Tag Archives: Vintage Friday

Fascinating Facts of Europe’s Oldest Writing

Galerie d'Appolllon Le Triomphe de Cybèle par Guichard

Joseph Guichard [Public domain or CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons – Triumph of goddess Cybele

In modern day Turkey, known as the kingdom of Anatolia in ancient times, archaeologists recently discovered a variety of weights used by traders over 4,000 years ago. These were found in one of the 14 layers of the mound of Aemhoyuk. One of these was a piece of rock crystal, which– lo and behold—boasts an actual inscription. This marvelous discovery turns out to be the oldest written document in Anatolia and Europe as a whole. The cuneiform letters have not yet been deciphered, nor is it known whether the writing is in Anatolian or a more widespread international language used for trading purposes.


By VIGNON, Claude-François (1633-1703) (RMN) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons – goddess Cybele

The Assyrians of Mesopotamia, in the region now known as Iraq, established trade routes and centralized locations for traders to congregate and sell their wares. Purushattum in Anatolia became one of these centers. The civilized world of that time coveted the silver of Purushattum as a prized commodity. Tin and luxurious fabrics were among other items traded.

I look forward to the day when this ancient writing, one lonely line from so long ago on one small rock crystal, is translated. What do you think it is? I’m wondering if it refers to the amount and type of material the weight stood for, e.g., one measure of silver or the like. Trade talk and measurements are among the most common reasons for ancient writing. I remember that was the case for Linear B in Mycenaean and Cretan times.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: 17 Fast Facts of 1917


Independence Square NGM-v31-p292

By Ledger Photo Service. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What made the news a hundred years ago in 1917? The biggest crises involved World War I. Here’s a quick look at the year.

  • Under President Woodrow Wilson the United States entered WWI against Germany and its allies.
  • National Geographic published a stirring photo of thousands of Americans pledging their support to the President and American flag by resolution in Philadelphia.
  • The United States implemented the military draft for WWI.
  • The U.S. Naval Base in Norfolk, Virginia was commissioned.
  • John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States, was born.
  • The United States bought the Virgin Islands (then known as the Danish West Indies) for $25 million in gold.
  • Thousands of African Americans participated in a Silent March for civil rights organized by the NAACP down Fifth Avenue in New York City.
  • Germany carried out the deadliest of its many air raids on London.
  • The British royal family changed their name from the Germanic name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor.
    Mata Hari 13

    Mata Hari. See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • German spy Mata Hari was executed by firing squad.
  • Sun Yat-Sen came into power in China.
  • Bolsheviks Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Leon Trotsky seized power in Russia.
  • In New York City 20,000 women marched in support of the right to vote.
  • During a food crisis 400 women with babies stormed New York City Hall demanding action about the drastically rising cost of food. As an example, breakfast for four had doubled from 49 cents to $1.02.
  • Price of a loaf of bread averaged 9 cents; price of a postage stamp rose to 3 cents.
    Juan Carreno de Miranda 022

    Juan Carreño de Miranda [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

  • The 18th amendment was passed, prohibiting alcohol.
  • The Virgin Mary appeared to a number of children in Fatima, Portugal.

What do you think of these fast facts of 1917? What would you like and dislike about living a hundred years ago in the so-called good ole days?

More: https://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/wwi/107293.htm


Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Romance


Vintage Friday: It’s Your Music 1939

Free Picture: Heart To Heart IllustrationID: 3342193
© Fenias | Dreamstime Stock Photo

Approaching Valentine’s Day we turn to a red hot saxophone number from 1939, Body and Soul, blown the socks off by Coleman Hawkins.  There’s something earthy and smoky about a low toned sax, don’t you think?

I hope you enjoyed our sultry music in homage to Valentines everywhere and  lovers throughout time, Body and Soul.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: Boston Cream Pie

boston-cream-pieWith my birthday coming up (yikes, way too fast), I thought I’d splurge and focus on my favorite dessert, Boston Cream Pie. The purported history of Boston Cream Pie makes for fascinating reading and includes red herrings such as cream puffs made in Boston and a type of cakey jelly roll. The foreshadowing of Boston Cream Pie appeared when cooks began to make layer cakes and cut them into pie shaped wedges for serving. Jam or jelly became the standard filling for these thin layers of sponge or butter cake. Around 1870 a variation commenced when custard was substituted for the jelly filling. Now we’re getting closer to Boston Cream Pie. Often the layer cakes were topped with sifted confectioner’s sugar and called Washington cakes or Washington pies. The 1950s saw the brilliant addition of chocolate icing. Now we’re talking Boston Cream Pie! Strangely enough, however, even as late as 1959 the Farm Journal’s Country Cookbook listed chocolate icing merely as an alternative for dusting with confectioner’s or powdered sugar. All I can say is WTH–give me chocolate! Here are 4 versions of this delicious beauty. If you make one of these, please send me a picture.

BOSTON CREAM PIEboston-cream-pie-and-me

Cream Filling: 2 large egg yolks, 1 ½ cups milk, 1/3 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons vanilla.

Place yolks in a small bowl and whisk. Stir in the milk. Set aside. In a 2-quart saucepan, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually stir egg mixture into sugar mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and comes to a boil. Boil one minute, stirring. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla. Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours but no longer than 24.

Cake: 1 ¼ cups plain flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup softened but not melted butter, ¾ cup milk, 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon vanilla, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 large egg.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Apply baking spray to bottom of 9-inch round cake pan. In large bowl, beat all ingredients with electric mixer until well mixed. Pour batter evenly into pan. Bake 35 minutes until golden brown and center passes toothpick test. Cool pan on a rack for 20 minutes, and then remove cake from pan and again place on rack for about 40 minutes or until completely cooled.

Chocolate Glaze: 3 tablespoons butter, 3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, 3 tablespoons hot water, 1 cup powdered sugar, ¾ teaspoon vanilla.

In a 1-quart saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently. When melted, remove from heat. Stir in the confectioner’s sugar, vanilla, and hot water. If needed for thinning, more hot water may be added one teaspoon at a time.

Cut cake in half horizontally, using a long knife and toothpicks as a guide. On cake plate, place bottom layer with cut side up, and spread filling over it. Place top of cake with cut side down. Spread chocolate glaze over top of cake and allow it to drizzle down the sides. Refrigerate at least an hour.


Cream Filling: 1 cup milk, 1 (3.4 ounce) box instant vanilla pudding, 1 ½ cups whipped topping.

Cake: 1 box yellow cake mix and ingredients listed on back of box.

Chocolate Glaze: 1 (1 ounce) square coarsely chopped unsweetened baking chocolate, 1 tablespoon butter, ¾ cup powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons milk (Note: recipe can be doubled if you prefer a thicker glaze).

Preheat oven and prepare cake mix according to package directions. Prepare pans so that cake won’t stick by lining two 9-inch round pans with parchment paper or spraying thoroughly with cooking spray. Bake cake according to package directions, until golden brown and center passes toothpick test. Cool pan on a rack for 20 minutes, and then remove cake from pan and again place on rack for about 40 minutes or until completely cooled.

Beat 1 cup of milk and pudding mix with a whisk or mixer for 2 minutes. Gently fold in whipped cream. Let stand 5 minutes.

On cake plate place one layer and spread pudding mixture over it. Then place the second layer on top.

You will now make the glaze and immediately spread it over the cake. Microwave the chocolate and butter on high for one minute. Stir until chocolate is melted. Add powdered sugar and milk. Mix until smooth. Spread chocolate glaze over top of cake and allow it to drizzle down the sides. Refrigerate at least an hour.


1 box yellow cake mix, 2 (3.4 ounce) boxes instant vanilla pudding mix, 4 cups milk,
1 can chocolate frosting.

Make cake according to package instructions. Mix pudding mix with milk, and whisk until lumps are gone, about 2 minutes. While cake is still warm, poke holes in cake using the handle of a wooden spoon. Do not poke the holes all the way through. Pour pudding over cake and gently press as much as possible into the holes. Place in refrigerator to cool. After removing foil from canned frosting, microwave it about 10-15 seconds. Stir. Spread frosting glaze over cake. Cool and enjoy.


Custard Cream: ½ cup sugar divided in half, 2 cups milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 4 egg yolks, 6 tablespoons cornstarch.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine milk and ¼ cup sugar. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with ¼ cup sugar and vanilla. Add cornstarch until completely mixed and smooth. Add 1 cup of the hot milk to the yolk mixture and stir well. Pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan, and whisk continuously over medium heat until mixture thickens. Cool slightly in the pot. Stir and place in a bowl or plastic bag in the refrigerator to cool completely.

Cookies: 1 box yellow cake mix, 2 eggs, ½ cup oil.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cake mix, eggs and oil. Divide batter into 20 even pieces. Roll into 1-inch balls and place on a parchment lined baking pan. Bake 6-8 minutes or just until done. (Cookies will flatten) Cool completely.

Chocolate Glaze Icing: 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, ½ cup heavy cream.

Place chocolate chips in a bowl. In a separate glass cup or bowl, heat the heavy cream in the microwave just until boiling. Pour cream over the chocolate chips and stir to melt and combine.

Spread a generous amount of custard cream on each cooled cookie. Dip into the chocolate and place on a platter or tray to set.

Which Boston Cream Pie recipe will you try? Maybe you have your own special recipe.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: Autumn Leaves 1886

Autumn Leaves by A. Purinton


Photo courtesy of Linda John 2016


 By happenstance I came across a female poet I was not familiar with, a New Englander named A. Purinton. Her compilation Autumn Leaves was published in 1886 in Massachusetts. Have you heard of her? She never sought to be published and wrote the lyrics for her own satisfaction. They are special. I have included a full text link below. It is so wonderful to have vintage and classic literature available online in full text! I know many novelists are like me and also write poems. Please enjoy this short excerpt by Purinton. I chose the section because it is a little sad and reminiscent of the autumn season we now experience.

And repeated the story old,
By my grandmother so often told,
As with garrulous and dulcet tones
She talked of the old ancestral homes.

It was in the good old times he went,
In Salem’s earlier settlement,
And, as I judge from her report,
Great uncle, or something of that sort.

And left one heart so true and tried
Who sought in vain her grief to hide;
And hope and faith alike grew dim,
As she never heard one word from him.

Her bounding heart its hopes renew,
Whene’er a ship’s sail caught her view;
But no tidings came of any sort.
From any ship that came in port.

So time went on; after some years
Strange rumors aggravate her fears;
Her hopes deferred and feverish grown.
She to an early grave went down.

Full text available 

autumnI hope you enjoyed this selection from Autumn Leaves by poet A. Purinton. How does it make you feel?

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: Wordsmithing Hallow


Meister der Ikone des Erzengels Michael 001 adjusted

By Meister der Ikone des Erzengels Michael; Master of the Icon of the Archangel Michael [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 We all have favorite words, magical sounds we love to hear uttered. One of mine is hallow or hallows, also its form hallowed, especially drawn out and pronounced in three syllables. Hallow comes from the Old English noun halga, meaning holy person or saint. The verb form meant to make holy, to sanctify. And get this, the Indo European root word, kailo, meant whole or uninjured.

Today, hallow’s word usage remains only in names surrounding the holiday we call Halloween, including Hallowmas, Hallowtide, All Hallows Day, and All Hallows Eve. It is, of course, related to All Saints Day. We celebrate Halloween this coming Monday. My family always looks forward to costume picking, pumpkin selection and visits to the rural pumpkin patch, hayrides, cookouts, special baking, taking the children trick or treating, and receiving the little ghosts and goblins that come to the front door when dusk begins to descend its veil.

Halloween also commemorates the birth of John Keats, one of my two favorite poets, along with William Butler Yeats. Born in 1795, Keats produced exquisitely memorable verses in his short 26 years.

An Amazon search for hallow retrieves 2,346 titles, which makes it a pretty popular word to include in a book title. Are you as pleased as I am that the word hallow has lasted?

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: Topaze



I hope you will come along with me on my continuing obsession with finding the few varieties of forgotten vintage perfumes with special meaning to me from the past. How did we live without eBay anyway? The first Avon scent I remember as a small child came in a tall, slender yellow bottle with a golden jeweled topaz adorning the top. It was many years later before I realized that most topaz gemstones today are actually blue. (Because of this perfume, they’ll always be golden to me.) The scent smelled quite sophisticated to a child’s nose, as if a movie star as might wear it. At this moment upon each wrist I apply a drop from the unused bottle I just bought and am transported into a lady’s garden filled with fragrant night blooming flowers. The lady wears a silk evening gown of the Regency period and has powdered her bosom. With music and sounds of dancing emanating from the open drawing room door, she waits for her lover to appear. Of course by the jeweled adornment I mentioned above, you know the fragrance is Topaze. 

Fragrantica lists Topaze’s scent accords as “floral, aromatic, woody, aldehydic, powdery, and warm.” Launched in 1959, Topaze is described as a floral aldehyde featuring note of “aldehydes, coriander, peach, bergamot, lemon, carnation, ylang ylang, lily of the valley, rose, sandalwood tonka bean, amber, benzoin, civet, and vetiver.” That’s an amazing number of fragrance notes, and what a beautiful blend.

I haven’t found Topaze yet in the original yellow bottle. This one is in a harp-shaped bottle described with the words Heavenly Music Topaze. One user is right on point, saying Topaze has that “extra unexplainable something.”

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman, steel engraving, July 1854

By Samuel Hollyer (1826-1919) of a daguerreotype by Gabriel Harrison (1818-1902)(original lost). (Morgan Library & Museum) [Public domain] via Wikimedia Commons

Born in Long Island, Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an influential American poet and one of the first poets to write in free verse. His work evoked controversy at the time because of its casual references to the physical body and sexual appetites. Whitman used first person and spoke as a common man. He strongly believed poetry should emanate from and reflect the societal concerns of the day. His poems read with a certain homespun quality, while expressing humanistic philosophy and the broad commonality of humankind.


I and this mystery here we stand.

Clear and sweet is my soul, and clear and sweet is all that is not
my soul.

Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen,
Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn.

Showing the best and dividing it from the worst age vexes age,
Knowing the perfect fitness and equanimity of things, while they
discuss I am silent, and go bathe and admire myself.

Welcome is every organ and attribute of me, and of any man
hearty and clean,
Not an inch nor a particle of an inch is vile, and none shall be
less familiar than the rest.

I am satisfied—I see, dance, laugh, sing.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

Vintage Friday: Gaelic Song


Moonovergraveyard7-1-2015Do You Remember?

What is it about this music? Gaelic folk songs tend to touch our hearts and make our spirits soar. Even when the meaning of the words is unknown, the singer and the song resonate deep inside the misty corridors of our cells. Close your eyes and listen. What images do you see? What do you feel when you hear it?


Cheers & Happy Listening  and Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance