Emma Edmonds, a Civil War spy

Emma Edmonds

Emma Edmonds specialized in disguises.

It was a way of life you could say. One which began in her teens.

Back then she was a living on a farm in New Brunswick, Canada. Being raised by a doting mother and an abusive father who resented Emma for not being born a boy. He wasn’t good to her. And when he tried to marry her off at fifteen, she decided the time was right to leave.

She traveled alone to the U.S. Which is where Emma Edmonds became Franklin Thompson, probably because Franklin had more opportunities than Emma did. And Franklin became a bible salesman living in Hartford, Connecticut, and then a book seller in Flint, Michigan.

Then the Civil War started. And Emma, an ardent supporter of the Union, felt a duty to serve. So she joined. As Franklin of course. Physical checks were sparse then.

Emma worked as a nurse, but yearned for something more. She wanted to become a spy.

And that chance came.

Emma needed to infiltrate the Confederate camp stationed near her own. So Emma did what Emma knew how to do well. She changed her identity. Franklin Thompson became Cuff, a southern black man. She used silver nitrate to darken her skin. And then she wandered near the Confederate camp, expecting to be picked up for some work need. Which she was.

She learned important information over a few days in the camp. Information such as the Army building what were known as “Quaker Guns,” or cannons which looked real from a distance, but in reality were just wooden logs. Then she escaped from the camp and returned to her own. Where she told the leadership what she learned.

Emma, or Franklin, or Cuff, or an Irish peddler by the name of Bridget O’Shea, which was a future identity, would take part in eleven spy missions during the war.

Sources: Behind Rebel Lines: The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy by Seymour Reit, https://bit.ly/2K6B0DG, https://bit.ly/2HjuHe5

Juli Lynne Charlot creates the circle skirt

Juli Lynne Charlot

Juli Lynne Charlot was 25, broke, when in the winter of 1947 she was invited to a holiday party in Los Angeles. Without an outfit to wear or money for a new one, or knowledge of how to sew, she decided to create her own dress for the party.

Juli had access to a free supply of felt, so she took the material and in her words, “cut the circle out of felt, which allowed me to cut a complete circle skirt without having any seams.” She then “added some whimsical Christmas motif appliqués.”

Her skirt was a hit. She received many compliments at the party.

Still in need of money, Juli decided to make two more skirts. She took them to a boutique in Beverly Hills. The owner put the skirts on the floor where they sold immediately. He then placed another order for more, and with that the fashion of circle skirts began.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juli_Lynne_Charlot

A thought on poetry from E.E. Cummings

E.E. Cummings

“A poet is somebody who feels, and who expresses his feelings through words. This may sound easy. It isn’t. A lot of people think or believe or know they feel — but that’s thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is feeling — not knowing or believing or thinking. Almost anybody can learn to think or believe or know, but not a single human being can be taught to feel. Why? Because whenever you think or you believe or you know, you’re a lot of other people: but the moment you feel, you’re nobody-but-yourself. To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.”

– E.E. Cummings

Source of photo: Photograph by Edward Weston / Photograph by Center for Creative Photography, Arizona / https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/03/03/capital-case