Sunday, September 2, 2012

Louise Brooks from Cherryvale

Yesterday was a second rainy Saturday, and I nearly blinded myself reading again! I had some research to do, some letters to write, and I don’t know about you, but one idea just leads to another and leads to another. I also had some new blogs to check out. I could get lost in blog land and so really limit my time and stops. But yesterday I found one I really must follow for a while. It is Nicole’s over at Salt and Pepper:  I haven’t begun to read enough there. She links recipes and food choices to ones she has read about in the work of famous authors. Oh, when I saw Willa Cather’s name and Truman Capote and John Steinbeck, I knew I wanted to spend time there!
The major reading project was to finish the biography of Louise Brooks. It is always hard to watch a talented woman self-destruct. I first learned of this silent screen star in the novel The Chaperone by Laura Moriarity. When I saw that Brooks had been born in Cherryvale, Kansas and had roots in Wichita, I wanted to know more. She was a gorgeous woman and talented in so many ways. Yet, like many people on pedestals, her life deteriorated into drink, loneliness and bitterness.

Every week or two during childhood found my family crossing the viaduct in Cherryvale on our way to grandparents living in Coffeyville. Cherryvale meant we were getting close. Looking out the car window to the right, you saw a special yard as you passed over the viaduct. It was full of whimsies and donkey carts and bird baths, all painted vividly. As a child, I thought it lovely when in fact it was probably tacky. Now I wonder, who mowed around all that yard d├ęcor? It was like a little ceramic park.

Now a small and struggling berg, Cherryvale once had six brick factories and many trains hauling those bricks across America. Look around, you might see Cherryvale bricks near you. But the Brooks left Cherryvale for Wichita where her mother ignored Louise and siblings for her own pursuits. By the time she was fifteen, Louise was headed for New York to be a dancer and eventually a movie star. Thanks to the wonders of UTube, you can see some of those silent and a few talkie scenes of this beauty.

Do you watch silent movies or movies of the 1930's?


Martha said...

Great information. I didn't know any of that so was glad to find it out! It's always good to find out people born and raised in Kansas!

Linda O'Connell said...

I love to get lost in a book, especially when I can identify with the references and locales. Hope you have a great week.

Donna Volkenannt said...

Hi Claudia,
Thanks for the link to paperandsalt. I checked it out, and you are right--it's a great site.

I love watching classic movies late at night when everyone else is asleep. The black and white ones are especially entertaining.

Enjoy your week!


Lisa Ricard Claro said...

I'll look her up. I've never heard of her, but the book sounds interesting.

Susan said...

Oh, my dear Bookie...You getting lost in books sounced like a MOST delightful way to spend a rainy afternoon.

You are, by far, a faithful blog Follower and dear friend. Thank you for your sweet visits and comments to my tiny corner of blogland. Susan

Jenny said...

I love getting lost in books!

I loved reading your memories here.