some whale music, pick up Thousand Mile Song: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound by David Rothenberg (599.515 ROT). It includes a CD too!

If you’ve never been to the Cape, or you have, you’ll enjoy Cape Cod and the Offshore Islands by Walter Teller (974.4 T). It reminds me a lot of Thoreu’s Cape Cod (which is also a must read), with its description of towns along the Cape and its thoughtful meandering.

If you’re heading to the beach or somewhere for R&R, check out Cape Cod Stories (FIC CAP) a collection of short stories based on or about Cape Cod written by famous authors like Sylvia Plath and Edgar Allan Poe.

The Outermost House by Henry Beston (917.44 BES)  is a must read for Cape lovers. Beston spends some time alone in a small house on the beach’s in Eastham, Cape Cod and describes his time there vividly. “Sun and moon rise here from the sea, the arched sky has an ocean vastness, the clouds are now of ocean, now of earth…” (5).

Want to learn more about seals and other ocean mammals? Explore Mammals of the Oceans by Richard Mark Martin or Mammals of the American North by Andrian Forsyth which has a section on seals/whales.

With the last weeks of August approaching, you might consider checking out OWL’s State Park Pass which you can use to visit Hammonasset beaches or any state park in CT.

Can’t get to the ocean this year? That’s okay, slip our Sounds of Nature sampler CD into your player, close your eyes and hear the oceans tide caressing the shore.

Journey's End
Journey's End

 Sarai is the Publicity Coordinator/Library Assistant and is currently humming the song “Roadsinger…”

OWL Ladies’ Garden Tour

I’d like to share with you some beautiful gardens that belong to the lovely ladies at the OWL.  These special women are my vegetable garden gurus and have taught me so much in the past 2 years.  Last Friday, in the pouring rain, all of us OWL gardeners got together to tour each other’s gardens…

We started with Sarai‘s garden, a certified natural wildlife habitat.  Sarai’s garden was small and lush, full of squashes and cucumbers and beans, among other vegetables.

She had large raspberry bushes too, which we all got to taste test!

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Sarai is most proud and excited about her beans and squash, because they went wild this year.  She’s also excited that her peppers are still alive!

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Sarai’s best garden advice:  Talk to the plants–get down and tell them how beautiful they look, how nice they are growing… not only for encouragement & positive energy but your own oxygen helps them as well (“yeah, I’m a little bit crazy” she says)  :).

She must be on to something because her plants were growing very nicely!

Sarai’s recommended garden books:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, 641.097 KIN.  Sarai felt inspired by this book, realizing even one person or family can help the world by growing their own produce.  Inspirational and fun with lots of recipe ideas.  Denise seconds the motion!

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, 317.3 OLD.  Sarai’s grandmother got her into this book, and she believes that “tried and true” is always the best.  I heartily second this recommendation and find their planting by the moon info very helpful (see my planting by the moon blog).

Next stop was Stacy‘s garden.  Stacy has two gardens; one large and one VERY large!  She has rows and rows of every kind of vegetable.  Stacy is an amazing gardener.  I was so impressed by her kingdom of produce!  One of the most amazing things about her garden was that it wasn’t fenced in and they haven’t had any problems with wildlife eating it (knock on wood).

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Stacy was most excited about her yams, soybeans and parsnips, new plants she is trying this year.

Stacy has chickens too!  The rooster’s name is Lucky, and he’s very protective of his hens.  According to Stacy he beat up a dog to protect them!

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Stacy’s best garden advice:  Don’t be afraid to thin.  “Just pull stuff out!”  🙂

Stacy recommends Organic Gardening Magazine, a bimonthly periodical all about different ways to garden organically.

Denise‘s garden is artistic and decorative.  It feels like a little magical place with beautiful things to see everywhere.

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She has flowers mixed in with vegetables, and has her peas climbing up an arched trellis.  It makes me take a deep breath just thinking about how peaceful it is!

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Denise was most excited about her asparagus and garlic, new plants she tried this year.

Denise’s recommended gardening books:

Victory Garden by James Underwood Crockett, 635 CRO.  A month-by-month schedule of what needs to be done in your garden.

Lasagna Gardening by Patricia Lanza, 635 LAN.  This is a relatively easy way to get a garden started without digging or tilling.  It works great for us, give it a try!  Cameron seconds the motion.

Denise’s best gardening advice:   Amend your soil with horse or cow manure!  She told the story of how when she first started gardening her neighbor came by with a “bucket of poop” and a few plants and told her “just mix this into the dirt and plant”.

Our last stop was Cameron‘s garden, the kind of garden you read about in books.  That’s the feeling I have when I go there.  The sense I had when I was there was like I was in an old English garden, but with more abstract placement of plants.

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Cameron had very unique vegetables.  My absolute favorite was her purple beans, they were so beautiful.

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Cameron was most excited about her artichokes.  We all gasped when we saw them!  She had to “vernalize” them to make them think they were in California.

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Cameron’s best garden advice:  Just love it.  Be in the moment and realize the miraculous simplicity of it all.  (And… amend  your soil really well!)  🙂

Cameron’s recommended garden books:

The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch, 635 DAM.  An A to Z encyclopedia of all things garden.  I second the motion–Cameron recommended this to me when I first started gardening and my sister bought it for me for Christmas.  I consult it constantly.

Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte, 635 RIO.  This is the sequel to Roses Love Garlic, both books all about companion planting.

And, finally… my garden!

My garden has many raised beds and boxes.  We have two long boxes that we cover to make tunnels, mini-greenhouses, in the spring and fall.

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I am most excited about my 3 sisters (Native American mound of corn, beans and squash.  The beans grow up the corn stalk and the squash supposedly keeps away critters.  All 3 plants are supposed to give each other different vitamins.)

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I’m also really excited about my yams because they are doing much better than last year’s.

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My recommended garden reads:

60-minute Garden by Jeff Ball, 635 BAL.  This is a neat way to extend your gardening season by covering raised beds to make little tunnels.

The Permaculture Garden by Graham Bell, 631.58 Bell.  This was how we learned to “sheet mulch” to grow our potatoes (much like the lasagna gardening).

My best garden advice:   Make a lot of mistakes!

Gardening was overwhelming to me at first but I just dove in and made a lot of mistakes.  Each time something didn’t work out I just asked my garden gurus and one of them inevitably told me what I was doing wrong.  As I’m sure you all know, this is the best way to learn because you’ll never forget it!

Thanks so much to Sarai, Stacy, Denise & Cameron, garden gurus extraordinaire!

Jesse Lee Harmon is the bookkeeper/library assistant at OWL and is currently humming the song A Change is Gonna Come sung by Aretha Franklin