Happy Birthday, Alice Babette !

April 30th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Happy birthday, Alice Babette! This is not just a wish today on Alice’s 139th birthday, but also a new children’s book by Canadian author Monica Kulling published a few weeks ago by Groundwood Books.


GertrudeandAlice join a long line of famous people that Ms. Kulling has featured in her books including Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, and Henry Ford. Other books have been about lesser known trailblazers such as Margaret Knight, the inventor of the paper bag making machine, and Lillian Gilbreth, the first female engineer with a PhD, who was immortalized by her children in the book Cheaper by the Dozen. » Read the rest of this entry «

Alice Alone and Then…March 7, 1967

March 7th, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

Forty-nine years ago today, Alice B. Toklas died a few weeks before her 90th birthday. In remembrance, here is a portion of a story I wrote sixteen years ago about Alice’s life alone following Gertrude’s death.


“What’s the answer?” Gertrude queried. Alice didn’t reply.

“Then what is the question?” Gertrude asked with a sigh.

The day ended in sadness, the room filled with a chill.

Soon Gertrude was gone, she had been too, too ill.

A long friendship was over, years of love, years of care,

Alice sat in the darkness, “Now what, when or where?”

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January, 1926 – 27, rue du Fleurus, Paris

December 29th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

“Stop Pussy, stop, stop, stop!”


The concierge looked toward the window and just shook his head.

I wish they were our aunts. copy 2

“Those Americans, in the middle of the afternoon! I will wait a few moments.”

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December 11th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

‘Twas some weeks before Christmas,

At the rue de Fleurus,

Alice stood in the kitchen,

Just basting the goose.

Gertrude sat in the foyer,

Festive thoughts in her head,

And ignored ol’ St. Nick

Doing Nick things in red.


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GertrudeandAliceandFritzandTom…andSamsonandCaesar: Two Anniversaries Await in 2016

September 8th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

As we move from one season to another, it’s common to reflect on where the time has gone and can it really be time to exchange one set of clothes in the closet for another? (Those of us who live in the San Francisco Bay area or similar climates, usually have both spring/summer and fall/winter clothes ready year round.)

Come September, it’s also time to look ahead to things happening by the end of the year and those that will inaugurate the coming year. In my GertrudeandAlice world there are a few items in the offing if all goes according to plans.

My anniversary-obsessed mind has pinpointed two in 2016, though as the new year gets closer and closer, I’m sure there may be others.

This coming year marks the 5th anniversary of my picture book GERTRUDE AND ALICE AND FRITZ AND TOM and (drumroll, please!) the 90th anniversary of Gertrude’s famous, Caesar haircut! Since the book is set in 1925, Gertrude still has her woman bun.

map of paris copy

Ooops, that's not The Gert! All Hail, Brando!

Ooops, that’s not The Gert! All Hail, Brando as Mark Antony!











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GertrudeandAlice – Summer Sans the City

June 24th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

I’m writing this in London a few days after the official beginning of summer on the calendar. (London was a city Gertrude didn’t particularly like though GertrudeandAlice crossed the Channel several times for various visits and lectures.)

For almost 20 years, summer for GertrudeandAlice meant packing up the Paris apartment to head to their country place in Bilignin. The village was in the heart of foodie heaven in one direction, as it was not far from Lyon, one of France’s gastronomic centers, and the grandeur of the Swiss Alps in the other direction.

a birds-eye view of the house and gardens at Bilignin

a birds-eye view of the house and gardens at Bilignin

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Wrapping Up the Lecture Tour. A Key Mystery Solved. Alice’s Birthday.

April 30th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

As mentioned in the previous two posts, it has been eighty years since GertrudeandAlice returned to the U.S. for Gertrude’s headline-getting lecture tour.

The tour wrapped up in April of 1935 and in that final month,  GertrudeandAlice returned to California. Gertrude had turned her back on the Golden Gate in 1893 and Alice had last trekked the earthquake-rubble strewn hills of San Francisco in 1907.

Alice a bit droopy, Gertrude still smiling!

Alice a bit droopy, Gertrude still smiling!

In a nutshell, here is their April itinerary:

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Toklas Tweets: Miss A.B. Toklas @backintheusofa

January 14th, 2015 § 0 comments § permalink

At last, 140 characters or less to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Gertrude Stein’s jubilant 1934-35,  U. S. lecture tour.  But not just any words, but tweets from Alice, based in fact. (All dates are accurate. Twitter address and tweets, liberties taken!)

22. Oct 1934

SS Champlain grande experience. Food wonderful, seas calm and we both a bit nervous about seeing the Old Country again after 30 years.



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GertrudeandAliceandBasketII: A New Year’s Resolution Conversation

December 30th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

The conversation begins:

carl-mydans-author-gertrude-stein-sitting-with-alice-b-toklas-at-a-villa copy


Lovey, I promise to never again move all of your notebooks while dusting without first asking!


I’ll believe that when I see it. Pussy, I promise to never stand over your shoulder when you’re cooking, whispering in your ear any secret ingredients to add to your recipes.


Right! I promise to always use the fine, horse-hair brush to brush your corduroy skirt in the same direction, so that the nap is smooth and velvety to the touch.


Thank God, nothing worse than uneven, nappy corduroy. And I promise to do the dishes and pots and pans on weekends when Helene is gallivanting about Paris.


Right! And rough up your writing hand!?


Promises, promises! We’ll see, I’ve been around the block with these girls for a long time.

HAPPY 2015!


Holiday Wishes: GertrudeandAliceandFritzandTomand-MatthewandTrevor!

December 18th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

A post from Paris via Fogo Island, Toronto and San Francisco.

As the year ends with the usual holiday celebrations, it is also time to celebrate another event, the 3rd anniversary of the publishing of GERTRUDE AND ALICE AND FRITZ AND TOM.


Sometimes it feels as if this happened a long, long time ago, but whenever I pick up a copy of the book to send out, there are still very positive feelings of accomplishment, newness and satisfaction.

A few weeks ago, those feelings hit an all time high when a package arrived from Toronto. In it was an exquisite bottle of Turkey Hill maple syrup – “Canada No. 1 Light,” some Mary MacLeod’s Shortbread – “Handmade All Butter,” two, attractive greeting cards (one with the Cat in the Hat, the other with the image of a folk art style elephant), several photographs, and a block letter written note, which looked very much like the one from Fritz and Tom in my book.

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