9/11 Bells of Remembrance…


September 9, 2009 We were up near the Paul Revere Statue behind Old North Church in Boston. A huge bell had been pulled up on a trailer that had four plaques with the names of Firefighters who had died at the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001. A man with a long but trim white beard had set the bell in place. Another man, who kept calling me a Southern Belle, told us that Brother David Schlatter had been bringing the huge bell to Boston from Delaware for seven years at that time-to commemorate 9/11. There are 7 bells ranging in weight up to 5000 pounds, the one we saw in Boston weighed 3500 pounds- they are called ‘The Bells of Remembrance’. We were invited to come back that evening for a ceremony. Of course we went. Across the street was St. Stephens- Rose Kennedy had been baptized and eulogized there. Only a week before we came, Senator Ted Kennedy’s hearse had driven past St. Stephens in honor of his mother.st-stephens-boston-2

It was not very dark when the small crowd began to gather up. The priest from St. Stephens had a very sweet opening prayer. Standing nearby two ruddy Irish and one shining dark with great smiles- three of Boston’s finest Police Officers and also big open faced Boston Firefighter. Each took a turn talking about ‘that day’…as a big boom box was playing everything from Springsteen to Classical  and Religious music intermittently. Brother David, now attired in his rustic brown Friar’s Robe with rope belt stood to one side…He looked good-said a wonderful prayer and also told about the Bells of Remembrance– originally cast to remember his dear friend, Friar Mychal Judge, a Franciscan who loved the firefighters he served from St. Francis of Assisi in New York City.  Friar Mychal Judge was the first recorded fatality on 9/11. father-mychal-judge-911-150x150

In Boston that day- a gray haired woman kept taking photographs with a big flash, she wore a full red plaid skirt, red patent wedges and a red shirt. Another lady decked out in sparkling patriotic attire was sitting with the book and a basket of small American flags. We signed the book but were told the flags were for later. The service was casually done and went on for a while- a moment of remembrance was called for- I thought it would be a moment of silence but instead the boombox began playing ‘Imagine’  by Paul McCartney. The wonderful Master of Ceremonies, who kept calling me a Southern Belle- was one of those types with no chin and looked as if he would cry any moment. Next to me was standing a little scrawny woman with thin honey colored hair, in pincurls with bobby pins, house slippers, tiny capri pants and a cotton tshirt. On the other side of my husband stood two men in suits and ties.

  • A man from the North End of Boston broke down as told us about his nephew, a ;young man who loved computers and a motorcycle that he liked to tear down and re-build’ had died on 9/11. His family gathered around and hugged him.
  • There was a darling lady who worked for American Airlines. She would have been on Flight 11 but had been re-assigned on 9/11- who told what a wonderful crew she had known and loved, but who were hijacked that fateful day.
  • A very tall older man from Old North Church was called forth to recite a blessing on a Firehouse Dog- a magnificent Dalmatian; he graciously extended it to us humans as well.
  • We sang ‘God Bless America’ along with the cd player as the tiny flags and candles were handed around.
  • Each person was lighting their candle by the person next to them. A very large woman with black hair was really enjoying that part.
  • One lady was trying to hold her flag and candle in the same hand- her tiny flag caught fire but just on the tip end.

We were told to turn and face the statue of Paul Revere, then look up at the steeple of the North Church which was now lighted.paul-revere-old-north-church

My candle was dripping on my tennis shoe. The cd player crackled very loud- strains of guitar music began playing ‘America the Beautiful’. We all sang all. three. verses. with Willie Nelson. The woman flashed her camera right at me- I had stars in my eyes…and tears.

As traffic whizzed by we were each encouraged to go over to the big brass Bell of Remembrance. I took my turn and pulled that big rope- the bell rang loud and clear, right in front of whizzing cars, a few dozen people, Paul Revere and God. I recall thinking – ‘Let Freedom Ring’. We thanked Boston’s Finest, Brother David, the priests and the Master of Ceremony who couldn’t resist calling me a Southern Belle one last time…Americans of all shapes and sizes- came together to recall a tragic event; now as I recall and retell it seems more magical as time goes by, I know this Southern Belle will never forget it. What an experience…what a town Boston is…what a great country we live in. Makes me want to sing along with Willie and his friends one more time. You won’t want to miss this- several who sing with him have fallen since it was recorded and will be greatly missed. God Bless America.

Love y’all, Camellia

Images from AOL- go to http://www.stfrancisnyc.org for more information on Friar Mychal Judge



September Skin Care…


‘You’re lookin’ a little dry, darling’…When a friend interrupts you to say that, well it’s time to take a look in the mirror, Cinderella. Actually, when summer ends and September begins… we all may be lookin’ a little dry.  Where is that Ponce de Leon when we need him? He came South looking for the Fountain of Youth and left us with just part of it- Water. Drinking water is one of the easiest and best ways- internallyto keep skin looking good.fountain-of-youth

After years of working in fragrance and cosmetics- I hope you will look at your skincare, makeup and even sunscreen products- if these three are at the top of the list of ingredients:

  • Water
  • Mineral Oil
  • Alcohol

You need to re-think what you are putting directly on your skin. I can just feel y’all running to look at the labels! All three will dry out the skin.  You need to have something as a barrier between the skin and those ingredients. So what to do? The simple answer is this- for aging skin in particular– Our grandmothers were right to clean their complexions with cold cream or even lard. Toss facial soaps and commercial face cleansers unless your skin is very oily. Home remedies– right out of our pantries, may actually be better and healthier for aging skin. Facial skin is delicate and thins as we age. Olive Oil would be my cleanser of choice and a natural barrier between your skin, makeup and even sunscreen– all may contain harsh chemicals. Olive Oil has amazing properties-

  • Packed with good fatty acids
  •  Vitamins and Minerals
  • Absorbs into the Skin quickly with no Residue
  • Has Powerful Antioxidants
  • Helps maintain Elasticity

Now if any of you have underwear with the elastic waistband stretched out…well you get the picture. Aging skin gets fine lines, is crepe-y and sags. I know, it’s depressing. Nourishing it with Olive Oil is a good start.

Soybean Oil is another good option-it also absorbs into the skin quickly and while it doesn’t have the power of Olive Oil- it does contain Plant Based Estrogen which is another good thing for aging skin. Mix the two together and you have a very good makeup remover and all purpose face and body product. Besides, it’s biblical to anoint yourself with oil!

Now- as skin ages, it doesn’t renew as quickly- so if we can give it a little help with exfoliation– the skin will look better almost immediately. Let me tell you a little story…I had a customer years ago- who was in her early 70’s, she obviously could buy any products- she bought $250 bottles of fragrance without batting one of her adorable eyelashes; but she never bought our face and body products. She had beautiful skin. She would just politely decline, as any refined Southern Lady knows how to do.

I couldn’t stand it…curiosity was killing this cat. One day I asked her what she used on her beautiful skin- She told me she used what her plastic surgeon told her to use…Not to be deterred I said, ‘You don’t look like you’ve had any ..ah- hem…work done!‘ She had an eyelift, but nothing else. Long story short – it wasn’t a product- it was a recipe! Basically a combination of the two oils I have just shown you- Soybean and Olive Oil.

Mix it 2/1 ratio of Soybean to Olive Oil. If you don’t need the Estrogen, use straight Olive Oil. I became a firm believer in her all natural skincare product.  Still, because aging skin doesn’t renew as quickly as it once did- an all natural exfoliant will get you started. Using some information I had garnered from working with skincare- including several ‘all natural’ lines- I came up with this one- straight from the pantry. It is powerful and is not to be used on a daily basis but just to get you started turning over those old dead skin cells!   Here’s my Heavy Duty September Salted Skin Scrubimg_1431

  • 1/4 cup of Mild Pure Olive Oil (this does not have to be an expensive olive oil)
  • 1/4 cup of Soybean Oil
  • 2-3 Tablespoons of Granulated Non-Fat Milk Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Black Hawaiian Lava Sea Salt- you can use Epsom Salts in place of the Black Sea Salt
  • 1 -2 Tablespoons of Fine Sea Salt
  • Zest of one medium size Lemon and-
  • The Juice of one half of the Lemon

Combine these to make a paste, mine looked gray because of the black lava salt.    img_1435

Blend thoroughly until it has a thick paste texture. Let it sit for a few minutes, while I explain the benefits of the other ingredients beyond the Olive Oil and Soybean Oil-

The coarse natural salts are what make this a heavy duty scrub, not recommended for daily use but to kickstart the turnover of skin cells! Black Sea Salt has a larger grain than the Sea Salt, as does Epsom Salts, if you choose to use that instead. Salts

  • Exfoliate
  • Bring Moisture to Surface of the Skin
  • Plumps the Skin naturally
  • Kills Bacteria
  • Encourages Skin Regeneration
  • Reduces Inflammation

Lemon zest is where the Essential Oil of the Lemon resides, and it adds another texture to exfoliate- it is powerful stuff!  The Zest and Lemon Juice-

  • Shrink Open Pores
  • Tighten Skin Tissue
  • Increase Skin Elasticity
  • Brighten the Skin
  • Lightens Age Spots
  • Evens Skin Tone
  •  Reduce Fine Lines and Wrinkles.

Granular Powdered Dry Milk is another powerhouse! The texture of the granular dry milk is part of the exfoliant. Milk is another powerful ingredient to use topically, you won’t believe all it can do. Even Cleopatra knew Milk was good for the skin! Here’s what she may not have known, bless her heart! Milk is-

  • A Natural Source of Vitamin D
  • Hydrates and Softens Skin
  • Contains Mild Alpha Hydroxy Acid properties
  • Reduces Appearance of Aging
  • Lightens Age Spots
  • Repairs Sun Damage
  • Complete Protein with Calcium and Potassium
  • Contains all 21 Amino Acids

Alright ladies, start your September Skincare! Here’s the Method:

  • Cleanse the face and neck with a tissue dipped in Olive Oil-
  • Take a small amount of the Heavy Duty Scrub-
  • Starting on the forehead, working down the face, over the nose-
  • Avoiding the delicate tissues around the eyes!
  • Moving across the upper lip and around the mouth, chin and down the neck-
  • Scrub lightly!! Use circular motions- gently scrub
  • Then let the oils absorb into the skin before removing the residue with a Warm Damp Cloth.
  • Your skin will feel tingly and lightly damp.
  • With a clean tissue, apply a fine coating of Olive Oil.

When it absorbs –  you will love the way your skin feels! Refrigerate the excess scrub, it will stay fresh about 3 days. I plan to use it again on the third day and wait another month or so and do it again. Men can also benefit from this all natural scrub! Feel free to use the rest of the scrub when you shower as a body scrub! Now, drink your water, anoint yourself with oil, scrub occasionally – then you won’t look dry. That’s straight from Ponce de Leonetta! As a bonus for those of you have read all of this- Listen to that good ol’ boy who could use a little Heavy Duty Skin Scrub himself….none other than Willie Nelson, singing September Song. It’s a good reminder to take care of ourselves and the ones we love- for the days do really go by from May til September…

Love y’all, Camellia

Fountain of Youth Photograph from http://welcometopattyville.blogspot.com

AOL images for oils – the rest are mine!