Greetings threstrals! Today was my birthday and Dan and I are winding up a day of birthday fun and adventuring by watching the last Harry Potter movie and computering. I have some fun pictures for you, though!

First of all, I got the most wonderful birthday present from Dan’s mom! She sent a card and a letter with pictures she thought I’d like enjoy, including this adorable picture of her and Mr. Bug when he was just a little baby bug. The best part? The dress is handmade by Dan’s mom! The year was 1972 – isn’t she the cutest, most fashionable thing you’ve ever seen?

 

Dan’s parents were (and still are) attractive, fashionable sorts! Here’s dad, with Dan and his two brothers all in a row. Dan’s the one with the apparent difficulty remaining upright. Just check out those rockin’ pants on his dad!

Ah… the 70’s… what a magical time that must have been! In any case, the birthday letters and pictures were the best birthday present ever! Thank you mother-of-mr-bug!

On to the birthday adventures. For my birthday I wanted to do something touristy and to have a chocolate shake. I’m happy to report I got exactly what I wanted! Here’s a report…

 

First, we headed to the James J. Hill house in lovely St. Paul. It’s, you know, one of those giant
old houses built around the turn of the century and open for tours…

 

We had a half hour wait until the tour started, so we went across the street to visit the
Cathedral of St. Paul. It was very pretty. And very quiet. And it smelled nice.

 

Self portrait on the steps of the cathedral!

Back for our tour! Doesn’t this look like the likely location of a murder mystery?

 

Pretty!

 

Mr. Bug is totally stoked to start the tour. He is eager to find the secret to amassing great wealth.
Step one: buy railroad company.

 

I learned something new! This is a picture of the youngest son of the
family that built the house. It was the style of that time for
the boys to grow their hair until their sixth birthday.
Just look at the long flowing locks on Walter!

 

This photograph was hanging in the reception room where the tour started.
It’s a family portrait from a wedding – check out the look in the eye of the woman
standing near the center (fourth woman standing from the right.)
She is totally giving the bride the snake eye.
What do you think, stolen beau? Lady love thwarted by the times?
Older sister beaten to the altar by her younger sibling??

Time to start the tour! Let’s head up the stairs!

 

Here’s Mr. Hill’s closet (well, part of it). For a mansion with 36,000
square feet, the house had well appointed closets, but they were smaller
than giant ones I’ve seen in some 2,600 SF suburban houses!

 

Mrs. Hill’s closet was larger – the tour guide said that dresses
would have been stored flat in drawers at that time instead of hanging.

 

Here’s a shot of a dress they had stashed in the closet – it was crammed
in the drawer in a slightly creepy manner and behind plastic, but the details
were lovely! Sorry for the bad quality of the shot – you know how it is, no flash, low lighting…

 

A few of Mrs. Hills personal items were on display – of course I was intrigued
by the knitted lace! Just look at how fine that yarn is!

 

Let’s head back down the stairs, shall we?

 

My favorite part of touring these old houses is when we get to go check out the
kitchen and the laundry in the basement! I managed to resist swiping the sleeve board…

 

 

I thought this was ingenious! There was a whole room full of pull-out
drying racks for use in the winter. Once the racks were filled up and
slid in (the racks to the right are slid in all the way) a system of pipes
under the racks would be filled with hot water to bake the clothes dry!
It was a whole ROOM that was a dryer!

 

 

These were also in the drying room. I’ve seen these leg forms in
antique shops before and wondered what they were – I thought
perhaps some sort of display item! I wanted to ask, but by this
point in tour I’d already asked if dogs ever lived in the house and
if there were ghosts in the mansion, so I thought I’d probably
used up my points with the guide!!

 

And with that, the tour’s over.
You guys can use the servants’ stairway…

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