Jon Crispin's Notebook

Wine Bib

Posted in Art, Family, Food, Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 30/11/2011

My friend Peter Carroll has a way of making these little napkin bibs for wine bottles to prevent drips.  His always look perfect.  Cris did a pretty good job on this one on Thanksgiving, but we are still aspiring to Peter’s high standards.

There was a very nice mention of the Willard suitcase project on Very Short List today.  It is a way cool website.  Here’s the link.  I’m so grateful for all the attention, and welcome to all of you new subscribers to my notebook.

Chick’s in West Haven, CT

Posted in Architecture, Family, Food, Landscape, Water by joncrispin on 29/11/2011

After I left Yale yesterday I went to Chick’s in West Haven to eat some clams.  Peter and I have been making a bit of a study of fried clams in the Northeast, and he had encouraged me to check it out.  (See previous post)  I had originally hoped to go to Stowe’s, which is just down the road, but they are closed on Mondays.  Chick’s is big, and was quite empty at about 4.00 pm, which made me a bit nervous.  But the clams were very good.

They didn’t have that real ocean taste like ones from the North Shore of Massachusetts, as I assume they came from somewhere in the Sound, but the breading was very light and they were quite hot.  It was nice to be able to sit outside and enjoy the late afternoon light.

Cushing Center

Posted in Architecture, Art, Medicine, Science by joncrispin on 28/11/2011

The suitcases project has opened a lot of doors for me.  Jessica Helfand teaches a freshman seminar at Yale called “Studies in Visual Biography”.  She is interested in (among other things) how ephemeral objects can tell a lot about the individual who owned them.  Very early on she noticed my Kickstarter page and invited me to come down to New Haven to talk to the class.  I went today and it was a blast.  Afterwards Jessica took me to the Cushing Center at the Yale School of Medicine where neurologist  Dr Harvey Cushing’s collection of brains resides.  There is an amazing story about how the center came about, and the representation of his work and life are housed in a beautifully designed space.  It is all very scientific, and not at all macabre.  Well worth a visit.

Christmas Cacti

Posted in Flowers, Plants, Weather by joncrispin on 23/11/2011

Christmas Cacti

As I mentioned in an earlier post, our Christmas Cacti are in full bloom.  They were outside all summer and through the autumn.  My sister had told us not to bring them in until a hard freeze, so they came in just before the big storm at Halloween.  We don’t pay much attention to the house plants; leave ’em out in the warm months, bring ’em in during the winter, and they seem to like it.  The rosemary is still outside and looks great.  I hope it survives the winter.


Posted in People by joncrispin on 20/11/2011


When I first started wandering around with a camera, it seemed very easy to photograph people in public.  No one paid much attention to me and I wasn’t self-conscious about snapping pictures.  Something has changed in the last few years.  I totally understand it; people are nervous about why someone would be photographing them.  Just after I took this shot, this woman looked up at me and I felt kind of bad.  The really cool image would have been her looking at me and smiling, but there is no way I could have taken that shot nowadays without her being startled and possibly upset.  I often try to engage with people so that I can get their permission to take a photo, and I really should have done it here.  I am sure she would have been more than happy if I offered to send her a print.

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Posted in Animals, Landscape, Nature, Trees, Weather by joncrispin on 18/11/2011


I left the house early this morning to drive up to Maine to visit my brother for a few days.  The morning light was lovely and when I saw these cows, I pulled over to take a few shots.


Posted in Flowers, Weather by joncrispin on 14/11/2011


I bought some tulips over a week ago and they have lasted quite well.  They are on their last legs now, but this one opened up nicely.  /  Both Christmas cacti are flowering as is the rosemary out on the deck.  I think the early snow followed by the warm weather has confused the plants.

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Willard Suitcase #8

Posted in Willard Suitcases by joncrispin on 11/11/2011

I was able to photograph two cases at the museum on Wednesday.  It was a good day to go over, as I was able to see Karen Miller who was there looking at some of the materials.

Charles’ case was mostly empty, but was in quite good condition.  It appears that his time at Willard began in the 1930s.

In addition to the case was an archival box with his name that had some heft to it.

Inside was this instrument, which I believe is called a zither.  (Any help in identifying it is welcome.)

I love the decal with the notes.  Really beautiful.

I don’t believe this paddle has anything to do with the instrument.  It is clearly hand carved and though I can’t read the writing on the left side, one phrase on the right is pretty clear.

Inside the box were also two sheets of paper used to keep score for “Rumie pinochle”.

There was also a publication called “Glidden Brighter Home Magazine”.

Pizza Hunt

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, History, Landscape, Weather by joncrispin on 10/11/2011

On my way to Albany yesterday to do more work on the suitcases, I drove past this abandoned Pizza Hut on Route 9 in Hadley.  I have always wanted to photograph it in the fog, and the conditions were just right.  This building is odd to begin with, and the fact that it sits empty in the middle of an otherwise highly developed area makes it even stranger.  I think it has been empty for at least 5 years.  When Peter was a little boy, we once went there for one of those kids birthday parties, and even then it was a bit other-worldly.  I wonder if this was the bog standard corporate design for smaller New England Pizza Huts. As Peter was learning to talk, he would often add consonants to words where they didn’t belong; hence this building was, and still is the Pizza Hunt.

JFK Terminal 4 again

Posted in Architecture, Buildings, Family, Travel, Weather, Windows by joncrispin on 04/11/2011

I drove down to JFK again early this morning to pick up Cris and her co-worker Kate.  As we walked out of the terminal, the sun was just coming up and the sky was wild. There is something about airports and light. / I just want to take a minute to acknowledge all of the new subscribers to this site.  The suitcase project has brought many of you here, and I really appreciate your interest and comments.  Thank you all so much.

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