Who Is Elizabeth Taylor?

Elizabeth Taylor in “National Velvet”

I’ve meant to write this blog since March 23, when Elizabeth Taylor died. Other things kept happening, though, including Tim spending five days in the hospital, and I wavered as time went by. However I have treated myself to a late afternoon cup of coffee and feel a little more inspired now…

My perception of my mom while I was growing up was that she was a very reserved and private person, even with her daughters. It frustrated me that she never seemed to want to share her deepest thoughts with me. Most of my understanding of her inner life came to me in different ways after she died, and I have felt more connected to her since her death.

But I do have to admit that some things she said and did flew right by me as I was so focused on what I imagined she would share that I missed many little things she did share. One of these things was a connection she felt with Elizabeth Taylor.

I’m guessing it might have been around 1966, when I was nine years old and when Taylor’s movie, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? came out. There must have been a lot of buzz about it because I remember asking my mother, who is Elizabeth Taylor?

Elisabeth J. White

Mom explained that Elizabeth Taylor was a very famous movie star who was only four months younger that she was and that she “grew up” with her. She said National Velvet was her favorite movie and that she first saw it when she was 12 years old.

My own comparisons go a little further. My mother (as a child at right) was also named Elisabeth, but she spelled it with an “s.” Her coloring was similar, jet black hair and full dark eyebrows. Mom’s eyes were brown, though, but she was just as beautiful. As grownups, they could not have been more different, Taylor leading a glamorous lifestyle and Mom a down-to-earth nature and animal lover.

Somehow I have never gotten around to watching National Velvet. Taylor’s death jogged my memory and so I added the film at the top of my Netflix list, but I guess there’s a bit of a wait because other movies keep coming ahead of it. When it finally arrives I will enjoy watching it and imagining what it meant to my mother sixty-seven long years ago.

Image source:  People


Is graffiti art? I don’t know, though I tend to think that it is. Some of it seems very creative. I tend to think of graffiti as something painted illegally onto man-made structures like buildings and bridges, often with a negative message. But not always. How about when inspiration moves someone to paint something natural, like a tree or a rock, what might that be called?

These pictures were taken in October 2007 in the woods behind our condo complex.

We often wonder who the mysterious anonymous artist could be… What can you tell about an artist from her work and where she chooses to exhibit it?

When I was little we passed what we called Frog Rock (right) in Eastford on our way to the Cape almost every month. It doesn’t seem so big now as it once did. We’d beg Dad to drive by it slowly so we could get a good look at it from all angles.

I grew up in Storrs, Connecticut, home of the University of Connecticut. I’m used to seeing art on rocks on the campus, including on a large outcrop on South Eagleville Road, sanctioned for painting. There are new creations painted over it every time I go by, and have been for as long as I can remember. Perhaps this experience has conditioned me not to be surprised, but rather fascinated, when finding art co-existing with nature in the woods or by the side of the road. I wonder how many layers of paint on that outcrop in over 50 years???

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul and paints his own nature into his picture.
~ Henry Ward Beecher
(Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit)

Here’s another bit of Connecticut nature art, Snake Rock (right) in Marlborough.

So, are these creations art? Graffiti? Or something else? I suspect that “art” cannot be definitively defined, and that like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder…

Images: Frog Rock, Snake Rock

in a flower bell curled

New London, Connecticut
lilium medeoloides, taller than Janet ~ 7.2.10 ~ New London, Connecticut

Now the meadow was full of flowers and dragonflies and we really enjoyed our few minutes there, but the sun was hot and we longed for the cool shade again. So we left the meadow on the other side, and wandered through the woods for a while until we stumbled across the woodland garden we found in May. No Cheshire cat to host us this time, and no other visitors. There wasn’t as much blooming as there was on our earlier visit, except for tall meadow rue, wild leek and lilium medeoloides. But the rue and lily were so lovely they more than made up for the lack of other blooms!!! In the picture above, Janet is examining an insect who was busy devouring the lily’s leaves.

lilium medeoloides ~ 7.2.10 ~ New London, Connecticut
lilium medeoloides ~ 7.2.10 ~ New London, Connecticut
lilium medeoloides ~ 7.2.10 ~ New London, Connecticut
lilium medeoloides ~ 7.2.10 ~ New London, Connecticut

The woods were made for the hunters of dreams,
The brooks for the fishers of song;
To the hunters who hunt for the gunless game
The streams and the woods belong.
There are thoughts that moan from the soul of pine
And thoughts in a flower bell curled;
And the thoughts that are blown with the scent of the fern
Are as new and as old as the world.

~ Sam Walter Foss
(A Trail for All Seasons: Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail in Words & Pictures)

7.2.10 ~ New London, Connecticut
tall meadow rue ~ 7.2.10 ~ New London, Connecticut
7.2.10 ~ New London, Connecticut
wild leek ~ 7.2.10 ~ New London, Connecticut

I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.
~ Edna St. Vincent Millay
(Afternoon on a Hill)

On our way back to the exit we spotted a cactus with a few yellow blooms left on it! And, yes, we then headed for Ruby Tuesday again for those luscious strawberry lemonades! Looking forward to Shakespeare-in-the-Arboretum next week…

7.2.10 ~ New London, Connecticut
prickly pear cactus ~ 7.2.10 ~ New London, Connecticut