Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Naval Aviator Number 6463

The Oath of office, signed by Frank Mason Robinson, at age 17 years and 11 months.
A check written from Hugh to his older brother, Frank.  

I am working on a new Historical Fiction novel with a working title of NAVAL AVIATOR NUMBER 6463, which was Frank Mason Robinson's number when he became a pilot for the United States Navy.  

Once you have completed the research on your subject, the historical fiction novel is actually easier to write. 

Eleanor Robinson, talking with Hugh.  Frank is on the right.

Hugh, Marie (my grandmother's sister) Eleanor, and Frank Robinson.

This novel is about my grandfather, Frank Mason Robinson, who died when he was twenty-seven years old.  He was involved in a mid-air collision on March 17, 1941.  The accident was not his fault.  He flew a TBD Devastator plane off the USS Yorktown, which was an aircraft carrier, and the accident occurred because of the fault of another pilot.  I have read the Navy report of the accident several times, and I understand now how devastating this must have been for my grandmother.  She lost her husband and he never met his only child, my mother, Ann Marion Robinson. 

My cousin, Hugo Robinson, has sent me several scrapbooks, numerous files, and oral reports, (from the ORAL HISTORY COLLECTION, number 1368, interview with Hugh M. Robinson, on February 21, 1997.) who was Frank’s younger brother. 

I have secured the records from all of their boarding schools, with the exception of the Lycee Janson de Sailly, which is in Paris.  David D’ Onofrio sent the records from the United States Naval Academy and Tyler Larkin sent me the records from the Severn School in Maryland.  Both of these schools are boarding schools.  The Lycee is also a boarding school. 

But the greatest gift was when my mother told me she had Frank’s journals from when he was a child.  My younger sister, Sarah, had them placed on a digital file and sent them to me.  I loaded these onto my computer and I have read through them three times, trying to get a feel for how he was as a young boy. 
Eleanor and Frank Robinson.

I cannot imagine what her life was like when she learned her husband had been killed in that airplane crash.  She had to raise my mother by herself.  And while she did move in with Frank’s mother, Marion Robinson, she was still a single mother.  
The letter from the Department of the Navy, informing Eleanor her husband had died.  

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Love Locks...in Paris.

Placing the lock on the bridge.


On the second day we were in Paris, we took the boys to see the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris.  http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/-English-Of course, it was still raining, but when we got there, I noticed that the bridge behind the Cathedrale had those love locks http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love_lockattached to it. 

I had not brought a lock, but I noticed that across the street, there was a store that sold them.  So I walked in and purchased one for ten Euros.  I asked her if she had a Sharpie I could borrow, and she did. 

Look how many locks are on the bridge!  Years and years worth!

Cathedrale de Notre Dame in the background.

I carefully wrote my initials and then Brian’s initials on the lock and I added a heart.  Then we placed the lock on the bridge together and after making sure it was affixed, I threw the key in the Seine River.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SeineWe watched it fall the bottom and then stepped back and I thought of all the years we have been married (twenty-six years) and I do feel as thought we have been very lucky together.  I can’t imagine not being married to Brian.  We have raised two boys who are both off to college, and now, I have this new book to write, another historical fiction book that I am still researching, but I am at about page thirty.  I keep editing it each day, but I think it’s going well so far.

I think, sometimes, certain things are meant to be. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Paris Catacombs

The green door that lets you inside the Catacombs.

A map of the underground tunnels.
On the last day we were in Paris, we visited the Catacombs.  These are a series of very long tunnels under the ground where they store extremely old bones of very old people who, I assume, were once in a cemetery.  I believe that when the city was tunneling for the metro, they would come across these caves where the bones were, and then have to divert the train another way around the bones so they could be preserved.  We had to wait two hours to get in, but we really wanted Brian to see this.

Bones, all of which are femur bones, the long bone in the upper leg, and some skulls.

You can see the skulls on top of the sign, surrounded by more femur bones,

All of the words are written in Latin, or perhaps it is French, and I do not know Latin or French. 

On the day we went, it had rained the night before and so as we walked, the rain was dripping from the ceiling, which is really made out of dirt.  I had to step around many puddles, and there were a lot of stairs to bring you down to where the bones were, and then many to bring you back up to street level again.  

We had a wonderful time walking though this.  It can feel a little creepy to look at all those bones, but then again, I would recommend going, if you ever get to Paris.  

Hugh, Brian, and Sam, inside one of the tunnels.  There are bones on both sides of them.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Paris, France, August 2014

Hugh, Brian, and me, in front of Le Grande Colbert

We have just returned from a vacation in Europe, where we visited Paris, and then went on to Amsterdam. It was nice to be able to bring both of my boys.  Sam has since returned to his college, the United States Naval Academy, and this next weekend, August 23, my husband and I will drive Hugh to his college, University of California, Berkeley, where he will start school as a Freshman. 

When I knew we were going to Paris, I sent an email to the restaurant, Le Grande Colbert, http://legrandcolbert.fr/which is that restaurant in the movie, SOMETHING’S GOTTA GIVE.  The website states you may not try to make a reservation over the internet, but I sent it anyway, and then, three days later, I received a reply that told me that Francois confirmed our reservation, and needless to say, I was very happy. 

The day we arrived in Paris, there was a four-hour wait to get into the Louvre.  http://www.louvre.fr/enThe line snaked around several buildings and out into the street, and we decided that we were absolutely not going to wait in a four-hour line.  But then we went back after dinner at the Le Grande Colbert, which was about 8:30pm, and there was no line at all!  The Louvre closes at 9:30pm, so we paid to get in and then rushed as fast as we could to show Brian the Mona Lisa.  After that, we had just enough time to view some of the statues.  

Sam and Hugh in front of the Mona Lisa.

The Statue Room

Another statue

A pair of statues
The one bad thing, it rained the entire time we were there.  My mother told me to bring a raincoat, and I did not.  But I did purchase an umbrella at the Eiffel Tower!http://www.toureiffel.paris/