Holiday Cookie Swap
December 13, 2008,
4:00 PM - Kenyon's first annual Holiday cookie swap.
John and Kate's home is festive and cozy. There should
have been snow outside.
a dozen families brought their favorite cookies. See
A bunch came just for the fun of a holiday
caught up with each other. The kids entertained
and us! Our rock star has an audience. He even
writes his own music.
are weighty issues of the day to discuss.
the bunch cutting up in the kitchen... Red and wine
seems to have been the theme here.
few new folks to meet. The WECA 'Dine Around' group
finally connects in person.
Photos by Carolyn, Victoria, John
We all go home
with a yummy assortment of cookies for "company".
Speed Bump Celebration
November 4, 6:30 PM -
When you have a success it is necessary to celebrate it, and
to thank everybody that helped make it
a few years (decades, perhaps - depending on where you count
the starting point), the traffic on our block is down to
a rather normal speed for a residential street.
any change, the city measures the speed of each vehicle for a
period. Almost 60% of the traffic was over 40 MPH.
The speed limit here is 25 MPH. At least one during the
week exceeded the maximum the machine could measure, which is
76 MPH.. The measurements taken after showed a 75%
reduction of people going over 40 MPH.
More to the point, the out-of-control accidents at the
end of the block haven't happened since the temporary ones
were installed over a year ago.
Photos by Victoria
- we issued a proclamation (complete with certification):
"In recognition of her tireless work on behalf of the
residents of First Block Kenyon, We hereby crown Martha Shaw
"Queen of the Speed Humps." November
A crown was involved. Champaign was
she happened to pass by, Patty marked the beginning of the
Here we are at "the finish line".
Martha is our symbol
for all the many folks that helped,
especially WECA and the City of Hartford.
Backyard Dinner and a Movie Night,
2008, 6:30 - 9:45 p.m.
There was much to do
to pull off the first annual Kenyon Backyard Dinner and a
The first task: find a projector. After many false
starts, Toni suggests the Farmington Ave. Alliance's
projector. Jill gives the go-ahead and we have
Now to figure out the design for a 16 x 9 foot
screen. It needs to be light, portable in a normal car,
rolled up to stow away, hang fairly straight and tight, and be
After looking at canvass of all sorts, I finally settled on
the classic - two king-sized sheets, seamed in the
middle, and with reinforced pockets at header and bottom
David G. suggested the winning solution for cheap poles:
pvc pipe (1/2" for the top and 1/4" for
the bottom). Two, 8 footers each. They're fitted
to a coupling and temporarily duct-taped together before
sliding in the pockets. Four hooks are screwed into the
wall of the house (this takes the big ladder). The top
of the header has four slits in the fabric so that wire can go
around the pipe at four points. The rig is suspended by
the wire from the hooks. Bungie cords hook into two grommets
at the bottom corners to help keep it stable in the
Not bad. Need to stretch the sheets a bit next time
(more duct tape!)
Now we have a screen for outdoor movies.
this first movie, we poll the neighbors (subtitles may not be
readable, so it needs to be English language, also for all
ages, etc.) This takes two months. We settle on
"To Catch A Thief", 1955, Cary Grant and Grace
Kelly, directed by Alfred Hitchcock, filmed by Paramount in
Spectra-Vision - on location in Monaco. Costumes by
The re-mastered version, of course!
Grant plays an ex-jewel thief who's accused of a new round of
thefts from the glitterati on the Riviera. Self
preservation demands that he catch the real thief using Grace
Kelly's jewels as the bait. The scenery is gorgeous, the
people are gorgeous, and the costumes and jewelry are over the
I add classic '50's cartoons to keep
everybody entertained while we eat and chat. Also
a Betty Boop (pre-movie code), plus a meaningful
Depression-era Busbee Berkeley number from the Gold Diggers of
1933, titled "Remember My Man". A chorus of
women extol us not to forget that those down-and-out men on
the soup lines have sacrificed for their country in the
"Great War". The soldiers march in
geometric formation, bayonets affixed, three tiers high,
filling up the entire height of the soundstage. It's
quite a spectacle.
We have to use the
rain date on Sunday, since there was a deluge for Saturday night.
Unfortunately, we lose a few folks because it's a school
night. But the yard is dry,
and there are plenty of tables. We are 32 in
The early-birds gather while there's still light
Then it becomes apparent that the cartoons need the projector
10' closer to the screen.
It could have been a deal-breaker.
We untangle the bird's nest of wires for the 5 speakers,
laptop and projector - all safely taped away so no one trips
in the dark. What a pain to rip all that out.
are into the old cartoons (and many of the adults get
nostalgic, as well.).
After a wake-up call, Russell
arrives with the pizza, Victoria has brought tiramisu.
There's popcorn, soda and candy, which seem completely
redundant - we're a beer and wine crowd.
It's dark enough for real movies by 8:15. Most gather in
the "theater section" to see the
Betty Boop and the Busbee Berkeley. The little kids head
Photos by Victoria and Carolyn
Fi serves the tiramisu, and we enjoy "To Catch a
Thief" in style.
It was to be Grace Kelly's last movie - she met Prince Rainier
on the set,
and became evermore Princess Grace.
The Kenyon Film Fest !
June 19, 2008
New Garden Work !
Walking on the block
lately, we have noticed a groundswell of new
garden work in the front of our neighbor's houses.
Here are a few - new this season.
new front perennial beds - with design help from Bonnie
tips for beginning
gardeners (Jim pitched in, too).
and Sherry's new fencing supporting the grape vines.
It's an added bonus that
small mesh wire keeps the pooches in.
Nancy and Mary's new
veggies (and the girls' impatients and sunflowers)
with help from tips for
Martha and Dave's pretty porch renovation.
new color scheme - trying it out for the main event (next
year??) - with color advice from Sal. Mildred's flowers
- trying to keep ahead of Chip and Dale.
new brownstone walls look ancient -
and check out the koi pond at Carol and Meg's!
Way to go Kenyon
June 1, 2008
Oven Fire !
On May 31, I baked a
wonderful fresh raspberry cake. Unfortunately, the pans weren't
deep enough, and the cream overran the sides of the pan as
they were baking in the oven.
day, I flip on the automatic oven cleaner on our electric
oven. Oops - you can't open it after you flip the
switch. Now I remember that I should have removed the
pans and racks and wiped out the grease spill from the bottom of the
Within about 20 minutes, the smoke detector alarm goes
I walk into the kitchen to see a 2 foot flame through the
glass window of our oven door!
David calls the fire department. The flame quickly
snuffs out by itself,
but smoke is billowing out of the oven which is still heating
up. We open
all the windows and exit out the front door.
fire department is here within 2 minutes - in force.
About 5 or 6 vehicles line the block.
oven door is locked down during the cleaning cycle, so the
fire extinguisher wasn't any use.
Fire Fighters know the secret way to unlock the oven door.
They take the whole stove into the back yard and check all the
They set up two heavy-duty fans to suck the smoke out of the house.
I mention I want to let the neighbors know the status.
The fire fighter says,
"On this block, you don't need
to. By now, everyone knows already."
Meanwhile everyone outside is alerted that the fire is
out and everything is OK.
The stove isn't even damaged.
The kids get to sit in the fire truck.
I get wise advice to
remove all the racks, bottom drawer and all the heating coils,
drip pans and trim from the top burners, too - they can't
withstand the heat during the cleaning cycle. You have
to wipe out any spills on the bottom of the oven. It was
the cream that was burning.
I knew all of that - I just didn't do it... I won't
Wipe up the
spills before cleaning.
Have a smoke
detector near the kitchen (not in).
Don't leave the
house when the oven is cleaning!
Call 9-1-1 for
the fire department ASAP.
Fire Dept. is the best.
Everyone gets a last minute invitation to my impromptu afternoon
celebration for coffee
slice of my "Thankful-That-I-Didn't-Burn-Down-The-House" Raspberry
March 2, 2008,
4:30-6:60 PM - This is how we manage to have so many parties
each year. We have a party, of course, to set the
social calendar for the year.
and food are essential elements!
get a tour of the new kitchen - bright and beautiful.
all catch up over wine and taco soup.
Then the discussion begins. About 1/3 of the
houses are represented.
Everyone brings their calendar. Our goal is one
"event" a month.
A few events are ambitious but most are quite modest.
As the year progresses, we add a few, as new opportunities
You can do it, too. Just have a calendar-setting party!
February 2, 2008, 3 PM - a handful of us head downtown to
check out the latest developments. We miraculously all
fit in one car, park for $5 at Union Station
and wait maybe 7 minutes for the free star
Our driver is a friendly guy - he says the shuttle is doing
well, carrying folks around
weekdays 7 AM to 11 PM, and Saturdays from 3 PM to 11
game is just letting out - I think the Huskies
won. Anyway, there's gridlock at the intersection of
High and Allyn St. Hartford has so little bad traffic
that no one has gotten the message that it's a no-no to block
an intersection. We sit through at least one signal, and
Victoria takes matters into her own hands - standing in front
of the Volvo - whose driver politely asks her to move out of
the way so he can block the intersection!
We stop for coffee at the Marriott Starbucks on our way to
check out the Convention Center. We're in luck - an
exhibition is just ending, so it's open to wander
river view is great, taking care not to drop your coffee cup
over into I-91!
Museum of Science and Technology is rising fast.
Courtesy of Old State
Group photos taken by anonymous strangers
head to the Old State House to see the new permanent History
of Hartford exhibit.
It's really good - takes up half of the basement level -
filled with great stuff.
I keep forgetting how lovely their assembly room is - perfect
Next time I'm taking the audio-phone tour.
We walk down Pratt and then check out the new shops on Asylum
- the new grocery store is just setting up, and Hartford
Spirits has just moved in.
On the walk back to the car, we restock on wine - it's a
lovely store -
looks like they do wine tastings.
are plans for a summer excursion!
December 14, 2007, we hold a pot luck holiday dinner at
Victoria and Patrick's.
all brought food - but Liza's took the cake - literally.
She baked a cake featuring the streets and houses of Kenyon
Street . Especially delicious!
and new came. Grown-up and kids. It was a grand
Photos by Victoria
September 29th - Meet Dick and his wife Elaine, and
Dick and Mary are cousins who lived in my house in the
Both have incredible memories of the house and being kids on
hadn't seen the house in over 35 years. We toured it
from top to bottom, and they took loads of pictures to share
with the rest of their family.
is a story-teller who entertained us with life on the block
way back when.
In the 1940's almost no one had a car - they walked downtown
to G. Fox and the movies. His grandmother walked to the
cathedral. There was almost no traffic on the
block, few driveways, and almost no fences separating the
homes. The kids would sled from the top of the ridge on
our side of Kenyon and down the slope between the houses all
the way to Girard.
Mary and Dick
each used the crawl space above our garage as a hang out for
the gang - he would assemble fireworks from components sold
from the back of comic books up there.
It made a grand display for the 4th of July.
She and her friends would climb up the garage door and bring a
Both remembered well the wooded lot behind the house - filled
with wild apple trees.
and Mik brought old photos of the family who built their house
and occupied it for over 100 years. Dick knew them
well. One of the photos was taken at Hillyer College,
downtown - later to become the University of Hartford.
Photos by Victoria
we are in front of the back porch - these steps burned down
one Halloween from a jack-o-lantern they forgot to put
out. The family across the street at 76 was known across
the city as the place to go on Halloween - decorated to the
hilt and everyone who came to the door got cider and
The stories went on
and on...What a wonderful chance to hear the old tales of our
To learn more about the history of 65 Kenyon Street
and the six families that lived here over the last 100 years,
of 65 Kenyon Street (draft).
This year, it poured. As you can
see, Martha's "special" marinated watermelon set the
Who knew Ray was the Imelda Marcos of
running shoes - one for each kind of running,
neatly organized by the back door.
winter, we're talking about havinng a games night - Ray has
the perfect set-up !
Photos by Victoria. Imelda photo
courtesy of the BBC.
on the Green
Cream Sundae Social
first Sunday in August is the target date for this
West End event, instituted by Kenyon's own Carol and Meg.
happy participants and sundae fixins...
2008 photos by Victoria, 2006
photos, below, by C. West
Summer Grilled Pizza Party
July 14th - Ray shows off his new mahogany back porch
for the annual summer grilled pizza party! It was the
perfect summer eve.
provides fixins' for veggie pizza, and we all bring drinks,
special toppings and chairs. We're pretty low
maintenance. Part of the group hang out and catch
up - part take the house tour.
welcome John to his first block function -
Kate and the kids were entertaining house guests.
men of Kenyon Street -
Should we do a calendar??.
is the main entertainment.
for grilled pizza:
Put toppings on frozen pizza shell (Corn meal from Whole
Foods). Spray grill with canola oil. Put frozen
pizza with all the toppings directly on grill over low heat.
With lid down,
cook 15 minutes. Serve!!
We had a great time!
April 28th - Over
thirty of us gather for the annual progressive dinner on
Kenyon's first block. It's chance to discover new
neighbors and share some fun as spring finally breaks
new feature this year - name tags with photos of each person's
house. "Oh yes, you live in Alice's old
house."... It's our official system of identification.
everybody brought a dish for eight - a few were assigned to do
dessert. It's BYOB.
were cocktails before dinner - there was wine with
- no matter how many come, we manage a sit-down dinner in one
desserts were stellar again this year.
It was a great
Photos by Carolyn
Architectural Detail Scavenger Hunt
September 16, 2006.
The block gathered to
celebrate one glorious September weekend and focus on the lovely
detail that surrounds us. As we sipped Earl Grey and Organic
Green with our espresso brownies and almond cakes...
the Scavenger Hunt Test!
Some played badminton or
with Legos, some practiced twisting balloon animals, and we got to
see the famous egg trick (2 out of 3 isn't bad).
After the house tour, it
was down to business. Four teams vied to identify which
house belonged with each of 61 cropped features - first without
going out, then ..
hit the streets to validate our guesses and find those elusive
features...oops, someone removed that plant - only to discover
a group of workers diligently scraping the detail from the
front of one of the houses!?! At least we have photos.
held down the fort until the prizes were awarded. First
place (20 holiday cards featuring your home) went to Team #4,
second place ( 8 note cards featuring your home) went to Team
# 1, third place (an iron-on decal of your home) went to Team
#3, and honorable mention (Kenyon note cards) went to Team
#2. Many opted to take an alternate prize - an original
poster of the illustrated Hartford
Map, circa 1996.
keeping those name tags handy for future events.
How do you pronounce that last name?
here to try your hand at
the hunt. Answers.
at ground zero for great summer music in the park.
August 16, another stellar evening of friends and neighbors,
great music and conversation.
on the Green
Cream Sundae Social
August 6, 2006 Carol and Meg arranged for the Bristol Brass and Wind Ensemble
to perform on a lovely summer's eve on the Seminary
green. WECA helped to sponsor the concert. Meg
performed. It was wonderful.
February, 2006 at The
Alley, Farmington Ave.