June Gardens’ Day Off

I have today off! Because Wednesday is the traditional day to take one vacation day.

A faithful reader sent me two passes to the Biltmore, a mansion in the mountains that the Vanderbilts used to live in. I wonder if they still own it. Like, can Anderson Cooper be all, “Everybody out. I want this place to myself this weekend”?

Screenshot from their website. What you enjoy about Book of June is the effort I put into my visuals. Also, the Biltmore and my house have about the same square footage. How do they dust? How do they Marie Condo their place? I’ll stop talking in the caption now.

Anyway, I’ve asked Wedding Alex to be my date, and now we’ve BOTH taken a day off work and the whole office will go to hell in a handbasket because we are the backbone of that company. Or, no one will notice.

Wedding Alex has a much fancier job than I have. She, like, directs client solutions or provides architectural solutions or she solves mysteries with solutions. I forget. But she fancy. She’s very grown up.

I tend to have friends who are younger than me who are very grown up, have you noticed that? Although my friend Sandy, who is my age, said the other day, “You’re pretty much Frankie to my Grace, right?” and I pointed out to her that other than my hippie woods-living friend Marianne, ALL my friends are Grace to my Frankie.

If you don’t watch Grace and Frankie there is something wrong with you. Or you’re Hulk. One of the two.

So she’ll be here soon, Wedding Alex will, and we’ll get in the car and head to the mountains and go to a mansion and I hope eat lunch at some point, because lunch. Then we’ll look at mansion things some more and then head back and that will be the end of our day of romance in the mountains.

My grandparents–the grandmother I’ve turned into and my grandfather who was the World’s Nicest Person–retired not far from said mansion, and they got season passes and went there just all the time. They were obsessed with that place, and by “they” I probably mean Grammy. Picky, my grandfather, probably just went along for the ride, which sums up their 109 years of marriage.

Anyway, they once sent me a picture of the two of them there, in front of a statue of some little sprite playing the flute or something, and it was such an absurd photo–the two of them in their sensible beige spring jackets, that I took that picture with me to the library, propped it up on books whenever I studied for something, to kind of lighten my mood.

I wish I could find that picture, and I just assumed I’d shown it to you at some point between 2006 and now, but when I google my blog and “statue” I get the following…

From a post I’d titled Our Lady of Lazy Eye, and I slay myself
I want you to brace yourself, but this was taken in the ’80s. Also, continue to slay self.

I remember this day. This is Joann, who had a blog, and I had a blog, and we used to email and call each other and so on. She lives in Florida, but she came to Raleigh for something and asked if I’d drive to have lunch with her one Sunday.

The Sunday we were to meet was a day or so after Marvin told me he was leaving, and I hadn’t told anyone yet, and I was dying to get there and confide in her. I wanted to tell someone face to face, not over the phone. I could hardly wait to spill all, it was all I could do to hold on till then, and when I got there, she said, “Do you mind if my husband joins us for lunch?”

So. I can’t recall who I finally told my tale of woe to, but eventually, that fell under the category of “everybody.” She, Joann, sent me a really nice print after Marvin left that I still have.

Dick Whitman took this in the summer of 2011. That’s not Dick Whitman with me.
And, once again, I slay me.

Anyway, when I get home tonight from my romantic getaway, I’ll look for that photo of m’grandparents. In the meantime, I have to figure out what to wear. I’d imagine an old mansion is going to be drafty, right? The last time I was there it was hot as blazes and there was no AC. No one was there to drive OJ down the 405. BAH.

Oh! Now I’ve talked too much about things that don’t matter and forgot to tell you I saw a card reader yesterday.

Basically, she said I had to actually leave the house more and stop being so happy to go to work and just come home. Crap.

Oh my god, are those heart hands in that middle card? I guess not. They’re more diorama hands. The fact that the third card doesn’t have a period doesn’t bug me or anything.

Okay, W Alex texted to see if I wanted anything from Starbucks (I don’t) so I’d better go so I look lovely when she arrives. Apparently she will be arriving in 1990.

XO,
Jooon

33 thoughts on “June Gardens’ Day Off

  1. Idk if my comment went through. WordPress told me I wasn’t logged in when I tried to post, so if this comment posts twice, my apologies. Here’s what I was trying to say before WordPress rudely cut me off.
    Hi Karen and everyone else who was around back in the day! Thank you Karen/June for remembering me. You might not recall, but you did tell me that day we met for lunch. You hurriedly told me when we were in the loo, I believe. When we got back to the table, I told my husband we needed girl time and since he is all too familiar with girl time with my 3 sisters, 3 daughters, 3 girl dogs and 1 girl cat, he was a gentleman and excused himself from our lunch. My heart was so heavy for you but we still managed to have a little bit of crazy fun, if I remember correctly.
    I have been away from the blog world for some time, but I still catch up here every once and awhile. I keep saying I’ll go back to my blog, but then life just keeps on moving pretty fast as Ferris says.
    I hope all my blog friends are doing well. I’m on Facebook and Instagram, (Joann Mannix) for anyone who might remember me and wants to be friends.
    I must run now bc today I am grandbaby sitting for my daughter’s pittie and the newest baby in her house, a 10 week old Frenchie. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a puppy in these parts and I’d forgotten that underneath that bundle of cuteness lurks a carpet-peeing, shoe-destroying, crackhead-energy maniac. This one tiny butterball is mayhem, itself, with giant ears. But the cuteness and that puppy smell makes up for everything else. She is currently napping, so the 4 adult dogs and myself are amping up for the next tidal wave of crazy.
    Thanks for including me in your post. This is O.J. waving hello to everybody!

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    • BABY FRENCHIE!!!!

      And see, I don’t remember that part! I can’t remember a lot from those days–they were like a haze of rejection and denial. I remember you two being a lot of fun, is what I remember.

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  2. Hi Karen and everyone else who was around back in the day! Thank you Karen/June for remembering me. You might not recall, but you did tell me that day we met for lunch. You hurriedly told me when we were in the loo, I believe. When we got back to the table, I told my husband we needed girl time and since he is all too familiar with girl time with my 3 sisters, 3 daughters, 3 girl dogs and 1 girl cat, he was a gentleman and excused himself from our lunch. My heart was so heavy for you but we still managed to have a little bit of crazy fun, if I remember correctly.
    I have been away from the blog world for some time, but I still catch up here every once and awhile. I keep saying I’ll go back to my blog, but then life just keeps on moving pretty fast as Ferris says.
    I hope all my blog friends are doing well. I’m on Facebook and Instagram, (Joann Mannix) for anyone who might remember me and wants to be friends.
    I must run now bc today I am grandbaby sitting for my daughter’s pittie and the newest baby in her house, a 10 week old Frenchie. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a puppy in these parts and I’d forgotten that underneath that bundle of cuteness lurks a carpet-peeing, shoe-destroying, crackhead-energy maniac. This one tiny butterball is mayhem, itself, with giant ears. But the cuteness and that puppy smell makes up for everything else. She is currently napping, so the 4 adult dogs and myself are amping up for the next tidal wave of crazy.
    Thanks for including me in your post. This is O.J. waving hello to everybody!

    Like

  3. Hippie, in the woods living friend here. Thank you! Does that make me Frankie too! She is my favorite of course. “Are you two sisters?”

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  4. I have never seen a card reader that reads cards like those. They are like the insides of Hallmarks. At our house we say “If it’s not a HELL YES, it’s a no.”
    I’ve never been to the Biltmore. I love poking around old houses, so that shack certainly fits the bill. Can’t wait for a full report!!

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  5. When you described the photo of your grandparents my hope was that you were going to find the statue and have your picture taken with it.

    I’m surprised your card reader told you to get out and do more. It seems to me that you keep pretty busy with social activities and whatnot.

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  6. Biltmore is just beautiful! Have been twice and would love to go again. My daughter and I obsess over a photo of the daughter, Cornelia, in her wedding dress at the foot of the massive stone or marble staircase. However, history tells she was a spoiled brat who was terrible to the mother and did not even return to Biltmore for the mother’s funeral, as they were very estranged. Very sad!

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    • If you’re interested, read the book The Last Castle, which is the story of George Vanderbilt and the Biltmore. George’s widow Edith married Peter Gerry, whose grandfather was the man whose name we know in the term ‘gerrymandering’. Daughter Cornelia Vanderbilt wanted nothing to do with the estate, leaving it in the hands of her two sons and going to live in NYC, Paris, and England.

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  7. I wouldn’t have thought about no A/C. It is probably crazy expensive to heat and cool such a massive place. Would love to visit. Can tours be accomplished with bad knees ? Any elevators ?

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    • Yes, there is one old timey elevator that fits one person I think. My Dad had to use it. Not very publicized, though, so you have to grab someone and let them know you will need the secret elevator!

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    • I’ve been to the Biltmore twice. The second time was a couple of years ago and I sprained my knee horribly getting up into a gigantic pick up truck Uber the night before. I couldn’t walk and my girlfriends had to push me through the house in a wheelchair. That elevator is teeny tiny. And there were a couple of floors that are not accessible by any way other than stairs so I had to sit in a room watching videos with a whole bunch of really old people who couldn’t walk up stairs. Seriously…every single one was old as dirt and then there was me.

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  8. This is my favorite kind of post! It just goes all over the place!

    I too remember Joann and her blog… those were the heady days of Everyone Has A Blog But Go Ahead and Try to Find A Good One. So glad I found you June Gardens!

    We visited Biltmore in aught 81. It was lovely and yes HOT HOT HOT. But that was in July. I remember the grounds the most – so pretty! Have a wonderful, romantic day with Wedding Alex!

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  9. We live about less than 2 hours from Asheville and had yearly Biltmore passes a couple of years ago. We really enjoyed visiting there seasonally, especially at Christmas – it is beautiful! I hope you have a great day … their restaurants have wonderful food! (And the Vanderbilt family still owns it, currently run by Vanderbilt’s great grandson, I believe.)

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  10. Went to a wedding there. Yes, all the way from Knee-va-duh! Outdoor wedding (mooing cows drowned out the preacher man), posh indoor reception. Never saw anything else, but the drive in was amazing. The gardens! Slay bells ring…

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  11. Arriving in 1990. Ha! I was feeling pretty good about myself yesterday until I looked in a mirror while standing next to my 20 year old daughter. That was the end of that good feeling. Have a great time at the Biltmore. I would love to see it.

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  12. I know you’ll have a great time. I was there in July, just about died of the heat, yes, no AC. It seemed shabbier and more empty than I remember.

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  13. Biltmore is a great place. Dress warm with layers and really comfortable walking shoes. It’s 36 degrees, but feels like 29, hopefully, it will be a lot warmer than that inside the house. Safe travels and enjoy your day!
    Tee

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  14. That sounds like a wonderful day out. I hope you and Wedding Alex recreate your grandparents’ photograph. Happy travels!

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    • Also, I know you said you don’t like podcasts, but the History Chicks has some good episodes about the Gilded Age Heiresses that includes Alva and Consuelo Vanderbilt. I like the hosts, they get to the story instead of nattering (I’m looking at you, My Favorite Murder).

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  15. It is on my (not a bucket) list, but my husband has zero interest. I need to find me a Grace to my Frankie and road trip down from NoVA! I eagerly await your report…..which must include a count of the hipsters you’ll see at lunch.

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    • I’m thinking of visiting Vanderbilt in May and I would be by myself if I do, Pam. I just need to pull the trigger. You could join me.

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  16. What to wear to the Biltmore? Good walking and stair climbing shoes, for sure.
    As I was reading I kept noticing things to comment on and by the end all I can say is, Jooon, you slay me, too. XO

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  17. Have a wonderful day, it sounds so lovely!
    I miss Joann’s blog, she’s a wonderful writer.
    She is such a sweet and kind person.
    Of course your blog has always been my favorite, just to make that clear!

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  18. Yes – descendents of the Vanderbilts do still own Biltmore. There is a section of it you can’t go into – you’d never really notice unless you pay close attention to the exterior and then realize ‘Hey! I didn’t get to see that part’.. Enjoy Asheville. I hope that this weather doesn’t dampen your trip.
    Safe travels!

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