Learning Potica — as originally published in “The Writer’s Workshop Review”

Recently, I think most of us were amused by one little line spoken between our new, Slovenian-born, United States First Lady and His Holiness, Pope Francis. Politics and historical precedence-setting aside, the whole meet-up was thrown into a spiral of media frenzy when Francis asked Melania with a grin, “Do you feed him poteezza?” Within seconds, the Google search rate soared for this mystery word—poteezza. What the media found and distilled was “nut roll, traditional to Slovenia.” Further uproar was caused when the recipe was viewed; this Slovene nut roll is no lightweight treat! Surely His Holiness was poking fun at Mr. Trump’s waistline!

Later reports noted that the Pope just really likes potica.

For me the following tale of our family’s love affair with potica pretty much describes my self-imposed martyrdom and pity wallowing induced by any and all food holidays. I’m betting you’ll recognize a bit of the typical potica debate behaviors among your own family:

Raisins—yes or no. If yes, soaked in wine, or whisky, or not at all? Rolled out thin enough to read the newspaper through or to a perfect eighth-inch thickness? Should it be loaf shaped, look like a huge donut or must a dishpan do double duty as bake ware?

 

Honey or sugar, lemon juice or zest, both or none?

The points of contention are endless!

Maybe Easter is just around the corner, or an important anniversary celebration—a reunion, a bridal shower, Thanksgiving or Christmas—no matter the occasion, my nerves reliably feel a bit jumpy. Upon any big family gathering, I will once again be challenged (expected, assumed, pressured) to bake the traditional Slovenian treat for our family…the potica. For those of you who married-in with no Balkan heritage…it’s “po-teets-zah.” For me, it’s a Panic Attack.

This is by no means the first time I’ve made the potica. It’s been my job now for several years since my grandma quit baking it. Apparently, the baton skips a generation as it is passed, so my aunts and mom just crowned me Princess Potica and before I knew it…I was in charge. So, I make it for each of the big family celebrations, and then, kind of like Jesus, I take a beating for it.

Let me clarify: I make the complicated yeast-and-nut delight and then sit back and listen to everyone else critique my offering as they wax poetic over the poticas (the real poticas) of days gone by.

How I haven’t spent a holiday in jail yet, I do not know.

Oh, I get it. I really do. I understand why I am the one who is saddled with the honor of carrying on an old-country tradition. I can bake and I am really good at it. I had my own coffee house for several years, and made everything that went out the door. But the problem with potica (and in your family it could be Aunt Nell’s potato salad) is that there is only one right way, one authentic recipe, and one correct presentation accepted and deigned perfect. Unfortunately, no one who went before me actually wrote the damn recipe down for “real potica.” You know, exactly as they made it “when it was perfect.”

Let’s revisit that last line: I want you to experience it as I hear it each time I offer up a sugary nut roll in all of its spiral-centered glory.

Say it for yourself aloud with your nose crinkled up, as if you are chewing an adult aspirin, and that repulsive pill is stuck to the back of your tongue with only scalding hot coffee available to wash it down.

Say the words, “Like the real potica. When it was perfect….” Is there a tear in the corner of your eye? Do you feel you’ve been deeply harmed, emotionally scarred and disappointed?

Good. You’re getting the general tone-of-voice and facial expression used for potica critiquing.

We can continue now.

When my oldest daughter was receiving First Communion, our parish held a ceremony a couple of days prior, the Blessing of the Loaves. Each family was to involve their children in baking a loaf of bread to bring to church with all their classmates and their classmates’ families for a special blessing. Since our parish is mostly made up of families with names like O’Brien, Donahue, and McNulty, I thought it would be more meaningful to our daughter if we skipped a plain loaf and made potica together.

Since this was a last-minute thing, I went to the internet and trolled for recipes. This was the first time I had actually seen the word spelled out. Luckily, I hit a site where the pronunciation was spelled phonetically, close to how I had “searched” (long before Google). I looked through until I found a recipe (in English) that sounded about right.

We sifted, kneaded, punched, rolled, filled and baked with delightful anticipation. The smell in the kitchen was heaven.

Blessing of the Loaves day was probably a little traumatizing for my little baker and me. Most of my Mom-friends had chumped out (having never baked bread before) and had purchased the frozen, thaw-and-bake stuff. Their loaves were glorious mounds with buttery gold crusts. The Pillsbury Doughboy bakes up like a champ every time.

Now, I’m no idiot, and I knew potica baking was hard. To be safe, we’d made two so we could choose the best looking one to show off at church. Unfortunately, the better of the pair looked like a pile of hemorrhaging raisin bagels extruded through an angel food cake pan. Not stellar. I snugged up the pristine dishtowel over the pathetic thing and nestled it deeper into the fancy basket as we approached Father Jerry. After that “experience,” I started checking around within the family for the real recipe. Oddly, no one ever seemed to be able to put their hands on one. That was probably 20 years ago. Eventually, having learned my lesson, I gave up asking. Clearly, some family things are strictly on a “need to know basis.”

As the older women in my family line all began passing on to their reward, the potica-making pool got smaller and smaller. When Grandma Jean announced that she would be taking up residence in a rest home, suddenly, the baking baton was passed on to me.

Sans the recipe, of course!

My friend Karen mercifully gifted me with a well-worn and dearly loved cookbook that had belonged to her Aunt Udi. Udi had been the potica maker for her family. Karen naturally had no idea which of the more than two dozen recipes for the bread was Udi’s favorite, so I have been baking my way through the book holiday after holiday. Each version is met, of course, with all the generous feedback I can stand. Count yourself fortunate if you won’t be spending your next big Slovenian family event at my house!

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What’s Food Got to do With Family?

One table, 4 generations of skilled cooks
One table, 4 generations of skilled cooks

One of my favorite topics to write about when I’m doing a family remembrance, is Food.  Almost any significant life event that’s already occurred (or will eventually) within any sect of my family ends up revolving around the table.  We feast at weddings, on birthdays and anniversaries (of anyone or anything), even after funerals.

Holidays are a traditional food-centric “thing” for us. Picnics and barbecues are the celebration of eating–for the sake of celebrating eating.

Across my family, each generation, and each cook reigns supreme over one item or another. And, depending on the “current relations and temperaments” at any given time, some of these recipes will be passed down the generational line, others will be lifted only to the “Great Cookbook in the Sky” for retirement.

Some cooks are/were generous with the sharing of secret methods and gastronomical magic–others are down-right stingy. Why? I couldn’t tell you, I’d probably be poisoned at the next big “occasion.” Some of these recipe withholding food fights can smolder for years…slowly escalating to a boil…just like a perfect stew or trick for frying up a perfect batch of peppers and onions…

For years my Dad harped at my Mom about the way her “peppers and onions” tasted different from the peppers and onions that his Mom made.

Maybe this was because my Mother’s Mom never made “peppers and onions.” That faction of the fam didn’t really believe in those two vegetables as foods suitable for cooking.

“Call Mom and ask her before you cook these next time,” was the proclamation I recall hearing after every “peppers and onions” incident. In fairness, I think my mom did call her Mother-in-law, once, about “peppers and onions.” I also think she got the complete stonewall treatment. Because she (Grandma) wasn’t a huge fan of her (my Mom)–follow?

Well, followed or not, take my advice and stay clear of the middle

When my own husband experienced the famed and authentic “peppers and onions” at Grandma’s one day, he gave Grams a hug, a little peck on the cheek, and the next thing you know, he was cooking up those “peppers and onions” the same way my Dad remembered them as a kid.

In our family, it’s all about how you approach the Bear. Some people are just better about laying the honey on nice and thick when it counts

So throw whoever you can into that ring of wild beasts (the women who cook and tightly guard their “special secrets.”). See if they can schmooze a little and find a way to preserve the best ones. I still want Aunt Helen’s potato salad recipe, but at least I’m privy to the family sugar cookies.

They are to-die-for–especially if you let loose a single crumb of the secret recipe!

And check this out–My hubby actually turned over the peppers and onions secret!

Hmmm. Glad he wrote that down..

 

 

The Short-Lived Trade of Embalming Surgeons

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Embalming Surgeon at work in the field during the Civil War.

Most of the United States was still a wide open wilderness when the Great War between the states broke out. Young men who knew little about life beyond the borders of their own farm’s fence rail were suddenly far from home and doing what was previously unthinkable.  

While some boys came home with doctoring skills, others brought home the lucrative specialty title “Embalming Surgeon.” Those who were willing to abandon their post (and could stomach it) were hired away from the armies of both sides by the booming embalming service businesses.

Field embalming could be completed in about two hours, with a minimal investment in chemicals. These gruesome entrepreneurs followed behind active battles with their tents and supplies. They employed men as “pickers” to glean blood soaked fields in search of freshly dead and mostly intact men.

“Runners” were used to contact the agents whose territory included the deadmen’s hometown. With such a streamlined system in place, the embalmer’s agents often delivered the grievous news before the official Army telegrams were dispatched. No time was wasted in the rush to sell devastated loved ones services for preservation and shipping of their soldier’s remains.

By railroad rules, only embalmed corpses would be accepted for transport. No spoiled (foul smelling) cargo of any kind was allowed. At the beginning of the great conflict between the states, bodies were packed and crated in straw and ice. However, as the war continued, delays and detours became common, and iced corpses could putrefy beside other cargo before reaching home.

When Pickers ran out onto a new battlefield, officers’ remains were favored over enlisted men. Their families were likely to be wealthier. With fees around $50 for an officer, and $25 for an enlisted man ($2500 and $1250 in today’s money) there were fortunes to be made. The service’s price included packing the remains in crudely made wood transport coffins lined with zinc against leakage.

Of course there were some Agents who were just plain cheats. These swindlers set a price upon seeing the dead soldier’s home; sometimes demanding outrageous fees at large homes with the threat of discarding the body; effectively ransoming the corpse to loved ones.

After President Lincoln’s body made its fourteen day farewell tour by train, the public in all parts of the country embraced the previously rare practice of routine embalming. Still, the market for Embalming Surgeons quickly evaporated. Undertakers at home were already set up with profitable furniture and coffin making shops. They had digging crews and fancied-up funeral hacks called “hearses” to tote the departed in.

For hometown undertakers, adding this service was an easy moneymaker. Some Embalming Surgeons found work with established undertakers; most turned to farming or whatever trade they’d left off with before the war.

Can’t find an old photo of an event relevant to your Family History? Check out the Library of Congress Image Collection. You can search by collection, events, or key words. In most cases, usage availability is noted. A few will suggest a search before using the image for publication or display (like on a blog or publication). Their cache of available photos and other forms of imagery is incredible–make it a part of your writing and researching toolbox!

Leaving (a) Home

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This isn’t the first time it’s happened–but it will likely be the last. And I suppose that makes it different, harder, odd. My Mom and Pop are selling their farm. And why shouldn’t they…they’re both past 80 now. When they bought it several years back, there were only two grandchildren. I don’t know why I feel so shaken by this. After all, I never lived there. They moved to this farm after my husband and I had been married almost 10 years. But so much of our family story is perked into that spot of ground, it’s been hard watching the Realtor sign go up next to the mailbox.

They love to tell the story of how they came around a bend in this old, barely paved country road and followed a long line of overgrown orchards mixed in with native trees. They passed over a one-lane bridge and came up a hill past the biggest Sycamore tree in Indiana. Suddenly, there, with the Sycamore standing vigil, the woods opened up and a meadow became visible. It sloped downward toward a barn lot on a gentle rolling hillside. Uphill, the tall meadow grasses and overgrown pear, apple and cherry trees hid the eaves of an old, long abandoned house.

Field of Dandylions and Dirt
Field of Dandylions and Dirt

They looked at each other and nodded. They carefully steered their city sedan up what was left of a gravel drive–more like a natural gully made by a hundred years of neglect and summer showers. Tiger Lilys grew wild, poking their fiery orange and speckled brown heads up above the wild Timothy hay. The well-house had long ago blown over in a forgotten storm, but the pump-head still stood, with the handle only lightly rusted. They looked at each other again, and stepped out into the knee deep weeds, grass and wildflowers.

More as it looked through loving eyes
More as it looked through loving eyes

The old house looked a bit ragged. It seemed the barn had fared better. The way it was sited on the hillside had probably given it some breaks against the weather. But the old house stood tall and straight. It had been built by a Quaker family in 1857 the farmer had told them. No one had lived in it for over 50 years, except an occasional Mama Coon raising her kits. It hadn’t been painted for much longer than that. At some point a porch had been added, then fallen away and removed again. So that’s how it stood, looking so plain-faced and sturdy.

My parents said they looked at each other again and smiled. My dad said–“Just looks like a Grandma and Grandpa farm doesn’t it?” they shook hands with the farmer and officially bought it the next week.

The Grand-kid population kept growing over the years, and regular weekend visits to the country were always a favorite treat. Where else could you go fishing, talk to a cow, climb a tree full of Bumblebees and cherries or walk along manger walls to the hay-rope and pretend you were a circus performer? All the flowers in sight were grown just to be picked by eager little hands, and the crop of barn kittens was an unending rainbow of variety.

Chatting with Bossy
Chatting with Bossy

So, I hope that the next family who buys it understands it for the treasure trove of childhood entertainments that it is. Maybe then they can overlook the uneven floor boards or the agony of the electrical and phone lines failing for days on end during an ice-storm or heavy snow. It’s time for Grandma and Grandpa to move on. The children are all Great Grandchildren now, and the farm is too much to keep up with. But it sure was fun mowing that grass–all 7 acres. The other 25 or so were for the big tractor

Daddy and Grandson riding the little tractor
Daddy and Grandson riding the little tractor

Mr P. Floyd vs The Education

Mom ala' Kindergarten--Sheesh!
Mom ala’ Kindergarten–Sheesh!

School. We’ve all done it. One way or another, some more than we needed, some less than we would have liked. On a recent post, Deborah (aka The Genealogy Lady) asked me why I use the magazine line-lead style on my blog. And then, she shared a really interesting link on the reading style effects technology is having on the readers of today. It wasn’t exactly the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading Method, but it comes dang close.

Apparently several “big deal” studies have been undertaken lately on the effect technology (aka “screen reading”) is having on our brain-training when it comes to reading. We are developing into a society of “F readers” and are training the “youngins” to be the same. Is that surprising?

This made me think of schooling and “schools of thought” in general. It seems that invariably, what is old, eventually becomes new again. Thus proving the old saying “Nothing is ever new under the sun.”

Although the concept of “Blab Schools” sounded rather absurd to most of us growing up, it didn’t look all that bad when we saw the concept demonstrated in the weekly episodes of “Little House on the Prairie.” Kids of all ages and abilities were taught in one open room, by a single instructor. Often siblings shared a desk.

This Blab School stuff isn’t a far cry from the experimental and highly controversial “Open Concept” format of my own grade school experience.

Growing up in rural Indiana, my mother had attended school in a One Room School House–just like Halfpint— and then advanced to the centralized and consolidated High School where there were exactly 7 kids in her graduating class.

Fast forward a few years and that same rural county had become substantially more populated. In our little area, the original schoolhouses had been abandoned and the modestly sized high schools were re-purposed as consolidated grade schools.

Then, around 1960ish came the biggest change in the history of our county. Several of the “re-purposed” schools were abandoned and new, modern elementary schools were built in their place. In the approximately 25-30 year stretch between my mother’s first day of classes at a blab school and then on to a high school with a couple of dozen kids, I started school in a brand-spanking new elementary.

When I say new, I mean new! Parts were still under construction during the early weeks of that first Fall. Kids were uprooted from three old high school buildings and transplanted into a sprawling, one level, carpeted and grade-level segregated Shangri-la approved by our County Commissioners.

Around Second grade, just as Mrs Dean and I had come to a sufficient understanding that I would indeed be doomed to spend my life as a “Lefty,” a new Superintendent came to our district. He held a flashy Doctorate and lofty uptown goals for educating our hayseed little brains on the prairie. Under his direction, our new school would become the second of its kind in the nation.

Did you get that?–IN THE NATION!

In that newly cleared spot, tucked quietly in with the vast acres of corn and soybean fields a sizable plat had been generously donated to build our new school. We were to become national lab rats. Progress!

Immediately, ground was broken for expansion at our new school. The addition was one, massive, open room. The glass of the outside walls was pretty continuous except where sets of boys on the right, girls on the left restrooms stood. There were also large skylights in the ceiling for natural lighting. Structurally, there could not have been a worse design for our safety here at the tail end of Tornado Alley. The single room addition was about three or four times larger than our gymnasium/cafeteria/stage with curtains area they called a “Multi-purpose Room.”

The big project was completed, staff was all run-off or retrained, and when Fall rolled around and I started 4th grade, it was a strange new landscape. My classmates and I had spent the K-3 years at the new school under a strict program of the utmost “oldschool” fashion. We had a teacher, a room, and that’s where we stayed throughout the duration of that grade.

We did have a music teacher who rolled an upright piano down the hallway from room to room for our once-a-week music class, but otherwise, we never ventured past our classroom for anything but lunch, gym or recess.

Suddenly with the coming of 4th grade year, our school was transformed. We, the upperclassmen of the 4th, 5th and 6th grades would be divided by ability and assigned labels / levels. I was a 4-1. There were also 2’s and 3’s. It didn’t take much to figure out that everybody labeled a 4-1 was considered smarter than a 2, and far superior to a 4-3.  Even at that tender age, this “labeling” and “segregating” thing didn’t feel right to me. But still, the terror and the stigma of possibly being bumped down to a “2” (essentially re-labeling me a fallen “1”) was a lot of pressure.

We also “moved” from room to room with a bell schedule. All of this to prepare us for high school. Which is kinda what I thought our stint at the in-town Junior High was supposed to be about. We had a slew of new teachers and separate rooms for each subject. Homeroom was simply where our first subject of the day was, and where we were to hang our winter wraps and leave our galoshes.

We had no lockers. There wasn’t a budget for those.

Kindergarten remained conspicuously untouched by all this upheaval. Their nap-times and double milk breaks remained the same. As a concept borrowed from “overseas,” Kindergarten didn’t really seem significant enough for the new Superintendent to tinker around with.

The addition to the back of the school was officially referred to as the “Pods.” I’m not sure whether that was an acronym or not. But it was basically “stupid land.” My poor little brother started 1st grade that Fall. He was ushered from the quiet and sweet softness of close-doored Kindergarten to an enormous room filled with “study carrels,” lots of teachers milling around, three full grade levels of roaming kids.

There were teachers on staff for each discipline–basically the three R’s of Reading, wRiting, and aRrythmatic. Science, the Arts and Developmental Strategists (teachers’ assistants) milled about as well.

Basically, the kids in first through third grade were gently encouraged to follow their bliss and do whatever motivated or called to them on any given day. This was an effort to promote self directed (aka “learn it when you become interested in it”) mastery.Kids were laying on the floor all day with headphones on listening to stories on tape. Others sat on the desk tops of the study carrels (which we thought were somehow related to Christmas Carols because they kind of echoed when you put your head in them and started singing) drawing beautiful crayon pictures of John Deere tractors.

A few of the kids voluntarily migrated to the “structured lesson” areas; some were herded by the “Developmental Strategists.” These were the students who would later be sorted out into the 4-1 and 4-2s. But the poor suckers who were “learning in their own time,” playing Legos and drawing tractors while they said “putt-putt-putt” into the echoing desk area, they were gunning to be 4-3s. Branded for life.

And there it was–the Blab school, the one-room schoolhouse was back in use. Only a few hundred feet from the shadow of the abandoned one my own mom had attended, kids of all levels were thrown into one open room this time without rulers smacking knuckles or paddles whacking hineys. There were also no dunce caps. Dunce caps were self expressed via the kids who preferred freedom of expression and time management to “learning.” Bedlam at the taxpayer’s expense.

Fortunately, after about 2 years of this nonsense, some changes were put into place. The class levels where changed from numerical designations to insect species for fourth graders, animals of the Sahara for 5th graders, and assorted mythical predators for the 6th grade classes. I was a Thunderbird. Still moving from classroom to classroom with the same kids I had been a 4-1 and a 5-1 with, it was some pretty thin repackaging.

Meanwhile, down in the “Pods” (the “Blab School”) changes took place that no longer allowed for the self directed learning of 7-8 and 9-year-olds. Kids were given assigned spots at tables with their own name written on a strip of construction paper, and taped onto their assigned spot. Nobody got to lay in the carrels and draw tractors or echo out the putt-putt noises anymore.

Gradually, the only thing that had changed about classroom instruction for 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders was that free standing chalkboards were brought in along with bookcases to make “rooms” inside the acres of abandoned newfangled open concept,  carpeted space.

My brother spent three years crawling around under the carrels playing “explore.” Consequently, academics were a struggle for him over the next nine years. School just wasn’t the same when it suddenly became structurey.

So, I guess at least in the case of my own elementary school education, the saying stands true: There is nothing new under the sun. Or maybe Pink Floyd had it right–We don’t need no education

Do you suppose that Maybe someone should write that down… 

 

Heraldry and We the People, Return from Spring Break

I originally wrote this post several years ago while the “Mom blog” was in its infancy. But after watching a good friend pridefully chose “just the right spot” to display her new, official and authentic family crest– complete with expensive frame and mat–freshly purchased while visiting a Theme-Park-Mega-Land…I thought we could all use a refresher. We Americans just don’t “get” the whole Heraldry and Flying the Family Colors thing. But boy, we sure want to participate! Here’s the real scoop, along with a bit of my own shame showing 😉   1219121525aI’m not sure, but I believe it was PT Barnum who said “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

What I am sure of is:  I am one of those suckers.

  The other day I was clearing out a drawer and ran across a family crest certificate that my husband and I had purchased many years ago.  Can you hear the Merry-go-Round music yet?  It came from a very “proper” looking shop.  I believe that it was even spelled “shoppe” ~ a spelling meant  to further endorse the authenticity of fake stuff.  But we were young and silly and newly married.  So we scraped together the $35.00 ( a pretty Royal sum for us 30+ years ago) and bought a “fully researched and authenticated, heirloom quality” piece of paper with our last name slightly misspelled on it.

Wow.  How cool is That ?

What I have learned since ( ironically for free via library books) is that we were totally duped.  A crest is only “good” for the original “owner.”  A father may have a certain design, but it does not pass down verbatim to his children.  When important families married, as was generally the plan, their crests were merged to create a new one for the identity of the newlyweds.

Maybe there was an Earl of Momenhousen who bore the crest in my drawer a bazillion years ago.  However we, the current-day Momenhousen family, have no claim to it.

  Heck at this point, I don’t even know what happened to the receipt !   I do have an excuse though…I am an American.  Almost all of us are about one inch away from obsession with “the Old Country.”  Additionally, we are also generally convinced  there is a Demi-Czar, a Baron or at least a Bergermeister in our family pedigree somewhere.

Therefore, it stands to reason that we (meaning the immediate “us”) must have claim to a heraldic shield, a family crest, or something that verifies we are from a stock above serfdom.  Thanks Mr Barnum, you have given a name to this madness~

Sucker.

The real truth is that Heraldic Design is pretty much about Art.  If you are Canadian, you may claim a crest for your lineage if you wish to go through a long and arduous process. For better or for worse,if you are looking for something cool to put up on the wall, its time to do some doodling.  Although I did some intensive research on the topic and found a few favorite books that I think are very good for being technically correct, I just recommend the use of an artsy relative.

Simply by Googling “Heraldry” or” Heraldic Design”, or” Colors in Heraldry” you can save yourself some time and money. If you are looking for good books on the subject (and you can persevere for a few months to get through one) I would recommend one of these three.  And please note, the third one is not an opening chapter, it is the title of the book:

1.  A Guide to Heraldry by Ottfried Neubecker

2.  Concise Encyclopedia  of Heraldry by Guy Cadogan Rothery

3.  The Manuel of Heraldry a Concise Description of the Several Terms Used and Containing a Dictionary of Every Designation in the Science with 350 Illustrations  by Sir Francis James Grant

If these all sound too scary, have a sit down with your clan and start brainstorming what it means to be a “Dipfenhoffper” or “Smith.”  Think up some words,symbols, and colors to use to represent You.  Maybe then craft a family logo~for your ” house”.  Remember, siblings should be allowed to represent the same ancestry with their own selection of colors, symbolism and mottoes.  Consider using a string of words that spell out your last name as a motto like the poems kids are so fond of writing out of their names .

Example (bad one, really bad one):

Bravery In The Hood Masked At Night (Bithman)

In my post titled Managing the Help(ers)” I talked a little bit about dividing this task up among different factions of the family.  It’s a great way to get everyone started with helping without driving you nuts.  And, as a bonus, if you can get everyone to create their own crest, then the cover design for their copy of the finished project will already be done.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Julie-Everhart-Fine-Art-and-Photography/161130630622523?__mref=message_bubble
Lord Levi, as rendered by my friend Julie Everhart, of Julie Everhart Fine Art and Photography

Wow, how cool is that?

It’s also as authentic as the “Heraldry” you buy in a glitzy little shop or from one of the online retailers. This is my fabulous furboy, posing as the Lord of a fictitious family who lives out their on-screen lives in a private home rented annually by their production crew.

I’d rather have this photo any day over one printed out with an ink-jet from a tourist trap! If you’d like your baby, or yourself, transformed into Napoleon or Marie Antoinette (before that whole unfortunate beheading thing) get in touch with Julie, you can have royalty “your way” as the great American (Burger) King says 😉

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