Monday, April 1, 2019

When the Swallows Return to Capistrano



Does anyone other than me remember that old song recorded in 1957 by Pat Boone?
  
When the swallows return to Capistrano,
that's the day you promised you'd come back to me.

It was not known as much as its flip side, April Love, which was a #1 Billboard hit from the movie by the same name. Pat Boone starred as Nick, a slightly bad boy sent to a Kentucky horse farm belonging to his aunt and uncle as a condition of his parole for joyriding in a stolen car

Shirley Jones as Liz was a local girl falling for Nick, who at first only had eyes for her older sister. By the end of the movie, the two were in love and almost kissed. 

You had to be a very young teenager to have appreciated the corny movie. I was.


 Ah, Spring love! As tender as the chartreuse green leaves on the trees here in Middle Tennessee. 

After coming home from shopping and errands the other day I put these lavender tulips from Trader Joe's in a vase in front of an old streaky mirror and was inspired to put this plate of swallows I found at Goodwill beside them.


 The pattern of the plate is fittingly named 'Capistrano' and immediately made me think of Pat Boone singing the old love song about the swallows of Capistrano.

Capistrano is San Juan Capistrano in Southern California and sadly, the swallows have stopped returning there each Spring. I found several theories about this online, from the insects the birds ate no longer being in the polluted creeks due to development, to there not being enough mud now for their cliff nests, again due to development.



The swallows used to arrive in Capistrano from late February to about March 19. Isn't the migration of birds fascinating?

Purple Martins flew in last week here, to the clean condos in the sky that our neighbor always has ready for them. But the martins leave us about mid-July whereas the Capistrano swallows stayed in Capistrano until October 23 before their flight to Argentina.

The martins here are such a welcome sight here at Home Hill as they soar and swoop, catching insects in the air over the pond. And I remember the barn swallows at our old house were lovely to watch also as we sat on the patio before supper watching them.

I understand that San Juan Capistrano is trying all kinds of things to bring the swallows back and I hope they succeed, don't you?


Meanwhile, I'm enjoying them on this one plate found at Goodwill by Trend China from Japan.

Thank you all so much for your thoughtful comments at my previous post on the woman in the green dress and her French Normandy home! 

So many of you wrote that you live in older houses with the craftsmanship of days gone by and that you too wonder about the history of those who lived there before you. One of you even picked out your dream house from the slideshow of beautiful homes in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ruth mentioned the little windows near the front doors on many of the houses, wondering if they could be in a cloakroom. I bet they are, Ruth, and it's a long time since I've heard that word.

One of you had visited Normandy, Madame Là-bas, and wrote that Canada had many settlers from that region. 

And then Mary Ann wrote about her own mother's experience during the Depression, one that so many went through of wondering where the next meal would come from.

My own father talked often of being a child during that time. They were lucky in that they were farmers and grew and raised much of what they ate. 

Not everything in my 1930s magazines were the reality of most women reading them, were they?

Perhaps no closer to reality than for many of us the stylish blogs we avidly follow? 

But we certainly do love them and are inspired by them, don't you think? Just as my mother was by the women's magazines of the 1950s that I remember her reading with so much enjoyment.

I'm wishing you all an April as tender as Spring Love!

It's chilly here now but I already packed away the red wool blanket folded at the end of my bed and spread out the old peacock embroidered sheet that RH and I found at the Nashville flea market over forty years ago, two small children in tow.


Spring will turn into Summer before we know it, won't it? And with Easter late this year it will feel like summer days will be upon us after that.

What have you done to welcome Spring to your home?


I wake up every morning to see this old picture across from me, so it's always Summer in my bedroom!

P.S. First lilac sprig sighted outside the window this morning!


 

 

32 comments:

  1. Well, here we go again, Dewena! I was a big fan of Pat Boone, and I love both these songs! And... I bought the DVD a few years back and we watched it with little Hazel. April Love was my go-to song when it was time for her to sleep. Honestly. She would always fall asleep. I was on Fb then and found his site, and I almost messaged him and told him.

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    1. We keep finding more similarities in our interests, Nan! That is so sweet that April Love has been your lullaby for your little granddaughter. You should have messaged him! I bet he would have responded graciously. Hazel is our granddaughter's age too, both of them big first graders now. And ours is a horse fan so she would really love this gentle love story with all the horses in it.

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  2. Ooo! That peacck sheet is amazing and perfect for spring with all its pretty colors. I love old movies, so I'll have to look for April Love. It was such a simple way of life back then, I think that's why I'm able to destress with old movies. Thanks for the welcoming to April. I'll go change my calendar over now!

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    1. Destresing with old movies works for me! I love the clothes, homes, cars, etc. of that time.

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  3. Interesting read, Dewena. At first I thought you were referring to Capistrano Italy. I guess my roots are showing! ;) And I have to keep my eyes open for April Love. We watch TCM every night. It's bound to pop up on their schedule! Happy April!

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    1. I did see that there was also a Capistrano Italy, and I think a Capistrano Texas too??

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  4. Wow, the lilacs are starting to flower there already? That's awesome, Dewena! My parents were in Capistrano one year when the swallows returned, they often told me about it, what a fabulous sight it was. The spring birds are returning here as well, slowly but surely!

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    1. That's so great that your parents were there and saw the swallows, Debbie! It's such a shame their migratory route has been ruined by development, if that is what happened.

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  5. Dewena, I know it would be a thrill that would be in my heart forever to see the swallows in Capistrano. However, we had Purple Martins when we lived in Virginia and I dearly loved to watch them and especially hear them talk. They are so dear. I am amazed that you have lilacs already. Ours are just beginning to show their tight buds. But then we had 20 and snow flurries here in WV yesterday.
    Loved your post, Dewena. Happy spring days to you!

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    1. Martins do make the sweetest sound, Sandra! From now on I will think of them as talking.

      Time for snow to leave WV and let you get on with Spring, Sandra!

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  6. I hope they can fix things to get the swallows to come back to Capistrano. I remember Pat Boone and I had a few of his songs on 45's for my little record player. I have never seen the movie April Love and will have to look for it on the old movie channels. Have a super new week.
    Big Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. Kris, I wish I still had my 45s. Wouldn't they be fun today? I started to embed the YouTube music of Pat Boone singing the song but decided the post was already too long.

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    2. I DO still have my 45s! And a turntable to play them on. I'll check and see if I have this one.

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  7. I remember the song April Love and his grandparents... or were they? and I remember him driving a sulky around the course. at least I think I do. I'd have to see it again. but I always liked Pat in his white bucks. I think he lost his wife Shirley last year. but what he said about her was beautiful in the article I read.
    this was an altogether lovely post for welcoming Spring! xo

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    1. They were his aunt and uncle and I don't think his uncle was too fond of him at first. I didn't realize he'd lost his wife recently. That was a long lasting marriage. I read where she finally gave him permission to kiss his leading ladies in movies, with the condition that he wouldn't enjoy it!

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  8. Dewena, what a pretty bird plate you found. And the lavender tulips look beautiful in that unique vase. Being a California gal, I'm very familiar with San Juan Capistrano. It's in Orange County, and so many lovely places to visit in So Cal. Yes, the butterflies are fascinating, but I don't see them as often as I'd like to. It seems that there are fewer now. I loved the story of your father being a farmer and raising most of what they ate. It made me smile, as my brother had a farm, and all the produce he grew was sold at his store. And this girl was one of the farmers who worked the summer fields haha. Your peacock sheet is a treasure, and has a special story of finding it with your small children. And you kept it for forty years! It looks perfect for Spring. What a charming picture of your window and the lilacs.

    This was a pleasant and sweet post, Dewena, and just what I needed this morning sipping on my coffee and reading my favorite blogs. : )

    love, ~Sheri

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    1. Thank you, Sheri! I'm so glad you enjoyed it and how nice that you're familiar with San Juan Capistrano. I've never been to California but one of my daughters-in-law lived there as a child and she says it's the most beautiful state there is.

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  9. We didn't travel much when I was a girl but one year we drove to California and visited San Juan Capistrano. We were thrilled when we visited the missions in California. Your plate is so pretty with the swallows. We have a lot of them nest here in late spring. One of the things that I would love to see is the butterflies in Mexico but my husband and I have seen them cover bushes in Tucson in November so that's close. Your embroidered peacock sheet is beautiful and it looks good after all those years.

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    1. It's wonderful to know that some of my visitors have actually been to this place that I wrote about. And I'm glad you mentioned the missions as I was fascinated with what I read about them when I googled the song. In fact one of Pat Boone's YouTube recordings of the son used pictures of the mission in it.

      Oh how amazing it would be to see the butterflies covering bushes. I'm assuming they were monarchs? But I hope sometime you can see them in Mexico when you return.

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  10. What a beautiful arrangement of tulips you created in front of the old glass. And your embroidered peacock sheet is a real treasure. Old songs are so sweet, full of tenderness that seems to be lacking in much of today's music.
    I do hope the swallows return to Capistrano one day.
    I changed the bedding here this week, too. The dark blue duvet is put away and a light grey quilted coverlet has replaced it. I replaced the velvet cushions on the couch with pink cotton ones. Brass is put away. I try to bring some spring flowers in from the garden or the grocery store.
    I very much enjoyed this chatty post.

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    1. Thank you, Lorrie! And I enjoyed reading about the things you've done to bring spring into your home. That is one of the best things about housekeeping! Kind of the reward for all the grunt work that must be done.

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  11. Good Morning my friend,
    We have snow falling here in Northwest Wisconsin this morning. Winter still has not left, it has been chilly too.
    I am so sad about many birds, insects and animals that have had to change patterns or simply vanish due to lack of habitat.
    I am working on saving the Pollinators with my Master Gardener Group. I do think we can make a difference.
    Always enjoy your posts,
    Carla

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    1. Carla, I hope that spring will actually show up there soon so you can garden again. And please share things on your blog about what you're doing to save the Pollinators. We are only focusing on small areas here in this big yard to garden and so we're trying to make each plant count for that.

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  12. I love this post - and it's amazing - you know more about San Juan Capistrano than I do. I live about an hour or so away. I love it there and last time I visited was two years ago. The mission there is beautiful and I took a lot of photos of their gardens. Also we ate at a delicious pizza place and there is a train that runs from Los Angeles down the coast - and one of the stops is San Juan Capistrano. The area around the station is so quaint. Love your peacock sheet. And I'm waiting for my Lilac tree to bloom which will be in full bloom around middle of May. Anyway - hope your spring is a great one and with the way you decorate it will feel like a beautiful spring to you.

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    1. Sandy, I hadn't realized you would be so close to it as you live near the mountains. That just goes to show how little I really know about California.

      Thank you so much for the details about that beautiful city! It makes me want to see it ever more than before.

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    2. i should say...without rush hour traffic which seems to be almost all day long every day....it is about an hour or so. In fact I just did a google map and it showed 1 hour and 27 minutes. Luckily we know the right time of day to get there and the right time of day to get home so it's usually not much more than 2 hours. When we go there we make a day of it and go to Laguna Beach which is a wonderful artist type colony beach... Makes me want to go soon just talking about it, lol. I'll post photos on my "main blog" soon and let you know.

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  13. Those lavender tulips and the bird plate are both so beautiful! I have not seen any lavender tulips here at my Trader Joe's. My hubby is on his way home from visiting his dad right now and he's stopping at TJ's to pick up a few things for me. On my list: two bunches of daffodils. Mine are just green shoots poking out of the ground right now and all the trees are still bare here, so cheery daffodils on my kitchen table will definitely say spring to me.

    I love your peacock embroidered sheet. What a treasure!

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    1. Oh, I agree with you, Melanie. Nothing says Spring more to me than yellow daffodils! And yellow forsythia. I just told RH that he has to plant a forsythia this spring and more daffodils in the fall.

      Near us is a pretty house where they have a really long border of forsythia behind their house and it is breathtaking right now. And they have not tortured it into a pruned hedge shape. It grows loose and wavy and wonderful.

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  14. I love your tulips and the beautiful plate, they both say Spring to me. I have been adding flowers, branches and decoupage eggs to my house. I am looking forward to sunny days and no rain. Have a great weekend.

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  15. When I was a schoolchild in California a study of the missions was part of the 4th grade curriculum. I wonder if it still is... I always thought it would be fun to visit each one, but I probably haven't seen half of them. I haven't been to SJC, nor to Orange County in decades!

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  16. Dewena, I love the wee lilac. My mom always loved them. Hope you are doing well and getting nice days. I long to sit on the porch. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

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  17. How pretty those pale purple tulips are, Dewena - they very gracefully say, in a low profile way, 'Spring has arrived. Fill your lives with it.', and you have.

    Your story of the swallows and their mixed up migration schedule is scary and sad! It's like going on vacation and upon returning, finding that your home has disappeared into thin air! I hope the St. Juan Capistrano community finds a way to bring the swallows back home, again.

    Your pink peacock embroidered sheet is lovely, such a refreshing touch for the new season. I love your table lamp, very French and fabulous! Is it vintage or a new purchase? I don't remember it at Valley View.

    Lilacs outside your bedroom window, now THAT's a signature sign of spring for sure! I am imagining their beautiful, fresh scent and can't wait to pick my first bouquet when they pop up here, since they don't thrive on Crete.

    Happy Monday,
    Poppy

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RH and I love your comments! They are sent to my email for moderation first but I do hit publish as soon as I read them. A few commenters' comments are not sent to my email for some reason but I try to visit that section on my design page twice a day to see if they're hiding there so I can publish them. I went the first 3 years of blogging not knowing that was there and when I discovered it there were many pages of old comments that never got published. I was so embarrassed and contacted recent ones but hid in shame from those who had given up long ago.

In these busy days I appreciate so much when you take time to comment. Thank you so much!

Dewena