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CV of Fernando Ortiz Jr.

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So far, so good … but there’s so much more to do.

Mmmmmm from Monticello

Fernando Ortiz Jr.:

Thomas Jefferson’s recipe for ice cream …

Originally posted on stillness of heart:

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Every week, the Library of America sends me their Story of the Week, usually a minor piece from the 19th or early 20th century included in their special reprinted editions. Recently, they sent me A Virginia Barbecue by John M. Duncan. Sometime in 1818, the Glasgow publisher was invited to a barbecue at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate, and he wrote a short and charming piece about what he saw.

However, what really caught my eye was the extra piece Library of America included in that week’s email: Thomas Jefferson’s recipe for ice cream. I’m not sure how they can assert that “Jefferson was the first American to write a recipe for ice cream.” Nevertheless, I’m inspired to cruise down to Amy’s Ice Cream at the Quarry Market for some Mexican Vanilla with strawberries. Thanks, Jefferson. I’m finally down to 171 lbs., and then you come along with…

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Engraved devotion

Photo credit: University Communications / University of Texas at San Antonio

Photo credit: University Communications / University of Texas at San Antonio

Sombrilla, a magazine published by the University of Texas at San Antonio, recently highlighted a variety of ways alumni may contribute to Pave the Paseo, a fundraising initiative in which alumni pay to have their names engraved on bricks, which are then added to a popular campus walkway. I proudly participated.

Check out Michelle Mondo’s wonderful story, “Leave Your Mark,” which you may read here.

Kate Stone’s Civil War: He deserves killing

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From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Stone reports an astonishing rumor: Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman has killed President Andrew Johnson.

July 2, 1865

Tyler, Texas

We all joined forces and quilted a silk comfort yesterday, and my fingers are sore from it today. Quilting is my pet aversion, though Mamma says I am a most rapid hand. I hurry up to get through a disagreeable job.

Capt. Smith is making himself very pleasant and we see him frequently. There are compensations in our lot as one goes, another comes. We have known him from our first residence, but he has not been a regular attache until recently. The Irvine girls brought their brother, Lt. Irvine, a handsome gentlemanly fellow but inclined to corpulancy much to his distaste, to call. Capt. Smith is shorn of half of his hirsute glories, and, while he looks more civilized, it is not an improvement. …

My Brother should be at Brokenburn today and Uncle Bo I suppose in Vicksburg. We heard from the boys. They will not get back for two weeks.

Andy Johnson, the detested, is reported killed by Sherman. Since his amnesty proclamation, what a mockery on a name — he deserves killing.

‘Top Gun 2′ to Feature Maverick, Drone Warfare

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Originally posted on Variety:

Do you feel the need? The need for a “Top Gun” sequel?

Rumors of “Top Gun 2″ have swirled since the original touched down in 1986. Skydance CEO David Ellison confirmed that the project is in development and revealed its plot details at a “Terminator Genisys” press junket in Berlin, Collider reports.

“Justin Marks is writing the screenplay right now,” Ellison said. “He has a phenomenal take to really update that world for what fighter pilots in the Navy has turned into today.”

He added, “It is very much a world we live in today where it’s drone technology and fifth generation fighters … It’s really exploring the end of an era of dogfighting and fighter pilots and what that culture is today.”

Fans of the original film will be delighted to know that Ellison hinted that Tom Cruise will reprise his role. “There is an amazing role for Maverick in the…

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Kate Stone’s Civil War: Civilization commences again

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From 2012 to 2015, Stillness of Heart will share interesting excerpts from the extraordinary diary of Kate Stone, who chronicled her Louisiana family’s turbulent experiences throughout the Civil War era.

Learn more about Stone’s amazing life in 1861, 1862, 1863, 1864, 1865 and beyond. Click on each year to read more about her experiences. You can read the entire journal online here.

(Photo edited by Bob Rowen)

Stone’s brother heads back to Brokenburn to reclaim the ravaged plantation. Stone keeps a wary eye on the Union soldiers stationed nearby and on the former slaves for any change in their behavior.

June 25, 1865

Tyler, Texas

The house is very quiet now that the boys are all away again. The two weeks they were here, they kept us in a constant turmoil. Joe was here only a week. He succeeded in getting his mother off, and in her train Mrs. Savage’s and Mrs. Prentice’s families, just a week after he came. All have gone home. Willy and Jimmy Carson remained to help bring out the Negroes later. We saw them constantly and, as all four of the boys are wild about girls, they kept me busy introducing them around, looking over their notes, and making bouquets for them to present to anybody, just so it was a girl. Mamma did not get home from the prairie until Saturday night, and she was almost ill from distress and fatigue. But My Brother’s presence was her best restorative. He went some distance on the road to meet her.

My Brother left last Wednesday for Louisiana. He was going by way of Spring Bank and only gave himself time scant time to reach Brokenburn by the Fourth of July, when all abandoned places will be confiscated to the Government if the owners or agents are not on them. We hated so to see him go, but the business was imperative. He will probably not return before September. We gave him quite a list of articles to bring out, if he returns in the ambulance. Now that civilization commences again, we need so many things we have done without and hardly missed in the excitement of living.

My Brother is looking well, much more cheerful and happier than when he came. The last four years has changed him little in looks. He told me all about his love for Kate. They were engaged for several years and were devoted to each other yet let a trifle part them, a caprice they both bitterly repented but too late. But I suppose it was best for him, as he does not mourn for her dead in her young beauty, wife of another, as he would had she been his bride. But oh, my dear little friend, Kate, the suffering was hers. She suffered, suffered, and I know was glad to answer the call for rest. He says he cannot understand the fascination Eugenia exerted over him when in her presence, that he never loved her, and that he rejoiced when he heard of her marriage. But when with her, he could not resist her wiles. …

Jimmy and Johnny started Thursday for Lamar County on a grand beef-driving and sugar expedition. They will be absent some time. Willy and Jimmy Carson are living now out on the place and are only in occasionally.

The Yankee company are in town but keep so quiet we forget their presence. We have not seen them though they came a week ago. There was no demonstration of any kind, and the Negroes for the present are going on just as usual. No proclamation issued. Would not know there was an enemy in the Department. We all went to church today expecting to be outraged by a sight of the whole Yankee detachment but not a blue coat was in sight. There are only twenty men here, but the regiment is looked for this afternoon. Then I suppose we shall feel the heavy hand. Capt. St. Clair has completed his disgrace by being the only man in town who will entertain a Yankee and the first to take office under the new rulers. The general feeling of contempt for him is too deep for words.

We were overwhelmingly busy for some time making clothes for the boys. Now we have little to do, and I am at my old trade, plaiting straw for Mamma to make into hats. … Our friends among the townspeople are very sociable. Nearly all our refugee friends have gone.

Remembrance, Not Reverence

Fernando Ortiz Jr.:

A particularly timely post by “Searching for George Gordon Meade” from July 2014.

Originally posted on Searching for GEORGE GORDON MEADE:

The Civil War has been over for almost 150 years and still the Confederate flag ignites controversy. The latest conflagration is taking place at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. Originally just Washington University, it added the Lee in 1870 after the death of Robert E. Lee, who had served as its president since 1865. Lee is buried in the school’s Lee Chapel.

Recently some of the school’s African American students demanded, among other things, the removal of Confederate battle flags in the Lee Chapel. These were not original flags from the Civil War; they were replicas placed there after the originals had been removed because they were deteriorating. The university agreed to take the replica flags down. (You can read university president Richard Ruscio’s reasoned statement about the controversy here.)

The decision led to an eruption from those who decry “political correctness” and protest that the flags…

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