My grandniece, Manuela Ortiz (Renville) is a sweet girl, who is full of life and joy. She married my grandnephew, James Renville last summer, and they have been enjoying their new life together. They both love to travel, and they go as much as they can. I think their favorite places will most likely always include beaches. Manuela, or Manu, as she is lovingly called by all who know her well, immigrated to the United States from Medellín, Antioquia, Columbia, and so she is used to the warm equatorial climate, making the warm beaches feel a lot like home. Still, she has adapted well to the cold northern climate too. Manuela and James love to go skiing and play in the snow, something Manuela probably never saw, until he moved here. They are open to all kinds of climates and will find a way to have fun anywhere.
Manuela has a bubbly personality and makes life fun for anyone who knows her. She has been such a wonderful blessing to my niece Toni Chase and her husband, Dave. For most of his life, James has been their only child, and now they have been given a daughter (daughter-in-law, but they don’t think of her as just a daughter-in-law) to complete their family…until grandbabies can come along…someday, hehehe. I think that whenever James and Manuela decide to have children, they will make beautiful babies, and I can’t wait to see them. Manuela has been so good for James, because he has a more reserved personality, but she brings out the other side of him, the side he only shows to those he knows well. When they are ready to have children, they will be a beautiful mix of both of them.
Manuela loves to dance, and coming from Columbia, she knows all the cool dances of that area. Dances like the Salsa, and many others that I would not know the names of, come as naturally to Manuela as walking, because she comes from a culture where these things are a part of everyday life. In fact, it is really fun to watch her dance, because she is so good at it. James can dance, but like most of us in this family, it is not something we do every day, so Manuela has been teaching him these dances, and he is getting very good as well. I’m sure that comes as part natural ability and part having a great teacher. James is such a good man, and I know that whether he is a natural at dancing or not, Manuela’s family loves him just because he is who he is…as good a husband to Manuela and she is a wife to him. Speaking of teaching, this happens to be one of Manuela’s many talents! She is also teaching James Spanish and loves to make tic-toc videos to share his progress. They are pretty funny to watch. She also teaches English on-line to private students. She is a great teacher! She is a podcaster in her free time on YouTube at Con Manu en la sala and a Tik-Tok @manuejames. As they go through their lives, I know that they will continue to be a blessing to each other and to their families. Today is Manuela’s birthday. Happy birthday Manuela!! Have a great day!! We love you!!
In the 18th and 19th century, going swimming was not done in the same way as it was today. While it was considered ok to swim, the clothing was not considered appropriate, and so men and women were segregated during swimming. I don’t suppose going to the beach was as common, and so it problem might not have come up every day, but it came up enough to create a need for a “proper” way to accomplish an outing involving swimming. Enter the Bathing Machine. The bathing machine was basically a small room built on wheels that could be taken to the beach. People entered the machine while it was on the beach, wearing their street clothing. In the machine they changed into their bathing suit, although men were allowed to bathe nude until the 1860s. They then placed their street clothes into a raised compartment in the bathing machine, where they would remain safe and dry.
I believe that all bathing machines had small windows, but one writer in the Manchester Guardian of May 26, 1906 considered them “ill-lighted” and wondered why bathing machines were not improved with a skylight. Once the person had changed, the machine would be wheeled or slid into the water. The most common type of these machines had large wide wheels and were pulled in and out of the surf by a horse or a pair of horses with a driver, but there were some that were pushed in and out of the water by human power. Some resorts had wooden rails into the water for the wheels to roll on, and a few had bathing machines pulled in and out by cables propelled by a steam engine.
Once the machine was in the water, the occupants stepped out from the sea side, and proceeded down steps into the water. Many of the machines had doors front and back, but those with only one door would be backed into the sea or need to be turned around. The most essential element of the machines, was that it blocked any view of the bather from the shore. Some of the more luxurious machines were equipped with a canvas tent lowered from the seaside door, sometimes capable of being lowered to the water, giving the bather greater privacy. Bathing machines would often be equipped with a small flag which could be raised by the bather as a signal to the driver that they were ready to return to shore. Some resorts even employed a dipper, a strong person of the same sex who would assist the bather in and out of the sea. Some dippers were said to push bathers into the water, then yank them out, considered part of the experience. Wow!! I’m not sure I would like that much, but then, to me this whole process seems like it would make the idea of bathing a bit too much of an undertaking, not to mention the added cost to go swimming, because I don’t think anyone would operate a bathing machine for free.
Bathing machines were most commonly used in the United Kingdom and parts of the British Empire with a British population, but were also used in France, Germany, the United States, Mexico, and other nations. Legal segregation of bathing areas in Britain ended in 1901, and the bathing machine declined rapidly. By the start of the 1920s, bathing machines were almost extinct, even on beaches catering to an older clientele. For those of us who grew up in the modern era, this process would seem like a bit of insanity, but then that was simply a different time.
When my daughter, Amy Royce and her family moved out to the Pacific Northwest, it was initially to get away from the cold Wyoming winters, but it has been an amazing adventure for them in many ways. Amy always loved the rainforests and the beaches too, so the Pacific Northwest was the perfect location for her. In the two years since they moved to Washington, they have been hiking the amazing trails in the area, and of course, enjoying the sunsets by the water. Amy also had the opportunity to go to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, which is an awesome spring display of tulips…acres and acres of tulips. It is a beautiful sight. I got to see it years ago, when my sister lived in that area, but I look forward to seeing it again with Amy.
In the two years that Amy has lived in Washington, I have seen her creative side simply blossom. She has done a few sessions at one of the places where you paint and have wine, and she liked it so much that her husband, Travis bought her a set of paints and an easel. Amy’s creative side just bubbled out of her. Every new painting is better than the last. I wish I had such talent. She and her sister Corrie Petersen, both seem to have inherited that talent…but they did not get it from me, hahaha!! Amy also loves to take pictures of the area she lives in, and posts them to her Facebook. They are beautiful, and since I love photography, I’ll take a little credit and say that she inherited that ability from me…whether it’s true or not. The pictures she takes while hiking are amazing, and the subject matter doesn’t hurt anything either. Still, the eye of the photographer is the main part of great photography.
While we wish that she lived closer to us, we always look forward to the trips we take out to see her and her family. Since we love to hike too, we went on a few of the trails while we were there the last time, but the next time we go, it will be in the summer, and we are going to have her take us to some of the places she went last month, because those places were stunning. It’s funny, because Amy was never so much the hiker. She usually went to the gym for her exercise, and suddenly she likes to get out in nature too. Something I find totally awesome. Today is Amy’s birthday. Happy birthday Amy!! Have a great day!! We love you!!