Wednesday, July 9, 2014


    Nellie Moore--later Nellie Moore Avery Banfield--always insisted it was in 1921, when she was 16 years old, that she was asked to model for Coca Cola trays and calendars as "Betty." 
     She consented with the provision that she not be holding a bottle or glass of Coca Cola because she "hated the stuff." 
     The artist, Alfred Conyers, who had first spotted the young woman as she passed his studio on Chester Ave., Cleveland, OH, agreed with her stipulation, and her image was to become one of the most popular and collectible of Coca Cola's early advertising images. 
     Nellie never did learn to like Coca Cola, but at the age of 72 in 1976, the twice widowed woman was still being interviewed as a former Coca Cola model.
     Nellie Moore was born in West Virginia in 1904, the daughter of Robert James Moore (more commonly known as Jim) and Louisa Phillips Moore. She died in Willoughby, OH and is buried in South Kirtland Cemetery in Kirtland, Lake County, Ohio.
    For many years, Bob and I have had one of her "Betty" trays hanging in our foyer.
    After all, she was part of the family; having been the daughter of one of the sons of my husband Bob's great-grandfather Charles Moore.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


In 2009, my brother Ben of the Great Northwest posted a note on my blog, responding to my previous essay about hot summer nights. He was disappointed I had made no mention of our Ohio fireflies. To my surprise, I learned he doesn't have those harmless nighttime insects west of the Washington mountains.

I atoned by sharing a fireflies story that took place in July in the late 1980s. My doberman Baron was growing old, and like many over-the-hill males, he needed to go to the bathroom often at night. I was the one he always selected as "doorman" to let him outside and await his return.

That was a serious drought year. It was the year and the night of the day the peat moss in my garden had actually caught fire! The nights seemed even hotter than the days, and I had problems sleeping in the sultry air. And yet I fumed and fussed when an impatient dog awoke me.

As soon as I reached the back patio door, I forgave him. For there, at the edge of the tiny creek at the back of our property, an old weeping willow had collected all available moisture and coolness that was to be found. This, in turn, had attracted lightning bugs in startling numbers. I had never seen anything like it!

The interior of the willow's branches, drooping up and down from treetop to ground, were heavily lined with the light from those magical insects, like a Christmas tree in July. It was dazzling! I stared at that tree for what seemed like a very long time, until I realized my dog had returned and was sleepily leaning against me.

To this day, I have only to close my eyes on a hot summer night, and that magical tree reappears in my memory. For that, I can thank an aging dog who couldn't last the night without at least one "duty call."

Happily, this was story enough to please Ben of the Great Northwest, a younger brother I love very much. And I hope it's enough for you.