Monday, July 15, 2013
Every action of our lives touches some chord which vibrates in eternity.
May time never
sever the golden chain of our friendship
May your life have few
shadows and may you prove
true to your womanhood.
Your friend and schoolmate, Susie
Tripoli, May 10, 1884
Roses of Life! Sweet Roses of Life!
Strew them wherever you go.
Give them to friends. Give them to foe.
They'll lighten the burden of woe.
Your friend-Hessie Bennett
Tripoli Jan.28, 1884
May You Never Change Except in Name!
Your friend, Nevada Reeder
One by one the sands are flowing,
One by one the moments fall;
Some are coming some are going,
Do not strive to grasp them all.
Your Friend and schoolmate,
Tripoli, Jan. 15,1884
Tripoli High School
Remember me Ever
The rough road we trust, Gusta
Stretches far behind,
And bright and thornless flowers
Open to your mind
As you ever think of others
With a heart so kind and true,
May the just eternal Father
And the angels think of you.
Is the wish of your schoolmate
Friday, July 12, 2013
Masha Ericksen Arms had a unique way of looking at life. She looked at life with the eye of an artist and the heart of an explorer and seeker.
She was ahead of her time in many ways; pioneering photography as a career for women in the 1930's; being an advocate for land conservation in the 1950's and even learning transcendental meditation in the 1970's and it was not a surprise to see her as an active and vital woman and artist well into her 90's. She was kind, generous of spirit, and always curious. A natural born teacher.
She was born Clara Harriet Ericksen Oct.4, 1908 in Fitchburg, MA. A direct descendant of Leif Ericksen. Her parents Andrew and Clara were Norwegian immigrants. Masha planned to become an art teacher and went to New York to study. She studied dance and became a model. Sometime in the 30's she picked up a Leica Model G 35mm camera and her first photo's were of vaudeville acts and circus performers. She started doing fashion photography and was then asked to do publicity shots for the King Smith Playhouse Theater in Washington, D.C.. This led to her being asked to teach photography at their school for the arts.
Masha developed her own style inspired by classical art and lighting. She became known for shooting natural poses in natural light and portraits in artificial light within the studio. One of her most famous clients was Robert Frost and his family. In 1938 she was recognized in a promotion "Careers for women." (see the link below to view Frost family pictures.)
Masha met and married William T. Arms and moved back to Massachusetts. They shared a deep love of nature. One particular rainy day in 1945 they came across an old home in the hills of Leyden, MA. where they were picnicking. The "Old Newcomb" place suited them perfectly. No running water or electricity did not deter them...in fact they thrived. Billy was a writer and historian. Masha used to have to enlarge film by using the car battery! In their eyes the challenges were met and overcome and made for a good story afterwards.
I remember the awe I had as a very young child when I discovered their "frig" in the closet was a natural running spring! The house was charming and warm. The old wood floors slanted and rolled. An ancient lilac said to be planted by the original builder of the home created an arbor over the back door.
Masha believed that to live a simple and balanced life by choice was more important than any monetary reward. Her art, whether it was her photography or watercolors, was her satisfaction.
In the late 1950's she and "Billy" compiled the "History of Leyden". They also started the "Church Woods" project which encouraged people to put aside land to be protected in the future. The program was lauded in "Nature" magazine. Later after Billy's death Masha donated 2 acres, the original "Church Woods" to the town of Leyden. It is a beautiful and tranquil place to this day. "Every day should be Earth Day" Masha was quoted for saying in a newspaper article in the 90's. She wanted to be remembered most for trying to influence people towards saving the planet for the future.
|Lill-sie & Robert Russell,|
left. Signe Russell,top. Lill-Sie Russell, bottom right. Taken by Masha Arms.1950's.
A cherished moment in my life was spending a couple of days with Masha and staying up almost all night talking, Masha sharing stories of her life and family. We went through family trunks...items lovingly wrapped in tissue paper unwrapped and shared. She was most proud of her mothers wood carvings including a lovely little paring knife. She gave me an embroidery that her mother had started some 70 years earlier and never finished. It's blue threads still vibrant and the needle in the exact spot she last stitched. I vowed to finish it...it's still a work in progress. Masha passed away in November of 2005. She was 96 years old.
At her graveside service I couldn't speak. I was to overcome with my own grief. Masha and Billy were my Godparents. Every year of my life, no matter where life took me, I always could count on a card, letter or call. I could talk to her about any subject. She never judged or criticized. Thank you for a lifetime of love, guidance, and inspiration-for just being "you, wonderful you!"
|"The Bars" by Masha Arms. Deerfield, MA.|
You can go to the following link to see more of Masha Arms photograph's.