Above photo of Author and Pat in a Previous Doll Tour in Germany
SPAIN IS COMING UP ON OUR AGENDA!
Pat and I are headed off on another TLC Doll Tour—this one to Spain on May 12 – 30. Pat and I have never travelled there before, although we’ve been in nearby Portugal, when we imported pre-worked needlepoint from Madeira years ago. This will be our fourth TLC Doll Tour. Although called a “Doll Tour”, they really are art, history, and doll tours—especially this one. Unlike Germany, this tour has no doll fairs but lots of historic places, doll and toy museums and art museums—plus lots of good eating and sharing doll and other information with interesting people.
Lynn, Anne, Marshall and Craig are the tour guides with Lynn the boss. All four are very knowledgeable and pleasant to be with. So much so that these tours sell-out almost as soon as they are announced. Spain did with 34 signed up.
Lynn and her late husband lead European tours for years. When he died, Lynn and her sister, Anne decided there were enough doll-collectors in the world to make a doll tour worth trying. They have developed a fine group of ‘camp-followers’ and Pat and I have become addicted. Pat is particularly interested in the doll aspects and although I’ve become interested in doll things, my main interest on these tours is the history and art aspects. I have assembled a small navy—yes, a group of nine navy dolls with one soldier. I’ve also learned about dollhouse-boxes and Pat and I built a miniature boat shop at our Maine house.
I’ve had ants-in-my-pants most of my life. I love travel, especially to new places, which is why Spain is fascinating me. I’ve just completed the new book, “Spain in Our Hearts,” by Adam Hochschild. Adam wove his excellent true story about Americans involved in the Spanish Civil War in 1936-39. I’d never read or heard much about this frightening period. Right-wing generals, headed by Francisco Franco and calling themselves, Nationalists fought the Republicans. Hitler and Mussolini backed Franco’s men with planes, pilots and military equipment; Russian Communists, socialists, anarchists backed the Republicans. Americans fought on both sides with the majority of them with the Republicans. The international oil company, Texaco, supplied the Nationalists their fuel. As a recent New Yorker story by Caleb Crain about Hochschild’s book says, “The Americans had been brought to Spain by Comintern, the worldwide Communist organization, the troops had been given an irreproachably non-Communist name: the American Lincoln battalion.”
My friends, Cal and Ellie Kendall are experts on Spain. Their son, Ned, has lived in Spain for more than 20 years and they are headed that way this week. I asked him what he’s written about Spain in his books—to which he replied, “Yes, I’ve written some about places (verses, sculpture, churches) in Spain. There’s quite a bit about Jaca in The Allegory of the Church (in chap. 10 mostly) . . .." He also referred to his new book on Spain, which he’s writing with another professor. I look forward to that one.
Unfortunately, the Kendall’s’ and Haskell’s’ plan to meet in Spain aborted but we’re all looking forward to discussing our travels in Vermont and Maine when we meet this summer. Watch for updates on our trip in the next few weeks.