Friday, July 30, 2010

Resurrecting William Cooper

William Cooper, founder of Cooperstown, father of James Fenimore Cooper, came from Philadelphia, lived in Burlington City, NJ, and owned much of what is now Willingboro, NJ, the town where The Husband and I grew up. Every time we make the 4-and-a-half-hour trip in the CR-V, I think about him on horseback, without the benefit of the Northeast Extension OR the Lehigh Tunnel. And then I think about the fact that his wife was never happy in New York...she preferred her home in NJ... I don't think I will feel the same.

The other somewhat amusing connection is my baseball eagle, Casey at the Bat. (I don't really approve of having a photo of the artist on here, but it was the best eagle pic I have!)

In 2005, when the RiverLine had just come through South Jersey, the County celebrated by placing painted eagle sculptures at several locations along the line (The Eagles Have Landed). Artists were instructed to celebrate the history of the area, so I chose a baseball theme because I had heard that the source of Lena Blackburne's Baseball Rubbing Mud was in Palmyra, somewhere along the Delaware River, maybe in Palmyra Cove. Probably Palmyra's only claim to fame, although the real location of the mud hole has never been revealed by the collector. (C'mon, Jim, you can tell me!)

So I collected 100s of dirty old baseballs, stripped the skins and made them Casey's feathers. The painting on his chest is the Tacony/Palmyra bridge, and his perch is a Louisville Slugger bat. And the little bucket between his feet is the Baseball Rubbing Mud that is used to prep the too-shiny baseballs before every Major League game. There is a bucket of it in the Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown.
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