Every Day Above Ground (mallorys_camera) wrote,
Every Day Above Ground

No Show Snow, Mood Improvement and Another Livingston Ghost Story

We dodged the bullet!!!!!!!

If I squint, I can just make out the faintest of white scatterings on Neighbor Ed’s greensward, but the weather projections were making it seem as though I’d be awakening to six inches of snow!

Shortly, I will scamper off to the garden to see which of the little seedlings survived and which I need to hold funeral services for.


I was actually happy about all those weather projections. It drove covid out of the headlines for a full 12 hours.

I know I’m a Horrible Human Being, but frankly I am sick of the daily death counts, and the Ten Things the Pandemic Will Change Forever human interest stories, and the dire reporting on states reopening that is actually poorly disguised eagerness for the infections and fatality rates in those states to rise so NYT editorial writers can scribble opinion pieces, We Told You So, Trump Supporters!

I think once the stark terror of the initial onslaught is under control, if you can’t trust people to take the reasonable precautions they need to take to keep themselves safe, then it’s culling the herd.

Cue Thus Spake Zarathustra. I embrace my inner Nietzschian eugenicist, insane mustache and all.


I also think infection rates are going to go down anyway ‘cause it’s getting warm out.

The infection rates will start going up again in September.

And the second wave will be worst than the first.


And I also know there’s a good chance that I personally will never again set foot on an airplane (with its dubious air filtration system), or shop in a mall, or wander through a museum, or cruise a thrift shop, or eat popcorn in a movie theater, or idly browse interesting-books-I have-not-yet-read in a library. And I’m definitely not going anywhere near any health care facilities.

That makes me sad. (Well. Not that last one.)

I will never see Italy again.

The Edinburgh Fringe Festival will forever remain on my bucket list.

I have a $50 gift card for Upstate Films that will forever go unused.

They may discover a vaccine that actually works without too many awful side effects in a couple of years. But it will take them another five years or so to ramp up production capacity. And by then I will be too old to do anything except sit and drool quietly in a corner, hoping that some kind person notices I need to have my Depends changed.

Travel? I may no longer remember how to spell the word.


Speaking of travel, Covid-19 turns out to be a disease that the rich inflicted on the poor by means of the rich’s enhanced mobility. The disease hopscotched on commercial jets in its early days.

Then the rich withdrew into their gated communities, leaving the virus to take out the slum-dwellers and the factory workers.

Gated communities! The original “social distancing”!


In other news, my bad mood has broken. I spent large portions of the past two days on the phone—with BB, with my children, with friends in California. I also finished The Glass Hotel (strange but virtuoso!), binged Normal People (the ultimate Millennial love story!) and thought about the next Livingston-inspired ghost story…


There is a little park called Poet’s Walk just west of Red Hook.

It’s a narrow swath through what was once the Delano family seat on the east side of the river. (A Delano married into the arriviste Roosevelt clan and so FDR got a middle name!) The Delanos, the Livingstons, the Aldriches, the De Peysters, the Astors—these were the patricians who had ruled the Hudson River Valley since the 17th century.

The Delanos built a house on property part of which is now Poet’s Walk. The house was alternately called Steen Valetje or Mandara or Atalanta. Poring over old property deeds, I was shocked to discover the house still exists! Although, it got a makeover.

Here’s what it looked like in 1851:


And here’s what it looks like today:



I actually prefer the original faux-Tuscan design.

Anyway, its interiors are still ravishing:


One hundred and fifty years before the property was commandeered into a great estate, it was part of a patent belonging to the Declaration-of-Independence Livingston, himself the great grandson of the original Scottish Livingston who arrived in the New World in 1674 as a penniless parvenu and managed to ingratiate himself with both Dutch padroons and their British usurpers so that he eventually finagled a patent to 250 square miles of property on both sides of the Hudson River.

The British and the Dutch were not the only immigrants to the New World.

In the early 18th century, a group of immigrants from what is now the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate also fled there, driven by religious persecution: They were Protestants; they lived in what was then the last remnants of the Holy Roman Empire.

First, though, the Palatines fled to England.

There, they were tricked into signing themselves into indentured servitude in exchange for passage to the supposed land of riches.

When they arrived here, they were put straight to work in the pine forests, which then covered Poet’s Walk, to produce tar and pitch for the British Navy.

There in the miserable winter of 1710, hundreds of them died of hunger, cold, and disease.

Palatine names are quite common hereabouts. Rhinebeck is so-called because the Hudson River reminded the miserable immigrants of the great Rhine River that flowed through the idealized memories of their homeland, and there is a Germantown right outside Red Hook.



The story would be about the ghost of a child who died in the winter of 1710 and a child who lived in Steen Valetje in 1860. Possibly, there could also be a child playing in Poet’s Walk in 2021. That way I could work in covid-19 references!

It would be best if the child who lived in Steen Valetje in 1860 could also die!

But I’m not sure the historical research will support that. Crossposted from Dreamwidth.
Tags: #and, #anyway, #i, #in, #speaking, covid-19, hudson river valley, palatines
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